Sunday Sermon Reflection

On Sunday Hermie Smith gave a short testimony about having a Christ centered conversation with a man while soaking in a hot tub. The ease at which he entered into that conversation made it sound so easy. And yet I know from my own experience that trepidation and uncertainty cause one’s heart to beat a bit quicker.

It made me think about Matthew 11:12 that talks about “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men and women lay hold of it.”

I did a little leg work and found that the most recent Greek-English Lexicon gives four possible definitions of the Greek word (biazo) used in this verse: (1) “to inflict violence on, ‘dominate, constrain,’ (2) to gain an objective by force, ‘use force,’ (3) to go after something with enthusiasm, ‘seek fervently, try hard,’ or (4) ‘constrain (warmly).’

I am not a theologian so not sure which one fits. But as I think about Hermie and his actions I can line that up with some of the definitions above. Laying hold of the Kingdom and then radically risking to share it is a huge risk. But Jesus didn’t die for us so we could just “do” church. We are a walking revelation that must be expressed. Don’t hide your light under a bushel. It means we serve humanity on practical levels—practical according to the Kingdom of God is bringing the “invasion of the impossible.” I think I got that from Bill Johnson at Bethel Church Redding.

So much uncertainty, chaos and confusion has many of us checking the news sights on our laptops daily to see what the Helsinki has happened overnight. Rather than come under the uncertainty and anxiety that we see on our screens every day, ask yourself, “How does God want me to bring solutions for the world’s dilemmas in my community, workspace and family?”

I have a sense that God is birthing something in His church and in The River Church Community as we enter this season of life. Let me remind you that if you’ve ever given birth or observed one it is a violent, radical event. But we signed up for radical. We are use to plucking out our eye that causes us to sin, bringing not peace but a sword, counting the cost and giving up everything for the treasure hidden in the field.

I believe we are being radically charged by God to do whatever it takes to follow Jesus and to do the works (feed the poor, heal the sick, and bring justice to those that are not receiving justice) that He did.

Jesus is asking for our hearts, our allegiance, our obedience, and our willingness to risk all to follow Him. Isn’t that what the verse says? “Everyone,” who becomes part of the Kingdom is forcing his way, pushing through the door, seeking to enter while it still possible, making every effort into the Kingdom.”

I think this verse says it quite well. “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).