Summary: Would Jesus' Facebook status comments sound like yours?
Of What Spirit Are Ye?
I grew up, off and on, in a rather mild Methodist church and my wife was in a rather laid back Lutheran one though Methodists were once call shoutin' Methodists and we all know the stir Luther made back in the day. Things mellowed out over the years.
At 20 and 21, my wife and I were saved in a rather mild GARBC Baptist church in Delaware. My college was Independent Baptist, but for the most part they were rather demure though a few students were from rip snortin' churches. The independent church I was attending was also somewhat laid back though the pastor was renown as a great pulpiteer.
It was not until after college that I got exposed to some real rip snortin' preachers and I was still fairly young in the Lord and thought this was the way it was supposed to be. Screaming and yelling was being bold and bitter sarcasm was contending for the faith when more often than not it was just being rude and contentious. I changed when God allowed one of those preachers to turn his buzz saw on me. God asked me if I liked that and I said no. He said, don't you do it.
I have been amazed and sometimes shocked when I see some of the comments from professing Christians on the Internet. Then I remember in times past I also got caught up in the emotions of discussions though I have sought to change and find balance and speak the truth in love, not sarcasm, rancor and bitterness. I have tried not to use the buzz saw though there have been times I have forgotten when I came from and had to repent.
When I read about Christ and the Apostles I do not see anything like I see in many churches and hear or read from pastors and Christians in general on the Net.
51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,
52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.
53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.
54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.
56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village. KJV
James and John would be known as the sons of thunder after this event and there seems to be many of their kin alive today. I can see why they were upset. Why would these people not make room for Christ? Well, Jews and Samaritans did not have the best of relationships and when it was perceived that He was heading to Jerusalem they felt no compunction to help Him on His way to a place filled with people that hated them.
James and John in their anger lost the whole point of Jesus' mission. I am afraid so have a great many who profess to be followers of Christ. The Gospel is about redemption. Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost. He came this time to save. The next time He comes it will be as Judge. Too many of us want to be judges and not rescuers and redeemers.
That doesn't mean you have to compromise the Word or not call sin what is, but it also doesn't mean you have to be hateful when you are supposed to be bringing a message of grace. I was taught to even be careful of my gestures when preaching because extending both of your fists saying, “God loves you” in a stern voice sends a mixed message.
How much more if we say God came to save someone and yet at the same time we browbeat them about their sins. Most people know their sins. The odd thing is more sinners know how Christians should live than many Christians. Often we scream louder about the sins committed by sinners than about the sins of the saints. By the way, sinners are going to act like sinners and saints are supposed to act like saints. We have some major work to do in that area. After all, of what spirit are we?
23:1 And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.