S04E008, #GoDeeper with Andy B: Endurance, Adaptation not Justification (Endurance)

Avatar The BerryBunch | 01/05/2022
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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.

Andy B

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.

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