Wednesday, 11/17/21 – Pressing on… Big Head, Small Body…

Big Head, Small Body…

This past Sunday our brother James Harrison spoke on “How to be the Perfect Church Member.” He shared with us Four characteristics of maturing church members:

  1. Put up with one another. (Eph. 4:13)
  2. Put leadership in its place. (Eph. 4:11,12)
  3. Put your personal grace to work. (Eph. 4:7,12,14)
  4. Put on Truth – up close and personal. (Eph. 4:15,16)

I loved the analogy given of how a newborn’s head seems disproportionate to its body. Their head is quite large in comparison to their body, but with time and nourishment the body grows to become balanced with it. “Humans grow into their heads,” said our speaker.

What a wonderful God Who builds into our physical experiences such spiritual lessons to guide us. In Ephesians 4 Paul expresses his great desire that the believers “may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ”.

It is interesting to note the run-up to this statement. To what is Paul directing his readers that ends in this climactic statement of God’s desire that we all “may grow up into Him”?

Paul is talking about the structure of Christ’s church. Back in vs 11 he states that Christ gave… He gifted… or called… or provided… persons to serve a variety of functions: “the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers.” What were they to do? They were “to equip His people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (v.12). They were to help believers to grown in their faith, to use their giftedness and serve others too. And these offices, or functions, or callings were to manage His Church until His return… “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ..” (v. 13). They were to help the Body of Christ to grow up into its Head… “to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the Head, that is, Christ” (v. 15).

“Humans grow into their heads,” James told us. Who is your Head? Is it Christ, or has your ego swollen your own head? Are you growing up into Christ? Are you being built up to become more in proportion to Him?

Press on…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Monday, 11/15/21 – Pressing on… Bridge-buildin’ and Walls-tearin’

Bridge-buildin’ and Walls-tearin’

We’ve got a lot of bridge-buildin’ and walls-tearin’ down to do if we’re ever gonna get to that unity Christ desires. The high rise latte lovers garbed in Gucci gotta sit in the gutter with the soiled and the sullen, and the waifs and wanderers without fixed shelter must shoulder up to those they call snobs. The red, and yellow, black and white gotta clasp hands and hold tight and really believe they are all and equally precious in His sight. The French and English, Arabs and Jews, Irish and English…  redeemed one’s of all races, nationalities, languages, cultures and tribes must all realize they are equal souls only temporarily inhabiting their times and places. The beautiful and proportioned must embrace the plain and disproportionate. The scholar must learn from the simple-minded. The lame and the athlete must walk together. The blind, the deaf, the limbless and the frail must be valued alongside the hardy and the keen.

Jesus knows His children in all these sorts. He sees beyond any and all our carnal distinctions. He looks upon the hearts, speaks to the souls, and woos us all to come near Him… to be in Him, and He in us. This is the only enduring reality. Everything else is but a “test.” Jesus is wondering what will we do? Will we, like He, see past these things too?

He prayed then for them and prays now for us, and “… also for those who will believe…”

that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as We are one— I in them and You in Me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.” (John 17:20-23).

Paul takes up the plea in Ephesians… the heart of God… that we be drawn together in Him.

I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received…. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Eph. 4:1-6).

Believer, let me ask you this: 1,000 years from now… 10,000 years from now… long situated in your eternal home… what actions taken now will prove really to have mattered?

that the world may believe that You have sent Me.” (John 4:21).

More tomorrow…

Link to Francis Chan video: Until Unity.

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Monday, 5/25/20 – Pressing on…

Unity

20200524_202612Who are you?‘ said the Caterpillar….
Alice replied, rather shyly, ‘I — I hardly know, sir, just at present — at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.’
… I can’t understand it myself to begin with; and being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing.’
‘It isn’t,’ said the Caterpillar.
‘Well, perhaps you haven’t found it so yet,’ said Alice; ‘but when you have to turn into a chrysalis — you will some day, you know — and then after that into a butterfly, I should think you’ll feel it a little queer, won’t you?’
‘Not a bit,’ said the Caterpillar.*

photograph of a burning fire

When Moses encountered God in the burning bush and the Lord commanded him to go to Pharaoh to begin the deliverance of the Hebrews, Moses replied, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exod. 3:11). God answered Moses saying He would be with Him and when Moses enquired Whom he should tell the Hebrews had sent him God responded, I AM Who I AM.” This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” He said, “This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation.” (v.14,15b).

Interesting, isn’t it, that man identifies himself with his lostness, “Who am I” while God identifies Himself with His Self-Existence, “I AM Who I AM.” The Hebrew statement “I AM” derives from the verb “to be or to exist.” By declaring Himself in this way God is saying He is ever-present, eternal, self-sufficient, self-determining, and unchanging. God is One. God is Unity and Diversity. God is Trinity, a word we use to describe this unique three-in-one Unity.

baby in white onesie holding wooden blocks

He has made us like Himself, three-in-one, as body, mind, spirit… as offspring, spouse, parent… yet as one. He has given us earth, sea, atmosphere… and told us to multiply… to make many… many for Him… for eternity, as Jesus prayed for as many as will believe, “to be with me where I am, and to see my glory” (John 17:25). And He intends to make believers so intimately connected with Him that we too are “one.” No more, “Who am I?” for we will have reached that completeness spoken of by Paul, that

“…unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ…. no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” (Eph. 4:13-15).

sunset

We don’t yet fully know who or even what we are. But big change is certainly coming. John said, “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2). Jesus prayed, “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you… that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity.” (John 17:21, 23).

Now that’s something to work towards! — Something to work towards today.

More tomorrow…

* Lewis Carol, Alice in Wonderland

To view Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the page from the church website.