September 9th, 2019
I don’t believe there are many, if any, people who have ever truly surrender their lives to Jesus Christ, who don’t believe that the salvation of the individual results in a transformation. Personally, I don’t know of any believer that would say that a redeemed individual can remain in their original form.
It would be so rare, that it is statistically insignificant.
If this is the case, then the next question is why do not all Christians experience the same growth in the Spirit as others do?
Just one thing: As citizens of heaven, live your life worthy of the gospel of Christ.
Philippians 1:27a (CSB)
Paul presents this exhortation to the Philippians. It is apparent that this same phenomenon, which we observe today, existed in the early church as well. We are not looking at anything new.
Paul goes on to say to them, regardless of his presence with them or not, they should strive to live in such a way as to reflect the profound change that exemplifies the Gospel of Jesus.
So, what does this life worthy of the Gospel of Christ look like?
Jesus keeps it simple…
“If you love me, you will keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.”
John 14:15-16 (CSB)
I included the sixteenth verse in this quotation, because so often when reference is made to the fifteenth verse, the next one is totally overlooked.
The fact that verse sixteen starts with the word ‘and’ means that it is tied directly to the fifteenth verse. We should always be conscious of context in scripture. Focus on the first without considering the next means we miss part of the message of the first.
Let’s look at the ‘and’. “If you love me, you will keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.”
Don’t miss understand what Jesus is saying here. He is not saying that if you don’t keep his commands, He is not going to ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit, consequently you will be a believer without the Spirit living in you. The other side of the ‘and’ is stating a fact that is true of all believers. We can’t sperate from the Trinity here, if the Father sends the Holy Spirit into the believer and the believer isn’t being obedient to Jesus, they are not going to be any more obedient to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Just as Jesus and the Father are one, Jesus and the Spirit are one as well.
The ‘three in on’ aspect of the Trinity, doesn’t conveniently part and remerge. When we obey the Spirit, we obey Christ Jesus. When we obey Jesus, we obey the Father. Conversely, if we are disobedient to Jesus, we’ve already failed to be obedient to the Spirit.
The after the ‘and’ comment is to say that Jesus presence is going to be evident in us, when we are obedient.
Let’s consider the core things that Jesus commands us to do.
The Great Commission tells us to be disciple makers, not in a small way but to all nations. If we are going to be a disciple maker, would it not stand to reason that Jesus wants us to be his disciples as well?
It goes without saying.
A disciple is a follower of a master. Their entire motivation is to learn from the master, pattern their behavior in parallel with the master, and emulate the master in every way possible.
Are we all disciples? We should be! And, we should be disciple makers as well.
Next, is our calling…
since God’s gracious gifts and calling are irrevocable.
Romans 11:29 (CSB)
God is going to grant us gifts and callings. We can’t refuse them. If you take the parable of the three servants and the talents entrusted to them, we are indebted to the master if he gives us gifts and talents to use those gifts to fulfill our calling.
Every believer has gifts and every believer has at least one calling.
Joni Eareckson Tada, who is now 63 years old, at 17 suffered a tragic accident which turned her into a paraplegic. Joni could have been defeated and sunk into a hopeless depression. But she focused on the talents that remained, and then sought the direction of the Holy Spirit to show her what her calling was.
In an amazingly short period of time after the accident, she determined that she would use her condition as a testimony. What a testimony she has had, and a ministry that has impacted a vast number of lives, both the seriously disabled and those with fully functional appendages.
If Joni can find her calling, despite extreme limitations, none of us have any excuse not to focus on our talents and seek guidance from the Holy Spirit as to what our calling is.
If we are a good baker, then use that baking talent to the glory of the Lord and in service of others. If you can sing; sing with inspiration and compel others to worship in song. Playing an instrument, doing accounting, teaching, preaching, or driving a truck. It all can be done for God’s glory and when we find that, we are not far from where our own calling is.
It may be one calling. It may be a multitude. As Jesus tells us, the servant that squandered his gift and didn’t perform to his calling was severally punished. If we are given these gifts, we are expected to do something with them…
But the one who did not know and did what deserved punishment will receive a light beating. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, even more will be expected.
Luke 12:48 (CSB)
I would encourage each of us, to examine what God has given us, in the way of skills and interests. Consider those skills no matter how minor we may think they are, then ask the Lord to reveal to you just what you can do with that for His Glory and His Kingdom. Then pursue that calling with all our might.
In doing so we will be obedient to Jesus and living “Worthy of the Gospel”.
In His Grace!