Who are we, those who call ourselves Christians? Sometimes it’s hard to tell because that term is used fairly loosely these days. Well obviously, the beginning of the word is self explanatory, Christ. That’s Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. The ‘ian’ means that we belong to Christ. We are of Christ. Who should we dedicate our lives to or pay allegiance to? Jesus Christ, our Savior, of course. But that means that we are more of the body of Christ than we are a part of our family, affiliated with a political party, even loyalty to our nation.
We are living in a culture that is not our home. We are not of this world, but we are a part of it. We must remember who we belong to. We have been placed here on earth by God, immersed in a culture that we are not to become a part of it.
While we are here, we are to seek peace and prosperity to where God has carried us. We are where he wants us to be.
Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.Jer. 9:7
So, while we are here we must live in this world always remembering who we belong to. Be a blessing to those around you, working for peace. We belong to a different kingdom and a different King. As such, we are soldiers warring against bad ideas, sin, and spiritual dark forces, but never against people. We represent the Good News of the Savior Jesus Christ who died on our behalf.
There’s always something or someone trying to get us to join their team. Who you hang out with determines the influences on your life and the ways you’ll be pulled. But, we want to be shaped by Christ more than any other influence whether it be social media, news media, political party or nation.
We must be intentional about the time we spend focused on Jesus. How much time have you devoted to looking into who Jesus is and what he stands for? Develop a relationship with him and see where he leads you? If you’re not focused on Jesus, other forces will vie for your allegiance.
When we look at how God dealt with bad ideas that harmed people, things like idol worship, wars, and other immoral behavior, God imposed attacks that wiped out the evilness in the world. But, we also read that our attitudes toward people who promote these bad ideas should be that we embrace, build up, encourage the people. However, we are to tear down the bad ideas. It’s not necessarily an easy thing to do.
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit though the bond of peace.Eph. 4:1-3
The emphasis of today’s message is about how we deal with and relate to Christians. This is a letter that Paul writes to the church in Ephesus while he is in prison. He writes from the perspective of the persecuted, not the privileged.
The church has always spoken more clearly when it speaks from the prison than the palace.Jon Porter sermon 11/22/2020
Isn’t that the truth?! And as Christians, we need to represent the Kingdom as being mature. Speaking the truth in love is how we grow as Christians. It’s not just saying that we do something out of love, but actually living it out.
Simon invited Jesus to a dinner party at his house, but when Jesus got there, Simon showed none of the customary reception was given to Jesus. Simon kind of snubbed him. Then a woman who lived a sinful life came to the party when he heard Jesus was there. Jesus read the mind of Simon and this was Jesus’ response.
The he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven-for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”Luke 7: 44-47
Did you catch that first line? Jesus turned to the woman, but spoke to Simon. Jesus loved the victim while he spoke love to the victimizer. Do you often rebuke others with harshness instead of love? Because that’s what comes natural, but Jesus shows us a better way. This is how we should pattern our behavior toward others.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.Eph. 4: 31-32
Paul shows us the things that will keep us from entering the peace of Christ. Forms of hatred that are not in the likeness of Christ. He also tells how we should treat others. The same way Christ treats us, giving us a gift that we don’t deserve. That’s why they call it grace.
Our pastor encouraged us to read all of Ephesians 4. It includes such good advice about unity in the body of Christ and how to live as children of the light. I look forward to digging deeper into this Scripture to help me grow in my knowledge of living to be Christ-like.