Thursday, October 1, 2015
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Boom! Suddenly all the lights went out in the conference center where we were staying, just as we were all making our way out of our rooms and down this long hallway to breakfast. No windows. The hallway was longer than usual that morning because it was totally dark. Turns out the entire region experienced a power failure that morning. Because a squirrel got into a relay station and gnawed through a cable. That's fried squirrel and lights out.
The problem that day really wasn't the darkness. Darkness is always dark, right? The problem was the failure of the light. A lot of us Christians have been lamenting what we perceive as the growing spiritual darkness around us: Fewer people identifying themselves as Christians, more people identifying themselves as nonbelievers, long-time moral boundaries that are eroding or collapsing.
When it's dark, the problem isn't the darkness. It's the failure of the light. And Jesus said to His followers, "You are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14). It appears something's wrong with the light.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Trouble With Christians."
I can think of two ways that we're failing our world and our Lord. One has to do with a flawed message that obscures the true Message. That part's for tomorrow, but here are three reasons why I think the light is so often obscured.
First, flawed messengers. Over and over, a watching world sees well-known Christians suddenly disgraced by a dark secret. You can probably think of some pastors, mega church "stars," TV personalities, athletes, politicians. And folks who don't like the message can now find another "hypocrite" to hide behind.
The sad fall of a prominent Christian is a teachable moment, underscoring three critical realities.
First, each Jesus-follower's life is either a reason for someone to check out Jesus or rule out Jesus. If I drift away from Him, I take watching unbelievers with me. That's why Paul said in our word for today from the Word of God in 1 Corinthians 9:12, "We would rather put up with anything than be an obstacle to the Good News about Christ." And Peter said, "Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then, if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God" (1 Peter 2:12). So, my little "sin fling" or spiritual detour will cost me God's blessing. It could cost those watching me their eternity.
Then secondly, every time a public Christian is discredited, the importance of the everyday Christian is elevated. The Christian who is in a seeker's life every day has far more impact than any Christian in the spotlight. I am the face, the voice, the proof of Jesus to the unbelievers in my personal world for better or for worse. It's always important that I walk the talk. It's exponentially important that I'm consistent when there's been a public Christian disgrace. When they see me, they've got to be able to see Jesus all day every day.
Here's one other very vital reality. The failure of the messenger does not change the truth of the message. Jesus said, "Follow Me." Not follow My followers. He said, "I am the Way" (John 14:6). Not, "I will show you the way." He told us, "I am the resurrection and the life...he who believes in Me will live, even though he dies" (John 11:25). Not, believe in someone who practices the Christian religion. No, He said, "Believe in Me. Follow Me."
Jesus made it all about Jesus. So while a hypocrite might provide an excuse for not believing, they don't provide a valid reason. Because it's what we do with Jesus that determines our eternity. In fact, that's the question you will face when you see God. "What did you do with My Son who died on a cross for you?"
If you've never taken Him for you to be your Savior from your sin, this would be the day to do that. If you want to begin your relationship with Jesus, we would love to be back in touch with you. You can text us at 442-244-WORD or go to our website ANewStory.com.
You know, in the end, it isn't about Christians. It isn't about Christianity. It's all about Jesus. That's such good news! Because He's the Man who loved me enough to die for me; who's powerful enough to walk out of His grave. He's the unfailing Light.