The Teacher Becomes the Student – The Importance of Community - Purity 947
Purity 947 01/21/2023 Purity 947 Podcast
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Today’s photo of the late afternoon sun framed between utility lines from the vantage point of Third Street Extension in Albany NY comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene at “quitting time” yesterday afternoon. After a day of working through some more January rain and temperatures just above freezing, the sun came out as if a sign from God Himself to welcome me to the weekend and to fill me with joy at the possibilities of the future.
Yes, my friends, it is the weekend, and it is my prayer that anyone hearing or reading this message will find moments of rest and rejoicing as we journey through the 2nd to last weekend of the first month of 2023. Yeah, don’t blink, because in 2 weeks we will be 4 days into February!
You have to excuse my looking ahead on the calendar, but when you are walking and talking with God on the path of Christian Discipleship, as much as you are enjoying each passing moment in the Lord’s present, your vision is forward looking and the question that we continually ask God is: What’s Next, Lord?
While we may gain wisdom from examining our pasts or rejoice over previous triumphs to drive us ahead, when we are following the Lord, we can’t help but wonder where we are going.
My immediate future last night was a good one as I headed up to my countryside home in Easton to be reunited with my wife, TammyLyn, but it didn’t take long before I asked her “What’s next?” by inquiring what our plans for the weekend would be. As of this morning, other than church on Sunday, we don’t really have plans to go anywhere or do anything.
This of course leaves the door open for spontaneity. So I guess we will see where the day takes us.
Thursday night I began Deeper Walk International’s School of Pray Ministry’s certification program and will have to review this week’s reading assignments and compose some thoughts of what I think about it. So even though it’s the weekend, and we have no plans, per se, in order to avoid stress later this week, I am making the decision to stay ahead of the game by using some of my leisure time to meet the responsibilities of this program.
The best way to plan for the future is to take care of what you have to do today, so I have already read some of the material last night and I plan to finish up the rest and be ready to write, prayerfully, possibly today, or by tomorrow evening.
I really need to stay ahead of the game on my studies with Deeper Walk because I will be leading another Freedom in Christ course online starting January 31st and my schedule should be pretty full as I learn and am trained with Deeper Walk and as I encourage others to learn who they are in Christ and assist them in experiencing their freedom in Christ. The teacher has become the student and I am really excited to see how the next several weeks develop because of all the new people and things that these courses will bring into my life.
With these two courses I will be entering into two new “communities” that are specifically designed to support and encourage one another as we learn and grow together.
As much as travelling along the path of Christian Discipleship can be a solitary journey, in truth being a Christian was never intended to be about “going it alone.” Christians are never alone of course because of the presence of the Lord in our lives but we are also supposed to follow Christ’s second commandment to love others as ourselves.
That requires other people!
So if you just happen to be one of those “Lone Ranger” Christians who are not attending a local church, I really must encourage you to do so. While I can understand the awkwardness, social anxiety, and fears that can be involved with going into a new church or returning to your old church, I really must encourage you to join the body of Christ somewhere on a regular basis because so much of our maturity as Christians is formed from our interactions in the faith community.
While I stress the importance of the individual’s daily spiritual practice and seeking the Lord continually, some things have to be learned and experienced with our interactions in the faith community. Learning from example, service, forgiveness, and patience are just some of the things that really require our exposure to other people. So I encourage everyone who hears this message to find a church where you can attend and get involved with the work of the body of Christ because there are somethings we can only learn in community.
When Christians come together to support one another in their faith walk it can be a beautiful thing, so seek it.
My canine friend, Harley, is whining as I write this, so I am going to cut this short today… we also have to serve our pets apparently….
Anyway, keep walking and talking with God, get connected with a community of Bible believing Christians and see where the future takes you by always asking the Lord: What’s Next?
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Today’s verse reminds us that we are God’s “piece of work” and He has created us new in Christ to do the good things that He has planned for us long ago.
We are God’s “masterpiece” – His love makes us perfectly accepted, secure, and significant and although we are a “work in progress”, we should continually remind ourselves that Christ has made us complete. I suggest using Dr. Neil Anderson’s “Who I am in Christ” list that is based on scripture to help you to renew your mind and to fully know and accept your identity in Christ.
With that said, I also want to recommend some balance to what could turn into a “self-adoration” practice by reminding all of us of our purpose in Christ: to do the good works that He has prepared for us, that we are to walk into.
I knew a Christian who often built himself up with the thought that “God dances over me”. This idea of God “busting a move” over us is drawn from a single verse from the rather obscure Old Testament prophet Zephaniah. The “dancing verse”
Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT2) that says
17 For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
Bible “scholars” point out that “rejoice over you” – literally means “dance, skip, leap, and spin around in joy.” And Boldly proclaim that “God dances with shouts of joy over us!” (https://goodnessofgodministries.international/2013/06/02/1911/)
Yeah, we are awesome. God is dancing a jig over us.
Don’t get me wrong, Christians need to know that the Lord loves them and that He does rejoice over us. “Lesson’s like this can help our hearts and minds to accept something that doesn’t come naturally, to have an experiential knowledge of the Lord’s love and acceptance. Teaching like this can really help us.
However, the thing that can really empower our faith walk and assure us of our place in God’s kingdom is living out your identity in Christ by seeking and accomplishing our purpose in Christ.
In other words, we shouldn’t just be “believing” the good news about who we are in Christ, we should be walking in our identity by “doing” what our Father calls us to do. To be doers of the word and not hearers only.
So yes, we are God’s masterpieces but let’s not dwell on that to the exclusion of seeking out our purpose for His kingdom. God has things for us to do and people for us to meet as has called us to go out to make disciples. When we do that, we will know that God rejoices over us because we will be giving Him glory as we become alive in our purpose of showing and sharing His love with the world around us.
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 Bonhoeffer’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
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IN SALVATION, continues.
2. The Sovereignty of God the Son in Salvation - concludes
“For there is one God, and one Mediator, between God and men (not “man,” for this would have been a generic term and signified mankind. O the accuracy of Holy Writ!), the Man Christ Jesus; who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Tim. 2:5, 6). It is upon the words “who gave Himself a ransom for all” we would now comment. In Scripture the word “all” (as applied to humankind) is used in two senses—absolutely and relatively. In some passages it means all without exception; in others it signifies all without distinction. As to which of these meanings it bears in any particular passage, must be determined by the context and decided by a comparison of parallel scriptures. That the word “all” is used in a relative and restricted sense, and in such case means all without distinction and not all without exception, is clear from a number of scriptures, from which we select two or three as samples. “And there went out unto him all the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins” (Mark 1:5). Does this mean that every man, woman and child from “all the land of Judea and they of Jerusalem” were baptized of John in Jordan? Surely not. Luke 7:30 distinctly says, “But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.” Then what does “all baptized of him” mean? We answer it does not mean all without exception, but all without distinction, that is, all classes and conditions of men. The same explanation applies to Lk. 3:21. Again we read, “And early in the morning He came again into the Temple, and all the people came unto Him; and He sat down, and taught them” (John 8:2); are we to understand this expression absolutely or relatively? Does “all the people” mean all without exception or all without distinction, that is, all classes and conditions of people? Manifestly the latter; for the Temple was not able to accommodate everybody that was in Jerusalem at this time, namely, the Feast of Tabernacles. Again, we read in Acts 22:15, “For thou (Paul) shalt be His witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.” Surely “all men” here does not mean every member of the human race. Now we submit that the words “who gave Himself a ransom for all” in 1 Tim. 2:6 mean all without distinction, and not all without exception. He gave Himself a ransom for men of all nationalities, of all generations, of all classes; in a word, for all the elect, as we read in Rev. 5:9, “For Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” That this is not an arbitrary definition of the “all” in our passage is clear from Matt. 20:28 where we read, “The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many,” which limitation would be quite meaningless if He gave Himself a ransom for all without exception. Furthermore, the qualifying words here, “to be testified in due time” must be taken into consideration. If Christ gave Himself a ransom for the whole human race, in what sense will this be “testified in due time”? seeing that multitudes of men will certainly be eternally lost. But if our text means that Christ gave Himself a ransom for God’s elect, for all without distinction, without distinction of nationality, social prestige, moral character, age or sex, then the meaning of these qualifying words is quite intelligible, for in “due time” this will be “testified” in the actual and accomplished salvation of every one of them.
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Heb. 2:9). This passage need not detain us long. A false doctrine has been erected here on a false translation. There is no word whatever in the Greek corresponding to “man” in our English version. In the Greek it is left in the abstract—“He tasted death for every.” The Revised Version has correctly omitted “man” from the text, but has wrongly inserted it in italics. Others suppose the word “thing” should be supplied—“He tasted death for every thing”—but this, too, we deem a mistake. It seems to us that the words which immediately follow explain our text: “For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” It is of “sons” the apostle is here writing, and we suggest an ellipsis of “son”—thus: “He tasted death for every”—and supply son in italics. Thus instead of teaching the unlimited design of Christ’s death, Heb. 2:9, 10 is in perfect accord with the other scriptures we have quoted which set for the restricted purpose in the Atonement: it was for the “sons” and not the human race our Lord “tasted death.”*
In closing this section of the chapter let us say that the only limitation in the Atonement we have contended for arises from pure sovereignty; it is a limitation not of value and virtue, but of design and application. We turn now to consider—
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My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ), 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)
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship