How do we get off the couch, walking and working with God, especially in tough places?
If you are “in Christ” you do not get to decide if you are a partner with Jesus. You only get to decide if you are a good or bad partner. To become a Christian is to join the Body of Christ. The spiritual health and growth of individual members leads to the spiritual health and growth of the entire church. Likewise, when the Body of Christ is healthy, individual members should be growing. This cyclical growth happens as disciples make disciples.
The mission of the church is to make disciples, not just converts. This Bible study, the books (The Insanity of God and The Insanity of Obedience), and the research behind them are an attempt to discern some answers to key missiological and theological questions for the church. Those are big words for “how do we get off the couch, walking and working with God, especially in tough places?”
Given that Jesus led His disciples every day and clearly said that His mission was “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10), why would He feel it necessary to command them to go make disciples in Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:14-16, and Acts 1:4-8?
Can it be that what Jesus lived and commanded the most, we ignore the most? Today are we willing to follow Jesus to the tough places anywhere and anytime He still commands? This conviction and commitment starts by recognizing who He is—not what we have heard about Him. We are to know Him through a personal relationship of faithful obedience within the body of believers.
Now there are many parts, yet one body. So the eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” Or again, the head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” But even more, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are necessary. And those parts of the body that we think to be less honorable, we clothe these with greater honor, and our unpresentable parts have a better presentation. But our presentable parts have no need of clothing. Instead, God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the less honorable, so that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other. So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it.” —1 Corinthians 12:20-27
The words of Paul, as recorded in the Bible and inspired by the Holy Spirit, were not just for the church in Corinth 2,000 years ago. The Word of God speaks to us today. It applies to people in the toughest places in the world. It applies to people in the suburbs and modern cities.
We need one another. There are no more or less important parts of the body. There are no more or less important people. And there is no persecuted church and free church. We are all the church. We are all one body of Christ.
While this is a shift for most Western believers, it is a clear reality to most Christians living in persecution. They do not cry out in need of being rescued. They proudly live—and die, if necessary—for the sake of the gospel, knowing that Jesus is worth it and that His church is worth their individual sacrifices.
Excerpted from Nik Ripken, The Insanity of Obedience Bible Study. © 2016 Lifeway Press. Used by permission.