There are times when we have to make decisions in life. Jesus says that is true when it comes to Him. Do we acknowledge Him or not? Jesus said we can’t keep Him as a secret friend. If we fail to acknowledge Him now, He may fail to acknowledge us in the future. Which Way is it going to be?
Do you ever feel unimportant? Do you get the feeling no one cares? Well think again. We are important to God. He cares about us. He is watching out for us. That means our lives have meaning and purpose. People may dismiss us or forget about us, God never will. We count in God’s eyes and that is all that counts.
It is so easy for us to fear the wrong things. Jesus tells us not to be afraid of what people think about us or might do to us. Instead he says to “fear” God. God has the final word. He is worthy of our worship, honor and respect. We don’t need to be afraid of God when we have faith in Him. But we do need to give God honor and praise.
If we want to understand these words of Jesus, we need to read them in context. Jesus is dealing with the Pharisees who were guilty of hypocrisy. They didn’t follow through on their teachings or promises. Jesus warned they would be exposed and their secrets revealed. Jesus is saying that hypocrisy will be exposed. But Jesus also tells us that sins will be forgiven. If we go it alone without faith in Christ our sins will be exposed. But if we rely on Him in faith, our sins will be forgiven.
Somehow I managed to lose the post I made from the past two days. Not sure what I did wrong. I thought I had saved them the right way. Reminds me of the religious elite who challenged Jesus. They thought they were doing the right things, but they were lost. No one can do enough right things to save themselves. The religious leaders rejected Jesus who came to seek and to save the lost. We would all be lost without Jesus.
I made myself a promise when I entered the ministry that if I had to make a tough choice between the Law and the Gospel that I would “error on the side of the Gospel.” Jesus confronted the Pharisees and others for their legalism. He challenged them for placing the burden of the law on people without any hope of relief. Jesus came to lift the burdens of sin, guilt and shame off us. There is no condemnation in Christ. Which side do you live on, the law or the Gospel? The Law certainly has a place in our lives, but it doesn’t have the last word. The Law shows us our sin and leads us to repentance. The Gospel shows us our Savior and gives us new life.
The religious leaders of Jesus day liked to put on a big show to get the attention and praise of the people. But Jesus said they were rotten on the inside, trying to hide the truth from others. Christians are not called to put on a show. We are called to live the new life of faith: loving, forgiving, and serving others in Jesus name.
My younger brother passed away this morning. He was raised in a Christian home and family. Hopefully he held onto his faith. His work here was done. Time to go home and meet Jesus.
I always try to pay special attention to the things Jesus said to the religious leaders of the day because I’m a Pastor, a religious leader today. Jesus spoke strong words to them to get their attention, to call them to change. Them emphasized obeying their understanding of the laws and keeping religious rituals. Jesus said justice and mercy are more important. They still are. As an Old Testament prophet said, God wants us to seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with Him.
It’s not what we look like on the outside, but who we are on the inside that counts. It’s not following rules and rituals to put us right with God, but having faith in Jesus Christ and relying on God’s love and forgiveness to become children of God. Only God can look inside of us, only God knows our heart.