Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Revelation.5

"I have not come to you on my own behalf, but have been sent by the one who is truth. Nor have I come down from heaven to do my own will but the will of the Father who has sent me. I was born and came into this world for one purpose: to be a living witness to the truth.
Those who love the truth will follow me."

The Truth Jesus Gave Living Witness:

Jesus Christ Is the Eternal Son of God,
    My Elder Brother, My Lord and Master

Jesus has an Absolute Right to my obedience
    In whatever way I may come to know
    What it is He wants me to do.

To Obey Jesus is to climb to the height of 
    my human potential. To not obey Him
    would be to deny Him.

Jesus died that I might die like Him:
     Die to any ruling power in me but the
     Perfect Will of God.  To live ready to be 
     nailed to a cross, if God will it.

Jesus is my Savior from myself.  
     From all that comes from loving myself,
     From all that God does not love,
     From all that God would not have me love,
     From all that is not worth loving.

Jesus died that the Justice and Mercy of God
     might have its way with me:
     Making me Just as God is Just
     Making me Merciful as God is merciful
     Making me Perfect as He is Perfect.

God will give me what 
     punishment I need
     -to set me right
     -Or keep me from going wrong.

Jesus died to deliver me from all

  • Meanness
  • Pretense
  • Falseness
  • Unfairness
  • Poverty of spirit
  • Cowardice
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Self-worship
  • False Trust in possession
Jesus died to make merry as a child,
     The child of our Father in Heaven.
     Loving nothing but what is lovely,
     Desiring nothing I would be ashamed to let
          the universe of God see me desire.

God is just like Jesus,
     Only greater.
     For Jesus said so.

God is absolutely, grandly beautiful,
     even as we might, in our loftier moments,
     count beauty.
     Beautiful beyond what our soul can 
          even imagine.

God is beautiful with a beauty that creates 
     beauty, not merely shows itself beautiful.

God has always done, is always doing
     His very best for every man;
     No man is miserable because God is
          forgetting him.

He is not a God to crouch before,
     but our Father, to Whom the Child-heart
     cries: 'Do with me, Father, what You will!"

There is nothing good for me or anyone 
     but God,
          and more and more of God.
     That alone through knowing Christ
          can we draw near to Him.

No man is ever condemned for any sin but one:
     That he will not leave his sins
          and come out of them
     And be the child of Him who is his Father.

Justice and Mercy are simply
     one and the same thing:
     Without Justice there can be no Mercy
     Without Mercy to the full there can be 
          no Justice.

This is the Mercy of God:
     He will hold his children in the 
     Consuming Fire of His distance
     Until they pay the last penny of repentance
     And drop the purse of selfishness
     With all its worthless contents,
     And rush home to the Father and the Son
     And the many brothers and sisters;
     Rush inside the life-giving fire
     Whose outer circles burn.

No Hell will be lacking
     which would help the just 
     Mercy of God redeem His children.

To the one who obeys
    and opens the door of his heart
    to receive the Eternal Gift,
    God gives the Spirit of His Son,
    The Spirit of Himself to be in him,
     and lead him to the understanding
          of all Truth.

The True Disciple shall always know
     what he ought to do,
     though not necessarily 
     what another ought to do.

The Spirit of the Father and Son
     enlightens by teaching Righteousness.

No teacher should strive to make men
     think as he thinks,
     But lead them to the Living Truth,
     To the Master Himself,
     Of Whom alone can they learn anything,
     Who will make them in themselves know
     What is True by the very seeing of it.

The Inspiration of the Almighty alone
     gives understanding.

To be a Disciple of Jesus Christ
     Is the Goal of our existence,
     The reason we are born.

To persuade men to be
     Disciples of Jesus Christ
     Is the Goal of Teaching!

adapted from Justice, Unspoken Sermons III, George MacDonald.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Revelation.4

"He who speaks only his own ideas, does so to gain honor for himself. But he who works for the glory and honor of the one who has sent him is true, and there is nothing false or vainglorious in him."
"No opinion, I repeat, is Christianity." 
-George MacDonald

1199_hf-dep.jpg (800×795)My wife and I were deputized after joining a county Sheriff's Posse.  How exciting to be fitted with a uniform and badge! It was, however, mostly ceremonial: parades, fairground parking patrol, fund raisers. No search & rescue or chasing bank robbers on horseback... And, rather unceremoniously, we were un-deputized after being told we failed to get the proper identification.  Another posse member was removed after it was learned he improperly used his badge to intimidate a local convenience store attendant! Choosing whom you want to represent your office can be difficult business!

Our friend George MacDonald wasn't shy about what he thought it took to represent the highest office revealed to man:

" many of us are such as God would choose to represent his thoughts and intents by our opinions concerning them? 

Who is there of his friends whom any thoughtful man would
"depute" to represent his thoughts to his fellows?...

I reply, that none can understand, still less represent, the opinions of another, but such as are of the same mind with him— certainly none who mistake his whole scope and intent so far as in supposing opinion to be the object of any writer in the Bible. 

Is Christianity a system of articles of belief, let them be correct as language can give them? 

MacDonald, George.  Unspoken Sermons II, The Truth In Jesus 

Is there any other way of knowing if a person is "of the same mind with God" than what their actions reveal about their faith?

Recently, pollster George Barna conducted an extensive research campaign called the "Worldview Measurement Project".  The objective was to determine if people who consider themselves Christians actually live out their beliefs. 

According to Barna: “It’s very important to know how many people have a biblical worldview because peoples’ behavior is driven by their beliefs – we do what we believe. In other words, our worldview determines the choices we make and the resulting actions we take,...Everyone has a worldview. The critical question is which one people have embraced. If we want to transform our culture then we will need to change the choices people make that produce that culture. And in order to change those choices we must identify the beliefs that led to those choices. developing this instrument we discovered that someone may claim to believe something, but if their behavior does not reflect those beliefs, it is doubtful that they really believe what they claimed to believe,” Barna noted. “Jesus taught His disciples that the right beliefs are good, but the real measure of where you stand is what He labeled the fruit of a person’s life, referring to the product of applying one’s convictions. As a result, we created this measurement process with the intention of blending both core beliefs and core behaviors to estimate the biblical consistency of peoples’ worldview. Because that process involves both beliefs and behavior, with the intention of being an imitator of Christ, we chose to call such people Integrated Disciples. They are effectively blending their beliefs and behavior into a Christ-like lifestyle.”

So what did Barna discover?  Is there a significant gap between those who claim to be followers of Jesus, and those who, like Him, work to bring glory to the One they represent?  The results, sadly, speak for themselves:

"The survey of the general public revealed that 10% of American adults currently have a biblical worldview. That pales in comparison to the 46% of adults who claim to have such a worldview. How big, numerically, is that difference? With the adult population presently at an estimated 244 million, the 10% of the general public with a biblical worldview represents about 24 million who are Integrated Disciples, compared to roughly 112 million who would classify themselves as such – a gap of 88 million people!" (excerpts from Emphasis added.)

Still think that arguing your opinions about doctrinal issues will change the world?