What Remains Matters – A Simple Mission of Love – Purity 746
Purity 746 06/01/2022 Purity 746 Podcast
Today’s photo of the geological wonder known as The Sugar Loaf at sunset comes to us from Dave Baun Photography (https://www.facebook.com/DaveBaunPhotography/) as Dave visited the Hallett Cove Conservation Park in Adelaide South Australia on May 27th. The Sugarloaf, named for its resemblance to a mass of hard refined sugar is said to have been shaped due to wind and erosion. The red layer is made of boulders and sediment deposited on the bottom of an ancient glacial meltwater lake. When the lake was drained, white sand blew over it and settled https://www.walkingsa.org.au/walk/find-a-place-to-walk/glacial-hike-hallett-cove-conservation-park/)
Well, it’s Wednesday again and I couldn’t think of a better photo to represent “hump day” and the process of gradual change than this picture of the Sugar Loaf. Even though some sources say it took Sugar Loaf 280 million years to form from the gradual shaping of wind and water, the beauty of Sugar Loaf lies not in what was lost but in what endured the test of time and remained. As I often say regarding our journey of life, it is not where you start that matters but where you finish that will define who you are and what you stand for.
And like the Sugar Loaf, it won’t matter what was lost over the years and through the winds of change, but what will matter is what remains.
Yesterday, one of my jobs sent me to a senior couple who had been married for 70 years! The husband, a WWII veteran who had enlisted in the Marine Corp at 17 years old, still had a strong hand shake at 97, and his wife of 90 years was still proud of and in love with her hero. Why these two were still in such good health at such an advanced age is anyone’s guess, but I would hypothesize that it could have something to do with their faith, as I happen to notice several pieces of tangible evidence of their devotion to Jesus Christ in their home.
16:31 (NLT2) says
31 Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life.
And this couple’s kindness and love for one another would reflect Christ’s statement about his disciples:
35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
This simple example of love and a prolonged commitment to God and one another inspires me for the years ahead for my beloved wife and I.
In my journey of faith over the last twelve years , I have continuously sought the Lord and His will for my life and have always imagined that my journey would lead me to some epic mission or some great work of ministry, and I realize now that I have found it as my marriage to TammyLyn is something that Lord has provided me with that gives me love, meaning, and purpose.
5:25-33 (NKJV) says
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,
27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.
29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.
30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.
31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."
32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
As I was saved and delivered from my personal darkness and chose to be faithful to the calling of following the Lord’s will for my life and decided to live according to God’s word, I found the peace, love, and joy of the Lord.
But let’s keep it real when you decided to live a lifestyle of a Christian disciple, the rest of the world and even other “Christians”, can think you have gone off the deep end. Living according to Biblical Christianity with discernment and balance is not common at all and the convictions and moral discipline it requires separates you from the rest of society as there are many things that are acceptable in our society today that Christians really shouldn’t do, at all.
My conviction to remain sexually pure, unless I was married, after my divorce was challenging, especially considering I wasn’t sure I would ever get married again! So when I decided to remain celibate unless married, I was fully prepared to go through the rest of my life without sex, of any kind, as the Bible convicted me that all sex outside of marriage was sin and bondage to the flesh.
But amazingly, sexual purity was possible and a great relief once I had a degree of freedom in it. So, I was okay. In fact, despite the occasional temptations to consider going back to my old ways, I was great.
Anyway, the point is not that wow, I get to have sex again. The point is that I never thought that I would enjoy the love and intimacy of a Christian marriage. It seemed to be something that just was not going to be in the offering for me because frankly, there are some rather worldly women calling themselves Christians, and my level of commitment to follow the Lord was not exactly lining the ladies up at my doorstep.
But the Lord used my podcast, to introduce me to TammyLyn and in less than a years time we became friends, fell in love, and were married with our faith and the Lord at the center of our marriage.
So I take those verses in Ephesians 5 about loving my wife like Jesus loved the church as my continual mission and purpose for the rest of my life. I don’t know if TammyLyn and I will live to be 97 and 90 like the couple I saw yesterday, but if we do, I plan on honoring my wedding vows and endeavoring to love my wife like Jesus loved the church.
I think one of the great problems of the Christian faith in America is the lack of understanding and commitment people have when it comes to knowing what the Bible says and applying its wisdom to our lives. Christ’s great commandments would have us love God with all our hearts, souls, and minds and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
So God comes first. Love Him by getting to know who He is, by seeking His presence, and by knowing and living by what His word says.
Then, if you are married, you first neighbor is your spouse! So love them sacrificially and make sure that you are both in tune with that first commandment, to keep God at the center of your relationship to maintain the proper balance. If you are both accountable to follow the Lord, neither one of you will seek to dominate or abuse the other and your love will be bult on mutual love, trust, and service to one another.
I know I am only at the 5 month mark of my marriage with TammyLyn, but my marriage to her represents part of God’s plan for my life and I plan on being faithful to follow The Lord’s direction and to let Him live in the center of our marriage to guide us in loving one another and to show His love to everyone we encounter.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Thessalonians 1:6 (NLT2)
6 In his justice he will pay back those who persecute you.
Today’s Bible verse reminds us that God is sovereign, and no one is free of the consequences of His judgement and that those who persecute Christians will be paid back.
As Creator, God sets the standards for what is right and wrong behaviorally but in truth our behaviors really are a reflection of whether or not we understand and respect God’s authority, as Creator and Righteous Judge of the universe.
If we believe the word of God is true and Jesus is who He said He is we will put our faith in Him as Lord and Savior and then seek to follow what the Lord instructs in His word.
But as much as this world like to profess tolerance, those who deny the truth of God’s word are often not content to just “live and let live” and will actively mock, deride, condemn, and persecute Christians for what they believe.
Darkness has no place in the Light and the darkness of men’s hearts will cause them to persecute Christians. But today’s verse assures us that those who persecute Christians will be repaid.
Even if they deny God’s existence, they are still subject to His law and His judgement. The only good God has to be a just God and the Bible speaks of the how the wicked will be punished for their sins.
We are to endure persecution and love our enemies in hopes that they will put their faith in Jesus because we know that we were worthy of God’s wrath too but we found mercy and grace. As much as we can be relieved that justice will be done, we should seek to save that which is lost while there is still hope that they can see the light and leave their darkness behind.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life”.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase John Pipers’ books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.
If You Come With No Interest or Knowledge
Not everybody comes to this chapter with a clear and driving passion for the glory of Christ among the unreached peoples of the world. Most of us are pretty parochial and ethnocentric and narrow, and even sometimes self-centered and racist, in our way of life. We hardly ever even think about the global, multinational, multiethnic, multi-linguistic cause of God, and what God’s passion and purposes are for Guinea and Indonesia and Tanzania and Thailand and Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and Turkey and Czechoslovakia and China and Siberia and Japan and Cameroon and Myanmar and the Somali or the Hmong or the Dakota or the Ojibwa of Minnesota.
So I don’t assume that you come to this chapter with a clear and resounding interest in the really great news of the world—which the media never report—namely, the spread of Christian truth and faith among the peoples of the world on the way to a God-wrought consummation that will make all of world history look like what it really is—a brief prelude to the everlasting, all-glorious kingdom of Christ. I don’t assume you come with your heart enthralled with God’s great global purpose. So I simply want to let God tell you, in his own words, about his priorities.
All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations. (Psalm 22:27–28)
Then there are Old Testament prayers:
Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy. (Psalm 67:3–4)
Then there are Old Testament commands:
Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! … Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.” (Psalm 96:3, 10)
Then there is the great New Testament Commission from the risen Christ:
Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18–20)
Then there is the apostle Paul’s great life of utter dedication to this mission:
I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written, “Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.” (Romans 15:20–21)
Then there is the magnificent picture of the final outcome of God’s purposes in history:
And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you [O Christ] to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9–10)
A Summary Statement of Faith on Missions
From these and many other Scriptures, I have been impelled over the years to think and preach and write about Christ’s great global purpose called missions. Several years ago the elders of our church drafted a statement of faith to guide us in the education of our apprentices and in the selection of new elders. Paragraph 13 of that document summarizes our sense of what missions is:
We believe that the commission given by the Lord Jesus to make disciples of all nations is binding on His Church to the end of the age. This task is to proclaim the Gospel to every tribe and tongue and people and nation, baptizing them, teaching them the words and ways of the Lord, and gathering them into churches able to fulfill their Christian calling among their own people. The ultimate aim of world missions is that God would create, by His Word, worshippers who glorify His name through glad-hearted faith and obedience. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever. Worship, therefore, is the fuel and the goal of missions.
Even Civilians Love to Follow the Triumphs on the Front Lines
This is the big picture. Christ came and died and rose again in order to gather a joyful, countless company for his name from all the peoples of the world. This is what every Christian should dream about. I say this carefully, in view of what I wrote in Chapter 8 about secular vocations. It is crucial that millions of Christians fulfill their life calling in secular jobs, just as it is crucial that during wartime the entire fabric of life and culture not unravel. But during wartime, even the millions of civilians love to get news from the front lines. They love to hear of the triumphs of the troops. They dream about the day when war will be no more. So it is with Christians. All of us should dream about this. We should love to hear how the advance of King Jesus is faring. We should love to hear of gospel triumphs as Christ plants his church among peoples held for centuries by alien powers of darkness.
This is God’s design in world history—that people from all nations and tribes and languages come to worship and treasure Christ above all things. Or as Paul put it in Romans 15:9, “that the Gentiles [all the peoples] might glorify God for his mercy.” There can be no weary resignation, no cowardly retreat, and no merciless contentment among Christ’s people while he is disowned among thousands of unreached peoples. Every Christian (who loves people and honors Christ) must care about this.
Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!
at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts
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Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.
My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)
Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003), 159–163.