Luke 9:23, “Jesus said to all of them, “If people want to follow me, they must give up the things they want. They must be willing to give up their lives daily to follow me.”
Since COVID struck our nation in 2020 we have begun to see a trend emerging more and more in homes across America. Faith Popcorn has called it the “cocooning of America”, “looking for a haven at home”. Americans are drawing their shades, plumping their pillows, and clutching to the remote hiding and digging in. Homes have installed intercoms, motion detectors, and surveillance cameras. In front yards, instead of our names, now there's a sign naming our security company. And for $375.00 you can own Gregory, the muscle-bound body you can place next to you while driving alone or in a window in your home to scare away intruders while you are out.
You may ask, what seems wrong with this idea of “home nesting”. I'm not hurting anyone, I'm safe and protected and I don't have to be inconvenienced by dealing with other people. I do agree there is nothing wrong with protecting yourself and your property, but it's the second thought that is most concerning. As a Christian, should you be okay with withdrawing from your neighbors, or those inconvenient people at the stores? As a Christian are you okay knowing the people around you may never know Jesus and lose the invitation to salvation?
Sure, you could say that you are no Peter or Paul, what could you probably say that could convict someone. Maybe you feel you were not called into the mission field or to speak at the pulpit. Some may even feel there are enough voices already preaching the gospel, what could you, one small voice, accomplish. There may be some of you who feel this world has already gone to pot and there is nothing more that can be said or done, and if there was, there just isn't the right time or place that's convenient for you.
You are a Christian, right? You want to do as Jesus has asked, right? Well, this is what He commands: 1- Look at the fields that are already white with harvest- John 4:35. 2- The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few- Luke 10:2. 3- You shall receive power… and you will be my witnesses- Acts 1:8. 4- Go into the world and preach the gospel- Mark 16:13.
W.E. Garrison wrote, “Christianity is an evangelistic and missionary religion. It belongs not to one race or one place. It is by nature expansive…. All Christians have this vital characteristic in common. They hear the command “Go!” and either go or die.”
So, the real question is when you claim to be a Christian, “Are you, am I, willing to be inconvenienced for the gospel? What am I willing to do so others may come to Christ?”
There is a quick story I want to highlight in the Bible where many felt that inconvenience of the gospel but blessed many through it. It's the story of the four friends who helped their sick friend find healing. If you'd like to refresh yourself with the story it's found in Matthew 8:1-9.
Jesus was in the middle of a sermon when the plaster began to fall on Him and soon a person was needing healing. Of course, Jesus loved to help anyone in need but think of the repercussions if He got upset and refused to help, out of inconvenience.
Jesus’ critics were inconvenienced. The whole ordeal disrupted their theological debate.
The man's four friends could have said, “Well the house is too crowded, I guess not today.” It had to be inconvenient to tear a hole in the roof when they could have been out fishing or golfing. Although, I suspect they were glad to help their friend.
What about the owner of the house? I like to think that the friends asked permission before tearing a hole in the roof, but the owner could have found it inconvenient because of the cost and labor of fixing it after.
Lastly, what about the wife. She had already opened her home to the crowds, rearranged her living space to fit them. Now there was the mess and a gaping hole in the roof.
Although there may have been many inconveniences that day the truth is we all can learn a valuable lesson from it. As Christians do we have that fight to bring others to Jesus? Are we persistent enough to get the message to a world gone to pot. Are you willing to be inconvenienced in order that someone might come to Jesus?
Whether we believe it or not we all, every Christian that has invited Jesus into their heart, is now a disciple of Christ. Our mission is to spread the gospel not become another cocooned American. God has promised to go before us and protect us, we just need to take that one step forward.
One last thing that may surprise you. You are already living a life of discipleship when you choose to and follow Jesus.
D - Declare Jesus as Lord of your life- 1 Timothy 4:12
I - Invest your time in Godly training- 1 Corinthians 9:24-25
S - Super willing to learn-1 Timothy 3:14-15
C - Can you tell me the gospel points? -Romans 10:15
I - Involved in a gathering of believers- Hebrews 10:25
P- Please worship God- Psalm 100:2
L - Leading others to become disciples- 2 Timothy 2:2
E - Enjoying God always- Isaiah 61:10
S - Spirit filled and Spirit lead- Romans 8:14, Ephesians 5:18
H - Having a relationship with God- 2 Timothy 2:15
I - Involved in serving others with his/her area of giftedness- 1 Peter 4:11
P - Prayerful in all things- Philippians 4:6-7
What does it take to begin a relationship with God? Wait for a spiritual experience? Devote yourself to unselfish religious deeds? Become a better person so that God will accept you? NONE of these. God has made it very clear in the Bible how we can know Him. So, let's do just that. Let's read 1 John 2:15-29 and see what the Lord is teaching us today.
Study 3, 1 John 2:15-29- https://www.docdroid.net/iWS774G/study-3-docx
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