Mar29ThuMarch 29, 2018
I’m staying in Gospel Wakefulness again this week. I had expected to return to The Imperfect Disciple, but Gospel Wakefulness is just so compelling for me at the moment.
In his chapter called The Gospel-Wakened Church, author Jared Wilson declares the “gospel-wakened church is a resolute church. She stands in Christ’s words, declares Christ’s life, and bears Christ’s authority” (197). In light of this resoluteness, Wilson indicates that the church of Jesus Christ should resolve to fulfill Romans 15:1-7 which reads, “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God” (ESV). Wilson lists 6 resolutions of the gospel-wakened church rising from this passage:
- We resolve to love our neighbour.
- We resolve to look foolish.
- We resolve to trust God’s Word.
- We resolve to live in Christ-centered harmony.
- We resolve to be worshipful.
- We resolve to glory in the gospel.
Of these resolutions, a quotation from resolution 2 moved me. Wilson writes,
A gospel-wakened church is a resolute church that embraces the loss of her reputation for the gain of God's glory. She is willing to look stupid, irrational, impractical, silly … for the right reasons. She will be dragged into the street, absorbing the insults of those who insult God, in efforts to turn the world upside down. She will spend as much or more time and money on others as she does herself; she will send her people into the farthest reaches of the world to die, she will eat and drink with sinners; she will welcome the broken and weary; she will favor the meek and lowly; she will cherish the powerless; she will serve and suffer and savor the sweetness of the good news. A gospel-driven church resolves to look foolish to those to whom the cross is foolishness. Because she knows it is the power to save. (198)
I began my walk with the Lord at a time when, for the most part, churches were still respected, valued, and considered an integral part of the fabric of our country. That is changing. Fast.
And I am fine with that. I believe we are, or will be, prepared to lose what is left of our reputation and if necessary, look “stupid, irrational, impractical, silly” as long as this comes from our faithfulness to God’s Word and not the foolishness of our own sin.
We have been warned in God’s Word that this will happen to those who look on the gospel as that of “first importance.” So be it. May God help us be “willing to so identify with the Christ who identified with us that we will take up his cross, [that] object of shame and derision” (198).