Posts tagged ‘Body of Christ’

When The Spirit Calls

What is your calling?  If you are a follower of Christ, God has a job for you.  Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:4- 11 (ESV) that there are many Spiritual gifts.  The list here is not exclusive, but a sampling.

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.  To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.  For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.  All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.”

He also stresses that each member of the Church is a part of the body  (1 Corinthians 12:14-20).  As we all know, if one part of the body does not do it’s work, life becomes considerably more complicated for the rest of the body.  There may even be times when, because of the inability to use a certain part of the body, the body as a whole will be unable to carry out a given task at all.   For example, my parents are both blind.  The part of their bodies that see (their eyes), do not work.  It is impossible for them to use a camera to take a picture.  We have few family photos available to us.  Most are those that were taken by extended family members at big family gatherings.  When I was old enough to have a camera, my parents gave one to me, and after that time, we have more printed proof of our existence.  Prior to that, taking pictures was just something that my parents could not do.   People with disabilities exist all over the world.  And, for the most part, they are able to lead normal, productive lives.  But there are always some things that they just can’t do.  It is a fact of life.

When you put this into the perspective of the church, that is very disconcerting, however.  Imagine parts of the church body refusing to do the work they are given.  This is a big body, the Church.  If large numbers of Christians decide that they are just going to come along for the ride, how many things are we collectively unable to accomplish for the Lord?  Could God call in someone else to do your job, answer your calling in place of you?  Sure He could, and He does!  God can do anything.  My parents did receive pictures taken by family members and friends…but their were gaps.  None of them lived with us.  No one was there to take a picture of my first steps, or the first time I rode a bike.  When God needs to call someone else to fill in for you, what gaps are there in the work He has called you to?  Consider this.  When God calls someone to fill your shoes, who fills the shoes of the person who has to fill yours?  Do you see my point?

What if Mary, the mother of Jesus, had chosen not to receive God’s calling?  I know, I know.  God would have chosen someone else.  Yes.  And He would have made it work.  God will always see that His will is done.  But there is something else.  What would Mary have missed out on?  Oh my!  How terribly sad she would have been to someday realize that she passed up the opportunity to be the mother of the very Son of God!!!!  Difficult as her calling was at times, she was so blessed by it as well.  More than I’m sure she could have ever imagined.

So what is the Spirit calling you to?  Consider the desires of your heart.  Is there some area that you have felt the Spirit’s nudging in?  Ask Him to reveal His will to you.  He is just waiting for you to be willing.  If you feel you have received a call, but are uncertain, ask God to confirm it for you.  Mary was told by the Angel Gabriel, but her cousin Elizabeth confirmed it when the Holy Spirit filled her and she recognized Mary as the mother of the Savior.  I know others, myself included, for whom God has provided a confirmation of their calling.  Don’t view asking for a confirmation as doubting God.  If you are truly seeking His leading, He call you in ways that are very clear, but He will also provide confirmation of His call in equally clear ways.

The next question is, will you obey His call?  Oh yes!  I did say that!  Obey.  Are you going to obey His call?  God has given you a spiritual gift, and a purpose.  To not use them for His service, His glory and honor, is to disobey His call in your life.  Consider the story of the 3 servants in Matthew 25:14-30.  Each servant was given a number of coins to use for the Master.  The first and second servants both doubled the coins they were given.  And the Master rewarded them.  The third, however, sat on his coins and did nothing.  The response of the Master was to call him a wicked and lazy servant!  His coins were taken away, and he was sent away, where he would have to anguish over his failure.  I don’t know about you, but that is not the response I want from my King!  It might be difficult to obey His calling.  It might be scary at times.  I have had to battle Satan on many occasions because he does not want me to obey God.  But I will be jiggered (my grandpa’s word) if I am going to stand before Jesus someday and be called wicked and lazy!  I desire nothing more than to hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” (Matthew 25:21).

I heard a pastor on the radio this week share a quote from an anonymous note he was given years ago.  “God’s commandments are our enablements.”  What a great quote!  You may think that you cannot do what God has asked of you.  You may be frightened by His call.  You may hear the doubts and lies that Satan fills your head with.  Do not forget this:  If God has called you to do something, He will give you whatever it takes for you to accomplish His will.  You are simply the tool for the work He will do through you.  God does not expect you to do this all by yourself!  Be bold!   Be faithful!  Answer His call now, and God bless you as you do!!!

Baby Ruth in the Swimming Pool!

Baby Ruth Purchased Feb. 2005 in USA

Baby Ruth Purchased Feb. 2005 in USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Years ago there was a movie in which someone floated a Baby Ruth candy bar in a swimming pool.  I don’t think I ever saw the movie.  I can’t remember what it was called, who was in it, or what it was about.  But I remember the trailer that showed the floating candy bar, and all the people clearing out of the pool thinking it was something a lot more disgusting!  Yep, you are thinking what I am thinking.  Just like quickly moving away from someone you are swimming next to when the water suddenly gets warm in that spot.  Gross!!!  And you are wondering what in the world this has to do with Christianity.  Fear   not, I am going to fill you in.

The Christian church at Corinth was having some trouble.  For the sake of the faint of heart and those who aren’t raising boys, I will refer to the gross as a Baby Ruth.  The church had a Baby Ruth, or two, or three floating in the pool. Of course, it wasn’t anything fake.  It was the real deal.  Some nasty, ugly sins in the midst of God’s holy church, floating in and among His people.  You know the really yucky part?  They didn’t move away from the Baby Ruth.  They didn’t remove it from the pool.  In fact, they were proud of it!!!  Just like boys!

1 Corinthians 5: 1-2 (NCV) – “It is actually being said that there is sexual sin among you.  And it is a kind that does not happen even among people who do not know God.  A man there has his father’s wife.  And you are proud!  You should have been filled with sadness so that the man who did this should be put out of your group.”

I admit, my first thought was, “Eeew!  Nasty!”  A man having his father’s wife is a definite Baby Ruth in the pool!!  If you read further into chapter 5 and on into chapter 6, you will find more Baby Ruth’s   The pool was full of them!  Those who were sinning sexually, including, but not limited to prostitution, adultery, and homosexuality.  The greedy.  Robbers.  Idol worshipers.  The verbally abusive.  Drunks.  Cheaters.  Liars.  Thieves.

That is not a pool I would want to swim in!!!  It was so full of the filthy Baby Ruth’s it would be next to impossible to not bump into one.  Then you would have it on you!  What’s worse is that after a time, you would become so used to having it all around you, you might begin to forget how disgusting it all is, and be tempted to add a Baby Ruth of your own!!!

Paul told the Corinthians they should have been sad and put the Baby Ruth out of the swimming pool.  The hope was that by doing so the Baby Ruth might be cleaned up and the owner would then be able to return to the pool clean and pure.

Unfortunately the church of today is no different from the church of Corinth.  There are so many Baby Ruth’s floating in the pool with us that we really don’t look any different from the ocean in which the rest of the world swims in.  Our pool (the church) has been cleaned by chlorine (sanctified by Christ).  All of the muck has been filtered out.  When the world looks at us, they should see pristine water glittering in the Son.  But that is not what they see.  We are full of all the same Baby Ruth’s that were in Corinth.  Idolatry, greed, steeling, adultery, homosexuality, pornography, lies, gossip, cheating, bickering, unkind words, and the list goes on and on.  The sad thing is that we let it float.  We allowed our pristine swimming pool, the church, the Body of Christ, to become so contaminated with Baby Ruth’s, filth, dung, that we have begun to accept it as normal, and even rightgoing directly against the clear teachings of the Word of God!  God is not pleased with this, my brothers and sisters!!!  He is heartbroken, but He is righteously angry as well!!  We have defiled His church.  And even if we haven’t done some of these things ourselves, we have allowed others to do them and not said a thing.  We are equally to blame!

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 5: 11-13 that we are not to associate with the people who are living these lives of sin.  We are all sinners.  But there is a big difference between someone who gossips, or even commits adultery, and repents and never does it again, and someone who habitually gossips, lies, stirs up trouble in the church, lives with someone without being married to them, practices homosexuality (yes, I include this explosive topic!) as a way of life.  Verses 11-13 – “I am writing to tell you that you must not associate with those who call themselves believers in Christ but who sin sexually, or are greedy, or worship idols, or abuse others with words, or get drunk, or cheat people.  Do not even eat with people like that.  It is not my business to judge those who are not part of the church.  God will judge them.  But you must judge the people who are part of the church.  The Scripture says, ‘You must get rid of the evil person among you.'”

Go back to verse 2.  The man with his father’s wife should have been put out of the church.  I recall attending a small church in my early teen years.  A man and his wife were one of the biggest financial backers of the church.  But they used that money to control what was happening.  They were greedy for power.  They should have been asked to leave the church, but they weren’t.  As a result, the church ended up collapsing, and the pastor (who was a wonderful man of God) was never a pastor of another church.

It is time for the Church to step up to the plate.  It is time to clean the pool!!!!  We are a disgrace!!!  We dishonor God by allowing all of this filthy dung to co-exist with us in His house!!  It is time for our pastors and church leaders to stand firm on the teachings of the Bible, not twist them, and mutilate them, and distort them into something that belongs in the dirty ocean that world swims in.  We do not belong in the ocean!  Christ lifted us out of it with His death on the cross, and resurrection from the grave.  Do not forget that!!!!  We have been cleaned up and set in the purified, chlorinated water that is the Church.  And it is time for the Church body to stand behind the pastors and leaders.  Keep them accountable to start.  Support them when they  are standing strong and doing what truly honors God, His house, and the Body and bride of Christ!!

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