Back to the Future
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This past Sunday morning service at my church was a little different than usual. I liked it. Pastor Doug preached a sermon titled, “The Power of Love.” He asked the worship band a couple of weeks ago if they could pull off playing a particular song in the “Electric” service. That song is also titled, “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News. If you still don’t have an idea of how this song goes, think of the movie “Back to the Future”. I really hope you were affected by this movie. To this day, I can still remember watching that movie over and over again. Huey Lewis was asked to write this song specifically for Back to the Future. Pastor Doug explained that within two weeks of the movie’s release, Lewis had nothing written. Then, at almost his final hour, he wrote “The Power of Love.” The songs lyrics are actually pretty awesome. I never really payed attention to them before.

I have been apart of churches in the past that would use theatrics and music as a means to pump up the crowd. Very rarely, did it actually work that well (in my opinion). I think this past Sunday was an exception. Either that is because I love Back to the Future, or just because Pastor Doug did an excellent job keeping Christ and His strong, powerful love central to his message. Maybe both of those reasons is why I enjoyed it so much.

Pastor Doug’s message was about Jesus command to love one another as ourselves. A couple of things that really caught my attention in Doug’s message were these:

  1. When Jesus gives commands and promises, most of the time they are given to the corporate church as a body. Pastor Doug’s message focused squarely on the fact that if you aren’t connected to the church as a body — if your relationship is just you and Jesus (you don’t need to do the whole church thing), then you make it very difficult or rather impossible to obey Jesus’ commands to wash each others’ feet. Notice at this point in the Gospel of John (chapter 13), Jesus has left all of Jerusalem and is now dealing with just His disciples. They are gathered together and have just finished eating their last meal together. Now Jesus washes their feet and tells them to follow in his example and wash each others’ feet. Pastor Doug explained in his book that I am almost finished reading, that foot washing is more symbolic of serving each other by “washing” each other in the Word of God. He explained that the feet needed to be washed because of how dirty they got along their journey throughout life. This is symbolic of how dirty our hearts and minds get throughout our life journey and how we need brothers and sisters in the faith to speak the Word of God into our life, by word and deed. You cannot do that though if you are not in a covenant church body. What a blessing it is to be saved by Christ and then to be grafted into this “bride” of Christ. We are saved by God, from God, for God, to His Son’s bride, the Church. It is a blessing.
  2. When God declares His law to Moses, He is very removed from Israel’s presence, even while being very close to them. He covers His actual self with smoke to meet with just Moses. He even makes Moses build a fence around the mountain that He meets with Moses on and tells Moses to tell the people not to even step foot on the mountain or else they will die. Exodus 19:9-12 “[9] And the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever.”  When Moses told the words of the people to the LORD, [10] the LORD said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments [11] and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. [12] And you shall set limits for the people all around, saying, ‘Take care not to go up into the mountain or touch the edge of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death.'” When Jesus declares his new commandment he starts it off by saying, “little children” (John 13:33). Can you just feel how loving and person this is?  Also he is now in their presence while also being in the flesh; actually touching his disciples feet and eating with them and loving them in person. He goes on to say, “[33] Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ [34] A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. [35] By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:33-35 ESV).
  3. Just as Huey Lewis wrote his song about love at the final hour so to speak, Jesus gives His new commandment just before His final hour. Jesus says this all to them right before He goes to the cross. This is kind of a cool connection. While, in the past I have been entertained by special songs in church, my mind and heart were pleasantly entertained and challenged by Pastor Doug’s unwavering focus on Christ and the gospel. I am finding that as long as Christ is still exalted above all things, there is some flexibility in how you do things in church. I have just seen so many things in the past that lead me to think it was “Christ-less Churchianity.” Its nice to see something Christ-exalting at a church.

So to wrap this post up I want to ask this question; Do people know that we are disciples of Christ by the way we love one another? Remember to whom Jesus is speaking. He is not talking about the way we love our neighbor here. He is referring to the way we love one another, which means other Christians. We are to love our neighbors as well, but Jesus very directly says, and to note; without any reservation, that He is no longer talking about the world. He is not even talking to ALL his disciples. He clearly says in John 13:18 that He is not including Judas in on this, so that scripture is fulfilled (oh, that we would be blown away by the “so-that’s” in scripture and what they mean). So Jesus is talking to Christians here; saints if you will. And the question to equip the saints with is this: Are we symbolically “washing one another” with the very words of God? Are we loving one another to the point that people know we love Jesus? After all, that is what we were made to do – point to Jesus and glorify Him. Are we living out the gospel in this way; we know that we have been shown grace and mercy that we did not deserve by Christ and in turn, are showing that same grace and mercy to others? And the whole point from Pastor Doug’s message and this post is that you cannot obey Christ by loving and serving the church if you are not apart of one. You cannot obey Christ and still be a loner “Christian.”

Find a good local church and love and serve everyone there. And by doing so, you will be obeying Christ!

To finish off this post, I wanted to share something with you. I made a video yesterday. Enjoy it. Tell me what you think.

Thanks for reading.

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