In Matthew 6:24, Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
Jesus said that. You have to make up your mind. Many find it difficult to come to a settled conclusion because they are conflicted. There is a spiritual, a moral, and a psychological vacuum in the soul.
Millions have no purpose for living, and no motivation for change.
People are restless. They run to and fro, but never seem to reach any destiny in life. They need someone to guide them. They need a flag to follow.
In this search for purpose, definition, and meaning to life, some have turned to trying to save the planet, as if the planet needed to be saved from God’s creation. Many young people, such as the Greta Thunberb from Sweden, who was 16 years old in 2019, desperately want to believe they can control the climate of the earth. Greta has been taught to be afraid of the future by irresponsible adults in positions of authority who outrageously proclaim that humanity has only twelve years left to survive.
In his generation, Adolf Hitler took advantage of the social unrest. With millions of Germans unemployed, with the nation burdened with reparations for World War I, with desperation engulfing the soul of the people, Hitler offered purpose, meaning, and definition to millions. People found a Master, a Fuehrer to follow. The word Fuehrer means “leader”, or “guide.” On the hopes and dreams of the masses, Hitler built a mighty military machine that almost conquered Europe, and the world.
The American novelist Earnest Hemmingway once said, “I live in a vacuum that is as lonely as a radio tube where the batteries are dead and there is no current to plug it in to.”
There are many people who are lonely. They are not committed to anything. They never make a decision.
Christ did not allow people to live in an undecided state. He demanded that every person who came to Him make a decision. Those who decided to follow Christ were called Christians.
The worldly Christian actually means a partisan for Christ. It means that a person has chosen Christ. They have decided for Christ.
Partisans are never neutral. They are radical.
Some partisans are radical over political issues. America has witnessed rioting, and marches, in major cities over war, race, financial inequality, immigration, women’s rights, civil rights, and free speech.
Some partisans are radical over religion. They bomb airplanes, and public restaurants. They take hostages, and demand a ransom. Some cut off the heads of their hostages and post their violent and bloody work on You Tube for all the world to see. These religious zealots strike terror into the hearts of people by design, and with delight.
Why is all of this done?
Because people want to be part of something larger than themselves.
Partisans want to be needed. They want to feel alive, and useful.
Partisans do not want to play it safe. They are not spectators. They commit themselves to their cause, what ever that cause may be.
I want to ask you.
Are you a Christian?
Do you understand what that means?
The story is told of an Anglican Priest who was asked by a counselor if he was a Christian.
“I am an Anglican,” he replied.
“Yes, but are you a Christian?”
And the priest said, “I have been an Anglican all of my life, and no one is going to make a Christian out of me!”
A man in Fort Worth, Texas, was asked if he was a Christian. He replied, “No, thank God, I am a Baptist.”
The question is not, “Are you religious?”
The question is not, “Are you a Church member?” “Are you a partisan for Christ?”
It is not easy to be a Christian. It never has been easy, and never will be.
The term Christian was first used in derision in Antioch in Syria (Acts 11:26), The world continues to hold Christians in derision, because a Christian is a person who believes in God.
The Bible says that “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6).
A Christian is a person who prays to God, for in Him we live and move and have our being.
A Christian is a person who lives by the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule is the name given to a principle which Jesus taught in His Sermon on the Mount. ““Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Matt. 7:12).
A Christian is a person who is sincere about living out the ethics of life set forth in the Bible, by loving others. “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; 10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ” (Phil 1:9-10).
There are people who are sincere, but they are sincerely wrong. In 1929, in the Rose Bowl, the Golden Bears of University of California Berkeley, were playing Georgia Tech. The center for the Golden Bears was Roy Riegals. He picked up a Georgia Tech fumble and began to run as fast as he could towards the goal line. The crowd cheered, but then realized there was a problem. Riegals was running the wrong way. He had become confused in his direction. He was sincere, but he ran the wrong way, for 65 yards.
In contrast, a Christian is a person who is sincere, but they are also moving in the right direction. They are on the narrow path that leads to eternal life.
A Christian is a person who goes to Church. The Bible says that Christians are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Heb. 10:25). The Christian who goes to Church can be baptized, and can study the Bible. In Church the Christian can sing songs of praise, and have fellowship with other believers.
A Christian is a person who endeavors to keep the Ten Commandments. No one has kept all of the Commandments perfectly, but it is good to try. Jesus said, “Be ye therefore perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48).
But most of all, a Christian is a person who has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. A personal relationship with Christ is needed because of sin. The Bible says that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). “As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10). Because of sin, we die. The Bible says that the ‘wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23).
But there is good news, which is that “God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). In His death, Jesus paid the penalty for sin so that God can now give sinners a gift. “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).
Do you have this gift?
You ask, “How can I receive this gift?”
The Bible says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed” (Rom. 10:8-11).
Do you believe in Jesus? Would you like to be a Christian?
Keep in mind that a Christian is a person who has made a choice, leading to a change in their life, and the acceptance of a challenge.
All through the Bible we are commanded to make a choice.
Adam and Eve made the wrong choice. They chose to rebel against God. They chose to live a life without God. When the Lord came looking for them in the cool of the evening, Adam and Eve fled, and hid from God. They had made a mistake, a terrible and tragic mistake which we are still paying for today.
All the problems in the world, including death, can be traced back to the fact that our first parents made a wrong choice. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom. 5:12). Today, we are sinners by birth, sinners by choice, and sinners by practice.
The choices we make affects others.
Moses, before he died, gathered all Israel to speak to the nation. Moses said, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you, life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore, choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deut. 30:19).
“Choose!”, said Moses. “You have to make a choice.”
Joshua, was in the audience that day, and made his choice. Later, when Joshua became the successor to Moses, he too gathered the people together and said, “ if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).
The centuries passed, and another generation was commanded to make a choice by Elijah. Some people wanted to follow a god called Baal. Elijah gathered the people together and said to them,
“How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him” (1 Kings 8:21).
If Christ is who He claims to be, follow Him.
Follow Christ sincerely.
Follow Christ without any hesitation.
Follow Christ today, tomorrow, and forever.
You must make a choice. It will be a choice that relatively few people will make, “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:14).
Which road are you on?
It is what you do with Christ that makes the difference, because Christ came to die on the Cross, and the Cross becomes the door, which must be entered in order to go to heaven.
When a person chooses to become a Christian, because of the compelling drawing of the Father, and the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, that person begins to live a new way. They have a new heart, a new will, and new emotions. Old things have passed away. Behold all things have become new (1 Cor. 5:17).
When you choose Christ, and are born from above, when your life changes, and you become a true Christian, you will accept a new challenge. “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matt. 16:24).
A true Christian will deny self, deny selfish ambitions, and pick up the cross of Christ. It may be a cross of ridicule. It might be a cross of persecution. It might be a cross of broken relationships.
Are you a true Christian?
Have you made your choice for Christ? You must either say, “I won’t!” or “I will!”
Has your life been changed?
Have you accepted the challenge of the Cross?
May God give you the grace to repent, and open your heart to the gospel.