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Klamath Falls Seventh-day Adventist Church

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Sabbath School at 9:30 am
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Pastor's Corner

I don’t know about you, but I like to think that I am a disciple of Christ. I pray daily, I read my Bible, I go to church (I sort of have to), I visit with and pray for other people, I give Bible Studies… and yet even though I’m involved in these things, is this how people determine whether or not I am a disciple of Jesus? For that matter, is it how God determines whether or not I am a disciple?

Paul made some very strong remarks regarding this in 1 Corinthians 13. He said “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Cor. 13:1-3 - emphasis mine). You mean speaking prophetically, giving up all that I have, and even delivering myself to be burned isn’t going to cut it? Well, only if done without the pure and true motivation of love.

I’ve met many people in my short life, some Christian, some not; some nice, some not. I’ve met nice Christians, and mean Christians. I’ve been a nice Christian, and a mean Christian (if that’s possible to be “mean” and “Christian” at the same time). Some of the meanest, grumpiest, negative people I know claim to be disciples, or followers, of Jesus. Why is that? Here we are, having just celebrated the 500th Anniversary of the launch of the Protestant Reformation. A protesting against church and religious powers who were not completely following the truths of Scripture. In order to defend their religious system, force was often used against any “heretics”… all in the name of God. This is nothing new of course. The religious leaders of Christ’s day found it difficult to even follow Jesus, much less live the life He desired to mold and fashion them after.

I recently saw a documentary on the Hasidic Jewish community in New York, and I was quite amazed at the way they were treating those who wanted out of that lifestyle and community. Again, I ask the question - why is that? Why can we be so mean and heartless towards each other? We are reminded in Scripture that “because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold” Matthew 24:12. The love of many growing cold is in proportion to the increase of lawlessness. That would make sense, especially when love is the basis for God’s holy law in the first place. So, what exactly are you trying to say Pastor?

Well, I’m glad you asked that. Simply this… What is the true way a person can tell whether or not one is a disciple of Jesus? “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” John 13:35. Now, I’m not saying we go out and muster up some love to share with people - because that’s impossible. Only God is Love, and only He can bring that kind of love into our lives as we spend time with Him. “Men are in peril. Multitudes are perishing. But how few of the professed followers of Christ are burdened for these souls. The destiny of a world hangs in the balance; but this hardly moves even those who claim to believe the most far-reaching truth ever given to mortals. There is a lack of that love which led Christ to leave His heavenly home and take man’s nature that humanity might touch humanity and draw humanity to divinity. There is a stupor, a paralysis, upon the people of God, which prevents them from understanding the duty of the hour” COL 303.

As we focus on and study Christ crucified, Christ our righteousness, Christ the Victor, we will be encouraged and equipped by His grace for such a ministry of love and service and proclamation. I like how Dwight L. Moody penned it - “There are two ways of being united, one is being frozen together, and the other way is being melted together. What Christians need is to be united in brotherly love, and then they may expect to have power.” That brotherly love is a result of our time in God’s Word and prayer, as we ask for and allow His presence to overtake and transform us. Brothers and sisters… if we could be real with ourselves for just a moment and ask the tough questions - Am I really a disciple of Jesus?

When’s the last time I genuinely sought after the well-being of someone else? When’s the last time I prayed and cried over the faults in my life that I’m so disgusted by? How often has the world kept me back from experiencing God’s love and power? God has wonderful things in store for His people. Are we truly seeking after and praying for His love?

Courage Klamath,

Pastor Jon Holland