For my own reminder, I like to write down a few points and messages that I recieve during church. It helps me rethink everything through in a timely manner… so here it is. I hope you can be encouraged by it in some way or another.
We went through the Book of 3 John two weeks ago. it’s the shortest book in the bible if you count by words. The book of 3 John teaches us to imitate the good instead of evil. First of all in 3 John:4 we are reminded to Seek First the Kingdom of God and everything else comes second. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” You can seem and pretend to be the most Godly person, performing Godly acts but none of that brings as much joy to God as Seeking Him and His Kingdom.
Gaius vs Diotrephes. Gaius was faithful in helping those in the church, despite whether he knew them or not. Diotrephes is an example of a heart that has gone astray. “…Diotrephes, who likes to put himeslf first…” he was quick to discern and judge. Worst of all, he did not have a heart of teachability. With that being said, many of us are teachable but only to specific people. The test of your bandwidth is who you are willing to listen to, and who can speak into your life. Sometimes God will bring a message to us in the most unlikely, discerning, uncommon way and therefore He can bring a message to us through our enemies, through uncomfortable situations.
This past Sunday, we went through the book of Philemon, in between Titus and Hebrews. A short book that most people seem to flip past as they read the bible…. okay at least I did! In this book, Paul, who is in prison writes to Philemon. Philemon’s former slave was a run away theft and was thrown into prison and currently working for Paul in prison as well as became a Christian through Paul.
At this point Paul sends Onesimus (the former theft), back to Philemon to repay his debt. Paul does not use his authority to produce the result he wants. He paints us a picture of radical grace, He is not manipulative nor controlling. He leaves the decision to Philemon, to have the dignity to make his own decision. Verse 16 “no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother…”
Here we can learn a few signs of having Radical Faith and Radical Grace.
1. when you decide to view everyone as equal, everyone is made in the image of God no matter what. learn to respect, love and embrace them.
2. “You are never more Godly than when you forgive” No one deserves forgiveness but we never deserved God’s grace. It’s about extending that radical grace to others when you forgive.
3. viewing yourself in the image of God, moving towards sacrifice, cherish opportunities to reflect the glory of God, take risks and even when you get rejected, you will keep trying because you know God is in you and he will work through you in radical ways
Living in a multicultural city like Hong Kong especially, it allows us to have our paradigm challenged. We have the daily opportunity to have our bias and prejudice challenged.
But none of this changes overnight, it’s a long standing, perhaps lifelong challenge for each and every one of us, to become more like Christ, to extend radical grace to those around us.