Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | October 19, 2014

October 19, 2014 “Sunshine Christians”

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)

Good Morning and Blessed Lord’s Day My Dear Friends!

Those of you who are parents and have raised or are raising young children have undoubtedly faced the frequently daunting task of assembling some product that states on the box, “some assembly required”. I am not fond of those words, for the included instructions are often confusing, contradictory, or in some cases, just outright dumb! Here are some examples of warning labels actually put on products for the more “simple-minded” consumers:

1. “Do not use if you cannot see clearly to read the information in the information booklet.” — In the information booklet.

2. “Do not place this product into any electronic equipment.” — On the case of a chocolate CD in a gift basket.

3. “Not suitable for children aged 36 months or less.” — On a birthday card for a 1 year old.

4.””Caution: Remove infant before folding for storage.” — On a portable stroller.

I think you get the point! Now I understand that manufacturers of the aforementioned products are simply…quite simply, actually…trying to avoid lawsuits from the most inattentive individuals imaginable, but really? As sadly amusing as these warnings may be, they do all point to a basic fact: Know what you’re buying and what is required if you buy it.

The same caution could be issued to followers of Jesus Christ. The discipleship warning issued by Jesus in Matthew’s gospel is quite specific. He indicates that following Him demands total commitment. Being a follower of Christ means more than being affiliated with a particular denomination or fellowship or Christian organization of some sort. In fact, there are lots of people who hold membership in particular churches whose personal theology is not necessarily reflective of the church or denomination with which they are affiliated. Theologian Walter Martin in his book “The Kingdom of the Cults” wrote,

“Simply because a person is a member of a specific denomination, there is no reason to suppose that the entire denomination is represented by that person’s theology,”

That’s one of the main reasons it is so important that you know why you believe what you believe, and are able to give defense of it through personal testimony. Know what you’re buying and what is required if you buy it!  Some prominent pastors and theologians have suggested that it doesn’t really matter what religious group you’re affiliated with so long as you believe in Jesus. When he began his ministry, people followed and “believed” in Jesus for any number of reasons…free food…healing…bold teaching…dreams of liberation from the shackles of Roman rule to name a few. But when it came to the part about cross-bearing, persecution, and rejection, many fell away. Such “Sunshine Christians” did not read the warning label and what they were buying and soon fell away. Do you know what you’ve bought into as a follower of Christ? Do you know what your particular church believes? Are you a “Sunshine Christian” or a dedicated follower of Christ? Does your theology square up with that of Christ’s teachings? Every Christian needs to read the warning label before blithely agreeing to follow Christ. The price is a cross. The reward is eternal life! Let’s pray!

Heavenly Father; I surrender all to You and desire to follow where You rightly lead. Grant me the courage and the conviction to make that journey joyfully. This I pray in Jesus’ Holy Name. Amen!

 

 

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