In Jesus’ “High Priestly Prayer” recorded in John 17, our Lord prays that His disciples and those would follow after them be “sanctified by the truth” (John 17:17). Jesus prays that His followers be made holy and set apart in a world that will hate them just as it hated Him. One of the reasons Jesus gives for desiring that His followers be sanctified is “that the world may believe” – in verse 23: “that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
The world is watching us. They have a keen eye on the church, because they want to see if this thing is for real. They want to see if this Jesus is all He’s cracked up to be. They want to see if God can really change a life that is in shambles and make it worth living. The world is looking to us. What are they seeing?
There’s a saying that goes, “It’s easier to preach a dozen sermons than to live one.” There are people all around us who will never darken the door of a church. They will never hear a sermon preached. But they will be watching the sermons that are our lives very closely. Thomas Chalmers, a church leader in 19th-century Scotland, said, “Every man is a missionary, now and forever, for good or for evil, whether he intends or designs it or not. He may be a blot radiating his dark influence outward to the very circumference of society, or he may be a blessing spreading benediction over the length and breadth of the world.”
The world is watching. Jesus prayed that we be sanctified so that they may know – that they may know that He is who He says He is, that they may know that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Jesus says that if the world looks at us, and we have been sanctified by the truth, they will see that Jesus is who He says He is. You see, you and I are the proof of what Jesus can do in a life. We are living testimonies to the power of the blood of Jesus Christ. But if the world looks at us and sees something that is NOT in congruence with the nature of Jesus Christ, then they say, “See, this Jesus isn’t what he claimed to be. If he can’t make these Christians something better than they were, then what’s the point?”
Jesus also says that if the world looks at us, and we have been sanctified by the truth, they will see that God loves them. If we are loving our neighbor as we love ourselves, then we are reflecting the love of God to those around us. Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
What does the world see when they look at you and me? Do they see a life and a love that would make them believe?~ Matt Kinnell NHIM Board Chairman
After decades of captivity, the People of God were finally free to go home. The Book of Ezra recounts the details of the people’s release and journey back to Jerusalem. The King of Persia released the people to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. Not only did he release them, he also ordered the temple treasures taken decades earlier by Nebuchadnezzar to be given back to them. In another amazing act of kindness, he directed neighbors, both Jewish and non-Jewish, to contribute large amounts of gold and silver, goods and livestock to the pilgrims who were heading home. All of us have something in common with these ancient ancestors of our faith. It would be wise for us to take note. We are also on a journey home. It’s a journey to our eternal home.
In chapter 8:24-29, Ezra gathered the priests and levites and carefully weighed into their hands the gold, silver, vessels, and offerings to be carried on the journey. A record was kept of what each person carried. They were informed that they were considered holy to God, and all the treasures they were carrying were holy to God. They were to guard these treasures with their lives until they reached Jerusalem. After arrival in Jerusalem, there would be a weigh-in at the Temple. Each person would have to give a strict account of what had been entrusted to him.
As you and I make our probationary pilgrim’s journey home, we also are entrusted with treasures. We have been given an eternal soul, precious coins of time, talents and abilities, opportunities to witness to God’s grace, and a chances do good to those around us. Peter tells us,“ But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession. You were chosen to tell about the wonderful acts of God, who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” We will also be summonsed to a weigh-in. The scripture says, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement.” (Heb. 9:27). Paul echoes this message in Rom. 14:12, “ So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
There is coming a great weight watchers meeting! Are you ready for your weigh-in?
~ Brother Roy
You never know exactly how you will have an impact on people. For me, the Northern Ireland trip was nothing I expected, but remarkably familiar. The church we worked in reminded me some of the church I grew up in – just a small neighborhood church reaching out to the kids in the community. The kids were also coming from similar backgrounds – low-income, single-parent homes. These were kids who need someone to show they care.
Most of the week we spent relationship building through both working in the schools and leading Kids’ Club. There were many days where as a team we felt like we weren’t making much headway with the kids, and at times it was discouraging. But then there would be this one child – you might see their eyes light up as you talked about how much God loved them or maybe they would randomly come up and hug you – and you would realize that this was why you were here. It is all about being Jesus to them.
This was exactly what our team leaders James and Rachel had emphasized since the very beginning of our trip planning. Our purpose was to love on the people in Northern Ireland. This attitude carried on throughout our group even after Kids’ Club was long over. On Saturday, the church had planned a coastal excursion for our group and hired a coach. Throughout the course of the day we really connected with our bus driver, including him in all we were doing. His preschooler son ended up joining us by the end of the day. Imagine all of our surprise the next morning when he showed up at church with his two children, driving almost thirty minutes to come. It just reminded me how much we impact people through our daily lives. We may not verbally be sharing the gospel with everyone everyday, but through our actions we can be constantly sharing God’s grace.
~ Kellie Dundon
The 5th Chapter of Genesis contains what one person called ‘a long and dreary list of Seth’s descendants.’ The account tells us basically those listed were born, produced children and died. In the midst of what appears to be a monotonous chronicle, a beautiful variation occurs. Enoch comes on the scene and did not simply ‘exist.’ Enoch chose to ‘live.’
There is a big difference between existing and living. Existing consists mainly of eating, working, sleeping, and producing children, and then dying. Living involves walking with God. The scriptures state in Gen. 5: 24, “Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.” The Message translation puts it simply, “ Enoch walked steadily with God. And then one day he was simply gone: God took him.” Walking with God means walking steadily, pleasing Him, building a relationship with Him, and preparing for an eternity with Him.
What is involved in walking with God all the way to eternity?
- First, we must be born again. (John 3:3) An old proverb says, ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.’ We must “rise up in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth and walk.” (Acts 3:6)
- Romans 6:4 tells us that “we should walk in the newness of life.”
- We must follow the footsteps of Jesus. “ He who says he abides in Him (Jesus) ought himself also to walk just as he walked.” (1 John 2:6)
- We must walk in the light. “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)
- We must walk in love. “And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” ( Eph. 5:2)
LET’S TAKE A WALK !
~ Brother Roy