Summary: This message shows us four steps to shine as a Christian - will help you to improve your testimony for Jesus if you apply these principles
How to live the Christian Life Series
‘How to shine as a Christian – Part 4 of 12’
Acknowledgement: Dr. Henry Schorr
Good morning. Have you ever wondered what kind of testimony do you have in the community? What kind of a testimony do you have on your block? What kind of a testimony do you have at work? Those are good questions. I often think about that. I also think what kind of a testimony do we have as a church?
Wouldn’t you agree we have a long way to go? I often wonder what the waitresses would say in the Howie, the Lakeview and other places. They know who the believers are. Would they say we are rude or kind? Would they say we are the worst tippers? What would they say? Would they notice any difference between me and an unbeliever? Would they know me as a complainer or a joyful and content person?
I have been fascinated by the testimony and story of Lee Strobel. Lee was a journalist for the Chicago Tribune. By his own testimony he was ruthless. He liked his high end lifestyle of work, travel and partying. By his own admission he was an atheist. He had no time for his family – they just got the leftovers. God began to work in his wife Leslie. Through a series of events and God’s leading Leslie gave her heart to Jesus. By Lee’s own admission he was stunned when she told him she had become a Christian.
He thought great there goes our fun. She will become a sexual prude and it is all downhill from here. He watched her carefully for two years. Then, by his admission, because of her nagging, he started attending church services.
Like many men he went to church to appease her. Lee says he was aggressively looking for hypocrites in the church. Since he was a journalist he wanted to disprove Christianity.
All around you people like Lee are seeking answers. They have their hypocrisy antennas sky high. They wonder is this Christianity real or not? They are looking at your life. What are they seeing?
In the last section of Philippians the Holy Spirit clearly says that one day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
In Matthew 25 Jesus gives the parable of the sheep and the goats. You may attend a church. You may fool people. But not one of us will fool Jesus. He will just say ‘away from me.’ I never knew you. Without faith and trust in Jesus hell is your destination. That is why you need to be in prayer about our Christmas services. That is why you need to invite people to our Christmas evening service.
But if you genuinely know Jesus you will be welcomed into his heaven forever.
Obviously were not there yet. So between now and then God has called you to his greater purpose in the Red Lake area. God is calling you to reflect his love to others around us. Paul wants to give his Philippians’ church principles on how to shine for Jesus. He knows they are not always showing the love of Jesus to others.
As we saw last week Jesus let go of his rights and served others. With that in mind let’s stand together and read Phil. 2:12-18.
Paul lays out three principles for how to shine for Jesus:
1. Obey the Lord (vs. 12)
Obeying the Lord evidences itself in following the lead of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Jesus is the example here. In his discourse to the disciples he said ‘If you love me you will obey me.’ What does obeying Jesus look like to you as you go to some Christmas party full of booze?
In order to obey we must first be listening. God had called me to lead this church. I spend a lot of time in prayer listening to his voice. That means things like the direction of the church, what to preach on, how to shepherd the church. I must pray, listen, and then obey.
It is not going through the motions of being a pastor.
Most of us can recall as a child obeying our parents while in the room with them. But remember what happened after they left?
Coming here and being religious does not cut it. What you do when nobody else is looking really shows your true character.
How about the times you look at those unsavory websites? How about the times you drink too much? How about the times you selfishly spend time on yourself instead of choosing to be with other Christians?
Christianity is not to be a checklist of do’s and don’ts. It is having a channel open to God all day. It is a mindset that ‘Jesus I am available to you today.’ You lead and I will follow. It is a wonderful and freeing way to live. That is what it means to obey the Lord.