Titus 2: 11-15 -” For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own. eager to do what is good. These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.”
I like the idea that we are not only part of the artistry of God but Christ gave himself as a total sacrifice in order to purify for Himself a people that He could call his very own. As with the apostle Paul we must identify with “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
I am set apart by faith and belong to the King. I no longer follow my own ways but delight in the way he has marked out for me in life. I live and draw from His power and direction. I no longer determine what I should do for Christ but am committed to fulfill what Christ can do through me. My total commitment is not the works I do for Him but the works that He has before ordained that I should allow Him to do through me.
I know this sounds like a sermon but it is the spiritual drive that has set me on a course for addressing the need for the church to listen again to the call for revival and endorse the platform for making it happen. Revival happens when the Holy Spirit is able to flow through open channels of commitment cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ and brought to unity through the reality that we are a priesthood of saints and not a group of volunteers. That’s why I have written and titled my book “More Than Volunteers.”
In the blogs ahead I am going to explore seven steps that will help everyone who is a lay person or a pastor to strengthen a body of believers that God can use to bring transcendent power to the church. I believe that the concepts are very New Testament and early church in their model, building the faith community. Over 40% of Americans do not attend church regularly. I hope to address principles that are critical if we are going to overcome the slide in spiritual depth both in America and in the other parts of the world.
In a sermon that was delivered to his congregation by Rev. C.H. Spurgeon on March 16, 1856 on the subject of good works, he said that no works that we do can be considered good if they are not commanded by God. He went further to expound that anyone outside the realm of following the command of God through a relationship with the Son of God can do no good works that have eternal value. Water that flows from the top of the hill can rise no higher than its source unless it has pressure to push it higher. Works that are birthed in human effort can go no higher than the finite human limitation that drives a person to do them.
Our exploration is how good works flow only from lives rooted by faith in the vine Christ Jesus. Spiritual capacity is brought to life by our abiding presence in the vine. Jesus said, “I am the vine and you are the branches.” We have life only as we abide in the vine and draw from His life giving power for service.
So I set the stage for you to realize that you are more than volunteers. People who are abiding in Christ have far greater power for service than people whose lives are not drawing from the power of God that is found in the vine. This does not make us better than thou people, but makes us stronger as we stand against the enemies of light in a dark, secularistic and humanistic world.
I hope you will join me in the journey through this series and respond with your thoughts and issues as we seek fulfillment in service to the King of Kings in the New Year.