A few years ago the church my family and I were attending, before coming to New Orleans, decided to set aside the 40 days leading up to Resurrection Sunday as a time of focus on Christ. To get us all on the same page, literally, we read through John Piper’s book, What Jesus Demands from the World. I was thinking this Lenten season to revisit that idea with some blog post. It’s been almost a year since I last blogged, so I’m not promising everyday, but I hope the discipline will be beneficial to us both.
The word demand carries some substantial weight with it defined as – to request urgently and forcefully. Not exactly the soft spoken, peace loving caricature of Christ many have wrongly portrayed.
Demand # 1 – You must be born again.
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.” John 3:3, 5, 7
As one pastor noted dead means, dead… not living, and that is exactly what we are without being washed in the blood and grace of Christ. Pastor John noted –
“We are not born spiritually alive
with a heart that loves God.
We are born spiritually dead.” Pg 38
We need new life, not just a do-over. We are hopeless and helpless outside of Jesus.
“Look away from yourself.
Seek from God what he alone can do for you.
Moral improvement of the old you is not what you need.
New life is what the whole world needs.
It is radical and supernatural.
It is outside our control.
The dead do not give themselves new life.
We must be born again—“not . . . of the will of the flesh nor
of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13).
That is what Jesus demands from the world.” Pg 39