VIDEO The Call of God – One Church Under God

Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel… —1 Corinthians 1:17

Paul states here that the call of God is to preach the gospel. But remember what Paul means by “the gospel,” namely, the reality of redemption in our Lord Jesus Christ. We are inclined to make sanctification the goal of our preaching. Paul refers to personal experiences only by way of illustration, never as the end of the matter. We are not commissioned to preach salvation or sanctification— we are commissioned to lift up Jesus Christ (see John 12:32). It is an injustice to say that Jesus Christ labored in redemption to make me a saint. Jesus Christ labored in redemption to redeem the whole world and to place it perfectly whole and restored before the throne of God. The fact that we can experience redemption illustrates the power of its reality, but that experience is a byproduct and not the goal of redemption. If God were human, how sick and tired He would be of the constant requests we make for our salvation and for our sanctification. We burden His energies from morning till night asking for things for ourselves or for something from which we want to be delivered! When we finally touch the underlying foundation of the reality of the gospel of God, we will never bother Him anymore with little personal complaints.

The one passion of Paul’s life was to proclaim the gospel of God. He welcomed heartbreak, disillusionment, and tribulation for only one reason— these things kept him unmovable in his devotion to the gospel of God.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

It is not what a man does that is of final importance, but what he is in what he does. The atmosphere produced by a man, much more than his activities, has the lasting influence.  Baffled to Fight Better, 51 L


One Church Under God, Part 1 // 1Corinthians 1:10-17

A House on a Rock

Everyone who [practices] these words of mine . . . is like a wise man who built his house on the rock .Matthew 7:24

As many as 34,000 homes in one US state are at risk of collapsing due to faulty foundations. Without realizing it, a concrete company pulled stone from a quarry laced with a mineral that, over time, causes concrete to crack and disintegrate. The foundations of nearly six hundred homes have already crumbled, and that number will likely skyrocket over time.

Jesus used the image of building a home atop a faulty foundation to explain the far riskier danger of building our lives on unsteady ground. He explained how some of us construct our life on sturdy rock, ensuring that we hold solid when we face fierce storms. Others of us, however, erect our lives on sand; and when the tempests rage, our lives tumble “with a great crash” (Matthew 7:27). The one distinction between building on an unshakable foundation and a crumbling one is whether or not we put Christ’s words “into practice” (v. 26). The question isn’t whether or not we hear His words, but whether we practice them as He enables us.

There’s much wisdom offered to us in this world—plus lots of advice and help—and much of it is good and beneficial. If we base our life on any foundation other than humble obedience to God’s truth, however, we invite trouble. In His strength, doing what God says is the only way to have a house, a life, built on rock.

By:  Winn Collier

Reflect & Pray

Whose wisdom, insights, or opinions do you listen to the most? How can you better build your life’s foundation by putting Jesus’ words into practice?

God, so much of what I experience feels unsteady and temporary, a life built on sand. I want to live a solid life. Help me to obey You.

To learn more about the life and teachings of Jesus, see ChristianUniversity.org/NT218.

God’s Power Working in Us

2 Corinthians 3:4-18

It’s easy to become discouraged in the Christian life because of our struggle with sin. Even though we want to walk obediently before the Lord, we often find ourselves thinking sinful thoughts, adopting worldly attitudes, speaking rashly, and acting in ways that are anything but Christlike.

Whenever you feel defeated, remember this: As believers, we have all the power needed to live as God desires, because He has given us His Holy Spirit (John 14:17). So, although you may never achieve success as the world measures it, God’s Spirit is always working towards your spiritual success by …

Illuminating your mind to know the truth. Then you can grow in the knowledge of God and His Word (1 Corinthians 2:12).

Transforming your character. He produces His spiritual fruit within you, making you more like Christ (Gal. 5:22-23).

Aligning your desires with God’s will. He works to help you yearn for the things God wants (Phil. 2:12-13).

Strengthening you. He enables you both to endure hardship and to serve God (2 Corinthians 3:4-6).

Human strength and willpower fall short, but the Lord promises to complete the good work He began in us. And He will not fail.

The Wonderful Angel

“And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?” (Judges 13:18)

This intriguing encounter occurred during one of Israel’s periods of apostasy and servitude, when the people had been ruled for 40 years by the pagan Philistines. There was one godly couple in the tribe of Dan, however, who evidently had long been praying for a son, and God finally answered their prayers. “The angel of the LORD” came to give the good news to Manoah and his wife. The remarkable son who was to come was mighty Samson, who later would free his people.

But it is the Angel Himself who is most intriguing here. His name was “Secret,” meaning “too marvelous even to comprehend.” The same word is translated “Wonderful” in Isaiah 9:6, where it is cited as a name of the coming divine Son, whose name would also be “mighty God” and “everlasting Father.”

This “angel of the LORD” was thus none other than God the Son in one of His rare pre-incarnate appearances, or theophanies, when the invisible God manifested Himself visibly to man. There are many created angels (Hebrews 12:22), or “messengers,” of God, but on certain occasions, this One who is called “the angel of the LORD” (also “the angel of his presence,” as in Isaiah 63:9, and “the Angel which redeemed me,” as in Genesis 48:16), is clearly none other than God Himself. In such cases, it could only have been the pre-incarnate Christ, for the Bible says: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18).

God had already revealed Himself in this way to great men of God, and now even to an unknown couple. Eventually this Angel, whose name is Wonderful, “was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14), and will one day dwell with His people forever (Revelation 21:3). HMM

The Eternal Spirit

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. —Acts 1:8

You know, the Church started out with a Bible, then it got a hymnbook, and for years that was it—a Bible and a hymnbook. The average church now certainly wouldn’t be able to operate on just a hymnbook and the Bible. Now we have to have all kinds of truck. A lot of people couldn’t serve God at all without at least a vanload of equipment to keep them happy.

Some of these attractions that we have to win people and keep them coming may be fine or they may be cheap. They may be elevated or they may be degrading. They may be artistic or they may be coarse—it all depends upon who is running the show! But the Holy Spirit is not the center of attraction, and the Lord is not the one who is in charge. We bring in all sorts of antiscriptural and unscriptural claptrap to keep the people happy and keep them coming.

As I see it, the great woe is not the presence of these religious toys and trifles—but the fact that they have become a necessity, and the presence of the Eternal Spirit is not in our midst!   COU041

As we commit ourselves to excellence in reaching people for Christ, help us to remember that the power is not in the methods or the means, but in the Person of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

If Jesus Had to Die

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. —John 3:16

The Holy Spirit is still among us with transforming power for that one who hears the gospel message and really believes it….He still converts. He still regenerates. He still transforms….

It is tragic that we try to hide from Him in the caves and dens of the earth, among the trees of the garden. It is tragic that men and women keep their hearts so hard that they cannot feel, and so deaf that they cannot hear.

There are many who are hearing the Voice of God, but they insist that the “way” should be made easier for them.

Oh, listen! If hell is what God says it is, if sin is what God says it is, if Jesus Christ had to die to save the sinner—is it asking too much for you to let people know that you are turning from sin? EFE036-037

Out of all God’s creatures, only the soul has a capacity large enough for [God] to empty…the whole ground of his being into it. This He does in the act of giving birth to Himself spiritually in the soul. BME129

The Power of Prayer

Ephesians 3:20

What a mystery prayer is! I wish I understood it better. But I do thank God that the power of it does not depend on being able to explain it, any more than the light in the office depends upon my knowing all about electricity.

Looking back on my own experience, I can see that my private prayer has come to be of two distinct kinds. The kind of praying I first learned was that definite closing out of all other doings and settling down to pray only. No one day can be complete without some such scheduled time.

The other grew out of the first. I mean that life of prayer which belongs to everything; that spontaneous lifting of the heart to God that becomes the habit of the soul. It would be difficult now to say which is the more precious, or which means the most to me. Both have to be cultivated.

In how many hearts has prayer been more a form than a life, more the performance of a duty than the expression of a desire, until the spirit of prayer was born in some dark night’s struggle. Without doubt, in my own life the darkness of temptation and sorrow has taught me to pray—to wrestle before God until my soul found strength to go up to its Calvary.

Oh, never, never let the devil persuade you that your praying does not count! It does. And no heart need be without the proof of it, but it must be fervent, persistent, believing!

I am seldom helped by feelings in my own religious experience; but the times when I have been especially conscious of the presence and power of God have been chiefly during seasons of prayer for others. These seem to have brought me nearest to the heart of Jesus.

That other sort of praying is to my soul-life, more what breathing is to the body. The prayer that is breathed in a moment ensures the kind word, when, without it, the hasty one might so easily have been spoken; courage to act, when apart from it, an opportunity of witnessing or sowing might have been missed.

Yes, the silent prayer of an instant has preserved the integrity of the heart and saved the soul from the stain of sin again and again. And the strength of that continual communion with God, which becomes so natural that it is more like talking a matter over with one you love, has enabled so great a host of God’s own children to be walking with Him in heavenly places, and has kept them in a heavenly spirit, when things round about were very earthly.

Catherine Bramwell-Booth, Messages to the Messengers