There’s a rarely-discussed passage in Matthew 5:33-37 where Jesus confronts the Pharisees about oaths. Most Americans only hear the word oath when a celebrity lies in court (under oath). But Jesus isn’t talking about oaths in this passage.He’s talking about INTEGRITY. Here’s what Jesus is saying. You should live with such high integrity that your word doesn’t need attachments to make it legitimate. So, typical phrases like, “I promise,” “I swear” and “I put it on my mom’s grave” should never come from your mouth.
I was in an engineering class the first time I watched the tragic explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Even though I wasn’t alive when it happened, I caught a glimpse of the horror thousands must have felt as the events unfolded.
And, the first question everyone wanted to know was, “What happened?”
After months of investigation, here’s what the Rogers Commission (the group commissioned to investigate the explosion) discovered: An o-ring seal in the right solid rocket booster failed at take-off. I won’t bore you with the details, but an o-ring is a small device relative to the size of a space shuttle. Very small.
It wasn’t something huge, like a puncture in the rocket booster or a hole in the cabin, that caused this disaster. It was a small, seemingly insignificant, o-ring failure.
I think there’s a lesson here for the church. What if the big sins, you know the ones you try hardest to avoid, aren’t the greatest threat to your joy and the church’s mission?
Maybe it’s the sins lying underneath, the ones considered normal or acceptable, the ones going undetected, that are affecting the church the most. I want to address nine of these sins.
The phrases “do not fear” and “do not be afraid” appear 365 times in the Bible. Ironic? I think not. And here’s what I think the church misses about fear. Let me pose this as a question. What is the opposite of fear? Courage? Bravery? William Wallace?
Wrong. Wrong. And right, but you’re ruining my point.
The opposite of fear is…LOVE. Add to this the reality that God is love. So, according to the Transitive property of mathematics, the opposite of fear is…God.
If you’re a child of God, the one sin that shouldn’t plague you is…fear.
Yet, Christians are the most fearful people on earth. Even our salvation is rooted in fear. Does it bother anyone that the primary method of bringing people to Jesus has been to scare them away from hell?
That’s fear language, the antithesis of God. Look at what John says.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:18
The church is scared to make decisions out of fear. Christians are hesitant to step into dangerous situations out of fear. The catalyst for our obedience is fear. Where’s the love?
Several weeks ago, I decided to remove the words “fear, scared and terrified” from my vocabulary. Maybe you should do the same. It could change how you see the world. And God.
Apathy’s best friends are passivity and entitlement. Together, they’re a vicious threesome.
There’s nothing mediocre or normal about God. His power is beyond comprehension. His beauty is beyond description. His love is beyond measure. The same God who created the universe and formed stars desires a relationship with you.
Yet, the attitude is often, “OK, God loves me. That’s great. What’s for lunch?” No. You don’t get it, bro. God loves you. And you’re content with, “That’s great.”
Our apathetic approach to God explains a lot about why people in America aren’t lining up to become Christians.
I mean, think about it. How many Christians have you met that left you thinking, “Wow, I want to be like them?” But this should be the norm, right? Am I way off here? Shouldn’t you be so transformed by God that people want to ask about your life, even if they hate God?
In Scripture, when men and women truly experience God, everything changes. Everything. So, that begs the question, “Have you experienced God?”
In my younger days, I would literally eat myself sick. I mean, if I ordered food, I ate all of it. Period. Naturally, this presented a problem when I ate buffets.
Looking back, I see that my attitude was gluttonous. And the gluttony wasn’t that I ate myself sick. It was that I used a gift God gave me on myself…in excess.
Gluttony is primarily about the heart. It’s a craving for excess. Gluttony says, “Those voids God is supposed to fill…don’t worry about that. I will fill them.” Gluttony happens when you lose your awe of God. You see, as long as your eyes are fixed on Jesus, your heart’s desire is for him.