Relevant ideas . .

CHRISTIAN FAILURES

      Pictured to the left are two of the most important people in the world. Surely you've heard of Floyd and Daisy Huntley? If you haven't yet - you will. You are looking at royalty, at two members of that vast multitude "which no man can number" (Revelation 7:9) that are destined to rule on the earth as Kings and Priests unto God. "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?" (1 Corinthians 6:2) Paul asks incredulously. "Know ye not we shall judge angels (verse3). The Kingdom of God shall "be given to the saints of the most High" (Daniel 7:27). The World mocks Christians as losers in life, but

that, my friends, is because the world does not know us! "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not" (I John 3:1). See friends, just like the Pharisees and Scribes, Pontius Pilate and today all unbelievers look at Jesus and think they know him, when they really don't know him. If they knew who Jesus really was and is at this very moment they would fall to their knees in repentance and faith. Moses' tabernacle in the wilderness when viewed from the air was covered with plain old grey badger skins. But if you had viewed it from the inside it would have taken your breath away! The red, blue, purple and scarlet curtains with embroidered angels, the gleaming golden walls, the altar of incense with its intoxicating aroma, the table of shewbread - and the ark of the covenant - all gold! But from the outside it was laughable . . badger skins? Really?

     Floyd and Daisy Huntley were pastors at Riverton Community Church for years, one of the first and probably most formative years years of my life. He loved, exhorted, and very gently rebuked me in my early years as a Believer. I went to see him on his deathbed. When the nurses asked me if I was family I said "yes". They let me in, and I saw Floyd woke to utter the last words I ever heard him say, "The Lord honors faithfulness above all, Steve". That was the last time I saw Floyd.

     And yet, faithfulness? That is nearly the last thing I have been. I haven't been faithful to my Lord. And neither have you.

But Christ has remained faithful to us. "If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself (2 Timothy 2:13).

His name is the "faithful and true", not ours. So yes, to the World we are failures, losers and hypocritical imposters. But to God we are most precious. " Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints" (Psalms 116:15). How will it be when Christ comes again? "Thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the nations, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me" (Isaiah 49:22, 23). Still not convinced? Try this one: "For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life" (Isaiah 43:3, 4).

     I know the context speaks of Israel. Yet, Jesus said there are "true" Israelites (John 1:47) and false ones (John 8:39), and tells us that "many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 8:11), but many of whom it pertained would be "cast into outer darkness" (v. 12). Paul elaborates wonderfully in Ephesians:

"Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us" (Ephesians 2:11-14).

 

What is the result of God doing this?

 

"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, (Jewish) and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles (Jewish) and prophets, (Jewish) Jesus Christ (Jewish) himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit" (Ephesians 2:19-22).

 

Meaning what, Steve?

"For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise"  (Galatians 3:26-29).

     Meaning there is ONE Israel, ONE body, and one single destiny awaiting The Elect of God, whether Jew or Gentile, and "we are the true circumcision "which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh" (Phillippians 3:3). All the Old Testament promises to the Israelites have to belong to the true Israelites, the "Israel of God" (Galatians 6:18) don't they??   There is "one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Ephesians 4:4, 5), even as our Lord said "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd" (John 10:16).

     So . . . Christian failures? I don't think so. Though the world "knows us not", though we appear to be failures and wannabes by this dying world, I can assure you that "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18). Are you weak? God chooses weakness (1 Corinthians 1:26). Are you foolish? Me too. But God chooses foolishness! Hallelujah! Are you a sinner? Jesus chooses sinners. Bless His name!

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