For far too long we have pursued a form of Christian faith that has degenerated into a religion. We have left Jesus out of our deliberations and have tried to interpret his words using our limited human understanding that has changed ‘The Way’ into a religion. In the early church his Spirit guided everyone and everything (Acts 8:26; 11:28; 13:2; 21:4). He decided where they should go and what they should do (Acts 15:28; 16:7-9). Sadhu Sunder Singh says, “The Master never wrote anything down, nor did he ask his followers to record his teachings. His words are spirit and life. Spirit can only infuse spirit. Life can only infuse life. The Master’s teaching cannot be contained on the pages of a book. Other great teachers left behind books to replace the living voice, to guide and help their bereft followers. But the Master did not do this, because he has not left us. He is always with us, and his living voice guides and counsels us.” (Wisdom of the Sadhu: Teachings of Sunder Singh, Plough Publishing House). Jesus emphatically said that he will be with us till the very end of the age (Matt. 28:20). Isn’t it amazing that Jesus never left us as it says above? But we act as if we are on our own. We dishonour Jesus by making him a silent guest during our conversations. We should learn to be silent before him and try to listen to what the Holy Spirit says.
These changes happened so long ago that we have started to believe that things have been always like this but is not true. During the times when the apostles and their disciples were on this earth, things were quite different. The History of the Church by Eusebius and the writings of the early church fathers provide enough evidence on this matter. Since the church drifted away about 1500 years ago the gospel of the kingdom of God that Jesus and the apostles preached has been abridged to personal salvation. This has had a devastating impact on the life of the church. Instead of following the values of God’s kingdom, Christians have started following the values of this world. And there is no difference between the life of those who believe and those who don’t.
The time has come, in fact it is way past, to reclaim the gospel of the kingdom and follow its values outlined in the Sermon on the Mount. If we wait any longer the danger is that like the Jews, we may also be rejected.