Thursday, December 31, 2015

Something to Remember When Defending Your Christian Faith

   As believers in Christ Jesus as our Savior we are called to share our faith with others. We are not to be ashamed of the Gospel because it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes as the Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 1. However, how we treat those that do not agree with us says a lot about how we view our own position and how much we value the grace and mercy of God. 

   Being in the south and in the preverbal center of the buckle of the Bible belt we are proud Americans and more proud Christians. We will defend our guns, our flag, our children and our freedom ferociously and if anyone says or does the slightest thing to encroach upon those sacred values, we bare our teeth and are ready to strike back with ten times the force. And maybe rightly so. I do agree that there are many things in this world that are well worth entering the octagon and fighting MMA style for but our Faith is one I believe we should handle differently. I am not saying that we should not defend our faith but what I am saying is we need to go about it the right way with the right understanding and in a way that is most advantageous and honoring to God. To do so there are a couple of things we need to remember when defending our faith. 

1. Don't get angry. I see on social media all the time where a "Christian" posts something about daring other "Christians" to post pictures of burning a Koran or killing Muslims or hate talk about atheists. Many "Christians turn to anger when there is the slightest talk infringing upon Christianity. The result  that I see is name calling and demeaning of the one disagreeing. That is not the way to handle things and to my knowledge has never made a non-believer come to faith or even begin to understand the Gospel. What it does is confirm the non-believers convictions that Christians are foolish and arrogant.

   I don't understand why "christians" get so angry when our faith is disagreed with or when we are attacked because of what we believe. It only takes a little reading of the Bible that says that there are those that will disagree. Jesus tells us in Luke 6 that we are to rejoice when people hate us or revile us on account of our faith. He says again in Mark 13 that we will be hated for His name sake. But never once does the Bible tell us to respond in anger. In fact the Bible encourages us to respond in compassion towards the unbeliever. Jesus tells us over and over to love our enemies and those who persecute us. This is a difficult thing to do because so much of our flesh wants to respond in anger when we feel attacked because of our faith.  

   I am reminded of Romans 5:10 that says For while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life.  Let that verse sink in. What Paul is saying is we too were enemies or hostile against faith and Christianity and God would be just to respond in anger because of our rebellion, but He doesn't. Instead He responds in great compassion. So much so that He willingly laid down His life so that you might be saved from your rebellion. See you, oh believer, were no different than that one that confronts you and disagrees with you. How you respond, in either anger or compassion, says a lot about how much you value who you are now from what you were and what Christ has done for you.

2. We must remember that we save no one. I firmly believe, and scripture supports that God is sovereign in all things, including salvation. This is clear in John 6:44 that says No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws Him. It is God who opens eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts to receive  the truth of the Gospel. We are just called to share it and share it relentlessly. We are often frustrated and angered when people do not see the truth of the Gospel. They are still blinded by the god of this world and it is the God of all things that enables them and us to see. But He does this through believers sharing the Gospel. I tell people all the time that the Christian duty is to continue the unfinished work of Jesus by proclaiming the finished work of Jesus on the Cross. In other words we are to be the mouthpiece of the Gospel and trust in the Holy Spirit to convict, cut to the heart and bring about true belief. Salvation is not our job. It is God's job. Ours is to proclaim what God has done. This takes time and understanding and patience. We are called to make disciples, not converts. Disciple making takes time and commitment. It takes effort to listen and understand and share with others. It takes grace on your part and knowing that God is working in and through you. 

   So what should we do? How should we respond? We are to respond the same way Christ does. With compassion and not anger. With love not violence. With humility and not prideful rebellion. Be firm in your faith but also understanding. Not compromising the truth of the Gospel but open to dialogue. And pray. Pray hard that you would be gracefully firm and pray that their eyes would be opened to see, ears hear and hearts cut with the truth of the Gospel. Remember you were once in their same shoes, hostile toward God but yet He saved even you. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow The Lord will do wonders among you.” Joshua 3:5

Easter is just a few days away and is arguably the most prominent Christian day of the year. A day of rejoicing, of reassurance of hope and celebration that we worship a living God. A day that we celebrate the very foundation of our faith and that is that Jesus, The Son of God, took upon Himself the wrath of God for sin, which is death due every saint and He put that death to death forever that we may never taste one drop. A day that we celebrate the Good News that He is Risen! This news, The Gospel, has the power to set people free from the bondage of sin. This Gospel does not make bad people good but make dead men alive. The Gospel is not just good news for the lost to be found but is certainly good news for the believer to live a life worthy of being set free and made alive. But a question looms as we approach Easter. Are you ready? Are you prepared for Easter?

All throughout the Old Testament we see a repetitive command for God’s people in preparation to receive from The Lord. Consecrate yourselves! Prior to the people receiving the Ten Commandments in exodus God ordered that they “Consecrate themselves”. In Joshua as the Israelites prepare to cross the Jordan to take possession of the Promised Land God commanded that they wash and consecrate themselves. These are just a few of the many times that God commanded that His people consecrate themselves prior to Him doing something for or through them.

So what does it mean to consecrate? Simply put it means the setting apart of people, things, times or places as sacred for God to use. To consecrate means to separate yourself from the things that would make you unclean or contaminate your relationship with God. As believers we constantly ask and plead with God to work in our lives and lead and guide and direct us in the path that is not only pleasing to God but also good for us. But so often we do not prepare ourselves for this. We expect God to work yet we are not prepared possibly miss the blessing. So as we approach Easter and are in the midst of Holy Week may we Consecrate Ourselves in preparation for experiencing the wonders of God. Here are a few ways we can do this.

Read! Read the story of the Gospel. Read with the family the crucifixion and death of Jesus and how he willingly went to the Cross on our behalf. Read how he died and was placed in the tomb and rose on the third day. There is no substitute for reading in the Word of God how Jesus was obedient to the point of death on a Cross and overcame for the sake of the elect. For whatever is written in the former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4

Pray! Especially this week pray that God would open eyes to see and ears to hear the Gospel for the first time of people and that he would save them. Also pray that as you read and worship that the Holy Spirit would allow you to experience the Gospel in a new way and that the love of Christ would grow richer in you. Pray that the Spirit would stir your affections for Jesus even more and equip you to be who God has called you to be. Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, Ephesians 6:18

Fast! Take time this week to fast in some way. This is a very biblical way to consecrate yourself. When we fast it is a time of setting something aside in order to focus on a deeper relationship with The Lord. Fasting can be from many things such as food, television, media, even sleep. Take time this week to skip a meal and read and pray and meditate on God’s Word. Turn the television off and read and pray and fellowship with the family about the Gospel. Turn off the media that distracts you and robs you of time in prayer and the Word and enjoy just being with The Lord. So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty, Ezra 8:23

Come with eager expectation! Come expecting to receive from The Lord His blessings. We often don’t do this. We should come to Him with humble and honest hearts desiring to experience His grace and mercy in a new light. Expect God to reveal to you something new about His character and His love for you. Commit your way to The Lord; trust in Him and He will act. Psalm 37:5

 As Easter quickly approaches I pray that we are prepared and eagerly await God to move in a mighty way. Consecrate us Lord and may we find more joy in Your salvation!