We’re awash in things wearing the name “Christian”…
We have “Christian” magazines, “Christian” books, “Christian” bookstores, “Christian” radio stations, “Christian” television stations, “Christian” mugs, “Christian“ candies, “Christian” t-shirts…
We have “Christian” speakers, “Christian” writers, “Christian” talk-show hosts, “Christian” singers…
We can buy “Christian” books on everything from cleaning your house to saving for retirement…
We can join together and support the latest “Christian” politician…
We can join a “Christian” website and debate and discuss everything from home schooling to feminism…
We’re overflowing in “Christian” merchandise, organizations and support-groups.
We’ve turned the One we follow into a merchandising ploy.
We’ve forgotten the One by Whom we were created, for Whom we exist and by Whom we were saved:
We wear His name but we don’t know what it means to be His.
We come to “worship” Him on Sunday’s but most of the week hardly give Him a thought.
We’ve sat back while the nation pushed Him out of our schools and now we’ve willingly pushed Him out of our homes and churches.
It’s time for action.
It’s time to understand that:
being a Christian isn’t a warm fuzzy feeling…
becoming a Christian doesn’t mean signing a card or saying a prayer…
living the Christian life doesn‘t mean just giving money to the church, doing good deeds, or showing up once or twice a week to worship…
it means death.…
It meant Jesus’ death on our behalf on the cross and it means our death to this world. There is no other way. It means that we say no to everything that is not of Him or for Him. It means that we turn our back on sin and walk resolutely the other way. One day we might have to give up everything for Him in order to serve Him. For now, our death to this world means that we have measured its ways against God’s ways and found them wanting. It means that we have truly decided that we are willing to follow God’s Word no matter what the cost, no matter where it leads, no matter how hard the work, no matter what the sacrifice. It requires full, complete devotion of mind, heart, spirit and soul. Remember, Christ isn’t just a “cute little baby in a manger” named Jesus. He’s a beaten, bloody Savior, dying on a Roman cross–taking my place in death; suffering in my stead; dying the death that I deserved to die. His cross should have been my cross. When I picture Him on His cross, in actuality, I am picturing me on mine. Since He died for me, I have to die for Him. There is no maybe about it.
Acts 20: 28 states that Jesus purchased the church with His blood…That means that, since He died for me, I now belong to Him…
That implies ownership…
Ownership implies that the owner gets to decide what to do with the item owned…
what its function is…
what its limitations are…
what its purpose is…
In short, the owner is the supreme ruler of the item that is owned…
Thus the thing owned has absolutely no will of its own…
It exists to fulfill the good pleasure of the one that rules it.
That’s fine if you are a watch, right?
But we’re people with minds, wills, emotions, dreams, hopes and plans.
We’re people who want to go places, do things, live our own way…
We’re people of wisdom, insight and foresight…right?
We’re sinners…each and every one of us. Left to ourselves, we will fail…time and time again. Left alone, we will inevitably drift towards destruction.
When we make up our minds and take action…we mess us, every time…
Adam and Eve took action…and believed the devil over God…and were cast out of the garden of Eden… Noah took action…and got drunk…and brought shame on his family…
Abraham took action…and lied about his wife…twice…and God was angered…
David took action…and committed adultery and murder…and lost four children because of it (read the Biblical account sometimes and count the casualties of his sin)…and the sword never left his house…
Consequences…there are always consequences…
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned;” (Romans 5:12)
“The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6: 23)
“And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (Matthew 25: 46)
Our punishment…for all eternity…suffering in hell away from God…but, there is hope, for God is not only holy…God is good…and He loves us…and He provided a way out…
“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,” (Revelation 1: 5)
“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (I Peter 2: 24)
Okay, let’s get this straight:
if Jesus has purchased us through His blood,
and He now owns us,
then He now gets not only A say-so in how we live but has COMPLETE say-so over our lives…
what do we do with that?
That’s not what we are used to in our Christian life. It sounds harder, more extreme, more demanding that what we are used to hearing from our pulpits, or reading about in Christian books, or seeing around us…what about that?
That, in short, is the problem. The truth is God meant it when He told us that we had to completely obey Him, take up our cross daily, die to ourselves, be holy and live holy lives. He didn’t mean it in theory; He meant it in practical actuality day-to-day living. Period.
But, that kind of death talk might drive some people away. The cost just might be too much for some…
That’s why Jesus said to count the cost before you follow Him…it’s hard, it’s extreme, it means to the death….One way or the other, whether physically or by death to this world, you will die if you are a true follower of Jesus of Nazareth…
There is, however, another side to it…
If you are walking by His side then He is walking by yours. He promises to always be there, to always love you, guide you, protect you (spiritually, if not physically), and in the end, He promises you life eternally…living with Him and His own, in His home in Heaven…
we ought to look forward to it, long for it, desire it. We were made for another world. We should live as if we believe that.
That’s not why we should serve Him, however. We should serve Him because He is so very worthy of being served. He is so very worthy of being worshiped…
of being obeyed…
of being loved.
If He never did another thing for us, what He has already done is enough.
He died for us…in our place…for you…
and for me.
He saved us from destruction.
He is absolutely, utterly worthy of every ounce of adoration that this redeemed sinner can bestow upon Him…
He is altogether worthy….
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