We do not have time! This fast paced age has taken its toll on our mindset and has been translated into character. Our behavior becomes adaptive to our environment. Although we employ technologies that save time yet we never have time. Everything must go fast paced and short because of our short attention span. Church services are getting shorter and shorter; preachers struggle to keep their sermons within 30 minutes or less; teaching sessions are avoided or else they are reduced to bare scratch of the scriptures to ensure it is very short; the frequency of church services are reduced more and more to almost all Sunday affairs; prayer sessions, if at all there is any, are kept shorter and shorter. The slogan is, keep it short or else you lose them! But how can true disciples be raised out of this version of Christianity?
"10Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. 12Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. 13But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. 14If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. 15But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames" 1Cor.3:10-15.
The pattern for the building is seen in Jesus Christ and Apostle Paul. We need to look at how Jesus Christ was able to raise a few disciples who shook the world with the gospel.
"One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, 2and he began to teach them." Matt.5:1.
Jesus sat down! That is significant. He was not in a hurry. Although this is popularly called the sermon on the mount, it was not a sermon. It was a teaching class. Jesus was not preaching there, he taught them. He took time to explain the scriptures to ensure the people understood. Many times Jesus asked His disciples, "...do you still not understand...?" (Mark 8:17, Matt.16:9, Mark 8:21, John 13:12, Matt.15:17). That is teaching! Preaching is proclaiming to inspire; teaching is explaining to impart knowledge and understanding. That Jesus sat down indicates it is not a microwave kind of service.
Jesus instructed, rebuked (Mark 8:33, Matt.23), corrected (Matt.15:6, Mark 7:13), and encouraged (John 16:33). He pointed out the errors of the then crop of religious leaders and taught His disciples the right way.
"Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2'The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. 3So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach. 4They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden.'" Matt.23:1. Read the rest of the chapter, it is full of rebukes. The audience of today could accuse Him of being critical and intolerant, but that was how the disciples were tutored.
"On the first day of the week, we gathered with the local believers to share in the Lord’s Supper. Paul was preaching to them, and since he was leaving the next day, he kept talking until midnight. 8The upstairs room where we met was lighted with many flickering lamps. 9As Paul spoke on and on, a young man named Eutychus, sitting on the windowsill, became very drowsy. Finally, he fell sound asleep and dropped three stories to his death below. 10Paul went down, bent over him, and took him into his arms. 'Don’t worry,' he said, 'he’s alive!' 11Then they all went back upstairs, shared in the Lord’s Supper, and ate together. Paul continued talking to them until dawn, and then he left. 12Meanwhile, the young man was taken home unhurt, and everyone was greatly relieved." Acts 20:7-12.
This is teaching vigil! That the young man slumped did not make Paul round off his teaching and dismiss the congregation. Instead, the man was revived and the teaching continued till the next day. How many Christians today can endure a teaching vigil? But that was how disciples were raised in Antioch (Acts 11:25).
"25Then Barnabas went on to Tarsus to look for Saul. 26When he found him, he brought him back to Antioch. Both of them stayed there with the church for a full year, teaching large crowds of people. (It was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians.)"
It was not preaching sessions that raised disciples who were seen as Christ-like (Christians), but systematic, methodical and continual teaching of the Word of God. Besides, Apostle Paul instructed (Rom.14, 1Cor.7); he rebuked (Titus 1:13), he corrected (1 Cor.3:1-9), and he encouraged (1Tim.6:12). Today Christians celebrate the ministry of Paul but he was not a microwave Pastor. If Paul were to pastor a Church today how small would be his congregation!
We could see that disciples were raised through a meticulous, rigorous process which involved teaching, instructing, giving rebukes, correction and encouragement. How can the modern day, microwave version of Christianity raise faithful disciples of Jesus Christ? The disciples of old endured persecution, survived the worst kind of hostility against Christianity, demonstrated the power of God in the sight of the heathens, launched the gospel in idolatry ridden lands, and gave their lives for what they believed. What kind of disciples are going to emerge off of this microwave version?
"Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant." Gal.6:7. When we plant a fast paced, fast cooked Christianity we reap uncooked Christians who are incapable of properly representing Christ. We reap a generation of Christians who cannot accurately quote and apply scriptures; we reap Christians who define success and prosperity in terms of worldly accomplishments; we reap Christians who do not see the difference between Esau and Jacob; they do not see the difference between the sacred and the defiled; we reap Christians who do not stand in awe of God; they do not have conscience for God's reverence neither do they understand the difference between the Bible and other books. What we reap is the modern Christianity; a Christian without the fear of God.
How can we avoid reaping the fruit of the wild grapes we have sown? Except we repent and do it right, the face of Christianity is changing permanently worldwide.
We would like to hear from you. What is your view on this subject?
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father..." (John 14:12).