Clinging to The Past
Good morning family. I have presented this message several times during different seasons of my life. It is a great honor, pleasure, and joy to share it with you today. I want to share with you what God has shown me, not placing any expectation on you and where you are today.
Note: One thing I could add before we begin is that when I talk about forgetting and moving on (I learned from Ken Sande: The Peacemaker) is that forgetting is most about not letting the past wound me any longer, not letting the past dictate how I interact with others today, letting the past teach me how to become more like Jesus. Forgetting is not about putting out of my mind, I can’t, God can if He so chooses to do so, and I submit to Him and see what he will do. There have been things that are forgotten and things that still need work.
Let's go to the Scriptures…
Isaiah 43:18-19 18 "But forget all that — it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. 19 For I am about to do a brand-new thing. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness for my people to come home. I will create rivers for them in the desert!
God promises us a new thing, I believe this happens for sure when we become followers of Jesus and the process of regeneration through the Holy Spirit is being carried out in our lives. Forgetting the things of old and not dwelling on the past is difficult for sure. Forgetting is a God thing, given to us through the revealing of His word by the Holy Spirit. I wanted to take this seriously and began to ask God to give me His heart in this area of my life.
God brought me to the epistle to the church of Philippi. Paul knew about letting go of the old and clinging to the new. There was in his very make-up generations of hostility toward those who were not a part of the club his was once in.
Philippians 3:13-14 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.
So here we have it, God makes it very clear to me that forgetting is a part of the make-up of being His disciple. There will be a day when forgetfulness will be perfected and that day of course we know is when Jesus comes back to take His bride home. Until then we are encouraged to focus all our energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead…
The answer to “Can I really forget,” is yes you can, and it is a process worth pursuing. We, in our own strength, the strength of the flesh, cannot. We do know the one who has given us the strength to see such a feat be worked out in our lives. The process starts with God the Father
Ezekiel 36:26-27 26 And I will give you a new heart with new and right desires, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony heart of sin and give you a new, obedient heart. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so you will obey my laws and do whatever I command.
And the process is brought to realization through Christ
Philippians 4:13 For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.
And the process is being worked out in us today by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit
Galatians 5:22-23 22 But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law.
Are you clinging to things of the past that keep the Holy Spirit from growing His fruits in your life? Do you desire to forget? Maybe you’re not interested in even trying to forget, it’s just too difficult. Today, God wants you to know you can forget the things of the past and He wants to help you begin.
All events and services are canceled. We will resume January 15.
Faith Like Potatoes
Saturday February 27, 6:00 PM
Here is an illustration of of God's Goodness:
A little girl and her mother were reading the New Testament one morning when they came to
John 3:16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
Stopping for a moment in the reading the mother asked, "Don't you think it is wonderful?" The child, looking surprised, replied in a negative way. The mother, somewhat astonished, repeated the question, to which the little daughter replied, "Why, no, Mommy, it would be wonderful if it were anybody else, but it is just like God." The little girl was absolutely right. It is God's nature to give freely of His grace and of His mercy and through these, offers forgiveness for all.
(from Illustrations of Bible Truths Copyright © 1995, 1998 by AMG International, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)
Here is a wonderful Scripture to help us focus on God's Goodness.
Romans 8:29-30 29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.
Last week I was reminded of the victory we have in Jesus and spent this past week thinking about the goodness of God; pondering the statement “How good is God!” Pondered the wonderful presence of God in all things in our lives. God’s goodness is poured out into our lives changing from the inside so that what we do is more like Jesus. In 2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 6:14-16 emphasizes the newness of being in Christ Jesus.
One thing we are aware for sure is that we will never be a perfect model like Christ. Our challenge is to be more loving, more caring, more faithful, more obedient, more compassionate, more inspirational, and more forgiving as we apply the knowledge and the wisdom we obtain from the Holy Spirit. The thing is it is not about how much more I can be, it is about God's Goodness filling me so that goodness flows out of me!
Galatians 6:9 So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
The Psalmist stated perfectly his focus of God.
Psalm 86:5 O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.
Much like any caring parent, God takes delight in providing gifts to His children.
Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
Easton’s Dictionary, a common Bible dictionary, tells us that biblical Goodness is a precision of God’s character which He exercises towards His creation according to their various circumstances and relations
Psalms 145:8-9 The Lord is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation.
God’s goodness as poured into His creations has mercy and compassion. God’s goodness for the un-repentant sinners is His long-suffering patience. God’s goodness provided for His children is His grace. “God’s goodness appears in two very specific ways: giving and forgiving.” (Easton’s Dictionary)
As we seek to identify with God and become like Jesus, our character, the inside of us, is shaped and molded. Someone once said, “Goodness consists not so much in the outward things we do but in the inward things we are.” Those inward things come from God giving His Son and Holy Spirit to transform us into His perfect image. Remember the Psalmist’s focus, “you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.”
There are at least four things that will help us apply and embrace His Goodness in our lives.
God’s Goodness Supplies all the temporal stuff - Job, money, health, family
Think about how He takes care of you and provides for your welfare. Jesus teaches about these things
Matthew 6:31-34 31 "So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?' 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34 "So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today.
God’s Goodness Leads to Repentance
Because He loves you; He wants fellowship with you. We must evaluate our sin in light of His grace, mercy and goodness.
Romans 2:4 Don't you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can't you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
His goodness provided a Savior
John 4:42 Then they said to the woman, "Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world."
God’s Goodness Is Expressed in His Forgiveness
Grace – “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.”
Acts 2:38-39 38 Peter replied, "Each of you must repent of your sins, turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ to show that you have received forgiveness for your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentiles—all who have been called by the Lord our God.
His Goodness allows us to access His Kingdom.
Colossians 1:13 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son,
Dear Friends, what joy and excitement there is to know we are called and encouraged to be like Jesus! What joy wells up within our hearts to know that God’s goodness is provided for us to become like Jesus!
2 Peter 1:3 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.
In His goodness, God has called you His special people, set apart for His special purposes.
1 Peter 2:9 … “You are royal priests, a holy nation, God's very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
In the pouring out of God’s goodness, appearing in His giving and forgiving, let’s take a moment humble ourselves and express our thanksgiving/gratitude for God’s goodness in our lives.
Take a moment in quietness before God and listen to His goodness for you today.
In a world that does everything to tear us down, to tempt us, to be critical and judgmental – let’s provide others and ourselves the grace that is needed to encourage one another. Let’s provide the hope that resides in us all for those who need help to know how good God is.
Jeremiah 29:11-12 For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. in those days when you pray, I will listen.
Psalm 67:1 May God be merciful and bless us. May his face smile with favor on us.
Colossians 1:15-20 Our text teaches us that real peace is a Priority to God and that real peace is Expensive and we need an Ally.
Dear family and friends, I will be off the grid for the next two weeks and I will not be posting. Thank you for your prayers and love support as we endeavor to grow into the likeness of Christ Jesus our Lord.
Consider the price that was paid to purchase our peace. The Son of God had to leave the glory of heaven, descend into a fallen and corrupt world, take on the form of a helpless baby, walk countless miles over deserts and dusty roads, submit to mocking, beating and torture, and shed his own life’s blood on the cross.
Ken Sande in his book Peacemaking he made this comment: As the only Son of God, Jesus’ life and blood was infinitely precious. If his atoning work could somehow be converted into pure gold, all the vaults in the world could not hold the resulting treasure.
Why would God be willing to pay such a high price for our salvation? He tells us over and over in Scripture: it is love that moved him to pay the supreme price for our peace and salvation.
1 John 4:9-11 9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.
As this kind of love flows through our veins, we will be willing and even eager to pay whatever price is necessary to be reconciled with others, just as Christ Jesus paid an infinitely expensive price…his very life! to be reconciled with us.
Remember conflict is most often two sided as Jesus tells in
Matthew 7:3-5 3 "And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own? 4 How can you think of saying to your friend, 'Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye.
Are we willing: to overlook and offence when we can; to talk to someone who has offended before the conflict begins; to help other through reconciliation whenever possible? Three conditions to overlooking an offence: When I take time to pray and realize the offence was my issue; when there is no serious harm to God’s reputation, to others or the offender; when the offense is not a part of a destructive pattern. Are we willing to stop dwelling on what others have done wrong and confess, in detail and with sincere sorrow, how you have contributed to a conflict or broken relationship?
The Scriptures point out
Philippians 2:3-4 3 Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
The expense of real peace is something we will all deal with. Some of the questions that have come up as people walk trough promoting real peace are things like: Will you admit that others may understand a conflict situation more accurately than you do? Will you give as much effort to identifying and meeting their interests as you do your own? What about the person who has deeply wronged you? Gossiped about you? Betrayed your trust? Failed to keep a commitment? Damaged your property or reputation? What price will you pay to encourage that person’s repentance and restore peace in your relationship? Will you let go of bitterness? Will you give up self-pity? Will you deny yourself of the desire to make that person suffer for the wrong he or she has done to you?
Dear brothers and sisters, Jesus paid a far greater price to secure your forgiveness from God! His love gladly overflowed in the supreme sacrifice. He now invites you to overflow with the same kind of love and glad sacrifice -- not as a way to repay a debt, but as a way of joyfully reflecting and celebrating the love of Christ in your life.
Real peace requires an Ally.
I’m sure all of us would love to overflow with this kind of love and ability to make peace. And yet the price of peace is often very expensive, isn’t it? When we have been deeply or repeatedly wronged, the cost of reconciliation exceeds our meager resources. We have too little love, humility, compassion and forgiveness to cover the damage caused by sin and conflict. This is why real peace requires an ally. We cannot, on our own, fully pay the high price of reconciliation. We cannot wash away another person’s sins. We cannot cleanse our own hearts from bitterness and self-righteousness. In our own strength we cannot forgive as God has forgiven us.
But there is One who can do all these things, and he is eager to come to our side to our back, to our front, to live within us, and bear the full cost of sin, and give us all the support and resources we need to restore peace with those around us. We are promised in
Colossians 1:19-20 19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
God would not be pleased to reconcile two people to himself, but leave them at odds with each other. His reconciliation is all-encompassing. Therefore, Jesus is eager to come alongside each of his children and become our ally in pursuing peace with others.
We are also promised in
Philippians 2:13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
Real peace is expensive and we have an ally who is eager to see us make peace with others. Jesus gives us the way to real peace:
Mark 8:34-35 34 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.
Matthew 11:28-30 28 Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light."
Jesus our ally is not distant nor passive. He is near you, and he is ready to place all of his resources at your disposal. Your ally is ready to come to your aid. Seek his counsel; bank on his limitless resources; trust that he will never leave your side as you seek peace with others.
Real peace is a Priority to God.
Real peace refers to the inner tranquility and calm composure of the Christian whose trust is in God through Christ. The peace that Christ Jesus taught is a combination of hope, trust, and quiet in the mind and soul, brought about by reconciliation with God. We understand that Jesus brings peace into our lives. A peace that surpasses all understanding. The peace that is given to Jesus’ followers is to be used to help others come to the same saving knowledge of Christ Jesus that they have. This peace is a tool that can be used to bring reconciliation between people and God and between people.
15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
16 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can't see– such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So, he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ's blood on the cross.
In this passage, God provides a robust, promising, and exhilarating formula for real peace. His answer to humanities hunger for peace may be summarized in five key principles. Today we look at the first one.
The first principle is that real peace is a priority to God. (Colossians 1:19-20; Matthew 5:23-24)
Peace is such a high priority to God that he sent his only Son, the most exalted and powerful ambassador who has ever walked the face of the earth to bring peace. And this was no casual or last-minute assignment. The plan began way back as Peter tells us in
1 Peter 1:18-20 18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. 20 God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last days.
God’s priority for peace is emphasized by the fact that he planned for reconciliation even before the world and all our conflicts came into existence! Since God has made peace one of his highest priorities, he calls us to do the same. He does not want us to treat separation from him or others as an insignificant matter. He expects us to make more than a token effort to seek peace with others. Jesus teaches us never to delay going to someone who may have something against us. In fact, his priority for peace is so high that Jesus tells us to seek reconciliation with others even before we seek to worship God himself!
Matthew 5:23-24 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
What more could God say to indicate how high a priority he places on peace? He sent his most exalted ambassador to make peace on earth.
Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Consider why we are care
2 Corinthians 5:19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.
We have the message the world needs to hear; peace that they seek is found in reconciliation with the who gives them the very breath they breath. We care because it is God’s will for our lives to proclaim the wonderful message of reconciliation.
Consider the process to peacemaking in
Matthew 18:15-17 15 "If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. 16 But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. 17 If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won't accept the church's decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.
Notice that the process is restorative. Ever step in the process of discipline, that is what we are doing here, is bringing restoration to a relationship. We are to be restoring relationships in all our efforts as Followers of Jesus.
By his example and commands, God has placed peace at the top of his list of priorities. Let us do likewise!
Real Peace: Colossians 1:15-20
Back in 2007 Garfield Christian Fellowship began a journey. We began to realize that there was little peace living within the family of GCF. We realized that our understanding of peace, as Jesus describes it, did not really exist in our midst.
John 14:27 "I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So, don't be troubled or afraid.
Looking for answers to “real peace” as Jesus describes we found the book by Ken Sande, “The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict.” © 2004, Baker Books. Everything that will be shared over the next 6 or so weeks can be found in this book and the small group study that is used with the book.
The purpose of this study is to inspire believers to see God’s priority and passion for peace, and to firmly establish the Gospel of Christ, the Rule and Reign of Jesus, as the foundation of real peace (Ken Sande, sermon notes 2004).
People are hungry for peace!
As I was preparing to review peacemaking in 2012 and again today 2020, I went to Google to see how many times the word “peace” is used to reference articles on the internet. To my surprise, Google reported 227,263,000 cites related to peace in 2012 and today there are 1,520,000,000 pages one could sift through to search out peace. I narrowed the search to “peace of heart” and found 899,000,000 results. People are hungry for peace!
In our fractured world today so much blame is cast on people groups for not bringing peace: the conservative is blamed because they have not conserved anything and the liberal is blamed because they haven’t liberated anything. When in fact there is no person or people group that could produce peace, at least not “real peace.” Peoples approaches to real peace are described all too well by God’s charge in
Jeremiah 6:14 They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, saying, 'Peace, peace!' When there is no peace.
Fortunately, we don’t need to sort through 1.5 billion pages on the internet to find the path to real peace. Through God’s Holy Scripture, He has graciously and repeatedly described the one and only path to genuine, lasting peace. Let’s define “real peace” from a biblical perspective, since what man has tried to do over the centuries has not worked. Peace is a word with several different meanings in the Old and New Testaments.
In the New Testament, peace often refers to the inner tranquility and calm composure of the Christian whose trust is in God through Christ. This understanding was originally expressed in the Old Testament writings about the coming Messiah (Isaiah 9:6-7). The peace that Christ Jesus spoke of was a combination of hope, trust, and quiet in the mind and soul, brought about by reconciliation with God.
(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
Real peace is brought about by reconciliation with God, through Christ Jesus. Real peace is inner transformation before it is an outward realization. Real peace is the work of Truth, Christ Jesus, in our lives.
Such peace was proclaimed by the host of angels at Christ's birth
Luke 2:14 "Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased."
Such peace was proclaimed by Jesus Himself in His Sermon on the Mount and during His ministry.
Matthew 5:9 God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.
Jesus also taught about this kind of peace at the Lord's Supper, shortly before His death
John 14:27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So, don't be troubled or afraid.”
The apostle Paul later wrote that such peace and spiritual blessedness was a direct result of faith in Christ
Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.
The pathway to real peace is beautifully described in our text for the next several weeks
15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, 16 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can't see– such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. 17 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. 18 Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So, he is first in everything. 19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ's blood on the cross.
In this passage, God provides a robust, promising, and exhilarating formula for real peace than do all the millions of articles, speeches, and books written by people since the world began. God’s answer to our insatiable hunger for peace may be summarized in five key principles.
July 5, Unity in the Body
Good morning, I pray you had an enjoyable Independence Day celebration yesterday. One of the the opportunities we have as followers of King Jesus is to know the Scriptures and be able to, through the power of the Holy Spirit remember and practice the wisdom God has given us through the Scriptures. In these crazy times here is one to commit to memory.
Philippians 4:8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Unity is the Body
15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, 16 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can't see – such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. 17 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. 18 Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So, he is first in everything. 19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ's blood on the cross.
4 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.
We in the West understand the "efforts" we make, in the body, to be an individualistic attempt to make thing work as a body. For instance, if I do my part and each person does his/her part things will work together. We will be unified as long as each person does his/her part. What we read in the Scriptures is that Jesus is the head, meaning He is the director, equipper, sustainer, of all things… Vs Col 1:18 So, he is first in everything. It is Jesus working in us individually so that unity is obtained and maintained. In Acts we find this in action! (Acts2:42-47-community, 4:32-36-sharing, 6:1-7-deacon).
When we read the forming of the church, the Body of Christ, in Acts; Ephesians 4 and Philippians 2 it is imperative that we keep them in context with Colossians 1, John 15, Jesus is the source of our faith, strength, and growth so that we are always humble, gentle, allowing for other’s faults, and that our efforts to keep united is a reality. When we think of the Kingdom of Heaven work God is doing, we remember we are grafted into the vine and apart from Jesus we can do nothing. Last week we spent time looking at what is means to work in the Kingdom of Heaven, it is about bearing good fruit (Fruit of the Holy Spirit) and about being co-workers (what God is doing in us) to join Him in what He is doing. Nothing to do with my individual might or strength. The individual development of someone is not so that “I” stand out, it is so that the Church, God’s people, function as one and we stand out. 1 Corinthians 12:12-21 gives us insight to the oneness.
1 Corinthians 12:12-21...One Body with Many Parts
12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So, it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.
14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, "I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand," that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, "I am not part of the body because I am not an eye," would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?
18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21 The eye can never say to the hand, "I don't need you." The head can't say to the feet, "I don't need you."
When each part of the body is “built together with peace,” the whole body will be one. It is Jesus who brings the peace and it is Jesus who, through the Holy Spirit, maintains the peace that is required for the body to be united. Even now as I am preparing to close for this time together, I find myself beginning to focus on my individual approach to the Kingdom life God has brought to me. When in all reality my focus should be on fulfilling that part of the body for which I have been called, the whole body is built up and full of Love (Ephesians 4:14-16).
Oh, Dear God, thank you for the Light you have brought to our lives. Thank you, that we can seek your heart and mind for the good we so desperately desire. Thank you, that through your Son, Christ Jesus, we have life that is full and complete. Oh, dear Heavenly Father, that you would permeate the life you have given, with such grace and love there is no room nor place for a self-centered view of life as a follower of Jesus our Prophet, Priest and King. Please Lord, empower your children, me included, to die to self, to take on your yoke, and be set free from the entanglements of living for selfish gain. Help us to know what the eye sees, what the ear hears, what the heart receives so that the hands and feet can join you in what you are doing. To you be the Glory for ever and ever, In the Name of Jesus we pray. AMEN
Dean Walker; Pastor