Tragedy tends to bring people together very quickly; we are familiar with slogans such as “united we stand” “Boston strong” It is in those moments that we realize that unless we remain united we won’t survive. It is during those times that we stop being selfish and think of others; it is in those times that we see people for who they are and not based on their skin color, political preferences, social status, etc. All of a sudden, people begin to care for each other in ways you never thought possible. The disheartening thing is that this is the only time some people experience unity or benefit from it.
One of the most discussed topics in the Bible is the love of God, but I believe it’s one of the most misunderstood when left to our own explanation. To understand God’s love, its nature, we must go to the Scriptures to see how God himself defines his love. Sometimes we talk about God’s love being unconditional, but we fail to expand or explain really what that term means. Today I would like us to spend some time looking at God’s love so we can understand better what we mean when we attach it to words such as unconditional or conditional.
The word Christians was given to the followers of Christ because their lives were Christ-centered. Their lives reflected the teachings of their Lord; their communities were Christ-centered; their love for each other was also evident to outsiders. Sadly, this is no longer the case in our society where the word Christian is thrown so loosely.
“The Lone Ranger and Tonto; Laurel and Hardy. Batman and Robin. It was Snoopy and Charlie. Friends through thick and thin. Friends to the very end. I think you would agree. That’s how it is for You and me.” Geoff Moore and the distance.
We could add to this list, Woody and Buzz, captain America and Bucky. Frodo and Sam. These characters reflect true friendship. When we read and study the Bible we also find great friendships.
Peter had made a promise to Jesus that he wasn’t able to fulfill. He promised Jesus to never abandon him even if the other disciples would. That Friday morning, as Jesus was being taken to the authorities. Peter denied Jesus three times. He swore to have never known him. Jesus was killed and all the expectations and dreams the disciples had about him were shattered by a cross. The disciples didn’t expect the resurrection,
If you are truly a follower of Jesus, you will soon learn that there are qualities or characteristics that would identify you as one. There are things you do and choose not to do that would show others whether you are a disciple of Jesus or not. It’s very easy to identify followers of Jesus in the New Testament time. They are the ones who strive to work on their relationship with Jesus.
Jesus defined the type of relationship he wants with his followers. When he said, if anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. The Bible uses tons of figures of speech (metaphors) to help us understand our God’s relationship with us. God is known as our Father and his people his children. (Our Father who art in Heaven…) The Potter and clay, the vine and branches; the husband and bride; God is known as a shepherd and his children are known as sheep. The Lord is my shepherd.
Jesus didn’t fit the mold of religion in the society he grew up in. As a Jewish rabbi, he did things that went against the dorms of religion. This is why more often than not, we find the religious groups mad at Jesus when they saw him doing things that went against their cultural and traditional expectations. Jesus was accused of being a drunkard, a glutton, a friend of tax collectors and sinners. Matt.11:19 Jesus often was invited to dine with tax collectors and he would go. The reason Jesus would hang out with sinners was because they are the ones who need grace. They are lost and need to be found. He said, I didn’t come to call righteous people, but sinners to repentance. Luke 5:30-32
The word Christian has lost its true biblical meaning; there are lots of people who claim to be Christians today and they have no idea what it means to be a Biblical Christian or may be ignorant of whom were called Christians in the Bible. In a world of political correctness and relativism is hard to distinguish true Christians from nominal Christians or Christians by name.
The story of the preacher and the man: “Son you need to join the Lord’s army.” “I am in the Lord’s army already pastor” said the man. “Why do I only see you in church twice a year?” “Oh, I belong to the secret service.”
The majority of us are familiar with the term undercover cop or agent. One whose main purpose blend in while hiding his true identity. Undercover: done or working in a secret way in order to catch criminals or collect information.
What if I told you that for the rest of this week, in every text you send, every email you write, every conversation you have regardless who you talk to, you have to skip every third word. No matter what, you have to skip every third word. How do you think you you’d do that? How long do you think you would last? How helpful or productive do you think you’d be?
It would be awkward if not downright frustrating, right?
It would be so hard to get across the simplest of ideas
There is a phrase people like to throw out very loosely. “Only God can judge me” When people say this, this only partially true because in saying it, you ignore the great deal of judgment that takes place around you. The place where you live have authority figures who will judge your behavior; at work they will evaluate your effort and dedication (employee of the month) that is a judgment call;