UCAN sharing: Billboards
Scripture: Matt 5:14-16
Billboard Def: a flat surface or board, usually outdoors, on which large advertisements or notices are posted. Dictionary.com
13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13
Almost every major city has billboards. They are those larger signs that line the highways and sell just about anything. This is what they are designed to do. Catch our eye and move us to buy or act in some way. The idea behind the billboard is that the more people know about your product or service the more business you get. It must work because of the heavy use of billboards all over.
God wants all people to have the opportunity to come to know who He is and what He is about. If a person never receives the truth about Jesus then often what they come to believe is distorted and leaves them not wanting to know God. God knew this would be so and that the world for the most part would not welcome him so he chose to use those
who are already his to be his living billboards. Because when a person truly comes to know Jesus their life should radically change as well as their values. If once they saw and did things as man does now, now they see things as God does and this is very different from what everyone else sees. So God can use our lives that were once broken but now
made whole and filled with love and joy if we are truly walking in Christ, to reach out to others living in darkness. For God is Light and those who walk with Him have this light in them so that we are seen as different (1 Jn 1:5).
The problem comes from when we fail to fully surrender all to God and give him our heart being filled and led by His Spirit. Then the message sent out is muddled and creates confusion and alienation rather than bringing glory to God. If we live carnal lives before the world but profess to be of Christ what kind of testimony will this give? People are quick to judge and reach the conclusion that Jesus is not because his followers are not living the way he did. In other words, God wants to use us to shine the light of his love to a dark world but instead we dim or hide that light so that those seeing us can’t see Jesus in who we are. They see religious people being hypocrites and abandon the hope of Christ. This is a severe wrong that many Christians fail to see they are doing.
In Matt. 18 the entire chapter is about how God’s children may relate to others. It begins by laying the qualifications for being part of God’s kingdom: child-like faith. A child doesn’t reason or resist God when God says something. They just believe and do it. They are humble and do not lean on their own understanding (Prov. 14:12). Adults on the other hand lose this child-like faith as we grow up and get educated by the world as well as hurt and disappointed so that we rely on ourselves rather than trusting in God. We end up being more worldly than Spirit-filled and we fail to obey God. As a result we often lead others to sin and this Jesus makes clear is very bad V6. The idea of chapter 18 is that we are responsible for how we impact other’s lives and that the only way to please God here is to behave like Jesus did. When we behave in a way that does not reflect God we are not showing the world him but rather ourselves in the flesh. Take for example, a situation at work where two colleagues have an argument. A worldly person may ignore the situation
(selfishness), or give bad advice as to what one can do to the other (fruit of the flesh) or take sides and make the situation worst. It is rare to find a non-believer with the wisdom and grace to navigate this situation without causing more trouble. Enter the Spirit-filled Christian who is not concerned with their own self but rather sees the problem as a whole, the work place has become a spiritual battlefield and will cause people to be hurt. Driven by the Spirit of Love that flows from the Holy Spirit the true Christian will try to intercede to help resolve the situation so that God gets the glory (Matt. 5:9). Like in Matt 18 sin must be dealt with using forgiveness and love. It is clear to see that contrast
between the two people and how they behave. So all involved will see and know there is something real to this Christian thing.
Here lies the battle that all Christians face. If Jesus Christ is real and has come and died on the cross for man’s salvation and that by that death and resurrection man can truly be saved then the proof lies in our lives. Few will be able to relate to a Jewish teacher who died more than 2000 years ago but they can relate to a real, air breathing person standing in front of them. Behaving in a way that is not the norm; it is more than that it is higher and inspired. In a moment they are confronted by the reality of God’s love and all the words of Jesus and his act on the cross take on a new power.
Why is it that so many Christians fail to really shine for Jesus? It lies in how we come to Christ in general. Most of us are told to say a prayer and believe. That’s it. But that’s not it at all. Coming to Jesus requires we want to leave the old life totally behind. We see how fallen we are. We willingly choose to die with Jesus so that we may live with him. In
accepting this God becomes the Lord of our lives and we have no say in what we think or do; we are born again to Christ (2 Cor. 5:15. Rom 6:8, 2 Tim. 2:11).
15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. 2 Cor. 5:15 Most of us just continue to live as if there has been no change. We don’t surrender to the truth. We are told to read our
bibles but are not told to allow the Holy Spirit to gives us understanding so we never get true revelation. We are lead to believe that if we do certain things we are fine but this is works and returns us back to religion. No, the only way to overcome is to allow God to lead you and then true change will come. He is the source of the power of change. He
comes and takes up home in us that we may be one with Him and empowered by Him. So few Christians actually allow God to lead their lives. They lead it out of carnal reasoning and expect to produce holiness. This can never happen (Gal 5:17).
This may sound discouraging and too difficult to really consider but this is only from our mind’s view. The way God created it was for He and us to walk together in a love relationship where He leads us. We are not condemned by Him as we yield but rather his grace leads us to repent and learn draw closer to him. His love is so strong and the experience of it so fulfilling that we desire to obey and live for God. It is not burdensome unless we are in the flesh because the flesh desires to do what it wants and has no true love in it. 1 Jn 5:3 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
Being God’s billboard is a natural result for a person in an intimate relationship with him. So if we want to touch the world for Christ it begins by being touched by Christ and walking in that love. Only then will we have something to show the world. The question all this brings up is “What does my life say to the world?” What is my billboard showing? Does it say this is a person for Christ or something else? It is up to us to choose.
Take a simple test. For one week observe the response and impact you have on other’s lives. Are they blessed by meeting you? Are they touched by God’s love even in a small way? Have you given of Christ to all you meet? If at the end of the week you find you have little to show for your Christianity you need to talk to God. Pray and ask Him to reveal to you your spiritual condition. Press in and choose to be real for Christ today.