Every young child I have ever met loves to play hide and seek. It’s a universal game. It’s a game that we should never stop playing.
Welcome to “Mornings with Bishop Robert” — thanks for joining me … You found me! You’re always welcome here. My goal is to introduce people to the Jesus they never knew, and help them get to know Him and His word personally – and better ! If our time together today speaks to your heart, then let me invite you to like, subscribe and share it with a friend!
My kids loved to play hide and seek, even into their late teens and early twenties. That may be somewhat surprising; but these were not your standard games, mind you. After dark, all of the participants would dress entirely in black clothes. We’d set up some specific rules (no one was allowed to hide in Grandma’s room, for example) and then proceed to turn out all of the lights in the house. Everyone had two minutes to hide and then the seeker would begin the search. People disappeared underneath furniture, inside of cabinets, and into some utterly unbelievable places.
I thought of that one time when I was out shopping. A bumper sticker on the back of a car had a prominent image of Bigfoot, the ape-like creature said to inhabit the forests of North America. Under the image was the title “Hide and Seek World Champion.” I literally laughed out loud.
When you’re the seeker, the one searching for the folk who are hiding, having some clues can be a big help. But what if you’re actually searching for Jesus? Not that He’s hiding from you, but perhaps you just don’t quite know where to “find” Him. That’s where today’s verse comes in.
FOR WHERE TWO OR THREE ARE GATHERED IN MY NAME, THERE AM I WITH THEM.
Jesus can be found among His people. His followers are filled with His Spirit. They are the Body of Christ on earth, His representatives living and sharing the message of hope found in Christ.
But the searching and seeking can be complicated by the fact that we also live in a world under attack by the enemy of our souls. He deliberately sets up fakes and deceptions, false groups offering false hope. It’s sort of like the WWII Allies invention of the “First United States Army Group,” or FUSAG. An elaborate system of hoaxes, false information and even dummy tanks and aircraft; FUSAG was specifically designed to keep the Germans focused on a FAKE army so they would not notice what the REAL army was doing. It worked astonishingly well, and Hitler was convinced that the attack landing on the beaches of Normandy was only a diversion. It wasn’t. It was the beginning of the end.
Today’s battle is determining how to find the real followers of Christ. Which of the folk who claim the name of Jesus are really and truly following Him? The strategy that would have worked to overcome FUSAG will work here, as well. If Germany had looked closely at the supposed forces being amassed against them, they would have easily seen through the deception. While a real Sherman tank and a dummy Sherman tank may look similar from a distance, a close examination quickly reveals which one is genuine. There was an almost complete lack of German aerial and ground reconnaissance, so they never got a close look.
So how can you identify which people who claim the name of Jesus are really and truly following Him? That task is easier than it might first appear, because the clues are contained in the bible.
Actually, the bible is the first clue. It claims to be the inspired, inerrant and living Word of God. True followers of Christ will agree. True Christians will honor and obey what the bible says, not explain away its teachings in the light of some modern, woke approach to scriptural interpretation. Obeying God’s word has an impact on how you live.
The lives of the ones who claim to be Jesus people is the next clue. When a person opens their life to Jesus Christ, He makes a transformational difference in them. So as you examine their lives up close, do you see people whose lives are empowered by the Spirit of Christ? In other words, do they “look like Jesus?” He loved people unconditionally, and yet laid out clear conditions to enter a relationship with Him. Jesus hated sin, but loved the sinner. He set people free from their sins, and therefore from the destructive actions. Adulterers, thieves and liars were all welcomed; and invited to change their lives by the grace of God. Jesus never told people that He accepted their sin. He accepted THEM, and then told them to sin no more.
So as you’re looking for those who follow Jesus, look for HIM in them. His love, His power, His Grace. Look for lives released from the bondage and destruction of sin, and transformed by the love and power of the King of Kings. Get up close, and see if what you examine is genuine. Don’t look for “the perfect church” because it doesn’t exist. (If it did, it would be ruined when you and I joined it!)
Look for people who love Jesus with all their heart, soul and strength; and who love their neighbors as themselves.
The people – transformed people – they are the final clue. His people are only a clue, because the search is not for the people of Jesus; it is a search for Jesus Himself.
As you look through His word and examine their lives, you will find Jesus. He said so.
FOR WHERE TWO OR THREE ARE GATHERED IN HIS NAME, THERE HE IS – WITH THEM.