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BUT NOT IN FLIGHT
PATHOLOGY, BY-PATHS AND BLIGHTS, AND FORGOTTEN HEIGHTS
Time to Soar...
1. FORGETTING TO BE HOLY IS WHOLLY FOLLY
Today, we think of that old custom of stand-by - you are intending to fly, want it more cheaply, and so consent to WAITING until a flight*1comes which, not fully booked, will take you.
MANY are on stand-by when it comes to being a "Real Christian", by which is meant simply, a Christian, for an unreal Christian is merely imaginary.
Let us face it, I John r3:9 expressly states that :
The concept that some cultural background "allows" you to do this when the word of God does not, is as old as the earlier rebellions of the Jews for which they have paid a plenty. It is not limited to them, but they are an example (cf. I Corinthians 10:1-13 for a great challenge to faith and stimulus to heart). God is staggeringly merciful but not slack, tender but not duped: II Timothy 2:20-21.
If you are planning
to make a practice of sin, do not plan to use the term "Christian". It is
not that Christians are perfect, but they ARE willing to follow the Lord
and HE IS ABLE to keep you from falling (Jude 24). If you have faith, then
ask and prevail; if not, then get it. (See below, 4. )
2. PATHOLOGICAL OUTCOMES ...
Notice here that most of the following types of folly MAY be the expression of spiritual frauds, people who are confused, those who think or hope they are Christians, but are not. Some may be temporary ailments befalling Christians, in process of deliverance BY FAITH, which is NEVER without works because it is ALIVE and Christ is ALIVE and ALL-POWERFUL (Matthew 28:18-20).
A) THE ALMOST CHRISTIAN. This is a simple negative. Here indeed a miss is as good as a mile. Think of Herod, that monster, in Acts 26:28. If it weren't for SOME things he could do ALL things ... but...! ALMOST you persuade me to be a Christian! he tells Paul. If however you ALMOST invest in a property, it will not be yours at all.
B) THE PRE-CHRISTIAN - Luke 9:62. He fiddles with the plough, always about to start.
He cranks: no roar responds. He scurries, never soars, has no lift from the Lord, never believes, makes assent but never consents. His heart stays where it always was (cf. Ezekiel 11:19-12:2). Perhaps something fascinates such a person, whose mind never finds a stay on what remains. Jonah, sufficiently warned, exclaimed (2:8):
"Those who regard worthless idols ("lying vanities")
Forsake their own Mercy... "
Vanity itself can be an idol, emptiness a "god".
Note that it is
MAN'S OWN MERCY, the only God whose profound pity is so salient, that
is forsaken, not something exotic. This makes poignant the folly of such
endless non-beginnings, avoiding the place where reality is found, and where
God makes Himself available
(cf. Galatians 6:14, Matthew 11:28-30, Micah 7:18-20).
C) THE DREAM-TIME CHRISTIAN. Jeremiah 23:17-28. Dream?
"The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream; and he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat ? says the Lord."
II Kings 17:33 has this:
"They feared the Lord, yet served their own gods - according to the rituals of the nations". (Cf. Zephaniah 1:5.)
Yet ONLY ONE MASTER is permitted by Jesus Christ (Matthew 23:8-10) - Himself: God must be loved with ALL the heart and mind.
MANASSEH, paragon of wickedness -
"even set a carved image... in the house of God, of which God had said... I will not again remove the foot of Israel from the land... only if they are careful to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law" (II Chronicles 33:7-8).
Indeed, another object of worship within the TEMPLE is called by Jesus Christ: "the abomination of desolation" - the utterly horrible, religiously invasive thing which brings on ruin, desolation! Yes even the Jews were not allowed their OWN culture, and playing with fire in this case needs to find ... a fireman. You cannot put out GOD! (See the papal action at Assisi, at P) below, where the dream mould and the radical man mix.)
Culture ? ANY CULTURE which dares to assert:
its thoughts, dreams, ideas, values, ideals in the FACE of the Lord,
as if HE would accept input from without (Proverbs 30:6),
CANNOT combine with Christ;
for, He declared,
"WHOEVER OF YOU DOES NOT FORSAKE ALL THAT HE HAS CANNOT BE MY DISCIPLE" (Luke 14:27-33).
or make no claims on Christ, none to be a Christian.
It may have some kind of resemblance or be obviously the antithesis,
but impure chemicals are OUT!
The standard is the mouth of GOD directly delivering HIS WORD to man.
Therefore, if YOU are ...
or your PEOPLE
or your TRADITION
or your HEART
or your LIFE
or your national, tribal or regional life ...
is to be a contributor along with the word of God: then forget it.
Alas it would make of you, what ? A 'non-forsake' rejecter who CANNOT be Christ's disciple. After all, it is HIS name, and this, recorded in Luke, is what He has declared.
D) THE WESTERN DREAM-TIME CHRISTIAN. Consult II Timothy 4:3-4, 6:20, Jeremiah 2:27. The god of magical evolution - for that is truly what it is, a resourceful not-being who does all that creation is, without even being there to do it: this is the dream time of Europe and Russia and America: though recently there is a strong movement in Russia back to creation.
It is merely the old story of worshipping a stone, dust, earth, an ingredient, the paper as if the material written were not really anything added! (Cf. A Spiritual Potpourri, Chs.5 and 7, and in Chapter 4, pp. 50, 34-39, Section 4, and Section 6, p. 42; That Magnificent Rock. Ch.1 and The Kingdom of Heaven, Ch.8, pp. 127-139.)
E) THE FREE-STYLE CHRISTIAN.
For this pathology, the WORD OF GOD IS TOO NARROW so use your common sense, or whatever occurs to you, and call it intuition, perception or vision, what you will. However the WAY IS NARROW - Matthew 7:13-14. Thus small or large, a church must be obedient (Acts 5:32.) Size can readily degenerate into idolatry where the magnificence of truth is traded for the multitude of people or monies; or at the individual level, for the quasi-spiritual spectrum of self-indulgences.
F) THE "MY WORKS" CHRISTIAN. I am so full of works that any good God will just HAVE to have me, and indeed should WANT me, seems the last line here. It is the pure heart, not the bragging improviser which God desires. See Romans 3:23-28, Matthew 7:22-23. This is tragic. Mixing your works with God's, to gain acceptance is hideous presumption (Ephesians 2:8-10).
G) THE "GAY" CHRISTIAN. This means the one who takes the implements of love and child-production for spontaneous self-expression at will. God forbids this abuse and allocates exclusion from heaven as the destiny of those unrepentant in such affairs - I Timothy 1:9-10, I Corinthians 6:9. Free among the dead, libido may there burn in shame (Psalm 88:5, Matthew 5:30, Daniel 12:2, Leviticus 18:22-30).
H) THE PART-TIME CHRISTIAN. Christianity is all right, but one has to attend to oh! SO many things that one has to be REASONABLE. See Matthew 13:22 and consider thorns. Are you governed by thorns,
or do you consider the thorns in His crown - and yours as you follow Him; for "the servant is not greater than his master, neither is he who is sent greater than he who sent him," (John 13:16).
I) THE "COCKTAIL" CHRISTIAN. This is a figure and means selective synthesis with the world, the flesh, and diplomacy with the devil. A 'Church' special, it speaks spiritually and acts carnally at will, measuring and meting out Munich appeasement with evil, while it harms the godly ... II Chronicles 16:7-10 provides a startlingly impactive example of this disease.
Christian tends to mix it too, rather making
some mere man the way - "I of X!" - of Calvin, of Wesley, of Luther, of some preacher, theologian
or personage recent or modern, as a criterion.
In fact, rejoice in the good points as edifying, but rejoice greatly in ALL SCRIPTURE as determinative (II Timothy 3:16, Matthew 5:17-20, John 12:48-50).
I Cor. 3:3-11,21-23 categorically condemns this foible, which can be more than that, when division and lack of discernment follow, as they may, from the near idolatry of holding fast to coat-tails, satin-lined though they be. The better the person the more dangerous the practice in this, since much may confirm when little dissuades, so that the errors of the great become the starting points of the followers. As to "name" as a criterion, it can be only of Christ, of the Father, of the Spirit.
J) THE SOME-TIME CHRISTIAN - John 13:2, 18:2-6. You hear of the Sometime Professor of Music - he once held such a post! Even Judas could pretend to that, but any time with God as His child is ALWAYS (I John 5:13, I John 3:9, John 5:24, 4:14). IF you CEASED to be a Christian, then you NEVER WERE. See Matthew 13:20-21.
The EXPERIENCE of being touched was real enough ("at once ... with joy"); but there was STONE UNDERNEATH, no real repentance. It was "temporary", not in the heart. The real thing is "REPENTANCE NOT TO BE REPENTED OF" (II Corinthians 7:10).
"Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be repented of."
K) THE SUMMER-TIME CHRISTIAN - Matthew 19:16-22. It doesn't hurt to enjoy yourself, so why not make it a condition of ANY religion YOU will have! Here we have the rich young ruler episode. Lovable as the guy was, his heart so intense and his mind so willing - he came RUNNING to Christ: yet OTHER THINGS were 1st..
this, many run to religion as an experience primarily, "my life" supplanting
Christ as pre-eminent (Col.1:18, Phil. 2:8-11). His mouth is closed at will,
His book disregarded as needed, because "life in Christ" is so stunning,
you can't be expected to remember He is Lord (Luke 6:16) and has spoken (Matthew
John 14:21-23 for the contrary declaration of Jesus Christ.
Winter comes here, with His return whose name was so mangled. (See alternate fantasy in X) below, for mind, and in M) for will .)
L) THE COTTON-WOOL CHRISTIAN. In fact, while an attack of cowardice may seem to be in mind, it is in the ear that the cotton-wool may be placed, since some are sensitive to great heights, and cannot bear sitting in heavenly places, or setting their minds on things above (Colossians 3:1-3, Ephesians 2:6, Micah 7:18-19, Isaiah 40:27-28). The two aspects may be related!
M) THE "MY LIFE" CHRISTIAN. See Jeremiah 43-44, esp. 43:10,17. These people were WILLING to do WHATEVER Jeremiah told them from God - UNTIL he told them! This is simply misplaced will-worship.
You worship not your wallet or your beauty, but your WILL! Also known as the CAPTIVE CHRISTIAN, sin-slave (John 8:34-36), serving sin while calling Christ 'Lord'.
Luke 14:27-33 gives the rebuke: it is IMPOSSIBLE! It is CHRIST OR WILL! Potential, preference, satisfaction - MINE! - becomes the criterion; whilst the satisfaction that CHRIST secured, was that of HIS FATHER (John 8:29, Philippians 2:1-12). Self-centred Christianity is like using bias bowls for a tennis match. It is not just wrong: it is ludicrous!
Similarly in essence, you have the COP-OUT CHRISTIAN. Here there is a substitution of some element of the way for the way itself, a near-to idolatrous concentration on a misconception. The knowledge of Christ and the power of God, as in a short-circuit, can thus be bypassed, faith entangled in a mass of false leads.
Thus sacramentalistic pseudo-saints can be so strong on the sacrament, that either they turn it into Christ, reserved (as Acts 3:19-21 tells us - cf. John 6:62-63, SMR Ch.10, pp. 1042-1088H) in heaven till the "regeneration of all things", and go right ahead and worship it; or else imagine it gives them a sort of ration of strength, as if God were limited to such intrusions of symbols to strengthen His saints with might in the inner man. It is those who "WAIT UPON THE LORD" who renew their strength, and that with exuberance (Isaiah 40:31).
Again End-time quasi-saints can be so concerned about the undoubted near approach of the return of Jesus the Christ, that they stop their conscientious endeavours, and abstract from their duties, as if knowledge of His return meant a cancellation of responsibilities (cf. II Thessalonians 2 - and see Ch. 17, pp. 234, 238 ).
Some prefer the fellowship cushion camaraderie, allowing the desire for fellowship to displace the duty of obedience and faithfulness to Christ, selling whatever it takes to preserve "unity" over the body of the throat-slit scriptures. (Cf. The Kingdom of Heaven... Ch.10, Part 3, Blood-Sport.)
However it is faith and not preference which is indispensable, the word of God and not philosophy which is to be revered, Christ as the living word of God, with no additives, for whom all must be forsaken (Luke 14:27ff.)., including all these mischievous mis-programmed distortions of Biblically required reality.
N) THE PORT-HOLE CHRISTIAN - Matthew 13:20-21. This is the SOME-TIME Christian in early stages. The word is still growing in the shallow soil; abroad, port-hole peeps on the kingdom of heaven are taken from the Self-Liner cruising along the coast. Stimulating it may be, but spiritual it is not. There is no consistency or growth (versus II Peter 3:18, 1:1-11).
O) THE SACRED LIFE CHRISTIAN - II Timothy 4:10. Demas has forsaken us, having loved this present world. For one's sacred life one must give worship, take liberties, follow one's desires, will, thoughts. For the real Christian however, it is the "MARK of the HIGH CALLING in Christ" to which one looks, not the petty putty of one's personal predilections. Do you "hate your own life also" as prescribed then ? (Luke 14:26) and are you aware that those who are Christ's
"have crucified the flesh with its lusts and affections" - Galatians 5:24.
You will notice that it is accomplished. Warfare may remain, but the victory is Christ's (Galatians 5:16-24) with the outcome noted in verse 24, and lived as in Galatians 2:20, where Paul exclaims:
"I have been crucified with Christ;
it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;
and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me..." cf. I Corinthians 11:1.
What is SACRED
here ? It is CHRIST. What SHOULD BE made
holy ? ... we who are Christians. It is we who should be ... wholly consecrated to God, the living God (cf. Romans 12:1): not to imaginations about religion - or ourselves. Desire to save your life ? Lose it! Lose it for HIS sake ? you'll save it (Mark 8:35, Romans 12:1-2).
P) THE LIBERAL CHRISTIAN: Mark 8:38, John 12:48ff., 5:43-48, Matthew 5:19-23. These people would re-write the Bible at their taste and discretion. This word of God however will JUDGE THEM. Interfering with the manufacturer's handbook will not change the way you must treat your car. (See The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, Chs.1, 10 and Appendices C, D.)
Q) THE RADICAL CHRISTIAN - See II Corinthians 11:4.
Put Christ on the mantel-piece, "your" christ whom you mould, along with your other idols. It could be your personal creation, that of some sect, corresponding to the "Mary" delusively created by Rome.
It is however "the Lord's Christ" - Luke 2:38, who is Jehovah in the flesh (John 8:58). HE ALONE saves (Isaiah 43:10-12, Acts 4:10-12). And as to Him, He saves ALTOGETHER (Hebrews 7:25, Romans 5:8-10, John 10:9,l 27-28, I John 5:12-13, John 4:14, 6:51-54).
Other 'christs' are man-manufactured apprentices whose status compared with Jesus Christ, the Lord, zooms towards the sub-infantile (Isaiah 28:5, 9-11, 29:13-14); for man is infinitely below God, and created gods are mere flamboyant derogation of God (Isaiah 41:21-24, 43:8-11, 45:21-24, 48:3-7, II Corinthians 11).
Much Pentecostalism comes here, creating counter-commandment concepts with a "liberty" that has no licence from God (Isaiah 28:9-11, 29:13-14 & see A Question of Gifts); and we think of Eliphaz in Job 4:13-8:
"Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair on my body stood up. It stood still, but I could not discern its appearance."
So spiritual! But he STILL went on to make shallow judgments on Job: and had to be prayed for by this saint, at the end, that he might be forgiven! Dreams, visions, feelings, frenzies and spiritual perceptions are added to the word of God as basic to life: folly, even if no personal pride is added.
God may guide in any way of course, but HIS WORD has no additions: NONE!
If however it is to be moulded for ecumenical convenience,
a Buddha with papal authority
was placed by the Dalai Lama
on the altar in St Peter's Roman Catholic Church in Assisi Italy
(October 27, 1986 ... cf. Psalm 96:5, Galatians 1:6-9, Isaiah 43:10-14 48:4-8), for example,
officially set on the place of masses where a movable 'christ'
is carted about at will:
then you have a double defilement.
Hybrid Christians ?
These merely acquire deformities and defile with defamations, the name of Jesus Christ. (Cf. II Corinthians 11:1-15.) (See SMR, pp. 1008-1088H, 743-744, 750B-E, 864ff., 953ff., 842ff.)
R) THE SUPERBLY-SPIRITUAL CHRISTIAN. Some resemblance to 0)... but see Luke 18:10. THIS person is too spiritual to condescend to the ordinary folk, yet is very thankful not for sins forgiven but for being superior (cf. John 8:37-45). Yet, said Christ, the rank sinner whom he despised, who cried -
'Lord have mercy on me a sinner!', went away justified rather than this man. Both 0) and P) can lead to a personal Roman Catholicism, in which the city is ... self!
S) THE BALANCING ACT CHRISTIAN. See II Corinthians 1:19-20, Proverbs 8:8. BUT!, says one, I ALSO read this, so I shall not need to do that! I will do only the part of the word which appeals to me, which seems suitable, attainable. Why try for the impossible; and anyway, I do not see how ... if I do this, I CAN also do that! The word of God however is neither twisted nor in default; if it says it, the only wise course is to do it (Proverbs 1:33, 2:10, 9:10, 13:13, 21:16, 22:17, 28:7-9, 30:5-6).
You do not need to balance like a stressed circus acrobat in order to keep ALL the Lord has to say; and to imagine ONE thing excuses you from ANOTHER is to add insult to rebellion. Get understanding and live: in any field, things may seem chaotic, misaligned, when it is your own understanding that is bereft.
Spend time with God, draw near to God, and He will draw near to you (James 4:8), opening the eyes of your understanding and the fountains of your will.
T) THE "WHO-ME?" CHRISTIAN. See Hosea 7:10,16. This one is guaranteed absent when it counts, certain to avoid suffering, not to be seen in the godly works of construction, while compromising the while with rebels... where? In the sleazy slums of unspirituality.
U) THE BURROW-FURROW RABBIT CHRISTIAN ... burrows in the word, but runs in the fields with a white flag behind, when confronted (Isaiah 59:14, Jer. 9:1-6, Ezekiel 33:32, John 6:58-66).
V) THE CIRCULAR CHRISTIAN - Psalm 95:6-10, Jonah...
Here the problem is that a conscious desire to serve God may be present, but in the way, the flesh speaks with languorous tones that sentimentally may sound a little like sanctity (Galatians 5:17ff., II Corinthians 11). The individual prays, pleases him/herself, and prays without Biblical faith so erring; and then for the error, very probably pays. It should be HE says, I pray and HE is pleased.
The circle should be: pray, please (God), praise; not pray, please oneself, pay.
Always borne in mind is this: that whatever way the Lord chooses to guide, He will guide (II Timothy 3:16, Psalm 78:41, Acts 2:17);
and vain is it to prescribe in theological terms based on thought beyond, or restrictively below, His word. Yet ALL that His word says is prior and sure, and is a permanent guide, like standing orders, and in NOTHING with wisdom may ever be aborted or thwarted. In abiding in Him and in His word, there is great and joyous blessing (John 15:7): ABIDE IN ME, AND MY WORDS ABIDE IN YOU is the desideratum prescribed by Jesus Christ.
W) THE NOT-BEGUN CHRISTIAN - see I Corinthians 10:1-12. He has
no fear of God though he may have terror of trifling. The "clean" fear of
God is replaced by the trepidation and consternation of uncertain troubles
and vague perils. Think of the Jews failing to ... enter the promised land
(Numbers 14) - with GOD WITH THEM!
It is a case of SHRINKING FROM REALITY, a pitiable plight that forsakes the divine pity in self-indulgence and pre-occupation.
As Jeremiah 2:13 has it :
"For my people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewn themselves cisterns -
broken cisterns that can hold no water."
X) THE CRANIAL CHRISTIAN and the Danielic Depth-
Superficial virtuosity can lead some into professorial chairs where their foolish faithlessness becomes a curse to the church which should never have called them; a trap to the local congregation, perhaps blinded by verbal facility.
Knowing all 'the answers', few of the questions, those afflicted with this disease are likely to fall for, or become part of the Corinthian syndrome of II Corinthians11 where Paul rebuked the Church for its terrible tendency to accept ANYTHING from usurpers such as those who would bring in a "new Jesus" or "another Jesus", "another Gospel" with "another Spirit". Such appears the way of much twentieth century churchianity (see The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, pp. 864, 904ff.; 743-744,750A-E).
Pressing consequences include:
disloyalty, treachery, betrayal of the faith once delivered,
plausible combination with
the exotic, despotic, erotic or theologically neurotic,
clamour, spiritual mutation,
restlessness and a diffuseness resulting from spiritual cataracts.
Nil-faith nostrums abound and philosophy protrudes like bulging eyes.
This pathetic pathology is to be carefully distinguished from Danielic Depth, where in long humiliation before the Lord (Daniel 10), a Christian learns to 'eat meat' (I Cor. 3:1-3, Hebrews 6:1-3, Galatians 6:14) and to help in its provision for others. Thus Daniel was noted for being enabled in the area of "an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles and explaining enigmas" - Daniel 5:12 - cf. Ephesians 1:17-19 ("the eyes of your understanding being enlightened"). The spirit and the understanding in reality GO TOGETHER, each bowed before and lifted up by the hand of the Lord (Isaiah 66:2).
THE DOMINANT CHRISTIAN or the Encouraging Servant of Christ
- Matthew 18:1-5, 20:20-28, Mark 9:33-37. Recall also the express case of
much unappreciated Diotrephes (III John
9-10), one of whom it was said: "who loves to have the pre-eminence among them" and "does not receive us".
Glory appears so to have tainted his wings that he found an apostle unacceptable. Many nowadays would not say, admit or even perhaps conceive this to be their fault, but to lead is one thing, to shove another; and to push preconceived ideas is as far different from exhorting to righteousness which may indeed be done with passion, that the one may lead to anti-apostolic glamour and the other to a return to the faith.
Health and happiness in Jesus Christ acknowledges ONLY God as Lord, and it is HE who is the LORD Jesus Christ who said, "Why do you call Me Lord, Lord and not do the things that I say!" - Luke 6:46. With "leadership" of a carnal, worldly, self-important type, agreements can be broken, the covenant of Christ can be slighted and a head-full of exalted rubbish can replace the fact that even Christ did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28). The Gentiles, said Christ, love to domineer, "yet it shall not be so among you" (Matthew 20:25-26).
To help, exhort Biblically, share vision of service, encourage in the right walk, supervise affairs with zeal and personal modesty, this is the right side of the dominance which so appeals to the peoples, as Jesus indicated, and the apostle John showed. How sad that diseases of the spirit can foil the wonders of teamwork of the faithful; but the facts are plain and the way must be chosen so that neither is the stimulus of supervisory saintliness lost nor is the dominance of carnal presumption gained.
But now, it is
time for strong ...
FROM THE LORD IN THE WAY OF LIFE : we move through Z to A1, reminding ourselves
meanwhile that the first shall be last, the meek shall inherit the earth.
The Passage is Narrow, the Glory is Great
through dangerous waters of confusion to the clear sight of the ocean vastness
of the truth. We move through the shallows to the grandeur available in that
ocean of wonder, the Lord Jesus Christ, only Saviour, Lord of all.
Z) THE FOOT-DRAGGING CHRISTIAN - Isaiah 35:3, Hebrews 12:4,12, Isaiah 42:3.
"Encourage!," says Isaiah, "the exhausted,
strengthen the feeble!" and again, of the Messiah,
"A bruised reed will He not break, and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish"(NASV). There is glory, that even here, where some might surrender the task, Christ is more than equal to it, and has proved Himself strong in weakness and undeflectable in purpose.
Beaten and bruised Himself, He does not abolish the bruised, but rather heals - in Hebrew, the words are specifically similar in 42:3 and 42:4 - for HIM who gives, and for us (cf. Hebrews 4:15-16, 2:17-18)! Foot-dragging may come from a problem in the area of the spine, and strengthening is called for; or from exhaustion, and refreshing is needed.
Where slowness to perform the will and word of God is however based in rebellion or obstinacy, the case is different and through deviousness can quickly degenerate into apostasy. Nevertheless, the children of God are to be cured from weariness and weakness, even David once feeling "ready to halt", and the Messiah has a tenderness which is an elixir through which His strength flows (Isaiah 40:10-11, John 8:1-12, 21:11-19).
As for being a bruised reed, at times the signal changes. You become more pressed like crushed berries, producing the juice of humility in the framework of Christian service to God and man. Indeed, as Isaiah 40:10-11 has it, "Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him: behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those who are with young."
His real zeal is shown not only in His beauty of holiness, as in Hebrews 5:7-8, Luke 22:44, but in His exposure of frauds at the constant and imminent danger of death (Luke 11:52-54), finding His people among the false leaders and comforting them with His own power and presence, love and zest, just as Ezekiel foretold (34:14-16, contrasting the betrayal of those appointed to act, but consuming their time on themselves - 34:1-5). Indeed He CAME to seek and to save what was lost (Luke 15, 19:10).
In all this, God does not forsake His people, but encourages them as they are made white, as Daniel puts it, and purified, strengthened and moulded, given more grace as is for the lowly in mind and meek in spirit. Look at the encouragements given to Daniel (Ch.10), to Paul (Acts 18:9-11, II Corinthians 12:9-10), and to Christians who suffer for Him who sent them (I Peter 4:14).
Consider Isaiah 40:1-3, where a people have come through to trust in the Lord after a bleak beginning, and Psalm 37:2 where you are taught to rest in the Lord, and to "delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart".
So work, but do not put your trust in your works (John 9:4), but in Him who gives you the call to serve Him (Psalm 40:4, Proverbs 3:4-5); pray, but do not trust in your prayers but in Him who can answer them (Ephesians 3:19-20).
"Therefore strengthen your hands which hang down and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame my not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:12-14). And be with those who are
"looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" - Hebrews 12:2.
3. FULL CIRCLE
A1...) THE CIRCULAR QUAY CHRISTIAN - John 10:9. Notice here that in Sydney there has been a central quay to which the ferries would come, and from which they would be despatched to Manly outside the Heads, and various inner places. There the people went, from there they were transported in the open sea, or even ocean.
This reminds us of the fact that ONCE you HAVE entered that door which is CHRIST by faith as in John 10:9, THEN you belong to Him and WITH HIM go in and out and find pasture. HE is Circular Quay in this parable, and TO Him those who are His go, in order to find IN HIM the next destination, step, event in their journeys, and to GO AND DO IT (Luke 17:8-10). The ocean reminds us of the pure joy in serving the Lord and the ferries of the potent power available to those who are in Him and work and live for Him (Ephesians 1:19).
So with holiness have help, in help have service, in service have strength and in strength have a journey in the peace of Him who MADE the seas and works all things after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11). Never forget that, and if you are His, trusting in His blood - symbol of substitutionary sacrifice for believers, in His power by which His body was raised physically from the dead (Romans 10:9, Luke 24:39), then what have you to fear! Fear God and love the Lord, for in Him is everlasting strength (Isaiah 26:4).
Thus we are led
to the articulation of the form, format and provisions for the Biblical Christian.
4. THE BIBLICAL CHRISTIAN
TO LIVE IS CHRIST ...(*2)
(Philippians 1:20-21,Col. 3:1-3, Romans 6).
This is one who ...
LOVES the Lord, and KEEPS His word. Although imperfect and not fully mature (Philippians 3:12-15), this one
knows where to find forgiveness at once (I John 1:7-2:2),
runs and is not weary (Isaiah 40:27-31): BECAUSE waiting on the Lord,
renews his strength;
walks on the Rock (I Corinthians 3:11),
knows the Lord (John 17:1-3), and that salvation is indeed his (Isaiah 33:17, Titus 3:5, II Timothy 1:9-10, Ephesians 2:1-8),
co-operates with Christ's team (I Cor.12),
exhorts and is exhorted (Hebrews 3:13),
is alive and therefore has Christian vitality (John 4:14),
dies daily (Romans 8:36, I Corinthians 15:31),
hates his/her own life (Luke 14:26) but
pants for the word and friendship of God (Psalm 119:11,20,24, 43:1, John 15:14-15 - and note that He DID call THEM His friends),
knows the power of God (I Corinthians 1:24), because God has it and so makes it available to His children (Ephesians 1:19),
knows the companionship of the Lord who guides by grace, calling His sheep as it pleases Him (John 10:27-28), giving eternal life and gracing it with His presence,
falls but calls
on the Lord (Psalm 142:1-3, 9:12, 34:6, 4:3, 61:1-4, 138:3, 57:2, 65:4) is
lifted up (Prov. 24:16) by the divine ambulance and rushed to the spiritual
hospital in Christ with a humble and a contrite heart (Isaiah 66:2).
Avoid these pathologies (A-Z) if you belong to Christ;
but if you do not,
then seek Him, repent and submit yourself
in contrition and faith,
asking the Father for Christ's sake to accept you, purge and clean you, making your heart as He would,
planting your will in His love
as He also plants you in His kingdom;
and BE THANKFUL for His mercies, for the Lord delights in mercy (Micah 7:18-20). You are not being 'trying' when you seek the mercy HE LOVES TO GIVE!
If you ARE CHRIST'S and find any of these pathologies within you, repent, submit your fault, folly or failure to the Lord, call the ambulance, go to His operations unit, and by faith be delivered.
. If for any reason, like Elijah, by faith you have for a time to stand alone, be fortified by faith to fulfil your mission, and seek in love for the blessing of those who are faithful.
Much that is vague, vain and illusory masquerades, parades or even chaotically chums up with the concept of Christianity. The latter is as defined in the word of God, in the life of Christ, in the gospel of life. God is its origin, man is its target, truth is its way, and immutable are its ways: they are everlasting, in grace, by faith, and never fail. When therefore what is definitive of Christianity is systematically absent, or constantly contravened, contradicted or confused, this is alien pathology, not relevant to the question of the church. It is a convening of imitation, an art of artificiality, if by any means the very elect might be deceived (Matthew 24:24). DO NOT however, be deceived.
Often the term 'Christian' is used through re-definition (as in neo-Orthodoxy) of major terms, or some may hold to it with the implicit heresy that believing does not impel to doing (contra James 2:17 cf. SMR pp. 520-532). In fact, it does. Some even attempt to re-define the Christian faith (as in neo-evangelicism); or even to re-define God Himself, with the soaring grandeur of blasphemy, in one's own fallen image or desire, along the lines often displayed in the Mormon structure, taking the glory backwards, not proceeding from its infinite Source who declares His mind; while others move in terms of the diabolically immoral concepts of theistic evolution, which are as far from the evidence as from the self-declaration of God (cf. That Magnificent Rock, Chs. 1, 6). Man who would make an immoral god is doubly immoral.
Thus Christ, though in the infinitely superior form of God, voluntarily proceeded to anti-survive - such was the love in Him, such the plan of His Father for salvation (Philippians 2) - in order that those defeated in sin should arise and be adopted as children of God. Paul accordingly adjures us, "We then who are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves" - Romans 15:1.
The LORD BLESS YOU AND GIVE YOU REST (Matthew 11:28-30).
shows the Christian "sitting in heavenly places", suggestive of being indeed "in flight". While STATUS
is vital here, being saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8), operational power is
also relevant (Ephesians 1:19), as is the perspective and discernment that
"height" brings (Ephesians 1:17-18). If you are a Christian, part of your
heritage is the PLACE BY GRACE, and part the OPERATION IN GRACE! To change
it, a planted tree is ALSO an operational one (Isaiah 61:3, Romans 6:5).
The strictly apologetic significance of this flight survey as here presented, is this.
Much that is vague, vain and illusory masquerades, parades or even chaotically chums up with the concept of Christianity. The latter is as defined in the word of God, in the life of Christ, in the gospel of life. When therefore what is definitive of Christianity is systematically absent, or contravened, contradicted or confused, this is alien pathology, not relevant to the question of the church. It is a convening of imitation, an art of artificiality, if by any means the very elect might be deceived (Matthew 24:24).
it used through re-definition (as in new-Orthodoxy) of Christian terms, or
holds to them
but has the implicit heresy that believing does not impel to doing (contra James 2:17 cf. SMR pp. 520-532),through re-defining Christian faith (as in neo-evangelicism); or even re-defining God with the soaring grandeur of blasphemy, in one's own image, along the lines often displayed in the Mormon structure, taking the glory backwards, not proceeding from its infinite source; or in terms of the diabolically immoral concepts of theistic evolution, which are as far from the evidence as from the self-declaration of God (cf. That Magnificent Rock, Chs. 1,6).
Christ, though in the infinitely superior form of God, voluntarily
proceeded to anti-survive - such was the love in Him, such the plan of His
Father for salvation (Philippians 2) - in order that those defeated in sin
should arise and be adopted as children of God. Paul accordingly adjures
us, "We then who are strong ought to bear the
infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves" - Romans 15:1.
STRUCTURES AND EXPLICIT ERRORS
Whether such declivity or error be found
This is all part of the variety, of the growing pains, of the developmental diversity in the Christian life (cf. I Peter 1:6-7), which may be required. It can produce sensitive and newly acute awareness of great themes and graces (as in I Peter :3-6, preceding v.7), or perhaps in II Cor. 12:7-9. There can come correctives, as in guiding a yacht through a choppy sea, avoiding the sudden squalls and winds, or overcoming them (cf. Ephesians 4:14). THIS, it is very different from being UNWILLING longer to endure sound doctrine, which can happen when the heart is not in fact converted, and the call of the flesh, temporarily in abeyance in some religious frame of mind, re-asserts itself.
Much is bogus, some things are prima facie look-alikes to Christianity AT FIRST (as indicated in the famed parable of Christ of the wheat and the tares - Matthew 13:24ff.).
However WE do not need to JUDGE an individual, where the VERBAL statements appear sound but there is some listing to stern, some drifting to port. We seek correction, apply the word of God, show patience and trust in the Lord. In the end, many things which looked good, are no more sound than was Judas Iscariot; and some things which appeared weak and wobbly, are as with Peter, made of the toughest stuff, only need time to manifest the reality of Christ within them.
It is marvellous that we do not need to judge, and even better is this: IT IS FORBIDDEN (cf. Matthew 7:1). That is the point about a tree and its fruit, knowing the bad tree, the false prophet, the stress in the context of Matthew 7:16ff.). We do indeed find IN THE LONG RUN, the reality of the tree and the fruit, but, fortified indiscreetly with this, many try to judge things before their time, something also explicitly forbidden (I Cor. 4:3-5).
If a man murder, he murders, and has become a murderer. But the case is often a matter of feeling and estimation, of "judgment" which the mighty often seem to take upon themselves as if you could, without "judging" nevertheless categorise and impose your value assessment on some soul for whom Christ died, and to whom as Master, he stands - if His indeed (Romans 14:4).
prophets however are readily detected by comparing their often large speech
with the word of God. Secret judgments about fellow workers is another matter
and can readily lead, being forbidden, to the state of affairs which bordered
on need for sharp apostolic intervention in the seething straights about
Corinth (II Cor. 12:20ff.). This, as there, can often result from a lack
of discipline on evils which do NOT involve judging, in that they are merely
an observational reality (like ... good or bad fruit, when you have eyes
with which to see it - as, to change the image, in the case of the
DISCIPLINE AND DELINQUENCY
Though then there are areas when the word of God must simply be applied and purging of evil effected, as in the human body when it needs medicine after bad food; there are also many areas of a different type, and misusing the permission to look at fruit, by failing to heed the admonition in the SAME CHAPTER (Ch.7, Matthew) about subjectivity, and mistaking the emphasis of the passage, many lead to divisions and clamour.
In this present survey, STAND-BY, we are in the happy position of merely examining TYPES of fruit, TYPES of folly, TYPES of error, or soundness, trends and dangers as seen in a construction of imaginary people. They are MADE TO TYPE so that there is no danger of 'misjudging' the soul of any, since none of these passengers have souls, being creatures of the imagination. Nevertheless, let him/her who has eyes, see.
at the apologetics level, this is a warning about being too concerned at
the flotsam and jetsam which washes about on top of the deep waters. It is
there. It is not the ocean. It is not the ship.
ship manifests itself by the DIRECTION of its sailing, the FIDELITY of its
course, the FAITH of its life, the USE of the chart, the BIBLE and the GRACE
of its motion. Denominationally, some bodies leave it and some join it,
for the 'name' and 'past' does not constitute the church, but the reality.
At this, consider Revelation 2-3 and the warnings to some bodies which could
cease - if not forthwith, then very shortly - to be accounted as part
of the Church of Christ, though they might
not act publicly to reveal their fall!
AND FIDELITY TO HIM
WHO IS CALLED LORD
a mighty stream, with eddies and rivulets, with tributaries and swellings,
the tide of Christ's church continues, always active, always moving in one
direction. The dupings are numerous.
After all, the greatest of publicity agents on earth, under the Lord, beneath the Christ, is at work with deception and confusion as a part of the game. However, the realities stand firm: the word of God as required (Matthew 7:13ff.), and the action of life as designed by it.
Weaknesses are not for bath-water, but for spillage down the drain. Failures are not for models, but for confession and repentance, before the Lord.
In the midst of the growth and development realities of particular Christians and churches, are the distortions and degradations of falsity which comes to rule in some bodies; and their number now grows according to the predictions of the Lord and His apostles (cf. Matthew 24:24,7, II Thess.2, II Tim. 3, II Peter 2). Nevertheless, the foundation stays firm (II Tim. 2:19-21, cf. Luke 6:16):
"Nevertheless the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal, The Lord knows those who are His. And, Let every one who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity."
In fact, without taking up your cross and following Him, as Luke, just quoted, relates from His lips, you CANNOT be His disciple. What can do so and does by His enablement, forms a corps and a corpus which flows on with the joy of Christ in His presence, equipped to serve now, as ever, in Him who has come and will return.
The Jews have returned to their land; now it is HIS TURN - to the world!
Despite the depredations of governments, the calumniations of the world, the betrayals of the Judas squadron of this world, the treachery of some who having loved this world in the beginning, continue with it at the end, like Demas; despite the fall of many structures, long dead, and the departures of some merely attracted, not grounded in salvation (Matthew 13:21, 15:13), the community in Christ continues, always, like the stream we pondered, re-assembling, reviewing, watching and waiting for HIM who is its Lord (Matthew 25:1-10). Its course leaves a wake of white which contrasts strongly with the excitement of this world in its continual storms, complacency and pretence, oscillating like waves without crests, lost in the end without name.
When it goes, with its testimony of power and peace, its restraint and its call to truth and righteousness, withdrawn from this world to its blessed Lord (Matthew 24:36, I Thess.4, II Thess.2:7ff.), then Armageddon will come; and not without reason!
let no one be confused. The pathologies and the pathogens, the devilish tricks
and political impositions, the personal psychic gloryings and the social
abuses which misuse the people of the Lord, neither one of these nor all
is sufficient to betray the work of Christ; for where He is, there is purity
and health and help, as at the first. It is well to be walking with open
eyes, then, and to avoid confusion through the subtleties and dissavours
of war (Ephesians 6).