Summary: Our world needs living breathing examples of Christs love more today than at any time in history.
We are witness to acts of violence and anger in our world that occur weekly even in our own country. It is as if the events at the Boston Marathon this past week were a follow up to the sermon I presented last Sunday.
Jesus warned us that there would be an increase in wickedness and violence in Matthew Chapter 24.
But how are we as Christians to respond to such events in our current culture?
St. Paul outlines for us how we can live a life for Christ that has purpose and meaning despite the fallen condition of the world around us.
Firstly we can offer our bodies as living sacrifices.
What does that mean? It means that we do not subject our bodies to intentional abuse or harm. We do not engage in promiscuity or addictions to drugs or alcohol but treat our bodies as the Temple of the Lord since the Holy Spirit is living in us and is housed in our flesh.
We take care of our bodies and lend them to the service of the Lord rather than to selfish pleasures.
When we treat our bodies as Gods Temples we are actually worshiping God.
Our minds are on the things of God and not the things of this world. We allow the Holy Spirit to be the one to influence us rather than our friends, or the TV or the internet.
We give our thinking over to God.
We live humbly before one another and especially before those who do not know Christ. We do not act as if we are superior or better than someone else. We are mindful that we are sinners saved by the Grace of God and not of ourselves.
Here in the church it goes even further. We respect and love one another to the point that we would rather see someone else blessed before we are blessed.
We readily recognize that each of us has been given different gifts, spiritual gifts and practical gifts as members of this church.
We are just parts of the whole no one of us is more important than another. No one has claim or title to a position in the church by tradition or birth right. We serve at Christ’s good pleasure and for the benefit of all.
We encourage those who demonstrate a gift in one area or another to use that gift for the benefit of all.
Above all we love one another sincerely and devoutly. We hate what is evil just as St. Paul puts it and we cling to what is good.
We honor one another above ourselves.
You hear it in our conversation – there is a lot less of I and me and a lot more of us and we.
We stay on fire for God as a church body. We get into our community and help and serve as we can and where we can.
We are joyful! Not downcast, not burdened but joyful in the Lord.
We are patient in times of trouble as a church – we know that when trouble comes – this too will pass. We fix our eyes on Jesus not on our troubles.
We are a people who pray – here at church and at home, in our cars, on our tractors, at work at play we talk to our God constantly.
The prayers of the righteous availeth much.
We are a generous church we share and give to God’s people who are in need whether it is in our own church family, community or country we reach out even across to the other side of the world.
We must practice hospitality – open your home and open your hearts to one another, spend time with each others families and share what you have been blessed with.
Together we respond to persecution with love and blessing not an eye for an eye. We turn the other cheek.
We live our life together we mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice.
We seek harmony – ebony and ivory together in perfect harmony. We may be different but in Christ we are the same – saved from our sins.
We are not too proud to reach out to anyone regardless of their social status or personal circumstances. For by the Grace of God there go I.
We are a church people who are seen to do the right things in public as well as in private.
We put to rest family fights within our church and do not carry a grudge or a chip on our shoulder for we carry our cross instead.
My friends we want to live out these virtues and make them everyday character traits but that can only happen when we place Jesus on the throne of our hearts.