"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6
Proverbs 3:5; Matthew 28:16-20; John 20:19-31; Acts 28:17-31; Colossians 1
What gets your church off its path? What needs to be done to bring it back?
Key point: When we seek to do His Church on our own, we turn it into a church of evil, as diametrically opposed to Christ, as Satan is opposed to Him. We may not be worshipping Satan, but when we run the church by our ways and agendas, we are, in fact, worshipping Satan, because Christ is not only ignored, He is being opposed! Let us not be pressured to bow to people's agendas that are in opposition to Christ's. In this way, we can lead to God's Glory and even lead through any sufferings to overcome and learn from, so our members can run the course God's Way.
We serve by trust and obedience!
Proverbs tells us that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. This type of fear is not being scared, or fearful of what will happen, nor is it distrust or terror of God. This type of fear is reverence and awe that fuels our worship and faith. It is the understanding of the wonder and majesty of our incredible God, who transcends time and space, and who is bigger than the entire universe He created, yet, He personally knows and loves us with deeper and more love than we could ever comprehend! In the Old Testament, the stipulation put to the Jews was that they follow their God and stick to the covenant. The covenant we have now is grace; the stipulation is that we accept it by faith. The growth of our fear (awe) is the response to His majesty.
Reverence is taking the incredible knowledge of His majesty, and applying it to our lives, so we will walk with confidence in our Lord, and operate with respect to Him, and to the others whom He knows and loves.
Reverence leads to worship because we can acknowledge whom God is, and respond in the only way we can, to surrender our will to Him and worship Him! As His created beings, saved by His grace from a destiny we created and deserved, we have an obligation to give Him all of our honor, all our praise, and all our adoration. This is the reason for the primary purpose of our saved lives--to give God the glory that is rightly due Him. Why must we? Because He is the Holy, Sovereign, the Creator (Duet. 7:21; Neh. 4:14; Psalm 48:1; 86:10; 95:3; 97:2; 145:3; Dan. 9:4; 1 Cor. 13:12; Heb. 12:28,29)!
Live a life worthy/walk worthy of the Lord. This means to live in the manner of what we know and believe--and do it consistently. We do this when we are pursuing God and His righteousness, and believing His precepts, so He is more and we are less in our will. This is our "walk with God," is living out the daily Christian life thinking as He has called, behaving as we believe, and thus doing in response to His Work in and for us. It is also about being empowered by the Holy Spirit. It is never the walk in our own will and strength; such a thing is pride and disobedience to our loving Lord (Lev. 26:3; Ezek. 36:27; Mark 10:29-31; John 3:30; Gal. 2:20-21; 5:16; Eph. 4:1; 5:1; Phil. 3:10-14).
We behave as the One you represent, as the name Christian means to be like Christ in His character.
Be like Christ, to being an "appropriate" or acceptable offering so we "deserve" our reward; we cannot earn this. Be a friend of God with gratitude; seeking Him first is to glorify Him. (Deut. 10:17-19; 2 Chron. 20:7; Psalm 69:30-31; Matt. 5:16; 6:33; Mark 12:29-30; 1 Thess. 2:4).
Bringing forth fruit. The byproduct of a healthy tree, is the same with a growing Christian: Christ's characteristics of the Holy Spirit are flowing in, and through, and then out of us, thus our fruit is an offshoot of the care we make in paying particularly close attention to His Word so we can grow more righteousness. Our growth and development in Christ is paramount and this results from our mindset and attitude in our relationships. This is the central feature of our faith development that results from saving faith (Gen. 1:28; Hos. 10:1; 14:7-8; Matt. 13:3-8, 31-32; Luke 8:11; John 14-15; Rom. 1:13; 15:30; 1 Cor. 16:15; Gal. 5; Phil. 1:11, 22; 4:7, 17; Col. 1:6; Heb. 12:11; 13:15).
Our spiritual formation is allowing Christ to dwell in our minds and hearts so He goes to our hands and feet.
This is our maturity, character, demeanor, and conduct--the essence of who we are is a display of Christ, even without opening our mouths. We are His exhibit--an example of His work. This cannot occur unless we work at it, taking what He gives and building upon it, so we can grow deeper in Him (Psalm 119; John 14:23; Rom. 8:5-9; 1 Cor. 12-13; 1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18; 1 John 2:3-5, 13-14).
Too many Christians neglect the basics of the faith, replacing it with new teachings, or neglect good teaching all together.
They forget who God is, and who we are in Christ. If we do not know who God is and what our call and responsibilities are, how are we to grow in our faith, in maturity, and in character, not to mention in leading others in the direction of God's call? We cannot!
Our Lord and Savior paid the ultimate price for our sins. We should have been put in His place; yet, He took our place in life, in suffering, and then in death to give us new life. Do you realize the magnitude of what our Lord did for you? He, who was without sin, covered you with His righteousness. Consider the cost! How much is it worth to have a life freed from the punishment of sin and receive eternal salvation? Money? Power? Works? What would you pay? Consider it was a payment of life, like giving up a precious relative so you can have a new car, yet many fold more. With sin, all we will have is quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, envy, pride, and such, as these so-called Jewish leaders modeled. The results of these will cause chaos and strife to any situation, and hinder God's work in us (Gen. 3:18; Isa. 50:6; 52:14-53-6; Matt.27; Mark 15)!
The opposite of maturity is immaturity, as the opposite of wisdom is foolishness, and this is the result of no direction in life brought on by no discernment. This leads to rebellion against God, and His godly leaders. We will then lead others away, as well. We will be leading people in hopelessness and despair, because most people cannot discern the difference. Thus, it is the Christian's responsibility to know their faith, and apply it with correct knowledge, based on God's Word.
We have been transformed! Now we can be ambassadors and demonstrators of God's transforming power to those around us.
We have reason, distinction and purpose in life, we have meaning and hope! God saved us for liberty, gives us holiness and gives us assurance. Our sin no longer has dominion over us; we are no longer under its rule. Although sin still infuses and influences us, our purpose and hope for the now and future is in our New Life! We have entered His presence through a new birth (John 3:5). We have our freedom, yet we owe Him for what He did for us. We are His adopted children (Gal. 4:5) but we are not to be childlike in our activities and responsibilities as we are fully adults in Him.
Because what He has done for us, we are no longer His enemy. Since our lives have been transformed because of His gift can live, our lives focused on our Lord lest we fall astray. There is nothing holding us back, nothing oppressing us. We can cast off our fears and trepidations and embrace our Lord with passion, conviction and serve Him in the same way (Romans 8:1-17; 1 John 1).
The point of these passages is the point of the Gospel. If we live out our Christian lives with the great commitment of love and faith with diligence, then we can succeed in life, ministry, and service to our Lord.
© 2016 R.J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development www.churchleadership.org/