Thursday, June 3, 2010

WHO WE REALLY ARE

WHO WE REALLY ARE
A. Brother
©2009 Narrowgate Publishing


          “Who are you that you fear mortal men…that you forget the Lord your Maker…that you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor?  The cowering prisoners will soon be set free; they will not die in their dungeon, nor will they lack bread.
          “For I am the Lord your God…I have put My Words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of My hand…I…say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’”
                                                                                                     --Isaiah 51:12-16

          God is having trouble recognizing His people.  They are cowering in dungeons and holes in the ground.  They are oppressed by the world.  They are fearful, living as if God doesn’t care, and as if the enemy is in charge.

            We must understand who we are.
            Those who seek the Lord, who truly love Him and watch for His deliverance each day--who are the ransomed by Christ and are working every day to live in obedience to Him--we must understand who we are.
            As Jesus’ disciples we follow Him.  Through difficulty and trial.  Through hardship and loss.  Through suffering.  Through rejection.  We follow Christ and retrace His footsteps.
          Like Jesus, who endured opposition from sinful men, ignoring the shame and enduring His cross, so we persevere.

            Brethren, we are called to be the toughest of the tough.  To be resilient.  To be endurers—those who more than conquer through our Lord Jesus.
            We persevere through impossible situations and accomplish impossible tasks with the help of our God, to whom all things are possible.
            We are not to be cowering and servile, whining and pining away in corners and caves, waiting for some far off day when we will somehow be rescued.  We are not to live in fear and shame.

          “Do not fear the reproach of men or be terrified by their insults…”
                                                                                                        --Isaiah 51:7

          We are commanded to stand tall and strong as Jesus did.  Though in private before His crucifixion He agonized in prayer to His Father for the strength He needed, yet He then endured without whining, arguing, or justifying Himself before His enemies.  He was silent, and trusted Himself to His Father’s will at the crucial time.

            We are God’s chosen people, and in order to live like Jesus we must understand who we are.
            How do you suppose the Good News of the Kingdom was spread in one short century throughout the known world after Jesus’ resurrection?  Was it spread by a small group of fearful, weak people who hid out in comfortable dark corners?

            Because they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13) these men and women had incredible courage and strength.  They boldly and fearlessly proclaimed salvation in dozens of regions and nations.  They stood up at home, and in their own towns and villages and declared the truth to those they had known their whole lives.  These small town people, these simple and unsophisticated men and women, traveled to places and peoples they had never even heard of, taking the opposition, trials, hardships and difficulties as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. (2 Tim. 2:3)

            They brought together those who believed in Christ into local groups, and taught them to love each other, to fellowship, to train one another, to support and encourage and be faithful to the Lord together as the Body of Christ.  They taught many to fight the good fight.

            “You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings…Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.”  --Paul, in 2 Tim. 3:10,11

          Eleven out of the original twelve apostles died beautifully faithful martyr’s deaths at the hands of godless men.  And their blood was the seed of the Church.  As thousands did in later years, they exchanged this short earthly life for eternity, as we must for Christ.

            Who are we, brothers and sisters?

            We are the bold!

          “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a Spirit of power, love, and self-discipline.”  --2 Tim. 1:7

          We are the strong!

            “It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect…He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.”  --2 Samuel 22:33-35

          We are the powerful!

            “…who through faith…shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames…escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength…
who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.”  --Heb. 11:33,34

          We are the courageous!

          “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” 
                                                                                                            --Joshua 1:9

          Brothers and sisters who truly seek Christ, it is time.

            Time for the redeemed of the Lord to say so, and come out of hiding.  To gather together and seek Christ Jesus, and His face continually.  To forsake the world and hold only to the Lord our God.

            “Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way;  say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear; your God will come’…”  --Isaiah 35:3,4

          Who are we?

            We are the remnant.  We are the remainder who will not bow the knee to Baal.  We are those who love and seek the Lord alone, and do not love the world, or worship its false gods.  We take root by the Holy Spirit and bear the Spirit’s fruit in our lives.  We live the life of Jesus on earth.  We are His Body, His Temple, His Flock.  We are those who live by faith and not by sight.  Faith in the Son of God, who died and rose and lives eternally for us.
            We are those who do not by our own efforts or our own righteousness try to rescue or redeem ourselves.  We wait upon the Lord to do that.  We wait on Him to renew our strength.  We are the descendants by faith of Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Joseph, David, the prophets, the apostles, and all our brothers and sisters through the centuries who’ve followed in Jesus footsteps.

            Who are we?

            We are fellow citizens with God’s people and members of the household of God.  (Eph. 2:19)
            We are not American or British or Mexican or French or Japanese or Gambian or Pakistani or Brazilian.  We are not slave or free.  We are not male or female.  We are not rich or poor.  We are not black or brown or white.  We are not educated or uneducated.  We are not farmers or politicians or doctors or laborers. 
            We are all one in Christ Jesus, a great fellowship of those who love Him first, and give living proof of His existence over the entire face of the earth.  (Gal. 3:29)

          We are the justified!
            We are the free!
            We are the loved!
            We are the conquerors!

            “…in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  --Rom. 8:37-39

          Brethren, let us stop hiding, cowering, whimpering.  Today we must pray and seek the face of the Lord and not stop until He fills us with His Holy Spirit and gives us the powerful gifts He has promised.

            “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  --Acts 1:8

          Like the small remnant of people who were left after Jesus ascended to His Father, we must pray and wait upon God until He answers us.  We cannot become powerful and courageous ourselves, because as Jesus said, we can’t do anything apart from Him.  We must let the Lord change us and work in us and empower us with His own Spirit within us.

            Brothers and sisters, let us band together and be who God made us to be!

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