Sue’s Sermon On The Blog
This popped up on my Facebook feed the other day from Focus on the Family. Considering everything going on in the world today I find it a timely reminder. How we treat others reflects how we treat Jesus in our lives.
Hold on tight…I have a lot to say tonight.
As you know (if you have been reading) we are in the middle of The Festival of Life here in Clarksburg. Yesterday, Evangelist Jonathan Shuttlesworth stated, “It is scriptural to be challenged, it’s unscriptural to be defeated.” In the course of this message he discussed Christians being “spiritual beings” after we are saved. We are no longer “flesh”. (Keep up with me…notes might be helpful.)
Things Come Together
I was working on a blog post on Saturday evening about all the tensions and hatred between races, cultures, nations and so on. I just could not find the way to put my aggravation and anger about prejudice into words without it coming off the wrong way. I hate prejudice in all its forms. Everyone who reads this has been a victim or survivor of prejudicial treatment. In my case it has been mild, partly because I have tough skin and partly because I just accepted it as part of the world I live in and I know others have dealt with worse. I have been upset about quotas that kept me out of positions when I worked for the state. I have been passed over for promotion simply because of my tenure or age. It has not been aggressive prejudice but it is still part of that beast.
Others have suffered persecution, even death because of prejudice. Here is the thing, in our “flesh” we all have prejudices. We judge before we know…that is human nature. Many fight against their prejudices and try to subdue them because they recognize it is wrong, but we are who we learn to be…until Jesus enters the equation.
I know, back up – wait a minute…we all have prejudices? Yes we do and we have all responded to them at some point, on some level. Have you pulled your child closer to you because of a group of young men walking past you that were of a different race or culture than you? After the tragedy of 9/11, how many people of Middle Eastern heritage were mistreated and spoken too as if they were terrorist? We judged the mass on the few. We also have a tendency to immediately trust, to a degree, a person in uniform, in a public office or other official capacity. We depend on the media and our leaders to tell us right from wrong. This is the flesh.
Every cruel and nasty element we have exercised in society comes from actions of the “flesh”. There is no joy, peace or real love in the “flesh”. There can’t be, because in the “Flesh” we have no understanding or comprehension of what real love, joy or peace really can be.
Be Not of the Flesh
Let me clarify a few things here. We are not talking flesh in terms of skin or muscle. We are talking about flesh in terms of our nature. When we refer to flesh in this way, it is generally a self-serving element of our person.
“The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. ” Romans 8:7-8
“”Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41
As Christians, we are Heaven’s marketing campaign. We head up the single most important pitch of all time…winning souls for the Kingdom of Heaven. We cannot present this message if we are not living it. We cannot be successful in our task if we do not believe it ourselves.
Look at the fruits of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. These are things to be excited about, right? SO please explain to me why so many Christians look like death warmed over.
I have visited a lot of churches in my time. I was guilty of church hopping at one point in time. I avoided church for a long time. Why? The people. Reason this out with me for a moment. How can you or I witness to someone about the love of Jesus, the peace in the Holy Spirit or the boundless love, grace and mercy we have received…when we always look like we drank a shot of vinegar? Let me put it to you this way, if you go to buy a new mattress and the sales person tells you he bought the same one you are looking at, does he have your interest? It depends, is he complaining about his back aching? Does he look and act exhausted? If so I am looking at a different mattress.
I am not a preacher, but that was rather preachy of me. This is something I am passionate about. Being an immature believer in my younger years allowed for sour, lukewarm Christians to push me away from the church. I never stopped believing in God. I doubted, I questioned, but I always believed in God. I wanted no part of the fellowship. A new believer or an old believer that has not matured is going to look to other Christians for cues. They look to their pastors, teachers and family in the church for guidance. They need biblical, loving and faithful support to mature…not a lukewarm, shell, peddling “woe is me”.
If we, as Christians, are saved and filled with the Spirit of our LIVING God we are going to be blind to the flesh. What I mean is we will not see color, race, creed etc, because we are seeing others with eyes of our “Spiritual” nature. When we are in God and God’s word is in us, we will display the fruits of the spirit in our lives…not a pretty plaque on the wall. When we are living as the new creation God has made us, we do not see criminal, druggie, prostitute, homeless, handicapped, color, gender, nationality, religion…we see people needing love, needing God. We will not care how someone is dressed when they show up for church, because we are too busy welcoming them and rejoicing that they are in God’s house. We will not take doubts or questions as affronts to our faith, they will be opportunities to share and show how great God is in our lives.
WWJD – Let’s Flip That, What Would You Do To Jesus
“…I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” Matthew 25:40
I love asking my son, “What would Jesus Do”, it is almost a catch phrase when questionable behavior crops up in our house these days. I think the more important question is what would you do to Jesus? Would you tell Jesus to clean up and change before coming into your church after he walked from his last location? Would you ignore Jesus when he called upon you for help? Unfortunately, Christians do this all the time and that my friends is the message the world sees. They see the Westboro Baptist Church protesting funerals or years ago groups claiming to be Christian bombing abortion clinics…where is the love of God in those actions? There is none. Christ would show compassion to someone who lost a loved one and was grieving. Christ would mourn the unsaved lost in the violence perpetuated in this country. We do not serve a cruel God. Do not mistake love and kindness for tolerance. We have commandments, rules to follow. Obedience is showing love to our Heavenly Father. Honestly, it is not much considering all he gives to us.
Be Challenged, Not Defeated
Okay so I continued to be preachy all the way through this post. I am beyond passionate about this. I’m tired of gloomy, grumpy, woe-is-me Christians. Get excited. Yes, sometimes we are faced with challenges that flat-out suck. In those challenges is when we see God’s awesome power, mercy, grace and most of all his love. We will cry, but only for a moment. We will have struggles followed by great victories…if we trust and obey.Those times we are down, should be clues within our fellowship that we need them. It should not be a permanent state of being.
Evangelist Jonathan Shuttlesworth said, “It is scriptural to be challenged, it’s unscriptural to be defeated.” We are more than conquerors…Jesus has won the war. It’s handled. DONE. We have battles ahead of us, but nothing we cannot walk right through with God on our side. Let’s make sure the world sees Jesus in us.
This is the end of Sue’s Sermon on the Blog, but check out the following for messages sure to inspire the grumpy right out of you.
Hear From the Pros
Check out the 9/11/2016 service at www.Centerbranch.org/livestream
Check out www.revivaltoday.com and www.festivaloflife.us/clarksburg-wv.html