Saturday, November 10, 2012

Setting Our Minds on Christ – Ensuring Our Peace

What does following Christ mean to you? Who were you when you came to Christ? Who are you today? These are all questions we face when we evaluate our relationship with Jesus. I hope the answer to the first question is the same for each of us. But, following Christ means everything to me. Before Christ came into my life, I was self-centered, willful, filled with hate and prejudice. I wanted my own way and did not care what I had to do to achieve my desire.

Today I can honestly say, “I am not the person I was.” My motivation has changed. My desires are different. Christ is the Lord of my life and anything I accomplish is because He is at work within me. I believe every Christian can agree, we are not the people we were, and yet we are not completely transformed into the people He is calling us to become.

Many of us have been distracted by this world and chased after comfort and possessions instead of the blessings of God. Chasing possessions and climbing the world’s ladder of success does not ensure our peace nor does it secure God’s favor upon our lives. It is time to hit the reset button on our faith. When programming goes wrong in our technological devices we all know to hit the reset button. We need to do the same thing when our spiritual compass gets misdirected.

The title of this message is “Setting Our Minds on Christ – Ensuring Our Peace”.

Colossians 3:1-3 “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.” (NLT)

Many of the things going on around us could easily distract us from our commitment to Christ if we do not remind ourselves that our TRUE lives are already hidden with Him. This world holds no promise for us and anything it can offer pales when compared to our reward in Heaven.

God will protect the righteous here in this life, and receive the righteous in the life to come. The question is: Are we righteous? What does God count as righteousness?

Isaiah 26:1-4 “In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; [the Lord] sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks. Open the gates, that the [uncompromisingly] righteous nation which keeps her faith and her troth [with God] may enter in. You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. So trust in the Lord (commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him) forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages].” (AMP)

God counts FAITH in Him as righteousness. Believing what He has spoken, living by His ordinances, keeping our minds focused upon Him in spite of the direction this world is going, that is what the Lord recognizes as righteousness.

Proverbs 15:28-33 “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things. The Lord is far from the wicked, But He hears the prayer of the righteous. Bright eyes gladden the heart; Good news puts fat on the bones. He whose ear listens to the life-giving reproof Will dwell among the wise. He who neglects discipline despises himself, But he who listens to reproof acquires understanding. The fear of the Lord is the instruction for wisdom, And before honor comes humility.” (NASB)

Satan through the influence of the world throws temptation after temptation our way. Questions fly at us from every direction as to why we believe in God and choose to serve Christ. The wisdom of Scripture tells us not to rush into an answer for them. By pondering the question and following the lead of the Holy Spirit we can always find the answer within the Bible.

2 Corinthians 6:1-10 “As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says, ‘In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.” (NIV)

No matter what comes our way He has promised to deliver us. Simply share the TRUTH in love, live as examples of God’s grace, and teach those who will listen. The world and those attracted to its treasures may never understand. They will not recognize what is right in front of them, but we must present the TRUTH. As we pray God will answer. As we plant the seed God will bring up the harvest. As we walk worthy of the calling God has given to each of us we will see His glory.

1 Thessalonians 2:9-12 “For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe: As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.” (KJV)

We used to say in the church, “You can be so Heavenly minded that you’re no Earthly good.” As I see more and more clearly the signs of the times, I wonder why we are still trying to fit into the world’s pattern of success.

Philippians 3:7-9 “I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.” (NLT)

Lord, set our minds on You and help us live our lives in such a way that Your grace can be seen by all. Prepare us for the work of the harvest and ensure that none of us falls short of Your grace. Uproot the bitterness in our lives and allow us to share the TRUTH of salvation with others. You Lord are our only hope, in Christ’s name we ask these things. Amen!

Hebrews 12:14-15 “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;” (NASB)

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