How do we tell a generation of excess and instantaneous information that Jesus is enough? A generation that really popularized the “selfie”? A generation that is so incredibly focused on self-promotion and self-gratification?
We are in the generation that must get a certain number of likes on Instagram or Facebook or else the post/photo gets deleted. We are in a generation that is exposed to the glories of being popular at an intense level. Church is not just church anymore. Church is on social media, web pages, and live streaming services. Church, in all of it’s relevancy to the world, is lights, music, amazing singing, and great speakers.
None of that is bad, but… we were never called to have good church or have uber-relevancy to the world’s culture. We were never called to make church cater to the desires of people and culture. Look at it this way, do soldiers enjoy carrying 70+ pounds of gear in training so that when the real thing hits, they’re ready and can handle it? No, they don’t. However, they take an oath to protect and serve the country and preserve the Constitution. Churches were never supposed to cater to our desires and be just rainbows, chocolate chip cookies, and a motivational speech. Church is supposed to equip us to go out into the world. That comes despite whether it always suits us. We are called to be the church the world needs.
“Churches were never supposed to cater to our desires and be just rainbows, chocolate chip cookies, and a motivational speeches. Church is supposed to equip us to go out into the world.”
Jesus is not enough for us to go to church anymore! No, we must have everything just right, and the preacher has to preach just right and in an appropriate amount of time. I have one question…
When did Jesus stop being enough?
Acts 1:21-25 (NLT)
21 “So now we must choose a replacement for Judas from among the men who were with us the entire time we were traveling with the Lord Jesus— 22 from the time he was baptized by John until the day he was taken from us. Whoever is chosen will join us as a witness of Jesus’ resurrection.”
23 So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then they all prayed, “O Lord, you know every heart. Show us which of these men you have chosen 25 as an apostle to replace Judas in this ministry, for he has deserted us and gone where he belongs.”
The Apostles find themselves needing a replacement for Judas. The qualification is nothing short of amazing, but it doesn’t seem like much when you are just reading it. The qualification to become an apostle: just be there with Jesus from baptism to ascension. Only two men fit the qualification. Justus and Matthias. Consider, for a moment, that two men met the qualification out of the thousands Jesus came in contact with. Only two men stuck with Jesus and His disciples out of the thousands of people they healed or fed.
Justus and Matthias are nowhere to be found in the gospels. This is their first appearance in the Bible. For them, they did just as the other apostles had done. They left homes, families, and jobs. For three and a half years they were simply following Jesus. They did not need recognition. It was never about preaching like Jesus did at the Sermon on the Mount, having the speaking ability like Peter, or having the absolute favoritism of Jesus like John. For them… Jesus was enough.
We cannot get people to stay in church unless they are on the platform, behind a pulpit, or being seen somehow. For these people, it’s about showing how well they can sing, play, worship, speak to a crowd, or show just how much they do. Jesus wants to perform a work on the platform that we are using as the stage for our show.
Matthias and Justus were probably holding the baskets bearing the fish and the bread when Jesus fed the 5,000. They were probably serving the Savior and His disciples. I dare say that without their support and servitude, being Jesus’ disciple was going to be much harder on the body. But NO ONE mentions them in their accounts of the Gospel.
No flesh is going to glory in the presence of God. He uses the weak to bring down the strong, the foolish to confound the wise. No man can take credit for what God is wanting to do, but we are too busy turning church into a show when God is wanting to turn church into an experience. Think of all the people who followed Jesus in the cities wanting a touch. They wanted the “touch and go” experience, to get exactly what they wanted and leave. But that was not enough for Matthias and Justus. They wanted more than just a touch. They wanted to know everything about this man, Jesus of Nazareth.
They did not know what it was, but this man was enough. He was more than plenty. It was not just about His miracles. It was about His demeanor, the presence that surrounded Him, the wisdom He spoke. The shout was good, but the conversation with Him was better! They did not need any other reason to follow Jesus other than He was Jesus.
“The shout was good, but the conversation with Him was better!”
We do not need more lights, another guitar on stage, or more shallow singers. What we need is an attitude that when we walk into the church there is nothing that comes before Jesus Christ. Sing, play, and preach all you want; no flesh shall glory in the presence of God. The fire which is birthed in our souls by the filling of the Holy Ghost has nothing to do with the music, the singing, or how great the preacher spoke. It has to do with the anointing, true power of God working on a platform were showmanship has left the stage.
As you can see, this is “Part 1”. I will be going deeper into this over the next few weeks and expand upon it more. Next time, we will take a look at Demas, the man who forsook Paul. Keep a look out on Jesus Name News’ Facebook page and Twitter for more of this series!