The world is messed up right now, but Jesus came into a world much like ours. A brutal, corrupt, greedy place. Where women were marginalized, children didn’t matter, and slavery was pervasive. Where power was cruel and oppressive. Entertainment was watching people get chopped up. The world was messed up.
Things haven’t changed much, really. Century after century, regimes come and go. Wars, domination, revolt, upheaval, collapse . . . Yes, there have been advances, like science, education, technology, and so on. But what really changes the human heart?
What does the world need to make it truly a better place? That’s the question.
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Here’s how Jesus answered the question. Jesus spoke about and modeled a revolution on earth. In one of the worst periods in human history, He launched a movement that changed everything. A movement based on love.
Religious leaders of His day, wanting to trap Him into saying something they could attack, asked Him to say which of all the commandments of God was the most important. Jesus stumped them with these laws of love:
“The most important one is this: . . . Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31 NIV)
Jesus called us to a new way of doing life. You’ve probably heard of the Sermon on the Mount. It’s found in Matthew 5, 6, and 7. I strongly recommend that you read through it quickly today. Let it hit you like a ton of bricks. Then go back and study it, verse by verse! It’s revolutionary. If you let it, it will upend everything you think about walking with God
It’s what the world needs. Jesus show how each of us need to live out His teachings about love in our lives for the world to be changed. For the kingdom of God to be established among us.
Whenever the kingdom of God—not just religion or industry or politics—comes, by us the living out of the Sermon on the Mount as empowered by the Holy Spirit, then things change. Whole systems of corruption are confronted. Slavery begins to disappear. People are valued, regardless of their gender, or ethnicity, or economic standing. Instead of corruption, you get integrity and justice and freedom.
How can you and I share in this revolution? Maybe you’re a new Christ-follower. Or maybe you’re a mature Christian. You go to church, you attend a Bible study, you tithe, you go on a mission trip every three years, you have family devotions. All those things are good in themselves, but Jesus condemns external righteousness, spiritual activities, that don’t flow from an authentic relationship with God. He wants a movement of people that own their own stuff and love radically.
None of us can measure up. We have wrong motives. We are materialistic. We seek to impress others. No, to be holy, we need God’s help. We need a personal relationship with our Abba Father in heaven.
Ask yourself, what’s your agenda? Whose kingdom are you seeking to establish? Yours? Your success, recognition, wealth, happiness? Or Jesus’s?
If you look at your time, energy, passion, and demand of work, versus your prayer life and study of the Word and service to your family, church, and community, you have your answer.
The people with power didn’t like Jesus. Who hung out with Him? The lost people, the hurting people, the disenfranchised and oppressed people. Because Jesus loved them.
What does the world need? Love. Just like the 1960s song. Let me ask you, how many lost people are your friends? Would people living in lifestyles you disapprove of want to hang out with you? Is your Christianity basically moralism?
I catch myself often judging. Why is he doing that? Why is she doing that? God has helped me be more aware of that reaction, and instead I try to pray, God, what is Your plan for this person? Lord, how would You want me to love them?
Let me pause for just a second to acknowledge the election right around the corner. As important and vital as this election is, and all the implications for the United States, the Church, and the world, there is something 100 times more important than who wins this election, and that is how we, as Christians, respond. Please take a moment to read my open letter to Christians in America as you prepare to vote, then respond in love–regardless of who wins on November 3rd.
Remember, it was the kindness of God that led us to repentance. It is the kindness of God through us that will lead people to Him today. We are called to share it. We are called to love, even more so when the world is messed up.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
Dig deeper into what Jesus would say and do in the midst of our current circumstances with resources from Chip’s teaching series, What the World Needs Now.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip