A Pastor's Heart
|Posted on December 1, 2016 at 4:30 PM|
Once again we have entered this joyous season of hope, joy, peace, and love. As has been the habit over the past several years, we also enter the season of perpetual offendedness. Many are already up in arms at the phrase "Happy Holidays" in place of "Merry Christmas." The motto that has become popular over the last few years has been the phrase, "Keep Christ in Christmas."
While I appreciate the thoughts and the sentiments behind this campaign, I would like to encourage my fellow followers of Christ to put down their swords on this matter and take up a new motto. Rather than working to "Keep Christ in Christmas," let us instead "Keep Christ in Christian."
Often I remind our church that we have no right to claim the title "Christian" on our own. This term arises in the city of Antioch and is recorded in Acts 11:19-30. As the people of the city witnessed the actions and activity of the church at Antioch, they titled these believers "Christians." While they used this term as an accusation against the church, the implications cannot be more evident. As a result of their conduct, the people outside the church started saying these believers acted like "Little Christs."
Imagine that for a moment. These believers lives were so different from the lives of their neighbors that the pagans that surrounded them took notice and compared them to the life of Jesus himself.
So what was the conduct that produced such a powerful reaction? From these verses we see that they were faithful in sharing the Gospel, they demonstrated God's grace in their relationships with each other, they were faithful to the Lord, and they were willing to give sacrifically of themselves to help others in need.
If we truly want to keep "Christ" central in this season and all year long, then we would be wise to let our concerns for what the lost of our society call Christmas wanw and focus intently on what they call us. Does our conduct lead others to see the conduct of Christ in us? Are we faithful in sharing the Gospel? Are we demonstrating grace in our relationships with each other as God demonstrates grace with us? Are we faithful to the Lord and to his church? Are we giving sacrificially to help others in need?
Take a moment and self assess. Does the way you treat those who will serve you in resturaunts reflect the character of Christ? Does the way you treat your spouse, children, family, neighbors, and co-workers reflect the conduct of Christ? Are you encouraging to others in a manner that reflects Christ? Are the words you speak to others reflective of the character and heart of Christ? Is your faithfulness to the church reflective of the faithfulness of Christ? Is the way you handle your finances reflective of the instructions of Christ? Are you faithful in sharing the Gospel with the lost after the example of Christ?
Ultimately, if the lost around you examined your life would they witness the conduct and character of the Lord Jesus?
If we fail to reflect the character of Christ in our lives, does it really matter what the world says about Christmas?
As the church at Antioch looked more like Christ, the people of Antioch came to faith in this savior. As their conduct reflected the person and work of the Lord Jesus in their community, the darkness of their community was lifted and the light of the Gospel showed brightly in their midst. As their lives demonstrated the change Christ makes, the lost sought this change in their own lives through the Lord Jesus.
I implore each of us: let us be most concerned with what is most important. Let us trust Christ for his grace and strive forward together seeking to
KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTIAN!!!!!