July 30, 2020 Grace & Truth in Today's World - Pastor Scott Thornton

Today, I would like to take a move from just sharing from a passage to a topic and a couple of scriptures that relate to it.

I do not need to spend time to discuss with you about the problems that we face, not only in our community, state and nation, but even in the world. I know you understand that there is a wide opinion and diversity of what the problems are, let alone what the solutions are.

In the midst of all of this, let me encourage you - the people of God, who, through Christ, are the answer and the hope of the world.

First of all, let everything we do come out of God's love flowing in our hearts. Please do not let the evil one get a foothold, because greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. Love God and love people for whom Christ died for. Love even those who don't agree with you and your theological and world views. Let the love of Christ be that which compels you in all you do.

Secondly, please be a people of peace in all you do. Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God." Matthew 5:9 (NIV). I looked that verse up in the Message paraphrase - and here is what it said:

“You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family." Matthew 5:9 (Mes)

Speaking about fighting, I have witnessed a lot of it on our streets and on social media. Let me encourage you with a verse that God keeps reminding me of during these days:

"Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone…" 2 Timothy 2:23-24 (NIV)

That verse may be good to have posted on your computer screen the next time you are about to post on social media.

Finally, John in his gospel gives us a description of Jesus in just a few words - he writes:

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14 (NIV)

I'll never forget the instruction that one of my District Superintendents gave me over the phone concerning this verse. He wisely said, "Scott, the Bible says that Jesus came full of grace and truth. I believe that there is a reason that God put it in that order."

Let me encourage you to continue to be Christ-like - a people full of grace and truth and to keep it in that order in your life and in the way you live!

And speaking about truth, please be careful about what you say and post. A few weeks ago I tried to encourage someone who posted a quote from a national figure. The subject made sense, and since I had not agreed on many other things, I thought it wouldn't hurt to show this person that I agreed with them. I was shocked a day or two later when I discovered, by this national leader, that this national figure actually didn't write what others were quoting. I had participated in promoting non-truth. If I speak non-truths, heresies and lies to others, even by mistake, I can lose my credibility to speak truth to those who need Jesus. I never want to be a stumbling block to someone coming to faith in Christ and I know that you don't either.

I close this devotion with the words of Jesus to you…

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

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