01 Jul Sermon Snap Shot June 30, 2019
Over the years I have often asked this question: What is the goal of the Christian life? The answers typically fall along a continuum.
On the one side, I often hear people say, “The goal is to get to heaven (or to escape hell).” For those persons the Christian faith is like fire insurance – it’s keeping them from spending eternity in this place of eternal pain and punishment. They often look to John 3:16 as the heart of the Gospel, with the emphasis not so much on the first part “For God so loved (agape) the world…” but more on the last part, “…whoever believes shall not perish but have eternal life.”
On the other side, people will say, “The goal is to experience life to the fullest.” Those persons often look to John 10:10 as the heart of the Gospel: “I have come so that you might have life, and life abundantly.” They see relationship with Jesus as the path or ticket to this full, abundant life in the here and now, one absent of fear and full of peace. For some, it also includes a belief that God will give them physical and financial health as well.
What King believed included aspects of both of these typical viewpoints, but he would have answered the question quite differently. What is the goal of the Christian life? To work to establish, with God’s help, the Beloved Community right here and now, recognizing that my ability to enjoy the abundant life is always connected to my fellow human being’s ability to do the same. Hear what he had to say in an article entitled “What a Christian Should Think about the Kingdom of God”:
“Jesus took over the phrase ‘Kingdom of God,’ but he changed its meaning. He refused entirely to be the kind of Messiah that his contemporaries expected. Jesus made love the mark of sovereignty. Here we are left with no doubt as to Jesus’ meaning. The Kingdom of God will be a society in which men and women live as children of God should live [imago dei]. It will be a kingdom controlled by the law of love [agape love]. Many have attempted to say that the ideal of a better world will be worked out in the next world. But Jesus taught men to say, ‘Thy will be done on earth, as in heaven.’ Although the world seems to be in a bad shape today, we must never lose faith in the power of God to achieve his purpose.”
From Sunday, June 30 message based on Colossians 3:1-17 entitled, “Beloved Community: Core Belief #3 – On Earth As In Heaven”
Pastor, Waters Edge UMC