As I mentioned yesterday, we all have a bit of façade to us. I don’t know about you, but the older I get, the less energy and interest I have to try and put on a fake image. I feel like Popeye: “I yam what I yam and that’s all what I yam.” I think there’s a comfort in being around down-to-earth, regular people. They’re not pretentious, they aren’t snooty, and they don’t look down on you just because you are not as educated or refined. It matters not if a person is rich or poor, façades are a barrier to deep relationships and even salvation.
Remember, in first century Israel, the Jewish mindset was that prosperity was a sign of spirituality. There is nothing wrong in and of itself with being rich. I know some very well-to-do Christians who thankfully have not let the money go to their heads. But, it’s when the money, the prosperity, and the success go to peoples’ heads that salvation is far away. The more we seek to be our own gods the harder it is for us to allow the light of Christ penetrate our dark souls.
- And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?” And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”—Matthew 19:23-26
When I think back to all the people I’ve known, especially in my almost 3 decades at Sears, I saw friends become enemies as certain ones fought their way to the top. I saw others who found their identity in their positions and promotions. I witnessed a continual disregard for things that matter (eternally) because all that was on their minds was the temporal things of their jobs that they allowed to define them. Self-focused distractions abounded. Sadly, I can also think back to the many people I worked with who died over the years (from old age, disease, an accidental shooting, and so forth), and it hurts me to think about those people spending eternity in torment, finally wishing they had sought the Lord, but discovering it is too late.
Rich or poor, refined or uncouth, high IQs or low, people need the Lord. And, as we saw in our Revelation 3 cross reference, Jesus continues to show a love for the lost that has him standing outside knocking, asking for them to let Him in. When He walked the earth, He hung out with wealthy people, down and out people, moral people, and immoral people, and His primary mission was to preach repentance, to preach the Kingdom of God.
Is your identity in your job, or the vehicle you drive, the people you associate with, where you live, the style of clothes you wear? Or is your identity Christ? Do you see yourself for who you really are, or do you con yourself into thinking you are something you are not? Maybe you falsely believe you are worthy of Christ. Who are you really?
- What façades did you hide behind in your past? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Isn’t it freeing to turn them over to God and to just be a real person? ___________________________________________
- Doesn’t it take a ton of pressure off of you? __________________________________________________
- Don’t you prefer to be around people who are genuine and real? __________________________________________________
- Note: everyone has different tastes and styles. Those things are notthe same thing as a façade unless you use those things to define you. If you like a nice expensive car, so be it. But if you drive one to look important, there is where the problem lies.
- Now, do you know people whose façades and self-worshipping blindness are preventing them from seeing Jesus as Lord and Savior? _______________________________________________________
- What can you maybe say to them to help them see Jesus for Who He really is? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- How might you tailor your Gospel presentation to interact with these obstacles in their minds? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- “If you want to win this world to Christ, you are going to have to sit in the smoking section. That is where lost people are found, and if you make them put their cigarette out to hear the message they will be thinking about only one thing: ‘When can I get another cigarette?’”—Neil Cole
- Jesus’ example to us is that He hung out where lost, often despicable people were. Think about how embarrassing that may be at times, or how smelly and unsanitary. Now, and being honest, what places would be the hardest for you to go to reach the lost? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- With that in mind, ask God to work in your heart to make you more compassionate and willing to reach out to people of low esteem.
- If any people have virtually no façades it’s the poorest people. They are also some of the easiest to reach with the Gospel because they have less barriers, are more desperate in their condition, and are wanting hope.
- Lastly, maybe you rub shoulders with wealthy people of higher society. God has placed you in a unique position, so despite the fake image they often portray, they still need Jesus. Do you know people of this nature whom you can pray for and witness to? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- How can you reach into their lives with the Gospel, and cut through their veneer? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Is He Yours? Hymn by Lucie Eddie Campbell
1 I am not blessed with riches,
Am helpless as can be;
I’m sometimes void of shelter and of clothes;
I have this satisfaction
As I sail this stormy sea,
King Jesus is my Pilot,
Is He yours?
2 He’s my water when I’m thirsty,
When hungry, He’s my bread;
My protection from the stormy wind that blows;
My comfort when I’m lonely,
When other friends have fled;
This Friend will never leave you,
Is He yours?
3 You may be poor and helpless,
You may be old and gray;
Like Job, from head to foot be full of sores;
Just take your case to Jesus,
And your night will turn to day;
He’s my joy, my hope, my comfort,
Is He yours?
4 He satisfied my mother
When death came stealing on.
She used to say when-e’er my eyelids close,
“My Jesus will be with me,
And take me safely home;
For years He’s been my Doctor,
Is He yours?”