More people may want to know about how you became a Christian than you realise.
How do we give satisfactory answers to those who say that the Christian Life is dull and boring, or restricting and limiting? In other words, how do we share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a way that is relevant and meaningful to those who may be enquiring?
Our answers may depend upon the reality of our experience of the risen and living Jesus. How were you ‘born again’? Can you share your testimony of Christ in a way that speaks to the enquirer?
How did those stalwart disciples in the early Church of Jesus Christ act and behave and speak? This is where we have to know our Bible – the Word of God. People want facts and not fragile feelings.
They were ashamed at times of their unfaithfulness – and perhaps puzzled – think of the two men on the Road to Emmaus – Ananias in Damascus – Peter before going to the home of the Roman Centurion, Cornelius. There is a reality here which we may wish to avoid.
Deuteronomy 33 verse 29 - “Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord?” That verse speaks of Israel – but has also much to say to us who are disciples of Jesus Christ, the King of Israel and the King of Kings.
The Christian Life is harder than any other, and we may not always want to share that reality with those who are enquiring. Jesus told His men that from the very start – if any man would come after me – let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
It is more than signing your name – accepting a creed – going along to a building now and again – and praying occasionally or getting someone else to pray for you.
And very few people have grasped the crucial significance and importance of the local Church – if you lived in Corinth, you did not worship in Athens!
It is becoming harder in the western world – harder than 30 or 40 years ago – I know that to be true. People have lost their jobs – or been overlooked for promotion – or ostracised by neighbours and families – and in various other lands, imprisoned and martyred.
O, it is possible to take a great bouquet of flowery language – and an armful of fine sounding phrases – and camouflage the cross.
We must never sentimentalise the Christian Faith, nor make the name of Jesus sweet or sickly.
Luke 11 verses 27,28 – Do you remember that day when a woman cried out to Jesus – “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you. Jesus replied – Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and do it.”
The real Christian life is not easy, nor soft, nor sentimental.
And when it comes to morality Jesus is most challenging – and when it comes to duty Jesus commands us to go the second mile.
If any young person wants an easy passage through life, then it would be as well for that person to shut the New Testament – and yet, sometimes the difficulty and challenge of the task can be its most magnetic appeal.
For adventure and life that will stretch you – this is where it can be discovered.
Jesus can put ‘mettle’ in a person’s life – and Jesus goes on putting ‘mettle’ in a person’s life – along with forgiveness and mercy and love and power.
This life in Christ is a holy life. There is no need to go to Jerusalem or anywhere else, (although there is nothing wrong in that) to live a holy life. Go to God. Be filled with the Holy Spirit, and keep being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Holy – means set apart for God – separate from sin – inner health – and wholeness in Christ, and from Christ – disciplined and balanced – with an integrated personality.
We hear much about ‘life balance’ today – Jesus Christ is the perfect one to correct any imbalance.
Only Jesus Christ can deal with deep inner conflicts and the discords that make people want to cause havoc and destruction – is this not the moral side of being holy?
Jesus is the Great Physician, and he alone can produce this kind of vital health.
He gives you a goal as he calls you and he provides that life with power to enable you to fulfil that goal.
It is a combination of Seek first the kingdom of God – and – I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
That troubled man whose name was Legion, certainly knew the truth of this, as he was set free, and clothed, and in his right mind.
This life in Christ also gives you HOPE – as it deals with what is troubling you – and that darkness – and that sin – and that wondering what life is all about – and it challenges any lies with truth.
“Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord?”
We have seen how Jesus bequeathed His peace to His disciples.
He gives you peace – but also forgiveness for sin and forgiveness for the past and hope for the future – mercy – grace – healing – strength – My Spirit – love, joy, peace – and balance – and the ability to be holy in the sight of God.
“Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord?”
“Loving God – help me to be real. Keep me filled with the Holy Spirit. Prevent me from acting in any way that would grieve the Holy Spirit. When life is challenging, guard me and guide me. As I read the Bible every day, feed me and nourish me so that my faith may be strong – in Jesus Name. Amen”
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