Big or Little?

http://serhanvardarli.deviantart.com/art/father-and-daughter-136495150
http://serhanvardarli.deviantart.com/art/father-and-daughter-136495150

I can remember one of our children asking me, “Dad, am I big or little?” Well of course it was adorable coming from a three-year old, but it’s a good question to ask of ourselves even as “big” people. The implication here from my daughter at the time, was that she wanted to grow up. It’s funny how when you are little you want to be “big”, but as you grow older you don’t want to be little, but you’d like to be younger.

This morning I’ve been thinking about moral littleness and the role this plays in the life of a Christian. In this scope our desire should be littleness, and not bigness, if that makes any sense. Let’s look at the words of the Apostle Paul and see if this sheds any light on the topic.

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. – Ephesians 4:1-3

Paul speaking to the saints at Ephesus and speaking to the saints today is imploring us to walk worthy of our calling. The big question in this brief statement is “have you been called?” What does it mean to be called? The first three chapters of Ephesians tell us what it means, but let’s look quickly at Ephesians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God. To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus.

It’s really important to note that it’s by the will of God.   Would anybody doubt that Paul was called to be an apostle by Jesus Christ Himself? It’s pretty obvious, that this is the case. Paul will go on to tell us that all saints have also been called out by the will of God, and here is where it’s more difficult for the sinful human heart to accept. We really don’t care much for the Sovereignty of God in Divine election. It just doesn’t feel good and therefore we would rather reject it.

This letter was written to the church in Ephesus, but we can see it was also written to the faithful in Christ Jesus. The faithful (pistos) those that believe in Christ, those that exhibit a life change by their belief, not just a mental ascent or a verbal affirmation.

If you are one of these, then you have been called and if you’ve been called you have a responsibility. You must now walk worthy of the calling and this all begins with an understanding of your moral littleness; a desire to be small.

David understood this.

…And cleanse me from my sin…

For I acknowledge my transgressions…

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity…

Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities…

Create in me a clean heart, O God…

Restore me to the joy of Your salvation…

Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God…

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise. – Psalm 51

Our calling must begin with an understanding of our relationship to God before salvation; an understanding of our wretchedness, our inability to please God in ourselves and our need for Christ. This is the whole point of Jesus coming to this earth.

I need Jesus.

You need Jesus.

Why…because we are little. We have nothing to offer Him accept our wretched selves.

“God resists the proud,

                But gives grace to the

                     humble.” – Proverbs 3:34

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. – 2 Peter 5:6-7

Evidence of your calling is a view of your moral littleness and a desire to resist sin. You will then walk worthy of this calling by living and desiring to live a holy life that is pleasing to God. This shows the world that you are a new creation, a new birth has occurred.

It will be a radical change that causes people to take notice. Most of them won’t like the change. If you begin to walk worthy it will mean exposing darkness and calling others to repentance. It will upset apple carts and destroy worldviews that were so dominant in our lives before. Yet there is no greater purpose than to serve the Lord Jesus Christ with a pure heart, to bring Him glory, to proclaim His name, to submit to His Lordship, this is a walk that is worthy and there is no greater joy.

 

Kevin

Home ownership & the mortification of sin

draftywindowb&w

What an odd title to a blog post right?  I’ve been struggling this week on a topic to write about so I went outside for a few minutes to take a look at a drafty window we have on the northwest corner of our house.  I thought I might cover it with a piece of plastic to cut down on the air flow, and as I was contemplating this, I asked God for wisdom in declaring His truth.

This has been an odd week for me, usually I get up pretty early on Monday morning, head to Starbucks, read my Bible, and then write my article.  The article is sent to my Pastor so he can ensure I’ve not made any huge theological blunders.  I take seriously the charge to rightly divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 3:15) and that I’ll be held accountable for what is being taught (James 3:1).  Then I’ll sit on it for most of Monday, review on Tuesday and make any refinements and then post it Tuesday sometime.

This week I caught a bad cold and I couldn’t drag myself out of bed Monday so I kept procrastinating and then again Tuesday…  So now here I am Tuesday evening and finally sitting down to write and I can’t think of a thing to say.  For those of you that know me I’m sure you’re wondering how that happened.

I’ve been a homeowner for approximately 22 years; well actually I’ve been buying a house from the bank for 22 years, but that’s a whole other article, and the thought occurred to me that there is a lot of maintenance to being a homeowner.  Down through the years, we’ve replaced the roof, the hot water heater, had our basement flooded a few times, it’s a never ending job to keep things up.

As I gave up on my window project as quickly as I thought about it I realized how similar it is to what Scripture calls me to mortify my flesh, not to entertain sin in my life in anyway.  It’s a never ending process.  It’s like watching a gerbil on a treadmill; we run and run but seemingly never get anywhere.  However, as with home maintenance and mortification of sin we must see some obvious signs of accomplishment or we must really examine our claim to Christianity.

Romans 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

If you gaze back on your Christian life do you see obvious signs of “accomplishment”?  I use this word accomplishment lightly because it’s God that works in us and the progress is not our own yet we must fully participate in the process.  Have you gained ground on your sin or do you continue to struggle with the same old stuff.

If my house is crumbling around me it would appear I’ve not been very diligent in keeping up with my investment.  So clearly we can see the parallel can’t we?  If I was to ask you how is your relationship with Christ I’d be every bit as interested in how is your relationship to your sin?  Are you closer to it or further from it?  Do you see your sin in a different light than what you once saw it?

Jesus Christ was the greatest preacher the world has ever known and one thing that made Him so good, beside the fact He is God, was His use of common everyday things in life that illustrated deep theological issues.  He called these parables and in my “parable” I hope you’ll consider today if you are working at killing the desires of your flesh, i.e. keeping up the maintenance, or are those nagging sin issues still dragging you down.

Without the grace of God there is no peace and when sin stands between you and God there is no grace. 

So today let’s put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh.  Whatever sin issues you are currently dealing with you need to repent of that sin and then put it off completely.  If you are a Believer you are entitled to enter the throne room and set it at the foot of the One that freely gives to those who humble themselves, but you must not count that grace as a common thing (Hebrews 10:26).

If you are a Believer that sin was nailed to the cross of Christ.  So why would you continue in it?  Let’s really think about that today.

Kevin

Also wanted to announce our new radio show “Ask a Pastor”