Would you like to be an elf this Christmas?
A few years ago a movie was produced called “Elf.”
The elf had a human father which made him a misfit: he was an “almost
elf” and an “almost human.”
My thoughts for this article come from a sermon preached by John Wesley in 1741. It is entitled “The Almost Christian.”
There are many
“almost Christians” in our society and even in our churches.
If you ask people why they don’t go to church, many would reply, “Because of the ‘almost Christians.’”
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “I would become a follower of Christ, if it wasn’t for those who claim to follow Him.”
What do “almost Christians” look like?
First, they are good ethical people.
In grade school, they got
“A’s” in citizenship.
They are law abiding and do not oppress the poor.
In fact, they may give liberally to charitable causes.
Through their work or money, they help feed the hungry and clothe the needy.
They can truly be called philanthropists.
Second, they are moral people.
They adhere to a code of morality that surpasses that of their peers.
They are faithful to their spouses and provide for their families.
are not given to drunkenness, drug abuse, gambling, or other vices.
Third, they are religious.
They faithfully attend church and at least outwardly displays a form of godliness.
They listen intently to the sermons and “amen” the parts they agree with and are the first to shake the preacher’s hand and say, “That was a great sermon.”
Some may even hold church offices and teach a Bible class.
John Wesley was all these things, yet he was only an “almost Christian.”
At age 22, he was ordained a deacon and began preaching.
At age 25, he was ordained a priest in the Anglican Church.
For the next 10 years he preached at Oxford, was a missionary in Savannah, Ga., and led a small group called the “Holy Club.”
However, it wasn’t until age 35 that he became a “complete Christian.”
To be a “complete Christian” there must be a new life obtained by the indwelling Holy Spirit that happens when a person completely gives himself to God through faith in His son,
Jesus Christ. A “complete Christian”
is not motivated by self, but by an all consuming love for God.
Until you have experienced the love of God personally, you cannot truly love God. Have you experienced this love of God?
Not only is the “complete Christian” motivated by the love of God and a love for God, he or she is also motivated by faith.
The Bible says,
“Without faith it is impossible to please God.”
An “almost Christian” is not pleasing to God.
It is faith in Christ that moves us from being an “almost Christian” to a “complete Christian” that pleases and brings honor to God.
An “almost Christian” pretends to be a Christian; a “complete Christian” is one.
Which one are you? I asked in my title if you would like to be an elf this Christmas.
Of course, elf is symbolism for being a “complete Christian.” If you are not a “complete Christian,”
this Christmas season would be a great time to become one by believing in the Christ of Christmas.
“For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Saviour which is Christ the Lord.”
James Kearns is pastor of Bald Knob United Brethren Church.