Saturday, 17 September 2016

Thinking about what we believe

 “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). 

I think that often Christians can feel intimidated by popular opinion which is becoming increasingly hostile towards them, and can be fearful to speak about what they believe. This is sad when what we believe is the one true hope for individual peace and joy. We can become defensive, when we should be stating clearly the truth of the Christian gospel. The love of God, which flowed through Christ and His Holy Spirit into the world is a real, powerful love which reaches out to humanity.
Christians are often now portrayed as “haters”. Nothing could be further from the truth. God is a God of love. Christianity is the one religion which teaches love of all others, including those who hate and misuse you. Christ tells the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke’s gospel, chapter 10. This well- known parable about a victim of crime who is ignored by the religious passers- by and is cared for by a Samaritan, someone of a different ethnicity, demonstrates what Christ meant when he told us to love our neighbour.
Throughout the world Christians are ministering to others, often at great personal cost. They are involved in cross-cultural ministries to people of different ethnicity, religion, lifestyles and values.
This does not mean that you need to agree with the lifestyles of others or compromise on what the Bible teaches. God’s word clearly states what He does and does not allow. He has put the boundary fences in place, and as an old adage goes, one must be careful when removing fences to consider why they were placed there.
Christians already live in a society where their values are very different to what commonly occurs. The Bible, through the words of Jesus in the New Testament defines marriage as one man and one woman, married for life, with divorce only an option in the event of adultery. It teaches that living with a partner and sexual relations without marriage are considered fornication, which is also forbidden. These values are very different to what commonly occurs in mainstream society today. Abortion and euthanasia are other areas where there may be differences between public opinion, the law and what the Bible teaches.
Throughout the Bible, when individuals, communities and nations followed God’s prescription for life, they were blessed. When they rebelled and forsook God’s ways there were unhappy consequences, often a time when the people repented and turned back to God and were blessed again. 

The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life—life in all its fullness.” (John 10:10)

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