The NT encourages us to be people who help point others to Jesus. It does not matter whether or not they are running from Jesus, or if they already know Jesus. We all benefit from being closer to Jesus.
So, how do we help people move closer to Jesus? In 1 Timothy 2, Paul suggests a number of things that point to how this can be done more effectively:
—Don’t be angry or argumentative.
—Don’t rely on our outward beauty.
—Don’t be bossy.
—Continue in faith, love, holiness and humility.
Over the last few weeks I have had the pleasure of meeting up with some people from another church. This church has very different beliefs to ours. They do not believe we are saved through faith in Jesus and his work on the cross. I came to the conclusion that arguments were not going to help, but God gave me a peace that this was ok. Instead, I felt God simply gave me a love for them. I will not pretend that this is a common occurrence!
May we be filled with a love for others, that they might come closer to the only one who saves.
There are a number of times in the New testament that the church is encouraged to live quiet and peaceful lives (1 Timothy 2:2. We are not to be stirring up trouble. We are not to be angry and short tempered. We are following a saviour who was beaten, but did not hit back.
Whenever we think about how it is that we are to behave as Christians, it is so easy to compare ourselves to others, to minimise the importance of right behaviour, or just give up. This is why we should only ever look at how we should behave in the shadow of the cross. It is only from a position of undeserved grace that we can look at our behaviour and respond in a truly positive way.
When talking about how we should behave Paul said to Timothy, “… this is good and it pleases our saviour, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to know the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
Grace changes our motives, indeed it gives us motive! We don’t have to “behave” to appease God. Rather we live to please the one who has saved us, so that others might also come to know our saviour.
May our lives reflect the love of the Saviour, who died that we might live!
Our church mission statement claims that we exist as a church to help all people draw closer to Jesus. This mission statement is important. It reminds us of the importance and centrality of Jesus to the church, and to the world. It reminds us that we are partnering with Jesus in His work. It is a mission that relates to believers and non-believers.
Sometimes we forget our mission. Some times we allow our mission to be side tracked or even hijacked.
Paul asked his young helper, Timothy, to stay in the church in Ephesus and make sure they stayed on task. He was to deal with false teachers who undermined the centrality and person of Jesus. They wanted to major on issues such as myths and genealogies.
Paul reminds Timothy what their mission was, to have a “love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith”. Paul concludes the letter with the words, “O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you… Grace be with you”.
May we be active in each playing our part to help all people draw closer to Jesus. May we go about it with a pure love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith.
Why do we live in a world that contains pain and suffering when we believe in a God who is all powerful and loving? This is a question that is often asked by atheists and Christians alike. There are a number of ways of looking at this issue that are helpful in understanding where God is coming from and the purpose of pain and suffering in our lives. As well as understanding these issues there is an underlying truth that I find helpful to remember. This truth, put simply, is that our God has suffered too.
The God of the Bible enters into the pain and suffering. He enters, not for His own gain, but that others might benefit. John reminds us of what our Saviour endured for us in John 19. He was whipped, ridiculed, spat on and crucified. He went through pain and suffering, even though he had in Him the fullness of God (Philippians 2:6-8).
May we too come to accept that God has a plan in the midst of pain and suffering.
Is there really only one way to God?
Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one goes to the Father except by me.” Jesus obviously saw himself as the only way to salvation. Like with many truths that Jesus presents, it is always worth thinking about the emphasis that scripture places on it. It is helpful to remember the following:
1—Jesus is the only way to salvation. If asked about this, then we should respond openly and honestly. This is what Jesus does in John 14 as he chatted with his disciples.
2—We are called to love others, and to present the Good News in a way that draws others to Jesus. We neither deny nor water down the truth, but we present it thoughtfully, prayerfully and lovingly.
3—Paul in Acts 17:22-34 demonstrates how we can talk to people who believe in false religions in a positive way that does not put them on the defensive or result in an argument about who has the strongest god.
So, we might believe in the only true faith that leads to God, but in order to win others to the way, truth and life, then we must be prepared to be humble, gracious and loving, just like our Saviour!