Friday, February 3, 2012

Christians Be Bold!

I was once darkness, but now I am light in the world, I now walk as a child of light. “There was a man sent from God whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.” John 1:6-8.
This is where my Lord took me today in His word. Our Women’s Study is this weekend, and I was reading the scriptures preparing for the study. I came across a passage that stuck out at me- and you know me, I have to go and investigate whenever the Lord pricks my heart. Ephesians 5:8-10 says “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light. (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.”
“Finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.” Hmm, that pricks at my heart today. The question was raised in my spirit as I read this- ‘Do I seek to know what is acceptable to You, Lord, or do I seek to do what I think is right?’ Good question.
Paul tells us in Ephesians that we are to be “light in the world. Walk as children of light.” So, how do I do that? Do I do that? Am I a light to the darkness that is in the world? For those of you who do not understand the difference between light and darkness- light is Christ and darkness is the world (those who are not in Christ). This was a good question to ask myself this morning, ‘am I a light to the darkness in the world?’ Lately the Lord has been teaching me about love- love for the brethren, love for those who are lost, love for those who annoy the heck out of me- love, in all its definitions and purposes.
You see, John tells us that there was a man who was sent from God, whose name was John. He was sent to be a witness of Jesus Christ. The light was not John, but Jesus Christ of whom John preached. We are no different than John. We too have been sent by God to bear witness of the Light that is in us- the Light of Jesus Christ to the world. But that is hard to do if we are seeking to do what we feel is right and not what the Lord says is acceptable.
The world should be able to look at the church as a whole, in the world and see a definite difference. Jesus tells us that we are to be “in” the world, not “of” the world. As I began to dissect verse 10 of Ephesians, I found myself asking the question- When the world looks at me, what do they see? Do they see Jesus or do they see the world? If someone came into my home, would they know that the Lord God dwelt here with us? If I am out and about during the day, would the world know that Jesus lives in me? There is a lost and broken world before us. We as Christians should be the light that they can run to. This is my opinion- and you can take it or leave it- but I am afraid that as Christians we have become too complacent, we have allowed compromise instead of standing firm on God’s Word.
We as a church have allowed worldly influences to creep into our church homes in the name of “not wanting to offend others”. If someone is offended by the gospel of Jesus Christ- then we as Christians are doing our jobs! The Cross of Jesus Christ is the greatest offense that has ever been and ever will be. If you have offended someone for being a Christian, then to God be the Glory! Did Paul, Peter, John or any of the other apostles say it was okay to “water down” the Word of God so that no one would be offended? No, God forbid!
John the Baptist was beheaded because he preached Jesus. Do we, as Christians preach Jesus? When Paul walked into a gentile city and saw all the idols and the altars to other Gods- did he say to them, “well, I know that is how you believe, and I will respect that?” No- instead he stood at the center of the city and said, “There is but One God! And that is Jesus Christ! Serve Him and Him only!”
Yes, we should do all we do with a heart of love for others- seeking their good and not ours. But love is also truth. If your child was going to run out into the street in front of a car and get killed, would you not do everything in your power to stop them? Why should we as Christians not do the same for those who are in the darkness, for those who are lost and going to end up in hell? Have we as Christians forgot that there is a hell, a dark and endless place where there is nothing but torment day and night?
At what cost are we willing to go to preach Christ? Are we afraid of being persecuted for our beliefs? Look at the martyrs- our examples in the Bible. Phillip was stoned to death for preaching Christ; Peter was hung upside down on a cross for preaching the truth. When did we forget how to be bold? When did we as a church say- “I’m not ‘called’ to be an evangelist.” When that is exactly what the Lord God has commanded we be? I am not going to allow my fear stop me anymore from preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, for He is the only One who will save you from the pits of hell. That is the simple truth.
Maybe the Lord has called me to preach His word in a different way than others. But I look at the church in the world, and sometimes my heart shudders within me. The world looks at Christianity as a joke. When will we as Christians step up and be bold for the God who loves us and gave Himself for us? Love, in its absolute purest form is laying down your own self for the benefit of others. Isn’t that what Christ did for you? For me? He gave Himself so that we could be saved from the eternal fire, and to a new and living hope of life with Him forever more- shouldn’t we be willing to do the same for others?  
I am a passionate person, and there are things in my life right now that I have “allowed” to slip in because I did not want to “cause any trouble” I did not want to give anyone offense. I did not want my faith to turn them away from Christ, but in all truth- by not standing upon God’s eternal and Holy word- and not speaking boldly the truth of Christ, I did exactly what I set out not to do- I turned them away from Christ.
Can I encourage us all today to go and be the bold Christian, the witness of the Light that God has commanded us all to be? If you are persecuted for your faith in Jesus, then may all the praise and Glory be to God forever and ever! We as a church body do not understand what persecution means- we have never really experienced it here in our little “safe” Christian nation. There is a book called, Foxes Book of Martyrs. It has all the past apostles and Disciples of Christ since the resurrection, and how they lived a bold and “non-conforming” life before the world. They are the examples we need to live by, without fear- just preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” AMEN!
“Walk as children of light..See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:8, 15-16.
We should walk as light, with a purpose because our time here is limited- and the days are getting closer to His return. What will the Lord find you doing when He comes for you?