Rico Tice’s seminar at Bible by the Beach focused on leading unbelievers into a full relationship with Christ, using Mark’s gospel. Rico took the identity, mission and call of Christ as essential truths, and highlighted a related truth; any Christian who falls away has one or more aspect of Jesus’ identity, mission or call absent in his understanding of what it means to be a Christian. He either does not know the identity of Jesus; “You are the Christ” (Mark 8:29), or he misunderstands Christ’s mission, “the Son of Man must suffer” (Mark 8:31) or has not grasped Jesus’ call on our lives “pick up your cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34).
This post looks at why it is essential that we grasp the identity, mission and call of Christ.
The keen-eyed limpet (identity only) – this person sticks to Christ because of the name but isn’t sure why or what is expected of him. He soon drops off.
The downcast depressive (mission only) – this person sees Jesus the suffering Messiah, forgets the majesty of Christ and has nothing to do for him, no mission. He thinks Jesus was a loser and so is dragged down by the sadness of the crucifixion.
The over-worked slave (call only) – there’s only so much anyone can be asked to sacrifice; time, money or resources, before he asks, “why am I doing this?” No Saviour, no King, no perseverance.
The comfortable customer (identity and mission) – “Jesus died for me and is my King but I won’t suffer for him” as soon as suffering comes, this disciple runs away.
The sacrificial insubordinate (identity and call) – Jesus died for me and I do things for him but I will not obey him as Christ. This keen and liberal disciple sticks at it, against the “legalists”, until something more tempting takes her fancy.
The unsure soldier (mission and call) – a life of obedience and self-sacrifice for which the underlying motivation is a need for God’s acceptance, the cross is absent and so then is the love, grace, mercy and, ultimately so fatally, the acceptance of God. Eventually the obedience and sacrifice becomes too much and this disciple runs out of steam, exhausted and disillusioned.
The true and faithful disciple (identity, mission and call) – Jesus is my Saviour and King, I long to obey his call and keep his commands. I know the love of God, who accepts me and adopts me as son because Christ suffered and died for all my sins, so I will give myself in service as he gave himself for me. As I go along I never forget the mercy of Christ, who picks me up when I fail, flounder and get frustrated. His grace gives me the strength to carry on.
For more posts like this see Transforming Grace Venn diagram posts