Monday, October 30, 2006

The Saints!

On November first, the Christian Church celebrates All Saints’ Day. It’s a day we recognize all the saints who have gone on to heaven before us. As John writes in Revelation, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:14 ESV)

But All Saints’ Day is not only a day to remember the faithfully departed. It is also a good time for us to celebrate our unity in Jesus Christ. As Christians on earth, still waiting for the Lord’s return, it is important for us to remember that we are all on the same team. The blood of Christ unites us!

As members of the Christian Church on earth we must constantly remember that we are one in Christ. “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, on faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:5 ESV)

In other words, we are on the same team! You are a member of the Church. It’s not a basketball team. It’s not a political party or a social club. It is the body of Christ!

There is a scriptural theme that ties directly to All Saints’ Day, that when applied to everyone, helps build teamwork. You and I are saints and sinners at the same time.

When we look at our own life and examine it clearly, we quickly understand that we are sinful. We are just like our brother or sister in Christ. “For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:22,23 ESV) As we look at our sinfulness, we find that there is nothing inside of us that is worth boasting. (See Romans 3.)

But just as the law points out our equality in sinfulness, the cross of Christ shows that we share in Christ’s glory! Again we are on the same team! “Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded… For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law” (Romans 3:27 ESV) By Christ’s work on the cross, you and I become redeemed saints of God and heirs of the kingdom….the same team!

When you look at our brother or sister in Christ, remember whose team we’re on. Perhaps the greatest teambuilding exercise is to remember that “I am a sinner redeemed by Christ” and then look at our fellow Christian and say, “You are a sinner redeemed by Christ the crucified.”

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, welcome to the team…the Church!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Definition of Marriage

There are a number of states, Wisconsin being one, that will be attempting to define marriage by means of an amendment to their constitution. I believe the readings from the 20th Sunday after Pentecost speak for themselves on this issue:

Genesis 2

18Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19So out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (ESV)

Mark 10

18Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19So out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (ESV)


Even if the amendments fail, God has defined marriage. Always remember, "We must obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:29) Being a part of a church that stands on the Word of God alone and professes that the Bible IS the Word of God allows us to find answers in His Word and stand firmly upon His answers.

Exercise your right to vote! Vote your conscience; but let your conscience be guided by God's Word.