Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Do You Rescue Like Jesus Does? (Part 2)

Read Part 1 first or this really won't make sense.

This topic was split from part 1 on Dec. 5, 2007 because of it's length. If you read Part 1 before Dec. 4th then you have already read this portion.

Lots of Christians seem to hold to the first view—the world is a bad place and Jesus rescues us out of it to somewhere safe (heaven). But there are many Jesus-followers who hold to the second rescue definition. Christ has come to rescue the creation itself by transforming it so ultimately it will be freed from evil and God will live with his people in the new—or renewed—earth and heavens.

Now here's the tricky part. . .Jesus didn't just give us a gift and then abandon us. Those of us who are true followers of Christ have been given a gift and then He left us with a mission. He passed His work on to us so that now, we become the rescuers. The truth is, Christ spent far more time talking about rescuing by transformation than He did about escape. It wasn't just about one day being in heaven; it was also about being a transformed vessel that in turn becomes a vessel of transformation for our community and world. We're supposed to be in the work of helping lives to be transformed (God does the actual transforming but we get to be a part of the process, which ends up transforming us even more).

Are you ready to be a rescuer? Someone who will join Jesus in transforming the world? We don’t have to wait around for the final rescue (going to heaven). We can begin acts of transformation now.

If you pressed most people on what their dream is, it would be to see the world free from suffering, pain, and injustice—a creation healed. This is precisely the Christian vision of hope for the future and the kind of rescue Christ came to bring. It’s time to start getting people to know and be involved in the rescue plan.
  1. Which rescue by Jesus have you grown up believing? What does your church say?
  2. What kind of salvation did Jesus bring if it's only about rescue by escape?
  3. What kind of salvation did Jesus bring if it's only about rescue by transformation?
  4. Do you think it’s possible that the truth about salvation is somewhere in the middle? Or a combination of the two ideas?
  5. If rescue by escape is all about who's getting to go to heaven, then in what ways would rescue by transformation make Christianity more relevant for your friends?
  6. If our message to the un-churched is all about heaven and hell, who's in and who isn't, then doesn't the church become more like a social club?
  7. What if our message to the un-churched is Christ came to transform us in a world full of hurt and pain, and then to use us to help transform the lives of others?

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