In my last few posts I have spoken a lot about the state of the modern church in many of it’s parts. How it seems to take advantage of the people who come into the church and how many of the teachers, preachers, pastors and ministers seem to be in it for what they can get out of it.
And while these things are true, it is not the case across the whole church, for there are many who are in ministry for the right reasons. They have a desire for the work of the Lord and to help disciple and call people to Christ for THEIR benefit and not for selfish and self-serving reasons.
Such people are following the footsteps that Paul speaks of in this last section of 2 Corinthians 12. And importantly we see that in his work, Paul ensured that the churches were not left to their own devices, to fall into error. Instead he ensured that those who had made a start in the Lord received continuing teaching, counselling and follow-up so that they remained on the straight and narrow. Continue reading “You’ll Never Walk Alone”
There are many people in the church today who suffer needlessly. They believe that they are sinners and could never be acceptable to God, and so they live lives of gulit and self-condemnation.
I am aware also of some churches that preach a similar dogma, stating that it is virtually impossible to be perfect. Some teach that the only people who will be saved will be the 144,000 mentioned in Revelation. Others claim that you cannot be baptised in water until you have cleansed all sin from your bodies, and are virtually perfect. As such only a few of their members are baptised.
Such teaching is wrong and such thinking is destructive. In Christ we were and are accepted for who we are and what we are. We do not have to be perfect to come to Him because the work of the New Covenant and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is what brings us to perfection. We come in weakness and are transformed into perfection as the Holy Spirit works in and with us as individuals.
Among Christians there has been an argument running for many years concerning how God created the world and everything in it. One of the interesting parts of the argument is centered around what God meant when He said on the first day of the creation, “Let there be light.”
There are those who believe creation occurred in a literal period of seven 24 hour days, while others believe it happened over thousands of years. Still others believe the creation period has not yet ended and of course science talks about the earth existing for several billion years.
Now, I don't intend to weigh into this argument here, but I will lay my cards on the table and say I believe that the creation is still underway. It has not yet been finished because man is not yet in the image of God, which is the final state of man to be achieved on the sixth day of creation according to Genesis chapter 1. If man were truly in the image of God, we would be perfect like Him. But you only need to read any newspaper or watch the evening news to see the depth of sin that exists in man to know that this is not so.
Which brings me back to what God was speaking about when He said, “Let there be light.” This scripture in 2 Corinthians 4:6 gives us some insight into what He was talking about.
In this section we see Paul talking about the roles of the apostles.
To be an apostle is to be greatly blessed by the Lord for it is an important work that the apostles did and do. But as we see in this scripture the work of the apostles is sometimes a hard and thankless task. They are at the vanguard of the Christian Faith and it is the apostles who lead the charge in the spreading of the word and the teaching of the new converts to Christianity.
The apostles suffer much to fulfill their mission to the Lord and they are much maligned. Aside from the opposition they get from their obvious visibility to the opponents of Christ, they also have the worries and concerns of ensuring the young Christians do not fall back into old ways as they have barely escaped the ways of the world.
One of the first principles of coming to Jesus Christ is the principle of repentance. Repentance relates to changing your life by turning around and away from the things of this world to the things of the spirit.
The word “repentance” is translated from the Greek word “metanoia” which literally means to change your thinking. And when we change the way we think, we automatically change the way we behave because all behaviour commences with a thought.
So then, if we are to learn how to walk properly with Jesus Christ, we need to change our behaviours and this is preceded by changing how we think. This is the focus of these few verses we are looking at today.
The Lord God said in various places that vengeance belongs to Him. It is not for us to seek to avenge ourselves but rather to leave vengeance to the wrath of God.
If you are a Christian and have been for any length of time, you will certainly have suffered at the hands of someone who stands opposed to what you believe in. We are told that all those who choose to live a godly life will be persecuted. So if you have not been persecuted yet, be assured that the time is coming when you will.
The challenge for us though, is to live our lives appropriately to the call of Jesus Christ. He gave us the perfect example of how we should live and the attitudes we should take in all situations, especially when we are being persecuted or suffering at the hands of someone else.
In these verses we see another important instruction regarding this part of our life in Christ Jesus as we walk the Christian way.
This section of scripture looks at the issue of choices. It considers the choices God made and the choices that people made in biblical times, which carry through to today.
God chose Israel to be His chosen people and in other places He calls Israel the “Apple of my eye”. It was God's love for Abraham Isaac and Jacob that led to his selection of Israel as His chosen people.
The people rebelled. Constantly. They grew proud and arrogant in their selection as God's people and believed they were invincible, better than all others and so they lost the favor of God for a time. Not for all time, but long enough that a new way could be established and the promise of salvation become available to all people, not just the physical descendants of Abraham.
No this post is not about the song of the same title by Britney Spears, although she too has succumbed in this human problem as well. She has had a few epic fails that have been splashed all over the media and I feel really sorry for what she has been through.
What this post is about though is a failing that all Christians suffer as they walk with Christ. It is the issue of when you try to do what is right and you really, really want to do the right thing…and then you mess up and do what is wrong.
Everybody has done it. The road to life is paved with good intentions and nobody ever wants to slip up, falter and fail. But we do. It’s how we deal with it that matters, not that it occurred. And I will look at how we deal with it in an upcoming post, but not today.
Today we look at what Paul is writing about in this section, which is why we do this, especially why Christians do it, but it also applies to the rest of the world as well.
The primary reason for Jesus coming to this world was to reconcile man to God. It was the purpose and goal of God the Father to establish a means by which man would be able to step aside from sin and come into a place where God is prepared to help man be reconciled to Him.
The Way of this reconciliation is through Jesus Christ. It was His life, death and resurrection that enabled the reconciliation to occur. And even more, God through Jesus Christ established the path for us to not only be reconciled to Him but to also walk a path that would lead to perfection in Jesus Christ.
So let us look at this a little more and see what this reconciliation is all about and what it means beyond the basics of this reconciliation.