Archive for March, 2018
“You are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13a).
The most obvious quality of salt is its seasoning effect. As salt brings flavor to food, so should our faith spice up life. Sadly, many professing believers portray just the opposite; practicing a kind of faith that takes the flavor out of life. By the saltiness of our lives, we have the opportunity to make others thirsty for Christ.
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes (Luke 10:13).
Chorazin, Bethsaida, along with Capernaum (v.15), are the cities of Andrew, Philip, and Peter. Just north of the Sea of Galilee, these three locales formed a kind of “Bible Belt” in the days of Jesus; the place where the majority of his miracles were performed. In contrast, Tyre and Sidon, when mentioned in the Old Testament, are always a representation of everything that stands in opposition to God. The warning Jesus offered to the “Bible Belt” of his day is no less a warning to the so called “Bible Belt” of our day. With our privilege of accessibility to the clear, unrestricted proclamation of the gospel, what is it accomplishing in us? Woe!!!
“The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me” (Luke 10:16).
Having a faith that actually informs your life can make others uncomfortable. It’s no different than a message that is scripturally based—it brings conviction. Few people like being under conviction; that’s why most avoid the company of those seeking to live their faith and prefer sermons that “tickle” the ears and accommodate the lifestyle they have already chosen to live. Don’t take it personally. It has nothing to do with you.
“Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes; and greet no one on the way” (Luke 10:3-4).
Living with a sense of mission is to live strategically; with intentionality. As his followers, and knowing we are sojourners, pilgrims, resident aliens, just passing through this life (Hebrews 11:13; 1 Peter 2:11), Jesus instructs us to, essentially, travel light. It’s a purposeful existence that doesn’t “put down roots” into this present world; that avoids becoming so heavily vested in the offerings of this world that it becomes painful to lose or leave behind what has been acquired. It’s difficult to convince others of the superiority of the eternal when they see us spending all that we are on the temporal.
“And He was saying to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest’” (Luke 10:2).
None of us are looking for something else to do. What we desperately desire is something meaningful to do. This is where the gospel changes everything. What was once the monotony of the mundane becomes the life of living on mission; that wherever I am, I am there for the purpose of being the presence of Christ, to be a light in the dark, to bring hope and cheer to brokenness and despondency. The need is great. Be one of the few.
“Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come” (Luke 10:1).
Nowhere is the necessity of your role in the mission of Christ more evident than in this verse of scripture. Here it becomes obvious that the work of the gospel and the advance of God’s reign cannot be accomplished by just twelve disciples. This God-ordained endeavor requires gift sets, personalities, and energies exceeding those of any one individual or group of individuals; it necessitates you and me being on mission as well. Where our feet find themselves is where Christ desires to be present.
“May those who wait for You not be ashamed through me, O Lord God of hosts; May those who seek You not be dishonored through me, O God of Israel” (Psalm 69:6).
Whether we realize it or not, each of us exerts an unseen influence on the lives of those around us. By our attitudes and actions, we engrave impressions on the minds of others that can never be erased. We tend to forget that those outside the church are watching us and they seem to expect more out of us than we expect of ourselves. To be called by God is to be nominated by him to be a positive agent of influence in the world around us.
“So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).
While some read the saga of the prodigal as a tale of a rebellious child, I have long seen it as a story of a father’s love; his desire to be reconciled; to see the relationship with his son to be restored. It is the gospel story of redeeming love; an active love that welcomes the return of the most defiant sinner…even you and me.
“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid” (Proverbs 12:1).
The greatest contradiction of a so-called disciple is an unteachable spirit. Because a disciple is a “learner,” there should be an insatiable curiosity and unceasing pursuit of the knowledge that is to be discovered in Christ Jesus. The greatest danger to this quest is the delusional notion that you have already acquired it.
“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:35).
Those on the outside looking in will sometimes say to people of faith, “Why are you throwing your life away? You’re missing out on so much.” Even Jesus had to deal with those seeking to steer his life toward the “greener pastures” of bigger and better things (John the Baptist in Matthew 3:14; Peter in Mark 8:32). Yet, on those occasions when he might have been tempted to “save” his life and ministry, but chose instead to throw his life away to the purposes of God, at each one the Father honored his sacrifice. Your going to throw your life away to something. Throw it away to something that matters; that stands the test of eternity; that gains the applause of heaven and not men.