The Christian, with regards to the world, should be a separating person. What do I mean? When you accept the offer of salvation from Jesus, from that moment on you are in Christ and out of this world; we are mysteriously in the world physically but out of the world spiritually.
The Christian is a partaker of “the heavenly calling” (Heb 3:1) which means they are no longer interested in the treasures or pleasure of sin in this world. However, we are not to be isolated from reality or insulated from the world’s needs, or as one preacher put it: “We are not to be so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good.” Rather, it means that we look at the things of earth from heaven’s point of view. That point of view is: The world is passing away.
Warren Wiersbe sums up my thoughts, “When the tempest is around us, we look by faith to the throne of grace above us and the Word of God before us. The truth about what is going on in this world is not in the newspapers but in the Scriptures”
Separated but still in it,
The world’s religions, with the exception of Christianity, tell you to find the answers you seek in knowing, feeling, or doing. What do I mean? The knowing religions say, master a set of ideas. Learn the keys that unlock the answers of the universe and you will unlock the answers to your life. The feeling religions teach you to engage in the mystical, enter into an experience of the mysticism of the universe and you will be changed. The doing religions teach you to do a list of practical things that will change you.
Jesus did not come to give us a new thought; though there is nothing more profound then knowing him. He did not come to give us a new experience; even though there is nothing more life changing than him. He did not come to give you a new list of things to do; though we are to be known by the things we do. Christianity is rooted in being attached to Jesus; abiding in Him. That is what John 1:4 means, “In him was life, and that life was the light of men” (1:4). Abiding in Jesus is life itself.
A young boy was acting up one day so his father warned him if he continued he would get punished. The boy didn’t listen and finally did something that he needed to be punished for. The father told his son he couldn’t play with his favorite toy for a period of time. The boy pulled a wrinkled dollar bill from his jeans and waved it in front of his dad saying, “Perhaps Mr. Washington could change your mind.”
We all do it, don’t we? We get squarely caught and we try to finesse our way out of it. When it comes to God there is no finessing our way around His throne. We’re guilty and we know it, but the extreme self-confident nature of sin prevents us from admitting it.
There was a sentence in Sunday’s sermon that explains why Christ went to the cross, and I hope you caught it: “On the cross Jesus gets what we deserve; in return we get what Jesus deserved.” It doesn’t sound fair does it? But there is nothing fair about God’s grace. Here’s my point: It takes the work of God to overcome our sin bathed self-confidence.You want someone else to take the blame?
The critical moment arrived and Judas yielded to Satan. Somewhere Judas made a wrong turn; he pressed ahead instead of repenting. Ever so gradually Judas became a pawn of the Devil. Judas is disturbing for he was a man who saw the light, understood it, but chose the darkness anyway.
If betrayal on this magnitude is possible by Judas then it is possible for any follower of Jesus today. Therefore, the Judas story is a warning that we too are in danger of misunderstanding Jesus and his work, and being seduced by our own dreams and visions of life.
There are lessons to learn from Judas: His spiritual turning point was gradual; it did not happen all at once. Like Judas our betrayal of Jesus is gradual and does not happen all at once. This means we must be always on guard in our physical and spiritual lives for compromise. Another lesson: Satan’s reach entered into the most private of settings; Jesus inner circle. Where Jesus is at work, Satan’s attack is more acute. We must be on guard at all times to the sanctity of our church, our service, and where we take our witness too.
Happy but cautious,