"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:"
2 Timothy 3:5
One of my favorite things in the entire world is food. I think that I have an overabundant inclination to the affliction of appetite that was passed down from our Edenic parents. My love for food has led me to try many different types of food from various cultures. I first tried Chinese food in high school and I fell in love with it from the first bite. So when my dear friend Jason asked me about Thai food I was eager to try it and add it to my list of types of restaurants from which to choose. There is a restaurant in Conover, NC (near Hickory) called Tia's. Tia's specializes in authentic Thai cuisine. One day when Jason and I were in Tia's enjoying her delicious food he began to tell me about the various sauces that you could get and add to the food to spice it up a bit. Tia keeps several items on the table as regular condiments, so to speak. There are two bottles whose contents look nearly the same. There are two ways to distinguish what they contain. You can either read the label or simply smell the top of the bottle. In one of the bottles you will find your average, everyday, traditional soy sauce and it is in the bottle labeled "Soy Sauce". In the other bottle you will find a substance that smells like it was scrapped from the floor of a fish processing plant and it is labeled "Fish Sauce". I think you have to have been raised in Thailand and fed this stuff as a baby in order to stomach it. It is the worst smelling substance that I have ever smelled that is designed for human consumption. The day Jason and I were there discussing this, Jason picked up the "Soy Sauce" bottle and was just about ready to douse his food with it when he caught a whiff of the bottle. He immediately moved the bottle away from our food and took it to the front counter to tell Tia about it. You see, the bottles had been switched. They were labeled properly but they contained the wrong substance. Needless to say my buddy was very happy that he smelled the bottle before he ruined his delicious food.
I think too often we Christians fall into the same problem. On the outside we may appear to have to the "right" label, but when people get close to us we stink with the stench of the world. Some of you may say, "Pastor, those are pretty strong words." And perhaps they are, but consider this. If we call ourselves Christians then we have an obligation to conduct ourselves in a certain way. Meaning that we have been bought with a price and we are no longer our own (1 Corinthians 6:19). That means that we belong wholly and completely to the Lord Jesus and we have an obligation to Him to rightly represent the kingdom of heaven. In other words we do not just need a form of godliness, we need to be filled with the right "sauce". That sauce is the eternal love that flows from the throne of grace. Jesus told His disciples that "freely you have received, freely give" (Matt 10:8). What have we been given? We have been given the power to become children of God (John 1:12). In 2 Timothy 1:7 Paul tells us that we have not been "given a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline." That means that each believer that accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Savior will be filled with the Holy Spirit and therefore will have the power of the living Christ manifest in their lives. But if we come to Jesus and do not take our relationship with Him seriously then we fall into the category that has a form of godliness but denies the power of God in their lives. In essence we have the right label and the right social circles, and we even worship on the right day, but if we do not allow the Spirit of God to come into our lives and transform the way we live and act and treat the world around us then we become that stinky bottle of fish sauce that serves to turn people away from God and any form of Christianity.
So where are you tonight? Are you "labeled" right and filled with the Spirit of God, or are you "labeled" right but filled with the smelliness of this life? I pray that you will allow Jesus to pour out the bad and fill you with His goodness because we have no goodness on our own and we each need Jesus to give us power to reach souls for Him.
Tonight I simply pray that each one of us will be willing to let You come in and have full reign in our hearts. We not only want to be labeled properly Lord, we want to be filled to overflowing with Your Spirit and love. Please forgive us for the times when we have had a form of godliness, but were denying the power thereof. Tonight we want to give You total control so that you are both Savior and Lord in our lives. Thank You for loving us so much more than we deserve Lord Jesus. It is in Your name that we pray, Amen.