A message for those who want the deeper, better things of God. One of my favorite verses in the Scriptures is ROM 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” But it is the verses (vs. 29-30) just after v. 28, that I want to focus on “…to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” So we can reassure ourselves that the trials & difficulties we have are being used by God for good things…but what kind of things are good to Him?…ahh, He is chipping away at our old man, like a sculpture; the pain of life chipping at us is part of the process of becoming the “image of His Son”…on the way to glorification.
CONFORMED OR TRANSFORMED? As you know the World is constantly trying to conform us–mold us into its PC approved addictions, and warped, manipulated thinking. But God wants to transform us into the image of His Son. He wants to transform us according to His purpose. Remember being potty trained? Many Christians are not getting past that stage. Our parents were not cruel to want us to change. The World tries to portray God has a tyrant because He wants to potty train us. They only reveal their own spiritual childishness when they attack what God wants to do. But what is that nature that God wants?? What does that image of Christ look like?
SERVANT FROM LOVE. At the Last supper, Christ, recognizing the power He had received from the Father, took off his outer garments that would show who he was, and knelt down and washed his disciples feet as if he were their servant. (The symbolism runs deep here–the Holy Spirit in the Word is called water, and the water is what cleansed as Christ washed…water did the changing, along with the humility that Christ showed by making himself available to humbly love as a bondservant.) And Christ said, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” (A) But many of us hold onto the illusion we are self made. No one is going to help me. So Peter told Christ you’re not washing me. And Yahshua told him, that if he didn’t wash Peter’s feet, then Peter would have no part of him. In other words, what Christ was doing was of supreme importance. He was being a servant because of love–a bond servant. In ancient times, a liberated slave could continue serving his master if he loved him; he became a bond servant. This is the example Christ set. This is the image he wanted his disciples to conform to. The World teaches us that the great make it by stomping on others. Caesar wrote his name VI, VI, VI (numerically 666) which stood for veni, vidi, vici (I came, I saw, I conquered). The conquerors who smash others are the World’s heroes. The bondservants who love others are God’s heroes.
WITHOUT FAITH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE GOD. A great deal is said about “faith”, and you hear the word used a lot in sermons. There is more talk floating around than true faith. True faith to the world looks irrational, crazy, and risky. God allows the World to give us giant problems, like Goliath. It is irrational for a small boy with a sling to go against a descendant of the giant, cruel Nephalim who is well protected by armor and carries a massive sword. Faith is knowing that God wants us to boldly, courageously let Him show us what He will do for us. This summer, I had to make a long distance, month long trip on faith. And like David & Goliath, God brought us through many difficulties (adventures). He did the impossible for us. But what is of faith, and what is simply reckless?? Those who lack faith & operate only by worldly standards (which leave out God) and Worldly assurances, will misunderstand faith as irresponsible craziness. So the opinions of others is not the benchmark to decide what is of faith. When you know that what you want to do will help the kingdom of God, is what Yahshua might do, and you have a peace and a confirmation from the Spirit that you should do it…then move forward in faith. The Apostle Paul had to do a similar thing as me, make a trip on faith. (B) He felt called to go to Jerusalem…he sensed the trip would have problems…but he wanted to finish what God had started. When we make a trip (or other project) on faith, it does not mean there will not be problems. So keep your faith & wits with you when problems hit. What is the benefit of acting on faith?? That is where the best stuff of God is received. And I pray that when He blesses you, that you recognize and appreciate His blessings. “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” (C)
THE FAITH OF YAHSHUA TO GO TO THE CROSS. It has been difficult for me to get others to comprehend how much faith it took Yahshua to go to the cross. If you have trouble believing me, then think backwards, obviously what he did was not sinful…and what is not of faith is sin. Part of the problem is that people do not see his humanity, and simply think, “Oh he knew how it would all turn out o.k. in the end.” By faith he knew. I knew that God would somehow bring me through my trip…exactly how I did not know…but the manna would come, and the waters would be parted, and the guidance would appear. Yes, Christ had that assurance by hope & faith. But think for a moment what he left undone. His disciples were not spiritually ready for him to leave. He had not written any books, started any Bible college, or left any doctrinal treatises. Most of the work of starting the movement (the New Covenant way) was left undone. Who would do it??? Would his scared, immature disciples do the great work without him there?? In the event, God used Pentecost and the Apostle Paul to create a church. Paul is greatly misunderstood. He took what Christ wanted to give the world, and by faith took it to the world. Yahshua had to go to the cross on faith & hope. He knew it would further the kingdom, and God would finish the work He had begun. If God has begun a work in you, then you can by faith know He will finish it. May the Spirit of God continue to do a great work in your life, and may you exercise your legs of faith my friend.
REFERENCES (A) JN 13:14 (B) ACTS 20-21 (C) PHIL 4:13