Monday, October 24, 2011

Don't Hold It In!

I really like today's piece from Our Daily Bread. It's based on Jeremiah 20:7-13. Be sure to read the Scripture passage, then check out the post in ODB by Dennis Fisher.

Both the the Scripture passage and Fisher's piece set me to thinking.

The prophet Jeremiah can be hard to read, as those of us involved in Read the Bible in a Year at Saint Matthew are seeing these days.

But imagine how hard it was for Jeremiah to live with the messages God commissioned him to bring to Israel. He and his prophecies from God didn't exactly put him on the A-list for party invitations. In fact, quite the opposite.

Yet, Jeremiah said that God's Word so burned within him that he had to share it. The fate of Israel rested on his countrymen turning from sin and trusting in God once again. How could he keep from sharing that truth with people he loved?

Jeremiah's feelings were echoed seven centuries later by Peter and John, after they'd been ordered by the Sanhedrin, the Jewish religious authorities, never to speak again in the Name of Jesus. Peter and John said, "Whether it is right in God's sight to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard" (Acts 4:19-20).

What they had "seen and heard" was Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. They had seen the sinless Savior of the world take the punishment for sin that every human being deserves. They had seen Him risen from the dead, affirming that Jesus can give new and everlasting life to all who will turn from sin and trust in Him as their only God and Lord. How could they not share that?

Christians today experience the power of the risen Jesus in our lives and, as was true for Jeremiah, this power--the power of the Holy Spirit Who enables us to confess our belief in Jesus in spite of the outlandishness of the claim that Jesus rose from the dead--burns like a fire in us.

The truth about Jesus must be shared by word and actions with all the world. Failing to do so would be deeply unloving, worse than knowing the cure for AIDs and deciding not to share it! Lots worse. Eternally worse.

That's why Jesus gave us the Great Commission! The whole world needs to know Jesus.

Don't tamp down the fire of your faith in Christ. Let it out, so that in lifting Jesus up to others, old sin is burned away and the light of new life that comes only from Jesus can be seen!

But watch out! The more you share Jesus, the more empowered God will make you to do it again.

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