Saturday, September 3, 2011

In the world, not of the world...

 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” - 1 John 2:15-16

From what we read in the Bible, we know that we are to be in the world, but not of the world.  What does this entail?  Well, as followers of Christ, we are to live differently from those that are unsaved.

Having the Holy Spirit in your life will affect what you watch, what you say, where you go, what you listen to, how you dress, etc.  Essentially, nearly every aspect of your life will be very different from what it was before you trusted Christ.  “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” - II Corinthians 5:17

Sadly, however, I’ve found that there’s not as much of a difference as there should be… And it’s not because the unsaved are becoming closer to Christ.  It seems that many Christians want to see how close to the edge they can get, rather than keeping their distance from the pleasures of the world.  “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” II Timothy 2:22

 As Christians, the unsaved world is watching what we do and say.  If we are not noticeably different from the world around us, it gives cause for Satan to blaspheme.  “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” Matthew 5:13

 While we need to be separated from the world, we must be careful not to eliminate our contact with those around us; It’s our responsibility to share the Gospel with the unsaved people that we come into contact with.  We must make sure that those around us see a difference, and see Christ through us. “No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.” Luke 11:33

 Also, we must be wary of self-conceit.  Are we separated because it’s what Christ commands, or just because it’s what is accepted?  In many church environments, it’s very easy to follow the rules simply to fit in. I’m not at all saying that the rules are wrong; I’m saying that we need to examine why we are doing what we do, and to make sure that it’s for God’s glory, and not our own.  It’s all too easy to become focused on other peoples’ faults, and our own “spiritual goodness”… Thus taking our complete focus off of the Lord.

Do what’s right, just make sure to do it for the right reason: because it’s what God desires.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Don't Forget Your Neighbor's Soul

As I was going through some of my old papers, I came across a poem that was handed out at the Wisconsin State Youth Conference a couple of years ago.  Printed on a page entitled "Don't Forget Your Neighbor's Soul", this poem reminds us of the reality of Hell, and the need for the message of Salvation to be proclaimed to those around us.

You Forgot My Soul

You lived next door to me for years,
We shared our dreams, our joys and tears,
A friend to me you were indeed,
A friend who helped me when in need.

My faith in you was strong and sure,
We had such trust as should endure.
No spats between us ever rose,
Our friends were alike -- and so, our foes.

What sadness, then my friend, to find,
That after all, you weren’t so kind,
The day my life on earth did end
I found you weren’t such a faithful friend.

For all those years we spent on earth,
You never talked of second birth.
You never spoke of my lost soul
And of the Christ who’d make me whole!

I plead today from Hell’s cruel fire,
And tell you now of my least desire--
You cannot do a thing for me;
No words today my bonds will free.

But do not err, my friend, again--
Do all you can for souls of men.
Plead with them now quite earnestly,
Lest they be cast in Hell with me.

-Author Unknown

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

American's Views of God and the Christian's Commission

While reading our local newspaper in December, I came across an article in the USA Weekend entitled "How Americans Imagine God".  Now I don't usually read this section, but this seemed like an intriguing topic.  As I read the article, I realized the importance of this matter.  Most of the quotes were mostly generic, such as, "God is love.", and didn't have any real depth.  True, God is love, but God is also just and holy. Then there were some more, er, um... odd views.  Views of God such as, "Like me because she is me and I am her. She is something you feel within your soul.", and " A kernel of positive electromagnetic power in each of us, a remnant of the origin of the universe that can flare up within us in the form of grace or inspiration.", make you think think of the desperately lost people of America: souls that are on their way to an eternity of separation from God, and torment in hell.  While those quotes may seem rather bizarre, they are people's real beliefs.  Every day, over 150,000 people perish: That's an average of nearly 2 people per second.  Of these, most do not truly know Christ as their Savior.  Many of these are trying to make it to heaven by their own means.  Christ said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)

As Christians, it is our obligation to show those around us the truth of Christ: How He came to earth, how He gave His life on Calvary, and how He triumphed over sin and death when He rose again.  We all have friends and relatives who have the wrong view of God's righteousness and judgment.  The question is, are you willing to share the truth of God with them, to help them escape the judgment that is coming?  God commands us in Matthew 28:19 to, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations..."  It's not a recommendation; It's a mandate.