On My Mind...

Well, are you thawing out yet?  I missed being with you this past Sunday.  It is just not the same if I don’t get to see my family.  That’s part of the difference Christ makes in the life of the believer.  Our lives are different because of Christ, because of the presence of the Spirit, because we are connected.  That’s what has been on my mind this morning.  So, let me ask you, “What difference does Christ make in your life?”

In what ways is your life different because of your faith?  Does your faith produce a noticeable change in you?  If you were charged with being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?  The Scriptures are clear, we are to be a people of distinction.  We are, after all, “a royal priesthood, a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9).”  We are called to be a peculiar people.
Peter assumed that our lifestyles would be so different it would prompt questions and so he wrote, “Be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is in you.”

The word “reason” means a rational defense of your behavior or beliefs.  Does, your lifestyle prompt questions, I mean in the good sense?  Do you remember what Jesus said about the church?  Peter gave that wonderful confession, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
Our Lord replied, “Very good Peter…upon this rock (the confession) I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:16).”

In that analogy the church is on the offensive and the devil is on the defensive.  How did we get that turned around?  Why is it we think in defensive terms?  How is it we have allowed the world to browbeat us into submission.  Whether it has to do with science, the media, entertainment, or the arts, we constantly feel the need to justify ourselves.  In the process, the church has become weak and anemic as we have lost our boldness.

Paul told young Timothy, “God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind.”  It is time that we stand up in boldness and take the battle to the enemy.
It is time that we witness boldly to our generation.  It is time that we take the great commission seriously and boldly sing:

His banner over us is love, our sword the Word of God;
We tread the road the saints above with Shouts of triumph trod.
By faith they, like a whirlwind’s breath, swept on ov’er every field;
The faith by which they conquered death is still our shining shield.

On every hand the foe we find drawn up in dread array;
Let tents of ease be left behind, and onward to the fray;
Salvation’s helmet on each head, with truth all girt about,
The earth shall tremble ‘neath our tread, and echo with our shout.
To him that overcomes the foe, white raiment shall be giv’n;
Before the angels he shall know his name confessed in heav’n.
Then onward from the hills of light, our hearts with love aflame,
We’ll vanquish all the hosts of night, in Jesus’ conquering name.

This is to be the church.  This spirit, this attitude is to characterize us as the people of God.  I’m not advocating a pugnacious attitude or a quarrelsome spirit.  I’m calling for holy boldness, confident in the call, the commission and the enabling of our God.  Rise up O Church of God, I’ve read the last chapter, we win!

I’ll see you Sunday as we gather for worship.