There are lots of faux things around. Leather, art, you can even buy a synthetic diamond. The dictionary meaning of faux is ‘not genuine, fake or false. Made to look valuable usually in order to deceive.’
Churches, being made up of people can be so varied, that it can become confusing about what it really means to be a follower of Christ. Can anyone discern the ‘real deal? Is it possible to know what functional practical Christianity truly looks like?
James, the brother of Jesus, says yes—and he give us a simple test.
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world ([Jas. 1:27](https://biblia.com/bible/esv/James.%201.27)).”
James provides a short, two-item checklist: (1) love—helping those in need, and (2) holiness—separating from worldly influence. These two traits summarize the practical outworking of a life changed by the gospel.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
“Jesus worked all His life. But the greatest work that Jesus did was not in the carpenter’s shop, nor even at the marriage feast of Cana where He turned the water into wine. The greatest work that Jesus did was not when He made the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak, nor even the dead to rise. The greatest work that Jesus did was not when He taught as One having authority, or when He scathingly denounced the Pharisees for their hypocrisy. The greatest work that Jesus did was not in the great ethical program He presented to mankind—that program which has become the foundation for Western culture. What, then, was His greatest work? His greatest work was achieved in those three dark hours on Calvary. Christ’s greatest work was His dying for us.” Billy Graham
Families can come in all different ways. But no matter what family we are part of we can be part of a second family at the same time. That is very special and so all of us can have two families.
We have the family we were born into or the family we live with and if we believe in Jesus we can also be part of God’s family.
The Bible says anyone can be part of God’s family if they believe that Jesus is real and is God’s only Son. It all seems so easy but it is amazing how many people never believe in Jesus, never ask God to forgive them for their sin and consequently never become part of God's family.
If you are not part of God’s family and would like to be in God’s family you can pray that prayer right now. Just talk to God and tell Him you are sorry for disobeying and tell Him that you want Him to forgive you. Once you pray and ask God, He does forgive you and you are then part of His family.
If you want to know more, please let us know, speak to a Pastor, write on your Care Card or contact the Church Office.
Often we need a gentle reminder to take time to simply dwell in God, to have time with Him and keep putting confidence in Him. This is what revitalizes us and keeps us going. Try reading Scripture out aloud and let God speak to you personally. Psalm 62:5-8 “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honour depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him for God is our refuge. Jeremiah 17:7-8 …”But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to be fruit”.
A Tree and Its Fruit
43 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:43-45
God calls us to focus.
To keep our eyes on Christ.
To avoid looking at what everyone else is doing, being, and saying – and to instead see Him.
Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God (Hebrews 12:2 The Message)
When our eyes are on Christ, they are not on the world.
And, when our eyes are on the world, they are not on Christ.
Lets fix our eyes on the One who provides all direction, all hope and all purpose by keeping focused eyes.
The result is a life that is full of Christ, abundant in love, strong in purpose, weak in pride, engaging in relationships, authentic in grace and powerful in faith. We all want this...don’t we?
“So, what is this love for Jesus that gives rise to keeping the commandments of Jesus? Jesus has no defects. He has no demerit. Therefore, we cannot and dare not love him graciously, the way God loves us. We dare not love Him with a love that overcomes some fault or ugliness or sin in Jesus to treat Him well. No. Love for Jesus is entirely deserved. He is infinitely worthy of being loved. He is perfectly lovely. He is loved not in spite of what He is, but because of all that He is.
Which means that love for Him is a response to beauty and greatness and glory. It is not a response to need or weakness or defect. Which also means that love for Jesus is pleasurable. It’s desiring Him because He is infinitely desirable. It’s admiring Him because He is infinitely admirable. It’s treasuring Him because He is infinitely valuable. It’s enjoying Him because He is infinitely enjoyable. It’s being satisfied with all that He is, because He is infinitely satisfying. It’s the reflex of the awakened and new-born human soul to all that is true and good and beautiful, embodied in Jesus.
In short, loving Jesus is not a matter of doing excellent things. It’s a matter of delighting in an excellent Savior. Jesus says doing excellent things — keeping my word — is the result of delighting in the excellent Savior. ‘If anyone loves me, he will keep my word.’”
Excerpts from John Piper www.desiringgod.org
“I, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
There is one body and one Spirit…
…each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ …
…speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.
Extracts from Ephesians 4:1-16
Baptism is an outward act that expresses the inward acceptance of Jesus Christ as real, as the Son of the Living God, and as Saviour and so reconciled to God. The purpose in following Christ’s example of baptism is to give a visual testimony of our commitment and is an act of discipleship.
Just as Christ died and was buried, so the baptised person is submerged under water. And just as Christ rose again from beneath the earth, so the baptised person rises again from beneath the water.
Under the water is the believer’s old, dead, and sinful life. Out of the water, cleansed by the blood of Christ, is the believer’s new, fresh, purposeful life.
Baptism is said to be like a wedding ring. We put on a wedding ring as a symbol of our commitment and devotion, it also reminds us and tells others that we belong to someone special. In the same way, baptism lets the believer declare and others know, that they are devoted and belong to Him.