What I Need to Hear:
Sinner or King’s Kid?
I don’t need to be told, to be preached at, that I am a sinner. I kinda figured that part out all by myself. What I really need to hear is who I really am. What I need to be told is that I am a child of the King, a daughter of the Creator of the Universe, that I belong among the people of God, that I have purpose and a destiny, that each day is special cuz God made it, that I can do something for God that will last forever, that I can and do please God, and that He and I are in this together—forever. That’s what I need to hear!
Those are the kinds of things that I need to be reminded of. Since I am also an inhabitant of planet earth, I often get busy and forget who I really am. I need to be reminded that I am part of the King’s family. That’s a laugh, you say. Well, let me tell you, right here in the Good Book there are lots of things that show me that this is true.
Oh yes, it tells people that they are sinners, just in case they don’t get it–but most people get it. What is neat is that the teaching from Heaven does not just camp only there. That would be like going camping and having it rain every day! Where’s the sunshine??!
The Scriptures really do remind me that I am a child of God, that I am part of a royal family, and that I can live up to my inherited destiny. As a child I was wowed with the knowledge that: there was a God, that he loved human beings, and that he sent his Son to die for the sins of mankind because that was the only way that there could be any change with this sin problem.
This Son, whose name was Jesus, and came as a baby at Christmastime was the one that died on a cross on Good Friday, but was resurrected from the dead on Easter Sunday. Wow, what a story–it just made sense to me as a young child.
Every now and then, as a child, I would do the “what if” thing. What if it wasn’t true? What if it can’t be proven? What if there really isn’t a God and I was silly to buy into a fable or a tradition? I tried hard to imagine what it would be like if the belief in God was not true; that God just did not exist.
After these short mental excursions, my whole conscious thought rejected that. I didn’t have to linger any longer in that thought area. It made logical sense that there was a Creator God and that all that I could see around me was part of his thoughtful creative action. I was sold, I was and still am a gone goose, that God is alive and well and that he was and is keenly interested in the world: the earth, the people, and all creation. That means that God, the Creator, the Designer of the Universe is interested in me. That he has my best interests at heart. How neat is that?!
What is Often Said
I recently heard about a speaker from a large church in Canada coming to preach locally. Some of my pals said that they were going to hear him. I decided that would be good to go since this large church was close by and it would be easy to get to. In fact, I looked forward to hearing what this preacher might have to say.
After a well-executed effort by the worship team, the speaker was introduced and then he began his evening message. The preaching confirmed that everyone there was a sinner and made that point by Scripture, personal stories, and some funny comments by people he had met. It made for some icebreakers and everyone enjoyed the humor.
What was curious was that the crowd gathered was made up of a large number of seniors. They obviously knew about this preacher and made and effort to get out for this special meeting. Most of these Christians had a firm hold on the Gospel message. In fact, many of them probably had been following the Lord Jesus for decades—most of their lives.
That added to my conundrum–why these dear elderly saints needed to be reminded that they were sinners. They could have, instead, been reminded that they were God’s dear children and how they could continue to live effectively in the energy of the Spirit of Christ that Paul had talked about.
Though the passages the preacher read were clear and accurate and his personal examples backed up the idea that God’s people were sinners and that is the way it is, I began to think that there was much more that needed to be said much sooner in the message.
What I Need to Hear
As I meditated later on the direction of this kind of preaching, I had to think that the speaker needed to get to the good stuff, the Kingdom principle stuff, way sooner in his talk. When I woke up the next day, the words to my first paragraph, above, began to take shape in my mind. That was the driver, the inspiration, behind these reflections in this article.
My experience of that kind of preaching got my mind thinking, that God’s people need to be reminded who they are so that they can continue to live and grow into their potential in Christ. I don’t think that I am alone in recognizing that most preachers try hard to communicate with words that are clear and biblical in order to help change people’s thinking. After all, it is what and how people think that determines how they live.
Over the years, as a follower of Jesus, I have gained an understanding of the basics of the Gospel. As a child, I heard that I was a sinner and that I needed a Savior. I believed what I heard and got the best Savior that I could find: Jesus Christ. Actually, he found me, but you know what I mean!!
Knowing that you are a sinner is one of the many things that come with understanding God’s plan of salvation for mankind. Knowing what sin is, how it is ingrained in the very fabric of our being, and how sin is worked out in our lives, so easily, is a given. What I really need to know more about, and be retold, is about my new nature, the one that God breathed into me, as he revealed the Good News to my heart.
The Scriptures confirm that no one can be a Christian without the Spirit of God revealing that fact to them. Christians are people who have responded to that revelation that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that he was born and lived on the earth as a man, and that he took on himself the sins of all of mankind in order to provide a better way for people to live. Jesus provided a way so that I could have a relationship with the Loving Heavenly Father who longs to know me and be my God.
The new birth was an amazing spiritual transaction. It will take the rest of my life to begin to understand all that the Godhead has done for me through the cross-work and resurrection of Christ. This is what I need to be reminded of: how great God’s salvation is!
I need to be reminded that God has given me his Holy Presence which lives within me. His Holy Spirit in me is what gives me the knowledge and the confidence to be able to live above the natural down drag that we all are born into. I need to hang out with other people who have experienced and who seek to understand the magnitude of this new birth, this life like the Resurrected Christ.
What I read the Apostle Paul saying is that it is important for believers to reckon that they have died with Christ and that they are raised up to be with Christ. Now that is quite the thought. If Christ was raised from the dead by the Father and that he has ascended to be with the Father, then his place of authority now is: “seated at the right hand of the Father.” The New Testament writers confirm that the spiritual position of children of God is with Christ, in heaven, and seated with the Father. Now that is too marvellous to fathom.
What I Can’t Figure Out
What I can’t figure out is if I can find that so easily in the letters of Paul when I pick up my Bible to read it, why does it seem like these truths are so hidden from view among the people of God? Why isn’t this good news talked about over the pulpit so much more than it is, if in fact it really is true?! As I have said before, you are what you eat–then maybe something is missing in our spiritual diet. We need to get back to organic Bible and feed on that kind of grain.
I need to hear how to live the Christian life. I need to know that I have the power to do it and that I don’t have to depend on myself, but I have heaven’s resources available to me. I need to know that I have a Loving Father who will walk with me every step of the way. I need to know that I have a Brother who has gone to bat for me and has hit it out of the park!
I need to know that my destiny is greater than I can imagine and that God is keenly interested in my growing and understanding how truly amazing it all is.
What I need to hear is that I REALLY AM A CHILD OF THE KING and how I really can live that kind of a life! I really have experienced the kindness of God.
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
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Living as Those Made Alive in Christ
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature . . .
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3: 1-5a, 12-17
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For Further Reflection
Read through the books of Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians and make a list of the things that Paul is trying to get across to the Christians in those places regarding:
who they are in Christ,
what Jesus has done for them, and
how they were to live on the earth with that Kingdom understanding.
After you have read those passages a few times and have made some good notes, get together with some pals who you can share your insights with and see what they have to share with you from their understanding of those books.
Lord God, our hope is in you and we are thankful your love for us remains unconditional. May we as a people delight
in that love as we walk in your path of righteousness. Amen.
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© 2012 Barb Orlowski, D.Min.