Christians should act as Christians!
People say that handsome is as handsome does. What does that have to do with the Christian faith? A great deal, as it turns out. After all, only those who act in Christian fashion are truly Christian. Following are some highlights from Sunday sermons in the coming month.
Who are you? Who do you want to be? And how do people know you? These questions are not from a self-discovery seminar for executives, but actually right out of the Bible. Jesus Christ already warned against hypocrisy and self-deceit. And yet we human beings are all too happy to run around behind a mask. Some are afraid of showing their true identity. Perhaps some are ashamed, or feel guilty, owing to certain deficits they have not managed to remedy. Others may be tremendously happy and joyful—but laugh more loudly than they actually feel. These are the jugglers and entertainers of our time.
Everyone knows that appearance and reality are often divergent. Even Christians have to confront the question of whether they are only Christians in name, or whether they truly radiate Christian virtues. “Are you a Christian by confession? And are you such indeed each day?” This is an old Church hymn with quite some depth. The Sunday sermons in August provide tips on how the Christian creed can be put into practice in daily life.
Truth conquers falsehood
The series begins with truthfulness. “Half the truth is still a whole lie,” says a folk proverb. And in Scripture we read: “Therefore, putting away lying, ‘let each one of you speak truth with his neighbour’ for we are members of one another” (Ephesians 4: 25). But how are we to manage this? By making Jesus Christ and His conduct the model for our own lives. To zealously follow His example is demanding, but purposeful. Truth is not only to come to bear in our daily lives, but also in our faith. The latter is not to be distorted or mixed with other doctrines. Those who deny the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus are distorting the gospel. Christians can only conquer such falsehoods with truth.
Envy and greed destroy everything
In the sermon on the second Sunday of the month, envy and greed are described as dangerous disturbing factors for our fellowship with one another, and identified as signs of a deficiency in Christian attitude: “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there” (James 3: 16). Greed for possessions or money and covetousness of that which belongs to others—all of this disturbs peace. As human beings we are practically inundated by such things—and even within us there is always a conflict between good and evil. Nevertheless, wisdom—that is, the sensible, divine behaviour tested by the experience of life—is to prevail. A congregation in which envy and dispute have found a home will not survive, as confusion and all sorts of other evil things will prevail there.
No harmony without respect
A person without respect is like a tree without leaves—there is nothing to remind you of his true significance. The topic of the sermon on the last Sunday of August has to do with respect. For true followers of Christ it is clear: humbleness and esteem for others can overcome selfishness and conceit. The statement “If everyone only thinks of himself, then I will simply have to think of myself too,” may sound funny, but it has dreadful consequences. This is because selfishness and disunity are offshoots of excessive individualism and therefore do not look good on any Christian congregation. Harmony is what makes a congregation a good congregation. Harmony—not egalitarianism. The differences between individuals is worthy of promotion. Each and every one is to engage his or her various gifts and abilities for the benefit of all. Humbleness before God and esteem for one’s neighbour—these are the standards for fulfilled congregational living.
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