“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses Jesus as the Christ who has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God, and this is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming, and now is already in the world.” 1 John 4:1-3 NET
Christianity revolves around Jesus as Christ. To Christians, any faith, religion, or creed which does not accept Jesus as the exclusive savior of the world is anti-Christ. The very term anti-Christ alludes to being against Christ or against Messiah. As Christians we believe Jesus literally lived on this planet and sacrificed his life for ours. We believe that Jesus was with God and that He himself was fully God. (John 1:1) Without the Messiah the world would be completely lost, forever.
This belief leaves no room for any other faith to coincide. No other religion can be mingled. No other “gospel” can save you except that of Jesus. Our western culture is heading down a path that does not welcome distinctive faith. Acceptance of all doesn’t fit into the mold of Christianity, this is some what of a perplex situation for Christians. How can we show genuine kindness, humility, and love without tampering with our message? The message is, essentially, there is no other way except Jesus. How do you say to your Muslim neighbor “the only way is Jesus” without being extremely offensive? Its sad, but Christians are already portrayed as closed minded individuals. Of course, if you are Christian, your mind is closed to any other faith. So how can we present ourselves as a humble, kind, and loving example and still be unwavering in our message?
“Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.” - St Francis of Assisi
It is a bit cliche but actions do speak louder then words. If Jesus doesn’t force himself on anyone we, as Christians, shouldn’t force Jesus on anyone either. Our best sermon is our lives and I’m convinced that if everyone in the world could experience Jesus they would never turn back. Sometimes we don’t allow that. Remember, He is the vine and we are the branches (John 15:5). We are the physical representatives of the Almighty in this world and when people look at us they should see Jesus. When people experience you, they should be experiencing Jesus. Our actions define our intentions and our intentions mirror our hearts and minds. When we are at home, work, church, alone, or in a crowd, our integrity shouldn’t leave us. Persistence in the lifestyle of a Christian leads to a wealth of awareness. You are constantly judged and condemned and critiqued by everyone around you so always remember who you represent. Once we become aware of the transformation that occurs in our own lives, through the redemptive process, others will notice the cause and effect of our actions also. Your witness cannot be turned on and off.
You cannot argue someone into believing. It doesn’t work. It Never has and it never will. Your very presence as a believer should leave other people wanting more. If we allow the Holy Spirit to direct and mold our lives according God’s will, we will become absolutely contagious to people who are without His relationship. This is called sacrificial living. We sacrifice our own decisions to make the decisions that will glorify Jesus. Why? This is a two fold answer and can be found in the example of the two greatest commandments. We are to love The Lord our God with all our hearts, soul, mind, and strength and we are to genuinely love our neighbors as ourselves. If we are sincere with these two commands we will see that there is no room for selfish love only love for others. So our lifestyle will reflect that of a citizen of Heaven, a royal ambassador, and in achieving this we will become less self absorbed and more concentrated on others. If we live this way, if we will truly love our neighbors, we will have a genuine concern for their salvation and adjust our lives to become accommodating to their need of an example of Jesus.
In the end it’s all about Jesus, never ourselves.
Tazewell Grace Fellowship