Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Embracing Our Task

And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward. Matthew 10:42

The service of God is not just for those with some amazing talent. Most of what needs to be done can be done by ordinary people. Too many Christians hold back and refuse to do what they could do, often because they are focused on what they cannot do. Those who cannot sing and cannot preach focus on that, instead of thinking of the many things they could do to honor the Lord.

There is more to the work than singing and preaching. Floors need to be vacuumed; grass must be cut; classes must be taught; people must be visited, invited, and encouraged. You may not be able to preach a sermon, but you could make a phone call and say, "We missed you; and you missed a wonderful time of praising God." Such a contact will often do more to encourage a weak brother or sister than would be done by another sermon.

Do not focus on what you cannot do. Instead embrace what you can do. If the Lord has given you the ability to share a cup of water, then share it.

As J.R. Baxter wrote, "There is room in the kingdom of God, my brother, for the small things that you can do: just a small, kindly deed that may cheer another is the work God has planned for you. There is room, there's a place in the kingdom of God for you; there is room, there's a place, there is work that we all can do."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

No Remedy

But they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising his words and scoffing at his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord rose against his people, until there was no remedy (2 Chronicles 36:16).

My father died because he had a little cancer that went unnoticed. Had it been noticed early, it would have been treatable. But it grew and spread and was not noticed until it was beyond remedy.

According to the text quoted above, the people of Israel went into exile because they were beyond remedy. They scoffed the words of the Lord until there was nothing else to do but to send them out of the promised land. If they had dealt with their sin at an earlier stage it would have been forgiven. But they allowed sin to have its way in their lives so long that they placed themselves beyond remedy.

The same can happen to you. The same can happen to me. The same can happen to people we know and love.

Do not wait to repent, you could end up beyond the hope of repentance, beyond remedy. Do not wait to speak to those you know who are drifting away from the Lord. It is possible for them to continue in sin so long that they become beyond remedy.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July 4th in England

Contrary to rumor, they did have a 4th of July in England; they just did not celebrate it. Why should they? The day is nothing special to them. We celebrate it in this country because it marks the date on which our founding fathers declared the original states an independent country. We celebrate it, but we do not expect people in other countries to celebrate it. If they were to move here and become citizens, then we might expect them to celebrate it. But the day is nothing special to a Canadian, an Englishman, or a German.

Sunday is a special day to Christians. It marks the day on which our Lord was raised from the dead, sealing his victory over sin and death. His victory is our victory, in that he suffered death on our behalf and overcame it for our blessing.

Resurrection day worship is nearly meaningless to the non-Christian. They are no more expected to celebrate it than an Englishman would be expected to celebrate July 4. It is OK to invite someone to worship with you on a Sunday (just as you might invite an Englishman to a July 4th picnic), but realize that they will attend as outsiders. The day carries no special meaning until we have been united with Christ.

This is why it is so critical to teach the gospel, to explain the meaning of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Trying to get them to celebrate with us, when they do not have anything to celebrate, just does not make sense.