Unity in Christ – 1 Corinthians 1:10-17

God Desires Unity In The Body Of Christ

10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”

13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

Solidarity in Speech

God has, throughout His word, been consistent in His message to us, as He uses the life experiences of His people to reveal Himself to the world.  God has been consistent in His character, and expects us to be consistent as well.  If we are being led by the Holy Spirit of God, then we should all be saying the same things about God and His word, for His word doesn’t change.

When we are not in solidarity with what we are saying concerning God, it is because some (or all) of us are not being led by the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit of God is not divisive, but rather gathers in unity.  It has been said that if several people are tasked to decide something, and all of them go into different rooms and pray, when they come out, they should all have the same answer, for there is but one Spirit of God who we are following.  If we have different (contradicting) answers, then we have a problem.  It is to the glory of God that there is unity in the body, and unity in speech is one of the outwardly evident signs that God is who He says He is as we live our lives.

Destroy Division

Paul further goes on to say that we need to ensure that there is no division among us.  The Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are in complete unity and harmony.  All three are in unison as they go about their assigned roles and tasks.  Each are God, and therefore omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.  How can they be One if they are divided?

We are doing God a disservice when we are divided.  If there is a difference in opinion on how we are to be doing something, the people responsible need to seek God and ensure that they are seeking to submit themselves to the will of God.  It has been said, “United we stand, divided we fall”.  It is the desire and life’s work of the enemies of God to sow division among God’s people.  In unity, we are able to stand together as a single body against the power and efforts of the enemy:

Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Chosen in Christ

In the Corinthian church, there was division by some people because they were proud as to who had mentored them.  They considered it a great honor to be mentored by someone of renown, such as Paul, and it became a badge of honor that was causing division among some of the people.   Paul tried to remind them that they were to be following Christ, and not men, for they were baptized and chosen in Christ, not in Paul, or Peter, or any of the other apostles.

When we categorize and rank ourselves with each other, we form cliques that cause division in the body.  Are we not all parts of the same body, whose head is Christ?  Were we not all baptized in Christ, rather than those who mentored us?  Paul reminds us to be wary of such division within The Church, for it is easy to be ensnared by the pride of life.  Each of us has been hand-picked by God to serve in our appointed roles.  We must remember that it is Jesus who is directing His church.  When we think that it is we who are directing it, we are not longer submitting to the Holy Spirit of God, but rather to our own passions.

Preach with Power

Paul uses a simple example of this with His own life.  Studying under Gamaliel was a great honor for Paul.  But Paul, as learned and capable as he was for making persuasive arguments and debating, preached Christ and Him crucified without wisdom or elegance.  By doing so, the power of the cross of Christ was made evident in the simple message – God so loved the world, He gave His one and only Son for us to be crucified for our sins, that we would be able to be reconciled to the Father.  Preaching this message as “God has a wonderful plan for your life”, or using argument or pretense, is to empty the cross of Christ of its power to show the love and compassion that God the Father has towards us.

Although the great commission of Christ – to go forth and make disciples of every nation – is also followed with a command to baptize, the most important part is that disciples are made, and that they follow the commands of Jesus.  Obedience to Christ is the hallmark of discipleship, and without that, the rest is merely window dressing.  Let us walk therefore in the unity of the Spirit of God as we conduct ourselves each and every day that we may be found in Christ when He returns.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I promoting unity in the church through submission to Christ and one another?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are all-powerful, glorious, and beautiful to behold.  I ask and pray this day that You would fill Your people with the desire to walk, talk, and think in unity with the Holy Spirit so that through submission we function as the body of Christ.  Please remove division and pride within the body so that we can follow You as You intend for us to follow.  Strengthen the body through unparalleled unity so that we would be filled with Your power, presence, and purpose.  Help us to seek unity in the body, and to rid ourselves of the desire to be noticed by others, desiring only to hear our Lord and Savior say to us when we finally meet Him, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  Strengthen us for the difficulties ahead, and place the burden of unity and submission upon the hearts of each and every person who is called by Your name and whose name is written in the book of life.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Unity in Worship – 1 Timothy 2:3-10

Let Us All Lift Hands Together In Holy Worship

3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.

8 Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. 9 I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

Everyone Everywhere

Paul points out God’s desire to see everyone come to a saving knowledge of His Son, Jesus Christ.  Peter confirms this as well:

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

This is the intent of His heart; it doesn’t mean that everyone will:

1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

Jesus later goes on to explain that the soil is the condition of the hearts of people, and the seed is the word of God.  Jesus does say elsewhere that He will draw all people to Himself:

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.

The call to salvation is for everyone.  Any and all may come who hear its call and obey its message.  Let no one say that there is anything too difficult for God to forgive;  He has already dealt with that two thousand years ago on the cross at Calvary.

Only One

Paul goes on to remind us that there is only One God and One mediator: His Most Beloved Son, Jesus Christ.  There is complete unity in the Trinity, and we are reminded that our focus and attention should be upon the one and only God.  When we do this, we are setting aside our personal differences, and joining together in a pursuit that ensures that we are unifying under One God and One mediator:

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

In this simple call, Jesus urges all to unify under Him, for He is THE only way to the Father.  And, because He has triumphed successfully over death and hell through His perfect life and death, He holds the keys to the death and hell.  And He has been crowned King of kings and Lord of lords.  Let us bow down in worship to the only one who is worthy – The Lord God Almighty.

Paul now goes on to address men and women to urge them in unified worship.  Each are given instructions on how to put aside their individual tendencies towards division and come together in unified holy worship.

Holy Hands

Paul first addresses men.  They are to lift holy hands without disputing or anger.  Men have a tendency to establish a pecking order of importance among themselves.  They tend to have their own personal goals and desire power in leadership and ranking.  Paul provides simple correction in this area, telling men to fight these urges and to come together with hands lifted high without anger or argument.  When men can set aside these things, they can powerfully join together in unity and accomplish great things.  Working together as a team rather than having contests establishing who is most important brings God the greatest glory.

Appropriate Attire

Paul then goes on to address the women.  It is no surprise that women have a tendency to establish their own pecking order by vying to be the most beautiful woman in the room.  Women dress up for women more so than men.  Paul urges women to adorn themselves with good deeds and appropriate attire.  This changes the way they view themselves and other women, and encourages them to focus on worship rather than on their own external appearance.

It is interesting to note that this was going on two thousand years ago in Middle Eastern culture – it is not a recent phenomenon nor does it have its origins in the modern Western culture of decadence.  And it still goes on today.  The entertainment industry and gossip magazines tout who wears what clothing and ranks people according to their appearance.  God does not judge by appearance, but rather by the heart:

1 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”

2 But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”

The Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”

4 Samuel did what the Lord said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?”

5 Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.”

7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I seeking unity with others?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have sacrificed Your One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, so that we could be reunited with You.  Give me the strength and desire to put aside any and all personal desire to be recognized so that I may, in unity, worship You with my whole heart.  Grant me the strength to put down my sinful desires and to desire that which Your heart longs.  Keep me from pride, and help me to be humble and yielded to You.  Father, give Your people a desire to be unified in worship, in each other, and in You.  Help us to overcome our natural desires so that we can be the people You desire us to be.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Unity In The Body – Ephesians 4:1-6

Strive For Unity Within The Body Of Christ

1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Live Life

Paul reminds us here how to live the good life – we must live it in a manner worthy of the calling that we have received.  Our calling – generally – is to deliver the message of salvation to every people and nation:

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Our calling – specifically – is to be the part of the body that God desires us to be by using the spiritual gifts that the Holy Spirit has empowered us with to serve God:

1 Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

As living sacrifices, we are to live our lives in complete submission and obedience to God, giving Him the honor and glory that He so rightly deserves.  When we live our lives in this way, we are living the “good” life – a life that is worthy of the calling that we have received.

Soft and Submitted

We are to be gentle and humble in our ways.  This is exactly the same way that Jesus described Himself:

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

When we are gentle towards others, and have learned restraint so that we do not allow our emotions and desires to control us, we are able to do what we have been called to do.  Because of our sin nature, we find ourselves at odds with what we know is right.  We must learn to become more like Jesus.  And Jesus, realizing that we could not grasp God, submitted Himself to the Holy Spirit as an example for us.

Lavish Love

Unity can only be achieved through love in the bonds of peace.  For true agape love – unconditional, volitional, and sacrificial love – comes through submission.  We are to submit to one another in Christ.  When we do this, the world will know that we are His disciples.  Love binds us together in unity; for if we are seeking the good and welfare of others first, selfishness, pride, and discord will diminish and die.

Unparalleled Unity

Paul goes on to tell us how to be unified by reminding us that there is only unity in oneness.  He gives us seven examples:

  1. One body
    • The great spiritual divide among all the denominations should not exist.  We are all part of the same body of Christ, separated only by geography.  When we do not have unity in the body, we are separating ourselves from one of the greatest strengths that we have – unity of oneness.  When there is corruption, we are to address it.  And if those who sinning refuse to repent, we are to follow the Matthew 18 principle of church discipline.
  2. One spirit
    • There is only one spirit.  Not all paths lead to God – that is Universalism.  Jesus has told us that He and He alone is the way, the truth, and the life – no one comes to the Father except through Him.  And as Jesus is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit, we are to be one with them and with each other.
  3. One hope
    • Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.  On Christ the solid rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.  The words of the hymns shed light on the great truths of the word of God.  We have one hope, and our hope (complete and justified trust) is placed only in Jesus.
  4. One Lord
    • Who is lord of you life?  Who calls the shots?  There is a bumper sticker that has been seen that says, “God is my co-pilot.”  If that is the case, then you are in the wrong seat on the plane.  Lord is a word that invokes the understanding of absolute and unconditional authority of someone over another.  Jesus should have that authority – He has earned it.  If we live our lives the way we want to, then we claim lordship over it, usurping His rightful authority over us.
  5. One faith
    • We have but one faith – faith in Jesus Christ, and His work on the cross, taking our sins and giving us His righteousness in exchange.  Faith in anything or anyone else is futile, for there is only one name under heaven given to mankind to be saved, and that name is The Lord Jesus Christ.
  6. One baptism
    • There is only one baptism.  We are baptized in the name of the Father, in the name of the Son, and the name of the Holy Spirit, into eternal life in Christ.  Baptism into anything or anyone else is futile.  We are unified in that there is only one baptism.
  7. One God and Father
    • Finally, we are reminded by Paul that there is only one God and Father.  Jesus has warned us that God the Father is the only true Father.  Everyone else is under the control of Satan.  We are unified by having God as our One and Only Father.

In each of these, Paul reiterates that there is unity in being one together.  As there is only One of each of these, there cannot be division.  If there is division, then we must be in disagreement with at least one of these, for if we are in agreement on all of them, there cannot be anything BUT unity.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask ourselves a question:  Am I in unity with my brothers and sisters in Christ?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have made it possible for us to live in unity with one another.  Show me Your heart, that I may be in tune with it.  Help me to live in harmony and unity with those You have claimed as Your own.  Help me to submit to the Holy Spirit as well as one another that You would receive honor and glory from it.  Show me where my pride is interfering with Your will, and bring is under Your control, so that I may be humble and gentle in spirit.  Help me to learn restraint and give grace to others in areas that do not conflict with the core truths of the faith.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Unity in Christ – Psalm 133

There is great blessing in unity

1 How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together
in unity!
2 It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
down on the collar of his robe.
3 It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore.

Unified Undertaking

God expects the church to be united.  There is a recollection by the author of this psalm of a time when he remembers the unity of God’s people.  He ponders it, and declares it to be good and pleasing.  We too should ponder this and declare the same.  When God’s people are in unity, they are able to fulfill His plans and purposes to the fullest extent possible.  And when they are in unity, any anger, disillusionment, sorry, or angst is swallowed up in love, focus, and purpose.  God’s people are submitting themselves to Him and to each other.

Precious Provision

Oil of anointing was a very precious and costly concoction to make:

22 Then the Lord said to Moses, 23 “Take the following fine spices: 500 shekels[about 12 1/2 pounds or about 5.8 kilograms.  Source: NIV Bible] of liquid myrrh, half as much (that is, 250 shekels) of fragrant cinnamon, 250 shekels[about 6 1/4 pounds or about 2.9 kilograms.  Source: NIV Bible] of fragrant calamus, 24 500 shekels of cassia—all according to the sanctuary shekel***—and a hin [probably about 1 gallon or about 3.8 liters.  Source: NIV Bible] of olive oil. 25 Make these into a sacred anointing oil, a fragrant blend, the work of a perfumer. It will be the sacred anointing oil.”

This was a very costly liquid to prepare, and was to be prepared by a professional perfumer.  This was not something that everyone had or could even afford.  The priests would have this costly liquid for anointing or for whatever special purposes God instructed them to use it.  It was highly fragrant, and would have been recognized as a time of joy, for the event would have been very special for this precious liquid to have been used.  This oil was used to consecrate the priests as well as to consecrate things to make them holy.  Once consecrated, they were deemed dedicated to the Lord.

Gentle Grazing

The picture here is of the gentleness of the dew as it settles on the ground.  This is a beautiful picture of serenity.  The Holy Spirit descended and settled upon Jesus just after He had been baptized by John the Baptist.  Jesus refers to the Spirit as living water.  This may be the author’s view of the presence of the Holy Spirit of God among God’s people when they are together and unified in thought:

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Beatific Blessing

The blessing of God is foreseen by the Psalmist, and he may be recounting the joy of it.  He sees even that the blessing extends to everlasting life.  This is not to be discounted, since our chief need in life is to be awakened from spiritual death into spiritual life.  This only comes by God, and only through His Son, Jesus Christ:

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask ourselves a question: Are we unified in thought and purpose with the body of Christ for the will and purpose of God’s plan?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You give good gifts to Your children.  As I ponder Your Word, remember me and reveal new and wondrous things in it.  Help me to see these things from Your perspective, that I would have the right frame of thought for viewing them.  Help me to get into the same state of worship and understanding as this Psalmist that I too would rejoice in the unity of Your people.  Help me to better understand how important and significant that is to You.  Help me to greatly desire unity in the body of Christ, and to do all that I can, within the power and scope that I am permitted, to encourage it and to model it.  I pray, Lord God, that as I model unity as You desire it, that others would see and desire to do so as well.  May unity in the body spread throughout my community, and then throughout the region, and then throughout the country.  May my country then be known for the great unity of the body of Christ.  May it be a blessing to You and to us, and may You work great and mighty things in us and through us as we submit ourselves to You and each other.  This I humbly pray in the precious name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

***The sanctuary shekel was 20 gerahs to the shekel.  A gerah was about 1/50th of an ounce.  Source: http://biblehub.com/weights-and-measures/

Unity in Christ: Colossians 3:11

All Are ONE in Christ Jesus

Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Prior Promises

Paul implies that since Christ is all, and is in all, we are all one in Christ.  The Jews were given the Law of God, and God chose them as His people.  They were very proud of that.  However, God was preparing them to spread His Good News to all people.  But the Jews mostly kept it to themselves.

It is interesting to note that in this passage, Paul lists the Gentile before the Jew.  He didn’t do this to give any special prominence to the Gentiles (for God does not show favoritism), but rather to remind the Jews that God wishes all people to come to a saving knowledge of Christ and to be in relationship with Himself.  In that, God shows that He wants ALL to be one in Christ.

Male Markings

The Jews were especially proud to be identified with God through circumcision.  This defining physical characteristic set them apart from everyone else.  But salvation through Christ is a better covenant that what God had provided to the Jews.  Being under grace is far more powerful than the law.  The law shows us our sin; grace removes our sin.  Regardless of whether a person is marked with circumcision or not, God looks for those hearts are circumcised.  In that, all are one in Christ

Familial Foibles

An interesting note on the words used here.  There are two additional classes of people mentioned:

  • Barbarians (in the Greek, barbaros – of uncertain [cultural] origin) – We also tend to think of barbarians as uncivilized, and unable to integrate into other cultures because of their wildness.
  • Scythians (in the Greek, skuthEs – [most likely] of unknown origin, and by implication, savages) – This again is referring as much towards their behavior as their lack of identifiable [cultural] origin.

Paul does not use the conjunction “or” between them, but rather includes them both.  The word translated Gentile in the Greek is hellEn.  It refers to an inhabitant of Hellas, and by implication, a  Greek speaking person that was a non-Jew.  Paul is being inclusive of all people of all ethnicity.  We are, after all, descendants first from Adam and Eve, and secondly from Noah and his wife.

Positional Predicaments

Regardless of a person’s position in life, they are to be seen as equal, as one in Christ.  Slaves were often mistreated and were often looked down upon.  But God indicates that we are to see them as equals in Christ.  They are, after all, created in the Image of God.  To look down upon someone because of their station in life is to denigrate the Image-Bearer of God, and by implication, God Himself.

We need to remember that it is God to raises up and tears down.  God is able to exalt and to humble.  And regardless of where a person is born, how much money/influence/power that family has, that person’s gifts and the ability to wield them to success (or failure), God is sovereign over all of us, and is able to place us into ANY position that He sees fit.

Do we look down upon Moses because he herded sheep for forty years?  How about Job after the loss of all of his children, crops, animals, and every other worldly, material blessing that was taken from him?  If we don’t look down on them for that, why would we look down on someone because they are a slave, or were born in a land where people have animus toward other people who were not born/raised where they came from (i.e., Northerner/Southerner, Nazarene, Ninevite, etc.)?

A Qualifying Question

So let’s ask ourselves a question:  Do we look down upon others, or see them differently (with a negative aspect), if they aren’t like us in appearance, cultural values, land of birth, station in life, or any other reason whatsoever?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You show us that You are not a respecter of persons, but rather woo ALL of us to You through Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus said that if he was raised up, He would draw all people to Him.  You have seen fit to draw me to You.  Please examine my heart to see if I have any prejudice towards anyone for any reason.  Help me to experience Your character in regards to seeing others.  Let me not be like Jonah, wishing the destruction of the Ninevites, but rather rejoice as the angels do when anyone is saved.  Remove any anger or hatred towards others in my heart, and replace it with love and compassion towards all people.  Help me to be wise when dealing with people who are evil, but to love them as You love them.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Combat Training with God – Matthew 18:15-17

 Discipline Is a Corporate Issue – Not Just a Personal One

15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

Personal Part

In fact, we ARE our brother’s keeper! It has been drilled into our minds that we shouldn’t judge others, or we will be judged in the same fashion.  But Jesus clearly provides us with a path of reconciliation when there has been a wrongdoing between the redeemed.  The hardest part is the initial confrontation. But we are told to do it anyways.  Proverbs 9:8 states that a wise person will love you if you rebuke them.  A person who has tuned their heart to God will want to know if they are doing something unrighteous – they have purposed their heart to do right.  Pointing out a wrongdoing helps them to learn, grow, be wiser, and better honor God.

And while everyone is at a different point in their walk with God, and we aren’t the Holy Spirit, we should confront those who are sinning against us personally or sinning openly.  If you see someone engaging in open sin, it needs to be addressed.  They will become leaven, and a little leaven will leaven the whole lump of dough.  You don’t want your local church to be known as, “the people who do everything the world does.”

Sometimes when the person sins, they are deeply steeped in their sin.  Since sin blinds us to itself, there is the possibility that the person won’t acknowledge that they are doing something wrong.  When that happens, it is time to take it to the next level.

Additional Assistance

When a person refuses to acknowledge their sin against you (or open sin), it is now necessary to confront them with two or more witnesses.  Since you are a witness, you only need one or two more people with you.  The purpose of the additional witnesses is two-fold:

  • By two or more witnesses shall all charges be established
  • Additional people bring weight to what you are saying:
    • They may be upset with you and unable to hear what you are saying, but they might listen to someone else
    • In the event that a confrontation went bad when you were alone, the other person will be much more hesitant to do something with others around

If a second (and possibly third) person sees what you see and agrees that there is an issue, have them accompany you when you go to confront the person again. They will be able to help confirm what you are seeing, or, perhaps they will not see it; perhaps YOU are in error!  Either way, having a fresh set of eyes look at something will help confirm the issue or to eliminate personal bias and show why it is not an issue.

You should carefully choose whom you tell about this issue – anyone that you confide in should be spiritually mature.  If possible, choose Elders in the church that THEY attend for witnesses.  The Elders (hopefully!) have been selected, among other reasons, because they are full of the Spirit of God and spiritually mature.  It is important that when addressing sin within the body that it be done in such a way that it does not appear to be someone gossiping or being petty.  Elders can help with confidentiality as well as guide you in the best manner to approach them again, even and especially if you approached the person prayerfully and with great humility.

The sad part is, some people just won’t listen.  A root of bitterness may have become deeply embedded in their heart.  It could also be a pride issue.  Whatever the reason, the person hasn’t responded to you and the one or two witnesses who came with you to talk to him/her after praying (and I recommend fasting).  When this happens, it is time to take it to the next level.

Church Chastening

Tell it to the Church (the local body of believers where THEY are worshiping).  The purpose of telling the Church is so that they can approach the person with humility, tell them that they are praying for them, and exhort them to do what it right in God’s eyes.  The whole purpose of this exercise is to reconcile people.  The Church isn’t to condemn the person, but to lovingly bring them back from the precipice of sin.

And if after telling the Church the person refuses to repent, it is now time to take it to the next level.

Sorrowful Separation

The local body of believers are now to expel the immoral believer.  Even corporately, they were unable to convince this person to repent.  They should now ask them to leave the body, and refuse them worship and communion.  They shouldn’t even associate with them:

  • Don’t talk to them
  • Don’t eat with them
  • Don’t worship with them
  • And in the power of the Holy Spirit, turn them over to Satan

The purpose of this is to show them that they are in error.  When Satan has his way with them, and God doesn’t help them, they will be miserable and greatly desire fellowship with the Church and God again.

Paul had this to say about separating yourself from unrepentant sinners in the Church (this concerns the sin of sexual immorality, but applies to all unrepentant sin):

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

(Just a quick note – the verb translated “Expel” [exareite in the Greek] is an imperative command, not a suggestion!)

And after a period of painful separation, with the Holy Spirit working on their hearts, they will hopefully turn again to the God who saved them, provides for them, has forgiven them, and joins them to Himself.

Reconciliation is Required

Once they repent, let them come back into the Church.  Monitor them carefully, and when they have proven themselves repentant and following God, restore them.  Again, this entire process is about reconciliation, not shunning or judging.  We are told to judge those within the body.  But also remember – we need to give grace to those who are young in the faith.  For God doesn’t want us to injure those whose faith is young and fragile.

A Qualifying Question

So, let’s ask ourselves a question:  Are we corporately following scripture with regard to keeping the leaven out of the Church, and restoring the repentant believers?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, Thank You for giving us a way to address issues between brothers and sisters in Christ.  We pray that anytime we need to be reconciled, that we would have a right heart attitude, and that the other person would have a heart of humility and repentance as well.  Help me to make sure that I am in the right attitude when I approach any brother or sister in Christ with such an issue.  Give me the words to say, and guide my actions and thoughts as I approach them.  Father, instill in us a greater sense of Your Holiness, that we would desire that the body of Christ would worship You in Truth and Spirit.  Let us not, for the sake of “peace”, ignore sin in the body, and so make it a haven for leaven.  Search our hearts, O God, and see if there is any wrongdoing within us.  Help us to rid ourselves of sin and walk in righteousness before You.  And when politics in the church cause people to be unfairly treated, I pray Lord God Almighty that You would deal with the hearts of those causing the issue, and show them the truth.  And if they don’t respond after repeated attempts, Lord God, remove them from their position of authority or influence, for their hearts are no longer in the right place to righteously lead or counsel Your people.  This I ask and pray in Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Unity in Christ – Philippians 2:1-2

Be One in the Spirit and of One Mind

1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.

Edifying Encouragement

When we are united with Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells within us, and we are encouraged by Him as we seek to draw close to God.  He helps us by giving us strength that we do not have to do things that no one else under their own power would be able to do – to love our enemies and pray for those that persecute us; to forgive others; to shun evil; to love God; to restrain ourselves; and to glorify God.  As we do all of these things, the Holy Spirit provides the encouragement to learn and grow in God’s character.

Spiritual Sharing

As we partake of the Holy Spirit’s strength, power, desires, we begin to share in His peace and we spiritually prosper.  We see the work of the Spirit in others, and share in His love, grace, and mercy.  He helps to unify us with the Body of Christ in mind and in spirit so that just as parts of the body function together as a whole to enable a person to perform tasks such as walking, lifting, writing, carrying, and other common tasks, the body of Christ is able to accomplish the tasks that have been assigned to us to do.

Touching Tenderness

The Spirit of God gently and tenderly guides us in God’s ways.  He does so with great tenderness. Isaiah says this very well:

A bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;

God desires that we all grow to become mature and complete.  His tenderness in this process shows His willingness to have this happen, as we are fragile.  We aren’t called sheep because we have the strength and certainty of a lion or a bear.  We are easily scared and discouraged, and great tenderness is needed by God to fan the flames of our spirit to continually desire to follow Him, especially as we are trampled by the world and the devil.

Comforting Compassion

And when we are trampled, God greets us with His great compassion, placing His arms around us and giving us comfort in His peace.  Without His great compassion towards us, we would stay broken, unable to do anything of value, and wallow in self-pity as the world and the devil rejoice at their victories – just as they did when they subdued Samson.

Unique Unity

It is very seldom that people can get together and be truly unified in mind and in purpose.  When that happens, a unique opportunity presents itself:

1 Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth.

There is great power in unity.  When we put aside our personal differences, and all work towards the same goal with unity of mind and spirit, there is very little that can stop us.  God confused the language of the people during the time of Babel to stop them.  But God greatly desires that the Body of Christ be united in mind and spirit so that we can do great things:

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

Jesus was able to do great things because He was united in mind and spirit with God the Father through submission to God the Holy Spirit.  And we are told to submit to God as well as to one another.  When we do this, we begin to experience the unique unity of spirit that God greatly desires for us.

A Qualifying Question

So let’s ask ourselves a question: Am I experiencing unity with God and His people the way that God wants me to experience unity?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, I greatly desire to be united in mind and spirit with You and Your people.  Show me where I am not submitting to You and to them, that I may humble myself and repent of my independence from both You and them.  Help me to be Your servant, that I may serve others as well.  Give me the heart of a servant, and deepen my dependence upon You for all things.  Father, I pray that You would work in Your people, that all of us would desire unity with You and within the body of Christ.  Forgive us for our petty infighting and ridiculous stubbornness to hold onto ideas that divide rather than unify.  Help us to agree to disagree on all points that are not doctrinal or salvation dependent.  Help us to grow in each other and You that we may put Christ firmly and uniformly on display for all the world to see.  This I ask in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Combat Training with God – 2 Corinthians 10:5

 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

We have been given a great gift – the gift of free will.  To have that gift, God has given us a mind that is able to think with reason AND emotion.  Part of spiritual warfare is recognizing the attacks of the enemy.  Paul indicates to us here that we are to take every thought that we have captive to obey Christ.

The word “thought” in the Greek is noEma.  The Strong’s note for this word indicates that it is:

a perception, i.e. purpose, or (by implication) the intellect, disposition, itself.

We are to take every thought, and path where our thoughts will go, captive (in submission) to Christ.  This is a challenge, but one that the Holy Spirit of God can overcome.

We are to implement a filter based on the Word of God so that every thought we have can be evaluated to see if it is good or malicious.  In the world of computers, there is a device (or application) that does this; it is called a firewall.  Firewalls protect you from malicious programs written by people who want to take control of your computer, steal your money, your intellectual property, and in some cases, render your computer so messed up that it is inoperable. This sounds an awful lot like someone we know:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Once this happens, it takes a qualified computer professional to get rid of everything bad.  Sometimes, this requires reinstalling all of your programs and restoring your files from a good backup (if you have even backed up your critical data!).

The Word of God transforms our mind and protects it against the social engineering attempts of the devil, the world, and the flesh to try to usurp our thought processes.  Some people have said, “Sure, I read the Bible once.  That’s all I need.”  But we see in Ephesians 5:26 that we are continually being washed clean by the Word of God.  The word “washed” in the Greek is katharisas.  It is the word from which we get the English word catharsis.

The Word of God is like anti-virus software: it checks every file (thought) in our file system (brain, patterns of thought) for known malicious software and configurations (patterns of sin  – arguments and lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God) and removes them before they can do any more harm.  But just like viruses, worms, trojan horses, ransomware, and other types of malware, they often cause damage before the antivirus program can clean them off or stop them.  It is the same with sin in our lives.

It is said that some people, as they read the Word of God and apply it to their lives, have had their hearts and minds so infused with the Word of God that when they think, they think in scripture.  Wow!  To know the Word of God so well, and have it experientially in your heart so deeply that it is the first way your mind forms thoughts!

So, let’s ask the question:  How deeply has the Word of God penetrated my heart?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You amaze us with Your forethought for our every need.  Even Your Word has greater purpose than to just instruct and provide direction; it cleanses us, protects us, renews us, and restores our minds.  Grant me success this day, Father, as I read Your Word, that it would so penetrate my heart that it would never come out.  Help me to remember Your word in such a way that all darkness and unrighteousness is exposed for what it is – sin.  Help me to reprogram my mind, that it would be transformed into what You would want, rather than what the world, the devil, and the flesh want it to be.  Guard my every thought, and help me to bring it captive to Christ.  This I ask in the precious and powerful name of your Most Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Identity in Christ – John 15:5 (ESV)

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Just as a branch needs the sap of nourishment from the tree, so do we need the same from Jesus Christ.  The branch is attached, and attached tightly; it’s not on the ground, or off doing its own thing.  It is bonded (even if grafted in) to the plant itself.  We should be so firmly bonded to Christ and in Christ, that there is no break between Christ and ourselves.

And Jesus shows us the benefit of this: when we are In Christ, we will bear much fruit.  When we go off and do things ourselves, there may be a result, but it is not bearing spiritual fruit in accordance with the Will of God, for the Purposes of God, in the Timing of God, and to the Glory of God.  Jesus also says,

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ 

This is a sobering thought.  When we are not in/attached to the vine, receiving nourishment and direction, we may be doing things, but not bearing the correct fruit.  It is as if we were a foreign, invasive species of plant trying to imitate the original plant.  Others may think that we are part of that plant, because we have mimicked the original; however, we have no part in the original plant.  Jesus gives us this direction as well:

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. 

When we have our identity in Christ – when we solely and ONLY identify with Him – we will bear much fruit, receive nourishment from the vine, and find the small gate with the narrow path.  Once we do that, we, like Christ, will be able to say,

“Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

Our citizenship will be solely in the Kingdom of Heaven, rather than in earthly things, like race, ethnicity, nationality, religious denomination, Northerner or Southerner, political affiliation, sports team, male or female, Jew or Gentile, slave or free, or any other thing on earth.  For when we identify with Christ, all are ONE in Christ.

So, let’s ask the question:  With whom or what do I identify most?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, we thank You for the wonderful opportunity to be reconciled to You through the blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ.  You love us so much that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us on the cross.  Lord God, we have been set free from sin; but we were made to worship and serve.  I greatly desire to serve You and You alone.  Remove from me any and all identity with earthly things that would hinder my walk with you.  You have shown me the small gate and the narrow path.  Guide my feet, my heart, and my mouth, that as they see to glorify your name in and offer themselves as a living sacrifice to You, that my feet would not slip, and that they would not wander off the path.  Bring revival to Your body, that it would turn away from the draw of temporal blessings and set our hearts on Heaven, so that our treasure may be found there.  This I ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

 

Combat Training with God – Mark 9:29

He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer [and fasting (the text in these brackets does not appear in all of the manuscripts)].

Some of the greatest feats in the Bible were done by people who prayed AND fasted.  Fasting is a nearly lost discipline in the American church.  We have been so blessed by God, we truly miss our three square meals (and sometimes snacks in between) each day.  People in Biblical times knew the value of fasting, and its importance.

In Mark 9:14-29, we see a desperate father looking to the disciples for help with his demonically possessed son.  They had tried unsuccessfully to remove the spirit that had seized the boy and tried to kill him.  Luke tells us, however, that Jesus had already given the disciples power and authority to drive out demons and heal the sick (Luke 9:1-2).  So what made this so difficult?  Jesus provides us with the clue in His response to the disciples’ question about why they couldn’t drive it out – this kind can come out only by prayer and fasting.

It wasn’t the act of prayer, or even fasting, that made it possible.  It was the relationship with the Father that gave Jesus the ability to drive it out.  Prayer is our first go-to for intimacy with God (although some find it through praise worship).  However, we have a sin nature, and our flesh can cause us problems.  The flesh is constantly crying out, “feed me”, “pamper me”, “I don’t want to”, and all other kinds of rebellion towards God.  Paul said he beat his body into submission.

One of the easiest, or hardest – depending on your viewpoint, ways to bring your body back into submission is fasting.  The flesh greatly dislikes being denied its pleasures – food, sexual gratification, comfort, etc.  When we fast, the flesh initially protests.  But after a while, it calms down, and we experience a type of peace that we don’t normally have when we eat.  As our bodies are brought into submission, we are able to draw ever so much closer to God in prayer.

Jesus knew this spiritual discipline, and practiced it often.  When the Holy Spirit let Him out into the desert to be tempted (tested) by the devil, He was fasting.  He was fasting the day that he drove out the spirit from the boy that was brought to Him.  Jesus is our role model.  We should walk as He walked.  And He fasted.  Even the Pharisees fasted, but to outwardly show their piousness, rather than draw close to God.  Daniel, when seeking an answer, fasted by only eating simple food to mourn and draw close to God.

Are you lacking power in your spiritual life?  Do you require answers in order to move on?  Do you seek a more intimate relationship with God?  Be obedient to God’s word, and fast.  Tell God in prayer that it is the desire of your heart to draw close to Him, and when you fast, He will meet with you in a mighty way.

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, it is my desire to draw very close to You.  Help me to overcome my flesh, and be obedient to Your word.  Help me to set aside time to fast, that I may experience Your presence and power in a more intimate, satisfying, and joyful way.  Help me to bring my flesh into submission through fasting.  Grant Your servant success that it might bring glory to Your name.  This I humbly pray in the character of Your Most Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Unity with God – Ephesians 5:21

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Ouch.  There’s that word – submission.  Yielding your preferences, desires, goals, way of doing things – to someone else.  Admit it – it’s HARD to submit.  We greatly desire to have our own way.  Very few things chafe us more than having to do something someone else’s way, especially if we are certain our way is better.

But we see something else at work in the Bible.  When Jesus put on flesh (became fully human and fully God), He submitted Himself to the Holy Spirit, became nothing, and took on the nature of a servant.  Jesus also said that in order to become the greatest among us, we should become a slave in serving others.  We are also to submit ourselves to the ruling authorities.

Mutual submission helps us to grow in character to become more like God.  There is a sense of submission to each other of each of the three persons in the Trinity.  Additionally, as we interact and submit, we are constantly being refined – “Iron sharpens iron.”  Mutual submission to one another in the body builds a unity within the body that cannot exist elsewhere, for it is not possible with us, but through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  As we submit to one another, we are becoming one in purpose.  People will know we are Christians when we love one another.  And love does not seek its own interests, but the interests of others first (the JOY principle – Jesus, Others, You, in that order…).  Since God IS love, do we not demonstrate this when we love one another?   Paul says that we should devote ourselves to one another.

Imagine how winsome the Church, the Body of Christ, would look if ALL Christians submitted ourselves to one another?  No more division would exist between us!  The world would see a unified front of love extended inward AND outward.  People might actually WANT to become a Christian by our example, rather than be turned off by division and rancor within our own ranks.  Families would grow in love and grace as they submit to one another in Christ as well!

So, let’s ask the question.  Are we submitting ourselves to one another?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have shown us in Your word that submission is a good thing, unlike what the world and culture make it out to be.  Submitting to one another In Christ draws us closer to You, and reveals Your nature to the world.  Help us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds through Your word.  Change us into what we should become, that glory would be brought to Your name.  Help us to shed those things that hinder us as we try to better reflect your glory and light in a dark and unbelieving world.  Grant us mercy and grace as we struggle with these things, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Identity in Christ – Ephesians 1:13-14

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

It has been claimed by culture that Identity is the strongest persuasion technique available (Scott Adams, the writer of “Dilbert” cartoon, talks about this more than once in his blog).  Commercials found in all media types – TV, radio, print, and Internet – often use spokespersons or models to provide someone for us to identify with.  We have beautiful women modeling clothing, making the implied message “if you wear this clothing, you will be perceived as beautiful as this model.” And women often buy them.  Why?  Sports legends wear athletic clothing, and as an endorsement of their wearing it, people often buy the items.  Why?

When we wear the items, we identify with with the spokesperson or model.  We may already identify with them as our “hero”, and want to further identify with them by wearing the clothes they wear, or eat what they eat, or drive what they drive, etc.  Sometimes when wearing the clothing, we feel we look more attractive, like the models who wear them.

And while this observation appears to be true, Satan corrupts what God intended for good.  We were meant to identify with God’s most beloved Son, Jesus Christ.  It is IN HIM that we are reconciled to God; have been given every spiritual blessinghave been adopted; that we would be the praise of His Glory; have been raised up and seated with Christ in the heavenly realms;  and so much more…

So, let’s ask ourselves a question – who do we identify with most?

A short prayer of preparation:

Glorious Father in Heaven, we thank You for Your love and preparing a place for us with You in Heaven.  We thank You for who You are, and for sending Your Son, that through Him, we are reconciled to You.  You have given us this wonderful opportunity to identify with Jesus.  Work on our hearts that Jesus would be who we would most identify with, for this is what You intended from before time began.  Guard our hearts against the false calls of culture and the pleasures of this world, that we might have greater joy in the pleasure of Your company and communion.  This we ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Unity with God – Galatians 3:28

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

What does it mean to be “one in Christ”?  In this passage, it would appear that we are to stop thinking of division by race, ancestry, position, and even gender. But this barely scratches the very tip of what this means.  Our entire identity is to be found “in Christ.”  This is not the only place in scripture that we see this type of language used.

Here are some scriptures to review before we go on:

John 10:38

John 14:10-11

John 14:20

John 17:21

Romans 6:11

Romans 6:23

Ephesians 1:3

There are others but this should suffice.  The recurring theme is being “in the Father” and “in Christ.”

Do you not realize that the Most Holy God, who created us, loves us, sent His Son to redeem us so that we can have a relationship with Him, did this not so He could have some long-distance relationship with us, but rather invites us to be WITH HIM NOW?  Eternity in the Father and in the Son and in The Spirit began the moment you said “YES!!!!!!” to Christ.  We are not only reconciled; we are not only sons and daughters of God; we are asked to come into an even deeper relationship with Almighty God: we have been invited into The Trinity.  We are not God; we are to have the same relationship (koinonia in the Greek) with God that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit experience in the Trinity.

Oswald Chambers in “My Utmost for His Highest” says that in resurrection life, we will no longer need to ask questions, because we won’t have any.  As we grow in our relationship with God, the eventuality is that our dependence upon and identity with the Living God is so rooted and solidified that we will no longer have any questions.

We, in effect, are one with God, and God will provide every answer, every direction, all knowledge – EVERYTHING – for we are ONE IN HIM.  Let go of those things that pain you, trouble you, and cause you to question.  Fully embrace your resurrection life, and be wholly and completely dependent on the Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent God as Jesus, who was fully God and fully man, did while He walked the Earth 2,000 years ago.

A short prayer of preparation:

Our Heavenly Father, You have done something that no one could have dreamed of and have invited us into Your Most Holy relationship.  We can barely even understand what You are doing, for Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and Your ways are higher than our ways.  Teach us through Your Word and Your Spirit these wonderful things.  Grant us understanding that as we comprehend, we will draw closer.  May our lives reflect this most holy calling, and may we walk so closely with You that our faces would glow like Moses after we leave Your presence.  You are beautiful, Oh Lord, and we love you dearly.  This we ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?