Posted by: everynation | April 3, 2009

Radical

ohara-familyby Mike Ohara

Radical = departure from the usual or traditional.

This Sunday is the final message of the “Aikea” series. You can listen to the previous messages here. The message is titled, “Aikea…so I’m radical”. First, radical does not mean piercings, tatoos, or wearing Ed Hardy clothing. Being radical is not about how we look on the outside. For the Christ-follower, being radical is exactly that: following Christ. Ephesians says we are to be imitators of Christ, and since Jesus lived a radical life, so should we. Jesus’ life was a departure from the usual and traditional; he was radical.

Jesus overturned every traditional notion about relationships, religion, God, money, prosperity, success, social order, leadership, poverty, medicine, prayer, love, etc. When you read about his life in the Gospels, Jesus constantly confused and upset people because of his radical behavior. Even his own family was mad at him. His own disciples were often confused and probably thought Jesus was off his rocker.

But why? Why did Jesus live this way? Was it because Jesus was a political revolutionary, or community organizer rallying people to fight the power? Or maybe Jesus was on a power trip, or mabe a mushroom trip? And what’s even more concerning is Jesus calls us to live the same way.

The answer is found in this phrase that Jesus repeated constantly throughout his recorded life: “The Kingdom of God is near.” You see, Jesus’ purpose on Earth wasn’t to introduce nice teachings, make people happy and successful, and give them a one-way ticket to Heaven. Jesus came to introduce a whole new kingdom, a whole new order that touched every part of humanity. He introduced the kingdom of God that is a radical departure from the kingdom of this world. He showed what it meant to be a citizen of God’s kingdom, and how while one could exist in both kingdoms one could not be a part of both – no duel citizenship.

Completely upside down. Jesus upset the order of this world’s kingdom, blew people’s minds, and challenged their traditions. He was radical because he modeled what it meant to be a citizen of God’s kingdom. So it follows that as followers of Christ we are also part of God’s kingdom, which means we can’t help being radical people.

When we change our citizenship to God’s kingdom he begins to change our thinking. We’re no long conformed to the usual thinking of this world, but our minds are being changed and reset to original programming.

One way our thinking is changed is how we think about death. Typically, death is something we don’t think about because we fear it. But for the Christ follower, death is simply a indicator that time has ended. It’s the period at the end of our earthly life, but it doesn’t mean life has ended. Death is the transition from a life governed by time to a life without time (eternity).

However, it doesn’t mean that Christians just sit around waiting for death. Though ours is an eternal kingdom, there’s still something to do in the temporal. Jesus constantly predicted his death, yet he lived with misson and purpose with the time he had. Living radical means asking yourself what you’ll do with the limited time you have on earth. And I don’t think the answer lies in do-goodism. I think what we do must have eternal ramifications; that is, the ministry of reconciliation is in the fabric of what we do. That thing we do must point others to Jesus. The point is, we need to get busy praying about and acting on what God is asking us to do.

Michael Ohara is the pastor of Grace Bible Church Kapolei and the author of “Dei gratia, by the grace of God”.

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