WEEKLY WORD from Dr. Andrews – September 9, 2019
True Christianity reaches out beyond all national boundaries, beyond every type of religion, and crosses all cultural and ethnic differences in this world. True Christianity looks right out into the mission field of the world itself and sees people through eyes of love and mercy. Christ followers should perform acts of mercy through love, through peace, through joy, through longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness, just because they are fellow human beings. Being a Christ follower should demonstrate our faith in God and our trust in Jesus. It should represent meekness and show mercy. Acting like a Christian is not even whether you have joined a church, been baptized, or take Communion regularly. Christianity does not depend on any outward religious duties, which was what made the Pharisees so religious, but so wrong. Jesus said in Matthew 23:23-26, “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things. Blind guides! You strain your water, so you won’t accidentally swallow a gnat, but you swallow a camel! What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy full of greed and self-indulgence.” Jesus strongly rebuked the hypocrisy of seeming to act religious but failing to demonstrate basic acts which identify his followers with God, who loved people so much that He sent Jesus to the world to redeem them.
Jesus gave the act of demonstrating love and mercy a high level of importance, even more important than any outward religious activity. He illustrated this in His parable about the Good Samaritan. Jesus talked about a Jew who was robbed and beaten up by thieves on a road. When one of the religious leaders of the nation passed by and saw his fellow countryman at the point of death, he did not stop to help, he left him to suffer and perhaps die. Later another man, who was also a religious person, passed by and saw that this man was very near death, but instead of helping he went on his way without offering any help. Apparently, both of these men felt that their religious responsibilities were more important than helping someone who was hurt and dying. But when the man we know as the Good Samaritan passed by, even though he was an enemy of the Jews, he saw a fellow human being in need. He tried to help in every way he could, even leaving money for his care when he left him. He put moral principle ahead of religious duty. In telling this parable Jesus commended the actions of the Samaritan. The first two religious authorities were practicing their religion, and they left the man to die. The Samaritan was showing mercy and love, and he was practicing a proper type of attitude which Jesus approved of. Jesus said, “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice,” Matthew 12:7. In other words, He said mercy is a more preferred action than religious duty. The trouble with many Christians today, is that we want to take care of our own and do not want to actually look for people to help right in the communities we live in every day. The Good Samaritan was “good” because he abandoned his own religious ideals, in order to help his enemy when he was in need.
I know that here at FCS our students and families are often asked to be involved in many different projects meant to reach out and help others. Currently, our students and families have responded to the call to send “water and wipes” to those in the Bahamas who have lost everything due to the hurricane. With our involvement with any project to help others, we are teaching our students that these are not religious activities, but they are acts of mercy which demonstrate the love of Jesus and draw others to Him. It is because of that purpose I ask that all of our FCS family to support all of the projects we sponsor here at school throughout the year. Our school projects include: Operation Christmas Child, the NHS Blood Drive, Mission to Haiti, the Backpack Program, and more. https://floridachristian.org/patriotsonmission/
Our FCS families have always responded in an incredible way to our mission and community projects. I encourage you to do so once again this year because each project will bring glory to Jesus Christ and will demonstrate, not religious activity, but the love of Jesus and His followers for others.