The leading cause of atheism today – Christians that confess Jesus with their words but deny Him with their lives.
Today, March 2, 2013, as I was reading the first three chapters of the book of Mark, from the Bible, it is clearly seen that Jesus was teaching and preaching and healing. One of the questions I asked while reading was this: What is the difference between teaching and preaching discussed here in Mark? Is preaching only with words or does it also include actions? The first three chapters are replete with Jesus bringing healing to those around him.
In chapter 2, when Jesus was responding to the complaint of the religious leaders regarding Him telling a man that "his sins are forgiven", Jesus then healed the external infirmities of the man, as a blessing to the man and as evidence of His power and love and truth. Jesus said this. "But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins – he said to the paralytic – I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home." And the paralytic man rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, 'we never saw anything like this!'"
So, Jesus shows the "consistent truth" of who He is and the truth of his life and message and teachings by His works of compassionate healing. Consistent truth is when our words and life and actions are all consistent. In chapter 3, the people were so desirous of healing and health, they clamored to see Jesus and to touch Him. They were going to great links to be healed. They were pressing in, pushing in and crowding in at the chance to see Jesus and be healed.
This is not the picture of church gatherings today. Why? Has the message from Jesus of his love, forgiveness, and healing changed? Or could it be that the people see "inconsistent truth" in the church today? They hear the words of love and life and healing, but they do not see the same in actions expressing love, life and healing.Toward the end of Chapter 3, Jesus makes an observation: "No one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house." My question is whether satan has bound the church, a strong man, with its current structure and focus on teaching and creating Disneyland, the happiest place on earth, where everything is clean and pure and lovely and fun. Where there are no problems or worries or even trash. And with our marketing, we tell people that if you want to be happy for the rest of your life, come here to our church, to Disneyland.
When you bind up a strong man so that he cannot physically harm you, you can plunder his house. While he can still talk, you really don't have to worry too much about his words. Words alone, without the action that backs them up and demonstrates their power, are harmless. Furthermore, even the words themselves lose their power and credibility of proclaiming truth. They are dismissed as inconsistent with what people see. It is what people see in action that either validates or negates the trustworthiness of the words.
But this observation from Jesus is just as true in reverse. For If we, the followers of Jesus, His Church, take up our responsibility to bring healing and wellness and compassionate care to the sick, the hurting, the imprisoned, the addicted, the needy and those struggling in life (ah, that would be EVERYONE of us), then we are binding up the destructive power of satan over lives – his power will be taken away; and his words will be dismissed as harmless – as inconsistent with what people see and experience.
But of infinitely greater importance is that we would be following the way of Jesus. We would be honoring God with our lives as Jesus taught and demonstrated. We would be THE living and loving PRAYER of worship to God: "Our Father…, Your Kingdom come; Your will be done, on earth (right where we stand and live – in York County, SC for me) as it is in Heaven." When we take up our responsibility to bring healing and wellness and compassionate care to others, along with teaching the way of God as clearly taught and demonstrated by Jesus, THEN WE, His Church, will be preaching consistent truth!
Chapter 3 ends with this statement from Jesus: "For whoever DOES the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother." May it be so! May our lives preach, teach, and live the way of Jesus – consistent truth!