Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Common Sens...uality (Part 3 of 3)

In the first two entries, the nature of sensuality was defined (Part 1), and examples were given (Part 2). In this entry, we must determine what we are to do in similar situations. Thankfully, Jude provides answers.

What are we to do about the false teachings, the abuse of grace, the sensual nature of life today? First, we must remember the 21st Century does not have a monopoly on these aspects of life. They were prevalent 2000+ years ago, which is why we have biblical instruction on dealing with these, and other, parts of culture.

Jude simply gave three ideas.

A.  Keep yourselves in God's love. How?
  1. Build yourself up in holy faith (from the Father)
  2. Praying in the Spirit.
  3. Waiting for Jesus to return.
B.  Have mercy on those who doubt.

C.  Lead others to salvation.
  1. Snatch them out of the fire – means we have to reach in – they are not lost yet
  2. Show mercy with fear – be merciful, but be on guard lest you be defiled

These last two statements seem to be contradictory. How can one snatch someone out of the fire while showing mercy? Moving back briefly to the Michael Sam story, David Letterman, this week made a statement while interviewing a guest. He said that much of the atrocities of this world are because of religious beliefs. And he is right. Of course, some might say Islamic terrorists are at fault. But Christians who say, "God hates ____," are no different.

The Bible tells a story in Luke 7 of a woman with an alabaster box. She is a complete outcast in her culture, and yet she shows up uninvited to a pharisee's house to see Jesus.
And Jesus did not pull away even as she rubbed ointment on him, washed his feet with her hair, and even kissed him on his feet.

Is that offensive? It should be! Why? Because the gospel is offensive! Even those of us who claim the truths of the gospel are blown away by how far reaching it really is! We want to take what we need, but likely none of us understands just how far it can go.

Jesus offered grace to the least deserving person. But grace is for everyone! Simon invited Jesus over and felt good about it for whatever reason. Whatever Simon may have thought beforehand was drastically changed. In fact, everyone there that day would have their world turned upside down by the uninvited, and unnamed guest. Not because of what she did. Not even because of who she was. But because of how she was received. By Jesus!

What Jesus did was offer grace. He told her her sins are forgiven. He didn't want to see her return to the lifestyle she lived, but Jesus had already seen the expression of her gratitude because she was forgiven – even before He said the words. As the phrase goes, grace is free, but it isn't cheap. Grace costs Jesus everything, but because of that He can offer it freely however, and to whomever, He chooses.

And everyone of us needs that grace today.

Perhaps you are like the sinful woman. People don't want to know you by our name, but only by what you have done. You are down so low that we have no where left to turn. I encourage you, be like the woman in this story – turn to Jesus. We still don't know her name, but He does. She found her true identity in Him.

Perhaps you are like Simon. We would welcome Jesus into our home to show off what good people we are. I think that describes me sometimes. What about you? How would you feel if Jesus decided to go home with you? Would we like who might show up, and invite themselves in just to be with Him? We aren't told what happened to Simon after that day, but I can't help but think it changed him. I would hope if I were there it would have changed me.

We all need grace because none of us are like Jesus. We may be working towards it. But I would be hard pressed to believe that we would let a prostitute waste that kind of kiss us wipe her dirty, grimy, hair all over us. But Jesus did.

I can promise you this...whichever person you are in this story, God welcomes you. He welcomes you completely. I can't promise others will. I can't promise I will. I don't always welcome myself. But God does. And if you want to receive His amazing grace, read the prayer that closed Jude's letter.

Jude 24-25
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 

25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

If you will receive this grace – God's amazing grace, you are truly free. You will experience freedom in ways that you have never imagined. But when you truly realize what that freedom means, you won't mistreat grace as a means to do what you want. Like Jude wrote in v. 4, grace is not a matter of sensuality. It does not give us license to ignore Christ Jesus, our Master. Rather you will find yourself wanting to express your gratitude to God and serve Him out of that thanksgiving.

Enjoy God's grace - by living for Him!

1 comment:

  1. This entry Part 3) was inadvertently posted on Wednesday before it was edited. The entry has now been updated and is posted as it was intended. Sorry for any confusion.


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