Sermon by Rev. James Harrison Nixon
A question I always start off with when I meet with small groups for the first time is “if you were arrested for being a Christian, would they have enough evidence to convict you?” So I pose this question to all of you today. Do not answer it right away, just let it sink in and really get those gears moving. Before we break it down, we should always know that we are under scrutiny and a microscope for saying we are Christians. Why? Well simple we are hated, so many have come and claimed to be Christian that have taken money for personal gains or has preached a Gospel of lies.
Imagine that you are sitting in your living room, the bang! Flash grenades start going off around you, the police yelling get down. You feel the zip tie around your wrist and you get jolted up to your feet. While you are still in a state of confusion they begun to pat you down, making sure that you do not have any weapons. They remove two items off of your person, they remove a cross necklace and then a bible that was inside your home. Now we know that these times are coming, in Luke 21:12, Jesus tells us this:
But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.
So as we know that we as Christians will face a persecution that has not been seen since the Roman Empire. We also know that some churches will be a part of delivering us up to the Authority as well. Again so many wolves are cloaked in leadership roles in our churches that they will deliver the sheep to slaughter. Luke 21:16 “and ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.” The word brethren here are those that we thought where our family in Christ, yet they are self-serving and liars not just to us and them but liars unto God. So now we are placed in the back of the patrol car and taken to the police station. As we wait to hear our charges, the officer finally comes out. You are lead to this place with computers and get finger printed. At this time you are told that you are being booked for being a Christian! Now a key to this is booked, you are still innocent until you are found guilty by the court of Law.
Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders.
So today is your day in court, you will face your peers or as we are told in the Gospel your brethren. The prosecution has to build its case that you are a Christian. In your mind you already think that you are guilty, so you are worried. The first witness takes that stand, it is your neighbor, Matthew. The State ask him about you, the first question is “Is he a Christian that you are aware of?” Your friends without hesitation sprouts off, “well he was baptized when we were younger and he goes to church on Sunday.” The state then goes “well can you give another example that shows he is guilty?” Your friend looks around and says that is all he can think of. Next the State calls your High school football team mate Mark. He looks at Mark and ask “Does he worship God?” Mark without waiting a moment says “Yes, he goes to Church, and he says a prayer at supper time.”
The State having two more witnesses that know you isn’t smiling as much as he was. This almost freaks you out a little bit, seeing this. Next he calls up Luke, your golf buddy from the Country Club. The State ask: “What proof do you have that he is a Christian?” Luke waits a moment unlike the others then he smirks and replies, “Well we know he goes to Church, we know he gives a donation weekly to the church as well.” The State looks around and ask Luke another question “Does he ever speak about God in his daily life?” Luke simply responds “no”. Next John is called to the stand, John is your kid’s teacher and a friend of yours from church. John is asked about your mission work with the poor to which he has no response to that question.
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Then you get called up to the stand, and the first question that is asked is: “Do you pray at home?” your response is fast and you say “yes.” You go on with this for a few minutes and you answer yes and no a few times. Now your lawyer gets called up and ask you this “Did you live your life in Christ?” You say “Yes” again you are asked two more times and you answer the same. Then it dawns on you that “No” is the right answer. You are asked to step down and the Judge dismisses the 12 jurors.
They come back very quick, as you just got enough of a chance to get something to drink. The 1st juror reads the verdict of “Not Guilty.” You breathe a quick sigh of relief, yet then a rough calm comes over you. You now realize that yes you have been wealthy and went to church. You said your prayers before dinner, and always wore nice clothes to the church on Sunday. Yet, that bible they removed from your house was seven years old and hardly used. You never did any work for the poor other than loose change in front of the bar. Your soul breaks before you as you are set free. Yet you know this freedom is a freedom into bondage and knowing that you are innocent by the Law of Spirit. You embraced the false hopes that was given to you. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John the Gospel witnessed against you, in those books we hear the words of Jesus. Jesus gives us the guidelines to live, the foundation to live. Yet we lived a life as a slave to the flesh.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
(1 John 2:16)
As Christians outside of just name but in walk and practice, we have a path in which we must take. Romans 6:11 tells us to “reckon yourselves dead unto sin but alive into Jesus Christ.” We must allow the Holy Spirit to take over, we should become a vessel to Christ here on earth. We are the candlesticks in this world, as a true Christian we should light the way to our Lord by speaking life. We all will have trials even before the end of days. We must persevere until the return of our Lord. We cannot let the doctoring of men influence the truth that is Christ. The Gospel tells us that through Christ we go to heaven. Paul teaches that by the Spirit we are blessed and live outside of the flesh. We enter into the New Covenant, the promise that is between God and the world signed, sealed, and delivered by Jesus.