Friday, December 16, 2016

Glory - Foundation Series

Good evening! This is the last of the Foundation Series. We haven't covered everything, obviously, but it has been a really good start! So without further adieu, and focusing on 2 Corinthians 3:18, I give you Glory.  

"Glory" in English: fame, honor, praiseworthy.

Old Testament = kabode, heaviness, used figuratively. Usually translated glory, majesty, splendor.
New Testament = doxa, good opinion, splendor of brightness.

A significance that is at the heart of who we are.

In C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce and in the Scriptures, when men of earth meet the messengers of heaven they find themselves so outclassed in sheer presence that they can't stand; they are physically overawed by the gravity, the glory present in the messenger of heaven.

What does it look like to build our lives on the rock of God's Word in regards to our future glory?

1. Our Future Transformation
Psalm 8:5
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
2 Corinthians 3:18
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Colossians 3:1-4
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
2 Thessalonians 2:13-14
But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 8:28-30
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
1 John 3:2
Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

Like Moses shining with the glory of God; like the glory of the resurrected Christ, Christians are heading for a future glory that is from the Lord Himself.

2. Beyond Comprehension
What does it mean that we'll be like Jesus?
1 Corinthians 15:37-49
And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
2 Corinthians 4:16-17
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 
2 Corinthians 5:1
For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 

What does Jesus' glory look like today?
Revelation 1:12-16
Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest.The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.

3. Future Glory & Our Relationships
C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
“It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbor. The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor's glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which,if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics."

They have a future glory that I need to respect.

4. Future Glory & Life's Labors
Colossians 3:1-4
When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Therefore Verse 5: Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
2 Thessalonians 2:13-14
so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore Verse 15: So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.
Romans 8:28-30
he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son
Therefore Romans 12:1-2: I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
John 3:2
when he appears we shall be like him
Therefore Verse 3: Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
1 Corinthians 15:37-49
What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.
Therefore Verse 58: Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

-Have I given myself and my sins to God in Christ so that I can share His life and glory forever? If I haven't, today would be a good day.
-Am I committed to and working at putting off my sins and putting on Christ?
-Am I living in and standing firmly in the truths declared in God's Word?
-Am I consecrating my body and my all to God daily as my reasonable act of worship?
-Am I striving for consistent, personal purity?
-Am I remaining at work where God has me until He calls me to Himself, knowing that even the feeblest effort now is tied to a future glory beyond comparison?

Faith is the rock we stand upon.

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

Matthew 7:24 is a concise description of the life of faith; to take God's word and do it is the essence of Biblical faith. Are we taking in the truth of God's word and living it? That is building our lives on the Rock.

Have a holly, jolly weekend! Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Consecration - Foundation Series

How is everyone, this fine December evening?

I'm sitting at the computer, Santa hat on my head, candles lit, hot chocolate on my left, and Bing Crosby's Christmas music in my ears.

Are we ready for this next part in the Foundation series? This part concentrates on marriage and our union with God...

A man and a woman join together, uniquely, as husband and wife, forming one new family. They are to each other unique in all the world.

They are absolutely and uniquely each others, dedicated solely to each other.
Genesis 2:24
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
1 Corinthians 7:4
For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

"With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."

Take everything that's true of marriage and evaluate that singular call and those total demands and we begin to approach the kind of devotion God calls us to in our relationship with Himself.

Consecration - association with the sacred.
Hebrew = qudosh, sacred, holy, set apart for God.
Greek = hagios, same thought.

God calls His people to be in a relationship with Him that transcends and surpasses the devotion of marriage; a singular dedication of all that we are and have, every possibility for our lives, to be freely, joyously given over to Him and for Him.

1. A Living Sacrifice
Romans 12:1-2
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

In light of who God is and what He's done for us; in light of this great salvation and His future, glorious plans for us with Him; the only thing that makes sense for us to do is to offer ourselves to God, body and soul, present and future, fully and reservedly, more so even than a husband or wife can commit him or herself to the other.

With our wills we wed ourselves to Him in a holy consecration.
With our bodies and all that we do, we worship Him.
With every asset we posses, we place ourselves at God's disposal.

2. Holy Affections
While consecration to God is our reasonable expression of worship, it's not always our heartfelt response... Consecration born of the affections of our heart is what God is after.

If consecration to God is seen only as duty it feels like a responsibility to be born, a duty to discharge, a debt to be paid. When we understand that wholehearted, body-consuming devotion to God is the means of our joy as well as God's glory, it takes on a whole new aspect.

Be transformed by the renewing of the mind.

Why does a husband stray from his wife? Why does a Christian stray from their God?
Because the affections of the heart aren't set on their Beloved.

To say "I do" to one person costs EVERYTHING, but what you gain will be worth ANYTHING you lose.

3. Consecration's Jealous Fruits
Jealousy is the appropriate desire of a husband for his wife, or God for His own, in what is meant to be an inviolable union.

Marital unfaithfulness and it's cousin, spiritual idolatry, are particularly grievous becaus they betray the singular devotion due one from the other.

God as Husband:
Isaiah 54:5
For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.
Jeremiah 3:20
Surely, as a treacherous wife leaves her husband, so have you been treacherous to me, O house of Israel, declares the Lord.'"
Ephesians 5:25-27
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
Song of Songs...
My beloved is mine, and I am his.

God has a holy jealousy for us, like a husband has for his wife. His commitment to us is total, and ours should be the same toward Him.

-Have I accepted God's invitation to join Him in a holy union by repenting of my sins and accepting the reconciliation He's provided in Jesus?
-Have I acknowledged that God's free gift of grace in salvation introduces me to the costly life of self-denying consecration?
-What areas of life have I consciously consecrated to God?
-What areas of my life do I need to consecrate to God?
-What barriers do I need to install in my life to protect myself from temptations to spiritual adultery?
-On a scale of 1-10, how delighted am I in my relationship with God?
-What would help me delight more fully in the Lord?

Life lived on the Rock of God's Word is one of consecration.

Have a great rest of your weekend, and "see" you next week!