June 23, 2024

Are You a Junkie for Christ?

a young man sitting on a bench with his head in his hands

Worship Service June 23, 2024

Our reading for today talks about Jehu. In verse 16, it talks about how he had zeal for the Lord. So what does that have to do with the question, are you a junkie for Christ? What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the word junkie? Well, you think of a person laying in the gutter with a needle in their arm or someone sleeping in the park that is homeless and asking people for money so they can get drugs. The dictionary describes junkie as a person addicted to drugs, especially one addicted to heroin.

One of those people who would be described as a junkie was Brian Welch. You saw him, right? You saw the picture of Brian Welch. Brian Welch was born on June 19th, 1970 in Torrance, California. He was raised in Bakersfield. He was different from most kids and was bullied in school. He liked music and was interested in playing the drums, but his father convinced him to play the guitar so he wouldn’t have to haul the drum set around. He began playing the guitar at the age of 10. He got the nickname “Head” because guys said his head looked like it was too big for his body. So they started calling him “Head” and it stuck. Most of you may never have heard of Brian Welch. Brian Welch is an American musician. Brian Welch was anything but a Christian. He was the co-founder and lead guitarist of a new metal band called Korn. You ever heard of Korn, Justin? Do you know Korn? Yeah. He was addicted to methamphetamines, speed, as well as Xanax, Vicodin, and Valium. He left the band in 2005 following ongoing struggles with drug addiction. He returned to his hometown of Bakersfield in 2004, where shortly before his conversion, he began a partnership with two local real estate developers. Both were Christians, yet rarely shared or spoke about their faith with him. Nonetheless, their impact was significant.

He stated, I saw something different. They were glowing. They had a glow about them, and they were always in a good mood. He finally decided to reach out to them. They were there for him. He stated that he felt empty and purposeless. He said he used methamphetamines 700 days straight before finding Jesus. He stated the transformation was fast, radical, and ongoing. I dove right in. I’m like gung-ho for Jesus, non-stop, hours, every day, talking to him and just living for him. He also got his wife, his parents, and all of his friends involved in church. Now that picture you saw, if you saw that man on the street, would you think he was a Christian? You’d think he was a junkie, right? That’s what’s in our minds.

In 2008, he released his debut Christian album, “Save Me From Myself“. Now this is heavy metal Christian music, so I doubt any of us has ever listened to it. Today he’s dedicated his life to helping others, and even opened a Christian-based rehab center of his own. He rejoined the band in 2013 after the rest of the band got clean and sober. During an interview with a reverend, a reverend asked him how he stayed sober while being in his old environment. Brian replied, I never said I was sober. I am high on the most high. He poured his love into my heart by the Holy Spirit. I traded in my ashes for beauty. I traded in my addiction for the relationship and for love.

In an interview, Brian was asked about the pain of relapsing during addiction recovery. He said, what does God say? “He is slow to anger, abounding in love, and faithfulness”. Since God and Jesus are not of this world, he is unlike the earthly parents who may be quick to angrily scold misbehaving children. He said those who relapse do not need to hide from God as they might hide from earthly parents.

Instead, he said, They should think, “I’m not where I want to be, but I’m a lot better than I used to be”. He stated, I have chosen the Lord Jesus Christ as my savior and will be dedicating my musical pursuits to that end. He says faith in Christ is the foundation of his life.

Now lately there were rumors and the internet started saying Brian Welsh no longer Christian he’s denounced Christianity. Well wasn’t true. He went back on to the interview and said, here’s what happened. He said, I was just coming off of meth. And he said, I took this and ran with it. And he said, Christianity shouldn’t be shoved down people’s throats. And he said, that’s what I was doing. And he said, I stopped doing that because he said, I was so gung-ho. He said, I’m still a Christian. He said, I still believe, I still believe in Jesus Christ. I believe in the Bible, but I’m not knocking down people to make them believe as I believe. I’m showing them by the way I am. So we went on and saw the rumors on the internet and he is still a Christian. What an inspiration this young man is and when he was sitting doing the interview you could tell his eyes were bright, his speech was good, and he was very convicted. What a wonderful story that this is. And you look at the picture of him and you go, nope, It’s all what’s conceived in our mind.

The dictionary also describes junkie as a person with an insatiable craving for something. Someone doesn’t have to be a drug addict to be a junkie. Someone can be a junk food junkie, a chocolate junkie, an adrenaline junkie. A junkie does whatever needs to be done to satisfy the craving he or she has, no matter what. In some cases, being a junkie can cost you your life. Now not necessarily drugs, maybe an adrenaline junkie, somebody diving out of an airplane without a parachute or something could kill you know, people that ride crazy motorcycles, adrenaline junkies, a lot of times you read about these people after years of them doing this, they have a fatal accident. So it could cost you your life being a junkie. But in the case of a Christian being a junkie, that is not necessarily a bad thing. We can be a junkie for Christ. We need to be insatiable in our cravings for God. Why? Because we have the assurance of salvation and we need to share that with the world. Assurance of salvation is essential to our Christian lives and I can’t imagine living without it. We have clarity of the assurance of salvation from the Bible. We must realize that a genuine believer is in the Spirit and has been given a new nature.

John 3:6, “that which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the spirit is spirit. If the Holy Spirit lives in you, you are no longer controlled by sinful tendencies of the flesh.

Romans 8-9. “However, you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you, but if someone does not have the Spirit of Christ, He does not belong to him.” The Greek term for dwells indicates that the Holy Spirit makes his home in you and in every believer. This verse, however, points out that if someone does not have the Holy Spirit within him, he doesn’t belong to Christ. Being in the Spirit is not merely professing Jesus, having a pious appearance, or attending church. No matter what we claim, if we aren’t fulfilling God’s law, desiring to walk by the Spirit, and wholeheartedly seeking the things of the Spirit, He is not in us. As we read in 2 Corinthians in the New Testament reading for this morning’s verse. Verse 5 tells us, “test yourself to see if you are in the faith.” Examine yourselves. You can do this by looking for evidence of the Holy Spirit in your life, how you live your life.

1 John 5:1, “Whoever believes that Jesus is Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of him.” Verse 4 and 5 gives us the assurance of salvation. “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world and this is the victory that has overcome the world, our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

We see assurances every day, not only for our salvation, but how God provides for us. Take for instance the trees and the plants outside and the role that they play in sustaining our lives. Without them, we would have no oxygen provided on planet Earth. That didn’t happen just by chance. It is a part of God’s creation. So God’s assurance is evident in how he created the earth and created life and sustains our life through his creation. If he didn’t love and care for us, He wouldn’t have sustained our life here on earth and he wouldn’t continue to do it.

Being a junkie is not all bad. Because of God’s assurance of salvation and his love for us, we need to be a junkie for Christ. Just by our actions as true Christians and our enthusiasm for the Word of God, we might never know how many people we have brought to know the Lord. Remember what Brian Welsh said, that even though his business partners didn’t preach to him, he knew they were Christians by their example and how they lived their lives. The example that his business partners showed him by their zest or zeal, like in the Old Testament, for Christ turned his life around.

When you are down on your zeal or zest, and your zest is not what it should be, remember this short story. One day a donkey fell into a well. The animal cried pitifully for hours as a farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the donkey was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway. It just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the old donkey. He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then to everyone’s amazement, he quieted down. The wise animal hit on a plan. As each spade full of dirt hit his back, the donkey would shake it off and take a step up on the growing mound of earth. Eventually the mound grew high enough for him to step out of the well and he happily trotted off. The moral of the story? Life is going to shovel dirt on you. All kinds of dirt. The trick is getting out of the well and it is to shake it off and take a step up. We can get out of the deepest well, why not stopping and never giving up and putting our faith and trust in God who is with us and will guide us to a better purpose. Amen.

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