The Christian Core….

I was inspired by the sermon that Jim Wood, senior pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Norfolk, preached Sunday, August 6th, 2017. The focus of his message was that Christians are called to a core identity of being \”In Christ.\”

Building on Jesus\’ teachings in Mark\’s Gospel (Mark 8:27-38; Mark 9:30-37; 42-50; and Mark 10:32-45), Rev. Jim explained that being \”In Christ\” means that we must die to our so-called status and agenda and become like servants to all.

Regardless of denominational or tradition affiliation, what\’s important is not if I am baptist, methodist, pentecostal, presbyterian, etc.

What\’s important is if we are trully \”In Christ!\”

In such a self-centered and selfish society a lesson about selflessness falls on deaf ears more times that it should.

Probably because we just don\’t get it!

20th century theological educator Reinhold Niebuhr\’s Moral Man and Immoral Society, he goes so far to say that we have become blinded by our \”predatory self-interest.\”

Jim\’s sermon brings hope to a self-centered society. he explained that dying to Christ means \”denying self, losing self, and forfeiting self;\” but, not in a gnostic sort of way as in self-torture.

Indeed, we must take care of ourselves; but not for ourselves.

In The Cost of Discipleship,  20th century German Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer explains the same lesson this way:

When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die. It may be a death like that of the first disciples who had to leave home and work to follow him, or it may be a death like Luther’s, who had to leave the monastery and go out into the world. But it is the same death every time—death in Jesus Christ, the death of the old man at his call. 

We cannot truly serve God and His work in the world until we are truly OUT of self and IN  Christ.

Let\’s ponder this question: \”Am I into my self? Or, am I into Christ? If I am into myself, I serve myself. If I am into Christ, I serve Christ. This means that I am willing to deny myself for Christ\’s sake, lose myself in Christ, and forfeit my will to serve Christ and Christ\’s agenda in the world. 

What eternal joy and great privilege to serve the Lord!


Dr. Antipas

Dr. Antipas L. Harris
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