Philippians 3:17 – 4:1
All parts of the Uniting Church are being asked to contribute to the National Redress Scheme for people who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse. This adds a cost to our budgets. But the cost of this abuse to the church is much greater than that. The church which was already falling out of favour with the general community has suffered much more due to the publicity being given to this serious failure by church leaders, members and employees. Mind you, we did not need a Royal Commission to tell us that there are professed Christians who live as enemies of the cross of Christ. It has been so from the earliest times (Philippians 3:18). What does it mean to live as enemies of the cross? For some, it has been sexually abusing children under the cover of position held within the organization of the church, but there are other even more pervasive ways in which we live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Accepting Christ’s salvation without taking up the cross and following him in his love-filled way is one example. Continuing to live self-dominated lives under the cloak of Christianity. Living as enemies of the cross of Christ means letting personal desires and ambition crowd out a willing desire to live the way of Jesus. It means self-love drowning out love for God and for neighbour. It means using the church or one’s position in the church to boost one’s own ego. It’s not other people, those over there, it is us. It is in ourselves. There is always that temptation within us to let selfish desire dominate. So, the need for constant vigilance and repentance. We may stumble, but we live in the assurance of God’s grace, resolved to live, not just as citizens of Australia, but as citizens of God’s heavenly kingdom. Let God’s Spirit of love guide and move us in humility and gratitude.
- Describe a life in which self dominates.
- What are some of the ways in which people rationalize their selfishness?
- If some are enemies of the cross of Christ, who are the friends of the cross of Christ?
- What problems arise when we try to live as citizens of heaven while living as citizens of a country?