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.
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.
There are a great number of people who claim to be Christians or followers of Christ, who think they can follow Jesus in their own way, in their own terms. This is the kind of people that Kyle Idleman calls “fans” of Jesus, not followers of Jesus. Francis Chan says it this way. “There are people who truly believe to be followers of Jesus but their lives look nothing like His”
The question “Who is Jesus?” has baffled minds for ages. This is a very dangerous question because your eternity depends on how you answer it. There are lots of people today, even in churches who still don’t know who Jesus is. I love the first line in the gospel of Mark. He wrote this gospel so that people would know who Jesus is. Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
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.
Everyone claims to believe in something or someone; however, at times, such claim doesn’t match the actions. Faith is defined by Webster as a strong belief or trust in someone or something. A system of religious beliefs.
Faith, biblically speaking is: belief, trust or even confidence in someone or something. Faith is never portrayed as a religious system in Scripture. Jesus never said to someone, your religious system has made you well. Nevertheless, there is a great number of people who understand faith today as a system or religion. They would ask you: what faith do you belong to? Meaning what religious institution are you affiliated with? When the Bible talks about someone having faith, it refers to someone trusting, believing or having confidence in someone or something. Everyone believes or trusts; you can tell whether someone truly believes or not.
Life is full of choices, we choose daily: the clothes we are going to wear that day, the colors, and the food we are going to eat (here you may make a choice that is healthier than others). When you buy a phone or computer, you choose what works better for you financially but you also about the quality. We make decisions based on what we know, our preferences, based on our research, what is more suitable for us.
“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?
We are in the second week of this New Year. I hope and pray you are still doing well in what you pledged to achieve in 2017. My hope and prayer is that in addition to the many things you’d like to do or accomplish, that you don’t neglect to work on your relationship with the LORD. Don’t get too busy in life that you end up neglecting the most important, God. Joshua challenged the nation of Israel; in the last chapter of the book of Joshua we read how God fulfilled his promise to his people-to give them an inheritance. (A fertile land). Joshua challenged the nation to be faithful to God as they went to enjoy their inheritance. The book ends with the nation committing herself to serve and worship God. They pledged themselves to never forget the LORD.
Every year businesses across the world take inventory to check what they have; they evaluate the products, goods, items etc. At the beginning of each year people tend to make resolutions, which in a sense is the way they make inventory of what they would like to do in the New Year. A new year just began; it will bring to us its challenges and struggles. Have you taken an inventory of your life? What you did and what you’d like to do?