Do people in our community think that Christians are simply telling cleverly devised stories to con people into joining their churches? What would cause them to think this if they do? What convinces us that we aren’t just telling stories about things that happened thousands of years ago? How many Christians are Christians as insurance just in case God is real?
In verse 17 and 18 the passage tells us that the very voice of God declared that Jesus was His son with whom He was well pleased and that the writer of 2 Peter along with others heard that voice personally. Have you ever witnessed God in such a way that you are positive that God exists? I have. Although it isn’t really just one event that convinces me, but a lifetime of witnessing God’s work blessing us and working to restore us as His children. It is a lifetime of observing that when we disobey God things don’t work well and when people obey God things work better. But it is also more than just that certain behaviors are bad or good. It is this ongoing recognition of God’s presence in my life.
I believe that our first job in testifying about Jesus is to give people hope by helping them recognize the presence of God in their lives. I believe that God is with us. Throughout scriptures I see evidence of God’s presence in the lives of everyone. Some recognize His presence and follow Him, while others do not and ignore Him. When a person is not paying attention to God, then they have the voice of Satan giving them guidance. Satan’s desire is to destroy us. He will never tell us the truth, and always seek to get us to bring harm to ourselves. God’s desire is to save us. He will always tell us the truth and always seeks to bring us to health. Listening to Satan brings despair. Listening to God brings life and hope.
But we have to do more than just talk. People need to witness the presence of God as evidenced by how we live. One tactic that Satan uses is to get Christians to believe that living like Jesus is not possible, or to get caught up in rules to dictate how to live like Jesus, or to seek selfish benefits within the confines of the church. When the church does not look like Jesus, then Satan wins. When Christians create rules meant to keep people out of God’s Kingdom then Satan wins. When people claim Jesus for personal gain then Satan wins. In order to give our community hope it needs to see those who claim Jesus living like Jesus void of all of the junk that Satan puts in our way to cause us to stumble. Will we be perfect at it? No. But our hearts and our minds must be devoted to the cause. It must be our primary objective and everything else in life is built around living like Jesus first.
We aren’t just telling stories, but if we do not demonstrate the power and majesty of Jesus through the sacrificial love that is given to us by the Holy Spirit then they will not witness the loving power of God. Void the power of God our words fall meaningless to the ground.
Pastor Kyle Borger
Family Church of the Nazarene