Jesus Revolution – The Community of Faith – Lent with Bonhoeffer Day 22– Purity 994
Purity 994 03/17/2023 Purity 994 Podcast
Purity 994 on YouTube:
Today’s photo of a sunset, or sunrise, sky with the silhouette of tree tops in the foreground that looks like a painting, or one of those epic sky scenes from Gone with the Wind, comes to us from an unknown FB friend who shared this scene on social media on April 4th of 2021. I decided to go back into the archives of my phone’s photo archives and discovered this shot of the sky because it is beautiful and I share it as an encouragement to consider the higher things of God as we come into the weekend and may be looking for something earth bound to give us pleasure.
Last night, my wife and I went to see the movie, Jesus Revolution, and I was frankly surprised at how this film accurately portrayed Greg Laurie’s days of searching for truth by following hippies to a concert and how he tired to “expand his mind” and find meaning through drugs. For some reason I didn’t expect that. I didn’t expect the film to be a “biopic” – a historical record of actual people and their actual lives – this was a true story. And like many testimonies of people coming to Christ , it had its dark elements and hard truths that stem from the sins of our pre-Christ existence, from our not so easy adjustment to our new lives in Christ, and the clashing and conflicts that can happen when men come together to “serve the Lord”.
Because it was more biopic than a gospel presentation, I would say that it was more of a “regular movie” than a Christian film in terms of how some Christian movies are just, - Let’s admit it -bad, overly sentimental, or heavy handed in presenting the gospel in either simplistic or an almost shaming manner.. Although the movie obviously includes Christian themes and messages, I would say that anyone could see this film to get an idea of what the Jesus Movement was about without necessarily walking out converted because it showed some things about Christianity in America that are still alive today that aren’t so appealing – like harsh unaccepting legalistic Christians, and “Charismatic kooks”. Jesus Revolution’s balanced portrayal of the complexities that surround our “simple faith” present Laurie’s story in a way that could cause some to come to Christ or cause some to say “And that is why I am not a Christian!”
Jesus Revolution is worth the watch but don’t think that it will necessarily lift the Christian to new levels of faith or take the unbeliever to the throne of grace. And this points out the fact that God is the One who brings us home. He is the one who calls us to salvation and repentance. The Jesus Revolution movie could be used by God to inspire us or to bring people to Christ but that will up to Him and not based on the talents of the actors or filmmakers. So if you haven’t seen it yet and want to “do something Christian” this weekend, go with an open heart and an open mind and buy a ticket to see Jesus Revolution and wait and see what God does with it in you.
Anyway, I “do something Christian” each morning by praying, reading the Bible, and by doing this blog and podcast, so let’s keep walking and talking with God by continuing our current series by walking into Day 22 of Lent and the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
As a reminder, and as we will say each day of this journey, we take this path to mark the season of Lent and to draw closer to God in anticipation of the celebration of Easter, knowing that if we take this journey of repentance seriously, we will not only see the days and seasons change, the Lord will use it to change us too.
You can sign up to get this devotional yourself by going to the Biblegateway link on the blog ((https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/40-Day-Journey-Dietrich-Bonhoeffer/today)) .
“The measure with which God gives the gift of visible community is varied.
Christians who live dispersed from one another are comforted by a brief visit of another Christian, a prayer together, and another Christian’s blessing.
Indeed, they are strengthened by letters written by the hand of other Christians.
Paul’s greetings in his letters written in his own hand were no doubt tokens of such community.
Others are given the gift on Sundays of the community of the worship service.
Still others have the privilege of living a Christian life in the community of their families.”
Now concerning love of the brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anyone write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, and indeed you do love all the brothers and sisters throughout Macedonia. 1 Thessalonians 4:9
Questions to Ponder
- Why is Christian community so important for the life of faith?
M.T. Clark: Christian community is so important for the life of faith because we don’t know everything, we need one another, and we are called to love others as ourselves by Jesus Himself.
The Bible is a big book and we need others to encourage us to read it and to help us to understand it and apply it to our lives. So we need to find a “faith community” that not only believes that the Bible is the inerrant word of God but regularly reads it and teaches from it. We need others to help us to understand what it means to be a Christian and encourage us to follow the Lord.
We also need one another to encourage us to serve the Lord and do the good works that He created us to do. A community of faith comforts us by showing us we are not alone in this thing and helps us to discover and live out our purpose in Christ. And there is perhaps no better environment in which to learn to love others as ourselves as we are all called by the same Father and Spirit to be the fellowship of the Saints, regardless of our individual differences.
- What are the things that weaken community?
M.T. Clark: In a word, sin weakens community. When we are not coming together is a fellowship of forgiveness in love, we are missing the mark. When we have hidden or not so hidden sins in the body of Christ, it undermines the meaning of our gathering. If everything looks good on the surface but people are struggling and hurting in private and can’t seek the help they need because of church tradition or culture, that weakens community. Forming cliques weakens community. Gossip weakens community. Politics weakens community. Division weakens community. Hidden agendas weaken community. Authoritarian attitudes and egos weaken community. Unfortunately, there are lots of things that weaken community and honestly, I don’t know if we will ever see a “perfect” church here on earth, but the way we get closer to one is by seeking heart focused discipleship were we are transparent and seeking individual sanctification as well as corporate harmony. We don’t only have to “be real” with God. We have to “be real” with each other.
- What are the things that strengthen community?
M.T. Clark: Well, authenticity, vulnerability, accountability, and honesty on an individual level would certainly be a good start. But encouragement, empathy, and care would seal the deal. If we don’t have to worry about covering up our imperfections and know that the people we are in fellowship are being as real as we are, our faith community will be one of mutual support and love. Our faith community would be strong.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come into his presence with singing.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:2-3
- Write about how the gift of Christian community has been a blessing to you.
M.T. Clark: The church is where I learned how to become a Christian and where I was given the opportunity to grow into my identity and purpose in Christ. The love and support I have received from men and women in the Christian community is staggering. The people I consider my best friends are all people I have met along the way in my journey of faith and from the various Christian communities that I have been blessed to be welcomed into ever since I put my faith in Jesus.
- What kinds of Christian communities are you a part of?
M.T. Clark: Currently, I am in several. I have community with my local church, a small group from my local church, the men’s group I facilitate online, the community of volunteers at Freedom in Christ ministries, a bible study, the Deeper Walk School of Prayer ministry cohort, and the community of people who listen or read my blog and podcast. I am greatly encouraged in my faith by all these communities. So I recommend seeking community in various ways because technology gives us opportunities for community that we never had before.
- Do you have a spiritual friend, someone with whom you can speak about faith, confide in, who encourages you, guides you and, if needed, corrects you and for whom you are the same? If so, reflect on that relationship and what it means to you. If not, could you build a friendship like that?
M.T. Clark: I do. My best friend is my wife and our relationship has God at the center of it and we have an open dialog to speak about everything that’s going on in our lives so as not to let anything to come between us. I also have open forums to talk about my life in the small groups I am a part of and receive support through them. These relationships mean a lot to me and are the reason why I tell Christians that they can’t “go it alone” -that we need each other. The way you build relationships like this is by being vulnerable and honest and determining who is “real” in their commitment to follow Christ. But we don’t have to find some “perfect people” to have these relationships, we just have to be open and honest and vulnerable on our side and meet people where they are at and encourage them with the truths and comforts in God’s word.
Prayer for Today
Lord, enable me to be a strength of my Christian communities, and faithful in my spiritual friendships.
M.T. Clark: In Jesus Name, I pray, Amen.
***As we are being provided with Bible verses from the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, we will are taking a break from sharing a verse of the day from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”. We plan on resuming that normal installment of the blog following Easter.***
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 A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God.”
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
By ARTHUR W. PINK
OUR ATTITUDE TOWARD HIS SOVEREIGNTY
What then ought to be our attitude toward the Supreme Sovereign? We reply,
2. One of implicit obedience
A sight of God leads to a realization of our littleness and nothingness and issues in a sense of dependency and of casting ourselves upon God. Or, again; a view of the Divine Majesty promotes the spirit of godly fear and this, in turn, begets an obedient walk. Here then is the Divine antidote for the native evil of our hearts. Naturally, man is filled with a sense of his own importance, with his greatness and self-sufficiency; in a word, with pride and rebellion. But, as we remarked, the great corrective is to behold the Mighty God, for this alone will really humble him. Man will glory either in himself or in God. Man will live either to serve and please himself, or he will seek to serve and please the Lord. None can serve two masters.
Irreverence begets disobedience. Said the haughty monarch of Egypt “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord; neither will I let Israel go” (Ex. 5:2). To Pharaoh, the God of the Hebrews was merely a god, one among many, a powerless entity who needed not to be feared or served. How sadly mistaken he was, and how bitterly he had to pay for his mistake he soon discovered; but what we are here seeking to emphasize is that Pharaoh’s defiant spirit was the fruit of irreverence, and this irreverence was the consequence of his ignorance of the majesty and authority of the Divine Being.
Now if irreverence begets disobedience, true reverence will produce and promote obedience. To realize that the Holy Scriptures are a revelation from the Most High, communicating to us His mind and defining for us His will, is the first step toward practical godliness. To recognize that the Bible is God’s Word, and that its precepts are the precepts of the Almighty, will lead us to see what an awful thing it is to despise and ignore them. To receive the Bible as addressed to our own souls, given to us by the Creator Himself, will cause us to cry with the Psalmist, “Incline my heart unto Thy testimonies … Order my steps in Thy Word” (Psa. 119:36, 133). Once the sovereignty of the Author of the Word is apprehended it will not longer be a matter of picking and choosing from the precepts and statutes of that Word, selecting those which met with our approval; but it will be seen that nothing less than an unqualified and whole-hearted submission becomes the creature.
What ought to be our attitude toward the Sovereignty of God?
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship