Wednesday, May 28, 2008

OBVIOUSLY CHRISTIAN

"If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be any evidence with which to convict you?" I raised this question in a recent sermon. It is a Biblical and legitimate question. There ought to be a difference in the lives of those who claim to be Christians. Christians should act Christianly. As Jesus declared, "You will know them by their fruits" (Matt. 7:16). And how should they act? The Scriptures speak to many things that should be different about us, but perhaps the difference is best summarized in 1 John 3:10, "By this the children of God and the children of the devil are OBVIOUS: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother." Amongst other virtues, righteousness and love, are distinguishing characteristics of our Lord Jesus Christ. They are likewise distinguishing characteristics of His followers. Are Christlike righteousness (1 John 2:29) and Christlike love (1 John 3:16; 1 Cor. 13:4-7) apparent in your life--to the extent that your identity as a child of God is obvious? Sobering question! Lord help us by your grace, as we walk in the Spirit, to be "lights in the world" in the "midst of a crooked and perverse generation" (Phil. 2:15).

Pastor Jerry

1 comment:

Bob & Diane West said...

This Blog entry, “If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be any evidence with which to convict you?” goes straight to the heart of a genuine believer. Believers should examine themselves to find the evidence that truly would convict them. Scripture instructs us, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you – unless indeed you fail the test?” (2 Cor. 13:5). While this “Evidence to convict us of being a Christian” question is certainly a powerful one, it leaves room for even a mediocre Christian to find some evidence.

A question structured in this manner, asking us to “find evidence to convict ourselves of being in alignment with a standard for acceptance” is inherently dangerous though, considering that man is totally depraved to begin with, and by definition will be looking for, what I call “wiggle room.” Only God is Devine and only God can pass judgment on someone, however, I prefer questions that pin folks down more firmly. That is why I dearly loved the question that you presented to us during your sermon this most recent Sunday. “How many of us take advantage of God’s Grace?”

WOW! I know that isn’t a quote from Scripture, but that question is solid, 100% pure, 24K gold. There’s no wiggle room. When you made the statement, I heard the entire sanctuary swallow. That simple little question that even a child could easily understand, convicted every last one of us like a bolt of lightning. Jesus said, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (Jn. 8:7). You see, no nonsense statements contain no wiggle room!

I’m not comparing you to our Lord, Jesus Christ, Pastor Jerry, but I sort of feel that had Jesus Himself been there in the flesh, giving Sunday’s sermon to us, He would have only changed the wording of that question a little, but it would have had the exact same impact in the room. Jesus would have said, “How many of YOU take advantage of My Father’s Grace? That is a very powerful message no matter who says it. Praise the Lord! Amen.

In His Light and Love,

Bob and Diane