In meditating on 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, I thought of how perfectly Christ demonstrates love embodied for us: 1.) He is patient with us: How often has he and does he put up with our sin and pour out love grace and mercy to us? 2.) He is kind: think about His kindness in taking in human flesh, in humbling himself as the servant of all, in going to the cross for us, in sending the Spirit, in restoring us to the Father, in filling us with innumerable gifts and joy and grace upon grace, in giving us His word and...3.) He is not jealous concerning us in the sense of not wanting us to have all goodness. He wants to shower goodness upon us, He wants us to be satisfied, He wants us to be filled with joy, he gives us richly all things to enjoy, even the trials he brings are for our good! 4.) He did not come to the earth bragging with arrogance, He came in the lowliest way, he made himself the servant of all, He poured himself out and completely submitted Himself to the Father's will! 5.) He does not act unbecomingly: He always acts in a way that accords with righteousness and truth, He always does the will of the Father, He is always good, and just and gracious! 6.) He did not come seek his own, but the Father's will and redemption and blessing for others. He laid His life down! 7.) He was not provoked: think of the Jewish leaders railing against Him, falsely accusing him, abusing him; think of Herod's mockery of him, think of the Romans cruelty to him. As they spat in his face, whipped Him, beat Him and crucified Him, He was never once provoked to anger or hate, or bitterness, instead He said "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do!", He entrusted Himself to His faithful Father and finished the work of offering Himself for our sin as our Savior! 8.) He did not keep an account of wrong's suffered. Remember how all of his discipled abandoned Him at his moment of greatest need. He did not hold that against them, but instead he restored them in Galilee. What grace and mercy to give Peter the opportunity to profess love 3x to Him to erase his 3 fold denial of Christ. What grace to send these men out to represent Him fully restored after they had forsaken them. What grace that He does not hold our sin against us if we are trusting in Him and embracing His forgiveness! 9.) He never rejoices in unrighteousness, but always rejoices in the truth. He loves us to much to allow us to remain in our sin--He wants to redeem us from every lawless deed. He has given his Word and His Spirit turn us from sin and turn us to truth and righteousness. 10.) He always bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things with us. Again think of his dealing with the disciples. He could have focused a lot on their weakness and sin, but instead He encouraged them and gently brought them along! He bears with us and our weakness and warts, and sin as well. He sees the good that he is working in us through His Spirit and forgives and forgets the bad, He knows that he will fully conform us to His image of perfection, He endures all that we do and remains faithful to us to the end! What a challenge to love in this way with a love that never fails! Lord, give us this love!
Thursday, December 01, 2011
Over a century ago, John MacArthur reminds us, there was a movement that came about in Christianity called fundamentalism. This movement was a reaction against the downgrade toward liberalism that was taking place in Europe and America. Christian leaders from a number of different denominations were intent on reestablishing what were the fundamental truths of the Christian faith and recommitting themselves to defending these at all costs. Fuller seminary was original established under this greater movement. George Marsden wrote a book called Reforming Fundamentalsim: Fuller Seminary and the New Evangelicalism. The book shows how gradually Fuller Seminary abandoned it's fundamentalist evangelical roots and entered into an evangelicalism that questioned the full inerrancy of the scripture. MacArthur reminds us that this happened because a desire rose up from that seminary to be academically credible and acceptable to the world.
We Christians sometimes chafe at the idea that the world thinks that we are idiots. We are tempted to want to show them that we are not stupid and that our ideas are academically viable. What we forget is the principle that comes from 1 Corinthians 1:18 (NASB95) "18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."
MacArthur unpacks this and the verses that follow and challenges us to remember that the wisdom that should captivate our thinking is not the wisdom of the world, but the wisdom of Christ. Only those who have trusted Christ as Savior and Lord can understand that "In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col. 2:6). We look at the world entirely through the lens of Christ. How can we expect the world to understand or appreciate our wisdom unless they turn from their sins to Him. How can we expect to incorporate a philosophy from the world back into our institutions or churches that is not subject to the wisdom of Christ?
MacArthur makes these profound statements derived form 1 Cor. 1. HUMAN WISDOM IS TEMPORARY; DIVINE WISDOM IS ETERNAL; HUMAN WISDOM IS IMPOTENT; DIVINE WISDOM IS POWERFUL; HUMAN WISDOM IS FOR THE ELITE; DIVINE WISDOM IS FOR ALL.
One of the greatest things that stood out to me was the fact that human wisdom has never solved the ultimate issues of life, but the wisdom of Christ gets to the heart of man's problems and provides a solution to everything. In Him we have salvation from our sin, the understanding from His word of how we got here, what our problem is, how God redeems us, what we are supposed to be doing, where we are going, and all of the other moral and practical issues of life! If we have all of the at from Christ, why do we we go back to the world for wisdom of acceptance?
The allurement of seeking to become more acceptable to the world always causes Christians to abandon Christian wisdom and replaces it with the worlds wisdom. This actually causes the world to evangelize the church instead of the church evangelizing the world!
MaCarthur closes with some quotes from Spurgeon. I share a brief one here:
Jesus Christ is made of God unto us wisdom. We look no more for wisdom from the thoughts that spring of human mind, but to Christ himself; we do not expect wisdom to come to us through the culture that is of man, but we expect to be made wise through sitting at our Master’s feet and accepting him as wisdom from God himself.
Let us always embrace the wisdom of Christ no matter what the world thinks of us, for it is the power of God unto salvation!