Screenshot 2014-05-18 22.25.25Many of you won’t believe this, but I have heard this more in the last two years than in all my 40 years on this Earth combined.  Yes, I have heard these words from pastors, brothers in Christ, people who have visited worship services, people in town and aliens from outer space.  Ok, not the aliens.  I have heard this said from the mouths of these people and I have also heard this said by the actions of people.  You know, those folks who avoid you for no reason.  They tell you that they love you, but in reality, they don’t.  They don’t know what to do with you.  They talk nice in front of others, but look forward to the moment when they are able to slip away, hoping that you won’t call after them.  For some reason these types of people have really begun to annoy me.  And yes, that annoyance could be sin, but I am certain that it isn’t.  First of all, I am really not annoyed with them, I love them and desperately want to engage in Gospel-centered life together with them, but I am annoyed at the premise that they consider themselves siblings in Christ.  After all, if we have the same Father and are filled by the same God the Holy Spirit, then surely we can find a mutual, supernatural affection in Christ?!

I guess it’s not really annoyance, I think it would be better described as broken-hearted.  Because the only fruit the is measured by the Christ is the fruit of genuine affection among believers; genuine affection through prayer, serving, crying, rejoicing and the like.  But, if Christians have become so cold and “sociopathic” that they are unable to afford time for each other out of an inner desire to be moved by the Grace of God to obedient life-together, then something is very amis.  So amis that it almost sounds like darkness instead of light.  1 John expounds on this in great detail that the false confessors of Christ in his day were known not by their messed up theology per se, but the messed up application of what they say the do believe; namely, a hatred of the people of God.  You know what else if fascinating, that avoidance of other people without just cause and due process is a guarantee of one being dead in their sins!  When conflict arises, the church, not just the “one congregation” but the church at large must desire to make fellowship a top priority.  When someone calls us to work out an issue, we must be willing to listen, learn and love each other.  When someone makes accusation, they MUST be willing to work toward a reconciled conclusion and do so by the commands of Christ.

James teaches that one must not be a respecter of persons and all through the NT we are taught that even our ENEMIES are to be blessed, ministered to, and prayed for.  But when a brother or sister in Christ avoids you, then count it as it is; a certain argument that they should check to see if they are even in the faith.  What in the world did Christ do in redeeming His church if they are not the church?  Headless bodies carrying around bitters that causes division is one thing, but headless bodies that carry around apathy; well that is damning.  Eternally damning.  Now that I’ve moved onto the soap box, I’ll part with this small idea.  I believe that it’s easy to understand when things are just “swept under the rug” so often for the sake of “peace.”  But this is no true peace, but is the peace being preached by the Devil who lies all the time.  Friends, stop listening to him, stop listening to him through the mouths of others and man or woman up and be a person of Christ; an agent of peace and truth.

If there is something that needs to be dealt with, the do it.  Do it biblically, follow the course, follow the Spirit inside of you that is clearly instructing us through His word.  Be a powerful agent for change and stop being a pig-headed fool that says by his actions, “the gospel is NOT the power of God.”  It is the power of God and if God can reconcile us to Himself through Christ, then we are to be reconciled to each other.  Now I am not talking about those removed from the church or those who HAVE BEEN pleaded with about false teaching but will not change.  I am talking about you.  I am talking about me.  We are just as guilty of such things as anyone else.  We know in our spirit that our siblings need us, but we cower, we hide behind stupid schedules and busy lies.  This is not Christ but death.  No wonder revival makes no ground among the churches of America; we are liars and find ourselves amidst wolves.  Even the pagans love each other better than the church and it is now time for that to change.

Reach out, pick up the phone, answer the email, stop the gossip (yea, with your ears too) and make obedient and expectant grounds for reconciliation.  If you try to no avail, then try again. If your child, sibling or spouse/parent didn’t respond, talk to you or come home for a week or so it would drive you mad.  Well, saint, get angry but do not sin when your siblings have no time for the glorious mercies of Christ. Press and pray that God would make them see and serve them even when they tell you to get lost.  As for those who just won’t talk to you, make it difficult for them not to.  Go to them, knock on the door.  If they shoot you, then die as a missionary for truth.  (metaphor)…

Romans 12
[1] I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. [2] Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. [3] For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. [4] For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, [5] so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. [6] Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; [7] if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; [8] the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. 
[9] Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. [10] Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. [11] Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. [12] Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. [13] Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. [14] Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. [15] Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. [16] Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. [17] Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. [18] If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. [19] Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” [20] To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” [21] Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.


Go in Peace Brethren,

Pastor James