Stand up, proclaim His love
March 28, 2011
by Pastor Mark Loder, St. John’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Winsted

“You’re all just a bunch of religious freaks, radicals, self-righteous, goody-goody, judgmental people who are just too afraid to admit your own faults!”

Wow, sounds pretty harsh doesn’t it? But you know what else it is? Hopefully, false.

Sure, this is the way those outside the church, or those who don’t believe in a loving God may feel toward those who do, but really? Is it true?

Well, let’s just say, it depends. For surely there are those who have put a bad face upon Christianity, who have been a few of those things mentioned in the opening line. But, the reality for most people who truly believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior are not those things.

The blessing we have, as children of God, is a dwelling within – the Holy Spirit. Claimed through Baptism, we are given the ability to make the proclamation found in Romans, Chapter 1, verse 16: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes . . . ”

Did you catch that? When it comes to our salvation, it’s not about us, it’s about what God has done for us. Then, through us, the blessings of serving and works flow. And as a part of that service in the name of Jesus, comes the difficulty of standing firm and speaking against wrong when the need to speak is presented.

It’s pretty difficult when everyone around you is speaking poorly about someone. It’s pretty difficult when the music, movies, and sitcoms you watch tell you it’s alright to do things that God says are wrong. It’s pretty difficult when we live in a world where all one has to do is push against the norm and the boundaries are broadened.

Many think it’s a sign of the times, it’s what this world has become. But, in reality, it hasbeen that way since Adam and Eve first sunk their teeth into the juicy flesh of the forbidden fruit.

In the same chapter of Romans, the issues of unrighteousness and sinful behaviors are addressed. It’s nothing new, only in a different form. And that leads to the reality that standing up for what is right, is nothing new either.

Quite possibly, the reason it seems so much different for us today is because fewer and fewer people boldly stand up and call sin, sin. With the voices of the world crying “hypocrite,” it is difficult.

Yes, all are sinful. But more importantly, all who believe, are baptized, repent of their sin, and strive through the help of God to change, are forgiven. And in the joy and glory of being forgiven by a loving God, we are then encouraged to stand up, proudly proclaim God’s forgiveness, and set an example of Godly living.

Will we be called religious freaks? Maybe. Will we be called goody-goody? Yup. Will we be called judgmental? Possibly.

But who’s the judge of your heart? Those who despise you for your faith, or God?

In the end, is it better to be known by a bunch of people who liked you because you did what they wanted you to do, or is it better to be known by a Savior who knows what you have done, and what He has created you to be?