Matthew 24:5 (ESV) For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.
2 Corinthians 11:12–15 (ESV) And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
Growing up as a pastor’s kid I could not reconcile the business of religion with the Jesus I believed in. So at an early age I rebelled. While serving in the army I had a divine encounter with Jesus that changed my life. So I went back to the religious structure I knew as ‘church’. After 15 as a pastor/church planter, I finally gave up trying to reconcile the politics of self-serving organised religion with the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. (The book I wrote “Will the Real Church Stand Up” is a seminal expression of the beginning of a journey to discovery)
Today’s musing is on the nature of the people of the Kingdom (Mat 4:23; Lk 16:16).
The Gospel of Jesus is the good news of His Kingdom (cf Act 28:31). Jesus is King; His Kingdom has come (Mat 11:12 12:28); it advances forcefully and people who are His (Jn 6:44) are forcing their way into it (lk 16:16).
Scripture, to those who are His own, becomes ‘the living Word’ and cannot be used for self-advancement or personal advantage because they believe that scripture is the revelation of Christ and His Kingdom (Jn 5:39). Scripture reveals Jesus and His Kingdom to and for the people of the Kingdom. Obedience to the King is paramount. Scripture is not a book of rules or ethics for human interaction to be mandated by pseudo-christian power holders, but God’s self-revelation in christ (cf Jer 31:31-34; Mat 26:28):
The people and behaviour and mindset of His Kingdom is diametrically opposed to every other worldview (Rom 12:2). Jesus demonstrated time and time again His counter-cultural Kingdom. The call for Jesus to judge in a matter (see previous musing) on which he declared He had no opinion on, exemplifies this. His response is unique, He refused the role of arbitrator, and refused to have an opinion on the ‘rightness’ of the dispute.
The Church of Jesus Christ is not contemporary nor relevant to society, it is non-conformist, in absolute opposition to the modern synagogs of pseudo-christianity with an irreconcilable worldview.
Pseudo-christian religion tells others what truth is, loves the world, accepts sin and calls righteousness judgmental – people of the Kingdom seek Jesus as truth, love one another, witness in the world without judgement, but judge sin in the body of Christ.
In Jesus’ time the synagogs had members who followed Jesus, but the synagogs themselves were systemically opposed to the Gospel of the Kingdom because the gospel disarmed their power over people. Pseudo-christianity is anti-christ.
End time deception, as prophesied throughout Scripture, will not come in the form of opposing world religions, it will look like and sound like ‘an angel of light’. It will say, “come, Christ is here.” it will have you believe that participation with them is participation in salvation. The Church of Jesus Christ is not an edifice or a legal entity or organised religion, it is the people of the Kingdom living in His love (not the same as the love of undiscerning acceptance). In the world but not of it. It seeks no affiliation with political powers or structures nor contemporary acceptance. It seeks only Christ and His approval.
So my musing: how do i pursue non-conformity to the patterns of pseudo-christianity and seek Christ Jesus? To know His Kingdom and how the people of His Kingdom think, see and live – as those who are in the world but not conformed to it?