|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “Steadfast and Immovable”
Our Bible verse for today: “Les us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith.” Galatians 6:9-10
Our thought for today: “We should be observably unique in the world”
This morning I want to continue our thought from yesterday regarding letting our conduct speak for itself. We want the unbelieving world to observe and experience the love and compassion of Christ through the ways we conduct ourselves in this hurting and chaotic world we live in.
In his essay “Five characteristics that made the early church unique”, pastor and author Tim Keller notes, “In the first three centuries, Christians were persecuted more than any other religious group. Because they refused to honor other gods or worship the emperor, they were seen as too exclusive, too narrow, and a threat to the social order.” Well, that certainly describes Christians in our day too. We find ourselves increasingly out of step with the culture around us.” Keller went on:
“So why, if Christians were seen as offensive and were excluded from circles of influence and business and often put to death, did anyone become a Christian?… One main reason … was that the Christian church was a unique “social project.” They were a contrast community, a counterculture that was both offensive and yet also attractive to many.”
Those early Christians lived in a world that was even more hostile to their faith than ours is today. And yet, the Christian faith spread like wildfire. Why? What was it that got them past all those cultural hurdles and opened the door for the Holy Spirit to capture people’s hearts and lead them to faith in Christ? Two things: (1) The Christians were steadfast and immovable in their faith. They knew what they believed and why they believed it, and they weren’t afraid to say so.
And, (2) They were known for their kindness, compassion, and willingness to serve the neediest around them in the name of Jesus. The Roman world was cold, hard, brutal, and often heartless. The poor were allowed to starve. The sick simply died. Unwanted babies were tossed into ditches and abandoned. While so many in that culture turned a blind eye to the pain, heartache, and suffering all around them, the Christians waded right into the middle of the suffering and did something about it. It was what Keller meant when he wrote, “They were a contrast community, a counterculture that was both offensive and yet also attractive to many.”
Those early Christians were unique in their day; they were steadfast and immovable in their determination to honor Christ and to bless others. We should be as well. It was their very uniqueness that was the key to their success. How we conduct ourselves in this hurting world should be observably different in a way that’s hard for people to resist.
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