August 2017  
SMTWTFS
  12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  
     
This Week's Events
Bible Search
What's Your Message?

What’s Your Message?

Has it ever occurred to you that you are spiritually responsible to God for other people? That is a sobering thought.

For example, if I allow any turning away from God in my private life, everyone around me suffers. My wife will suffer, my children will suffer, my grandchildren will suffer, my friends will suffer, and you will suffer. Our private life really isn’t private. It is connected to others.

1 Corinthians 12:26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

If we allow selfishness, carelessness, immorality, or spiritual weakness in our lives, everyone in contact with us will suffer. Therefore, Jesus said in Matthew 5:48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

We wonder, “Who is able to live up to such a standard?” So we don’t even try. Instead, we set our own standards that shift according to our mood and societal norms. However, Jesus does not command us to do something without giving us the grace to do it.

2 Corinthians 3:4-6 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

The message of the Gospel, the New Covenant we have with God, is not one of following laws, rules, dos and don’ts. It is God, the Holy Spirit, living in us and empowering us to follow Jesus, who is the perfect standard.

Galatians 5:16-18 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and (the consequence is) you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Which one is leading you—your flesh or the Holy Spirit? You can’t share with other people what you don’t possess. Take care to see that you yourself are rooted and grounded by faith in Christ and you are walking by the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, you hinder people from understanding Jesus if your actions don’t line up with what Jesus said.

James 1:22-25 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

What we do speaks louder than our words. Our actions become our message, regardless of what we say. Therefore, be a living example of the redemptive power of Jesus Christ, so that your words about Jesus agree with what you do.

Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the Gospel always. When necessary, use words.”

When you share about Jesus, never rely on the clearness of your explanation, but make sure you rely on the Holy Spirit. Unbelievers are not familiar with Christian jargon. The Holy Spirit will give you the words to say that will connect with the person you are talking to. Rely on the Holy Spirit to generate faith in a person’s life and to convict of sin, righteousness, and judgment. That is His job.

Jesus said in John 6:63It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

God has a purpose for our life in this world: it is to be spiritual messengers. Our job is to pray and deliver the message of Christ’s love in words and deeds. And the message, which is Jesus, must be in us. The Son of God was His own message. We are His ambassadors to this world.

2 Corinthians 5:20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.

As Christ’s ambassadors, our lives must be an example of the reality of our message. It takes a heart broken by conviction of sin, baptized by the Holy Spirit, and crushed into submission to God’s purpose to make a person’s life a testimony of Christ’s message.

After we are broken, God takes us beyond our own aspirations and ideas for our lives, and molds and shapes us for His purpose, just as He worked in the disciples’ lives after Pentecost. The purpose of Pentecost was not to teach the disciples something, but to make them the personification of what they preached so that they would literally become God’s message in the flesh.

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, then we begin to realize what Jesus meant when He said, “…you will be my witnesses ….” Not witnesses to what Jesus said or what He did for us—that is basic and understood—but “you will be my witnesses ….” In other words, we will be like Him. We will live for Him.

We will accept everything that happens to us as if it were happening to Him, whether we receive praise or blame, persecution or reward. No one is able to take this stand for Jesus Christ who is not totally controlled by the Holy Spirit. It is the only thing that matters, and yet it is the greatest struggle we as Christians have—to realize daily that we are dead and respond only to Christ, who now lives in us by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Paul did not say, “I have made a determination to imitate Jesus Christ,” or, “I will really make an effort to follow Him” —but— “I have been identified with Him in His death.” Once we reach this moral decision and act on it (Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:31 “he dies daily”), then the Holy Spirit the opportunity to create in us the character of Jesus Christ.

Our individuality remains, but our primary motivation for living and the spirit that rules us are radically changed. We have the same human body, but the old satanic right to myself has been destroyed.

Paul said that he was crucified with Christ and that is why he acted as he did. People could perceive him as mad or sane—he did not care. There was only one thing he lived for—to persuade people of the coming judgment of God and to tell them of “the love of Christ.” That was his message—well, not his message, but the message he was given by God to deliver to the world. It should be our message as well.

Before God’s message can liberate other people, His liberation must first be real in us. We must deliberately give our life to God for His service, so that He can use us as His hands and His feet.

This total surrender to Christ is the only thing that will bear fruit in our life. And it will always bear witness to Jesus and His power, never drawing attention to ourselves. Being a witness of Jesus does not depend on age, bodily health, circumstances, education, nor even on seeing success, but on the Holy Spirit. Therefore, allow the Holy Spirit to have complete control of your life.

The proof that our relationship is right with God—that we are filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered by Him—is that we produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) and we live for Him whether we feel inspired or not. It is our delight to do His will.

Psalm 40:8 I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.

Jesus prayed that we would have the same fellowship and oneness with Him that Jesus Himself enjoyed with the Father. Salvation is so much more than being delivered from sin and gaining heaven! Salvation means that the Spirit of God has brought me into intimate contact with God Himself. And as I am caught up into total surrender to God, I become thrilled with someone infinitely greater than myself and it is evident to those around me.

Jesus said in John 7:38,Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’

All that Jesus has done for us on the Cross is merely the foundation of our faith. After salvation, He wants us to come to the place where we will be His witnesses and proclaim who He is. Focus on your relationship with Jesus and find your joy there. The Holy Spirit will make you a fountain through which Jesus can pour His “living water” to touch the lives of other people.

So, stop being religious, aware only of yourself, your goodness or your weakness. Seek Christ, die daily, and be filled with His Spirit. He is all that you need to live victoriously.

Colossians 3:3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

If we are truly surrendered to God (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), we will never be aware of our own efforts to remain surrendered. Our entire life will be consumed with the One to whom we surrender. The consequences and circumstances resulting from our surrender will never even enter our mind, because our life will be totally consumed with Him.

We won’t even be aware of our effectiveness in sharing the Gospel. A person, who has the right relationship with God and is filled with the Holy Spirit, has the “living water” of Christ—the fruit of the Holy Spirit—flowing from their life as naturally as breathing wherever he goes.  The lives that have been the greatest blessing to you are the lives of those people, who themselves were unaware of having been a blessing.

Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not be conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.

To say that we are called to expound on holiness, or sanctification, or predestination, or the tribulation, or any other subject is to miss our purpose. We are called to be a living sacrifice only, proclaiming Jesus Christ in everything we do and say. He is the message.

Can people see Jesus in you and understand Him clearly, or are they getting a confused message because your actions don’t agree with your words?

They may never read the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. However, they are “reading” the Gospel according to “You”. So, what is your message?

My prayer is that the Holy Spirit has enabled you understand the message, which is Jesus, and you are living for Him only. If you have wandered from the path of following Jesus, I pray you will repent, and seek Jesus with all your heart again. Ask your Father in Heaven, every day, to give you grace to die to yourself and fill you with the Holy Spirit. Then walk by the Spirit and you will be His message and a good ambassador of Jesus Christ. Focus on Jesus and not yourself or the storms of life around you. Do not fear. Have faith in Christ. Live for Him. God loves you!

If you do not have a relationship with God, and you realize you are a sinner on your way to Hell, then I pray you will have faith to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who atoned for your sin on the cross. Publicly confess your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. Repent of your sin and give your life to Him by dying to yourself in baptism. You will be raised to live a new life, born of the Holy Spirit, who will teach you and empower you with a message about Jesus, to tell others with everything you do and say.