Summary: Every growing believer I know has at one time or another said these words; I’m struggling. I’m making progress but I’m struggling. Look at these two passages with me. Philippians 3:12a and 15a GNT. 12 I do not claim that I have already succeeded ....
“No perfect people allowed!”
One of my heroes in the faith has been Dr. Billy Graham. I have followed his ministry for about forty years. Dr. Graham once said, “There are no perfect churches but if there were, I couldn’t join because they wouldn’t be perfect anymore.” I agree. The Scriptures are filled with stories of individuals who walked with God yet they may mistake after mistake. All of them were imperfect.
• God made a powerful promise to a woman named Sarah. Her response: she laughed at Him.
• Jacob deceived his Father and stole his brother’s birthright.
• Jonah ran from God.
• Martha worried too much
• When Jesus asked the disciples to pray with him, the disciples all fell asleep.
Jacob, Jonah, Martha and the 12 disciples all shared at least two things in common. (1) They all loved the Lord and (2) they were all imperfect. And you and I fall into that same category. All of us are far from perfect. You see the church is not for people who are never disobedient. The church is not for those who think they have it all together. The church is not for those who have arrived. We are like AA. We are basically sinners anonymous. We’re the only organization besides Hell’s Angels that you have to bead in order to get in. ? Get my point?
Every growing believer I know has at one time or another said these words; I’m struggling. I’m making progress but I’m struggling. Look at these two passages with me. Philippians 3:12a and 15a GNT. 12 I do not claim that I have already succeeded or have already become perfect. All of us who are spiritually mature should have this same attitude.
Ephesians 2:8-10 NLT (focus for the morning)
8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Look at these 3 truths with me today.
1. When we show grace to others, we are doing what God does. God saved you by grace when you believed. And you cannot take credit for this; it is a gift from God.
Think about this. When you came to God and you first believed, —when you were searching, how would you describe your spiritual condition at the time? Think about this …. The Bible call us to be fishers of men. We share something in common with fish. The first thing you have to do with fish when you catch them is to clean them. Ever cleaned a fish? It’s a messy process most people don’t really enjoy. It is messy bit it’s necessary. When you catch fish they’re not ready to eat. When we first come to Christ, we’re not quite ready to be used. So Jesus begins the cleaning process. Now he accepts us just as we are; that’s why we still sing the song “Just as I Am” because that’s the way we come to God, sinners, messed up; we were nothing without Christ. And we need to be reminded of that. We are nothing without his righteousness.
So we have to be careful that we never send out the wrong signals to an unbeliever. Because here is the problem …. There are many people who believe they are simply not good enough to come to Christ. They believe they have to get their life “together” first and then they can come to Christ. But nothing could be further from the truth. Here is the truth.
The truth is we are NOT good enough when we receive Christ. But it is only when we realize we are NOT good enough that we CAN come to Him.
This is a barrier that we need to tear down. Here’s the process. We come to God Just as we are. Then God starts us in the process of what the Bible calls sanctification. I am being sanctified, but I have not been completely sanctified. It is progressive. I am saved but I am still in the process of being cleaned up.
Here are a few things we need to allow unbelievers to do.
1. Allow unbelievers to question your faith. 1 Peter 3:15 (NLT)
15b if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.
Show interest in their opinions; their doubts; their questions. Even if you don’t agree. I never want to present myself as someone who thinks I have arrived or have it all together. Allow unbelievers to question your faith.