Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday, October 18th

Just realized that Roxie accidentally posted about the 25th, instead of the 18th, so I'm just going to add two cents to today's post....

Luke 18:28-30

English Standard Version (ESV)
28 And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” 29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

Here Jesus promises them, that anyone who suffers loss (whether that's your livelihood, your family, or whatever) because of surrendering completely to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, will be rewarded.  But notice it adds that we will be rewarded now, and in the age to come.

Note - this is NOT prosperity preaching.  Prosperity preachers will twist these verses to mean that you will be blessed with health or wealth, but that is not what this is saying.

So, what will we be blessed with?

Chandler mentions a couple of things.  First, from Acts 2....

We are saved not just from sin, but we are saved into a covenant community that is to exalt Christ by lowering ourselves and exalting those around us. And this is a beautiful gift from God. It is a shaping, transforming, powerful tool.

But, oftentimes, the very community that is supposed to love us, support us, encourage us, walk with us, challenge us, and push us towards maturity - that very community betrays or hurts us.   Why is this community sometimes in such a mess?  There are a few reasons for this.  First, some are new converts and are babies, spiritually speaking.  And as we all know, whenever a bunch of toddlers get together, fights are bound to occur.   Another reason is that there are people in our churches who, though they claim to be Christians, are, quite frankly, not.  The third reason is that sometimes people go to church, but they don't really belong to the church. They have not invested in it, they haven't formed relationships, and you simply don't know (and aren't known) enough to reap the reward.

But, that's just a secondary reward.  The primary reward is Jesus Himself....

The good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is not that if you follow Him, everything will go as you deem it should. The good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that through the cross of Christ, by faith and grace alone, you get reconciled to God, and that’s enough regardless of situation. And you’re seeing it right here where men and women are publicly being shamed and having their stuff stolen from them. And they’re not happy about it, but they’re joyful about it because they know that there’s a greater treasure, one that’s already there. For them, Jesus is enough even in that moment. So according to this text, Jesus is seen as glorious not when you’re healthy, wealthy and all is going well, but it’s when Jesus is seen as supreme and the beauty He is and even when everything has been stolen and you’re publicly shamed, you still praise His name. You get Jesus, that’s the reward. Here, now, He’s enough.

And then we will be rewarded with eternal life.  Unfortunately, so many Christians have bought into this faulty idea that heaven will just be a place where we hang out on clouds, playing harps, and singing.  Forever.  That doesn't sound like heaven to me.  And that's not the heaven the scriptures portray.

The scriptures say that even creation is groaning under the curse.  And creation can be amazingly beautiful, can it not?  Incredibly intricate, and majestically astounding.  And that's the faulty version.

In some of Augustine’s writings, he’s looking out and watching the sun go down, and it has lit up the ocean to where it looks like the it was on fire and the sky is orange and pink. He said it was just a profoundly beautiful picture and he wrote, “If these are the beauties afforded to sinful men, what does God have in store for those who love Him? .....  ” If you’ve every been able to scuba dive or snorkel and see under the water with all that color and all that, God’s going, “No, that’s really not what I had in mind. There are colors you can’t fathom. There are sights you can’t imagine. The restoration of all things, ever increasing joy, new bodies, the death of everything that separation from God brought, the death of anger, the death of shame, the death of’s a new world that we’re brought into, not harps and white gowns.

We can't even begin to imagine the beauty that awaits us in the place where the sun is not needed because our Lord shines so bright.

And our trouble sometimes is that THIS feels like life to us.  And we're clinging to it with all that we've got, not even realizing what we're passing up by clinging to that which can only perish.

We need to stop being defined by our sin.  We need to stop being defined by our "righteousness".  That is God belittling!  We need to cling to Jesus, who is everything and who is worth everything.

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