Summary: God is love, and we should be living in that love, but many people do not understand that how it works, and it is such a natural process, yet it is cannot be demonstrated by the world.
Two weeks ago my Sermon was on ministry, our ministry to exact, and it was based on Jesus asking Simon Peter if he loved him: and as he did, we examined the overflow of this love, God’s love, onto the lives of others. Today I would like to continue with that sermon and see how faithful and devout we really are.
I do not say that in a sense of condemnation, rather the opposite, because I noticed the first day I arrived in St Oswald’s the peace, the togetherness and the sincerity of faith being worshiped here; and you all know that I have treasured that ever since: and I will also say, that everyone here has had their part in that; in their own way of course. We maybe small in number but we are alive in Christ, and I that thank God for that.
But this cannot be said about other churches, no names mentioned, and no malice intended, but you know that there are people who profess to “going to church” but somehow fall well short of the mark.
What annoys me most is when people sincerely worship the lord; they end their prayers in Jesus name, and then go out and live in the Old Testament. You know, they think and say things like “I better do this or that or God will punish me; or they still believe God is punishing them for some sin or sins they committed many years ago, and for some reason they deserved to be treated badly.
Yes, much of that is due to the teaching and revelation they receive, but many people just do not understand nor live in the Gospel they are meant to; and I for one, do my best to convey that in every sermon, because if you are not living in the New Testament, what is the point of believing in Jesus. It is so fundamental to the Christian life?
These so called Christians, and they probably are Christian, actually believe that they are doing a pretty good job in fact, I’m convinced that many of them, if asked how they were doing, would answer, "fine; I’m doing fine."
As a teacher, I am very aware of this word fine, because kids learn at a young age; that if they say fine in a confident way, the teacher will move of to the next kid. To an adult, the word “fine” means, “mind your own business”, I am not discussing my private affairs with you. Correct?
But even though they generally say, "I’m doing fine," in reality, when it comes to our spiritual lives, things are not always fine because the Holy Spirit is constantly refining us: “refining us as silver” and silver is refining by fire; and fire burns. Ezekiel 22:22 says, “As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I the LORD”. And again in Zechariah 13:9 “And I will bring ‘you’ through the fire, and will refine ‘you’ as silver is refined, and will try ‘you’ as gold is tried: ‘you’ shall call on my name, and I will hear ‘you’: I will say, you are my people: and ‘you’ shall say, The LORD is my God”.
(‘You’ has been change from them to make it more personal).
These are very strong words saying that our rough edges are continually and painfully being removed, because the goal in our Christian life is to be as … Jesus; even the women: we are to become Jesus in spirit, with a small (s); and that can only be done with fire.
I wish it wasn’t, because I don’t like the sound of fire, but how else will we change. Are we all individually, like Jesus? Well no; no one is, but we are moving closer to him every day; and the Holy Spirit is relentless in this, changing us, and preparing us for the world to come; his world, not ours.
So when somebody says, that they are doing fine as a Christian, I instantly see someone who is not. A sincere Christian will never tell you that the Christian life is easy, but they will tell you, it is different, and ultimately better. Btw: A sincere Christian will never boast, so be careful.
I was talking to a good friend of mine other day, who I have know for years and she said, we are lucky to have faith because if you think about it, how we would live our lives without it. Faith is sort of control, it guides us, and it makes us think about our actions and decisions differently from the rest of the world. We know that we believe in Jesus, and we know that there is another life to come with the Lord; and therefore our outlook is different, our decisions are different; normally making life more difficult and challenging.