Last week some things in my life sort of felt like they were imploding, so I failed to post sermon number three here. It was a sermon about humility. I did share it on Facebook, but couldn’t find time to write up a post here. Sorry about that.
I try very hard to stay away from politics here at Steak and a Bible. That isn’t because I don’t have strong political opinions, I do. I avoid it because I do not want my political opinions to get in the way of God’s truth. The Bible and the truth it contains is essential. It is non-negotiable. That is my focus and it will remain so.
But occasionally a political issue (or current event) bleed so much into my faith that I feel compelled to say something.
This is one of those days. Continue reading
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved if God so loved us, we ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
I had the incredible privilege last week to attend an event (The Bridge conference put on by International Christian Concern) focused on the persecuted church in the Middle East specifically. I also was able to attend a separate discussion regarding the refugee crisis and how Christians should think about it and how to help them.
I don’t even know where to begin because my head and heart are still swimming from the amazing personal testimonies, the harsh reality of suffering and oppression around the world, and so many thoughts about what can be done.
As I am able to gather my thoughts I will probably share more, but for now I just want to address a couple of basics on the matter.
Why should you (as a Christian) care about the persecuted church and/or refugees?
I realize these are not identical issues. But I would say that in both cases, the reason is the same: our faith demands it.
Matthew 25:31-40 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'”
1 John 3:16-18 “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
Col. 3:12-14 “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
And there are so many more. God’s word tells us to love our neighbors, and then broadly defines who that is. It exhorts us to remember and care for the poor, for widows and orphans and the vulnerable. It says to show hospitality, even to strangers. So love, compassion and action to help people being persecuted for Jesus Christ, as well as to refugees (of any religion or ethnicity) is absolutely consist with how the Bible teaches us to live as Christians.
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Ephesians 2:1-10 NASB
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. I hope that today, as the the world turns its thoughts toward love we remember the greatest love of all, a love that makes everything else pale in comparison.
In John 15:8-14 ESV (Jesus says):
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.”
The refugee crisis in Europe has been in the headlines for months and probably won’t go away anytime soon. A couple of months ago I interviewed some people living in Hungary, about the situation. One of my contacts was Calvary Chapel Pastor Phil Metzger. Continue reading
Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity
And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession?
He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He delights in unchanging love.
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Continue reading