This sermon was a special request of a listener, and I can only hope that I’ve done even a little justice to how this sermon has sounded in his head. Of course, more than my own voice, the voice I pray that he and all others hear is the Holy Spirit, convicting, teaching, rebuking, and building up in love.
And I know all of that was true for me even as I read through it. This sermon brings to mind many things for me, firstly a conviction of the way I pray for those around me. I know that my heart for my neighbor has not been a boldly praying one as it should be, and that I personally need to come outside the typical box that so many Americans fall into, where we find our comfortable spot and sit there, happy to not have to deal with the mess around me. But what that attitude shows, is that I don’t truly live in light of the magnitude of the mercy shown to me by God. I want my life to be a grand reflection of the deep thankfulness of a man who has been given back his life by a Judge who had a properly rendered death sentence before Him…and yet, not only did He commute that sentence, but adopted me as His child and granted to me an inheritance beyond any I could ever conceive.
This is a truth I want to affect every inch of my being. I want my thought patterns, my desires, my actions and day to day life to reflect this. I am aware of the inconsistencies that I continue to carry with me day by day, and yet God’s mercies continue and renew daily. The Father’s call never changes, the Son’s atonement and intercession never changes, and the Spirit’s loving conviction and renewing never stops. I look forward to growing deeper in this.
And believers, brothers and sisters, this is something I hope will be true of all of you. We live in a time that seems to be becoming more dangerous and uncertain, and where that danger is not located “over there” thousands of miles away, but is right here, right now. Yet the responses I see from Christians are, to put it simply, disheartening. I desire justice to be done. I desire the innocent to be protected, and I too burn with anger when I see innocent children being murdered, or the cackling madness of ISIS terrorists as they brag about their latest atrocity.
But my brothers and sisters, we cannot afford to let that change the way we look at the people around us. We can’t let it cause us to take joy in their destruction, nor to react with a spirit of fear to them. Firstly, recall that you and I are just as deserving of the justice of God as they are, and it has only been God’s mercy upon us that lets us stand anywhere but directly in the place of judgment. If we are to live and act consistently with the truth we have been convicted of by God’s Word, then we must walk in obedience to Jesus’ command to love our enemies and do good to those who persecute us. I know that this thought causes me to reflect more before pressing that share button, or commenting on a post. I hope I will come to live more consistently with this.