Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
October 5, 2014
Just one of his friends
A genuine Christian is Christianity’s best advertisement. By the way they live, true believers cause people to say, “I want what that person has; I don’t know what it is, but I want it.”
What a real Christian has is a relationship with Jesus Christ. That relationship transforms life. So the “it” the unbeliever wants is really Jesus. An old story illustrates this point.
Three men are rushing to catch a train. As they run through the lobby of the station they bump into a young girl, knocking to the floor the fruit she is trying to sell from a small table. One of the men turns back, sees the girl crying, and decides he will forget the train and help the girl pick up her fruit. As he helps her he notices for the first time that she is blind. After gathering her possessions he gives her a twenty dollar bill and tells her he is sorry about what happened.
Then, as he walks away, the girl asks innocently, “Mister, are you Jesus?” Startled by her question, the man pauses and then says, “No, honey; I’m not Jesus, just one of his friends.”
In every church there are people who are only “club” members. They belong to the church but do not belong to Jesus. Their names are on the membership roll but not recorded in what the Bible calls the Book of Life. They have been playing around on the creek bank but they have never jumped in. In short, they simply don’t know Jesus.
Someone asked me if a popular sports figure in my community was a Christian. I said, “I don’t really know; I do know that I have never heard anyone ‘accuse’ him of being a Christian.” If a person is a genuine disciple of Jesus, the word will get around. The way we live – the way we treat other people – will bring honor, or dishonor, to Christ.
We use words to teach sound Christian doctrine. Words are important. But words are not enough. A good example must accompany our words before people will believe our teaching. In a world being ripped apart by violence, the need is greater than ever for Christians to set an example that will attract nonbelievers to Christ.
This is the counsel the Apostle Paul gives to Titus in the New
Testament. Paul urges Titus to encourage young men “to live wisely in all they do.” Paul invites Titus to be a good example to the young men by doing good deeds. He connects teaching and example by saying to Titus, “Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.”
Every pastor should teach his people as Paul instructed Titus to teach his people: “And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with self-control, right conduct, and devotion to God, while we look forward to that wonderful event when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing what is right. You must teach these things and encourage your people to do them, correcting them when necessary.” (Titus 2:12-14, NLT)
The point is that we teach by example. We attract people to Jesus more by the way we live than by our words. Adelaide Pollard expressed what should be our heart’s desire in her beautiful hymn, “Have Thine Own Way Lord.” Her last verse must become our first concern if we are to succeed in living so that others see Jesus in our daily living:
“Hold o’er my being absolute sway, Fill with thy Spirit till all shall see Christ only, always, living in me!”
I need that to be the cry of my heart every morning – to so live that my behavior will cause people to conclude that I am a close friend of Jesus. +++