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May 2014

A Message from Jim Sappington

To the People of Messiah, Trinity, and Our Friends,

I am a big fan of Facebook. Facebook allows me to keep track of my family and my friends, past and present. When something happens in their lives, I get the news and can act on it. Sometimes really good tidbits get passed along; funny videos, interesting facts, or unusual but useful information. Here are some examples.  Did you know there is someone in Scotland that can play heavy metal music with and shoot flames from bagpipes? Did you know that you can add 1/2 tsp of baking soda to the water while boiling eggs to make the shell fall right off?  Or did you know that in 1997 the Secret Service threatened the New York Mets' mascot if he ventured too close to President Clinton?

Lots of people post lots of things on Facebook. Unfortunately, when it comes to Christian doctrine much of it is well-intentioned junk. For instance, a recent post displays a picture of the late Charles H. Spurgeon with the quote, "Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. BE SURE OF THAT". Ironically, the post came from something called PREACHTHEGOSPEL.org. I'm sure the person posting this probably wanted to encourage others to overcome their fears and proclaim the gospel to anyone who would hear.  To take this quote seriously would mean that our failure to share Jesus with others overrides God's redeeming work on the cross.

This confusion of law and gospel is what the Apostle Paul warns of us in his letter to the Galatians. We were lost in our sins and trespasses. By God's grace and mercy He sent His Son to die in our place. The penalty of sin is taken from us and placed on Jesus. We stand guilty no more.

For someone to threaten us with no longer being saved because of our failure to share Jesus as we ought is to put us back under the law. The statement of law accusses us.  It leaves us without hope. It says Christ's suffering and death suffices no more. Now, we can only try to bring ourselves back into God's good graces.

When we read posts by our Christian friends and family, ask yourself the following question. Does the message point to Christ as savior or to me as failure? If a posting causes guilty feelings, freely confess that to our God who forgives for the sake of Christ. If the message points us to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the work, feel free to click Share.