Let's Talk About what It Means to be a follower in these Pandemic Times. I think this is important for every follower to hear.
15If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. 16And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you do know Him, for He abides with you and will be in you. 18I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19In a little while, the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you also will live. 20On that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you. 21Whoever has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.”
22Judas (not Iscariot) asked Him, “Lord, why are You going to reveal Yourself to us and not to the world?” 23Jesus replied, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24Whoever does not love Me does not keep My words. The word that you hear is not My own, but it is from the Father who sent Me.
25All this I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you.
27Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid. 28You heard Me say, ‘I am going away, and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29And now I have told you before it happens, so that when it does happen, you will believe. (John 14:15-29 BSB)
Brothers and sisters, I know that there is a lot going on in the world today that is strange and frightening. As followers of Jesus, however, let me encourage you that, while we remain vigilant and make informed decisions, we also do not give in to the fear that is manufactured for us to consume. Tell me, what are earth, literally – what on earth – are you afraid of if you truly believe that God is sovereign and that your salvation is the cornerstone of your existence?
Go ahead follower of Christ, tell me. Tell me that what Jesus preaches is not to be believed when He tells us this in John chapter 16, “31“Do you finally believe?” Jesus replied. 32“Look, an hour is coming and has already come when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and you will leave Me all alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 33I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!”
Breathe – Pray - Repeat
God Bless You All and I will See You in Church! It’s Important!
1And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2in which you used to walk when you conformed to the ways of this world and of the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit who is now at work in the sons of disobedience. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, fulfilling the cravings of our flesh and indulging its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature children of wrath. 4But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ, even when we were dead in our trespasses. It is by grace you have been saved! 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages He might display the surpassing riches of His grace, demonstrated by His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
8For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance as our way of life. 11Therefore remember that formerly you who are Gentiles in the flesh and called uncircumcised by the so-called circumcision (that done in the body by human hands)— 12remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
14For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has torn down the dividing wall of hostility 15by abolishing in His flesh the law of commandments and decrees. He did this to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace 16and reconciling both of them to God in one body through the cross, by which He extinguished their hostility. 17He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
19Therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens of the saints and members of God’s household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. 21In Him the whole building is fitted together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in Him you too are being built together into a dwelling place for God in His Spirit.
That is the full text of Ephesians chapter 2 from the Berean Study Bible. There is, perhaps, no better and more succinct explanation of the Gospel message in all of Paul’s letters. It is beautiful and speaks of not only the power of God, but of how we are grafted into the vine and, no matter who we are, where we come from, or what we have done – we become ONE by the unifying power of God’s Holy Spirit within us. THIS, is church!Moreover, as followers of Jesus, we are called not only to understand the gospel message, but to proclaim it! The question I am asking, starting with myself, believe me, is, “How well do we do that?” If someone sat beside me right now and said, “Pastor Brian, I want to believe what you believe and I want to be saved.” Could I open my Bible and using the Truth and the power of our Holy scriptures, lead that person to a saving knowledge of Christ crucified and risen?
ow let me ask this, “Could you?” You see, the simple fact that stares every Christian in the face is that every person we know, and every person we don’t know, is one heartbeat away from either heaven or hell. Does that matter to you? Does it matter to US?
Chamily, let me challenge you on two fronts: take the time this week when you come to church to strike up a conversation with someone that you do not know all that well. Maybe sit in a different place and experience the service differently; maybe go and sit and pray with someone who you might only know by first name. Remember, it is not just a good idea that Jesus gives us – it is a command, “Love one another as I have loved you.”
Also, give this a try… sit with somebody and share the gospel message with them – even if they are already saved – practice. Yes, practice. Maybe in front of a mirror, maybe with your spouse or child or friend…practice. Again, sharing the gospel is not just a suggestion by Jesus – It is a command; so we must deepen our understanding of the Word and the gospel message so we: 1. Don’t avoid doing what we are called to do, or 2. Simply sharing our personal story of what Jesus has done for us is NOT sharing the Gospel – it is the RESULT of the Gospel. We must stand on the authority of scripture when we talk about a person’ need of salvation (Romans 3:10-23); The curse of sin and death that is upon us (romans 5:12); The Way provided by Jesus Christ (Romans 5:8); and salvation by the grace of God alone (Romans 6:23) For, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)
God Bless You All and I will See You in Church! It’s Important!
Pastor Brian is the senior pastor of Churchtown Church of God and regularly shares his thoughts & insight here - he invites you to join in the discussion of life & faith!