“But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” Jude 1:20-23
Recently, my family moved into a new home on a Friday. The next Monday, my wife was unpacking in the boys room and believed she smelled smoke coming from our attic. At her call, I ran upstairs to investigate. We could not locate a fire or its cause, but we knew that smell was foreign to our home and it was dangerous and it was highly important to solve the mystery. Faced with this unsolvable, urgent problem, I dialed 9-1-1 and asked for a fire truck to be sent to our home. The firefighters discovered a smoking bird’s nest in the light fixture of a ceiling fan on our back porch. Had we not called for help and they not discovered it and called the NFD, our new home would have burned to the ground.
S. Lewis once wrote, “Christianity is either true and of infinite importance or not true and of absolutely no importance, but one thing Christianity can never be is moderately important.”
Our current cultural moment demands that the ARPC be filled with churches who share this valid inference from studying Scripture with everyone they encounter. As a pastor, and now a man who has been a Christian longer than I was an unbeliever, I am thoroughly convinced of this truth. My actions, however, do not always present Christianity as if it is of infinite importance. Many other urgent and even mundane matters give my neighbors the false perception that I only believe that Christianity is moderately important. Many people in Norman, OK wrongly affirm that it doesn’t matter what one believes, as long as he or she believes sincerely and doesn’t take others to task if he or she disagrees.
Friends, we live in communities filled with homes with smoking bird nests threatening to ignite. Our first task is to open the attic filled with smoke-something stinks. Our second task is to lead them to call for help by calling upon the one name under heaven through which mankind may be saved: Jesus Christ.