Last week I talked to you about the new identity God’s people have because of their relationship with Jesus. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Being a Christian is to have a new identity. The Bible uses lots of metaphors or imageries to help us understand who we are and what we are supposed to do. We are Christ’s ambassadors in this world…
When you become a follower of Jesus you made a transition from death to life, from your old self, to a new self in Christ; you transition from darkness into light.
One of my favorite scenes in the movie Rush hour is when Inspector Lee meet detective Johnson. Johnson was practicing defusing a bomb as the clock was ticking and she needed to make a decision and had only 15 seconds. She then gets distracted by Carter and ended up cutting the wrong wire and booom “I have bad news Johnson, we’re all dead. “I was distracted sir” “Distractions are going to occur in the field, this is why we call this practice. If you can’t handle pressure, then quit.”
For some the Christmas celebration would continue until January 6th Some have started to take off their decorations and getting ready for valentine’s Day. People respond differently. We have seen the responses of people in the Christmas story. How are you going to respond to Jesus? What are you giving Jesus today; this new year that begins tomorrow?
Maybe you have heard people say that they love Jesus, but don’t like the church. These people think they can have a relationship with Jesus apart from his church. There is even a book written entitled “They like Jesus, but not the church” by Dan Kimball. There are so many wrong things with claiming to love Jesus and then not loving his church. If you don’t love the church, then you don’t love God. IF you don’t love your brother and sister, how can the love of God be in you?
Followers of Jesus are to imitate his teachings; there are many people who called themselves Christians, but their lives, behavior don’t reflect Jesus. I think people should stop calling themselves Christian if they are not going to love others the way Jesus asked us to love them. Another area in which many Christians misrepresent Jesus in our world, is when it comes to forgiveness. There are followers of Jesus who have a really difficult time forgiving a brother or sister. If you are one of those who really struggle forgiving their brother or sister, I hope you are ready to journey through God’s word so we can see why forgiveness really matters.
You can be very religious and still not know what you worship. You could be attending church your whole life and still not know Jesus. Not because you go to a church where they talk about Jesus makes you into a Christian. You may attend a church and know the rituals, practices and still not know Jesus.
Jesus himself said that at the end of times, there will be people that have a form of religion, people who thought knew Jesus or had a relationship with him. They will be shocked to find out they will not be with Jesus.
Part of being a kingdom person in this world is to be faithful stewards of the resources God has entrusted to us. When Jesus started his earthly ministry; he began to preach “repent, the kingdom of God is near” (Matt.4:17). Jesus taught many things concerning the kingdom of heaven in the gospel according to Matthew. Through his teachings, we can understand better what the kingdom is all about and the role we play as part of it.
“A kingdom person” is the one willing to adjust his decisions to God’s decision even if God’s decision is not the one preferred.” (Tony Evans). Based on this definition a kingdom person is the one willing place God’s agenda over his/her own.
That definition is simple, the complicating part is knowing when my decisions are God’s decisions and not just my own. With every decision we make in God’s kingdom, we either help advance the kingdom or we hinder its advancement. Even in church we may hinder the kingdom of God from moving forward because we are not willing to adjust our expectations to God’s expectations.
We may find ourselves doing things Christians are supposed to do, for selfish reason. Our Lord spoke about this on the sermon on the mountain. Jesus started this teaching with a warning “Beware, be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before others in order to be seen they them.
Last week we talked about the idea of faith, how to believe or trust is evident; it is proved by your actions. Where James, the brother of Jesus, teaches us that faith without action is dead. Jesus always applauded people’s faith or trust in him. People’s faith in Jesus was based on what they already knew about him. They had the confidence that Jesus was the one who could fix their problem. Jesus commended those who showed faith, but reprimanded those who showed lack of faith. O you of little faith, why did you doubt.
“Mission exists because worship doesn’t” (John Piper) The implication here is there are people worshiping the wrong thing or the wrong deity. Our job as missionaries in the culture is to get people into a relationship with the true God of the universe, so that they can worship and glorify him.
Last week we talked about worship; Webster’s definition: The act of showing respect and love for a god; excessive admiration; reverence offered to a divine being.
Every Sunday we gather here to have our “Worship service.” Churches across the country and around the world meet together to worship. Many attend church, but only a minority worships or at least understands worship. Worship is one of those words we throw around in church a lot, but many times we quite don’t understand what worship is all about. How do you know you have worshiped God? How do you know you are truly worshiping God?