If being a Christian was a crime, would they find enough evidence to convict you?
Living like Jesus is rare. Where do you see true, sacrificial love, a love that dies every day for the good of the others?
We never have to look far to find Christians who are in it for what they can get out of it. Honestly, we often only have to look in the mirror.
So it’s no wonder that Christians and churches are the subject of such hatred. Even if the world does the same evil, everyone knows that Christians should be better. And we should.
In Hebrews 11:33, Daniel is referred to (without mentioning his name) as one of those people who, by faith, ‘stopped the mouths of lions.’
But does God expect us to just be brave like Daniel? To just try harder to have faith like his faith?
As always, the answer is not ‘Try harder!’ The answer is ‘Follow Christ!’
As we think about this familiar story, everything that we see in Daniel should point us to Jesus Christ and how He calls us to live by faith Him. So, what will that look like?
Some people like camping. Some people love camping. But I’m not one of them. Sure, I’ve got plenty of fond memories of setting up a tent in the backyard or by the beach. And just as many memories of lying on rocks, breathing smoke from campfires, and meeting friendly mosquitoes.
Okay, so maybe camping isn’t that bad. But would you choose to live in a tent instead of a house? Sure, a tent can be okay for a weekend, but eventually the ropes start to loosen, the canvas will sag, and the weather just can’t be kept out.
When he was Prime Minister (in 1993), Paul Keating said, ‘If you’re not living in Sydney, you’re just camping out.’ But God’s message to us today is, ‘If you’re not in heaven, you’re just camping out.’ Here in 2 Corinthians, God tells us that our present bodies are temporary, but in heaven we will have permanent bodies so that we can live with Him forever.
That challenges so much of how we think. We don’t think much about death or heaven, unless we’re really sick! Do we live like everything we have here is temporary? I suspect that for most of us, even if we’re Christians, we invest far more time and energy into material things that will not last. That’s materialism, and its roots go down deep into our hearts.
Now, if we’ve thought about that for very long, we might have concluded that God’s only interested in spiritual stuff. If that’s right, then we’ve only got one opportunity to really enjoy life (1 Corinthians 15:32)! If we think that, we’ve fallen for dualism: that the idea that the body and the spirit are opposites, that physical things are always bad and spiritual things are always good, and so death means leaving our bodies behind forever.
The problem with both materialism and dualism is this: They aren’t how God made the world, or us! Here, Paul tells us that God made us to live our physical lives now for His glory (4:13-18), and to live forever with Him (5:1-10). Our lives will be completely different when we know what God has made us for.
Romans 4:1-25 (NKJV) What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 4Continue reading “Are We Listening? (Romans 4:11)”
1. Do Not Be Led Astray (v29-34)
2. Transformed, Not Disembodied or Reanimated (v35-41)
3. Spiritual Bodies Like Christ (v42-49)
Think of the most influential people in history: Julius Caesar, Napoleon, Hitler, Churchill, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs.
For me, one of them has to be Queen Elizabeth I. When she died aged 69, she had ruled England for 44 glorious years. Imagine what you could do in that time! Yet, when she was dying, she is reported to have said, ‘It is over. I have come to the end of if – the end, then end. To have only one life, and to have done with it! To have lived, and loved, and triumphed; and now to know it is over! One may defy everything else but this.’
If even kings, queens, and rulers die feeling their lives are unfinished, what about us?
How many of your projects are still unfinished? What problems will you never solve? What relationships will you leave unrepaired? What will you leave incomplete?
Do you unfinished business with God?
If we don’t know the purpose of our lives, we’ll live and die unfinished lives.
But not Jesus. When He died, He cried out, “It is finished!” (v30). Jesus knew the purpose of His life. He finished it. And because He did, our lives have purpose too. So long as we don’t have unfinished business with God. So, what difference does Jesus’ finished life make to my life and your life?
1. Finished Suffering
2. Finished Work
3. Unfinished Business