[10] For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. [11] More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:10-11 ESV)

As long as humanity has been itself, the investment of togetherness has been a reality. For the first people, this unity embraced an inclusion without shame, concern, rejection or any type of insecurity. As Adam and Eve were naked, they knew not that they were thus their union in all things was purely the enjoyment, security and fellowship of each one with the other. At the fall this nakedness was revealed. Insecurity and timidity arose immediately and they were ashamed, not only before each other, but most importantly before God. They desired to hide their shame by covering themselves with their own provision to no effect bringing precarious want and emotion ringing into the garden and into the lives of all humanity after them.

Christ has taken away our shame by placing Himself at the center of guilt, though innocent, and thus endured the shame and thus the wrath of sin from the hand of God the Father. In doing this, while we still bare the marks of sin in our flesh, our fellowship with God is without shame and our nakedness before God as justified children reveals a purity that would not exist without imputation from Christ. Thus our common unity with God through Jesus Christ further protects our unity as the body of Jesus Christ and now as we are able to fellowship together in Christ, our living life together is not jarred or covered by a lack of transparency because we can be ‘naked’ and unashamed before God and before each other.

Before one takes the zip line to crazy town I want to make clear I am speaking metaphorically and most importantly, spiritually. Being naked before God and each other is expressed in the reality of our lives together in that we are not hiding behind facades of man-made philosophies or self-contracted ideals but rather we are exposed and visible with integrity as we really are. For some this exposure is seen as the work of God through solid faith and holy passions while in others, the pocks, scars and trials still abound. The sum of this is the reality that even though we are sinners who have past and present failings, we are forgiven in Christ and even “if” we sin in this present day, we are forgiven for Christ is our propitiation so that there is nothing more that is due God’s justice.

Fellowship among the saints then needs to come into the light of nakedness without shame. We need to realize that the true Church are those who live together, assemble together and worship together in an effort to grow into maturity and go into the darkness as light. We need to remember that we are all redeemed in Christ and that our tragedies belong to each other as well as our victories in Christ. The church ‘are’ the people of Christ who are called out to live and walk in light together and who are to carry the burdens of the weak, be patient with those who doubt, forgive as much as they are forgiven. Sadly though, many Christians live in fear of rejection and hide behind of charade of “idealism” that isn’t true. It is time for the people of Christ to be honest and open among their spiritual family and realize that just as God has forgiven them, just as they are facing doubt, just as they are going through trials; so the rest of the body follows.

We are indeed a people who should have no shame because Christ took it and nailed to His cross with His body!

Why do so many Christians live a lie?  Here are just a few thoughts:

  1. They feel as though they are the only ones with problems/sins/doubt/depression/issues.
  2. They feel as though others in the church would treat them differently if they were honest about their needs.
  3. They are right to feel that way because some would.
  4. They are not taught the gospel when assembled and are more pressured into fitting into a social mold than into the likeness of Christ.
  5. The culture of the church family insists on issues being a result of “faithlessness” or “apostasy”.
  6. They forget that the enemy of God is the accuser of the brethren and accusation begins within.
  7. They fail to remember the glory of God’s grace in Christ Jesus as their only hope.
  8. They don’t see that one of the purposes of Christ’s church is to grow into maturity.
  9. They fail to realize that suffering, pain, sin etc. can be and will be used by God to bring glory.
  10. The are too busy doing religious things instead of being enabled to minister to others, so they cannot perceive how anyone could minister to them.
  11. …….

When we fail to live truthfully, we fail to be God’s people in reality. Then we fail to worship, fail to learn, fail to really love and fail to really live.

Press into Christ, be in love with His people and live for His Glory!

Pastor James

 

 

treeWhile it’s a common term and mission, discipleship as we know it in America’s church is dead.  So dead that many believe that few are even being taught rightly by the scripture much less being brought into the Kingdom of God.  Having a limited amount of time and a limited amount of webspace, there is no way one could attempt to revise and restore the biblical idea of discipleship, though many have tried.  So, as a mark on the starting line, I hope to list a few things on my heart for the sake of future direction and discussion.

Discipleship is wrapped up in the person of Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the full and final revelation of God to man and in His ministry one can find the reality of what Jesus did and thus create a theology of growing others “to” the faith and “in” the faith.  Jesus selected His disciples specifically, then He lived with them and taught them to invest in others for the sake of the kingdom.  As they invested, they preached, proclaimed the good news of Christ and saw God save many through the hearing of the Word. (Rom 10:17)  These who came to know God through Jesus Christ became part of the body, that is the church.  The local church was governed by the Word of God through the apostles who “appointed elders (pastors) in every city to put in order what remained.”  The flock was taught to “do the work of the ministry” to each other and teach others to do the same in the power and for the sake of the person of Jesus Christ.  Discipleship is wrapped up in the person of Jesus Christ.  Nothing else.

Discipleship is evangelism.

“Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…”  This is a familiar song in the hearts of the church, but ever so often she refuses to hear this portion but rather hears the “Go ye into all the nations…”  While the church is to go, what it DOES as it goes is to teach the Gospel of Jesus as God plants the church and saves people by grace through faith.  So, reaching people is teaching people, these things are not divided but one in the same.  Any attempt to make “reaching” apart from rightly dividing the word of God is another gospel and as Paul states, “no gospel at all.”

Discipleship is what the church does, period.

So the church hears, believes, trusts, hopes, lives, loves and learns at the feet of her savior, the living Word of God that became flesh and dwelt among us.  So, the church is to hear the word, do the word, know the word, love the word, live the word, teach the word and all for the sake of the praise of the glorious grace of God in Christ.  So, when the church thinks that “discipleship” is apart from the word, then she has forsaken her first love and must “do the things that she did before” so her Lord will not remove her lampstand (influence) from the world.  The church around the globe is hard at work teaching people to understand and teach others the bible, but for some strange reason, the dominant church in the USA seems to have given way to personal growth, personal esteem, personal influence, personal ministry and personal preference instead of powerful purpose found only in God’s word.  Just imagine, a people so hungry for power and never finding it because the grace of God (the power of God) is nowhere to be found because it is only given through the hearing and teaching of the word of God… Grace be with you.

Discipleship is personal, intimate and individual.

Widget companies can go the way of the assembly line just fine with identical outcomes having only a small margin of error.  But when it comes to people, each one is unique and unable to be stamped as a cookie on a sheet.  So why does so many congregations pour countless individuals into the same pot and then ask the question, “how can we get people to love the Lord and be committed?”  They cannot be committed to the Christ they have never heard and they will not hear unless someone preaches to them and then they will not encounter the Christ-filled life without the church continually living together in the pursuit of God’s grace through His word.  So, mass making of strong believers is like mass making of a bag of toenails.  It’s gross and worthless.  The preaching and the preacher should enable the body to do the work of the ministry while each one models unique but personal discipleship.  There is no other way.

Discipleship is carried through teaching what accords with sound doctrine.

In the end the body of Christ will prevail as the holy and pure bride prepared for her groom.  Until then she is to press and lean by faith alone on the promises of God through Jesus Christ who fully furnished and finished redemption by justifying a people for Himself through His blood having taken their guilt and debt and paid it in full.  It is finished!  So, let the church lives as the body of the Christ who bought her by growing as disciples who prove their adoptions as sons and daughters through the sacrifice of their living for the sake of glory that comes from God, not man.

The church will live eternally and she will do eternally what Christ has saved her to do because she no longer lives as her own but it is Christ who lives within her.  Therefore, the perpetuity of sound disciples will make more and nothing will make this happen apart from the power of God the Holy Spirit through the simple and wonderful teaching of God’s word, not to the masses, but to the few who teaches the few who teaches the few.

For His Glory by His Grace,

Pastor James Tippins

I would take the half our and watch this video showing a relationship between the holocaust thinking and justification of Nazi Germany and the current “freedom” and “legal” abortion system in America.

 

Caveat: Please go HERE and contemplate the gospel. We hold to a sovereign grace that enables a man, woman or child to repent and believe. This is not something that man can do on his own, it is by grace, not of works.