Redemption in Romans, Lesson 11

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Friday’s section of this week’s SS Lesson asks, “What can we learn from the mistakes of many in ancient Israel? How can we avoid doing the same things today?”

I think as a whole we have the same struggle ancient Israel had when it comes to a proper association with the rest of the world. It appears to me, that either we join them in “Baal worship” or we have nothing to do with them whatsoever.  Jesus showed us the perfect balance to take.  In Matthew 5:13 Jesus says we are the salt of the earth. Salt is to have saving qualities. At the same time, salt must be mixed with the food in order to have any kind of savor. Likewise we must have some association with the world. Please allow me to share some quotes from the classic Desire of Ages and Ministry of Healing, that may help us find a healthy balance.

As disciples of Christ we shall not mingle with the world from a mere love of pleasure, to unite with them in folly. Such associations can result only in harm. We should never give sanction to sin by our words or our deeds, our silence or our presence. Wherever we go, we are to carry Jesus with us, and to reveal to others the preciousness of our Saviour. But those who try to preserve their religion by hiding it within stone walls lose precious opportunities of doing good. Through the social relations, Christianity comes in contact with the world. Everyone who has received the divine illumination is to brighten the pathway of those who know not the Light of life.   We should all become witnesses for Jesus. Social power, sanctified by the grace of Christ, must be improved in winning souls to the Saviour. Let the world see that we are not selfishly absorbed in our own interests, but that we desire others to share our blessings and privileges. Let them see that our religion does not make us unsympathetic or exacting. Let all who profess to have found Christ, minister as He did for the benefit of men.  –Desire of Ages, p.  152

  Jesus saw in every soul one to whom must be given the call to His kingdom. He reached the hearts of the people by going among them as one who desired their good. He sought them in the public streets, in private houses, on the boats, in the synagogue, by the shores of the lake, and at the marriage feast. He met them at their daily vocations, and manifested an interest in their secular affairs. He carried His instruction into the household, bringing families in their own homes under the influence of His divine presence. His strong personal sympathy helped to win hearts.– Desire of Ages, p. 151

     Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, “Follow Me.”–The Ministry of Healing, p. 143

How big of a mission field do you have as an ambassador for Christ? How many non Christians do you have on your cell phone contact list? In other words how many non Christians do you come in contact with on a friendly every day basis?  How many non Christians do you have as Facebook friends? Are you being exclusive and reclusive like the Pharisees or are you reaching out to the world in the same way Christ did? Christ calls us all to be missionaries. He may not need us to go overseas but He may be asking you to leave your big comfy church and Christian Community and move to a dark county where there are no churches for miles and start mingling with the people there and start a new church. He may be asking you to drop out of your church softball league and join a secular league where you can reach people you could reach no other way. I am just thinking out loud here, but you get the idea. 🙂 In Isaiah 58 God tells ancient Israel that while they thought they were worshipping God by debating theology in the temple with their friends, that real worship is going out to share His love and mercy with the world.

You may find more studies and devotionals at In Light Of The Cross.

Thoughts on Loved and Loving: John’s Epistles Lesson 5

Conner Baptism 002

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.  Matthew 5:13

I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  John 17:5-17. 

In Friday’s section of this week’s SS lesson it states: “Some people, heeding the call against loving the world, isolate themselves from the world as much as they can, moving into monasteries or communities that are radically separate from the norm. Is this a good idea?” 

Some people try to take themselves out of the world to become “godly”. However Titus 2:11-12 promises us holiness in this present world. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.”  

Fact is Jesus says we are the salt of the earth. In order for the salt to save or preserve the food it must be mixed with it. Here are some passages I have found in the Spirit of Prophecy that may help us be a blessing to the world without becoming “worldly”. 

Hearts that respond to the influence of the Holy Spirit are the channels through which God’s blessing flows. Were those who served God removed from the earth, and His Spirit withdrawn from among men, this world would be left to desolation and destruction, the fruit of Satan’s dominion. Though the wicked know it not, they owe even the blessings of this life to the presence, in the world, of God’s people whom they despise and oppress. But if Christians are such in name only, they are like the salt that has lost its savor. They have no influence for good in the world. Through their misrepresentation of God they are worse than unbelievers.–The Desire of Ages, p. 306. 

 

  And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the Lord, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land. 2 Kings 2:21 

     In casting salt into the bitter spring, Elisha taught the same spiritual lesson imparted centuries later by the Saviour to His disciples when He declared, “Ye are the salt of the earth.” The salt mingling with the polluted spring purified its waters and brought life and blessing where before had been blighting and death. When God compares His children to salt, He would teach them that His purpose in making them the subjects of His grace is that they may become agents in saving others. . . . 

     Salt must be mingled with the substance to which it is added; it must penetrate, infuse it, that it may be preserved. So it is through personal contact and association that men are reached by the saving power of the gospel. They are not saved as masses, but as individuals. Personal influence is a power. It is to work with the influence of Christ, . . . and to stay the progress of the world’s corruption. . . . It is to uplift, to sweeten the lives and characters of others by the power of a pure example united with earnest faith and love. . . . 

     The polluted stream represents the soul that is separate from God. . . . Through sin, the whole human organism is deranged, the mind is perverted, the imagination corrupted; the faculties of the soul are degraded. There is an absence of pure religion, of heart holiness. The converting power of God has not wrought in transforming the character. . . .       The heart that receives the word of God is not as a pool that evaporates. . . . It is like a river constantly flowing and, as it advances, becoming deeper and wider, until its life-giving waters are spread over all the earth. . . . So it is with the true child of God. The religion of Christ reveals itself as a vitalizing, pervading principle, a living, working, spiritual energy. When the heart is opened to the heavenly influence of truth and love, these principles will flow forth again like streams in the desert, causing fruitfulness to appear where now are barrenness and dearth.  – Conflict and Courage, p. 224 

  “We as a people do not believe it our duty to go out of the world to be out of the fashion. If we have a neat, plain, modest, and comfortable plan of dress, and worldlings choose to dress as we do, shall we change this mode of dress in order to be different from the world? No, we should not be odd or singular in our dress for the sake of differing from the world, lest they despise us for so doing. Christians are the light of the world, the salt of the earth. Their dress should be neat and modest, their conversation chaste and heavenly, and their deportment blameless.  – Testimonies for the Church Vol. 1, p.424 

Now I would just like to share a thought of my own. While serving as a lay pastor in Texas I was always troubled by the several dark counties that we had there. I often prayed for opportunities to enter those dark counties and evangelize them. However, I  had so much to do in my own county I could never do that. Then a thought occurred to me. Maybe it is not my responsibility. Maybe rather than having thousands of Adventists congregate into one little Adventist community like Keene or Collegedale, God would rather have those people move out into these dark counties and plant new churches. Just a thought I would like to throw out before I go back to minding my own business now.