What’s it all about?
On Sunday we discussed a few different truths in relation to the Christian Faith and our walk with The Lord.
Main Passage: John 1:10-14
God created us for a relationship with Him. He didn’t create us to be robots and He wants us to love Him and desire to know His ways out of our own free will.We highlighted the difference between a child receiving a toy puppy and although they would love it, it doesn’t come close to the loving bond and intimate relationship that would form if we gave the same child a real, living puppy. Likewise, God didn’t create us to be autonomous beings that were forced to worship Him, He created us with a free will. With that free will, each one of us have sinned and we all fall short of God’s holy standard and are in need of forgiveness. This forgiveness can only be found through what Christ did on the cross. It’s only by grace through faith we can be saved and not based on any of our own efforts. A common objection that is heard is “overall I’m a pretty good person”, but the problem is the standard of goodness which we compare ourselves to. Compared to some of history’s worst figures, we all seem like pretty decent people. But when compared to the standard of an all-holy, all-righteous and all-perfect God, we all fall far short and are in desperate need of forgiveness. In a similar fashion, an objection that is commonly heard is “well I’ve done a lot of good in my life, so hopefully that will help balance things out.” If we were to try that with a judge by saying, “Judge, I know I robbed that bank but I helped my neighbors out a lot this week and have been pretty good otherwise..” If that judge is a righteous and just judge, he still has to pass sentence.
But if there is a co-signer that comes in to pay the debt and post the bond in our place, that judge can legally dismiss the case and maintain his integrity as a righteous judge. This is what happened with Christ on the cross. We have to be fully dependent on him however. We discussed the illustration of a parachute. When someone is skydiving, they don’t waste any of their time and energy flapping their arms to stay up in the air. Their efforts do nothing. 100% of their trust is in the parachute, as it should be with Christ’s all-sufficient work on the cross. We also highlighted how God wants to conform us to His image and shape us in His likeness for eternity. We used the illustration from Charles Stanley about how a horse out in the wild is no good to anybody when it’s on its own agenda and doing what it pleases. However, once that horse’s self-will has been broken and it’s completely subservient to its master, it then becomes a useful tool. In addition to preparing us for eternity, God wants to refine us and prepare us for good works now. We discussed that sharing your faith can be daunting, but it’s commissioned to us and the only prerequisites that are required is that we commit to being willing and available. We discussed how God will often set up the divinely ordained appointments in our path. We may even be surprised at how The Holy Spirit is already at work and the hearts of those who God would have us witness to. “It’s so funny that you’re talking about all this right now because I’ve been thinking a lot about God lately” is a very common reaction when engaged in spiritual discussions with people. In addition to being willing and available, it does take being intentional, but it can be as simple as committing to do two nice gestures for people over the next month, but with the intent that when they thank you, you will have a prepared response. Something like “You’re more than welcome. God’s been good to me and I like to share the blessing where I can.” You may even be able to say, “By the way, it’s been great chatting with you. Here’s some inspirational reading that’s really blessed me and I pray it blesses you too.” and then leave them with a Gospel of John or a tract.
We discussed that it can be very easy for us to get caught up in the details, stresses and comforts of life now, and we can easily forget how fleeting this life is in light of the eternity we should be living for. Finally, we discussed that part of the journey for all of us will involve times of trial. We highlighted that trials can range from smaller life obstacles and pressures, to major life circumstances and events that are devastating. Not always, but sometimes in certain circumstances God brings us right to the edge. We discussed how when the Israelites were crossing The Red Sea, God could have parted the waters when they were still 2 miles back and they would have known their exit strategy and seen the solution to their trial. But God waited until they were at the edge and had no choice but to cry out in utter desperation, at the end of their own strength, wits and resources. Sometimes God will bring us to the point where we have no choice but knowing that it could have only been Him that intervened. There may be some things that we don’t see any rhyme or reason to this side of eternity, but no matter what we’re facing, there still remains only 2 options: and that is to trust God – or not. And if not, where are we putting our trust and finding our sense of security? In mere chance? The universe? Ourselves? How well has it worked out for us in the past when we attempt to leave God out of the picture? Even in times of trial without a clear answer, we’re to press on in our journeys as Paul says. Press on to that day when we hear the words “Well done, good and faithful servant. Come and find rest.”