What Does It Look Like to Be All in for God’s Mission?
The sun rises on day 2 of our adventure in Scripture to discover what it means to be “All in” with Jesus. In our first study, we looked at “What’s Holding You Back?” The unintended consequence of tentatively dipping your toes in the water with Jesus is that this may actually hold you back from just diving in and experiencing the full extent of his love and purposes for your life.
An Alpine Classroom
After a sweaty climb up some switchbacks several weeks ago, our group came upon one of the most stunning alpine lakes I’ve ever seen. Immediately this little emerald-colored jewel surrounded by granite cliffs became an outdoor classroom for understanding what it means to be all in. My daughter, Claire, had the group drop our backpacks and go down to the lakeside. Before anybody knew it was happening, she dove in, yelling, “All in for Jesus!” It was shocking but utterly refreshing to feel the water as we dove in with clenched teeth.
There is a verse in the book of Revelation that, at first glance, sounds terribly disturbing when you read it. But upon further study, when you understand the heart of God for people to be completely free from the snares of sin, it makes complete sense. At the beginning of Revelation, we get to read letters that God wrote to specific churches. He communicates a loving yet firm warning. His goal in sending these letters was to draw these early Christians near to his heart so that they would not get lost in the thorny thickets of worldliness where conviction disappears and the ferocious lions and wolves of temptation are waiting to ambush. Consider these ancient words in the context of the Gospel:
“So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:16 )
If you and I understood and believed that the Good News (Gospel) of Jesus is an unchanging message to you, spoken by an unchanging God who made you and who doesn’t take back what he says, then we’d be more likely to dive in and not sit in the fence. Wouldn’t we?
Lukewarm in Real Life
Lukewarm is never helpful. I appreciate conversations with friends who clearly have not yet put their faith in Jesus but can state their reservations and doubts with complete honesty. On the contrary, there are those people who are really scared to rock the boat but are hiding behind religiosity or being a nice, good person. These folks are really not really living their life all in for Jesus. They may know the right words to say, but their heart is far from him. I guess in some ways it’s better to be like the first person who is just brutally honest because at least they are not on the fence. Because they are not riding the fence they are more likely to discover that they are on the wrong side of the fence and there are not green pastures or quiet waters there, so maybe they should jump to the other side. That’s why Jesus said he “came for the sick, not the righteous.” The good news of Jesus is no good news at all until we accept our absolute endless need for him. Lukewarm describes a prideful posture of self-sufficiency. There’s no teeth-clenching diving in if you are lukewarm or sitting on the fence. On the contrary, as this verse in Revelation so aptly states, God knows we won’t know him or enjoy him unless we take the plunge and make a splash, dying to ourselves and depending on him for everything. No plan B.
The Big Question
So the big question is, “How can I be all in for Jesus and yet live fully in this world?” Another variation of this question, which might get to the heart of the issue of Revelation 3:16 is, “When you die, what would you like to be known for? What legacy would you like to leave that would get the glory for God?”
Here are some Scriptures and a series of questions that may help you in your group process what it might look like to be all in for God’s mission.
Do you not know, brothers and sisters—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives? For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man.
So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. (Romans 7:1-6)
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2)
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
Study & Reflection Questions
- According to the passage, when does the Law have authority over a person? Explain in your own words how Paul uses the human analogy of spouses to explain how a person can be released from the Law.
- Read Romans 8:1-2, Romans 7:4-6, and Galatians 2:20 again. How do these verses further explain how a person can be released from the Law of sin and death and made alive under a new Law of the Spirit of Truth?
- In Romans 7:6 Paul explains that when you are all in with Jesus by dying to yourself that you are dead to the sinful nature that once bound you. What freedoms do you think being dead in Christ offers a person?
- What is your response to the Gospel stated this way? Do you need to die once and for all to yourself in order to receive the Spirit of Life? Or, if you have trusted Jesus already, might you need to consider and be thankful for your death in Christ which has completely released you from the bonds of the Law of sin?
- In your own words, from these passages, how would you explain to someone the path of grace that Jesus has made for us to have access to a perfect relationship with our Heavenly Father, by dying on the cross?
- To be “all in for Jesus” means for me right now: [Fill in the Blank]
- Consider getting some time away in solitude with God, and go through this study for yourself.
- If you are leading a group, use this study as part two after going through part one.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Denton’s blog was originally posted on his website as “All in with Jesus” Day 2: Diving into the Unchanging Gospel (Revelation 3:16)”