It is really an interesting phenomena. You’re preaching a sermon that you have spent 15-20 hours writing. And as you’re preaching, watching the reactions of people, new thoughts, ideas or concepts come to mind. The mind is an amazing thing… here is part of the sermon in my head that I didn’t get to preach.
Yesterday I was preaching a message from 1 John 2:18-27. I spoke about the essential doctrine of Christ. That He is the God-man. He is the Divine who came in the flesh, from conception through resurrection. In the sermon I made a comment, something like, “if we lose the identity of Christ, we lose the gospel of Christ. And if we lose the gospel of Christ, then we are still under God’s wrath.” And then I posed the question – “how would we live if Jesus wasn’t the God-man?” “What would change?” I posed this question and by the faces, I got a variety of reactions.
I said, basically, if there is no Jesus, there is no reason to keep living to please God. We are all under wrath and we might as well “go for it.” Do whatever comes natural. Pursue your pursuits because there is no hope.
I know some people really had a hard time with that. I could tell by their wagging heads. While I was preaching another thought came to me to flesh this out a bit. “If there were no Jesus or gospel and nothing in your life would change, then Jesus and the gospel has added nothing to your life.” If that is so, we are faced with the question, “Am I living a life motivated and directed by Christ, or by my ‘Christian culture?”
Let me push this a little further… We, who are Christians, tend to like the culture we operate in. We like our friends. Our lifestyles feel purposeful. Our morality adds to our feeling of security. We kinda like being Christians. But what if Jesus weren’t present? Would we continue doing what we do? Would we still pray because it helps us focus and feel thankful? Would we gather for worship because it re-centers our life? Would we do projects together because it makes our world a better place? If so… then we really can’t say that Jesus has changed our lives. We just prefer to live like this because it makes us feel better.
So, as a Christian, I am faced with an important question. If I trust that Jesus is truly the God-man and he brought the good news to me through the work of His incarnation… what change has that brought to my life? What is different about me, solely because I know Him?
In my list… I wouldn’t give money. I would enjoy going more places and doing more for me and for my kids. I wouldn’t have this career. I can’t just hold hands to make people feel better if there is no conviction of truth behind it. I probably would have destroyed relationships with my kids and wife with my anger and selfishness. I am sure I would have hopped around from place to place looking for the next thrill to motivate me.
Take a moment, create your own list. And then thank Jesus for coming into your life. If your list is short – do you really believe Him to be true? If so, what does He want to change in you now?