“Don’t I talk enough” was the first thought that ran through my head when asked to start a blog. Struggling with the thought of being heard too much or “wearing out one’s welcome” are heavy on my mind as I type but the push of proper Christian life must be one of communication, clarification, and interaction. So here I am, typing.
“God grant wisdom and proper use of my words in order to further Your kingdom and not my own. Remind me of my consistent need of You, Your strength, and the Holy Spirit’s divine wisdom. Place me close to Your heart and then use me to convey the message that You would say if You were here speaking. Make the name of Christ large in my heart and in my communications—both written and spoken. The desperate need of my soul is You and that’s the same for those that take the time to read what is written here. May that concept never change in my heart or mind--You are the potter and I am the clay. When I’m done serving you properly, make me done. Until then, use me for the glory of the great King and the expansion of His fame. Jesus Christ and His merits is the name with which I offer this prayer—Amen.” “Whom have I in Heaven but You? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:25-26
The recent part of this sermon series (based solely on form and function of The Church) has been heavy on information and heavier on philosophical ideas that are the foundation for all our decisions. Philosophy is “the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct.” Defined in the realms of truth, being, knowledge, and conduct line this discipline of thought up closely with Biblical teaching that requires us to think deeply about the world around us and the God that put it there. Philosophy answers questions like; “Why I am here?” “What’s my purpose?” And “How should I live?” The starting point of my thinking has a direct effect on my living—actions follow decisions and decisions follow principles. It is my thought that one must be grounded securely in their principle forming arguments in order to be ready to handle the hundreds of decisions they are going to make in the day ahead. The formation of these thoughts into a logical and livable system is called one’s “worldview.” The statement that “an unexamined life is not worth living” has long been attributed to Socrates—with all due respect to such a fantastic thinker, I would probably give credit to the Holy Spirit (through the lips of Joshua) for this thought provoking idea:
 “Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.  And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and myhouse, we will serve the LORD.”
Joshua’s commission is to take a look at life, “examine” if you will, all the knowledge you have before you and make a decision about who is worthy to be served. The choice in the above passage has always fascinated me; you can serve the gods that Jehovah destroyed in Egypt, the gods that Jehovah conquered bringing you into the Promised Land, or Jehovah Himself. Seems like a “no-brainer” but we must constantly fight this same battle—who will we serve? The choices; the gods of my past (money, fear, sex, peer-pressure, etc.), I could worship myself today (that evil and fragile tyrant that has a way of ruining my life and the lives of those around me), I could choose to worship some false god that looks suspiciously like a “mini-me”, or I can serve Jehovah of Heaven. The option to serve the God that has conquered all other gods and deemed them impotent and woefully inadequate seems to be the easy choice. But that choice requires constant examination of my spirit to make sure the choices made in the physical realm match what my Christian soul deems proper. When my choices and my Christian principles don’t match the church father James would warn me that the “double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.”
These ideas have driven this sermon series down a road of deep thought and reflection. We started with the idea of “why” we are here—the individual why and the church’s corporate why were covered. The reasons given in the creation account were three-fold; community, work, and to glorify God—we then used that as the template for the church as well (Matthew 28:18-20). Each individual memberand the corporate church are born and grown for the same reasons; community with God and others, to work in the creation God has made, and ultimately to glorify God forever more. These are lofty goals within the context of sinful mankind. The fallen nature within every man, woman, and child makes living in a manner worthy of our “why” reasons impossible.
How can fallen man glorify God? That is the second question we tried to answer. We explored the stories of God’s creation of Eve (Gen. 2) and God’s cutting of a covenant with Abram (Gen. 15) inorder to see if there was a way in which, through God’s past actions, we could see how He has made available the opportunity for us to fulfill our calling in life. Those ancient accounts showed the method by which God has made a way—He, through His love and care creates a bride for Adam and He also creates a “bride” for Christ. He then covenants with mankind through Abram to bless us, keep us, and show us mercy and favor. The connection we made with the Christ’s covenant is that of “cutting” a bride from the side of Christ on the cross, like that of Adam in the garden. As it is in Old Testament fashion,God covenants with Himself in order to bring about a people He can redeem, love, and dwell with. When the side of Jesus is pierced the precious blood of Christ and the purifying water of the Holy Spirit are poured out together in covenant for an eternal bride—the Church. The way to live as God originally intended has now been made—though we are not perfect in our daily actions, God’s plans and sealing of salvation are as sure as if our perfection was completed right now.
According to Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church we have been “blessed” with every spiritual blessing (1 vs. 3), we “have redemption” (1 vs. 7), we “have obtained an inheritance” (1 vs. 11), we were “sealed with the promised Holy Spirit” (1 vs 13), and He [God] has “raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (2 vs. 6). The past tense nature of all those promises are not to be taken lightly—these things are finished for the believer and meant to be enjoyed, passed along, and rested upon in the here and now.
We are loved and we are able to live according to the will of our awesome God. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ in conjunction with the coming and sealing of the Holy Spirit have made it possible for us to live according to our calling. Why we are here is found only in a proper understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The good news that Jesus has come, died in our place, experienced the wrath God instead of us, resurrected from the grave as King and victor, and then sent the Holy Spirit to take up residence in us is more powerful than we could even dream. It is life changing, world changing, and eternity changing.
Here are some questions for further thought.
1. How does knowing why God has created me change the way I live my life daily?
2. Can my daily life be used for the glory of Jesus and the growth of His kingdom? (Think laundry, dishes, parties, sporting events, and time with family…)
3. Do outsiders see the Gospel in me and you? And if so how big does that Gospel look to them?