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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Nobody Loves Me

From Derek Webb's The House Show CD, discussing his song, "Nobody Loves Me"...
This is a song about the risk that we run as those who are called into community together (which we necessarily are) - if you divorce the people of God, local community, from the gospel, then it ceases to be the gospel.

There is no other context for your faith as a Christian than to be in community with other people. I've heard a lot of people say to me over the years "Its just me and Jesus and that's all I need." Well that's not the gospel in Scripture.

If we are going to be those who claim to love Jesus, then you and I will be compelled to love also the things that Jesus loved. And he not only loved, but he came and gave himself up for the church. And that makes it our concern as well. And if that's not hard enough, we aren't just called to live in community together - we are also called with a mandate that we preach the gospel to each other...

As a Christian culture, we often mistake the gospel for the thing that we preach only to non-believers in the hopes that they will come down our isles of our churches and place their faith in Jesus. Now it certainly is that, but much more than that - the gospel must have, necessarily has, a primary place in the lives of believers.

We've got to hear it every week, if not every day.. If we stop hearing that every single day, especially in light of the great "righteousness" that we might prop up as an idol from time to time, then we are never ever going to grow, our hearts are never going to change, our commnuities are never going to be sanctified...

Flattery at its very best will encourage really nothing more in you and in your community than behavior modification - modifying your behavior to act the way you should, to hide the things you do that are wrong, and to try and amplify the things you do that are right.

But here's the truth - all the behavior modification in the world will never change your hearts, and it can never change our communities. Jesus however, he does change our hearts, and he will change our communities. And that is why boldness is called for.

We have got to be honest. We should have no fear in being honest to one another about who we really are - not just offering up the sins that we feel safe confessing, but being completely bold, completely forthcoming about who we really are, and saying "I am going to stop hiding from you, and I am going to tell who I really am because I believe the gospel is really true."

I can only admit who I really am to you because I believe Jesus is who he really is as well. You will never be truly filled w/ joy unless you truly know yourself for who you are. And until you are a real sinner with a real savior, you will be a hypotheitcal and theoretical sinner, with a hypothetical and theoretical savior...

Charles Spurgeon once said, "If your sin is small, then your savior will be small also. But if your sin is great, then your savior must be great." And folks, our savior is great...

Sound interesting? Read the lyrics or listen to a soundbite on Amazon...

4 Comments:

At 7:51 AM, November 23, 2005, Blogger Krissy said...

Thanks Christian. I really needed to hear that today. Just this morning on the subway i was thinking how maybe i dont really need my community of believers that much cause i have a great community of unbelievers i like better. But i guess when i start thinking i am fine without them is probably when i need them most. The stuff about behavior modification hits a little too close to home. I like flattery. I like to be around people that like me and are like me. Its easier.

 
At 9:46 PM, November 23, 2005, Blogger Christian said...

You've touched on something interesting here, Krissy - as I read the Derek Webb comments, I see 4 central themes (there's probably more):
1. heart issues
2. the gospel
3. confession
4. community

A lot of times it might _seem_ like we can have community without necessarily having the first 3, but what we really end up with then is just flattery or sympathy, not real change (because there is no gospel to reveal the heart issues, to lead to confession).

At the same time, sometimes the church tries to hold onto "the truth" (our gospel becomes our doctrine) - in cases like these we tend to do a great job of pointing out sin, but if there is no community, then you don't really have opportunity for confession - and change is almost impossible because everyone is trying to bear their own load.

So at the end of the day, we really need ALL of these to really be the church. And its an exceedingly dangerous/scary proposition, because it means we are going to have to be real open, and honest, and vulnerable about our shortcomings. But that's a good thing, because it forces us to find our sufficiency in Christ, rather than in the approval of others.

So anyway, I appreciate your comments. There's plenty of need in my own life to continue to work on fleshing this out...

 
At 9:56 PM, November 23, 2005, Blogger rs said...

the real struggle here, as i see it, comes because people don't truly want community as you have articulated it. the reason for this is that it requires something of them. like you said, it is scary/painful to truly live this way.

most people tend to see the church as another opportunity to consume. what can i get out of it. everybody wants community - people to support us, people to love us and affirm us, people who reveal deep secrets and confide in us and really value us.

but how often do we want the same for others? how often are we willing to sacrifice whatever we have to so that others will experience true community and be challenged to sacrifice in similar ways? how often are willing to do this even with those closest to us?

we need the gospel so much when it comes to community b/c (as you and i have spoken about on so many occasions) it tends to be all about us first and foremost.

 
At 7:39 PM, November 24, 2005, Blogger Christian said...

Well, I agree that many people don't want the cost that comes with real community. At the same time, I think a community that functions at this level is deeply attractive - because it deals with the real issues (it doesn't candy coat them or look the other way), and yet acceptance into the community is not based on performance - all that is required is honesty, faith, and repentance.

So I suspect (hope) that when people see that type of relationship lived out in real life, right there in front of them, vulnerability and brokenness will be a small price to pay to be a part of it all.

 

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