What happens when a “Christian” gets radicalized?

While I was working out at our local gym one afternoon, some thoughts occurred to me…

We already know what happens when Muslims gets radicalized. They are willing to do unspeakable acts, sometimes involving the sacrifice of their own lives, in hopes of an eternity enjoying the bodies of 72 lovely virgins. That is what their god promises them in return for radical obedience.

When Christians get radicalized, we love and fear the Lord Jesus. We want to please him by obeying his commands and doing what his good in his sight. In whatever we do we keep in mind that someday we will appear before His judgment seat.

2 Corinthians 5:9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. 11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others.

If during our earthly sojourn we please the Lord and obey his commands faithfully, we will be rewarded with authority to reign with Christ in his kingdom.

Luke 19:17 “Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.”

When we are radicalized, we take God’s word seriously. We no longer ask how God can bless us and our loved ones during the few years we have here, but rather what we can do for God on earth in view of eternity. We no longer focus on the few Scriptures which speak of God’s temporal blessings for us, but rather on how we can produce good fruit for the Lord. We take seriously the hard teachings the Lord gave to his disciples.

Below are some the difficult sayings mostly from Jesus. Some will of course explain them away in view of the teaching of “easy-believism” and cheap grace so prevalent in the western Church.

John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands.

A radicalized believer loves Jesus, and he shows it by keeping all of his commands—not simply some of them when he feels like it.

Mark 8:34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

A radicalized believer denies his own ambitions and self-interest to follow Jesus wholeheartedly.

Hebrews 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

A radicalized believer walks in holiness in all (not just some) areas of his personal life with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 5:28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

A radicalized believer denies the sinful desires of his flesh and puts them to death by the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 5:44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…

A radicalized believer does not hate Muslims like the ones he sees every day in his community, while shopping, eating at a restaurant, or at work. He sees them as sinners who need God’s forgiveness just as he did. So instead of resenting them he looks for opportunities to love them in Jesus’ name for the sake of the gospel. He prays for them. We do not murder, but rather we love others in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Matthew 18:21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

A radicalized believer exercises authority over the works of his flesh by the power of the Spirit and is able to forgive someone seventy-seven times.

Luke 12:32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.

A radicalized believer has given up “the American Dream” of material prosperity and comfort in this life where we single-mindedly concentrate on amassing financial reserves for the future. Of course it is good to save up for one’s retirement. But our primary focus should be on storing our treasure in heaven to be received in the next age. Our Lord is faithful to meet  all our needs on earth according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus as we first seek his kingdom and his righteousness.

Mat 10:7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’  8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.

A radicalized believer makes the spreading of the gospel a central focus of his life.

Luke 10:9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ [Spoken to the 72 disciples who were not apostles]

A radicalized believer takes this command seriously and personally. He learns how to heal the sick as Jesus commanded in order to be fruitful when telling people about the kingdom of God. (A cessationist believer of course will see any attempt to heal the sick when proclaiming the kingdom of God to the lost as nonsense, if not heretical.)

Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

A radicalized believer obeys the Great Commission. He will not only preach the gospel, but make disciples by teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded. Some will give up their earthly dreams and ambitions, laying down their lives to go forth as missionaries to those who never heard.

Radicalized believers are filled with the Holy Spirit, preaching the gospel boldly and with power as the disciples did following Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon them—turning the known world upside down for the gospel. Radicalized believers are determined to do the same.

Mat 25:30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

A radicalized believer takes to heart what happened to the third servant who out of fear dared not to use the talent entrusted to him by his master.

Luke 12:42 The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? 43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.  …47  “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 

A radicalized believer is determined to be a “faithful and wise manager” with what has been entrusted to him by the Lord for teaching and equipping his servants. He wants to be “put in charge of all his possessions” in the next age. He knows there will be consequences for Christians who disobey the Lord’s commands. Such Christians are content to get to heaven “as one escaping through the flames” (i.e. by the skin of their teeth) and are not interested in anything beyond salvation.

1 Corinthians 3:13 …their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved–even though only as one escaping through the flames.

More and more Muslims are now getting radicalized in the West and in the United States. Apparently the reward of 72 virgins being dangled in front of them is very tempting.

Should “Christians” get radicalized for Jesus Christ? Is the eternal reward which our Lord is preparing for us something to be sought after with all our being?

1 Corinthians 2:9 However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”– the things God has prepared for those who love him–

And if we truly love God, we will obey all his commands.

1 John 5:3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands….

We were radicalized for Jesus in 1977, deciding to obey God radically as Abraham did when he demonstrated his willingness to offer his only son Isaac as a sacrifice to God. We gave up our earthly possessions and dreams. Now the Lord has been very gracious to bless us with heaven on earth. He has made us exceedingly fruitful by training many disciples around the world for effective ministry. Our children are grown and doing well. We have been happily married for over forty years. Neither of us takes any prescription medication. He has kept us “fresh and green,” blessing us with supernatural youth and health. Every day we enjoy the Lord’s abundant peace, joy, and contentment. And the best is yet to come—both on earth as we continue to serve him, as well as in heaven!

Such are the blessings of “radicalization” for us. How about you, dear fellow believers, will you get radicalized for Jesus Christ? (Does the Lord really expect anything less from us?)

 

 

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