New Sermon Series: Follow Me
The church has a double responsibility in relation to the world around us. On the one hand we are to live, serve and witness in the world. On the other hand we are to avoid becoming contaminated by the world. So we are neither to seek to preserve our holiness by escaping from the world nor to sacrifice our holiness by conforming to the world.
Talk about a tough assignment.
Jesus tells His disciples to go into the world that has animosity towards Him and His followers, and to share about Him. His charge to the disciples in Matt 10:16 is still applicable to us today.
"Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise was serpents and innocent as doves."
Notice how he clearly says that they are being sent as a group of sheep into middle of the wolf-pack. (If you don't know much about the food chain, let's just say that usually goes badly for the sheep.) The call on the life of the disciples is to go headfirst into the fray for the sake of the gospel. The end result, though, is not conformity for us, but conversion for them.
So how do we live in this difficult circumstance? Jesus tells them two things: wisdom and purity.
First, we are to be as shrewd as snakes - as wise as we can possibly be. I know a man who joined an organization with extremely high dues that he could not afford in order to 'witness' to lost people. It weighed on him and crushed him financially, which effected every part of his life. Unwise.
I know a young woman who had very little spiritual foundation and commitment to Jesus who said she was joining a sorority with the intent of 'converting' them all. She was essentially rationalizing doing something that she wanted to do, but was not spiritually equipped to do. Unwise.
Secondly, we also live among wolves by being as innocent as doves - as pure as pure can be. We never compromise our beliefs for the sake of making an impact for Christ. He does not call us to an area of service that our conscience cannot bear. If you feel like you can only witness if you compromise your values, you aren't looking hard enough. God does not call us to cross lines He has drawn for His sake.
We will be fleshing out practical concepts of discipleship like this over the next several weeks in our new sermon series called "Follow Me: Lessons from the 12." We will watch the lives of those who followed Christ most closely in His days on earth, learn from them, and see how they followed Him so that we might do so today.
Good news: we can learn from their mistakes as well as their triumphs. We are not about to study 12 perfect people, but rather 12 flawed men, who followed the Perfect One, Jesus Christ.
Learn how to live better for Him.
Learn how to be deeper follower of Christ.
Learn from the Savior and the 12 He uniquely called.
See you Sunday!