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Archive for July, 2013

Many an American Christian suffers from a regrettable plight: deep down, desiring or even longing to be loved or accepted by non-Christians – whom the Bible calls the unrighteous, the wicked, the lost or the unsaved (I find many Christians are even uncomfortable with those terms!  Should our Triune God have waited to write His Word until He could consult with today’s Christians about how or what to write, so we would not be offended or embarrassed?).

I just finished reading John 15:18-20, where Jesus reminds us of what seemingly a growing percentage of American Christians are ignorant of:

 18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

Do we so desperately want to fit in with the world that we completely avoid speaking about Jesus to unsaved people – because we don’t want them to reject us? 

But isn’t the goal of our speaking to them not to accept or to reject us but simply to be faithful to tell them about Jesus’ eternal solution to their sin problem?

Please do not misunderstand me; the worst thing we can do is to give someone who doesn’t yet know Jesus an excuse to hate us – through our own lack of integrity, lack of love, lack of honor, self-righteousness, etc. (more on this in a moment).

But I see nowhere in Scripture where God calls the unsaved to love us; but I do read in many places where we are to love them with His love – regardless of how they treat us!

In my own experience of living and working among the unsaved (sorry, but I have to once again use the terms “the unrighteous” or “the wicked,” because apart from Jesus, those were the categories I myself was in), I could often sense hatred or disdain toward me simply for being a Christian.

On the other hand, I would often sense respect toward me from those without Jesus – no doubt because they were at some level open to receiving Him.  But I treated them all with the utmost respect and honor, created as they are in His image and likeness.

More than anything, I wanted them to see Jesus in me – by working with diligence and excellence – and by conducting myself toward them with wisdom, winsomeness and humility. 

And I still do the same with them wherever I go, even though as a pastor, most of my time is invested in building up God’s people so that they can indeed be the best witness for Jesus possible.

I pray and prayed for their salvation; I served and loved them unconditionally.  At the end of the day, these are the things we can control; how they respond to us is out of our control and between them and God.

And so, my dear brother or sister in Christ, do not be ashamed of the gospel (Rom. 1:16)!  It is the power of God for salvation to the Jew and to the Gentile. 

Pray for yourself and for the entire body of Christ to give them the best witness possible through our integrity, our Christ-likeness and our genuine love for them. 

Pray for those who do not yet know Jesus with earnest sincerity; love them with humility but speak the truth in love to them with boldness, knowing that the Holy Spirit has already gone before you to prepare their hearts (John 16:7-10).

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