Monday, October 31, 2016

The Cost of Our Faith

One of the reason I love my church is that our pastor tells it like it is. He doesn't sugar coat scripture. He gives us the precise meaning of the text and leaves the rest up to God's Holy Spirit.

There are some churches that alter scripture to make it appealing to their congregations. They change their theology to match the way of the world. (sarcasm alert) We wouldn't want to make anyone feel guilty. They might not come back.

There are also churches who feel they need to entertain to keep people's interest. They need to have the finest music and the right lighting. They tend to give topical sermons about things like counseling or divorce or, my personal favorite, giving.

What's wrong with God's Word just as it is? There are plenty of lessons in the Bible to provide years of teaching. Like today, Our pastor spent 60 minutes on six verses. Was it boring? No. Were we entertained? No. Were there video clips to drive the pastor's message home? No. We have the truth of God's Word and that is sifficient.

Yesterday's message for example was about the cost of our faith. Although we are currently going through the book of 1st Peter, the title of this blog's story came from Matthew. The words of Jesus.

34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it." - Matthew 10:34-38

Do we love Jesus more than anyone we know? Anyone? More than your boy friend or girl friend? More than our spouses? More than our own lives? I wonder. 

Here's another verse that could be used in conjunction with the verses you just read:

"21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." - Matthew 6:21

Is Jesus our treasure? Our our genie in a bottle?

So many of us want to keep living the lives we lived before we got saved. We want to keep our same friends. We want to do the same things. I have found myself drifting back at times.

Our faith will cost us. In some cases it will be loved family members because we have "changed." Which means, we don't like you anymore.

"Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?"
- 2 Corinthians 6:14

These are hard sayings but they are in the Bible foe us to follow. Are you being picked on by your "friends" because you are a Christian? We need to love Jesus more than our friends. And if a friendship leads us into sin, we need to terminate that friendship. Jesus must come first.

Examine all that comes at us from social media, television, movies, newscasts. Is it worthy of God? No? Then why do we have it in our lives? Would we be better off without it? These are all questions each of us must answer for ourselves.

Personally, I am going to limit my Facebook use. I am going to limit my television consumption. And here's my challenge for myself. Beginning November 1 I am going to track my time. Facebook, TV and movies versus reading the Bible, praying and serving. I challenge you to do the same.

Jesus must come first. Or we will find ourselves running last in His eyes.

Churches Using Carnal Means To Attract Visitors - Paul Washer
The Growing Cost of Faith In America Today - Alliance Defending Freedom

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