Category Archives: Christian Unity

Why do Christians Choose to Believe in Jesus

Why do Christians CHOOSE to believe one ancient myth as truth vs. another as fiction; Why do you choose to believe the Jesus story and NOT the Mithras, Horus, et al. stories?  This question, asked this week, is based on a false premise.  Christians do not “Choose” to believe Jesus over Mithras, et al; what they actually do is “Choose” to place their trust in Jesus, because He offers forgiveness of sins, everlasting life, and freedom from want.  It is not a ‘selective’ choice, it is decision to commit [to Jesus].

  • Objectivity Vs Subjectivity

You can’t objectively defend your decision to follow Jesus, by logic, because it is an emotional decision.  You are seeking to partake in the love of God and Jesus our Saviour, and this is almost always in response to some deep felt spiritual need.  It is certainly not a coldly logical  decision.  You do this because you want to, not because you logically thought it out and decided Jesus is more credible than some other prophet. See here for another explanation of this.

  • Love, Not Logic
Love, Not Logic
Love, Not Logic

My grand-daughter is addicted to pit bull terriers.  For me they are hateful animals, because I was personally involved with a shocking experience with three young pit bull dogs that went feral and had to be shot to stop them killing others.  To Sophie, they appear to be a beautiful dog, and I pray she never, ever has occasion to defend my great-grandson from it’s fearsome jaws.  I have lots of “logical” and “objective” reasons why she should never expose my great-grand-son to her pit bull pup, but it would be a total waste of breath for me to offer her those opinions, because her attraction to pit bulls is emotional, rather than logical.  I found years ago that you can’t argue reason against emotion because we use love, not logic!.

  • Full-scale Commitment

What we  are discussing here is full-scale Christian committment; not just “going to church;” but total commitment to the Lord Jesus.  It’s like going out with someone is not the same as marriage; because marriage too demands total commitment.  When you are married, it is ” for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, and ’til death do us part” – ie, total commitment. This is the same level of commitment as when you give your heart to God!

  • It’s a Love Affair, Not Reason, or Logic

Just as my wife loves me for myself, and not for logical reasons, so we love Jesus and we don’t have to justify that with logic.  For Christians it is a fact, and we are entirely happy to live within the framework of His love, secure in the knowledge that He will take care of us, and bring us eventually to eternal life. Thank you, oh Lord, for your amazing, unconditional love for us.

 

 

Those Wide Open Spaces

I am deeply suspicious of those who think they can get along in the Kingdom of Heaven WITHOUT meeting with other Christians, the “I feel closer to God in the Wide Open Spaces“; brigade. This old Rosemary Clooney Hymn suggests a good way to think about God’s “Great Out Doors”.

Wide Open Spaces
Wide Open Spaces

 

“Oh the place where I worship is the wide open spaces, Filled by the hand of the Lord. Where the trees of the forest are like pipes of an organ, And the breeze plays an amen choir. All the stars are the candles and they light up the mountains; Mountains are altars of God. Oh, the place where I worship, is the wide open spaces; Where the sun warms the peaceful sod”.

Here’s a link to a rendition by Lorne Greene

Shure, you can worship God by yourself in the “wide open spaces”, but that has very little to do with being a Christian.

  • Christians follow Jesus Christ!

Christians, by definition, are “those” who believe/follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.  This is NOT “Some” of us, but “Those”, meaning ALL of us!  What applies to one of us, applies to all of us. We can’t NOT join together and stay still true to the natural definition of Christians.

  • What are we told to do?

What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.

This then, was the advice Paul gave to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 14:26.)
For me, this scripture from Corinthians covers this.  The writer assumes that we WILL come together to meet, and that we WILL come together to worship, and we WILL come together to pray. To attempt to do these things alone is as futile as trying to play football by yourself.  Christianity is a team game.

  • Christians are Part of a TEAM

You can train for football by yourself, you can practice kicking, and dodging, and all manner of football things by yourself, but to actually play football, you need to a part of a team.  Same thing applies to being a Christian, you can pray and meditate, and worship, and practice all manner of Christian things by yourself, but to actually be a Christian, you have to be part of a team; a fellowship of Christians.  And you have to take your allotted part in that team – you can’t be the Captain, and the Coach, and the Key player, by yourself – you take your given part. Read the scripture from Romans 12  here4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

 

Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Preaching the Gospel
Preaching the Gospel

If you are going to preach anything in this world, this has to be your number one topic: Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We have no other valid message if we don’t preach this Gospel. The good news of Jesus’  life and resurection is the fundamental tenet that we hang all our teaching on.  It is the root of our testimony; the whole basis of all Christian outreach; and the essential ingredient in How to Preach.

  • Gospel = Good News

By definition the word Gospel denotes “the good news”, and of course the Good News is that Christ died to save us and is sitting at the right hand of God today.  The Good News is too that we need only to confess Him as our Lord and Saviour, repent and be baptized to have our sins forgiven; to have eternal life; and to live with Him in all eternity.

  • Preaching to Ourselves

It’s a funny thing, but we can’t preach without Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ TO OURSELVES! Whenever we ponder the Word; whenever we pray for wisdom and guidance to preach; whenever we contemplate spiritually; we are teaching and blessing ourselves as well. It has been said that whenever we preach we are preaching to ourselves as much as to others.  This is true for me, I know, because whenever I prepare to preach, I enlarge my own understanding. Any revelation granted to me to share also remains within me.

  • Preaching Spiritual Revelation

I believe in preaching spiritual revelation. I do not believe in studying up some subject and sermonizing  a whole lot of  other people’s opinion about it.  To share spiritual revelation, you must first get it, and the only way I know to do this is to take your Bible into your ‘quiet place’ and start in praying and reading and allowing yourself to be ministered to by the Holy Spirit of God.  The truths you discover in this context will be inspired revelation, and will effectively be “God speaking to His people”; when you stand up to share on Sunday morning.

  • Throw Away Your Concordance!

You do not need a concordance, you do not need a book of scriptural reference; you do not need to look up a whole lot of stuff on the internet; and you certainly DO NOT need any theological books written by other people.  God is never boring, and He would never insult His children by offering them second-hand goods; what He will do is inspire you to share your convictions, your testimony, and your own intimate knowledge of His Kingdom – IF YOU LET HIM!  His offer to ‘provide all you need’ includes whatever anecdote or experience you will need.  Any preacher who starts off like this: “A funny thing happened to me this week…..” will be sharing right out of their own Christian walk.  It will be real! If God has called upon you to preach this Sunday, He will always have ALREADY PROVIDED you with what ever you need to make your points! You will be obedient, and you will be preaching the Gospels.

  • The Gospel is All You Need

If your circumstance requires you to preach from lectionary readings, and for instance, you are required to be preaching  the Gospel of John; then the only resource material you will need is that very same Gospel of John.  Likewise if you are needed to be preaching the Gospel at Christmas; then again, the only resource materials you will need are those very Gospel advent stories.

How to Get Christian Unity

  • Christian Unity
    Christian Unity

    Getting Christian Unity

The question of how to get Christian** Unity is paradoxically simple – we just need to go obediently about our Kingdom business.  If we are led by the Spirit of God, then we certainly cannot be getting into conflict with our brothers. Highway Ministries: is an example of Christians from many denominations and races working in unity because they are in obedience to His command to; “Love one another“.

  • Lack of unity is not necessarily divisive

The reason we don’t have Christian unity is that there are as many opinions as there are Christians, and this rich diversity of opinion is exactly what God planned when he gave us individuality and free will. It is pointless to argue objectively about a subjective matter.  We each have our own journey with God, and we can feel threatened when someone says, “No, you are wrong; my way is right.”  We need to just be obedient, not judgmental. The lack of agreement between the theologians and religious savants does not disprove the Gospel in any way, it merely illustrates the diversity and richness of the whole Christian experience.

  • Compare Modern Art to Christianity

Consider a modern painting: The artist ‘saw’ something and committed that vision to canvas, but viewers will all have their own interpretation of what is portrayed, and will energetically argue their own interpretation. That is subjective! Considered objectively, the technique, the composition, and the style, can all be defined and all may agree, but the meaning, the message, and the emotions evoked will never be the same for everyone. So it is with Christianity, we each perceive God in our own way, according to our unique experience.

  • Unity Springs From Obedience

God will not work against himself.  Ergo, if we are each obedient to His leading we must be in unity. Do you ‘get it’? If I am obedient to the one true God, and if you are too, then we MUST BE in UNITY! We will not be doing the same things, at the same times, because the broad spectrum of humanity requires that we will be ministering to [different] others in our individual way and to their [unique] needs. But unity will be evident in the pattern of the whole cloth.

  • Our Mission [in unity]

Our mission is really very simple, and is contained in the Commandment – “Love God, love each other, love your neighbour and ‘tell the good news‘.”  Implicit in that is the need for obedience, and the desire to do good* – what more needs to be said? That is how to get Christian Unity.

*Derivation of Good: from the old English God;

**Derivation of Christian: one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus CHRIST;