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Lasting Lessons

Recently, I finished up a sermon series where I tackled some of the pressing social issues of our day.  I hoped that the church would know and live Biblical convictions.  I taught about issues that fill our news feeds with headlines and issues that fill our local government gatherings with concern, debate, and demands for action.  I did this to equip the church to live with God’s unchanging truth in an ever-changing world.  

Enjoy these lasting lessons on how we can engage in the issues of our day with clarity of conviction, the courage of action, and devotion from the heart.

First, if we stand up for Jesus, we build our lives on His truth, not through our experiences.   Building your lives on God’s truth rather than your experience rejects the idea that truth is relative.  The mantra of our day is that you can live your truth and I will live my truth, but this fall short of Go’s truth.  Read Jesus’ words in John 8:31-32.  “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  Jesus makes it clear.  His teaching is truth.  Not a truth.  Not some truth.  Not a version of the truth.  His teaching is the truth and those who believe and grow as disciples hold to His truth.  And here is the amazing thing.  His truth is where we find freedom.  Get this:  Every command in Scripture that we think is limiting is actually for our freedom.  With our choices unchecked, we will enslave ourselves to wrong thinking, wrong living, and all of the wrong outcomes.  As the church of Jesus Christ, we refuse to trade truth for our own broken, defiled thinking and when we live Biblical convictions, we show that life God’s way truly is better for us and best for those around us.

Second, if we stand up for Jesus, then we must stand up like Jesus.  That means that we stand up with both grace and truth just like Jesus did when He lived in our midst.  Remember how John described who Jesus was and what Jesus did in  John 1:14.  “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”   If we forget grace, we condemn people that Jesus seeks to forgive.  If we forget the truth, we condone behaviors that Jesus came to change.  Jesus gives us grace and truth so we condemn no one and we condone sinful behaviors.  What will history say about us, as the church today?  Will we be known for CONDEMNING, CONDONING, or SEEING THE GRACE & TRUTH of God unleashed?

Third, if we stand up for Jesus, be ready to be treated like Jesus.  Jesus was hated because of His commitment to grace and truth.  Some saw His love as too liberal while others saw His teaching as too restrictive.  Today, our world needs Christians that are so committed to grace and truth that they will be accused of being way too conservative with truth and way too liberal with love at the exact same time.  But be warned, grace and truth aren’t always popular and may even result in people turning against you.  Jesus warned of this in John 15:18-19.  “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”  

When you are targeted by others because of the grace you live with and the truth you live by, don’t take it personally.  

They aren’t hating you.  They are hating Christ in you.  Don’t get defensive.  Innocent people don’t have to defend themselves.  Don’t revisit your convictions or hide your Godliness.  Live your devotion with the courage of your convictions.
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