07 January 2011

The Battle

From Pop's sermon last Sunday at Immanuel on 2 Timothy 2, in a series on prayer--
Life is war. Life is striving for something and against its opposites.

And for us, to live is Christ. So Paul says here, 'Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus' (2 Timothy 2:3). Immanuel does not exist to make your life more comfortable. Immanuel exists to help you become more deployable. We are here to fight for Christ, and to win, and to enjoy winning. I love the passage in The Lord of the Rings when the army of Rohan goes into battle against the orcs of Mordor:

For morning came, morning and a wind from the sea; and darkness was removed, and the hosts of Mordor wailed, and terror took them, and they fled, and died, and the hoofs of wrath rode over them. And then all the host of Rohan burst into song, and they sang as they slew, for the joy of battle was on them, and the sound of their singing was fair and terrible.

Some of us might have difficulty with that. But our warfare as a church is not political. We are not fighting the culture war. Our struggle is against the oppression that many people don’t even feel until they wake up in hell. We are not fighting against people. We are fighting against the God-dishonoring and self-injuring things that people are living for. The real battle of our times--and let’s make sure we are on the right side--the real battle of our times is not between us and anybody else but between Christ and religion. That battle is subtle but real.

We feel it in the form of silent pressure to keep quiet about Jesus or, even if we do use Jesus-talk, just to fit him into the convenient margins of the status quo. But he must never become the commanding presence at the center of our lives. That is the pressure against us and against him.

We must rebel, and rebel happily.

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