A Few Things Against You(당신의 뜻과 다른 몇 가지 것들)/ Revelation 2:12-17(계2:12-17)/ 2015-03-15
A Few Things Against You(당신의 뜻과 다른 몇 가지 것들)/ Revelation 2:12-17(계2:12-17)/ 2015-03-15
A Few Things Against You(당신의 뜻과 다른 몇 가지 것들)
A Few Things Against You
12 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.
13 I know where you live? Here Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city ?here Satan lives.
14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality.
15 Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.
16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.
Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. Revelation 2:14
I stood in a video rental store the other day surveying the latest movies and wondering, “Is this a place I should be?” With all the sometimes subtle and often blatant messages of my culture which are diametrically opposed to God’s word in full view in my current surroundings, was this place for me? Was my presence an accommodation in and of itself? Would the angel of my church have warned of this place? Was I being legalistic in my thoughts or sensitive to God’s conviction?
The word to the church in Peramum cut two ways. The believers were commended for remaining true to their faith in a very difficult environment. These were anything but easy days to be a believer. One of their brothers had been martyred, and Satan was having a field day in their city. Their faithfulness to the name of Jesus in these circumstances was noteworthy.
Yet God called His own to a higher standard. He wanted more out of His church than willingness to not bail. He expected lifestyles above reproach. He desired His own to resist accommodation to a bent culture.
Though they lived in a place where Satan had his throne, God must reign supreme in their lives. Avoiding blatant betrayal of faith was not enough.
These believers were being called out by God to stand strong. They were to be separate and holy in the middle of an ungodly culture. If the kingdom to come were to be theirs, they needed to live as members of that kingdom now.
There are few messages to our culture that are as relevant and profound as this one. The siren call of our culture is not to abandon Christ in name, but rather to accommodate our Christian convictions to the mores of our culture and thus to abandon Him in lifestyle. How else can we explain the lifestyles of the average person who calls him/herself as Christian, but lives anything but holy? The great danger of our day is precisely the one faced by the church in Pergamum. It is the danger that compromise and holiness are like oil and water. They do not mix no matter how much we try to shake them together. For the believer, they are mutually exclusive terms and lifestyles.
So let us who have ears hear the Spirit. In view of the coming kingdom for which we eagerly wait, let us give His Spirit free reign to convict us of any compromise, to rid our lives of any accommodation to sin, and to let holiness reign.
Lord, You know my weaknesses like no other. You know my blind spots to this culture You have me in. Free me to live a holy life. Create in me tenderness to the call of Your Spirit when temptations to compromise knock at my door. Keep working in me to refine and purify my life. Amen.
It is often difficult to recognize our accommodations to the culture we live in. Like smoke, it seeps into the fabric of our lives. Though we can get used to the smell, it stinks. Others around us notice. Most importantly, the compromised lifestyle stinks to the nostrils of God.
So how do you get rid of it? Begin with honest, naked prayer. With the psalmist, pray “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Invite a peer whose walk with Christ you admire to examine your life, to keep you accountable to holiness and talk to you honestly about your decisions and patterns of living. Ask an elder or leader of your church to help you examine your life and to pray with you.
If you are serious about holiness, it will cost you. It will cost you potential relationships, friendships, financial opportunities and it will cost you a big hunk of your selfishness. The reward will far outweigh all these costs, but don’t forget that compromise is always the easiest road. It is seldom the road that leads to godliness.
A New Attitude for a New Year(새해를 향한 새로운 태도)/ Romans 5:1-5(롬5:1-5)/ 신년축복주일설교/ 2007-01-03
A New Attitude for a New Year(새해를 향한 새로운 태도)
A New Attitude for a New Year
Charles Swindoll says, the longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude to me is more important: than facts, than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do, than appearances, than giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one thing we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you. We are in charge of our attitudes.
Swindoll is right. It is not what happens to us that is important, it is how we respond to what happens to us. It is not what life brings, but what we bring to life that matters. I have known many people who have come from good homes, and had many advantages in life, who never rose above mediocrity. On the other hand, I have known many people who have come from poverty and abuse who accomplished great things. I have known people who were exceedingly intelligent and gifted, who rarely contributed anything to the world. And I have known people who were very average in intelligence and ability who were great successes. Some were willing to believe and work hard in spite of great disadvantages, while others gave up before they started. They never really tried. Some rested on their laurels, while others had a dream. Some complained about what was wrong, and others put forth the effort to make things right. Some had faith in God, and others had faith in nothing. Some lived in cynicism and despair, while others in lesser circumstances lived in faith and hope.
I think there are some key areas of our attitude in life that are important. The first is this: Be authentic. In other words, be real. Be yourself. Authenticity is an attitude of honesty and humility. Don’t try to be someone you are not. Don’t wear a mask around others. Be the same person in public and private. One of the disappointing things about some of our national religious leaders this past year was that they were living two different lives. They were not authentic. Their public persona was vastly different from their personal life. It would have been far better for them to talk openly about their struggles, and admit their weaknesses, rather than to pretend everything was great. Far better for us to know of their struggles, so they could get help and we could pray for them, than have them pretend they had it all together, when they were actually falling apart. We would have had much more respect for them. It is so hard to hide secret parts of your life, and the bigger the secret is the harder it is to hide. The harder it is to hide, the more dysfunctional your life becomes.
It takes courage to be authentic. It doesn’t take any courage to wear a mask. One of the scriptures I love is about what it will be like when the kingdom of heaven arrives in its fullness. Paul says, how we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known?(1 Corinthians 13:12). I love that. It gives us such great freedom to be ourselves. And Paul writes that in his wonderful discourse on love in 1 Corinthians 13. So what we see is that in God’s kingdom we are fully known by God and others, and fully loved by God and others. This is the model for what it means to live in Christian community ?to be the church. When someone opens up to us about a struggle in their lives, we don’t react with shock and shame. We are honored that someone has trusted us at a very deep level, and we seek to be an encourager and a listener. As we begin to know them at a deeper level, we grow to love them at a deeper level. A kind of relationship develops that was not possible before.
One of the things that has been a great blessing for me is that when new people come into our church and become a part of small group, they remark at how real the people of our church are. People are actually open and honest about their struggles and failures, their doubts and fears. They don’t pretend they have it all together. That is why we come together, to encourage and strengthen each other ?to let people know that they are not alone. We are a family and we support each other.
A second key attitude that helps us to be more healthy is to: Be of good cheer. You can’t be of good cheer if you are constantly thinking about how bad and terrible the world is. If you are focused on the end of the world, you cannot enjoy the present moment. How can we ever convince the world that we have good news if all we talk about is bad news? And we don’t just have good news, we have the best news the world has ever heard ?news that the world is desperately in need of. If you are angry at the world, you cannot be at peace in the world. If you are afraid of the world, you cannot minister to the world. You have to love the world as God loves the world. It was Jesus who said, I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world(John 16:33).
Just this week I saw a book written by a very popular Christian author entitled The Last Christian Generation. In the book he says, if trends continue, the next generation of the Church will not even be rightfully called Christian. Did I miss something? When did this generation become Christian? He is discouraged about the lack of knowledge in people about Christian ideas and world view. I understand that, but since when did the kingdom of God depend on what we were doing? Have we forgotten about the power of the Holy Spirit? We have always.