Thursday, 20 April 2017 16:04

Romans 12:9-21 Dying To Live! The Life of Christ in Me

 

                               

Vs. 3 - After issuing an appeal for humility among the  Christians in Rome, Paul goes into the gifts of service in the church – and he names some of the more basic gifts such as serving, encouraging, generosity, and mercy, mixed with the “upfront” gifts such as prophesying, teaching, leadership.  But his admonition to the people of the church in Rome is to serve Christ in the church and community without the complicating encumbrances of personal ego.  “Ought!!!”

He was instructing the people that their service to Christ needed to be of pure motives. Their motivation to teach, lead, prophesy, give to needs, give mercy, or the giving of encouragement had to be the love of Christ first and the love of people next.  These activities could not come out of the ambition to climb the social or corporate ladder in the church that just led to envy and jealously, along with criticism, sour grapes, bad attitudes, disputes, in-fighting, and other forms of foolishness that discredited the reputation of the church and of Jesus Himself! 

Even one bad apple with an ego problem and an attitude could bring the purpose of God in the church to a screeching halt! The purposes of God are a fragile entity!  You wouldn’t think so, but my experience has shown this to be true.  *I’ve experience three churches where there was a dramatic change of climate in the church – where an individual started fires of dissatisfaction and criticism that ruined what had been, or could have been, a very good thing!  Every one of those church bodies were poisoned, sickened, and halted for years! 

Whether the church is successful in meeting God’s objectives depends upon the personal chemistry of the team members! It always has and  always will.  To interject even one ambitious and unloving ego into the mix is devastating to the work of God!   Division destroys harmony and creates a miserable mistrust between people for years to come!  “I know that after I leave savage wolves will come in among you...”   - Paul - Acts 20:29

Paul is pleading with the people to die to themselves.

[Gal. 2:22]

This is normal! This is mandatory!  Christ-followers must willingly, insistently, have their egos swallowed up in the super-preeminent personage of the living Jesus!

Jesus must come first! Nothing before Him - not romantic life, not children, not possessions, not freedoms, not reputation, not dreams or goals, not entertainments, not achievements, not activities. Everything comes under or behind #1. It can be #2, 3, 4, 9th, or 17th on our list - but never #1!  We die to ourselves so that we might live His will.  His will inevitably will clash with our own.  So ours must die, or it will win!   [Matt. 16:24; Lk. 9:23] (See also Matt.10:38; Lk. 14:27)

GETHSEMANE – “… My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will”

“Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush Him… the Lord makes His life a guilt offering” - Isa. 53:10

“After the suffering of His soul, He will see the light of life and be satisfied” Isa. 53:11

We know the story of Jesus resurrection from the dead. Most Christians that don’t   know who Moses is, or Solomon, still know the details of the resurrection story.  Churches everywhere revisit this event every year as the culmination of the Lenten season.  So we know it well.  Christians know that Jesus is alive!  We proudly proclaim He is alive!  This is the flagship event of Christianity!  

But what does it matter to me today? Does it just give me assurance that I’m saved – that I am going to have a glorious eternal life, and that heaven is mine?!

He’s not just alive. He is alive in me!  But what does   that mean?!  Surely that means something BIG!

In fact it does! He is a big God and He goes big!  He is not out to reform but recreate!  He wants our old selfish, damaged selves to die, and for the new and transformed/recreated selves to come alive and flourish in the new order of Christ.  The new order coronate Christ as Emperor of our life.  His plan is that His resurrected life gets lived out through mine!

I represent Him! He lives in and through me!  He lives in and through every person that has died to themselves and has made Him their leader/King!  He is trying to make Himself known to a world He loves.  He is trying to reach and save those that have been lost to Him!  [Lk. 19:10] 

Full Circle - To get there, He needs His followers to love Him and love people – to live ego-less lives that put Him first always and that are single-mindedly taken up with His objectives to “seek and to save the lost”. We pray for the lost.  We live an exemplary life of love before each other and before the lost.  We promote and preserve unity in the church that represents Jesus.

 

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Bethany Evangelical Free Church
264 North Main Street
Clintonville, WI 54929

Church Office Hours: Wednesday - Thursday 9am to 1pm

Phone: (715) 823-2770
Email: info@befreechurch.org

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