F.M. Sciutto III

By His Free Grace Alone, To Be Treasured Alone, & For His Glory Alone

Posts Tagged ‘reconciliation

To burn or not to burn?

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Normally, I refrain from voicing my opinion on current events, especially of the political kind, but I couldn’t remain mute on this because of things I have watched of late.

Now, if you haven’t heard of the controversy surrounding Florida pastor, Terry Jones, and his church’s (as of now, “suspended”) plan to burn Qur’ans on the anniversary of 9/11, then the only possible place you must be living is under a rock somewhere in the Adirondacks.

His desire is to “send a message to Islam and the pushers of Shariah law: that it is not what we want.” Last year, his church even posted a sign that stated “Islam is of the Devil” outside. Jones states that, as an American protected under the First Amendment, he has the right to burn Qur’ans because “it’s full of lies” (The New York Times).

He has been opposed from Islamic leaders around the world, President Obama, military generals, Sarah Palin, Angelina Jolie, Franklin Graham (son of Billy Graham), and other Christian organizations. Jones has said he has even received death threats from people. He has, however, mustered a small amount of support from across the nation.

With good reason, many are afraid of a terrorist retaliation, increased violence towards our troops, and, as Kevin DeYoung pointed out, increased danger for missionaries in Muslim countries as well. As of now, Jones has been swayed to hold off on the Qur’an burning due to an apparent promise to move the Islamic center in New York City.

Now, my purpose is not to explain why I do not believe that the Qur’an is the inspired Word of God and does not provide for man the way to eternity with Him (John 6:47, 10:28, 17:3; Titus 1:2, 3:7; Hebrews 5:9; 1 John 2:25, 5:11). Basically, it’s because of Jesus in His removing the wrath that I deserved for my sin and exchanging that for righteous standing before God, which is possible because of His sinless life on earth, His substitutionary death on the cross, His resurrection from death to life, and His ascension to Heaven.

As Christians, however, we do not need to rid the world of books, movies, or music that contain world views with which we disagree and think are filled with lies. We need to store God’s Word in our hearts, love as Christ loved, and proclaim His Word to the nations. We have no reason to fear those who are opposed to us, as we have the Truth, and it is the only solid ground on which we can stand.

Although we disbelieve the claims of Islam, we are still called to love Muslims, and through treasuring Christ above all earthly pleasure and comfort, we can be ministers of reconciliation to the Muslims in our own communities. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is all we need to be ministers of reconciliation.

Instead of wasting precious time by giving Muslims a reason to feel malice towards us and hindering the work of God’s Gospel, let us pick up our Bibles, learn how Jesus loved those who hated and mocked Him, and love our Muslim neighbors by treating them with compassion and desiring their redemption, which can only come from the blood-bought sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

(Photo credit.)

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Written by sciuttfm

September 10, 2010 at 1:53 AM

The Slippery Slope of Legalism

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It has been a while since I have posted something original, but I have been busy with life, though I have a couple of drafts and ideas that need finished and developed.

Recently, I have been reading and getting destroyed by Paul’s letter to the Galatians. It amazes me (and even scares me a little) how quickly I shift into legalism and try to work for our own righteousness instead of resting, in faith, on what Jesus did. By relying on the law for our righteousness, we are cursed, but when we rely on Christ’s atonement for our sin, through faith, we are blessed with Christ’s righteousness and the Holy Spirit, who is God dwelling inside us, empowering us to be more Christlike.

John Piper has (again) pointed out a “major battle” that I struggle with it everyday:

“The major battle was the fight of faith. Did I really believe that when Jesus died, all my curse was lifted so that I could say with Scripture, “What can man do to me” (Hebrews 13:6; Romans 8:31–34)? Did I really believe that the death of Jesus is the pledge of God to withhold no good thing from those who trust him (Psalm 84:11; Romans 8:32)? Did I really believe all things would work together for my good (Romans 8:28)? Did I really trust the counsel of Christ when he said, “Do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say; but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit” (Mark 13:11)? This is the struggle of everyday Christian life, and it is your most important work every day: how to keep your day’s activities from becoming works of law, and how to live by faith in the Son of God who loved you and gave himself for you to redeem you from the curse of legalism.” (Christ Redeemed Us from the Curse of the Law: Galatians 3:1-14; April 10, 1983)

If I really believed what Christ accomplished for me on the Cross, why do I worry so much about my reputation and how people treat me? If Jesus is my everything, why do I seek comfort in this world when it will only leave me broken and crushed?

Jesus, help me to treasure You above all things and to see others as in desperate need for You.

Written by sciuttfm

July 19, 2010 at 12:49 AM

Missional Living

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Here’s an excerpt from Matt Chandler’s sermon, “What is Missional Living?”  I listened to it a few mornings ago on my way to UC and was shown how amazing the freedom in Christ we have is and how it gives us power to serve those whom He has given us.  Matt Chandler continues to encourage me in my faith in Christ, and I hope it encourages you as you go through your daily lives.  My prayer, especially for myself, is that I’ll live this way, intentionally showing Christ through everything I do and say.  If I am to claim to believe in the wondrous work that He has accomplished for me through His death on the cross and through His resurrection, then my life needs to show that He is my Prize, that He is my Treasure, that He is my All, that He is my Strength, and that He is my Lord and Savior.

“[….] Even in our area, you’ve got new movie theaters going up, you’ve got new shops going up, you’ve got a thousand different places you could spend your time, energy and money. But here’s the thing that’s just so disturbing to me. With all this stuff to do, why are we so bored?

“Can I tell you what’s killing us? The majority of us have compartmentalized our faith. And what I mean by that is church and Jesus and goodness and God exist when I’m around church and church things, but it has not bled over into my marriage, it has not bled over into my wallet, it has not bled over into my job, it has not bled over into my life, it has not bled over into how I see my neighborhood, it has not bled over into how I spend my coin, it has not bled over into how I treat my children, it has not bled over into how I see athletics, it has not bled over into what I spend my time doing.

“Most of us are unmoved by our faith because we’ve compartmentalized it into this little section and said, “I’ll be a good person,” and we’ll determine that by watching the news and go, “Oh, I haven’t mass killed anybody… Hey, I haven’t raped… I haven’t done that…” So we’ll compare against the darkness and go, “I’m not that bad of a person… I don’t cuss too much… I don’t watch inappropriate movies…”

“And so we’ll live in that really weird, boring, unchanging, unadventurous place where we’re neat Christian people going to a neat Christian church where none of the rest of our life is affected. And so that’s it, that’s Evangelicalism. […] “Jesus is great. He’s great… (on Sunday).”

“He’s not great because we love our money more than we love Him and His kingdom. And He’s not great because we love our kids’ chances of becoming professional athletes more than we love Him. So He’s great, but He’s great as long as He’s in where we want Him to be in. And that’s what makes us so powerless. Because few of us have been freed up to the slavery of trinkets and toys. I mean, we just play the same games as everybody else and just put Jesus’ name on the back end of it.

“If you’re a believer in here, be honest. Do you see your finances, do you see your wallet though the kingdom lens? Ask yourself, “How am I a minister of reconciliation? How do I use my money for reconciliation?”

“[….] Can I tell you how you engage culture? Quit seeing people as there to serve your existence, but rather see them as souls that God has created, loves and has invited in to the reconciliation. So this bleeds into everything we do.

“Do you know why you can’t get coffee here? Because I’d much rather you just pick it up on your way in where you know your barista’s name. Do you know why we don’t have a gym here for you? Because there’s three of them within a 12 mile radius. Go there. Do you know why we don’t have intramural sports here? Because I’d much rather you be right in the middle of a pagan world being a light of Christ. “Well Chandler, if you go to the gym and try to play on a basketball team, there’s a lot of potty mouths out there.” Yeah, I’ve been there. I know there are. I think you’ll be alright. I think you won’t catch that. “Well, I want to play ball in a godly environment.” Okay, be an agent of reconciliation. Be an ambassador of Christ and see what happens.

“We’ve been reconciled so we become agents of reconciliation. And that’s why I think so many of us are bored. There’s thrill that comes by being used by God. Don’t try to see this through the lenses of religion. Don’t go, “Oh, I had better do this or God gets angry.” No, you’ve been set free to do this. And once again, I always want to push freedom with you.

“Do you know how free it is to see your money not as yours, your house not as yours, your stuff not as yours, to be able to live in such a way that you’re open handed like that, to live in such a way that you see everything that you’ve been given as given to you not just for your own joy but for the mission and the kingdom of God in terms of reconciliation? [….]

Written by sciuttfm

May 27, 2010 at 12:58 AM