Scripture speaks of the power of Christ. The power of the cross, the authority of Jesus, the power of the gospel etc. all speaks to the power of Christ. While you may consider the power of Christ the manifestation of miracles, supernatural knowledge or signs, the reality is that the apostles make the claim that the power of Christ most glorious is the transformed heart of the believer toward truth and love for the brethren. Teaching through John’s writings gives us a constant reminder of this fact. That there are many who “live” in a manner they feel is worthy of Jesus Christ in their own eyes, but when they refuse fellowship with others, they, in turn, are displaying “unregenerate” powerlessness. 

Paul speaks to the Corinthian church about the power of Christ. He says that he will know if Christ is in them if they heed the authority of his writing and instruction. Mainly, that they forsake themselves and “COMPLETE” all the restoration between them. This means that they will be intimate, together, free, and in fellowship. 

2 Corinthians 13:11–14 Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All the saints greet you.
14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Several hours, if not days can be expended on this holistic reality. But for now, let’s say this. One of the primary expressions of regeneration is that we are sealed by the same Spirit. God the Holy Spirit in us brings our unity and because of this, there is NOTHING that can separate us from the Lord and from each other. When factions come between the church and cause people to scatter, it is always wicked. Sometimes it is due to ignorance but most of the time these things happen because of an active and living flesh. IF we have the same Spirit within us there is nothing that would cause divorce amongst the brethren.

In the end, this teaching is extrapolated continually throughout the New Testament through the instruction and commandments for every Christian to be subject to the Word, the Elders of the church, the Assembly (that is the church, only when it gathers) and exercising the gifts God has given them for the benefit of the assembly. We can feel justified in doing “home” studies and “online” sermons, but in reality, that type of existence as a believer is a continual rebellion against the teaching of God. So, in the sense of the text, true regeneration produces a complete unity that nothing will stop and to say otherwise is to refuse to love the brethren, thus, according to John, the Love of God is not in us. 

We may see that all the works of the law, all the dressing of worldly “righteousness” and all the prayers, pleadings, purity and the like are not the measure of the Power of Christ in us. But it is the evidence of TRUTH by the LOVE we have for each other. Love well beloved by the grace that is YOURS in Jesus Christ!  Amen.  While this is not exhaustive, it is truth. Are you listening?

To suppose universal agreement on anything is to rake one’s own eyes with sand and think avoidance of tears be possible. So, something dear to my soul presently is the nature of what so many so-called Christians seem to continually reflect as the Evangel, or Good News. No, I am not referring to the theology of God who saves through His Son, I am referring to the tenacity and affection held for such things engaged in the name of Christ that are so often temporal meals devoid of glory.

What props up the heart of you? What yields to your love and heart at all times? What thing, system, belief, activity, skill or service supplies your soul with joy? Is it Christ? Is it the people of God? If these two be far from the drawing of your mind and soul then it would be a good moment to arrest yourself and test your place before the Lord.

The Church, when she is known for things other than Christ, has made herself a whore, reaching out for lovers that will never quench the thirst. What is that you love about being saved? What is it that draws you to smile when you think of “church”? How is it that so often we can be engaged in so much, so often, for so long that is really a wasted life with nothing more to show as fruit except rosters?

Catch the point? Here it is: The church of Jesus Christ must not be known for substitute glory. She should be known for who she is, as the body of her savior. She should be known for affection around God’s word for the sake of His people.  She should be BUSY about the business of building lives around the power of the cross of Christ so that as the family sits at home in the evening, they are resting in the supremacy of God rather than the social joys of playing life.

When the church fails to put the Word of Christ at the center of purpose and principle, she places Christ as a secondary affection. When the church engages in the worldly pursuits of events and society she displays a false hope to the world and becomes a darkness within darkness thus blending fully with any other people. The church of Jesus Christ should be able to exist completely without real estate, without plans and staff to undergird programs. She should be able to richly exist in power without distraction. The bride of the King Jesus should never have to ask, “What shall we do?” for Jesus has answered that question with, “This is the work of God, that you believe on Him and the Son who He has sent.”

Learning Christ is not a pursuit of special called individuals but is the real proof of true salvation at the bottom of the foundation. We live to learn that which we love most. And when all the worldliness existing in the s0-called church is gone, where will the power of God be? In those who are truly born of Him. Never forget that Jesus called all the special religious work of Nicodemus darkness and never forget that Jesus said Nicodemus loved it.  When we love events, programs, get-togethers, and places to plug people in, we are unable to see the great glorious picture of light.  Come out of darkness and put these things in their right place… the bottom.

May the Lord have mercy.

[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