Monday, March 14, 2016

Febuary Night: No Strings Attached

I'm thankful to be a part of a church that has the desire to serve other people. I've always believed that real Christianity is characterized by our service to other people. 

 I think about Isaiah 58 where it reads:
    "Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?' (Isaiah 58:7 ESV)


 That whole section, specifically vs. 6-14, talks about several different things that are types of service we are to do for others. 

  • Loose chains of injustice
  • Share food with the hungry
  • Provide the poor wanderer with shelter
  • Clothe the naked
  • Not turn away from your own flesh and blood

 However, our service to others shouldn't be just doing religious things so that we can look good in the eyes of God. It's about denying ourselves and in a way, washing the feet, the dirty, nasty feet of the one who hasn't in days, weeks, or even months. I know one things for sure; it takes a lot of humility to do such a thing. Let's go back to Isaiah for a moment.

   Is such the fast that I choose,
a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed,
and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the LORD? (Isaiah 58:5 ESV)


Service to others is a wonderful way to spend a Monday night. Sure it cuts into my time, which even that statement itself is a statement of arrogance because everything I have, including what might be precious time to me, belongs to God anyway. 

Isaiah 58 has really impressed on me that true Christianity is evidenced, not by good words but by good deeds. James echoed this when he wrote: 

 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. 

    (James 1:27)

True service goes beyond mere physical needs and also cares for the person’s eternal soul. That's the only reason why we're here as Christians. This is a very important point. One day when Peter and John were going to the temple for their habitual afternoon prayer time, they met a man who had been crippled from birth. He had loving friends who carried him to the temple courts so that he could beg for money. God-fearing Jews would have happily helped this man financially, since God’s law taught that they should care for the poor.

However, on this day, neither Peter nor John had any money to help this poor man. Did they just sigh and keep walking? No, they stopped and healed him, in the name of Jesus. They then used this opportunity to share their Messiah with all who would listen.
James tells us,
"If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." (James 2:15-17)
If we merely share the gospel with people, never taking time to help them with their physical needs, we are wrong. If we merely help them with their physical needs, however, never taking time to help them with their eternal sin condition, we are also wrong. I think this principle will help us as we choose to partner with various relief organizations. We need to ask, “Will I be helping both this person’s physical and spiritual needs?”

It's a blessed time to be able to stand on a box and share the Gospel via the open air to all who hears on these nights. Our goal is to feed their belly, plant the seed of the Gospel and let God bring the increase. 

My apologies as this video went blurry on me however the message of this Gospel is still the same.

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