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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
October 12, 2013

[NOTE: This message was originally published October 9, 2004.]
     Fix this picture firmly in your mind: Jesus, descended from the line of David, raised from the dead. It's what you've heard from me all along. It's what I'm sitting in jail for right now - but God's Word isn't in jail! That's why I stick it out here - so that everyone God calls will get in on the salvation of Christ in all its glory. This is a sure thing:

     If we die with him, we'll live with him;
     If we stick it out with him, we'll rule with him;
     If we turn our backs on him, he'll turn his back on us;

     If we give up on him, he does not give up -
          for there's no way he can be false to himself.

     Repeat these basic essentials over and over to God's people. Warn them before God against pious nitpicking, which chips away at the faith. It just wears everyone out. Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won't be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple.

2 Timothy 2:8-15 (Message*)

The resurrection - victory over death - is key to the Christian story. Christ invites us to join him in this victory. To do that, we need to die with him, meaning die to our worldly selves. Then we'll live with him, having him in our hearts to stay and joining him for eternity.

There are so many temptations to deny Christ, with the way we live our lives if not with our words. Many of us often find ourselves in contexts where being firmly committed to Jesus Christ is denigrated. We need to stay true to Christ, no matter how those around us react to that. Remember that he was willing to suffer and die for us.

Another temptation is to focus on esoteric points of doctrine, and to be in dispute with our brothers and sisters in Christ over them. Paul here reminds us to focus on the essentials, and not to impede Christian community by nitpicking on minor elements of doctrine.

We need to prayerfully consider these basic truths Paul lays out here. Have we died with Christ in order to live with him? Do we stand firm in Christ, no matter what? Do we focus on the essential truth of life in Christ, rather than on distracting doctrinal disputes, and concentrate on living lives which manifest the reality of Christ within us?

Bill Samuel

* The Message version ©2002 by Eugene H. Peterson.

©2004, 2013 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 26-Oct-2013 18:58:46 EDT