To communicate is the act or process of using words, sounds, signs or behavior to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc to someone else.
With the creation of the internet, technology, we have means of communication at our disposal by a click of a button. With all the technological advancements you would think that it would be impossible for us to miscommunicate or miss the message. But we do it all the time.
Since the beginning of time, God has been communicating with mankind. God has sent messages regarding his plan for us; his plan for the world. However, some people have tried to twist what God has said, others completely ignore it; some emphatically receive it and do what he says.
During this time people tend to worry more than usual. People have to get their Christmas shopping done. People worry about their traveling and the lines they will have to deal with at the stores and on the road. There are some people very anxious to the point of desperation as they wait to see what will happen to our country with the new president elected.
Benjamin Franklin once said: “The discontented man finds no easy chair.” There are many who struggle with contentment. Some people think that in order to be happy in life, they must accomplish something. If I get this promotion, then I will be happy; if I marry this person or that one I will truly live happily. If my political candidate wins I will be happy. In the last couple of weeks, we have been exposed to lots of unhappy people on social media; they are letting others know how displeased, discontented they are with outcome of the election.
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
David Clark, minister of Central Christian Church in Beloit, WI was invited to speak at Lincoln Christian University in 2007 during a conference “Leading your church to be a missional community”
David was told to share his story of how the church grew from the hundreds to the thousands. David said that people would normally come to him and asked him about his success. He said that he just broke himself before God. “Brokenness is good because only broken hearts find the heart of God.” “You know what happens when you get a heart well broken and it melts with the heart of God, you get a heart for lost people.” David Clark
David told the story of how he got broken before God, the leadership team and then the whole church and this was the reason why they were being missional in their community.
When a baby is born the mother feeds him/her milk. Milk is the main food that provides the nutrients necessary for the baby to grow. However, there will be something really wrong if all you feed the baby is milk when he is 2 years of age, 4, 6 etc. When a person becomes a Christian Scripture calls this process a new birth. Just like a new born baby, we too are given milk to drink when we are infants in the faith. The Hebrews to whom the book of Hebrews is addressed never got beyond the infant stage of their faith. This is not a unique phenomenon; here in the 21 century we have Christians who are still in the kindergarten stage of their faith and they seem to be content there; they seem not to be bothered by it. If you are 10 years of age, 15, 30, 60 and you are still in kindergarten not even the chair fits you anymore.
We talked about following Jesus as a race in which at times you truly progress; however, sometimes you feel as though you are moving backward. It’s easy to believe when things go well in your life, when you have “mountain top” experiences; when you feel closer to God; however, it is in the valley moments, those times when you are not in control that we tend to doubt God; for some it is during trials, suffering and turmoil that they question God. I think is safe to say that the majority of us at one time or another have struggled with trusting God wholeheartedly; perhaps you are truly wrestling right now with doubts and unbelief. How can you overcome these struggles?
As followers of Jesus we know that it’s a joy to be a disciple of Jesus; however, this doesn’t mean that everything will go well with us in this life. To follow Jesus is spoken of in Scripture as a race you enter in. At times you may feel very good in how you run and progress in your walk; but at times it turns out to be very difficult and the temptation to quit or give up will always be there. Perhaps you know people who stopped running their race; they stopped following Jesus because it got too difficult. Where do you find the motivation, to continue running your race for God? When do you get encouragement and strength to run? The author of Hebrews wrote to Christians who were going through lots of trials and persecution; their being Christians cost them their very lives. He encouraged them to keep themselves focused on running their race. He exhorted them to persevere.
How does the Bible identify Christians? There are marks or behavioral traits that identified the followers of Jesus.
We have been looking at these marks: Brotherly love (John 12:35) By this people will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.
As individuals, what we do or choose not to do sends messages to people regarding our passion, values and commitment.
This is why we read in the Bible we must be careful how we live. Ephe.5:15 Be very careful, then how you live-not as unwise but wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
The Bible highlights marks or signs that identify those who were true followers of Jesus. The first one we talked about two weeks ago is brotherly love, love among your church family. Jesus said the world will know you are my disciples if you love one another.
It’s been 15 years since life in America changed; some of you still remember what you were doing when you saw or heard the news that our country was under attack. This event hit us to the core, it affected our economy, travel, security infrastructure; it created a lot of changes in the way we do life in our nation and how we look at the world in general. Things have never been the same. Sometimes you are hit with situations that shake you at the core of your existence; you may not even know how you will be able to move forward in life. Where do you run? To whom do you turn? What do you do when you feel hopeless, defenseless?
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.