We live in a rapidly
changing world. Technology changes by the minute. Children learn today in the
6th grade what was not taught until high school just a generation
ago. But technology and education are not the only things which have changed.
The world’s view of ethics has changed also. It no longer seems important to
follow even the modest of rules. Today is a day of “if it feels good, do it.”
It is a day where whatever helps you get ahead is acceptable.
When the Port Authority
in New York and New Jersey ran a help-wanted advertisement for electricians
with expertise at using Sontag connectors, they received 170 responses – even
though there is no such thing as a Sontag connector. The Authority ran the ad
to find out how many applicants falsify resumes in order to get a job. (James
Emery White, You Can Experience an Authentic Life, pp. 126-127)
text of the day is explicit. What is wrong with the world is that we have forgotten
what is right. In writing to the church at Rome, Paul has just urged them to
present their bodies as a living sacrifice. Now he addresses how a Christian
behaves. While each instruction has its own merits and should not be overlooked,
verse 12 seems to incorporate a great deal of the entirety of what it means
to walk with Christ. So how do we walk with Jesus day by day?
Rejoice in hope.
There should be
great joy in the Christian’s knowledge that he is in Christ. There should be
a constant expectation that Christ will complete in us the work which he has
begun. Paul speaks earlier in chapter 5, verse 7 about this joy and hope. He
writes, “Also through Him, we have obtained access by faith into this grace
in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”
Because of this
hope the believer is able to “hold fast” when adversity comes. Although one
may feel “pressed down” he should hold fast to his faith and be lifted up. The
Psalmist writes, “I will rejoice and be glad in your faithful love because you have seen my
affliction. You have known the troubles of my life.” (31:7) Matthew echoes this
with, “Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For
that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (5:12)
Scriptures the believer is reminded to pray without ceasing and to pray in confidence
believing that all things really are possible with the Lord. To the church at
Ephesus Paul wrote these words, “With every prayer and request, pray at all
times in the Spirit, and stay alert in this, with all perseverance and intercession
for all the saints.” (Eph. 6:18) Never give up!
While the world
changes the one thing they must see in The Christian is consistency. We must
indeed live so that the world may see Jesus in us. Our identity must be clear
and certain. Someone has said we need to “walk the talk.” Indeed that has to
be true in a day when inconsistency and dishonesty are the norms. But, how can
we? How can we consistently day after day live that kind of existence?
When one is focused
on the hope he has in Christ and is holding fast to that truth through faith
and prayer he will be wrapped in the love of Christ. Walking in that love is
perhaps the best accountability for the way we live out our lives daily. One
will find himself “loving without hypocrisy (v.9). He will find himself humbled
by the very presence of Christ in his life v.16). And, when evil comes he will
not be conquered. Rather, he will conquer evil with good (v.21).
Sermon brief provided by: John Burke, Senior Consultant
for Church Fund Raising Services with LifeWay Church Resources, Nashville, TN.