A Personal Yet Public Faith

A Personal Yet Public Faith

Introduction

* Many believers are ignorant of the importance of a public Christian faith.

* Many believe they’ve the right to a private Christian faith. 

* Yet, are Christians entitled to a private faith?  

* Our faith is personal, yet also public.

* Public accountability though sometimes seems pressurizing, but it is a protection.

* Christians are saved into the church and thus also called to live before the Church publicly.

 

Read <Mat 10:32-33>

32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

 

* Personal faith is required for salvation, yet that faith is to be made public.

* It cost nothing to have a private faith. But it really cost something to have our faith make known.

 

Read <James 2:14-16>

* 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?”

 

* We are called to emulate the Lord by displaying His attributes publicly.

* Love is to be practiced publicly towards our brethren.

 

Read <Mt 25:40>

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

 

Read <Col 4:16-17>

16 After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.

17 Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.”

 

* Paul openly reminded Archippus about a ministry.

* It is seen both as a reminder, as well as a gentle rebuke publicly.

* When ministers have public accountability, it gives a sense of justice in the church.

 

Read <Phil 1-2, 8-11>

1 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker— 2 also to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier—and to the church that meets in your home.

8 Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, 9 yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus— 10 that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. 11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.

12 I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. 13 I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. 14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary. 15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— 16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.

17 So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. 19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back—not to mention that you owe me your very self. 20 I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. 21 Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.

 

* The Church need to know about the sins of Onesimus, as well as his true repentance.

* The Church also has to encourage Philemon to do what love demanded in Onesimus’ case.

* Every believer needs encouragement from the church to do what is right.

* Being open and accountable to each other is the best way to spur us towards good works.

* But note, public faith should NOT be pursued at the expense of a personal relationship with God.

* We also need private moments with God, and at times to engage in private struggle with Him.

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Pastor Vincent Choo
choochisan@gmail.com

Vincent is the Senior Pastor of The Life Church and Missions (Singapore) and is an ardent missionary to the Chinese World. He currently lives in Singapore with his wife, Qiufen, and has three kids, Mary, David, and Caleb.

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