We are currently going through the letter of 2 Peter and in it Peter teaches us how to discern between false preachers and teaching. Additionally, he wants to remind us constantly of the Good News and for us to remember that God is true, reliable, and forever.
Why do we need reminders?
We need to be reminded of the Gospel daily, weekly, and monthly—every chance we get for our entire lives. And an important way to do that is to be in church each Sunday or as much as possible—worshiping and praising God together and reminding each other of the importance of him in our lives. Since the natural human drift is away from the things of our Creator, every genuine excuse we have helps deaden us to the necessity of being in constant and regular contact with other believers. The urgency of the immediate draws our attention away from the important and the lasting. This reminder of God’s faithfulness is not just for us to comfort ourselves, but also to share with others—evangelism.
When we use the “E” word, more often than not, it tends to make us run in the opposite direction. But, as theologian D.T. Niles put it, “Evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.” Nothing could be easier. It’s like sharing with your friends the name of a restaurant where you had a great dinner or a place where you got a good deal.
A word of clarification. If we think it’s up to us to “save” people, this is not true. A person’s salvation rests not in our hands, but in the hands of God and his Holy Spirit. However, our lives lived for Christ will bear testimony to the truth of the Gospel and speak volumes about who Jesus is in our lives.
I remember when my brother Gary and I were very young, my dad and mom felt that they needed to fulfill their parental duty and send us to church. Their first thought was to stay home while shipping us off to the nearby Sunday school. I remember plotting each day how Gary and I could sneak away from church. We soon became quite skilled in the art of escape. Before long, my parents discovered we weren’t at Sunday school. They realized that since church evidently meant nothing to them, there was no reason why it should mean anything to us. So they started attending in order to keep us there. In this way, our whole family came to faith together.
The opposite is also true. Non-faith is more caught than taught. Absence of faith, silence about it (expecting our children to “decide for themselves when they’re ready”), or even hostility toward it, is very easily transmitted. Children are great imitators. Those parents who appear to display indifference toward God or church will most likely pass along those convictions. What this means in a great many cases is that all the byproducts of non-faith—the fruit of leaving God out of our lives—will be handed down as well. We can predict fairly accurately what kinds of lives theirs will be.
This coming Sunday is Mother’s Day and I look forward to celebrating it with you. We will be focusing on Isaiah 49:13-16, resting in God’s sure promise that he will never forget or forsake us.