Endurance, Adaptation not Justification, S04E08
This week we are discussing the idea of adapting to different situations without justifying sin.
Endurance is your weekly spiritual workout, whether you think of yourself as a beginner, an intermediate, or advanced!
Andy B unravels this week’s theme with some examples of adapting well and adapting poorly.
He explains how witnessing to French people in German would not work, because they wouldn’t understand you.
He looks at the idea of joining in the bad activities of others in order to witness to them. This, of course, is wrong, because God will never command us to sin.
He challenges us to reach people ‘on their level’, without being two faced, and while remaining true to our self and our identity in Christ.
Adapting our behaviour does not necessitate hiding our faith, as Andy B points out. Others ought to be able to see the light of Christ shining through us.
Steven and Nathan talk about adapting to different situations. They discuss how to adapt our behaviour in a Godly way.
They talk about a couple of scenarios in which we adapt to different environments or audiences in a healthy way. At a funeral, for example, even if we are rejoicing that the person has gone to heaven, it would be inappropriate to sing and rejoice aloud when others are mourning their loss.
The two of them refer to the Armour of God and the fruit of the Spirit as well, as they consider those things that we should not adapt or change.
They also explain how to discern the right way to adapt to various situations and circumstances.
Steven and Nathan
Welcome to Endurance. I’m Steven.
And I’m Nathan.
And our theme today is
Adaptation, not Justification.
Adaptation, not Justification. See, I was testing you. Your bit!
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So, Andy B will unpack for us this week’s theme of justification, not.
The one that you know so well!
No, adaptation. Yeah, he should know more about it than we do.
I know it well.
More than I know about it.
So let’s pray. Andy’s gonna come on and show us how to pray. Excellent. What, what have you got there?
It’s my world atlas.
So I can pray for the world.
You see, prayer is good.
Right. Okay. You’re gonna show us how to do that then?
Yeah, yeah. So I’ve gone, I’ve got my atlas. And if you go to the letter A, I’m gonna start so,
Please, God, please bless Abenra, and Arcshun and Arbor.
What did you like about the story?
Dave the Dog 2:15
You liked Bob?
Dave the Dog 2:16
And the stick?
And the stick
Dave the Dog 2:18
Me like sticks.
You like the stick?
Dave the Dog 2:19
Me like sticks a lot I do.
Well, okay, well, we’ll try and make sure there’s more stories with sticks in
Dave the Dog 2:24
Dave, especially for you.
The golden rule is to love the Lord your God, with all your heart, your soul, and with all your mind to love your neighbour come second, #SpeakTruth.
So, Adaptation, not Justification. I’ll be honest, this is one of my titles that I came up with. We’re all a little bit, what is that about? But that’s what we’re hoping to unpick for you in the next 10 minutes or so.
Now, we’re going to post a link to a blog post from a friend of ours, Nicola, who runs a blog, EagleSight. Very, very good. And she’s just done somethin,g this morning, as we were about to film, on self control, on temptation. And it’s all about Joseph in Egypt. But it’s a really good post so we’ll, we’ll post a link to that one for you. But Adaptation, not Justification. Let me jump to 1 Corinthians chapter 9, verses 20 through 23. And this is my old NIV Bible, which I use to be honest, ‘cos I can actually hold it open, it’s a bit easier. But anyway, it’s fine:
“To the Jews, I become like a Jew, to when the Jews to those under the law, I become like one under the law, although I myself am not under the law, so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I become like one not having the law, though I am not free from God’s law, but I’m under Christ law’s, so as to win those not having the law. To the weak, I become weak to the when the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means, I might save some. I do all of this for the sake of the gospel that I may share, and its blessings.”
And as we read these words from Paul, it’s really important to remember that this isn’t about being two faced. This isn’t about, well, you just pretend to be something you’re not. Paul was being who he was. He was being true to himself as a disciple of Jesus Christ. But being with the weak means you don’t go in in the rich opulent suit, with your nice Costa Coffee in your hand when they haven’t even got shoes. You know, you need to be not dressing and not bathing and it’s not about that. It’s about being where people are. Another way of looking at this, perhaps, might be to think of it as when we speak to people we need to be on their level. Now, again, this isn’t a justification for sin. See Adaptation not Justification. This isn’t a justification for sin. You can’t say, well, I want to witness to people, ‘so I’m gonna go into a nightclub, I’m gonna get drunk, I’m going to sleep with people and take drugs, because then then I’ll have a witness.’
God will never, ever lead us into sinning, ever. It’s against His nature. So, if we’re going to try and influence people with the gospel of Jesus Christ, then we must do so in a way that is not sinning. But we need to adapt to the people that we’re with. It’s a bit like, a simple example, it’s like trying to speak to French people about Jesus Christ, but you’re speaking in German. Well, if they don’t understand German, it’s pointless speaking to them in the same way. This is what this is all talking about.
When we’re communicating with the weak we need to be at their level. When we’re speaking to the religious we need to be speaking to them at their level. We have the right to speak to then . And this is kind of what Paul was trying to say there.
Let’s just jump out of 1 Corinthians where we will return to, to James chapter 5, verse 13
“Is any of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.”James Five, Verse 13.
Have you ever been to a funeral and you know that that person is in heaven? You know that they’re just a disciple of Jesus Christ. So you know where they’ve gone. And yet everyone around is mourning you, well you don’t stand up in that crowd and shout, “Hallelujah, praise God, they’ve gone to heaven” while everyone’s mourning. It’s inappropriate at best, and it is not going to win you the right to be able to witness. We’ll come back to that that idea in a minute.
I remember a church was asked to stop coming to church, to a hospital, because they didn’t just visit people and the sick. They were having really loud, obtrusive prayer times.
Now I’ve been on a hospital ward. I’ve been in a hospital bed. It’s not the place where it’s ever appropriate to do that. But they thought was really good. They were going in the power the spirit and casting out demons. And they were told never to come back, pretty much, unless they could be quiet, because they weren’t being respectful of the others there.
How do we win the right? Why do I, what do I mean by that? Well, if we’re going to win the right to speak to people, then we just follow the example of Jesus. What did He do? Well, how many times do we see in Scripture that Jesus went up to somebody, and He’d speak to them, having met their need. Even with His own two disciples, when they had to go to the temple and pay the temple tax and they had no money. Well, let’s go fishing. He met the need of His disciples to pay the tax and Him. Excuse me me. So they went fishing and they got a fish where with some money to pay the temple tax.
Jesus met the needs before he did stuff so many times. Not exclusively. But it was a really common pattern. It’s a really good pattern for us to follow. 1e Corinthians chapter 8, verses 8through 13, is where I wanted to focus to finish our little time today with GodDeeper.
“But food does not bring us near to God, we are no worse if we do not eat and no better if we do. Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” And you can read that through to verse 23.
What’s Paul talking about? Well, he’s saying, look, there’s nothing wrong with eating meat. And there’s nothing wrong with not eating meat. But if you’re with somebody who’s really passionate about eating meat, and you make a big thing about not eating meat, well now you’re in conflict together. How on earth you ever going to communicate them? And, again, we need to adapt to the situation, not try and justify our actions. I mentioned about going clubbing, and drinking, and having sex, and doing drugs. I knew a guy who said ‘ooh, I’ve got a really good witness. I mean, I do go clubbing, and I do get drunk, and I do have sex outside of marriage, but I don’t do drugs so that then I can witness.’ I was never quite sure how to respond to that. He loves Jesus, but that wasn’t, even, that was just was naive really.
God is never going to ask us to sin in order to witness to people. He just isn’t.
If we’re going to be a light for the gospel that means we need to shine it brightly. How do we shine it brightly? Well, we become more like God. We become more like His Son, Jesus Christ. We allow the influence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, and minds, to shine out Jesus to the people we’re with.
A wonderful illustration of this is, when you leave a room, do people know you’ve been there, because the fragrance of Jesus lingers? When you’ve been in the room do people know that you’ve been there because the fragrance of Jesus lingers?
Where we go, do people know that we follow Jesus Christ?
Do we hide our face because we don’t offend anybody? Well, that’s not right. Do we shout at people about the fact they’re going to hell? Well, that’s probably not going to help. Actually, we need to adapt, not justify. We need to adapt how we approach people. Never ever being two faced. Don’t be people you’re not! That’s the antithesis of what God is asking us to be. He wants us to be true to ourselves, but true to ourselves as Christians with Jesus Christ in us, as we’ve got the power of the Holy Spirit, making us more, renewing our minds to become more like Jesus. That’s being true to ourself. And we should be doing that.
Adaptation, not Justification. We need to speak to people about Jesus Christ. We need to show them the love and light of Jesus Christ. I
I’ve shared this once before. It’s a wonderful line from a blog post from a friend of mine. ‘You might be the only Bible that people get to read so what are they going to read about us? Are theye gonna read an angry person? A swearing person? A drinking person? A clubbing person? Someone who leers at women. Or are they gonna see someone who loves Jesus Christ? Honours God? Goes around in a gentle fashion in order to win people to Christ? What is it people are going to see about you? Will they see the love of Jesus shining out of you? ‘Cos that’s the goal. That’s what we’re supposed to do.
If you want to cycle then you don’t put climbing gear on. If you wanna go climbing, you don’t put your cycling shoes on. It’s not going to help you. We need to be true to what we’re trying to do in the same sense with our Christian faith. We need to be who we are in Jesus Christ, but we also need to shine that light. And that means we might speak to people who haven’t had a bath for a week, for six months. Maybe they’re homeless, and, and we’re working with them. Well, we don’t need to not bath to have the right to speak. But we do need to love them and be compassionate, as Jesus would. Not keep them at arm’s length, but actually to love them.
Adaptation not Justification is all about how we go through day by day, shining the light of Jesus Christ in all, and through all, that we do. In order, as Paul said, that ‘some may be won for Christ’. That’s our goal. If you want to cycle you’re not going to go running. If you want to go running, you’re not going to jump in a swimming pool. Might be part of your other exercise. But in order to get the goal, to achieve what we’re trying to do, we’re going to focus on what we’re doing. And, as Christians, as followers of Jesus Christ, our goal is to try and win some for Jesus Christ, paraphrasing Paul’s words from James, Paul’s words from Corinthians.
Let’s win people for Christ by being ourselves. By adapting to the situations we find ourselves in. And let’s win the right to speak to people. What do I mean by that? It’s really simple. We win the right to speak to people by not being pompous and pious and better than everybody else, but by realising, and demonstrating, that we struggle just like everybody else. The difference is in those struggles we have the peace of Jesus Christ, because God lives within us. And that provides hope, Romans five, hope, faith, all this stuff comes together because of our relationship with God.
Let’s pray. Father God, I pray for anybody who’s watching this, who doesn’t know you to see the light of Jesus Christ through my own actions, and words, and through what we do. Lord, I pray for those of us who know you to shine that light of who you are. And, Lord, we pray that when people enter a room, whether we’re there or not, they will know the fragrance of you because we will leave it behind us, because of how we live our life. Show us Father God how to be people of love and people of light, shining your love into their lives, that we may win some for you. Amen.
So what’s your, what’s the best part of your marriage so far?
Oh my goodness, I suppose to be honest, coming to 25 years, I’m quite chuffed that I’ve, we’ve lasted this long.
I’m trying not to spit my tea out.
I am. I was like, oh, wow, what an achievement.
You could have warned me before you said that.
Sorry. I didn’t know I was gonna say that. It’s quite an achievement. I’m quite chuffed with myself, you know, like, I’ve lasted this long.
Oh, great, that’s really making me feel great before I go to bed.
Here we are. The last segment of Endurance. And the first point we were going to make was, oh yeah, we need to adapt, we need to change to different situations. For example, if you go to a funeral, you’re gonna be mournful, even if you didn’t know the person very well, you’re going to be, whats the word?
Sympathetic, Yeah. Yeah, if you go to a wedding, even if you’re in a bad mood, you’re going to kind of rejoice with those people.
Right. So you adap. without lying, you adapt to situations don’t you?
Yeah, well we do it naturally without thinking most of the time, don’t we?
We just we adapt our behaviour. When you’re in the workplace, to when you’re at home, or with a friend, you know, you’ll speak to them differently. Because in the workplace, you need to be a little more respectful and, you know, in and more professional in your manner.
And it’s the same when we’re with people in terms of sharing the gospel. We adapt. So if you’re with poorer people as opposed to with wealthier people, you might adapt, adapt to different. If you’re with someone poorer, you’ll be more down to earth. If you’re with somone more posh, you might, posh accent might come won’t it.
Yeah, put a plum in your mouth. Although yeah, like you say, if you went to someone who was struggling financially, or had trouble in life, it wouldn’t help if you arrived in a nice Mercedes AMG, and nice expensive clothes, and talk down upon them with, you know, a nice posh accent. It wouldn’t really come across well, because they wouldn’t be able to, they wouldn’t be able to communicate with you, you know. How you gonna, how you gonna talk to them?
more about how you would, what you would talk about. You wouldn’t go talking about all these wonderful things you’ve got. You’d be talking more about other things, you wouldn’t talk about the blessings you’ve got.
You’d speak their language don’t you.
Language. Speak their language.
So that’s adapting. The second point we were going to make was, there are some things that don’t adapt, and things you don’t change, for example, our Christian faith. When you’re trying to witness to people who aren’t Christians, you don’t go and act like a non Christian whilst you’re with them. That doesn’t help.
Just like Andy B said, you know, adapting to different situations doesn’t excuse sin.
No, you don’t go and witness the sinners by sinning. It doesn’t help.
No! It won’t help ‘cos all you’ll do is encourage them to continue.
Yep, you’ve got to be different. There’s got to be something different about you when you’re with non-Christians. That was the second point. Third point? Oh yeah. How do we discern when we should or shouldn’t adapt?
That’s a good question.
A very good question. Yeah. Have you got an answer.
Well, I think so.
You know, we need to be in tune with the Holy Spirit in order to discern when we should, or shouldn’t, adapt. And when we shouldn’t, you know what I mean?
Yeah, yeah, it’s, it’s immediately, interestingly, immediately after the armour of God, where it states all the different parts of the armour that we need, the sword of God’s Word, the shield of faith, we need all of these all the time. We don’t really take up part of it, and be with certain people. We always need all of those! However, immediately afterwards, it says pray in the Spirit at all times. But clearly, that is like our, our comms, that’s, that’s how we keep in contact with God at all times, so we know how to act in different situations, just like anyone, any soldier in the military will need to be in constant communication with their commander.
So how we should adapt is by being in communion with Holy Spirit, in communion with God in prayer, etc, etc, etc.
It says, somewhere in Scripture, to keep in step with the Spirit. That’s another way of looking at.
In step. Good one! So the first point was, we need to be adaptable in different situations,
But without pretending to be something we’re not.
Deveiving or sinning.
The second point is some things never change. Some things never adapt. We’re always Christians, we always have the Fruit of the spirit, the Armour of God. I mean, sometimes we balls up but, generally speaking, we always have the Fruit of the Spirit, the Armour of God and that’s part of us. And the last point is how do we know to adapt in communion with the Holy Spirit? God gives us the heads up and what not!
Yeah, over time, we as we get to know God better. As we continually pray to Him, you know, he, we get to grips with how he wants us to act in our daily lives.
Go Do. #GoDo.
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