APRIL 2012 - PC & PR

Several years ago, while driving to preach at a church a long way from home, there were many hours for deep, uninterrupted thinking.  At times like that normal levels of thought can go much deeper than usual. 

On one occasion, this question popped into the thought process.  “What is the sum total of Christianity?”  Is it possible to boil it all down to a simple statement of what it is all about?  Pondering that possibility seemed to be a good idea, because if it was possible, then a person might get a better grip on how they fit into God’s grand plan for the universe.  Who doesn’t want to know that? 

The imagination took over.  What if you put everything there is about Christianity into a gigantic funnel and mixed it all up?  What would come out the end of the funnel? 

Put It All In—Put in all the sermons ever preached and yet to be preached.  Add all the lessons and VBS’s.  Don’t miss the worship services, the concerts of prayer, the Bible studies, and the Christian books.  Include the camp programs, the acts of service, the sacrifices.  Music is an important communication of the faith, so be sure to pour in all the hymnbooks, CD’s, tapes, and songs played and sung. 

Get the idea?  What else is there? Oh, yeah, add in all the testimonies and all the witnessing for Christ.  Cram in all the missionary activity done through the ages.  Remember all the Bible characters you learned about?  Put them in there too. 

Put in Noah’s and Moses’ arks, the tabernacle, and the temple.  Put in a baptistery, communion, and the Holy Spirit

Put in the life of Christ and all his commands to his followers.  Add a cross, a few nails, and a lot of blood. 

Add all the cries to God for mercy, comfort, and salvation.  Be sure to include all the theological terms that represent the faith: redemption, justification, grace, agape love, forgiveness, and hope.  Dump in all your love for God and his Son and his Spirit. 

Are you getting into it?  What about all the benevolent work, evangelism, and loving the unloved?  Don’t leave them out! 

Picture the martyrs who had no choice but to give their lives to torture and death at the hands of ungodly men.  Oh, how I want to tell them thanks for paving the way for us and demonstrating what it means to stand for Christ, no matter what.  Add them to the mix.

Be sure to put in the funnel the entirety of the inspired Word of God.

The Result—See how it works?  Put it all in the funnel.  Everything that is connected with Christianity.  Mix it up and boil it down in your mind’s eye of understanding.  Then take a look at the other end.  The small, pointy one with the hole in it. 

So, what is coming out that end?  Two things:    PC & PR.  Everything there is about the faith is wrapped up in Personal Commitment and Personal Responsibility.

Personal commitment is the foundation for a connection to God.  Because of what a person believes, commitments are made.  Hopefully, as a person’s faith grows, the commitment grows too. 

All that God does brings us to commitment based on faith.  That commitment is deeply personal and is vitally connected to God. 

Christ’s Example—Because of a deep personal commitment to God, we make decisions about our Christ-connected personal responsibility.  There is no greater example of godly personal responsibility than Christ coming to earth and giving his life for all men in obedience to God’s ordained plan for the universe. 

True Christians mimic that personal responsibility in service and sacrifice to the living God.  Jesus said it clearly in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”   Jesus backed up his words with action.  He gave his life. His personal commitment and his personal responsibility spoke loudly!  They thundered across history!  

What is your personal commitment to your personal, God-given mission?  What is your personal responsibility to do something about it?  It could be summed up this way:  “What do you believe and what are you going to do about it?” 

In the midst of all the trappings of the faith, that is what it comes down to.  Strip it all away for a few minutes and answer that last question.  That is what matters, period.