The following is the transcript of what I spoke on at a Tuesday night at Christcity. A few people missed it and wanted to know what I spoke about, so I'm sharing it here. For those reading who may not "get it", this was delivered to Christians. This isn't a message to anyone else. There are a lot of "Christians" out there who were told a lie: That becoming a Christian is all about reserving a seat in Heaven and having God do "stuff" for you. That is part of it, absolutely, but that's not the main thrust (or even really a large part) of what Christianity is about. That lie makes Christianity all about you (a selfish thing) when the reality is Christianity is all about Jesus Christ (a selfless thing).
I hope that this really encourages Christians to continue walking the path that Jesus set before us.
May 5, 2015:
I had initially wanted to speak about the awesome majesty of our God, as it is something that has been burning in my heart for months now. I believe God wants us to fully understand the greatness of who our King is, and He has been speaking this to us, as a church, through recent sermons and the exhortations of people like Julia and Don in the past weeks. I could certainly say much of the same tonight, but I want to speak about how we serve this majestic King and Lord, and how we express our love to Him.
The Bible says in John 14:15 (AMP):
“If you [really] love Me, you will keep (obey) My commands.”
And in John 14:21 (AMP):
“The person who has My commands and keeps them is the one who [really] loves Me; and whoever [really] loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I [too] will love him and will show (reveal, manifest) Myself to him. [I will let Myself be clearly seen by him and make Myself real to him.]”
So the question then becomes: do we love Him? Because Jesus clearly says that there is exactly one expression of love towards Him: to obey His commandments. Pop Christianity today would make God a common thing, one priority among many and that it’s ok to choose other things over God. This can be in many areas of our lives: time, talent, and finances (or tithes). Everything falls under these main areas. Every day we have many options of how to prioritize our time, how and where we use our God-given abilities and talents, and what we spend our money on. The world gives us many options on what to devote these things to.
These are important things to consider for three reasons. The first is that it all comes down to directing them towards one of two people: do we use these things for our God, or for ourselves?
The second is that these are all things given to us, and the Bible calls us stewards or managers of the things God has given us. So if we believe these things are given to us, by God, and we are stewards of them, then they don’t belong to us and we are not owners but simply managers. So I ask you: How is our stewardship?
Lastly, do we use these things in the light of Eternity, knowing that our existence on this planet is the blink of an eye or a drop in the ocean, and also keeping in mind that it is the only blink that counts and it is the single drop that defines what the rest of the ocean looks like?
These are sobering thoughts indeed. We need to understand that it isn’t just what we say that matters. God considers our words, our actions, and our motives. All three need to line up. The Bible has some very interesting things to say:
Jeremiah 17:10 NLT-SE:
“But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.””
James 2:14–17 NLT-SE:
“What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well” —but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.”
Titus 1:16 HCSB:
“They profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, and disqualified for any good work.”
1 John 3:16–18 HCSB:
“This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need but closes his eyes to his need—how can God’s love reside in him? Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action.”
This is just a sampling of what the Bible says about our actions and motives. God demonstrated His love to us by His actions: He sent His only Son, who had existed with Him for eternity, to earth, to teach us and then bear the full weight of God’s wrath against sin, God’s wrath that belonged to each of us. He interrupted a relationship that had existed for Eternity before us, so that He could have a relationship in Eternity with us. God did this for you, and He did this for me.
If we understand that God loves us this much, then it’s not too much of a stretch to suggest that we owe God a debt we can never repay. The great thing is that we don’t have to repay it! God did not set out a number of homeless people we needed to feed, or a number of people we needed to bring to church, or a number of times we needed to read the Bible. He didn’t give us a set of rules to keep, He gave us a lifestyle to live and a Saviour to accept as our own and devote our entire being to.
Galatians 2:20 (NKJV) says:
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
This lifestyle includes loving God fully, which we’ve seen is demonstrated by keeping His commandments. This is the lifestyle. This new life we’ve received in Christ is not about us. The old life, the sinful life, was about us. This new life is all about Christ. We are second to Him.
If we believe this, if we believe the Bible, if we believe the Truth that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, places into our hearts and haven’t hardened ourselves to Him, then we know that coming to church is not a chore, or a duty, or something common. We have the privilege of being in the Presence of the King of kings! The Uncreated God of the universe desires the privilege of spending time with us in His House! Giving our tithes in a Biblical way is easy. If we believe that we are stewards of that money and God has given it to us then we should never look at it as giving 10% back to God. We should always look at it as God graciously giving us the 90% to do with as we want or need and that 10% returned is simply a way to tangibly demonstrate our gratitude and thankfulness for the rest, and our obedience to His commands. Proper tithing proves our obedience to God and don’t think for a second that God doesn’t know how to count! Giving less demonstrates that we still put ourselves first.
If our time is likewise a gift from God, then we need to use it in a way that glorifies Him and advances eternity. Do we show God gratitude for the time He has given us by “tithing” back our time and helping our “neighbour” (meaning everyone)? Do we show God gratitude for the Church He has given to us and pour our time into it – not just for ourselves, but for others? We need to realize that we don’t just come to church for our own benefit, but when we place ourselves here with a proper attitude of humility and reverence before God, He can use us to bless others around us. And most importantly, when we come to church, we need to view it for what it really is: we are entering the Presence of Almighty God and ministering to Him. Our praise, thanksgiving, worship, and prayers are our ministry before the Throne of God.
I challenge you tonight to be like David and Isaiah, every day, and see what God does with you.
Psalms 51:10 (NKJV) says:
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
And Isaiah 6:8 (NKJV) says:
“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.””
Do we have the courage to stand and say the same?