And to think it all began with The Church Without Pants

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Saved from What?


We heard from a few people not too long ago that a woman who had recently left our church for another was proclaiming that at her new church they really preach the message of salvation and that she was finally hearing the "truth" and that she was glad she had moved on.

I thought about giving her a call to ask if we could meet for coffee so I could hear for myself what this truth was.

But I didn't. Maybe because deep down I believed that if this truth she was now hearing was important enough, she would be compelled to come back and share it with us. She could not possibly want those she had had fellowship with for so many years to continue on in their ignorance. She would want us to be enlightened.

We never heard back from her.

Now I can only imagine what our conversation would've been like and I've seriously wondered what this important truth is that is so missing at the Big Old Church. My guess would be that it has something to do with the big questions of life and death, heaven and hell, and sin and salvation. Being listed among the saved is probably a hot preaching topic at her new church and their worship services are most likely focused on offering a conversion experience for those who they would classify as "unsaved."

But I'm also troubled that she found something missing at Big Old Church. And she's hardly the only one. Based on our attendance, clearly there are at least a few other people who don't mind not being part of what we're doing.

I think Big Old needs to take a hard look at ourselves. Maybe a good place to start is by asking, Are we Saved?

As in many parts of the Bible, the letter to the Ephesians talks about salvation and being saved. Chapter 2 (click here to read Chapter 2) begins something like this: "And you were dead in your sins ... in which you used to live ..." The chapter also includes remarks to the effect that some of the Ephesians lived "without hope and without God in the world" (v. 12) but that they had been made alive, even when they were dead (v. 5)

Zombie fans would go nuts if they ever read the Bible. But there it is, right in the Letter to the Ephesians - "... made alive, even though we were dead ..."

Are Christians really these brain sucking fiends, animated deadness, who prey on anything that moves just to satisfy our own bottomless emptiness? Do we enter our houses of worship mindlessly, with little or no passion, feed ourselves on whatever is offered, and leave in just the same manner as we came - mindless, passionless, and empty? Is that how we are perceived at Big Old?

Are we zombies?

Probably not, but it's never a bad idea to take a look at oneself and, as the prophet Haggai writes, "Consider your ways."

Some of us from Big Old meet together with some friends for this "not church" thing we playfully call "Showtime." The name is totally tongue-in-cheek because while it's a worshipful gathering there's nothing showy about it at all. There's no sermon, no professionals entertaining us, and none of us are there looking for what we're going to get out of it because we all come bringing something to add.

Anyway, during one of our last meetings we looked at this Ephesians 2 passage about the hard questions of life and death and salvation. We concluded that, at least here in chapter 2, Paul seemed very concerned about what salvation could look like today, in the here and now. Not to discount the importance of a future after we're done on this earth, but he seems to also be addressing the importance of a present tense salvation and that when God moves us from the realm of the dead to the realm of the living by saving us from our own sin, God has more in store for us than a series of platitudes and a yearning to escape to another realm. When we live as if we're saved from our own sin we can really be alive right now.

Today.
It's a very non-zombie lifestyle and kind of what we'd expect from Jesus.

Imagine, if I'm saved from my sin then I'm no longer the most important person in the world.

You are.

So when Jesus saves me, I'm saved from myself and you're saved from me, too.
As one from among us stated that night, "I'm here, God. Use me in any way you want."

That sounds like real worship.

It also sounds like that kind of life would be a hopeful life, maybe even a life that Paul might describe as "a life with hope and with God in the world."

Wouldn't a group of people who live this way be incredibly attractive?

And we don't have to wait to die and go to heaven for this life because we've already been dead.

We've been there. Now it's time to "choose life" just as God urged the Hebrews in the days after Egypt (Deut 30:15-20). Being saved means we have been brought to life and as Paul sums up his teaching on life and death with the Ephesians, he tells them, "We're God's handiwork, created [brought to life?] in Christ to do the good works that God has prepared for us to do."

Not later. Now.

But if we really like being dead and existing without hope and without God in the world, we can always go back.

Anytime we want.

I hope the woman who left Big Old has finally heard enough of the truth so that she can be confident that she's numbered among the saved. I also hope that she'll not need to hear those sermons too many more times before she's ready to move on to other important scriptural lessons.

As for me, I guess it's always a good idea to ask, "Am I being alive or dead?

Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. Give me the grace to choose life and please save me from myself. Again and again. Amen and Amen.





3 comments:

  1. It's curious, how we can just simply be affected by others, day and day again, in ways that save us from ourselves. Like, this whole salvation thing? It's hard to believe that it's a snap-your-fingers-and-you-are-done kind of a deal. Lord knows that just because you've had one zombie attack doesn't mean that you are immune to somnombulance. That stuff's daily.

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  2. What the hell is with all this scripture crap, get back to the funny stuff or I'll go read some other blog! I go to church enough I don't need this scripture in the rest of my life, come on man you're really bringing me down.

    You get one star today!

    *

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  3. (Wow. I've never gotten star before!)

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