Change Your Mind
The gospel of the kingdom begins with one word: REPENT. It doesn’t say, “Accept Jesus in your heart”. It’s not just about going to heaven. It’s about the conscience, a heart that is tender and obedient. That nasty word is difficult to use. Flaky people use the word “repent”.
The apostles preached a simple gospel. The said, “Repent and believe.” Repentance literally means “change your mind.”
Jesus said, “This gospel will be preached to the ends of the earth and then the end will come.”
Has the gospel been preached everywhere? There are churches. But too often there is no gospel of the kingdom. If character does not change, you are not a Christian. This is the meaning of repentance.If you do not repent, then you do not know a Savior. The fruit of a changed life is a changed character.
Many nations know about Jesus. Rwanda had a gospel preached, but they experienced a tremendous slaughter of innocent people. Why were we surprised? Because most of the killers were church-goers. The Church failed. We did not preach the gospel of the kingdom. It is not only in Rwanda, it is all over the world.
We made the mistake of telling people that in order to be a Christian, all they needed to do was get wet in baptism, go to the right church building, or say the right words. It’s not about a doctrine or a set of beliefs. It is about repentance.
Sin is not something that goes into you. You are not caused to be a sinner. Sin is something that comes out of you. This puts the responsibility back on the sinner.
Why did Jesus say, “Beware the leaven of the Pharisees”? Jesus was warning about the danger of a little teaching that can change society. Beware. When you do not hear or see the gospel of the kingdom, it is because there is a problem with your heart.
What was wrong with the Pharisees? What was that “leaven”? Was Jesus a spiritual terrorist? What kind of guy warns us against religious authority? He was warning against the classic teachings of religion.
What is leaven? It is worldview. What is the worldview of today’s religious and political authorities? Jesus called them hypocrites, actors. Some might look like Christians, but that doesn’t make them a Christian. Many are merely actors. They had a dangerous worldview.
The gospel of the kingdom is about the heart. Jesus promises abundant life. Is the promise for a better or a different life? How? We need to discern the difference between the promise and the leaven.
One of the world-wide leavens today is the philosophical worldview of Humanism. The purpose of life, the Humanist says, is the happiness of man. This leaven changed modern society. You don’t have to join a political party to be a Humanist.
The radical Humanists wrote and signed the Humanist Manifesto. They were the most educated elites of the 20th century. They are the educators of the educators; the smartest and the best. This group denies the deity of Jesus. Humanism is atheistic, but many Humanists preach a hollow faith in Christ. They go to church because they teach faith is okay as long as it’s private and not influencing public life.
Humanism denies the substance of the Christian faith. If the Humanist leaven teaches the purpose of life is the happiness of man, then there should be no restriction to individual happiness. They believe law and truth is changeable.
Humanism focuses on injustice. It attempts to make life better for everyone through majority control. The person that has been unjustly treated becomes the victim and the disciple of the humanist. They say, “Join me to have a better life”.
There are real injustices: Racial, ethnic, and gender inequality; mistreatment of children; and economic injustice – workers who have too little and bosses that are overpaid. The humanist comes to make everyone equal.
God is aware of the injustice.
The way that justice is brought is very different than the humanist approach. The Humanist puts the man in new clothes instead of putting a new heart in the man. God is concerned with injustice. He cares about the whole human being, physical and spiritual, created in His image.
The commandment says, “Thou shall not covet.” Why? Humanism says we should all have the same thing. God says you should not selfishly desire what someone else has. We are not going to be equal in our talents and giftings or our possessions.
God is opposed to suffering, but the answer is not equality through external control. The answer is a changed heart. Even after a man has all he wants, he is not happy. Life does not consist in the abundance of things possessed. God will work with us where there is injustice. This current society is not the way God intended. That is why we pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.”
Changed hearts will produce a change in society. We must change our minds if we are going to see the kingdom of God.