The Northfield

  2535 Shore Road

  Northfield, NJ 08225

  (609)646-1181

Church of Christ

01/29/2010

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I'm Innocent Your Honor


"Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourself to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world" (Phil. 2:14 & 15)).

I hope that these verses look familiar to you as they are the same ones that I used yesterday. (NASB instead of NIV version). I guess that I'm not finished with the idea that we are to be "lights in the world." Yesterday the trait was blamelessness and today it is innocence. This word is the same one that Jesus used when he sent out the 12 disciples in the tenth chapter of Matthew. He told them that it would be a difficult task (perverse generation?). "Behold I will send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves" (V 16). The dove was always used as a sign of purity and Jesus meant for them to be free from any taint or suspicion of evil. The 12, even if their message was right on target, could not be effective if they were not innocent....Like doves..They had to appear as non-violent men not capable of doing any harm.

So...Why is it important to be innocent? As with the trait of blamelessness, the apostle Paul tells the answer as he writes to Titus. "so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us" (2: 8). It is like using the old messenger/message thing...You know the term, "don't blame the messenger." This term is used when the message is harsh or bad and it would be easy to get mad at the one who delivered it. I would like to twist this around just a bit. If we carry with us the message of the Good News of Jesus, the gospel, but are lousy messengers, people will be skeptical. One way of being a poor messenger is by setting a bad example. (not being innocent!) Paul said this; Giving no cause for offense in anything so that the ministry will not be discredited" (2 Cor. 6:3)...He also said this; "For we have regard for what is honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but in the sight of men" (2 Cor. 8:21).

It is a big, but important challenge for us to become as harmless as doves. We can only reach this level when we are able to love our enemies and return good for evil as Jesus taught. Every once in a while it is good for us to read Jesus' words in Luke 6: 27-36. It is good to abhor evil, we just can't get caught up with it and return it. We need to be able to say; "I am innocent your honor."

Have a wonderful day....Go about doing good.. Love mark Phil. 4:11

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