“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8-10).
The following post includes excerpts from a previous post. I guess my original post was incomplete and needed to be revisited. A reminder to me to wait on the Lord.
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8-10). Several weeks ago I was lamenting that faith was a lot easier when I was a child. I had no concern for doctrines or budgets, holy days or spirit languages. I freely loved, and I simply believed, when I was a child. Jesus was enough then. I understood love then. Religion has made ”faith” such an exhausting burden; church has become a burden too. Oh how I long to return to the wilderness; my own struggle to take to the Lord. I’ve known for some time now that one day I will be rejected by family and friends; I will walk away from the life I know, for that is a cross the children of God must bear, and we will bear it gladly! Proclaiming the Good News to someone who has never heard the message of salvation is one thing, but I do not believe that we are called to proclaim the message time and time again to people who have heard, yet continually, and without apology, reject or distort God’s grace, whether they identify as Christians or not. To do so leads to petty quarrels and moral compromise, and is not the example established by the Lord, during His earthly ministry, nor is it the pattern set by the first apostles. I understand this is probably an unpopular view, but it is my view, nonetheless. I share with you what I believe God has shared with me. Not everything God shares is easy to receive, but everything He shares is righteous and good. So, take control of your emotions, and set your selfish motives aside; do everything by prayer and petition (Philippians 4:6).
Next, I want to share the following excerpt from an article I read for a meeting: Seven Attributes of a Generous Church, by Patrick Johnson. The article discussed the Acts 2 church, which sums up beautifully what a church truly on fire for Christ looks like.
Referring to the Acts 2 church, the author writes:
There was no separateness between Christ-followers in this early church. The rich and the poor came together, and there was an overflow of sharing, so much so that it seemed as if the fellowship engaged in share-and-share alike. There is a deep principle at work here: Profound conversion of heart produces a natural generosity. The power of Christ unbound the selfish heart. It generated a love and compassion between people that was so intense that no one could hold on to anything extra when someone else appeared in personal need.
The power of Christ liberates the selfish heart; there is no better evidence of conversion than love, and I don’t mean the shortsighted, worldly imitation. “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). I think of the apostle Peter the night the Holy Spirit filled the believers gathered on Pentecost. Peter cared enough to stop and address the confused onlookers about what they were witnessing. It wasn’t all about Peter; it wasn’t even all about the believers gathered with him; it was all about sharing and glorifying what God was doing in their midst. Just as Jesus said about the Pharisees, I believe there are many, among us today, some, perhaps, well intentioned and a little misguided, who are gaining their reward in full here on earth; those who, knowingly or not, place greater value on elevating themselves at the expense of building up others. The enemy stumbles us in our pride, and religion comes in many different forms, from those glued to their pews to those running in the aisles and writhing around on the floor like pagans in “spiritual” ecstasy.
Some time ago, the Spirit lead me that I ought to instruct someone once, then twice, and then, if we’re unable to reach agreement, part ways with them in peace. “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them” (Titus 3:10). Similar to the apostle Paul’s instruction in 1 Corinthians 5:11, the objective of ostracism is not as punitive as one might think; instead, the objective is two-fold: I believe, foremost, that the sinner will be brought to repentance and restored, and second, that the bad yeast will be removed from the lump. We should not be unevenly yoked, not only in marriage, but I believe in worship as well, and that is, at least, in part, what I believe these kinds of instructions address. But the dough as already been corrupted, from all sides; the yeast has worked its way through the entire lump, and what’s more, their consciences have been seared; they think too highly of themselves. I pray that God opens their eyes and softens their proud hearts; I pray that same prayer for myself every day. I look forward to what Paul describes in Ephesians 4: “Then we will 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” (Ephesians 14-15). Our growth continues all the way to the finish, when we, who God foreknew, will be fully conformed to the image of the Son. While the others, those who Christ does not acknowledge, those who made peace with the world, they will be uprooted like weeds and thrown into the fire. Our hearts will surely grieve, as the true nature of friends and loved ones are laid bare (Matthew 7:23); this is why the Lord will “wipe every tear from [our] eyes” (Matthew 13:24-30; Revelation 21:4).
From the fall of the king of Babylon to the fall of Lucifer (Satan) who empowered him, “Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate: ‘Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble, the man who made the world a wilderness, who overthrew its cities and would not let his captives go home? (Isaiah 14:16-17). Therefore, let us press forward, not in sorrow, dread, or shame (2 Corinthians 7:10; Philippians 2:12), but in repentance, thanksgiving, and love. Grace is not grace without repentance, and repentance breathes life into death! The Bible makes the purpose of this age clear; this life is about the preparation and revelation of the children of God. I have a feeling that God’s remnant may turn out to surprise us all!
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