While people can begin attending church with a “come and see” attitude, they need to mature to become “go and die” people, stressed a prominent Seattle megachuch pastor Sunday.
“At some point, to be a Christian you have to transition from ‘come and see’ to ‘go and die’,” said Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll as he preached to his congregation. “That is, you just can’t watch people walk with Jesus; you have to walk with them. You can’t just allow other people to serve you; you need to serve as well.”
Driscoll, preaching from Luke 6:12-19, examined lessons learned from the calling of the 12 disciples.
One of the eleven lessons he talked about was to “die with your boots on.”
Not counting Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus, the other eleven disciples died horrible deaths or suffered intensely for faithfully proclaiming the Gospel, he said.
Peter, for example, was crucified upside down; Bartholomew beaten, crucified and beheaded; Philip stoned, crucified and buried; Andrew crucified; and Matthew murdered by a sword wound.
John, although he lived until the age of 100, was boiled alive but managed somehow to survive. He then was exiled and spent his time writing the Book of Revelation. He was eventually allowed to return and is thought to be the only one among the 12 disciples to have died a natural death.
“When people start giving their lives to the cause of the Gospel, all of those who were playing church stop playing,” said Driscoll in between reading how all 12 disciples died. “They either step up for Jesus and go from ‘come and see’ to ‘go and die,’ or like Judas, they just walk away and go do something else.”
Jesus, Driscoll noted, told his followers to pick up the cross and follow him. In the beginning the disciples were only invited to “come and see,” but after Jesus’ crucifixion they were called to follow the way of Jesus and give their life for what he gave his life for.
“We are glad that you come and see,” Driscoll said, “[but] you need to go and die.”
The casually dressed young pastor said a problem he often sees in the Church is with submitting themselves under authority. People want to be in authority but do not want to be under someone’s control.
People end up moving from church to church because of this problem, he said. They do not want to become a member. They do not want to commit themselves or be accountable to anyone.
“This is a sick world that hates leadership. Everybody thinks they should be able to text message the president and boss him around,” said Driscoll. “From social networking to continuing comments to consumerism, people don’t want to follow a leader. All they want to do is criticize the leader.”
Some Christian leaders have even told Driscoll that they don’t recognize leadership.
“Really? Do you believe in God? Because God is in charge,” he preached.
In concluding, Driscoll urged Christians to humble themselves before authority and learn to die.
His sermon, “Jesus Calls the Twelve,” is part of the series “Luke’s Gospel: Investigating the man Who is Go” at Mars Hill Church.
Founded in 1996, Mars Hill is a multi-site church with Washington campuses in Bellevue, Federal Way, Olympia, Shoreline, and a few more in Seattle. The church also has a campus in Albuquerque, N.M.