Tuesday, June 1, 2010

NOT US, BUT CHRIST

NOT US--BUT CHRIST
A. Brother
©2010 Narrowgate Publishing



            “These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.”  --Jude 19

          “Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.”  --Jude 21

          Today we are surrounded by a babble of voices.  Among those who claim the Name of Christ thousands upon thousands are speaking, writing, preaching, teaching, holding seminars, creating websites and blogs, communicating through radio, television, email, texting programs, and have personal and ministry connections on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. 
            This babble includes many who are genuinely interested in reformation and revival, and who are trying to follow the Lord Jesus and make a difference in the world, and in the Kingdom of God.
            But we must be aware, and be wary.
            The truth is simple, and the good news as given us by the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus is His, not ours.
            The simple truth is Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life.
            The simple truth is God’s love, and the power of His Spirit in us to live as Jesus did, doing the Father’s will.
            The simple good news is that Jesus died to save sinners, and that no matter who we are, or what we’ve done, we can be saved from this world of empty sin and dead religion, and become full of the fruit of the Spirit, showing God’s power.
            So many of us are striving and working to fulfill what we believe to be God’s work for us in this world.  So many of us are convinced that our ministry is essential, and that our ideas and strategies for reaching the lost are foundational, and that revival is needed among God’s people.
            Brothers, the Way of the Cross teaches us that it is God’s love that is essential.  Christ is the Way, and He lived within a confined region, moved about on foot, and touched the lives of those near Him.  He loved without limits, giving Himself to the sick and the needy.  Jesus’ love and care is what brought men to Him.  It was His true and simple proclamation of good news that drew people.  It was His courage to stand up against the man-made traditions of religion that gave hope to the burdened.  It was His devotion to His Father that brought men into right relation with God.  He is our example and now our One Shepherd, who makes it possible for men to become like Him, even in His death.  By laying down His life for others, Jesus gave us our marching orders.
            Our danger is the same today as it was in Jude’s day.
            Today many of us who want to reform the churches, or serve God, or minister to others want to do it within the framework of our own ideas and planning.  We think that we have to create something new and sharp and use the tools given us by the world in order to accomplish God’s work.  And many of us are out there doing it.  Working and working and worrying and praying, with great confusion and a babble of voices, and thus a great watering down of the Truth of Christ.
            We read and talk about great men of God who impacted their generations with the life of Christ.
            Yet the very men we hold up as examples didn’t do any of the things we’re doing.   They lived and died mostly in obscurity, as the true saints who serve God in the world today do.  They walked or rode on horseback, or stayed in one place, and loved those around them into the Kingdom of God.  They didn’t have websites, and they didn’t keep in touch by mobile phone with hundreds of people.  Though these things aren't wrong, we must make certain it is God's desire we pursue them, and not our own agenda being pursued.
            These men, like their Lord Jesus, concentrated on living lives completely dependent on God, and completely powered, not by their own ideas and plans for some new ministry, but by the Holy Spirit’s love and concern for those around them.  These men loved God and laid down their lives for others, as do true disciples today.
            Beware of many schemes, brothers.  Beware of your own ideas.  Don’t follow mere natural instincts in your desire to “do something” or to “be somebody” in the Kingdom of God.  For many are led astray into fleshly works by even their best intentions.  And many divide us by their desires for the new, the latest and greatest ministry ideas.
            Just keep yourselves in the love of God and reach out in love to others around you, and you will do the work of God.  For He will empower you to produce fruit that will last. 
            Stay in the Vine, and be that branch that produces much fruit.  That is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.  (Read John chapters 13-17 again).
            Leave the ideas and planning up to Him.
            

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