Two thousand years ago the term “disciple” was synonymous with danger. We tend to remove the risk from the Gospel. Jesus did not die to keep you safe. He died to make you dangerous. As a church, we cannot afford to be safe. We must continue living dangerously.
It was hazardous two thousand years ago to be a disciple. We forget this, but how did most of the apostle’s lives end? John the Baptist – head on a platter! Peter – crucified, upside down. Hebrews 11 says others were chained in dungeons, some died by stoning and some were sawn in half, others were killed with the sword. We forget how unique our freedom to express our faith is.
Let’s celebrate our religious freedom. Let’s celebrate the fact that we can worship God and our lives aren’t in jeopardy. It was about a year ago I was in Rome, went to the church of San Clemente and descended several steps into a lower area, very damp and dark. It was supposedly a place where in the second century believers worshipped God in catacombs. Why? If they worshipped God publicly, they would be killed. It wasn’t until 313 A.D. that Constantine made Christianity legal. Going to church was dangerous, even life-threatening. What does that mean to us? First of all, we need to celebrate our heritage. We’d better appreciate it. Pick up a copy of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. It is depressing but it will give you a glimpse of the price our brothers and sisters in the faith paid. This movement that was originally called The Way was an incredibly perilous movement. Are you afraid to pay the price?
I want to challenge you personally. If you become comfortable, I can’t tell you what it is going to take, but if you stay sensitive to the Spirit of God, God will speak into your life and take you on a faith-adventure. This week, driving down the street, I saw a woman going through a garbage can. It was weird, she was nicely dressed, and yet she was rooting through the trash. It was so bizarre! I got about 20 yards off and I got this prompting to go back and see if she was alright. I confess that probably more times than not, I miss God’s promptings.
How many are guilty of just saying, no, that’s not a “God” idea, that’s a bad idea? Like, “what am I thinking?” But this time I responded. I did a u-turn, went back and I said, “Are you alright?” She wasn’t alright. I said, “I feel like God told me to come back see if you’re okay, and I was wondering if you’d let me help you get something to eat?” She smiled and replied, “Yes.” Then she went on her way, and I don’t know if I’ll ever see her again, but I want to tell you that one of the lessons I’ve learned in my life is that when you experience a prompting from the Holy Spirit, you have two choices. You can ignore it or obey it. If you ignore it, your heart becomes a little bit harder and you drift a little bit further from the purposes of God. You get a little bit more comfortable until finally you are living in a place called artificial harmony. Or you can try to keep your heart soft, tell God you don’t want to get too comfortable, and keep living dangerously for Christ’s sake.
So I think my prayer is “God, make me dangerous and make me sensitive to the Spirit of God so that I can impact the world with Your love and Your message. I would like to think that when I pronounce the benediction at the end of our services that we are sending dangerous people back into their natural habitats to wreak havoc on the Enemy. I would like to think that each of us is a threat to the Devil. How? By simply living for God’s glory, obeying his Word and being sensitive to the promptings of his Spirit. May the Lord help us live on the edge for the cause of Christ.
You have an amazing calling, a commission for your life. I pray that God would shake you out of that place of complacency and deception and that you would step into a place of living dangerously for His purposes. May our lives not be about our comfort, but may our lives be about God’s glory. Take a risk and step out on faith.