In today's society, we have become prone to kick against all authority. Many children have lost respect for their parents; citizens have no respect for authorities; students fail to respect their teachers, and humanity has lost respect and awe in reference to the Almighty God. We have placed ourselves above law, authority, and even God. As the new authority, we have become the ones who determine truth and what is best, with no regard the Creator. Setting aside God and His good and perfect will, we make decisions based on what feels right or what benefits our health or wealth. I pray that as followers of Christ, we can clearly see that society's attitude toward authority has lead to destruction in many ways.
The Bible has much to say about His people and authority. We will continue in our series, The Church, by God's Design, looking at Jesus - the Head of the Body. The following passages will be helpful in preparing for this Sunday's message:
Ephesians 1:15-23 Colossians 1:15-20 Hebrews 1
I have been working with college students this past year and have been greatly encouraged by this age for a number of reasons. They are asking the right questions; they want to know the truth; they want their lives to count for eternity. They seem to want to know God and His will and way for their lives. They seem to be willing to pause in life, spend time with God and ask the following questions:
1. What should I be doing with my life? 2. Why should I be doing this with my life? 3. How can this come about in my life?
Many of us in the older generations are asking these questions a bit differently:
1. What in the world am I doing with this life? 2. Why in the world am I doing this? 3. How can I change what I have done with this life?
I want to encourage you to pause. I know you don't feel that you have to time pause for anything, but I don't think we can afford to not pause and take inventory on our lives.
What consumes your (your family's) life? To whom or what is your time mostly dedicated? Where is your commitment? To whom are you most willing to say "no"?
When we go to Haiti (predominately Voodoo) to share the gospel, many are willing to accept Jesus; but they accept Him as an addition to Voodoo, their existing cult or religion. They must keep their previous religion as a back up, incase Jesus somehow fails. We call this "syncretism". We do not believe in syncretism (or do we?). True followers of Christ denounce the old way of life and trust Jesus and seek to walk in a new way of life, a life committed to Christ and His kingdom. Yet, it seems that we have our own form of syncretism. Many claim Christ, but accept Him as an addition to sportsism, individualism, and materialism. These isms are dominating the church today.
Our appetite for the things of this world seems larger than our appetite for the spread of the gospel and our spiritual growth as the body of Christ. Everything is getting flashier, faster, and fancier, and we cannot deny ourselves. We always seem to rationalize our need for the best, biggest, and most when it comes to the things of this world that rust, rot, and fade away. And our commitment to investing in getting the gospel to the nations and maturing as the body has diminished.
The things we have committed to in life also reveal the idols of our hearts. We have become extremely comfortable with being more committed to coaches and sports teams than to our spiritual family. Players are told they will not play if they go to youth camp over the summer and miss practice. Sundays and Wednesdays are no longer protected. The world will not protect these precious times for the church, and it seems that many in the church are more committed to the coach and team, rather than their eternal family. Many of us have confessed the weariness that comes in chasing these idols during the week. And we have pursued them so diligently that we have nothing left to contribute to the family of God.
We seem to value our child's ability to run, throw, or field a ball over their growth as a follower of Christ and an active participant in the body of Christ. We love seeing them high-five a team mate for a ball that was well hit or caught, yet the moments of celebration of what God is doing in and through our children are few and far between. We are more concerned about their physical abilities and getting a win than we are their character and spiritual growth. Dear people, we are making the wrong sacrifices. We are denying the eternal for the temporary and we are teaching our children to do the same. No longer is it students leaving the church when they get to college, but families are leaving the church as we approach certain sports seasons.
Finally, individualism is taking over. Apple has seemed to nail it. If the logo of temptation as an apple with a bite out of it is not enough, they have cleverly named their products iPhone, iPad, iCloud, iTunes. It is all about the individual. This thinking is in opposition to what the scripture teaches. The family/community is of greater value than the individual. Yet, we have become consumers when it comes to the family of God. What can the church offer me? I am here as long as I agree and it pleases me? I will go when I want to and serve if I feel like it.
Dear people we have the One True Savior Jesus Christ who took on flesh and lived and died and rose again that we may be freed from the facades of this world and surrendered to Him and His kingdom. This life is extremely short when eternity is in view. I beg us as a people who profess to know Christ to pause and evaluate our lives. I beg us as a people to hunger and thirst for God and His Word and follow Him. I beg us as a people to repent from our idols and return to our One True Love - Jesus Christ. I beg us as a people to love, encourage, and disciple one another for the health of the bride of Christ.
Pause and read and think on the word of God. Pause and pray and listen to the word of God. Pause and commit to live differently for the glory of God.
Our time is short. May we be wise and make the most of our time. To Him be the glory forever and ever.
with love, in the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ our Lord,