Sunday 28th April, 2019
Hymn of meditation: PH 226
We are so full of joy today,
For Christ our Lord has gone to Heav’n.
Our gracious Savior we do praise,
We bless You and we worship You.
Lord plead for us, this is our prayer,
Grant grace to overcome all sin,
Comfort your people from above.
Today is the first Sunday after Easter. Easter is unarguably the most important celebration on the Christian calendar, and the Resurrection, most vital to us. In 1 Corinthians 15:12, we discover that there were some people who refuted the Resurrection, so in the verses 14-15, Paul outlines three implications if Christ’s Resurrection were a hoax:
- Preaching the Gospel is useless
- Our faith is useless
- We make God a liar by testifying that He raised Christ from the dead
So, for both the Gospel and our faith not to be in vain and for God to remain true, Paul dedicated the whole of 1 Corinthians 15 to the Resurrection.
Our theme for reflection today is: Stand up for Jesus.
STAND UP FOR:
- To speakor act in support or defence of (a person, a cause, a belief or the like).
To stand up for Jesus then means to defend Christ by speaking or acting, not by staying in the bedroom and singing ‘Stand up, stand up for Jesus…’
Standing up for Jesus introduces us to the discipline called apologetics – Ethical persuasion.
Defending Christ doesn’t mean He is defenceless. Remember Jesus before Pilate saying: “My kingdom is not of this world”. It is rather that which keeps us focused on eternity and deepens our preparation for the heavenly life.
Factors that must prevail in standing up for Jesus
- There must be something at stake – the Truth (Acts 5)
- Theremust be a stern opposition – Acts 5:28
- There must be a resolve – Act 5:29
- A working knowledge of the fact that Christ shall come again – Revelations 1:7
- There must be a personal encounter to serve as the guiding principle – Acts 5:32
- There must be a commission – John 20:21-23
THE THOMAS FACTOR (TTF)
Through the attitude of popular Thomas, Christ made us know that there is blessing in believing without seeing. However, our world today keeps growing the more towards the Thomas Factor. The equation of faith is being reversed.
So now, instead of faith producing results, Christians are seeking results minus faith. If you are here believing God for a miracle, Jesus is telling you that even before you receive an answer, you are blessed because of your faith.
Because of the Thomas Factor, we must understand that Evangelism in some contexts must go beyond kerygma (proclamation) to didache (teaching). We must endeavour to persuade others to faith and not just let them hear our message.
There are so many reasons why people would not believe. Call them roadblocks of faith. They are particular obstacles between a person and his commitment of faith.
- Pride– the doorway to truth is humility. People with inflated pride cannot accept Christianity.
- Sin and lust– fleshly desires make people feel sufficient in themselves.
- False beliefs– creation of one’s own errors; they think their foolishness surpasses God’s wisdom.
- False paths– they take people farther from the truth as they give them an impression of drawing nearer to it.
To help remove these roadblocks, we must first identify them and seek to understand those who host them.
Standing up for Jesus in today’s context is being ready to:
- Reason with others – Acts 17:2.We achieve persuasion when our knowledge surpasses that of the other. So, the prostitute, wee smoker, drunkard, people of other faith etc whom we have blacklisted on our evangelism list can actually be converted when we are able to answer them right.
- Demolishing arguments – 2 Corinthians 10:5
- Answer the critical questions:If God is ever good, why does He allow evil?
It is important to stand up for Jesus because satanic opposition is seriously turning the truth into a lie. If we refuse to project the truth, the faith community will keep shrinking and the truth we carry shall be compromised.