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Serving Jesus through discipleship

Archive for the month “November, 2011”

Erased from the Book of Life?


In today’s devotional reading, I was introduced to a new concept. The passage is Revelation 3:5, “He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” Is it possible to have your name erased from the book of life? What about “once saved, always saved?”

I hope someone comments on this. I would enjoy a good discussion and time of learning!

What is a Christian?


Today I was talking with my friend Sonny (we talk a lot). He asked me a question I couldn’t answer immediately. The question is “What is a mature Christian?” I gave the answer that a mature Christian is a person that , when you look at their daily life, you see the image of Christ. (That worked when I was in Catholic grammar school.) Then he asked, “Using your definition, do you know anyone that is a mature Christian?” I had to admit that I didn’t and that I wasn’t likely to meet one soon.

I then asked him what his definition was, his response was from 1 Timothy 3. By this definition a mature Christian is above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full
respect. After thinking about this for a couple of minutes i came to the conclusion that those qualities, while admirable, are not necessarily Christian qualities. So does that mean a mature Christian does not even have to be a Christian?

That then leads me to the question for today, “What is a Christian?” We need to define what a Christian is before we can determine what a mature Christian looks like. What are your thoughts?

Submission


A few weeks ago, after a church service, Linda and I had lunch with friends. The sermon during the services had a reference to Ephesians 5: 22 – 25. I was surprised at how belligerent the woman became about the verse “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” Her attitude was “I am not submitting to any one!”

I suppose this shouldn’t be too surprising! Men have been abusing women for thousands of years, expecting their wife to satisfy their every whim. However this is not what this passage is saying. Many men don’t read any farther than verse 24. Three small verses that for many people say it all. But wait, the corresponding command to the men is nine verses. Three times the instructions to the men as to the women. It sounds like this is more important. Let’s see what it says.

The first command; “Husbands, love your wives…” The operative word, love, is the Greek word ‘agapao’. This Greek word agapao is the root word for agape. Agape is the word that 1 Corinthians 13 is about. The word which we translate love. I have spent the last ten months writing about the different aspects of the how Paul tried to practically convey the meaning of this word to the Corinthians. Here it is again to refresh your memory. Live is patient, love is kind and is not jealous, love does not brag and is not arrogant, love does not act unbecomingly, it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not in unrighteousness but rejoices with the truth; love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. So men, if you examine your love for your wife in light of this definition do you measure up?

That first command,” Husbands, love your wives” comes with an example. This example is “just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her;” Then the text tells us why Christ gave Himself up for the church. Why? That He might sanctify her. What does this mean. The word sanctify in the Greek is hagiazo which means to make holy, to consecrate, The first definition of holy in Merriam Webster’s online dictionary is “exalted or worthy of complete devotion”. The rest of verse 26 and 27 confirm that thought; “having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and blameless.”

How does that example translate to the way men relate to their wives? You should put your wife’s needs above your own self interest. Be totally devoted to her greater good. Ephesians 5:28 confirms this. “So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself.”

I’ve heard an anecdote that a couple were in counseling and this came up. The husband said to the counselor, “I’ll love her when she submits.” The wife replied, “I’ll submit when he starts loving me.” I see no conditions in the biblical commands. We are each to be obedient to Christ, no matter what our spouse does.

Ass sinful creatures,  we are hard pressed to obey any command much less this one.  These commands are really one and the same.

The command really is to put the needs of your spouse ahead of your own needs. In this way you honor God and His Son Jesus.  Really, isn’t  that what life is supposed to be all about?

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