Pastor Joe Miller IV
I have lived in the same area my whole life. Both of my parents were raised a couple of miles apart along with my grandparents. Now I continue to live here with all my kids and grandkids. So for five generations plus we haven’t gone far and have lived, worked, played, worshiped beside, and made a lot of friends in this area. When you live in an area long enough, each person becomes part of your life like a piece of a puzzle, and you get to know the people pretty well. After living and spending time with people, you begin to develop relationships, good or bad, based on your conversations and your experiences. As time passes, you come to conclusions and opinions about people. As a result of knowing people, we develop a reputation and rightly so. Good or bad. It is part of a community. A reputation is the belief and opinion generally held about somebody. The difference between a reputation and a rumor is that a rumor is an unverified report lacking facts, but a reputation generally has a thread of truth running through it. Your reputation is developed over time living alongside someone, going through good times and bad times, talking, working, and playing together. Hearing and observing. Reputations are important and, as Christians, they are vitally important.
2 Corinthians 3:2-6
Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
As Christians, we are the avenue to reveal through the Word of God, salvation, hope, peace, and the love of God to be seen and heard by those around us. What is your reputation among your circle of influence?
2 Corinthians 5:18-20
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
As Christians, we are to be ‘ambassadors’ or ‘representatives’ for Christ and have been given the ministry of reconciliation. To have compassion and love towards others, not imputing their sins on them. (v 19) To cause a change from one of enmity to one a friendship with God. What is your reputation as an ambassador for Christ?
Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
The Word of God challenges us as individuals at Harvest Baptist Church. "Be the Good News of Christ." That your reputation (“I may hear of your affairs”) precedes you and you are making a difference. You know there are a lot of times in my life that I have failed and grieved God, but my prayer is I become more like Jesus today than I was yesterday. That my words and actions would bring hope, forgiveness, and peace to a lost, dark world. (Watch the news.)
I pray that we as individuals, as members of Harvest Baptist Church, and representatives of Christ, would live our lives and have that reputation in and to our community of the hope of Christ. You are the reputation of Christ, so be the Gospel.