Romans 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."
Jeremiah 6:10 To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The word of the LORD is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it.
Luke 9:26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels
There is something about the gospel of Christ that can cause people to be ashamed. For the non Christians, or Sunday Only Christian I know some may be offended by this message. But MY Bible says the gospel is God's divine path which leads others to salvation. It also says the word of God is offensive.
In today's politically correct society, being offensive to others is almost criminal yet MY Bible says the word of God itself is offensive yet is the path to salvation. If am going to be a true man of God and preach HIS word, live HIS word and talk to others about HIS word I had better reconcile myself to being an offensive person.
Our Christian heritage is filled with examples of those who have suffered and died for the privilege to speak the gospel. Should their sacrifice now be in vain in my heart by preaching a watered down version of what they died for? A price has been paid by those who came before me to give me the freedom to preach HIS word. People have been boiled in oil, decapitated and crucified for preaching God's word and the truth is this is still going on today.
In these days we have those who are suggesting we make the Gospel "User Friendly" They are asking us to dumb down the message, lighten up the presentation and trim it down to an unrecognizable skeleton. We now have light coke, light beer, light popcorn why not a light gospel? The gospel is not supposed to be light but THE LIGHT to the world. And Christians are called to carry that light with them every day of their lives, no matter what the cost.
Too many people are trying to disguise the gospel to make it appealing to the un-churched. But I am not trying to get God ready for you I am trying to get YOU ready for God. You don't compromise the message, you preach the message.
I am not afraid of the deacons, elders or pastors of the church and sure not afraid of anyone reading this. I am terrified of God and this is the only fear I want or need in my life. If I preach the word of God and am rejected I have done my job. If I lead people to a false Christ with a false message I am damning my own soul AND THEIRS.
I am tired of smile and nod, weak in the knees, in it for themselves Christians who are more interested in getting from their church they do nothing FOR the church. People coming to church for YEARS and never talk to anyone about Christ.
Week after week of worship
Week after week of Bible study
Week after week of fellowship
Year after year of camps, and no fruit in their lives
Never bringing anyone to church
No idea how to lead someone to salvation
No personal study no prayer life
No real discipleship
And just as lost in the world today as they were before
I am confused by Christians being so willing to back off from any objection to our existence. Head down, tail between their knees and getting wacked over the shoulders by the world instead of standing firm and proud of being who they say they are. I have no problem with the young Christians being timid and unsure - that is to be expected. I have a serious problem with those who are supposed to have been matured but waste time in the pew thinking attendance at a function or service is all they need to do as a Child of God.
I am worried about all of the energy Churches today waste on activates which have absolutely nothing to do with the gospel. Fighting each other, playing politics, and feel-good programs which feed the church but do nothing to feed the world.
What I don't understand is why a Christian, with access to the power of God Almighty would walk around with an inferiority complex. The world is lost in rebellion against the wrath and judgment of the creator of the universe and is doomed already. Why any Christian would want or seek the acceptance of those going to hell and not do everything possible to save them is beyond me.
Don't think I am excluding myself either. I am just as guilty as any other in this. I have failed to stand up for God at pivotal moments in life. I have been lazy and frightened too. I have used God's word as a club for my own selfish desires. There are things I have done which, when I think of standing before God in judgment for, bring me to weeping.
In high school I told a girl who refused to go out with me that she was not good enough for me to witness to. I have many friends and co-workers who I have never spoken to about Christ and may not even know I am a child of God. I have neighbors, living just a few feet away I have never reached out to. For all I know God's plan is for me to be their bridge to Christ.
How many people will I face on that day of judgment who will point their fingers at me and say "It is his fault! He knew me for years and never told me about Jesus" as they are sent into hell. How many more people from today are being added to that list? If you want something to keep you up at night give that thought some time to consume you.
How many of these people will be family, people I loved in life and never even reached out to? How many will be members of this church I allowed to revert back into sinful lives and never warned? How many will be those sitting here? I tell you all this terrifies me.
I am a Christian! I am a Christian! I am a Christian! I proclaim it to all here and all who know me. I am not perfect. I often fail but I am holding on with fear and trembling to the hope of salvation. I am a child of the living God, an heir to the kingdom of God, adopted son of the Lord of creation and for me to walk around with my head down and mouth shut dishonors my faith and my God.
Yes there are examples of false prophets and wicked men in the church. Yes there are examples of people using God instead of God using them. I rejoice and weep when they are exposed. I rejoice to know that God shines the light of truth and removes these people from positions of authority. I weep at the pain and misery they have caused others. I rejoice to know that God is still at work in the lives of His people. I weep at those who will reject Christ because of the actions of wicked so called Christians.
But this is not an excuse for me to let the world tell me my faith is less than, it is false, or God is not real. It is not an excuse to be ashamed of being a Christian or worry about offending anyone by living my faith.
The reason God saved me was not for me to take His gift and sit on it. I am to tell others, bring them into the church, teach them to tell others and bring them into the church so we can teach them to tell others and bring them into the church. And the church is not a building, it is the living breathing body of believers of Christ.
There was a study of human behavior where eight people were asked which lines on a piece of paper were the same length. The answer was obvious yet everyone in the room started giving the same wrong answer. Only one person in the room was being tested. Everyone else was there just to test this one person's ability to speak the truth when everyone else was going the other way. Over 70% of the people tested went with the crowd, even though they knew it was wrong. Then they changed the experiment and allowed just one of the other people to give the correct answer. Then over 90% of the people tested felt confidence to give the correct answer. This is the power of one person, willing to stand alone, making a difference in the lives of others.
There is a fellowship I study with. Above the exit of the doors leading out of the sanctuary is a sign. It says "The Church is now leaving the building" It is a message to every believer that Sunday morning is not game day.
Sunday morning is the locker room. Sunday morning is the training meeting. Sunday morning is the day you get the play book from the coach. Game day starts Sunday afternoon and goes for the next seven days. Halftime is Wednesday Bible study and the final time out is Friday worship.
Game day starts when you walk out of the building and into the world. It is in your work, school and homes. It is at the gas station, in the carpool, at the daycare, on the phone, on the internet. It is gathering back for fellowship when you want to go to bed or the boss offers overtime pay. It is calling a brother or sister who is in pain and telling them they are loved. It is visiting people in the hospital and jails telling them there is hope. It is giving your time and resources and talents to help the body of Christ grow. It is getting in the face of your brother or sister falling back into the world and telling them you care.
Be proud of who you are as Christians. Walk out today with something to offer others. Know that what you have for the world is desperately needed, the answer to problems and the power to transform lives. Take time to pray and meditate on God's word so that you can communicate with knowledge instead of babbling like a fool.
To do anything less is akin to seeing a drowning person and walking away with the life preserver in your hands or watching a house burn down when you own the only fire truck in town. You might as well pass by a choking man and not attempt the Heimlich or not feed starving children on your doorstep. Being a Christian, saved by grace, filled with the spirit and loved by God is a blessing. Be a blessing to others and if they curse you for it at least you can sleep at night knowing you tried.
(C) Copyright Michael Wilmot Jan 2010
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