I have been listening to a wonderful series of sermons by Paul Sheppard (Eduring Truth Ministries). Yes, I downloaded them from Oneplace.com onto my new Blackberry that does everything but make dinner for me
The sermon series is about getting along. Mind you, I was saved in a very conservative, legalistic church. (Shane was raised in an even more conservative branch of the same denomination). A denomination that stakes claims on being the only ones right about many things. A denomination that claims that it isn’t a denomination. Please don’t get me wrong. I am very thankful that God saved me and I am very thankful for what my brothers and sisters in that "non-denomination" taught me. But they are choking people in their insistence to be "right."
So, this sermon has really been a good reminder of the essentials of the Christian faith.
1. Jesus, fully God, fully man, living on this earth and dying on the cross for my sins.
2. Jesus, born of the virgin, and conceived by the Holy Spirit.
3. Jesus, the ONLY way to everlasting glory
Are you getting the picture yet?
Pastor Sheppard talked about how our eschatology really doesn’t matter, our tastes in music really doesn’t matter (although I for the life of me cannot listen to heavy rock Christian music– personally, I feel that it mimics the world a little too much for my comfort level). Whether we attend a Baptist, Christian, Methodist or any other Christian denomination… really doesn’t matter. What matters is do we believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God and do we allow the Holy Spirit to convict us to live our lives in a way that glorifies him.
Pastor Sheppard told his congregants to be real. No one is perfect, if you have a sin in your life, don’t try to hide it… God’s santification is a process…we aren’t automatically perfect the minute we are saved. He mentioned people that condemn others for smoking, but can’t pass by the refridgerator without getting a bite of something…
He mentioned end times, and basically said that if you don’t know what the terms pre-a- and post millineum mean, you might be better off. Yes, maybe so, because the bottom line is that it just doesn’t matter… if you’re pre-mil and Jesus comes in the clouds, then you’ll know you were wrong and you’ll be with Jesus, or if you’re a-mil and you get caught up in the rapture, you’ll realize you were wrong and it won’t matter anyway…
AMEN! Brother— the bottom line is that so many things that we make to be huge, huge issues are just non-issues. We’re so busy tearing other believers apart, that the rest of the world is dying…
Now, he says, this doesn’t mean we overlook the sin. Remember the woman caught in adultery. Jesus said, "go and sin no more" We can’t accept Christ and keep doing what we’ve always done. The Holy Spirit will convict us… but we’ve got to be listening too.
The "non-denomination" that is part of my Christian heritage doesn’t understand grace. They are a black and white people. Either you’re right, or you’re wrong. This has gotten me in trouble A LOT with people in that particular denomination. When I sin, they can’t realize that I am on the journey. It also means that those in the denomination cannot sin, so they "appear" perfect… even though we know they aren’t. We have been in other churches that have this mindset. It is stiffling… no room to breath, no room to disagree, no room for grace.
Dear friends– it is ALL about grace!