Monday, January 28, 2008

Honoring God and the Gospel

In my message yesterday from 1 Timothy 6:1-2 I preached that our attitudes and actions ought to be motivated by a desire to honor God's name and gain a hearing for the gospel, even if it means suffering some injustice or mistreatment. After all, isn't that the example our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, set for us? I encourage you to read and meditate on 1 Peter 2:18-25 if you’re unsure. You'll discover that every Christian has been called to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

Now it's true that in 1 Timothy 6:1-2 the apostle Paul is talking directly to 1st century Christian slaves. In verse 1 Paul says, (NASB95) All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against. Paul is clearly saying that these Christian slaves' actions and attitudes should always reflect positively on God and the gospel. Therefore they should never intentionally give their masters reason to speak evil of God or the gospel. Does this instruction apply only to 1st century Christian slaves or does it apply to all Christians at all times? It's my conviction the latter is true. In fact, 1 Peter 2:12 agrees saying essentially the same thing, (NASB95) Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.

So beloved, are your actions and attitudes bringing honor to God and gaining a hearing for the gospel? What's your impact at your workplace, your neighborhood and in your home? Have you given anyone a legitimate reason to speak evil of God or the gospel? People are watching you! Like it or not they will judge the God you worship and the gospel you claim to believe by your attitudes and actions.

I'm grieved to say that I have failed many times in this area. Too often I have acted like the old humanity descended from Adam rather than a new creature in Christ. Each time the Holy Spirit has convicted me of my sin and selfishness. Often it took the equivalent of a spiritual 2x4 to gain my attention. I praise God for His patience with me!

When the Holy Spirit convicts me, I have learned to respond by; confessing my sin, seeking my Heavenly Father's forgiveness and asking for the desire and power to change. Then I attempt to be intentional about changing, knowing that I must rely completely on the Spirit's empowering presence in my life for victory. I know cannot change on my own. Past failures have etched this truth in my mind! But I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! So can you! Will you cooperate and submit to the Holy Spirit so that your actions and attitudes always bring glory to God and make the gospel attractive. That's my prayer for you and I today.

In God's love and for His glory,

Pastor Rick