September 25, 2022
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE:
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will a person die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrated His own love for us by this truth: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5.6-8)
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I AM is with you always, to the very end of the age.’” (Matthew 28.18-20)
“While we were powerless and ungodly… While we were POWERLESS and UNGODLY? These are the words the apostle Paul used to describe us and all believers before the touch of Jesus’ ministry came into the world. Sadly, since that time, the world has continued to be filled with the same kind of people regardless race, creed, ethnicity, origin, nationality or gender identity. Sin has remained sin and continues to dwell on earth. But, there is a real alternative. Jesus declared that alternative throughout His ministry. He spoke it to the Teachers of the Law on the steps of the Temple when He was twelve years old. He declared it throughout His ministry from the moment He entered into the Jordan to be baptized until His ascension from the Mount of Transfiguration in Galilee. The alternative was summed up in His response to Philip in the Upper Room. It was authorized before the Eleven remaining disciples as they gathered together with the physical presence of Jesus on the upper plateau of Mount Tabor. Jesus said we could choose “powerful and godly” as our true identity. Such a designation was the “way, truth and life” as the only way to be lead to the Father. Such a designation was the commissioning of the true purpose and meaning of our lives as followers of Jesus the Christ. We were intended, are intended and fully expected in the days to come to be “powerful and godly.” If “powerless and ungodly” was our personal description and reality check summed up in the title “sinner,” then we each should have checked that box. But, the very ministry of Jesus allows that box to be as empty for us as the cross and the tomb are for Jesus. Sin and death don’t become us. We can choose to not become the fruit and the consequence of sin and death. By choosing Jesus as the Christ, and no other can meet that standard and requirement but Jesus, sin and death no longer can hold us back from being who we are in God through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit. We may visit that shaded and jaded part of our lives from time to time because “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” That is a reminder that we must choose continually “the way in which we go,” “the truth we must follow” and the “life we must embrace” as those who are Jesus’ true disciples.
Yes, salvation, like faith, is a precious gift given to us all. But, they are gifts which we must choose to not only accept but enact. They are not treasures to be set on a shelf or placed in a chest. They are like the proverbial candle lit to illumine the “house” in which we live. It serves no good purpose to have the lit candle placed under a bowl or hidden in a secret place (Luke 11.33). And it may serve us well to consider that “house” in which we live the physical body which serves as the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit here on earth. The story I reflected up the other day concerning the man who cleaned his “house” totally speaks to this. He removed everything from the house and thus drove the evil spirit which existed in it as well into the wilderness [of sin]. It wasn’t just about the literal house, if at all. It was about his own life, his body- his heart, soul and mind. Remembering “the eyes are the windows and mirrors of one’s soul,” we can investigate the fuller meaning of this “house of God” identity. The choice to “clean one’s house” is critical. More importantly after that is the choice to maintain its “clean” status by being “clothed in righteousness” and keeping the “light of the world” lit so that the darkness will be kept at bay. Hmmm, a “bay” window bows out from the house into the world. Hmmm, our “spring cleaning” coincides with Passover, Easter and Pentecost. We are presented with such powerful and godly images it would seem a waste to not put them into purposeful and good use fulfilling our lives with the truth and fulfilling our days with commissioned discipleship. This is what keeps the house truly clean- by having filled it with that which speaks of cleanliness that leads to godliness.
So there on that mountain, the disciples experienced the destiny of their faith. That mountaintop experience was not the destination of their faith. Their faith had been renewed by the evidence of resurrection demonstrated in Jesus of Nazareth, who was, is and will always be the Only Christ. It was not demonstrated merely to prove He was the Christ. It was demonstrated to validate the promise and claim of God over our lives- if we believe in Him as He believes in us. Jesus never intended for the disciples and generations of followers to dwell on the mountains of the world only. He spoke the truth in love that they were to go to the mountains of the world (the capitals and seats of influence) and declare the truth of God’s meaning, purpose and desire. What is that? It is that we shall dwell with Him forever in spirit and in truth. But, once having declared it, as Jonah did to Jerusalem and Nineveh where the Word of God wrought conversion, then they must go out into the whole world and to all people and do the same. Mount Tabor, Mount Zion and all the mounts in the world are just launching points to set out into the deep, cast our nets on the other side in power and godliness and draw in a catch which will stretch our imagination to contain. Now we can hear the extension of Jesus’ teaching on faith, even that of the size of a mustard seed, as it can “say to this mountain be moved to the sea or that plain be lifted up.” By choosing such power and godliness as our true identity and purpose empowered and enhanced by God, we are engaging a “house cleaning” business that can and will transform the world in the renewal of hearts and minds toward God. It is our destiny to be world changers, first with water and then with fire; baptism of “immersion” and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Be powerful and godly!
Father, you have made all things new in those who have chosen to receive the gift of life in Jesus the Christ and put it into powerful and godly action. May the presence of Your Holy Spirit embolden us as it empowers us to receive our commissioning and accomplish the good You would have us do. It is our desire to be what You would have us be. It is the only way, truth and life which makes sense not for today but for always. We believe in You in Jesus’ name. Thank you for believing in us, too. AMEN.