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We are Christ’s body, and individually members of it
As part of our ABF, “Life in the Body of Christ,” we read 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 and made observations about the passage. The observations help us understand how we are to interact with one another as members of the body of Christ. In the same way we can look at the human body and marvel at God’s wisdom in design, we can look at the church, Christ’s Body, and marvel at God’s handiwork.
The main teaching of the passage is, “We are Christ’s Body, and individually members of it.” All the observations stem from this truth. I thought it encouraging to list the observations here.
May our fellowship in the Spirit be pleasing in every way as we seek to incorporate these truths into our fellowship.
I was doing a little study in preparation for our elder’s retreat this weekend, and ran across these punchy observations regarding a difficult passage (1 John 2:19 – “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us”). It should be observed, he is making observations largely as it pertained to England, which has the Church of England, a state recognized church. Even so, I don’t think his analysis is any less applicable to American Evangelicalism.
We may think, as we look at the modern Church, and as we compare and contrast it with what appertained earlier this century, that we have fallen upon evil days and that the Church is no longer the Church of God. But look at it like this: at one time everybody went to church, and the churches were packed and crowded. But are we to assume from that that everybody who went to church was a true Christian? There were people who went to church for very strange and curious reasons; it was a habit or a custom; it was a social thing; it paid for people to go to church [socially or for reputation]. No, we must not assume that because the churches were packed they packed with Christians…
…The ultimate test is that we are OF the Church. That is how John puts it — ‘they went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us.’ What does this mean exactly; how may I know whether I am
In the “Life in the Body of Christ” book we are reading for ABF, there is a section discussing how it is helpful for us as Christians to build a private library. The following is a list of book recommendations from members of the body here at CCC. Everyone was asked to send one or two books they believe every Christian should have as part of their library.
Contact us if you would like a PDF copy of the current list.
|Paul Biebel||All things for Good, Thomas Watson||“These two books (All Things for Good & God’s Joy in Your Heart) are packed with timeless truths which for every ounce of conviction offer pounds of encouragement, comfort, and hope in return.” Paul|
|Steve Moxleyand Patti Moxley||Believers Bible Commentary, William MacDonald
|AMAZON – Make Bible study a part of your daily life with the thorough yet easy-to-use Believer’s Bible Commentary. MacDonald tackles the controversial issues head-on, taking a theologically conservative stand, yet presenting alternate views with fairness. The Believer’s Bible Commentary is a friendly guide to exploring the deeper meanings of every biblical book.|
|Patti Moxley||Bible Dictionary, William Smith||CBD – It describes the more important people and places of the Bible and the major teachings of Scripture, and includes Smith’s famous 4,000 questions & answers.|
|Allen Burns||Desiring God, John Piper||“No book has shaped my theology more than|
During ABF, I mentioned that I like to read the Bible every day. In talking about this, I said my personal policy is, “No read, no feed.” This means, unless I have read the Bible, I don’t put food in my mouth. Let me share a bit about why I read the Bible every day and a little bit about my “no read, no feed” policy.
Here are a few reasons why I do this.
1) First, I am not dogmatic about my policy. I want to be sure I don’t cause any confusion or lay out a personal preference as a prescription for others. Of course there are days where I have eaten and not read my Bible first. It is a policy, not a law. I can say that the vast majority of the time I adhere to “no read, no feed,” but again, it is not an “absolute must do” rule in my life. I look at it more as a really good idea. I also don’t think somebody has to read the Bible first thing in the morning. Some people prefer the afternoons or evenings. Mornings just happen to work best for me.
2) I like how in Psalm 103, David instructs his body to praise the Lord. He says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.” I want my flesh, all that is within me, my body, to know the importance of blessing the Lord. My spiritual food for my soul is infinitely more important than food for my physical body. So, it is a daily reminder for me to have the right priorities. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by
What is assurance of salvation? As we study the book, “Life in the Body of Christ” together during ABF, we learn that we are responsible for our own salvation. In other words, our pastor, our parents, our friends, or our spouse will not be held accountable on the day of judgment for our salvation … we will be. So then, let us examine ourselves and see if we have saving faith.
We can have assurance of salvation if Christ is the object of our faith. The object of our faith is what we direct our faith towards. The content of our faith is based on the words God has given us. God has revealed He is a merciful and compassionate God, full of grace and truth. God’s magnificent, enduring, abounding love is made manifest toward us through Jesus Christ. It is of primary importance that the object of our faith is the person and work of Jesus Christ. Jesus is our Lord and Savior. The “treasure in the field” and the “pearl of great price” must be Jesus Christ. We must recognize the total dependency for our salvation, sanctification, and coming glorification, rests entirely upon the person and work of Jesus Christ and not upon anything we have done. It is Christ alone, through faith alone, by grace alone.
God’s justification of those who trust him, according to the Gospel, is a decisive transition, here and now, from a state of condemnation and wrath because of their sins to one of acceptance and favor by virtue of Jesus’ flawless obedience culminating in his voluntary sin-bearing death. God “justifies the
A Cry for Hope
It is public confession time. Let me level with you. In the past six months, I have been downcast. I’ve complained about people. I have grumbled about things. I have murmured, whined, nagged, and criticized in my heart. I have let little things bother me. I lost hope; more accurately, I have forgotten about hope. This is not good. Sure, I could give you a million reasons why I might be justified in being downcast; unplanned bills, cloudy skies, heart surgery, plantar fasciitis, unthankful people, being tired, blah blah blah blah. I’ve had a spell of melancholy. Not a depression that has kept me in bed with the covers pulled up; but one that has been more like something you see in a cartoon, a tiny “rain cloud over my head” kind of depression. Dumb. I know.
What is most bothersome is that I know I have things pretty good! I am one of the last people on this earth that should be complaining. I have seen true poverty and find I am not poor but rich. I have witnessed affliction and find I am not afflicted but most fortunate. I have a great wife. I have a ton of friends. I am thankful for my ministry. My material possessions exceed that of the majority of the world’s population. Really, what is my problem? Snap out of it.
Sin. My problem is sin. I have been unthankful, complaining, and self-centered. I have gone to lengths to hide my sin. As a husband and father, my lost hope affects the spiritual leadership of my family. As a member of the body
What is God doing about Evil?
There are a number of ways to answer this question. My reply to the question of evil is simple, “read the Bible.” Perhaps the subtitle on the cover of every Bible should be, Jesus Christ Overcomes Evil. The entire Bible addresses the question of evil. God does not like evil, He hates evil, and He has a vested interest in doing something about evil. In fact, God radically address evil. This is what the Bible is all about; God addressing the problem of evil.
Think about this, evil results in death. Every evil action, even a seemingly mundane evil act like gossiping, has the ultimate outcome of death. This is why we all hate evil. Humans want to live forever, but we can’t because of evil. War is evil, it kills people. Violence is evil, it kills people. Stealing is evil; it results ultimately in hunger which kills people. Easier to argue is the antithesis; evil acts never result in giving life. Evil never helps us live longer. Goodness brings life, evil brings death.
How does God address evil? Jesus stared evil in the face. He literally took evil upon Himself; He absorbed it and let evil take His life. Jesus fully bore the death evil brings so we would not have to bear the outcome of our own evil. The Bible says Jesus became sin for us so we could be made right. We need to put our faith in Jesus, who He is and what He did. This is the Gospel. God gave His only begotten Son so whosoever would believe in Him would have everlasting
The priests in the Tabernacle, and later the Temple, operated under the Levitical commands of the Mosaic Covenant. Their daily sacrifices and offerings were required so God’s people were able to commune with Him and be led by His grace and mercy (click here to read a post about OT sacrifices). The sweet aromas of the burnt, meal, and peace offerings and the not so sweet aroma of the sin and trespass offerings wafted out of the altar of the courtyard. The priests performed their daily rituals with reverence and obedience.
The Mosaic Covenant, along with the Levitical Priesthood, is now obsolete. It finished when the great High-Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, made final intercession on our behalf. Scripture tells us that He sat down, having completed His Priestly ministry. It finished after He entered the Holy of Holies of heaven’s tabernacle and sprinkled His blood on the mercy seat. Because of His sacrifice on the cross, there remains no more sacrifice for sins (Hebrews 10:1-18). His sacrificial act rendered the Old Covenant obsolete and established the basis of the New Covenant.
Christianity is the New Covenant God has made with mankind. The New Covenant also comes with a new priesthood. Every Christian is a priest in the new Covenant. As priests, we have different privileges and responsibilities than the priests of the Mosaic Covenant.
Here are the functions of the priesthood Christians should concern themselves with. Welcome to the priesthood!
Not sacrifice for sins
We need to explicitly understand there is a major difference between the priests of the Old Covenant and the priests of the New Covenant. The primary function of the Old Covenant priest was to make an offering for sin for themselves and
God’s Will in Christ Jesus & Perseverance of the Saints
The Apostle Paul told the Colossians a specific prayer he had for their church. The prayer was they “may be filled with the knowledge of His (God’s) will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding …” (Colossians 1:9).
God’s will is the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. This is known as giving Jesus Christ preeminence (first place) in all things. Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess Jesus is Lord. God has put all things on earth in subjection to Christ; every dominion, tribe, kingdom, ruler, authority, and government is under His Lordship. All the principalities and powers of the heavens are subject to Christ’s rule as well. It is God’s perfect plan, and God’s good pleasure, in Christ all the fullness will dwell. Nothing will stand in the way to prevent God’s will from taking place.
The Apostle Paul desired Christians to understand God’s will fully, completely and practically. Paul understood how the knowledge of God’s will ought to shape and control the life of those that follow Christ. Our ambition, energy, words, accomplishments, and our response to every situation and circumstance we face (every function of our being) must always have the goal of exalting Christ. In even the most mundane, ordinary tasks of everyday life; Christ is to have first place. Anything and everything we do that is not Christ-like, not exalting Christ, not giving Jesus Christ first place; is outside of God’s will.
Paul told the Colossians an outcome of the prayer would be their being strengthened for perseverance (1:11). The strengthening would be with the same Holy Spirit power God anointed