Friday, February 21, 2003

Edifier du jourJohn 17:14-18(NASB)
14 "I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 "I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16 "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 "Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18 "As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.
You'll hear the phrase "in the world, but not of the world" as the catch phrase for many Christians. It's very easy to retreat into a Christian enclave, going to church two or three times a week, adding a weeknight Bible study or a Christian concert on the weekend, listen to Christian radio, watch Christian TV (if you're not allergic to name-it-and-claim-it Pentecostals) and even do your shopping at Christian establishments if you're in a big enough town to develop a Christian business network. Such folks are as isolated from the real world as the Amish and just about as effective in expanding God's kingdom. I'm not a shining example of avoiding the enclave, teaching at a Christian college and having no non-Christian friends in the area. We can be almost too much in fellowship with fellow believers to be an effective witness, being too heavenly minded to be any earthly good. If you're not naturally gregarious, it's hard to meet people outside of structured settings. I don't really know my neighbors in my apartment complex, not having the desire or inclination to knock on the door and seek out fellowship. I don't belong to any non-church group that would bring me into contact with non-believers. My blog seems to be the biggest opportunity I have to reach people outside of my church and the biggest opportunity to say that God turned my life around when I got to the point of saying "I'm not doing anything with my life; Jesus, you take it and run with it." It's primarily a orthodox Christian clientele, but I get quite a few more-secular folks coming for the politics and economics. I'd like to figure out how to reach those people who might be lonely or hurting or longing for something more in life. For what it's worth, here the basic Gospel in three steps God's perfect. He doesn't like sin, but created a world in which it exists. You're not. No kidding, Sherlock. None of us are. In Bible-speak, that makes us sinners. Not that we're all murderers or adulterers or thieves, but we're all doing stuff we shouldn't be doing, either big or small. Paradoxically, God wants to fellowship with us but can't stand it when we do things He doesn't want us to do; he wants some form of disinfectant from that selfishness. Without help, we're toast. Jesus died to bridge that gap. I'm going to add John 3:17 to the oft-quoted verse 16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him." It's that sacrifice to end all sacrifices that allows a perfect God to fellowship with yucky me.

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