Bible Reading: Matthew
Text: "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him." (Job 13:15)
Sometimes we speak of people changing colours, when they're embarrassed or
[b] I was reminded of the Chameleon Lizard, when we visited The Ulster Aquarium at Portaferry in Northern Ireland whilst on holiday.
[c] They didn't have the lizard of course, but they had a creature which is apparently found in Strangford Lough, on the shores of which
the aquarium is situated. It is called the 'LESSER OCTOPUS', and living there on the sea-bed, has the ability to blend into it's surroundings
by changing colour.
[d] We also saw some varieties of flatfish - and you couldn't actually see them, until they moved, their skins were so similar to the sandy
shale on which they were resting!
[e] During the Gulf conflict, those engaged in fighting Saddam's forces had repainted their planes and vehicles, so that in their new
camouflage, they would merge into the desert background, and would be difficult to see from the air as they fulfilled their role in the area!
[a] There are some people who seem to find it very easy to change colour to fit in with their surroundings: and I'm not talking about a
change of clothes, make-up, or even hair colour!
[b] I heard about a football supporter who took two scarves to the match, and then whichever team was winning, he would change his scarf
to suit! So he was always supporting the winning side!
[c] There are some Christians, or maybe I should say, some who profess to be Christians, who when with the unsaved, seem to change colour like
the chameleon, and talk, dress and act the same way as the unsaved around them!
[d] I remember saying to a believer on one occasion - "Oh well, at least no-one would ever mistake you for a Christian dressed like
[e] You remember Peter, around the fire in the courtyard of the High Priest, in the process of trying to save his own skin, cursed and
swore, and denied ever knowing Christ!! He did everything he thought necessary to dissuade them from thinking he could be a follower
[a] I have seen professing Christians bend over backwards, in fact almost do somersaults to try and fit in with their unsaved friends!
[b] They look so foolish and out of place! If only they could see themselves as others see them!
[c] They end up losing the respect their friends had for them as Christians, and any opportunity which they may have had to witness for
Christ, has long since bitten the dust!
[d] They actually do their own Christian experience untold harm, and it can take a very long time to get back to where they were spiritually.
THEY PUT THEMSELVES OUT OF TUNE WITH GOD CAUSING DISCORD IN THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM!
[e] The Christian is MEANT to be different!! There's a Christian song that says, "I dare to be different!"
We are MEANT to stand out from the world!!
[f] If we fit in and people can't tell the difference - THERE IS SOMETHING BADLY WRONG WITH US AS CHRISTIANS!
[g] If we follow the lead of the world like a sheep, and bleating that "EVERYBODY ELSE IS DOING IT!" there is a serious flaw in our Christian experience!
We are meant to be "IN THE WORLD" but "NOT A PART OF THE WORLD"!
In John 15:19, Jesus says to us "YE ARE NOT OF THE WORLD!"
We are not meant to try and, as it were, 'put on the skin of the world'!
[a] Some time ago, there was a film produced, starring Lenny Henry, the black comedian. In the film, he goes through a process which makes
him WHITE! It does seem quite an amusing concept. I do remember reading about a white man in South Africa, during the days of very severe apartheid, and black persecution. I think he was a doctor, and on purpose, went on a course of drugs which affected the pigmentation of his skin, so that he became coloured. The whole of his life dramatically changed, and he was thrown off trains, 'reserved for whites only'. He was refused service in shops and not allowed into certain areas of the city. HE WAS JUDGED BY THE COLOUR OF HIS SKIN!
[*] If we went out to Africa, would we take shoe polish and blacken our faces, so that we wouldn't stand out in the crowd??
WE WOULD LOOK RIGHT IDIOTS!!
[b] We would be trying to fit into a colour and culture in which by nature we do not belong! We are citizens of another country!!
[c] The Bible says of the Christian, that we are indeed, ' citizens of another country', and that country is HEAVEN!! "Our citizenship is in Heaven." It is our 'homeland' (Philippians 3:20)
[d] We are only travelers and foreigners in this world! We do not belong here!
[e] Christians are sometimes stupid enough to fall out over politics!
Whether you are red, or blue, or any of the spectrum of colours in between, if we accept the premise that we do not belong in this world, then politics, or anything else primarily to do with this world, is NOT IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO CAUSE A RIFT BETWEEN GOD'S PEOPLE!
[a] You remember I spoke about the football supporter who changed his scarf to suit the successful team?
[b] Well I've come across some Christians like that!!
They look around to see which church or corps is doing well, or has an outstanding preacher, or a large band or songsters, and transfer their allegiance! They start to support that team, if you like.
[c] Some time ago, I actually spoke to someone who has left a very large church where all is bright, and is packed every Sunday, to go to
a smaller one where he can be more used of God!
"Just where HE NEEDS ME, my Lord has placed me."
[d] Fitting in WHERE GOD WANTS US, and doing the work HE has planned for us, is never the 'easy option'.
[f] It is however, the ONLY WAY to be TRULY SATISFIED with our Christian work and service!
[g] So often I have said, "WE CANNOT DO GOD'S WORK IN OUR WAY!! WE MUST DO GOD'S WORK IN GOD'S WAY!!
[a] Maybe as we've thought about these things, we have felt condemned in ourselves, because we have been guilty of being a CHAMELEON
[b] It is unfortunately a denial of our Lord! There are no other clothes in which to dress it up!
[c] If we are afraid to show our colours! If we are afraid to stand out for Christ! Then we are ASHAMED OF HIM!!
[d] Jesus says some very serious words. He says that if we are ashamed of Him - HE WILL BE ASHAMED OF US. If we deny Him - then HE WILL DENY US ON THAT DAY OF JUDGEMENT!
[e] Does Jesus mean enough to you and me for us to stand up to ridicule from our so called friends and enemies alike??
[f] HE DID IT FOR US; and if we truly love Him - we will do it for Him. We will reciprocate the Love He has shown us!
SALVATION ARMY SONG BOOK
PRAYER CHORUS 105
PRAYER CHORUS 32