Ethical Living

Indians Game

Greetings In The Name of the Lord:

1 Peter 3:8-9 (NLT)
8 Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.

A wealthy businessman, who was well known for being ruthless and unethical, told Mark Twain that before he died, he wanted to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He said that when he got there he wanted to climb to the top of Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments, and there read the Ten Commandments aloud at the top. “I have a better idea,” replied Twain, in his typical wit, “You could stay in Boston and keep them.” 

I believe that Jesus would have preferred that he stay in Boston and keep the commandments as well. But we always prefer some great religious experience to the routine of obedience. We would like some mountaintop emotion rather than actually showing the evidence of a changed life. I have known many people over the years who talked a lot about some spiritual encounter they have had, but never showed much evidence of it when it came to the way they lived, their ethics and the manner in which they treated other people. The bottom line is it is easier to talk about it than it is to do it.  However, Jesus calls us to live out the Gospel in ways to transcend the values of those around us.  He calls us to a ethical standard that goes beyond what our society holds as acceptable.  In his Sermon on the Mount Jesus repeatedly said, “You have heard that it was said…but I tell you…”  In doing so he called us to a new level of how we treat each other and those in whom we come in contact with on a daily basis.

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

 

Can I Preach Here?

Indians Game

Greetings In The Name of the Lord:

Mark 16:15 (NLT)
15 And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.

There is a story of Billy Graham when he was visiting a city for one of his crusades. He had finished writing a letter and began to look for a place to mail it. Walking around the city for a while, he came across a young boy. He asked the boy if he knew how to get to the post office. The boy gave Billy Graham the directions and before leaving, Billy said to the boy, “Come on over to the arena tonight and I’ll tell you how to get to heaven.” The boy looked at him and replied, “How can you know how to get to heaven? You don’t even know the way to the post office!” The question from this story that begs to be asked is do we give people the impression we know where we are going? Are we living our lives in such a way that people would want to follow us anywhere? At New Life we have been doing a series on the book of 1 Peter, which asks the question several times in the first 2 chapters, “Are you living what you are preaching?” We need to ask ourselves if people can see the truth of the Gospel just by watching our lives. We have talked about a quote from Francis of Assisi that says, “Preach the Gospel everywhere you go; and if necessary use words!” Francis lived this out to such an extent that once he went into a village and asked they bishop of the village permission to preach. When he was refused he stayed in the village and began loving people. Eventually the bishop came to him and said, “Okay, you can preach here.” He proved by his actions that he was a representative of the true Gospel of Christ. Sometimes we have to earn the right to be heard. Have you earned the right to be heard?

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

 

To Retaliate Or Not To Retaliate

Indians Game

Greetings In The Name of the Lord:

1 Peter 2:23 (NLT)
23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.

We are not to be surprised if people in the world hate Christians. (1 John 3:13) Matthew Henry wrote, “Whom Christ blesses the world curses. The heirs of heaven have never been the darlings of this world, since the old enmity was put between the seed of woman (Eve) and of the serpent (Devil). Why did Cain hate Abel? Because Abel’s works were righteous.” Persecution is a great paradox and a part of Christianity. Therefore it is put last of the eight Beatitudes. Jesus gives mention of it twice in His opening statements in the Sermon on the Mount because persecution is certain. In fact, “…everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…” (2 Timothy 3:12) Righteousness, proper living before God, is an offense to people who live for the flesh, the world and the Devil. True holy living by the children of God convicts those who live for themselves. Persecution, which is seen by an all-knowing God, comes in many forms and is found in every nation. Christians have been fined, imprisoned, banished, stripped of their estates, scourged, tortured, falsely accused and killed. There is no evil so black and horrid as false accusations and the persecution of Christians who truly walk uprightly before God. Like with all things, we have a choice; we can choose to hate and be bitter or we can choose to forgive, love and pray.

In Christ,

Pastor Mark