Let us pray: Dear Lord Christ, today as we look around we see Your Word coming true in our own sight. Through Your gift of eternal truth found in the Bible we are being given every good and perfect heavenly gift, and we are being given the ability to appreciate those gifts through the power of the Spirit. Cause us to recognize and give thanks for the knowledge of the truth that You bestow and for the joy that it brings. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, GOD’S WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING IN THE FLESH!
TEXT: James 1: 17-18
Fellow Redeemed Students of the Holy Ghost:
Have you noticed how man’s truth changes? Dairy products were once touted as the perfect food. Now, however, people blanch at their cholesterol and fat content. 25 or 30 years ago people believed that technology would provide all sorts of leisure time. The computers would do all our work for us. But today, we spend more time than ever at work, staring at a terminal screen. The fallacy of modern thought is that mankind knows everything, or soon will discover it, that man is the measure of all things. People think that the more knowledge we possess the happier we will be. But, for all our education; for all our college graduates; for all our new-found knowledge—where are we? Our nation is not the world power it once was. Our streets are far from safe. Our environment is messed up. Our nation’s capitol is the murder capitol of the country. Many would conclude our future looks a bit depressing. In view of all this, I could be morose and glum today. But, I’m not. Why? Because I know that:
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION LEADS TO A PERFECT LIFE!
Any form of education teaches values. Education isn’t about neutral concepts, or facts and figures that exist in a vacuum. No, it also teaches how those concepts, facts, and figures fit together. It teaches how they are valuable to you. So, what’s a value? We hear that word a lot in our day—especially during the political season. It’s a buzz-word for politicians. Simply put, a value is something that is valuable. Something that is important for true and lasting happiness. Something that puts life into focus and gives it meaning and purpose.
Now, the world teaches all sorts of values. First, there’s happiness through selfishness. That is, if you go out and get what you want by trampling on anyone in your path, you’ll be happy. Second, there’s happiness through greed. Possessions are important to modern man. They make us feel safe, secure, and important. Often they define who we are, not only to others, but to ourselves. Madison Avenue advertising agencies are built and run on that premise. Thirdly, there’s happiness through gratification of the flesh at all costs. Since sex feels good—do it, with as many people as possible. Since drugs feel good, use them. Since violence forces others to cow-tow to us, use it! It is often said that our entertainment mirrors our values. Did you know that by age 16 the average American child has seen more than 200,000 acts of violence on TV, the modern altar of worship?–Including 33,000 murders? No wonder our streets aren’t safe! For life often imitates art, doesn’t it? Everything that is vital to modern humankind, including our social values, are all centered around the ego, around “me.” That means I decide what is right, true, and correct. It also means I become my own god! In such a world you’re really on our own. The biggest mouth, the biggest club, the most money, the most outrageous lifestyle wins. And then it all gets left behind as we become bored and seek new ways to satiate the flesh. The world’s values are selfish. And selfishness gives birth to loneliness.
Contrast all this to the timeless values taught by Christian education. First, we teach love. Not our love for ourselves, but God’s love for us. Love which is not dependent on what it gets back, but on what it can give. For God gave us “every good and perfect gift” in Christ. Surely that kind of self-giving love makes the world a bit more hospitable, doesn’t it? Second, we teach forgiveness. God has forgiven us in Christ for our every sin and every act of selfishness. Forgiveness transforms. It liberates. It makes us happy and joyful and frees our conscience. Thirdly, we teach peace. Peace between two people can only be achieved when they are both at peace in their hearts. Only God’s loving forgiveness creates that peace within. Fourthly, we teach kindness. Not the fake, syrupy smiles and affected laughter which the world uses to get its own way. But real kindness which is love in action. We love, “because God in Christ first loved us.” Fifthly, we teach confidence. We’re told that our heavenly Father, “doesn’t change like shifting shadows.” What He says is eternally true! He’ll never change the rules of life on us. Sixthly, we teach trust. How can any two humans function without trust between them? We trust God. And we trust that He will always reward and bless our faithful labors done out of love for Christ. And seventhly, we teach the value of obedience. We obey His word of truth because it’s perfect, pure, holy, and correct. It will never lead us into trouble. In short, we obey because we recognize that He and “me” is the real measure of all things! Yes, to operate in any other fashion is pure chaos….
Our premise is that: Christian Education Leads to A Perfect Life. But is that really true? Do any of us have perfect lives which we can hold up to God and say: “Hey look, You owe me for this?!” Of course not. We’re sinners. We’re tainted by all those modern ideas about how to achieve happiness, and we’re enamored by all those self-help books which preach it to us. Thus, since we know we’re not perfect we feel both guilty and condemned by God. But, note well that the problem isn’t with Christian education. No, the problem here is with us. It is called: sin.
Truly God did something about our sins. He sent Christ to live a perfect life in our place, a life based on God’s values. Trust in that life and it becomes your very own in God’s sight. It makes you clean, free from warts, pimples, and moral deformities. What a wonderful blessing!
God really does possess 20/20 vision. He sees us in Christ as perfect and completely forgiven. And by believing that truth, you’ll see it too someday in heaven! But meanwhile, remember that you are a “first fruit” of God’s Creation. That means you’re more important to Him than literally anything else on this planet. Truly you can hold your head up over that fact!
The Christian Church teaches that you have perfect worth, merit, and life through the perfection of Jesus, God’s eternal Son. It teaches that you’re eternally valuable to Him! We teach those truths in everything we do here at Pinewood. It’s our reason for living, our reason for existing. And it can and will change your life for “me” centered heartache to God-centered joy! So, let’s continue to grow in His values which make it all possible. With that thought in mind, I’ll see you here next week. Amen