Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Don't Douse the Flame

There once was young man who came to know Christ and was on fire for God.  Everywhere he went he told people of the change in his life and how Christ could change their lives as well.  He would testify at school, at work, whenever and where ever he could.  Eventually folks at church began to talk.  Someone approached him, advising him to cool it.  Others chimed in saying he should be more like them, living the Christian life quietly.  Like water on a burning ember, they quickly doused the flame of evangelism.

As I read John 4:27-30 the word evangelism came to mind.  See this woman had just met Jesus, and when you meet Jesus you just can't keep it to yourself.

Jesus' disciples were testifying and were rebuked by the Pharisees to which Jesus replied, "I tell you , if these become silent, the stones will cry out!" (Luke 19:40)

Why is it we are so afraid to share the greatest treasure known to man with those in need?  Is it our greed?  Our pride?  Our fear?  Some of each?  Why do we find it necessary to quench the Spirit in those who are willing to speak out?  Maybe you haven't participated actively in harnessing the outspoken, but do you encourage them to be bold?  I haven't always done so.

As I write, I find myself convicted of not bearing witness to a lost and dying world.  I have been to consumed with pride, worrying about what others might think or say if I were to "be on fire for the Lord".  That is hard to admit as a preacher of the Word.  Oh, from the pulpit I can be bold, but in the world fear cripples me.

My prayer is to be able to declare as Paul did, "…I am not ashamed [of the gospel]; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day." (2 Tim. 1:12).

Spirit and Truth

A friend of mine once shared her ideas regarding God, saying, "My God is a loving God.  He doesn't condemn or reject people for the way they live.  He just wants us to get along and accept one another the way we are; the way He made us."  The problem is this is not the God of Creation, the Jehovah, YHWH. 

Worshiping what we do not know, much like the woman at the well, lends us to make God in our image.  This is idolatry.  God desires us to know Him, that is why He revealed Himself to man through Creation, through His Word, through His Son.  Now is the time to know Him and be known by Him.

But how are we to accomplish this task?  Jesus said, "the hour is coming and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers."

God doesn't want us to worship Him with good deeds in order to gain His approval.  There isn't anything we can do to improve our standing with God.  God sees us as we are: depraved and helpless.  For this reason He sent His Son into the world to provide you and I the means of redemption.  When we recognize our need for a Savior and confess our sins 1 John 1:9 says, "He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  In other words, we are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ and that is what the Father than sees when He looks at us.

Worshipping Him in spirit and truth means we have a relationship with Him.  We undergo a heart change.  Yes, there will come a change in our actions, we will do good works, but out of love and a passion to serve our God.  This is the desire of your Creator.  Will you lay aside your agenda and seek Him today?  I promise you will be glad you did.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Gimme, Gimme, Gimme

If you ever spend much time around children you likely have heard a case of the Gimmes.  Kids often look out for their own interests, they desire to have what someone else has and if they don't get what they want, well watch out!

As I was reading this passage in John (4:7-15) I was amazed at the similarities the Samaritan woman shares with many Christians.  In this account, Jesus is sitting at the well and here comes this woman and He asks her to draw some for Him to drink.  When she hesitates and questions Him, Jesus responds by offering her 'Living water'.  Her response, "Sir, give me (Gimme, gimme) this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw." (vs. 15)

This is the same response many Christians have when offered salvation.  Gimme, gimme, so I'll be saved from hell.  Gimme, gimme, so I'll live a blessed life.  Gimme, gimme, so I can live like I want but still go to heaven.  Gimme, gimme, gimme.

We tend to miss the whole point.  Verse 10 offers us the key to this passage, "If you knew the gift of God… you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water."  In the previous chapter of John we reviewed what is likely the best known verse in Scripture, John 3:16 "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."  (emphasis mine).

We don't need to have a case of the 'Gimmes', God already gave.  And it is in that gift that we find life.  Our response then should be one of gratitude and love toward the Savior and the source of living water.  Instead of looking for ways to exploit the gift, we should marvel in the fact we don't deserve it at all.  This is God's grace and mercy poured out on fallen men and women.  This is God's love in action.