Monday, August 17, 2020

Upside Down Again

Acts chapter seven records the first murder of a Christian, his name was Stephen. We also are introduced to a man named Saul who was not only present at Stephen's execution but was also consenting to his death. In Acts chapter nine we find this same man, Saul, "still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem." (Acts 9:1-2) but something happened, "As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" (Acts 9:3-4)

Next, we see Saul ask a very important question, "Who are you Lord?" (Acts 9:5) Saul recognized that there was something taking place that was beyond everything he knew. His response was not "Who are You," but he address the One talking to him as Lord. On the surface this may not strike you as something all that important but to Saul it was the beginning of an experience that would radically change his life as well as have an impact on the entire world. In Acts chapter thirteen we see that Saul becomes know as Paul and he and Barnabas are sent from the church at Antioch to the world to preach Christ. In the Epistle of Paul the apostle to the Philippians, he shares who he was prior to meeting Christ, "For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless." (Philippians 3:3-6)

In the eye of academia today, Paul would be perceived to be a brilliant man who knows the Word of God. However, look at what Paul himself says about his incredible wealth of biblical knowledge, "But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;" (Philippians 3:7-9)

Notice that Paul considers all the former knowledge that he had gained as useless as rubbish in comparison to knowing Christ. His utmost desire was, "That I may know Him..." (Philippians 3:11) Paul did not want to know about Christ. He did not want to know what others thought or knew about Christ. He desired a personal intimate knowledge of Christ. We see his intimate knowledge of Christ revealed in the Epistle that he wrote. The epistles of Paul reveal an overwhelming wealth of revelation in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Paul's desire to know Christ personally and intimately should be the desire of every believer, but unfortunately for most, knowing what others think or know about Christ has become sufficient. This attitude has cause damaging doctrines to permeate the church promoting division. Paul had to deal with this very issue and calls those who fall prey to it carnal babies in Christ who act like mere men. (1 Corinthians 3:1-4)

Paul tells Timothy in both his letters to Timothy, the damage that would occur in the church as the end time approached, "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons." (1 Timothy 4:1) "But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!" (2 Timothy 3:1-5) Of course not one church leader would ever admit that this could be about them and their belief system.

I believe that there is not one church leader or particular group of churches that have the revelation that Paul gives us in its purest form. This is why we've got to put down our pride and prejudices and let the Holy Spirit guide us into all truth. We must also be open enough to consider that our pet doctrines may not be entirely correct. Instead of resisting the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51) and embracing doctrine whether old or new, that does not consider the whole counsel of God's Word, let's grow up and embrace Jesus Christ with a desire to know Him so that the power, presence and glory of the Lord fills His entire Body once again. Whether we want to take the responsibility or not, the lost world is depending on the church to reveal to them the real Jesus. The church is His body which means that as He is, so should the church be in the world! This means that as He is supernatural in ever sense of the word, so is the church. Through the name of Jesus and having an intimate knowledge of Him, the church will once again turn the world upside down for His glory.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.