Friday, August 27, 2010

Not an A, but doesn't feel like an F either

Often times, even a good sermon or message won't survive in my brain for more than a day or two, but I've had a couple swimming around in my brain now, on and off, for the better part of month.

To set the stage, Bohdan and I were at a Father & Son camp run by New England Frontier Camp in Lovell, Maine. We were going to be there for four days and three nights. The camp's owner and director, Keith Moses, gave the message the first night we were there as we sat around a large campfire under the stars. The premise of the message was building on the rock (Matt 7 "The Wise and Foolish Builders").

To demonstrate his point, keeping in mind that the audience was mostly boys aged 8-14, Keith had a table with two bird houses on it. One house sat atop a pile of sand and the other a large rock. As he was talking, he would stop occasionally to spray the foundation of each house with water and a blast of air from an air hose. As you would expect, over time, the sand washed away and the house on the sand toppled over. Of course, the other house remained since the rock was not phased by the water.

While a good visual for the topic, it was hardly earth-shattering. The part that got me was what came when the visual part of the sermon was over. Keith said that, by his estimation, he would give the house on the sand an "A" and the house on the rock an "F". Of course, that confused all present. He went on to explain that if we think of the "A" using the word Admire and the "F" as the word Follow, then indeed his statement would be true. He explained that there are people who admire Jesus and those that follow and he wanted us to consider where we sat.

For me this was a tough question. In light of another sermon that has recently stuck with me, the answer alludes me to this day. The other sermon was by Paul Washer where he talks about the prayer for salvation and the merit it holds compared to the fruit we bear. Mr. Washer claimed that there are an awful lot of people who have prayed the prayer of salvation and yet may not be saved. He points to the places where Jesus talks about the fruit in our lives (see Matt 7:15-23 for example).

If I am truly a Follower of Jesus Christ, would you not know me by my fruit? How does the fruit of our lives reconcile with Ephesians 2:8-9? Am I just an Admirer? Am I somewhere in the middle? If I'm somewhere in the middle, am I not lukewarm? We know how God feels about that (Revelation 3:15-16)! You now understand my consternation.