When I first heard that CBC was doing a sermon series on a Matthew West song, I was skeptical. "Hello My Name Is" is catchy, but Matthew West is usually fairly corny, IMHO.
Yesterday's sermon exceeded my expectations in being meaty and Christ-centered, at least the one preached by Jody (yes, Jody, he gets better and better). The central text was in Luke 5 where Jesus first tells Peter and his friends to go fishing. After an unsuccessful night, here comes that last-minute customer who comes 5 minutes before closing and causes you to stay longer. But they gave service with a smile. Peter and company did one more fish with the net and drew so many fish that the boat was going to sink. Their day went from being weary at closing to wanting to stay.
At first, Peter and John and James knew something special about Jesus, but they still did not quite know that he was the Messiah. Before they did that last fishing round, Peter sarcastically called Jesus "master" and grudgingly cast the nets. After the fishing round, Peter bowed in worship to Jesus and called him Lord.
The tag-line of the sermon: What you call Jesus determines your identity. At first, Jesus was just Peter's homeboy and a bit odd. At this time, Peter was just a fisherman and down on business.
Now, Jesus is Lord, and Peter drops his nets and follows him the rest of his life.
This is an excellent segue to this article. It's another response/publicity to the new book by Matthew Vines about being a gay Christian. If Matthew Vines walked up to you wearing a name tag it would say, "Hello my name is Gay Christian." Then he would explain to you how you can be a solid Christian and still live an actively gay lifestyle.
No, not just, I still struggle with same-sex attraction, or I still struggle with porn. This is a full contradiction where Vines claims to be an orthodox Christian but still lives an openly gay lifestyle with no shame.
This follows with the above article where Owen Strachan ask the question, "Should Christians label themselves gay Christians?" He answers with an emphatic "NO!!!"
The thing is, all people who have been snatched from the fire by God's grace all had sin and could be identified by it. We had name tags that said "Murderer", "Liar", "Glutton", "Hater", and so on. But then Christ saved us and gave us new names. We are all Christian. His life and death are imputed to us and we no longer are identified by our sins.
Yes, there are saved people who still struggle with addiction, porn, lust, hatred, fits of rage and all the rest, and there are different degrees to which God rehabilitates them from their former illnesses. We will all struggle with this while we still live on this fallen planet. However, when Christ saves us, we no longer have our former names on our name tags. The tag is ripped off and replaced with your identity in Christ. And as we take Christ's name, we can look to Jesus, the one human who knows our temptations but never sinned. He can lead us away from our urges and lusts and into his righteousness.
1 Corinthians 6:9 is clear that homosexuals and other former labels will not reach God's kingdom. But the good news, is such were all of us, but then Christ made us new persons. Let your former culture and lifestyle not prevent you from throwing off everything that hinders following Christ completely.