Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Casting a Vision? It Must Be Christ!

 Romans 8:29
For those he foreknew, He also predestined
to become conformed to the image of His Son...

Colossians 1:28
We proclaim Him, admonishing every man
and teaching every man with all wisdom,
so that we may present every man
complete in Christ.

Philippians 1:6
For I am confident of this very thing,
that He who began a good work in you
will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Our destiny, if you will, is that we have been foreordained and appointed to be like Christ.  This is God's plan for all of those that He has called and drawn unto Himself.  It is the ultimate outcome of our salvation.  I John 3:2 tells us that when He appears and we see Him, we shall be just like Him.  How this happens is explained in I Corinthians 15:20-57.  God is going to make us like His Son, and that process started the minute, no the second, we were saved.  What a marvelous gift from God.

But there is a process to go through, even though we are changed in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet, we still have to go through that sanctifying process here in this world, in this life.  This is where the role of the preacher/pastor-teacher comes in.  This is what Paul was referring to in Colossians 1:28 above.  He understood his role in preparing people for eternity, preparing people to be presented complete in Christ.  This is also a function of the church in concert with the apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers, as they equip the church to do the work of service that builds up the body of Christ to a mature man, to the fullness of the stature of Christ.

God's vision for us from eternity past is for us is to be like His Son, the first born of many brethren.  So as pastors/preachers should that not be our vision as well; and are we casting a compelling vision of Christ before our people so that they will aspire to be like Him?  Do we present an all encompassing picture of Christ to our people as our ultimate example of what God expects us to be?  Do we model Christ in our own lives?  Is He our example to the extent that we are an example of Him to our people?  Do they understand that this is where God is taking them through the sanctification process, and the ultimate answer to their question, "Why?"

This vision of Christ that we present to our people is to be all encompassing, affecting every area of our lives, so that, in becoming complete in Christ, what is true about Him becomes true about us.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Victory of Redemption

Redemption from sin cannot be adequately conceived or formulated except as it comprehends the victory which Christ secured once for all over him who is the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience.  We must view sin and evil in its larger proportions as a kingdom that embraces the subtlety, craft, ingenuity, power, and unremitting activity of Satan and his legions--"the principalities, and the powers, the world-rulers of this darkness, the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenlies" (Eph 6:12).  And it is impossible to speak in terms of redemption from the power of sin except as there comes within the range of this redemptive accomplishment the destruction of the power of darkness.  It is thus that we may entertain a more intelligent understanding of what Christ encountered when He said, "This is your hour and the power of darkness" (Luke 22:53), and of what the Lord of glory wrought when He cast out the prince of this world (John 12:31).

John Murray
Redemption Accomplished and Applied
Page 50

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Love and Unity

Biblical love is far deeper than a love dependent merely on feelings and emotions.  Rather, it is a love that stems from the very soul and character of the individual.  It comes from the person's decision to love, not from his feelings.  In fact, many times the decision to love will run contrary to the feelings one possesses.  Biblical love  is the love of God that has been poured out into the heart, and then given from that heart to others.

This kind of love is the basis of unity as true unity does not come from a denial of differences, but from a forebearing with one another in spite of the differences.  It is the love that gives, that covers, that bears, that endures, that believes.  This is the love that overwhelmingly conquers.  This love then enables us to be united one with another, not due to a common cause, but because of a common love.

Ephesians 4:1-3
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk
in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,
with all humility and gentleness, showing forebearance to one another
in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Prayer for Today

Lord, You know we love you, and You know the extent of our love for You.  You know how strong our faith is, and You know where the holes in our faith are, the areas of our faith that are incomplete.

We know we can trust You in filling up the holes in our faith, to make us complete and competent to stand before You on that day.  We know we can trust You to enlarge our heart and cause us to excel still more in love, Your love which You have poured out in our heart.

To You who can do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, to You be the glory, honor, and power this day.