September 14, 2022
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE:
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3.12)
Are there those whom God has not chosen? Did not Jesus Christ die fpr the sins of all people in every generation past, present and future? Thus in God’s mercy and grace, we are all chosen and should clothe ourselves with righteousness: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. We should but many do not. Why not? Because many do not understand that it is God who has chosen them for the blessing of righteousness in Jesus Christ. Another way of saying this, in reflection, is that many have not, do not and will not choose God in order to be “holy and dearly loved.” This is a “sad but true” statement presented by the broken reality we live in. But, that does not excuse us from broadcasting, declaring, proclaiming, modeling and discipling every “nation” in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit so they will never be able to say “I never heard that before.” The honus is “On Us,” mighty ones of God! Just as Jesus read from the passage of Isaiah as He sat down in the midst of the people gathered in the synagogue of Nazareth (Luke 4.18f) saying “The Spirit of the Lord is ON ME, anointing me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and proclaim that captives will be released and the prisoners set free.” (Isaiah 61.1), so it is for us as those in Christ Jesus who are of “one body, one mind, one spirit.” What is the choice we have made? Is it that some will be blessed with a hearing and others will not? Is it that we will decide “someone else will do it so I don’t have to”? Is it that the only one who matters is me and let everyone else take care of themselves? Mighty ones, there are those within the “body of Christ” who actually think, say and demonstrate such attitudes and call them Christlike. Our hearts should ache for those who have not yet heard. Our hearts should ache for those who have heard and refused “the way, the truth and the life.” Which ones should our hearts ache more for? Do we dare ask that question? Or should we dare ask God for greater wisdom, greater knowledge, greater strength and another opportunity to walk and talk in Jesus’ shoes saying “Today, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4.21)
Yes, there were those in Jesus’ hometown who rejected His reading and His reading of the Jubilee passage from the writing of the Prophet Isaiah. In truth, they not only rejected Him (because they allowed themselves to believe He had rejected them) but they sought to do bodily harm to Him leading up to and including death at the brow of a hill (if that isn’t foreshadowing I do not know what is.) But we know, at least believe, that not all of them rejected Him. Some had faith and followed after Him as He went on to Capernaum where His father had built a house for when he did work there. As Jesus was compelled by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the good news, He was moved with a sense of urgency. There was a whole nation who needed to receive compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. There were many who had never heard (and not just because they weren’t Jewish) that God loved them, desired to offer forgiveness to them and would call them His very own. While Jesus undoubtedly wept over those who heard and refused, He was not going to be satisfied with investing more time with denials when there were others who would say “yes” to God’s good news of a great joy of salvation which had come to all people. He took Israel not by storm but by one step at a time investing in the future of this ministry for which He was anointed.
And then He did the next best thing. Yes, He anointed us who had chosen to accept being chosen by God to be His people, the sheep of His pasture, called by His Name for His purpose of being faith farmers, shepherds, builders and nurturers. Okay, you can call them apostles, disciples, teachers, healers, administrators, etc. but the very essence of the work given to us is to:
- broadcast the seed of the gospel,
- shepherd the flock that is given to us (especially to seek the lost),
- build up one another in the body of Christ with the gifts received,
- and, nurture with fortitude and admonishment to become truer disciples of Jesus Christ with the evidence of authentic love.
Let us remember and consider the work of the Holy Spirit as an “indwelling experience” and an “outgoing opportunity.” We dare not believe we are the Church if we are not truly engaged in being discipled and discipling. The Spirit was “upon” Isaiah and he declared in the presence of God in the Temple “Here, I AM, send me.” The Spirit was “upon” Jesus descended as a dove at His baptism and sent Him into the wilderness to establish the boundary of His ministry saying to Satan- they are mine and not yours. The Spirit was “upon” Jesus in Nazareth after the wilderness experience and He went out to other communities as well. The Spirit was “upon” the chosen in the Upper Room and they were sent out to fulfill the commissioning left for them by Jesus to “go out into all the world.” They gathered together in “one” place to share in the fullness of the Spirit’s provision. Then they went out from there well-provisioned to do what was right, good, true and holy: the perfect will of God. In and out, in and out. This is the life to which we have been called from before we were born. Into the womb and out into the world. Into our childhood home and out into the world. Into school and out into the world. Into our adult home and back out into the world. Into a tomb and back out into the world. I pray we will feel the ebb and flow, the rhythm and beat of the chosen-ness by which we have been chosen and that which we have chosen for ourselves. Mighty ones, let us truly talk the talk and walk the walk as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved.
Into Your Hands we commend our heart, mind, soul, body and spirit. Lead us and we will follow. Command us and we will go. Speak to us and we will listen. Live with us and we will dwell with You in a tabernacle life as we go into all the world making disciples of every nation in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. AMEN.