As we watch the world challenge the standard set by our God, we are being pressed to either take a stand or to compromise. Though this would seem to be an easy decision, it is challenged because of the public and secret lives of many believers. The question asked was not more of right and wrong, but one of master and servant. The question at large is who is our Master? The American Government or Yahweh? Shameful to say, many of us are more loyal to our country than we are to the Kingdom of God, thus the decision on whom to follow becomes a gray area for those who have sided with politics and not theology.
Hence the birth of this message! It was given to serve as a message and a warning to believers and non-believers. In the passage, we see Nicodemus coming to Jesus at night time. He knew and had received truth, but he knew that the public acknowledgement of this truth would cause him to loose much of his status, power and influence. Jesus applauds him for knowing the truth, but lets him know that knowing is half the battle (for my fellow GI Joe fans). Jesus says, you must take what you know, and must be born again.
This brings us to point one. Knowing and Living are separate things. The recent challenges to our faith have revealed that we have many people who have said yes to God prematurely. We accepted the death on the cross that paid for the sins that were committed, so that we could avoid the one way ticket to hell, but didn’t move past this moment.
Salvation is the Tee Box! It is a starting point for the believer, not the Hole under the Flag! It need be mentioned that there was only one hole in one on this course called life, thus we must understand that our faith walk is truly a journey, littered with both victories and failures. Knowing this can be a daunting task for some, but should be a reality check that causes us to move forward with boldness. Though there are no mulligans, we can celebrate knowing that par has been taken care of by the Blood of the Lamb.
We rushed for salvation, and didn’t understand or chose to ignore the agreement to wear His name and thus seek to live Holy and Pleasing. For the believer, there is only one lifestyle to be chosen, and the is Righteousness. For the non-believer, the call is not just from hell to heaven, but from unrighteousness to righteousness.
The world has been encouraging us to choose the lifestyle we want to live. The world has us fooled; thinking that our bodies belong to us! We were bought with a price, and our lives are not our own. Though there are things that feel good, normal and are more to our liking, once we become Kingdom citizens, our lives are governed by the will of our God, and all lifestyles that are not approved by the King, are not an option to us.
The Kingdom rules! Our faith is not a bundle faith (Progressive Insurance Illustration). We do not get to choose the things we want from the Lord. We can not edit the Bible or pick three scriptures by which we want to govern our lives. We must know that we have a personal faith, not a customized faith!
Furthermore, our standard of righteousness is not set by any man! No man has a right to set any standard above or below the standard that God set for us. God modeled before us the life we are to live, and illustrated how complete submission to God brings Him glory and how it allows us to spread the Gospel and be elevated among mankind. Even ministers and clergy do not set the mark, we simply point towards the Flag. Furthermore, we are not the Flag ourselves! If anything, we are merely pole markers on the course. Believers are to follow us “as we follow Christ” thus, if we cease to “follow Christ”, then the believer must find the nearest exit, not adjust their standard.
I explained to a friend, who knows I have some homosexual friends, that my love for my friends is not a just cause for adjusting God’s standard over my life and over my church. I can love them and support them as a friend, but my obligation is to uphold the standard that God set, despite my love and desire for them to be happy.
Reality; many of us are still coming to Jesus at night (Sunday). We want to learn how to advance our careers through the Word, raise our kids, live a healthy life, restore and build our marriage, and to get rich, but few of us want to walk a life in the day that brings glory and honor to the Lord! Jesus tell Nicodemus, you must be “Born again”. He want’s him to understand that the call to righteousness is not only key, but a sign as to weather someone has truly received the truth, and been set free. Thus Jesus challenges us on multiple occasions saying that we will know we love Him if we obey and keep His commands. Obedience accompanies the gift of eternal life.
Thus the question is, not which standard will we choose; but who will help hold up the standard?
My granny used to sing, “We gotta hold up the blood stained banner, we have to hold it up until we die!”
The Blood Stained Banner is our Flag! It represents the standard of God! It is the Flag that must be flown high over our homes! It is the flag that must be carried in our hands! It is the flag that is to be held as sacred. It is the flag that must be advanced! The enemy is trying to take down our flag! Who will stand with me and hold up the standard? Who will protect the flag? Who will say “for God I live and for God I die?”
All this must be answered; “Before You Say I Do!”