God’s Channel of Blessing

Apart from the ice sculptors, what we might expect from Winterlude is hardly cloaked in secrecy, nor was it intended to be. The homosexual agenda is being pushed on the public once more. And again it is being masked in the idea that they need to maintain their identity and wish to maintain the ground they have gained in society so far, even painting themselves as victims of discrimination and social injustices. They have gained a lot of territory for sure, seeing  it has become a hate crime now and may be challenged in court if you happened to have Biblical convictions and morals and make known how perverted their lifestyle appears to be before God and the damage it brings to society. God even becomes a target as the Bible’s teaching is made to sound like Christianity is the bad guy. Yet Bible readers know that God seeks to bring good to society.

As such God’s way to influence society is through the gospel. You only have to picture God’s messengers as filters and the gospel is what passes from them to you. You become recipients of God’s many blessings that come into your life from Christians around you. For instance, Christians are told to bless their enemies. Imagine that, if you may! Where attackers are not reciprocated with the same evil treatment that Christians have suffered, where many have died from the sword or guns of persecutors, or from maltreatment or injustices from government that limits and even jails Christians for supposedly “hate crime”, God calls the Believer to love their enemy and doing him good. God tells us to roll up our sleeves and get to work, telling us to bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse. (Romans 12:14, 17, 21) But it does not stop there. The Bible teaches to weep with those who weep. (v. 15b). Several years ago, a man who had broken laws in society, and did enough evil to the family to  violate whatever trust they may have may have had in him, died alone from a brief bout with cancer. His wife was joined by a few Believers who decided to attend and be with her in her grief.  Believers are characterized by a pure love for the Church, the world and even meant for enemies of the cross. God gives many outlets for this to happen in verses 9 – 21 where the Believer is to respond in a loving manner in the aid of others no matter what their relationship to us or circumstances may be. This is God’s way of filtrating the gospel and its accompanying benefits to people around us. God’s ways are never cloaked in a hidden agenda either. He says you must abhor evil, (figuratively the idea is to step back in horror when faced with sin, and flee from it.) In the same sentence it finishes the thought by telling us, to cling to that which is good (v.9). Although many consider sin attractive and even good since it produces pleasure, (many do not wish to call it sin but if they do, they laugh it off), but good actually is the word for “intrinsically good.”  To find this description of good, we would be wise to look outside of ourselves. God is good since He is perfectly holy. His laws are good since they proceed from Him and demonstrate His Character. His Will is good since it proceeds from His Revealed Will to us, which is the Bible.

God’s purpose for His Son was to come to earth and forfeit His rights to become a willing and innocent substitute for our sins. In doing so, He gave us the only way to escape the coming condemnation. We all have to face God’s judgment and the verse below gives you ample reason to reconsider your life in view of what is still to come and ask Christ forgiveness for your sins against Him.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

 

Lives on Display

Have you ever have seen a front display windows at a fancy store where you paused to admire the clothing. Every piece of clothing matches and fits snugly on the mannequin. Merchandisers make sure that their store window dressing are attractive and popular so to draw attention that customers might come inside and make purchases. Outer displays, however, do not end with commerce. You can say that what we stand for in life are in the public’s eye almost all the time. What others see of our actions, attitudes, motives, generally speaking our way of living makes a difference. If you were to be asked what is behind your lifestyle how would you answer that question?

There can only be two possibilities that you can respond to the way you live in this world. You can say that you choose to follow human standards or you embrace Christian standards. Christ message that is popularly known as the “Sermon on the Mount” teaches about the type and behavior of a person found in His Kingdom, which when compared to the world’s lifestyle stands paradoxical to it. What the world wishes for themselves is happiness and success, mostly sought through self-will. As his goal, the Believer seeks to be Christlike, which involves asking God to be delivered from the temptations of this world and receiving it through divine grace to resist giving in to the secular thinking which interprets life without the Bible. In the opening words of the Sermon on the Mount, the character of the Believer is described as being: poor in spirit, pure in heart, peacemakers, meekness, righteousness, mercy and mourning. Just for a moment, consider the last trait, mourning. Mourning over what? The emotional response of mourning is because of our sins. Sins we have committed against God and man. This kind of sadness is hardly found in our society. Rather, much is done to cover-up our sins, to lie or excuse our actions is most often the case. But a Christian does not see sin as a “mistake in judgment or slip-up”, but a violation of God’s laws that demands a penalty so we are commanded to confess and forsake them. Our mourning is a daily matter, and though it seems antithetical to the unregenerate thoughts, Jesus promises happiness for those who demonstrate such grief. The nature of this grief over sins found in the individual shows that we are a true Believer and a servant of King Jesus. True happiness is the product of salvation and is showcased in a godly character. It may sound like misery to some who seek riches, glamour and popularity that to live humbly and self-sacrificially and face persecution without retaliation is the desired state, but we should understand that the Christian operates by another standard altogether different than that of the world. The central point to this sermon by Jesus are these words: “I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (5:20)

Perhaps your perception has been wrong about what you have heard and seen about Christ through others so far. On display may have been Christians that had failed to live Christlike, to demonstrate the virtues found in Jesus and taught. Jesus illustrates theses as salt which has lost its flavor or its effectiveness. That is a shame since the drawing power of character to lead others to learn more about Christ is hindered by a weakened testimony. Christians should not compromise but remain true to their faith in Christ or evangelism and efforts to please God are adversely affected.

The non-believer, is encouraged to read Christ’s sermon in the gospel of Matthew chapters 5-7 in its entirety, and see for yourself the description of the follower of Christ. At the end of this sermon, illustrated for us are both ways and the outcome that a man can live his life, the man who builds on sand and the man who builds on a rock. Will you choose the solid foundation for your life by following Christ and enter into eternal life, or keep to your own model. and perish in the end?

But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on the house, and it fell. And great was the fall. (Matthew 7:26-27)