If you were tried for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
A Call to Christian Living –
Living So It Shows
1 Peter 2:11-17, Living So It Shows to Outsiders
Romans 12:1-17, Living So It Shows to Insiders
Romans 13:1-7, Be a Good Citizen
Random Walk in a Gallery of Religious Art, Step 33: Mark 12:13-17, The Tribute Money, by John Singleton Copley
Titus 2:11 – 3:8, A Lifestyle of Gracefulness
Ephesians 5:1-16, Being the Church FOR Others
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1 Peter 2:11-17, Living So It Shows to Outsiders (1/23/12)
I always have to roll my eyes when I read about some church group that is burning books or boycotting products or picketing funerals or whatever in such a way as to generate big ugly headlines. Yes, there is evil in the world, and yes, we should fight it. But no, we should not do it such a way that it brings the body of Christ into disrepute or ridicule.
Before we as Christians take a big, public, offensive stand against something, we need to be sure we’re on the right side of the issue. Is it something God is against, too? Read the Bible – I’m sorry to tell you that quite often God is inexplicably neutral on subjects that irritate me no end. Even assuming that we really are right, there are a few other tests that our behavior must pass:
Only if we as Christians are law-abiding, honorable, reasonable, and loving are non-Christians likely to want to be like us.
- Is our action legal? The only human laws we are allowed to break are those that directly contradict God’s law.
- Is our action honorable? Many actions that are legal should still make us embarrassed or ashamed if we do them.
- Is our action necessary? Are we sure there isn’t some less public way to resolve the issue?
- Most importantly, is our action loving? Would we be happy to be treated the same way?
Romans 12:1-17, Living So It Shows to Insiders (1/24/12)
You’ve heard the expression, “a pillar of the church,” and I’ve even used it a time or two myself. In fact, each person in the congregation, from the bass sitting in the back row of the choir, to the pastor, to the person sitting in the back pew, to the usher out in the narthex, is a pillar of the church.
Whatever your job is – preaching, teaching, or scraping the plates after fellowship meals – do it with your might and your love, because it’s important. And whatever your job is – scraping the plates, teaching, or preaching – remember that every other job is important, too, and honor the person who does it. Reciprocal love and honor are the lifeblood of a healthy congregation.
Romans 13:1-7, Be a Good Citizen (1/25/12)
British politics contains the concept of “the loyal opposition.” The party not in power may be opposed to the policies of the party in power, but they remain loyal to the source of that power.
Whenever Christians are opposed to their governments (except in the rare cases where government actions are in outright contradiction to God’s laws), Paul says they must still be subject to authorities, obey the law, pay their taxes, and respect and honor government officials. By doing so, Christians remain loyal to the ultimate source of political power: God. Jesus said the same thing – render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.
Titus 2:11—3:8, A Lifestyle of Gracefulness (1/26/12)
Random Walk in a Gallery of Religious Art, Step 33: Mark 12:13-17, The Tribute Money, by John Singleton Copley (7/15/15)
I have read that when you counterfeit money (Don’t!), it’s much more important to get the feel right than to get the printing details right. Think about it: you could easily tell a dollar bill from a credit card receipt in the dark, but when was the last time that you actually looked at your money?
American artist John Singleton Copley gives us a wonderful illustration of both the scripture and of human nature in “The Tribute Money” (1782). The guy in the back is thinking, “Hmm. That didn’t work out the way we planned.” The guy in the front left still wants to argue with Jesus. But I love the old guy in the center. He’s thinking, “Oh, good one! Look at that – it is Caesar! We never even thought of that. That’s funny!”
Previous Step. Next Step.
""The Tribute Money" by John Singleton Copley,
from the Gamble family Bible,
now in the private collection of Regina Hunter. Photography by Daryl Lee.
Do you know someone you would describe as “graceful”? Graceful people are a joy to see.
Christians should behave in such a way that other people think we are graceful. They should notice that we are obedient to God and ready for every good work, that we speak no evil and avoid quarreling, and that we are gentle and show perfect courtesy toward all. The only way we can do this is to be graceful – full of God’s grace through Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:1-16, Being the Church FOR Others (1/27/12)
This week we’ve been looking at how we are supposed to behave in front of people outside the Church and inside the Church. I’d also like us to think about how we should behave on behalf of other people.
In the King James Version (which is what’s in my head, and therefore often how I choose scripture passages to look at), vss. 15-16 say, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” So I was a little surprised when the modern translations mostly say something like “making the best use of time.”
I looked up the word in the Greek, and it does mean redeeming in the sense of buying back. So I checked with my Greek teacher, who said that to him, redeeming the time means exactly the same thing as making the best use of time, because when we make the best use of our time as Christians, we are buying it back from evil. (I think that’s what he said. His explanation made a lot more sense to me while he was talking.)
To me, these two verses suggest that that we Christians should behave in such a way that the light of the Lord shines over the world and wrests it away from the darkness. That is, we participate in God’s redemption of the world through our actions. And if I’m wrong, we should probably behave ourselves anyway.
More about Living the Christian Life
A Call to Christian Living
Living So It Shows
Sharing the Good News
Who Is Your Legacy?
Five Spiritual Disciplines
New Life and New Standards
Living in the World
Love One Another
Again, Love One Another
And as a Final Word, Love One Another
Copyright 2012, 2015, 2021 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved.
Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the
author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the
Bible-study participants. Thanks to the
Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers
for their support and enthusiasm. All
errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.
St. John’s United Methodist Church,
2626 Arizona NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87110
St. John's Music Ministries now has a YouTube channel, bringing you free concerts and choral music. Check it out!
Traditional worship services are held Sundays at 8:15 and
11:00 a.m. in the sanctuary. Casual worship services are held Sundays at
9:30 a.m. in the Family Life Center.
are held monthly on the second Saturday at 5:00 p.m. in the sanctuary. St. John’s feels especially called to the worship of God and to the service of our neighbors through our music program
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