Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Outstanding Christian

All people have at least some desire to 'stand out' from among the crowd. They want to be seen as smarter, prettier, more handsome, wealthier, more intelligent, more gifted, more talented, and generally just better than average.

I have news for Christians. ALL Christians are outstanding. Some just stand out in different ways than others. I want to mention 3 types of 'Outstanding Christians.'

Number one are the Christian who stand out because of their obnoxious, overbearing, bossy, demanding, 'holier than thou' attitude. They are quick to call other Christians names like lazy, ignorant, backslidden, and even claim to know others are headed for hell because they attend the wrong Christian church, or haven't been 'baptized correctly', or they are engaging in sinful activities such attending movies or wearing makeup. These Christians are worse than legalists. They follow to the letter the things that can be seen on the outside. They add their own brand of morality to the rules God has set. I have personally known women who will not wear makeup or cut their hair, yet they make gossip and dissension their daily business. I have known men who demand utter submission from their wives and children, yet they themselves have not submitted anything of their own life to the God who created them. There are Christians who live in the pride of what they have accomplished and do not give God the glory. They are quick to condemn other Christians in need, or who are facing illness or trouble as 'out of the will of God'. They are without humility. They see the small sin in their brother's life, but ignore giant sins in their own lives. They are proud, without thankfulness, without forgiveness for others, without humility, and without repentance because they cannot see their own sins. They would not help a brother or sister in need if their lives depended upon it, because they see God as punishing those in trouble. In fact, they condemn those in need as though they themselves were without sin or need. They are hypocrites.

My son Jay defines a hypocrite like this; 'A hypocrite is someone who - seeing an illness or trial in YOUR life says, 'well - there is sin in you life and God is punishing you.' BUT, when they face the SAME illness or trial themselves they say, 'The devil is persecuting me. That proves I am doing the will of God.'

Believe me, these Christians are really outstanding. They stand out in any crowd. They make God sick. They make fellow Christians sick, and they make the whole non-Christian population despise God's gift of salvation.

Number two are the worldly Christians. They are so much like the unsaved that they blend in completely until someone finds out they are Christians. Then the people of the world say, 'What is the point of Christianity? It requires nothing. It is no different than anything else.' In a world constantly seeking satisfaction through something 'new' and 'different' worldly Christianity has no appeal. The worldly Christian is a beacon leading nowhere. They are lukewarm at very best. They make God vomit.

Number three are the Christians who show their heart felt commitment to God in how they live their personal lives. They apply Bible teachings to personal actions. God can use such people to turn the tide of battles, both great and small.

I just watched 'The Patriot' again. Toward the end, the armies of the Colonies are beginning to retreat. The hero, seeing defeat as unacceptable, raises up the flag of the United States, and runs against the tide of the retreating army shouting 'HOLD THE LINE'. The soldiers stop to watch him run in what appears to be the wrong way. Then some turn and began to follow him. Then the entire army turns around, charges up the hill, and wins a decisive victory.

My Christian brothers and sisters, today is such a day for Christianity. Christians are running in retreat instead of charging to victory. The armies of darkness are crushing the freedom to worship our God and our King throughout the world. 'Outstanding Christian' types one and two are aiding and abetting the enemy! America, the beautiful, bastion of freedom, is gasping for breath. Yet there is hope. Out God is a God of victory, not of defeat. He is willing to help those who are willing to change their lives to suit God. Will you be such a Christian? Will you be a light that leads the lost to God? Just by claiming the name of 'Christian' you have become an 'Outstanding Christian'. The question is , 'Which type of Christian will you be?'
Will you be:

a Christian that stands out as obnoxious? (type one)

a Christian that stands out as nothing special? (type two)

a Christian who charges up the hill to victory? (type three)

Whether you make a choice or not, you will fall into one of those categories.

To be a 'Type 3 Outstanding Christian' begins when a Christian becomes willing to change what is bothering God in his or her own life. Just do a quick self check and see if you find pride, lack of thankfulness to God and forgiveness to others, gossip in the place of help, lies in the place of truth, lack of honor where honor is due, wicked thoughts in place of Godly thoughts, or lack of reverence and awe for the God who created you.

The Type 3 Outstanding Christian wants to please God more than they want anything else. Hebrews 13:16 says, 'but to do good and communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
In the movie 'The Patriot', the hero charging up the hill wasn't really looking to see who followed him. He was looking forward to victory. That is what every Type Three Christian needs to do. Christians need to fix their eyes on Victory in Christ Jesus our Lord. They look beyond the day and even the years. Type Three Christians understand they are not playing a 'numbers' game.

Let Christians be like the Psalmist in Psalm 57:6-7 who says, 'They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah (7) My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.
Type Three Christians must remember that those who seek our destruction will dig a well for their own destruction. You just need to fix your heart on God. Sing and praise God louder than the doubt that troubles your mind.

Isaiah 50:7 says, 'For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.

Isaiah 49:23b says, 'for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.'

Actually, in the movie the hero who charged up the hill was not really going at a fast pace. He was exhausted. He had short legs and probably couldn't run fast even when he wasn't 'plum tuckered out'. ('plum tuckered out' is mountain folk talk meaning really really tired.) The point is, he went forward against the tide in spite of physical exhaustion and without visible hope of victory or making a difference. The hero gave his all to getting up the hill to victory. That is the job of Christians today. Ignore what you see; fix your gaze on Calvary's Lamb; go forward to victory.
Remember - It takes a Type Three Christian to follow Jesus. If you are following Jesus - you are always going in the right direction!

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