Monday, October 24, 2011

Are We Together in Heavenly Places?

Ephesians 2:4-6  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
 

A friend of mine shared a quote from Paul Washer.  It said, "God still speaks through men, but it's only because He still speaks through rocks and donkeys. There are no great men of God. There are only fearful, weak, tiny, pitiful men of a great and merciful God. But doesn't that give you hope?"  That paints a picture with a very broad brush that makes no distinctions between people like Billy Graham, Richard Wurmbrand, Oswald Chambers or many other godly men and those who focus on themselves or look to a man instead of God.
 
God says we’re made perfect, despite our experience with our flesh.  God says we’re converted worms.  He calls us to do great things not because He sees us as rocks and donkeys, but because He already sees our perfected end state and has no need of either Him or us seeing ourselves otherwise.  And God points us in a direction that has us looking at Him.  Remember, Satan didn’t say “I will be like the Most High.” because his focus was on God.  There was a comparison, but Satan’s focus was on himself.
 
Washer mentions people who go to conferences because they’ve elevated the speakers beyond who they really are in Christ.  I can agree with that.  He must have read Jon Acuff and myself.  We’ve both commented on the “conference Christian”  and the idolization of conference speakers.  These are people who attend lots of conferences because the speakers are “better” than their own pastor.  But that doesn’t mean that the speakers aren’t great men of God.  It means the attendees put them in higher esteem than they ought to.  And diminishing, in their own minds, the importance of the local pastor in God’s plan for instilling His Word.  God does some special things through those speakers, as well as through the local pastor.
 
We are quickened by God before we become perfect.  And positionally placed in heaven before we get there.  God takes imperfect men, uses them to communicate His thoughts from His Word to other imperfect men.  Men who, in His sight, are already perfected.  In that light, we have to remember Ephesians 4:29-30, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”  We’re to build up, not tear down.  If we’re focused on God above us and God in us, we have to see ourselves and each other as God sees us.  Not as the Accuser would name us.
 
That doesn’t mean that some speakers, some pastors and some hearers aren’t “off” in their thinking.  But, just like one of the rules of the science of physics, for every action, there’s a reaction.  Accountability will create consequences for every form of thought and behavior.  Sometimes, God will use His sovereign will to change that, for whatever His reasons might be.  And I might be the tool in God’s hand to fix a particular issue.  But it’s not my job to hand out justice, to police someone’s thoughts and actions, point out someone’s faults, to accuse anyone.  Unless it is by God’s will and through God’s direction.  And I’d better be 100% sure that it is from God.  Otherwise, I’ve just become exactly what I’ve accused others of being.
 
How do you prevent false thinking and wrong accusations in your daily life?

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