Words from the Pastor
“And He said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’” ~ Luke 9:23 (ESV)
As part of your weekly worship, you will typically hear the question, “Christian, what is it that you believe,” and you will respond with other worshipers using the Apostle’s Creed, the Nicene Creed, or another affirmation of faith drawn from the Scriptures. In these affirmations of faith, you are expressing your belief in the person of God, His Son, and the Holy Spirit, and shortly thereafter you will leave church, and go back into the world. Does your affirmation of faith follow you out of the church?
She was 17 years old. He stood glaring at her, his weapon before her face. “Do you believe in God?” She paused. It was a life-or-death question. “Yes, I believe in God.” “Why?” asked her executioner. But he never gave her the chance to respond. The teenage girl lay dead at his feet. This scene could have happened in the Roman coliseum. It could have happened in the Middle Ages. And it could have happened in any number of countries around the world today. People are being imprisoned, tortured, and killed every day because they refuse to deny the name of Jesus. This particular story, though, did not happen in ancient times, nor in Vietnam, Pakistan, or Romania. It happened at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, on April 20, 1999. Do you believe in Jesus?
Jesus Freaks, dc Talk and the Voice of the Martyrs, Bethany House Publishers, 1999, pp 17
Everyday deny yourself. Everyday pick up your cross. Everyday follow Jesus. You may never have to confront your imminent death because you express faith in Jesus, but you will certainly have to choose whether or not you will live for it. What will you choose? For whom will you live?
The world in which we live today affords us many opportunities to deny our faith. Whether that is through neglecting the opportunities to miss worship with our faith community (i.e. missing church because of whatever rationalization we give); or by the crass and cruel words we use with one another or with the world of which we’re a part; or maybe by the actions of our lives which are in opposition to the “Christian” words we use in our lives. These denials may not seem like a big thing. In fact, the world will congratulate you for being your own spiritual self, but the growing account of your denial will eventually come due.
“For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in His glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” ~ Luke 9:26 (ESV)
Will the life you live each day offer a living testimony to the faith you express with the words of your mouth? Will the world see Jesus in you? Will you deny yourself? Will you pick up your cross? Will you follow Jesus?
Join us at Poplar Tent Presbyterian as we grow together in our discipleship through study and worship as we seek to follow Jesus more and more.