Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Hobbs, Taz, and Chloe.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Practical Christianity

Doctrine is important. You cannot have a Christian faith without doctrine. I have met many people who profess not to have doctrine (they "just believe in Jesus"). But even saying that makes them have a doctrine. The word "doctrine" means teaching. Your doctrines are your beliefs.

It has been said though, that the longest distance in Christianity is the distance between the head and the heart. Lots of people know a lot of doctrine. But not a lot of people are living out the things they say they believe. One author recently said that the greatest need of Christianity in this day is a revival of holiness. That is, Christians who live like Christians.

This is called Practical Christianity. Putting the things we believe into practice. It is actually antithetical to Christianity to have a separation between the mind and the heart. The Holy Spirit uses the word of God in our minds to create in us a new heart, in fact, a new nature. When we become Christians we are different than we were before. But this difference has practical implications. To be a Christian means something.

Let me speak bluntly. The world ought to be a better place because Christians are in it. Your world, the place you live, ought to be better because you are there. Christians are concerned with peace, not fighting or being quarrelsome. Your boss ought to be getting a full day's work out of you. Christians don't cheat their employers out of a fair day's work for a fair day's pay. Our creditors should expect us to pay our debts. We ought to be ready to step out and help those people who need our help, whenever we can. People who come to us for mercy should find it. We know how much mercy was shown to us in Christ. When we do the right thing people should not be surprised. We should always do our best to do what is right. Lies and deceit are of the devil. Christians are slaves of our Lord, who is truth itself. Words like life, justice, freedom, mercy, grace, and yes ... love ... these are words that ought to come easy to a Christian. They are things people should see in us without too much effort.

The apostle Paul talks about the fragrance of our Christian lives. John Piper speaks about the ambiance ... the aroma of our lives. Wherever we go ought to be the aroma of Christ. Where we are, there He is. He is found wherever we are found. At least that is the way it ought to be. It ought to be that way, but too often it is not. And that is a problem. If we are going to be true Biblical Christians then we need to have orthodoxy and orthopraxy. Right doctrine and right living.

We live in a black world. If people are going to see the light of Christ it is going to be in the lives and the testimonies of God's people as they carry Him (Christ) with them wherever they go. These are hard things to do. John Calvin once said it is easy to preach ten sermons and hard to live one. But these are things we have to do. Indeed, as people who have the Holy Spirit inside them and who hear the voice of God ... these are things we are compelled to do. It is nothing more and nothing less than being what we are.

1 Comments:

Anonymous James said...

John,

Very well said. Thank you for posting this.

12:01 PM  

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