August 2, 2015

Love With The Intensity Of Christ – Josh Smelser

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Two weeks ago we had the privilege to have a series of lessons brought to us from the Sermon on the Mount. I know personally these lessons have challenged me to make changes in the way I am living my life in order to mimic a better example of Christ’s teaching. That has brought into question several aspects of my life, and more importantly my attitude.

C.S. Lewis once said, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.

This quote made me begin to examine the way I think about others, the way I deal with my friends, my family, even complete strangers. I realized that in some ways the philosophies that I have held to and the politics I have often debated don’t really mirror what my Savior taught in His example. Jesus is challenging all of us; He is extending a very difficult saying. You can’t just believe it. You have to live it.

And that doesn’t mean allowing the bare minimum of love and righteousness into your heart in order to get by. It means allowing the radical ideology of love, and compassion, and forgiveness to transform your entire being and permeate every thought and action in your life. Anything less than that is failure.

I don’t believe that is an exaggeration. In Luke 14 we see Jesus expounding on the Cost of being a disciple:

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’

“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.”

We cannot say we are Christians and yet spend more time arguing and sharing our political views and social philosophies with others while neglecting to share with them the good news of the gospel.

We cannot say we are Christians while refusing a spirit of love to those around us. Mark 12:21 says, “ The second is equally important, Love thy neighbor as thyself”. It doesn’t say to love the covenant neighbor as thyself. It is a call to love the entirety of humanity, your drunken neighbor, your homeless neighbor, your racist neighbor, your addicted neighbor, your Muslim neighbor.

Matthew 7:22 shows us that many people who thought they lived good lives will not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drinka stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me. Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ (Matthew 25:41-45)

Love will either be what saves us, or what condemns us. So lets choose to love as Christ loved us.

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