We have been duped. We have been offered a counterfeit. And it’s a deception almost 2000 years in the making.
When Jesus walked this earth He talked about, promoted, and promised the kingdom of God. We have been given the church. Not the church as in the “living, breathing incarnation of Christ living through His people,” but an institution full of divisions and ridiculous rules based on the doctrine of man and not God.
When Jesus walked this earth He gave us the Sermon on the Mount, His profound teaching on what the kingdom of God looks like in the lives of believers. We have been given creeds of man that are based on doctrine and belief, not action.
Why have we accepted the counterfeit over the original? Because it’s easy. The counterfeit requires casual membership and mindless repetition, the Kingdom requires work and sacrifice and death. To be part of the church requires only assent to its doctrines…”believe the right things, speak the right words, and you’re in the club.” To be a part of the Kingdom of God requires a re-ordering of all that we are. It requires a death to my own way, my own comfort, my own rights.
The same is true with the creeds of men. To agree with them is all that is required. Not so with the Sermon on the Mount. To live the life Jesus taught requires obedience, it requires its principles to be more than mere ideas and statements of belief. The Sermon on the Mount invades my life and changes my actions.
“Do not kill” is the creed, but the Sermon on the Mount asks me to live that in real life…do not hate, do not be angry or unforgiving, do not even call my brother a fool. “Do not commit adultery” is the creed. Jesus tells me I have to live that every day, in the way I look at women, the way I think, the way I act in the little things.
To live in the church requires no real change in my lifestyle. A couple of meetings a week and I’ve done my part. To live in the kingdom requires that everything must change. No wonder most of us have chosen the church over the kingdom, and the creeds of men over the teachings of Jesus.
In this way, the church is not merely “misguided” or a “little off track.” It is actually in opposition to Christ. Anything that excuses me from the true destruction of my own will in favor of God’s will is diametrically opposed to the Kingdom. Anything that lures me away from living the kingdom in favor of assent to a set of doctrines is exactly the opposite of what Jesus taught.
We can’t have it both ways. We have to make a choice.