Does any Revolution or Movement or New Song ever last? Some of my friends still listen to music from the sixties and seventies (that’s last century music). They think no better music has replaced it. That era of music is still fresh, entertaining, and even inspiring! We once sang a song in the church called “Give Me That Old Time Religion”! “It was good for Paul and Silas, and it’s good enough for me.” So, what was so good about the Old Time Religion? Why, if it was so good, has it been lost or replaced or corrupted? Why do we need revivals? What do we need to revive? When do we need to say goodbye forever and start a new movement or write a new song with new music? Give me some “New Times Religion,” whatever was good for Paul and Silas obviously was not good enough!
The movement Jesus started was called a New Covenant with a New Commandment. It was a covenant sealed or fully paid for with Jesus’ blameless, sinless blood and a new Law summed up in one commandment – “Love One Another.” The teachers, leaders, and followers of this movement were called “people of the Way.” Then they demonstrated a radical, revolutionary behavior of loving beyond the racial, religious, and tribal boundaries of their times. It was in Antioch, where and when these people were called ‘Christians’ and the movement Jesus began had a label, and its logo was a Cross!
Today, “Christian” and the Cross have been trivialized and compromised to the values of prevailing cultures. The Cross is a piece of jewelry worn by many who have no idea what that symbol meant to the movement Jesus started. Christians are not known by their love but by their buildings, walls, diverse creeds, divisions, and confrontations. The words taught and lived by Jesus are not ‘made flesh’ by the lives of those who claim to follow Him and be part of His Movement!
The New Movement
It is time to restart or get focused on The Movement Jesus started! Let’s start with a new name, keep the Cross as the logo, but change the behaviors. Jubilee, the Forgiveness Revolution, or the “It Is Finished” Movement must begin. “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead”, let’s get serious about love for one another. That will start with mutual Forgiveness and reconciliation. The movement will focus on the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:8-15, and prayers of Jesus in John 17 and on the Cross.
- The Sermon on the Mount contained in Matthew chapters 5 through 7 keeps us all humble and dependent on the Holy Spirit to live to a higher standard than the Laws of the Old Covenant.
- The Lord’s Prayer is a community of faith prayer! “Our Father…give us…forgive us…lead us…” for God’s glory and praise, not mine or ours! The emphasis on Forgiveness based on Forgiving is inescapable!
- In John 17, Jesus prays for the oneness of His followers even as evidence of God’s love for Jesus and love for the world. If His followers cannot demonstrate love for one another, then God’s love for a world that rejects God, Jesus, and His followers is hard to believe.
- Jesus’ prayers and other words on the Cross are lessons for how to live fully even in moments of unjust suffering before death! “Father, forgive them”… promising a condemned criminal admission into paradise, instituting a new family based on love for Jesus, and “Into Your hands, I commit my spirit” are words spoken and lessons taught to those who would join Jesus’ Movement. These are revolutionary words and behaviors the followers of Jesus need to remember and Follow in His Steps!
- “It is finished!” are the words that announced the beginning of a Movement, God’s Movement, to reconcile all men, women, tribes, tongues, and nations to God and to each other!
Let’s get back in GOD’S Movement!