Countercultural Comfort

Introduction

  1. Embrace the Discomfort

  2. The Uncomfortable Cross

  3. Uncomfortable People

  4. Countercultural Comfort

1 Peter 2:4–5 NLT - You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor. And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.

There’s a reason behind the uncomfortable aspects of the Christian faith, and by embracing those challenges we’re able to get a fuller picture of who God is and the redemptive work he’s doing in our world.

I. God Has Told Us How the Story Ends (vv. 6–7)

Revelation 19:6–9 NLT - Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a vast crowd or the roar of mighty ocean waves or the crash of loud thunder: “Praise the Lord! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself. She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.” For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from God.”

In these verses, God is unveiling to his people what is to come. He’s telling us how this cosmic story ends: with a joyful, long-awaited wedding feast, and we, the church, are the bride.

Application: In the midst of discomfort, frustration, or challenges in life or within the church, we can find comfort in the fact that God has already told us what happens in the end, and that as his church we will be his bride.

II. God Calls Us to More than Comfortable Christianity (vv. 7–8)

Revelation 19:7–8 NLT - Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself. She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.” For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people.

This call to be made ready is uncomfortable, and requires the life-changing sacrifices and the embrace of things we may want to avoid that we’ve been talking about throughout this series. But it’s absolutely necessary.

The glory of the gospel is that when the church is absolutely different from the world, she invariably attracts it. -Martyn Lloyd-Jones

The more the church sounds and feels like the culture, the less people will feel the need to go. -John Piper

We’ve forgotten the uncomfortable truth that a Christianity with no teeth, no offensiveness, no cost, and no discomfort is not really Christianity at all.

It is often the uncomfortable parts of church and Christianity that grows and stretches and builds the body of Christ to be effective in the world.

Uncomfortable Living

What kind of god would put people through such agony?

What kind of god would give you families and then ask you to leave them or give you friends and then ask you to say goodbye?

A God who knows that the deepest love is built not on passion or romance but on common mission and sacrifice. That goodbye is really, “See ya tomorrow,” because He knows we are only pilgrims and that eternity is so close.

>>> This is countercultural living, but it’s the kind of living that ought to characterize the life the of a believer—and it’s the kind of living that draws people to Christ.

Matthew 5:3–12 NLT - “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied. God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.

>>> Yet, in all of this, it’s important that we don’t lose sight of the reality that the bride is not you or I as individual Christians, but the Church as a cohesive whole.

Application: We should resist the tempting draw of empty, comfortable Christianity, remembering that it is the church, with all of its uncomfortableness and struggle and frustration, that will be the bride of the Lamb.

III. We Can Rest in the Hope and Anticipation of the Comfort That Is to Come (v. 9)

Revelation 19:9 NLT - And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from God.”

We embrace an uncomfortable faith and an uncomfortable church because we know that one day we will be invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb, the event that all of creation, from the beginning of time, has been longing for.

The angel revealing these things to John seems to understand our tendency to lose hope, to doubt whether all that is said will be true.

We need this assurance. We need to be reminded, every day, that this consummation is not a fairytale, but a real event that will take place.

Application: The wedding supper of the Lamb is coming. It’s the reason we wake up early on Sunday mornings instead of sleep in, and it’s why place ourselves in uncomfortable situations instead of remaining in our comfort zones. We have a hope that everyone needs, and we should embrace it, rest in it, and share it.

Conclusion

Throughout this series, we’ve talked about the uncomfortable aspects of Christianity, the importance of church community, and the reason for it all. This uncomfortableness can either push us away from God or draw us closer to him than we’ve ever imagined.

When you feel uncomfortable at church, in your small group, in your faith, will you press into it or run from it? In the end, being uncomfortable can be an opportunity to experience the grace, mercy, and love of God in a tangible, life-altering way.