There’s a better way to do this

Good Morning Everyone,
 
Our theme for this month: “Resilience”
 
Our Bible verse for today: “… I have become all things to all people, so that I may by every possible means save some. Now I do all this because of the gospel, so that I may share in the blessings.” 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 (CSB)
 
Our thought for today: “There’s a better way to do this.”
 
I think it’s safe to say that after Jesus, the Apostle Paul is the second-most prominent person featured in the New Testament. He spent thirty years of ministry immersed in the grit and gristle of everyday life with ordinary people and therefore, he is a good example for us when it comes to questions of how to conduct ourselves in society as we participate in the Lord’s kingdom-building work on earth.
 
In 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 Paul described his mindset. If you read all five of those verses (and I urge you to), you’ll realize that Paul was willing to put aside his personal preferences, his Jewish ways, political or social issues he was concerned about, and much more, and he focused primarily on leading people to Christ and helping them grow into mature believers.
 
It’s not that there weren’t cultural, social, moral, or economic issues for Paul to be concerned about. There were, and at times he did get involved in those things. But his primary focus was to win people to faith in Christ and to help them grow as disciples, because doing that was the best and fastest way to address all of those other issues. Lead people to Christ and help them grow into mature believers, and a lot of those other life issues will be cleaned up in the process.
 
Yesterday I said I personally believe that conservative ideology more closely reflects Biblical principles than does liberal ideology. I’m convinced that is true. But I also cautioned that when Christians become too passionately political, we sometimes hurt the cause of Christ rather than help it. Here’s why I say that:
 
When the unbelieving world hears Christians loudly advocating for a conservative political agenda, they probably are not catching the nuance about conservative ideology reflecting Biblical principles. Instead, what they believe they are hearing is just one more person trying to cram their conservative political views down everyone else’s throats. That’s how they hear it. If there is a Gospel message underlying that, they’re largely missing it.
 
So, if our words and actions are understood by the unbelieving world as being an expression of our politics rather than as an expression of the love of Jesus Christ, is our passionate advocacy of our political agenda helping or hurting? I think the Apostle Paul would probably tell us to dial back the combative politics a little, and be a bit more nuanced in our approach for the cause of Christ. That’s certainly what he modeled in his own life as described in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. Again, Paul didn’t ignore the issues of His day and neither should we. He just kept first things first and put the majority of his focus on the thing that mattered the most.
 
The question isn’t whether or not we should be trying to influence the outcome of issues in favor of Biblical principles – of course we should. The question is the best way to accomplish that. This is vitally important because in the months and years to come it will be essential for Christians to have a positive impact on the direction of our nation. The best way to accomplish that will be to lead people to Christ and help them to become mature in their faith
 
Tomorrow I want to share with you a beautiful story about how Christians can be actively and effectively engaged in the hot-button issues of the day, but in a way that directly and clearly communicates the love of Jesus.  
 
God Bless,
Pastor Jim
Copyright © 2021 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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