Victory Vitamin Blog – Matthew 5:39-41 NIV

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.  And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.  If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

-Matthew 5:39-41 NIV

You’re in an awkward situation and someone says, “Just act naturally”.  Jesus speaks to us today with a better idea.  When someone strikes you, it’s natural to strike back.  When someone tries to take something from you, it’s natural to cling tightly, and keep what is yours.  It’s natural to resist when forced to do something against your will.  Jesus says, “Act unnaturally!”  Our current sermon series is designed to encourage and equip us by the Spirit’s power to live in ways that are different so that others will see our faith in action, and be attracted to a relationship with Jesus.  The actions listed above will certainly attract attention.  Jesus’ action on the cross attracted attention.  People expected a mighty warrior in the earthly sense.  Jesus came to sacrifice and earn salvation for sinners.  Jesus gave his life for sinners, and asked that the Father forgive those who were killing him.  As a result, even one of the soldiers at the cross said, “Surely this man was the Son of God.”  As you live sacrificially and give more than is expected, as you live unnaturally to show the humility and love of Christ, others will notice.  Be a contagious Christian through contagious sacrifice.

Victory vitamin Blog – Matthew 5:13-14

“You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”

– Matthew 5:13-14 NIV

This Sunday’s message is the first in a four-part series titled “Becoming a Contagious Christian”.  The goal of the message is to equip us to be comfortable in our identity in Christ.  We are dearly loved, forgiven children of God!  By embracing this identity, and striving to live our lives as God’s children, we can attract others who desire the same confidence and peace that we have.  This week we’re focusing on contagious authenticity.  There’s something very attractive about the person who knows who they are, and is confident in their identity.  Jesus says that His followers are “the salt of the earth”.  That phrase is often used to describe people of a certain disposition.  One encyclopedia describes a person who is “the salt of the earth”, as being “decent, dependable, and unpretentious”.  Certainly there is more to being a follower of Jesus than this, but it’s not a bad start.  As children of God, we’ve experienced His love and care.  We are forgiven through faith in Christ, so we are uniquely positioned to do the same to give love, care, and forgiveness to others.  We are comfortable and confident as God’s children, and not afraid to live lives that display, love, care, generosity reliability, and humility.  You are a dearly loved, forgiven child of God!  Be confident and comfortable with your identity in Christ!

Victory Vitamin Blog – Acts 2:32-33

“God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.  Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.”

– Acts 2:32-33 NIV

This verse from Acts refers to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Go back and take a look.  It says that Jesus (the Son) received from the Father, the Holy Spirit.  This Sunday is Trinity Sunday, a day on which we acknowledge and give thanks for who God is.  Christians have been accused of being polytheists, meaning we worship more than one God.  That is absolutely not the case.  We believe in, and worship ONE God who reveals Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  I repeat, One God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  That reality is impossible to explain in human terms, and is only believable by the power of the Holy Spirit.  At the same time, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that God’s “being” would be beyond our comprehension.  That’s what makes Him God!  If God were easily understood and explained, He would be more like us, and less like God.  I expect God to be beyond my comprehension.  I expect His ways to baffle me.  And though I struggle to understand who He is, and how He works, there is one truth that I can grasp.  God is love.  He loves me, and He loves you.  The Father has proven His love by sending His Son to earn our salvation.  The Son then sends the Spirit to us to comfort and guide us.   We can’t explain God’s identity, but we can experience His love and share it with others.

victory Vitamin Blog – John 17:15-16

“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.”

– John 17:15-16 NIV

Not of this world?  Does that mean we’re aliens?  Well, yes, if by that we mean that this is not our home.  Heaven is our eternal home and because of our faith in Jesus, our standards and goals are different than those of the world around us.  The older I get, the less I fear death, and the more I long for the return of Jesus.  That may be because the struggle of trying to live a Christ-like life in a sinful world takes its toll after a while.  It can be challenging to be honest and do right, to show kindness and forgiveness. There are many times when I feel like I don’t fit in.  The great news is that we are forgiven when we fail, and we have God’s promise that He will never leave us or forsake us.  He will be with you to the end of this earthly life.  But while we are here, we have a job to do.  We are Christ’s ambassadors; representatives of God’s heavenly Kingdom.  Our words and actions will show others that we have something beautiful and beneficial waiting for us, something they may want for themselves as well!  We are strangers here, heaven is our home.  God will strengthen you to make the journey as a bold and faithful Christian.

Victory Vitamin Blog – John 15:12-13

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

– John 15:12-13 NIV

I love pizza.  I love my motorcycle.  I love my wife.  I love God.  (Not in that order)   My point is that in English we have one word for love and as a result, the word is essentially useless.  The Greek language had multiple words for love, which makes a ton of sense.  The kind of love being spoken of by Jesus in John 15 is “agape” love.  That kind of love us unconditional, undeserved, sacrificial, and ongoing.  It’s the kind of love that God has for you as expressed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  As a result of that agape love, you are forgiven through faith in Jesus.  Because we are loved and forgiven, we are to love and forgive others.  Not just friends, but enemies.  That’s what Jesus means when He says, “Love each other as I have loved you.”  Jesus loves all people.  And even though there is no greater love than laying down one’s life for another (which Jesus has done for us), the point is that we will have to sacrifice to make this happen.  It’s not easy forgiving those who have hurt you.  You still have to do it.  In the Lord’s Prayer we pray, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”.  We’re asking God to forgive us the same way we forgive others.   Thank about that for a minute!  Because we are loved and forgiven, we are to love and forgive others.  Period.  It’s not easy, but it’s also not optional.  It’s not easy, but by focusing on Christ and His sacrificial death, we will gladly share His love and forgiveness.