On the recommendation of my pastor, I recently picked up this jewel. Maybe I should redefine jewel more specifically by calling it a diamond, for it is indeed a beauty, but also cuts sharply with Scriptural accuracy.
The authors hold no punches when they explain, “There is a discipleship deficiency in most churches resulting in a lack of transformation.”
Consider this statement, “The sad reality is that the daily lives, aspirations, and desires of many people in our churches mirror those who do not claim to know Christ.”
The authors examine our infatuation with information and behavioral modification, instead of a biblical call to transformation. It is very possible to find ourselves in the shoes of Judas, equating Jesus as a great Rabbi but never surrendering to Him as Lord.
They illustrate this with Jesus’ hometown of Capernaum. When in this area, Jesus was ministering in the equivalent of today’s southern Bible belt. Here, Chorazin, and Bethsaida are often referred to as the evangelical triangle of Jesus’ ministry. Miracle upon miracles were performed in this region. And yet Jesus said, “It will be more tolerable for Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom in the judgement than for these cities.”
The authors here introduces the thought of “The Curse of Knowledge.” Knowing. “Jesus never equated knowledge with discipleship.”
Remember Sodom and God’s promise to Abraham? “Sure My good friend, if I can find only ten just men in Sodom, I will not destroy it.” Only Lot could be found.
“To the people of Capernaum, Sodom was the epitome of evil. Yet Jesus steps into Capernaum and says that the wrath poured out on Sodom will be minuscule compared to the eternal wrath poured out on Capernaum.”
“For Jesus, knowledge without repentance is just as wicked as blatant sinful living.”
“Capernaum wasn’t rebuked for its knowledge. Jesus rebuked them for their lack of repentance based on their knowledge. Knowledge of Christ will either condemn us or change us. Knowledge makes us accountable because it puts us in a position where we must respond.”
This is a good read. It’s a soul-searing read, and it’s a self-examining read. I am blessing and cursing (James said something of this, didn’t he?) my pastor for putting this in my hands. And I’ve only read chapter one.