“For as in Adam all die, even so, in Christ shall all be made alive”
1 Corinthians 15:22
The key for life, any life, is to be in Christ. There are no formulas, teachings, or concepts that can replace the pulse, the purpose, and the indomitable press of Him. Jesus is the Life and the secret to His vitality is found as we abide in Him.
“He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life”
1 John 5:12
There is something so essential in the LIFE of His own, simple and yet so powerful. The Holy Spirit has been given for this reason: to lead us into this growing relationship.
“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me…”
The Life of Christ is the sum of all truth; not just an addition or influence. He is the fountain of doing and reasoning. It is this Presence that transforms life from a series of unrelated events to an adventure full of purpose.
“When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory”
The quest for an ever-deepening relationship with Him is the joy and purpose of life. There is no point of arrival; His depths are eternal and blessed are those who are captivated by His sheer beauty. This pursuit is fueled by the mystery that unfolds within the common course of life. No wonder the Psalmist cries out with joy:
“O taste and see that the Lord is good…”
“For too long, we’ve called unbelievers to “invite Jesus into your life.” Jesus doesn’t want to be in your life. Your life is a wreck. Jesus calls you into his life. And his life isn’t boring or purposeless or static. It’s wild and exhilarating and unpredictable”.
Russell D. Moore
“Arise, sleeping ones and stand up out of the dead ones, and Christ will shine on you”
Ephesians 5:14 (LITV)
The shining forth of Christ from an individual is realized by the vigilance of a heart to stay alert and awake to the Life of Christ within. How easy it is to let the awareness of His presence slip (Hebrews 2:1); and to pass through life with His Words on our lips without the corresponding passion within our hearts. A common deception among believers is the presumption that belief alone is sufficient. However, the evidence of His Life is that we “live, move and have our being” in Him. If we do not know the wonder of new revelations of His Life, the movings of His Spirit within and without, and the experiencing of His ever-changing work in us, we have fallen into a life of slumber.
“For in Him we live, and move, and have our being…”
The absurdity of claiming to hold the King of kings within our hearts without the power of His Spirit producing the evidence and demonstration of His heart to the world around us is deception.
“They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him…”
“Let us rouse ourselves in so far as we can, most beloved brethren, and, breaking the sleep of old inertia let us awake to the observing and keeping of the Lord’s precepts. Let us be such as He Himself ordered us to be when He said: ‘Let your loins be girt, and your lamps brightly burning, and you yourself like to men waiting for their Lord when He shall come from the wedding, that when He comes and knocks, they may open to Him. Blessed are those servants whom the Lord when He comes, shall find watching.’ We ought to be girt, lest, when the day of departure comes, it finds us burdened and entangled. Let our light shine forth in good works and glow, so that it may lead us from the night of this world to the light of eternal brightness. Let us always with solicitude and caution await the sudden coming of the Lord, so that, when He knocks, our faith may be vigilant, ready to receive from the Lord the reward of its vigilance. If these mandates are kept, if these warnings and precepts are maintained, we cannot be overtaken while sleeping by the deceit of the devil; we will reign as vigilant servants with Christ as our Lord”
“I remember the testimony of a single mother who was very poor. One day she had no food to feed her children breakfast, and no food to send with them to school.
She borrowed a friend’s cart and went to the river bed to dig dirt to sell so she could feed her children. While she was there a strong wind came upon her, and when the dust settled she saw money caught in a bush, which she used to buy food”
– Nickie Pinson
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus”
“For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.” (Prov 5:3-5)
“The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.” Matthew 11:19
The contrast between the narrow perceptions of the religious and the wideness of the love of Christ is evident within this singular verse. The perfect and Holy One extending Himself to the common and flawed sea of humanity, being fully able to mingle with what some considered beneath the reach of their conceptions of God. “A friend of sinners” was the allegations they hurled at Him with the acrimony of disdain and utter contempt.
It is here we must pause and reflect upon our own interactions with the world and the same lost sea of humanity that is in the face of everyone we meet. Do we harbor fear, disdain, or a desire to remain uninvolved in the world around us? Are we like the priest in the parable of the Good Samaritan able to pass by the broken without the slightest inclination to get involved in the real issues of others’ lives? Jesus ended His statement to them by declaring that the true wisdom of God is revealed in the works (deeds) of those who live in Him.
Deeds are the revelation of God’s wisdom abiding within His Own. It is the stage from which those who walk in the fear and the Love of God become involved in the lives of others. The religious on the other hand will speak great things, declare and discuss doctrinal issues of the Day yet remain isolated. The wise like Jesus reveal their truth in the works of Christ through them and are able to love without compromise. Kindness is the love of God expressed without fear or compromise.
Is His “wisdom justified by her deeds”
in our life?
“My little children, let us not love in word, or in tongue, but in deed and in truth”
1 John 3:18
“Whoever wishes to meet Jesus must meet him in places where brothers and sisters of Jesus are hungry, thirsty, naked, unwanted, sick, or in prison. Whoever keeps himself distant from these places remains distant from Jesus”
– Richard Wurmbrand
“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after…to behold the beauty of the Lord”
David spoke in Psalm 27 of the “One Thing”; the One Thing like a ring of great beauty comprised of three gems each one glittering with the rare splendor of their own eternal worth.
1. To dwell in His house/Presence
2. To behold the beauty of the Lord
3. To enquire, (search and to contemplate), in His Temple.
One of the singular joys of prayer is being afforded new glimpses of His being and character. There is an unspeakable grandeur of His presence that settles the disquiet within the human heart. There is a peace that invades the noise and the clamor of external things and above all, there is a beauty that beckons us to come and learn of Him within the quietness of His Own being.
It is the beholding of His beauty that transforms prayer from duty into a journey of being renewed in the truth of what life is about. The demands and busyness of the world with all of its harsh and insensitive ways are washed away in the stillness of His presence.
It is His beauty that draws men and women to Himself. Prayer is the essential wonder of our growth into the pursuit of an abiding life. It is the invitation into Himself.
It is no wonder that David wrote this powerful Psalm for the generations to come of his “One Thing” of which the “beholding of His beauty” was an intricate part of the whole.
May we as David spend time in His presence that we may ever grow in the dwelling, the beholding and the seeking of His wonder.
“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple”
“And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.”
Convention and tradition are the nemeses of every generation. Without the impetus of the fresh inspiration of God, men would cling to the forms and methods of previous generations. We see Elizabeth’s strong reaction to the assumption of their friends:
“Not so; but he shall be called John.”
To which they replied:
“And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name.”
The “coming ONE” brings change to everything that would bear witness to His Name. Even the forerunner must of necessity break with tradition. Christ alone is the new order and by the power of His life men undergo revolutionary transformations. No man can touch Him and remain the same. Tradition and stagnation are the very tombstones of a generation out of touch with the scope and atmosphere of His life.
Those who bear His nature within are aware of the lethargy of our current condition. The status quo is the means by which the “business” of Christian interaction is carried out today; the sheer lack of the wonder and majesty of His being should compel us to a heartfelt seeking of Him.
The verdict on our generation could be summed up in one simple, succinct statement.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
2 Corinthians 5:17
The Church today is not in need of new methods or programs. She is not in need of more technology or stratagems. Her ONE NEED is to be IN Christ. It is in Him that the dynamic of His life is known. It is in Him that the selfish ambitions of men are crucified. Pride, unforgiveness, jealously, envy, and the “works of the flesh” are consumed in the fire of God!
This is the declaration of one who carries within her own womb the touch and call of God to higher things. “Not So” is the cry from one who knows and feels deep within heaven’s fresh and invigorating breath. “Not So” has graced the lips of all those who sought nothing on earth and have become pilgrims of the same faith which inspired their father Abraham. For he sought out a city whose builder and maker is God. He was a sojourner even in the land of promise because his heart had been captured by heavenly realities; he could not and would not settle for the buildings and cities of men. Long he tarried in the plains of Mamre(Vision) not having the slightest inclination to join his nephew in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. His vision was clear and his heart resolute in the pursuit of this “one thing”.
How little our generation perceives that revelation follows sacrifice. Abraham, in the offering up of his own son of promise, “sees” the true offering of God and declares “Jehovah Jireh”! “God will provide”! Such a name had never been known in the earth nor had there been such an obedient heart. The two are inseparable.
“Not So” is the declaration of all who bear within their hearts the effervescence of the living Christ. While men stillwork and sweat to raise up edifices and organizations in the name of God, the verdict of God stands.
“Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord?”
The man who uttered such things was stoned to death by the malice and hatred of the religious people of that day. Living truth is ever an antagonism to the religious. Past and future truth may be acknowledged; present truth is what is ignored and disregarded. They who bear His Word must also bear His reproach.
The Cry of the Spirit of God has ever been…
“Today if you will hear his voice,
don’t harden your hearts”
“Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.”
Psalm 2:1-3 (Also quoted in the Book of Acts 4:25-27)
The stage of human history is set for the eventual fall of all wickedness and the eternal Glory of Jesus Christ. Though there be stifling times of pure evil and darkness it is Christ alone who will stand revealed and glorified at the end of Days. Even the night which is falling upon us with its contrary winds and evil tidings will only further serve His end and purposes.
“When the drama of history is over, Jesus Christ will stand alone on the stage. All the great figures of history … will realize that they have been but actors in a drama produced by another”
– Helmut Thielicke
“Every Knee Shall Bow and Every Tongue Confess That Jesus Christ IS Lord!”
“I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear“