Yesterday I was on the phone when Sandi came into my office to say that two men were outside our front door slugging it out over a backpack and guitar. By the time I got there one had run, and the other was standing with his fists up, insisting we had his stuff somewhere in the office! After trying to calmly explain that we did not, he began pounding on the door again. “Is there a guitar anywhere in your office?” “Yes,” I said, and then I asked him what brand and color it was. “Jackson electric, green.” I walked back to get my Taylor six string. “This is the only guitar here,” I said. “That’s not mine! Where’s my guitar?” I could see this was going nowhere; but then he added: “You are church people right? You have to tell the truth!” “Yes.” I said. “And believe me when I say that we don’t have your stuff.” Unfortunately, because he was under the influence, the police had to come and escort him off the property. But I kept thinking about what he said, what he had learned somewhere in his past: “You church people have to tell the truth.”
Like it or not, Christians get branded. Some like Bill Maher consider us those silly “religulous” folks. Others like this man learned that we are supposed to be honest and truthful. I think most people expect Jesus’ followers to actually imitate his life. It’s about more than liking his brand, they expect us to live the brand. Consider 2 Peter 1: 5-8:
5 For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love. 8 For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
My friends, think about what you have learned about the Way of Christ in Sunday School, or youth group, or from any number of pastors and teachers over the years. Considering the times in which we now live, Christians in all contexts are needed as agents of faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, mutual affection, and love. If St. John’s has had any role in encouraging you and me to be and to live the Jesus brand, now is the time for us to be and to do so. Hope to see you soon…