The Bride of Christ has something stuck in her throat. Her face is slowly turning blue as she silently chokes to death on what appears to be a big ole wad of rebellion. That tantalizing taste of the dragon’s fruit has lodged like a chicken bone and turned into a deadly partnership with the devil. With a mouth full of mutiny, her message is muted.
The gospel of the kingdom has the power to change the American landscape if it is accurately and actively proclaimed. The Church was commissioned to preach the whole counsel of the Lord—all of it—not just what feels good, calms the special interest groups, or has been approved by denominational demigods. Jesus was very clear in his last words to his followers. Many of us know this as the Great Commission, but sadly it has become our Great Omission. Listen carefully to what the Lord says in Matthew 28:19-20: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you…” The problem here is Jesus commanded us to teach all, not just the sections we like, understand, or believe. All means all and that’s all it means. All includes everything whether or not I agree with it or even want to do it. To do less is outright rebellion. It is anarchy against our King.
The prophet Jonah found himself choking on rebellion when he refused to preach the message God had given to him for the people of Nineveh. He caught a cruise ship going in the opposite direction (note: we may have booked passage on the same vessel) and promptly nodded off in the darkness below deck. Like Sleeping Beauty, he fell sound asleep and became deaf to the cries of those who were perishing all around him. The truth is, if you really listen to the hopelessness in the cries of those who are doomed in their current condition, it will probably turn your present little house of theology upside down and should spur you to share what Christ has done for you. This is biblical theology and will build a far better home than rebellion.
Jonah’s theology, an aberrant one about him and all those who were like him, was a very selfish one, so he slept peacefully—deaf to their cries. He was content with his version of who God should be rather than with the reality of who God was. And it bothered him little (actually it did not bother him at all) that thousands of men, women, and children were headed for destruction with their final destination being hell. Jonah simply did not care.
Rebellion will do that. It will harden our hearts and silence our voices, but in our refusal to proclaim the Bridegroom’s glorious message we slowly strangle not on the rebellion, but on the words of life we refuse to speak.