Wednesday, June 29, 2011

JUNE 29 "MY CHRISTIAN LIFE IS PRIVATE"

     Always be very Leary about an individual who stresses to you that their Christian life is private, it is between them and God. Every Christian must possess both a private and a public life with Jesus Christ. Jesus woke up early in the morning, privately, to pray with the Father. The rest of his day was very public.  Even his sufferings were not in private. And of course his death and crucifixion was very public. Jesus could have been slain in private and He would have still died for our sins, The Father could have orchestrated his death a private death, but God orchestrated Jesus' death to be public.  We want our Christianity to be private and we want it not to have to "cost us" anything. Our text from the book of Acts today gives us a lesson in making our Christian life and profession...PUBLIC.  The word "publicly" is specifically used in verse 19. "A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly."  Now let's look at the 2nd half of verse 19, When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas".   "Who cares about the value", we may ask....God does. You will find examples through out the whole bible of God revealing "costs" to and in.....serving him. Again, we want a Christianity that is private and will cost us nothing. God is pushing us into a Christianity that will be public and will cost us something. We want our Christian life to be private and we cannot bare to let go of our hold relics and idols because they cost us so much, we cannot fathom burning them or throwing them away. Surely we will not worship them the way we used to, but I cannot bare to part with them, there is to much value invested, what am I to do?", we ask.  Well, in our text we find that they publicly burn them and it is not coincidentally that the value is also mentioned. I have seen people hold on to wet bars, pictures, booze, postures, idols, clothes, books, music, careers and all manner of ungodly, carnal stuff because of the financial investment that was made in these things prior to their coming to know Christ as their Saviour.
     We want to answer altar calls in the pews (this is why they are called "altar calls" not "pew calls", we want to pray at home, repent at home, confess our sins to God and only to God. We want to avoid shame and we want to avoid material and financial loss in serving God. However, this is not the salvation you will find in God's word.  The Apostle Paul suffered much shame and much loss in his salvation.  Why did the not just go home and throw their scrolls away in their own trash, in private, why did this have to be done "publicly"?
Well, no where in our text does it say "they had to" so apparently this is something they wanted to do publicly. This is true conversion, my conversion is "not a secret" and my conversion is going to cost me financially and I am more than glad to suffer loss for the salvation of my soul and more than glad to make it publicly. Today the church has lost this heart and unfortunately the church often is finding itself as the enforcer of things that should have come from the heart. Is this the answer, perhaps not, but what then? There is no easy answer for this. I don't think anybody in this group, with annoyance asked, "do I have to burn my stuff publicly".  "I don't see why the church is making me throw all my stuff away, it's not like.....", we say. It can be very discouraging being in the ministry today and working with people. Perhaps what we are lacking more and more so today, (as the Church tries to market and sell Jesus) are genuine, holy ghost conversions. When the heart is converted and the mind renewed, I believe public profession/confessions and material loss are of no consequence.