Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Life in Adam and Life in Christ

This is from the blog Things Paul & Luke:

It was during these days (cf. Mark 3:6-14; Luke 6:11-13 – i.e. the Feast of Tabernacles), that Jesus withdrew to meet with his Father in solitude on a mountain. After praying all night, he chose his twelve apostles from the disciples following him (Luke 6:12-16). It was at this time that he taught them what is summarized in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5, 6 & 7). After coming down the mount he met a multitude and healed them of all their diseases. In doing so, Jesus began to repeat key phrases of the sermon here on the plane, teaching the disciples through his works what he had told them on the mountain (Luke 6:17-49). [1]

Jesus’ teaching is one of contrast between our life in Adam and our life in Christ. Consider all we can know in this world without Christ, whether religion, politics, military, sports, music, commerce, education, science, arts, government etc.[2] All these make up Adam’s world system. This world’s system is not of our Father in heaven (1 John 2:16). All these things were begun by the life of Adam, to satisfy the lust of Adam’s life, and are held in existence today by Adam’s life as it exists within all the people of the world (contrast Colossians 1:16-17).

The unbeliever lives out his life in Adam, while the Christian abides in Christ. These two entities cannot be more opposed. The one lives only to satisfy self, while the other lives to satisfy God within. In Adam, self is supreme. One may sacrifice for others, but the motivation is to satisfy one’s own conscience, personal pride, love for country or organization (religious or business) etc. The Christian lives as though he has given up all rights to these things and lives only to satisfy Christ within (Luke 9:24-26; Philippians 3:7-8). It is all a matter of supremacy. There is a daily struggle in the Christian’s life (cf. Galatians 5:16-25), because there is no agreement between the two lives.

The world looks for men with experience, people with confidence in themselves, men with drive and the ability to push other men forward (Luke 6:24-26). Nevertheless, it is not the way of Christ to drive or push others. Rather, he seeks men, who are willing to place themselves under the influence of his Spirit (Philippians 2:13), men who are willing to lead (not drive or push) others to him (Luke 6:20-23; cf. John 15:4-5). Men need to trust Jesus (John 14:1) and be willing to forsake what they could have had by living for the goals of this world (cf. Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9).

The world’s idea of success is to have the things of this world in abundance (Luke 6:24), but the Christian’s abundance is Christ (Ephesians 1:3). The successful in the world live in fear of want (cf. Luke 6:25a) and go to great lengths to keep what they have and to accumulate more. The Christian gives Christ away and finds his abundance (Christ) has grown from within (cf. John 3:30). The more he releases and gives away, the more he has, and he has no fear of loss.

The religious person, whose certification lies in self, covets the good will of others (Luke 6:26). He will defend tradition based upon falsehood, because this is what the majority believes and treasures. His whole life is lived to satisfy this inner need to be congratulated, and anyone who challenges this self-worship is cast out of his company (Matthew 6:1-2, 5, 16). The Christian will lift up Jesus and will confront and admonish those who, while claiming the name of Christ, lift up someone or something else as their authority. In doing so he will make enemies of those who are carnally worshiping Christ, and he risks being cast from their company and held up to scorn in the eyes of his friends and brothers in Christ (Luke 6:22).

The lives of Adam and Christ are opposed to one another (Galatians 5:16-25). The one wants to live as the world lives, a way that feels comfortable, but the Christian’s Way is Christ (John 14:6). The unbeliever is always concerned over what belongs to himself, but the Christian finds joy in the fact that his life is not his own (1 Corinthians 6:19; Philippians 1:21). Jesus makes all the difference. 


[1] Some folks claim Luke 6 and Matthew 5-7 are one sermon, but I find no difficulty in seeing two. After all, most pastors today often deliver at least two sermons every Sunday. Why is it so difficult to see Jesus doing something similar?

[2] I received this definition of the world from reading Watchman Nee – Love Not the World, chapter one, ‘The Mind Behind the System’ page 16.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Carry His Day Into The Night

This is from the blog Words from the Crucible:

At that time Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel,
“Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.”
And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies.
Joshua 10:12-13 (ESV)

Those for whom the Lord Himself fights know that they need not do battle in darkness, though it should be the season for night.  Children of light carry The Day Of The Lord with them at all times, for it lightens their way and exposes the enemy right before them.

Yet for the wicked and unrepentant, the Day of the Lord is darkness, and not light. But the man whom the light of the world has permeated becomes a beacon of its radiance. For these, it is always the day, though it be the hour of darkness. For these, victory is seen where unlightened eyes are shrouded in gloom.

But those whose way is not lit by that ever-present flame of the Day of the Lord, and those for whom the Day of the Lord is darkness and gloom: these are the armies of darkness, set against the Lord’s army. These cannot live in the light of the Day, for the mighty men of valour deliver vengeance upon those enemies of God.

Vengeance is the Lord’s; and the men of His warfare bear the sword of His mouth in the brightness of His countenance. They carry His Day into the night, to the great dismay and ultimate downfall of those who have made peace with the encroaching darkness.

In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
John 1:4-5 (KJV)

The Day of the Lord

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Persecution Post - Uganda 1973

This is from the blog A Word in Season:


“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
Colossians 3:3

Kefa Sempangi was pastor of the large Redeemed Church of Uganda. Easter Sunday 1973 was his first serious brush with death at the hands of Idi Amin’s goons. After an all-day worship service he went exhausted to the vestry to change clothes—too exhausted to notice the five strangers (government secret police goons) following him into the room:They stood between me and the door, pointing their rifles at my face. For a long moment no one said anything. Then the tallest man, obviously the leader, spoke. “We are going to kill you,” he said. “If you have something to say, say it before you die.” He spoke quietly but his face was twisted with hatred.

I could only stare at him. For a sickening moment I felt the full weight of his rage. We had never met before but his deepest desire was to tear me to pieces. My mouth felt heavy and my limbs began to shake. Everything left my control. They will not need to kill me, I thought to myself. I am just going to fall over dead and I will never see my family again.

From far away I heard a voice, and I was astonished to realize that it was my own. “I do not need to plead my own cause,” I heard myself saying. “I am a dead man already. My life is dead and hidden in Christ. It is your lives that are in danger; you are dead in your sins. I will pray to God that after you have killed me, He will spare you from eternal destruction.”

The tall one took a step towards me and then stopped. In an instant, his face was changed. His hatred had turned to curiosity. He lowered his gun and motioned to the others to do the same. They stared at him in amazement but they took their guns from my face.

Then the tall one spoke again. “Will you pray for us now?” he asked. I thought my ears were playing a trick. I looked at him and then at the others. My mind was completely paralyzed. “Father in heaven,” I prayed, “You who have forgiven men in the past, forgive these men also. Do not let them perish in their sins but bring them into yourself.”

It was a simple prayer, prayed in deep fear. But God looked beyond my fears and when I lifted my head, the men standing in front of me were not the same men who had followed me into the vestry. Something had changed in their faces. It was the tall one who spoke first. His voice was bold but there was no contempt in his words, “You have helped us,” he said, “and we will help you. We will speak to the rest of our company and they will leave you alone. Do not fear for your life. It is in our hands and you will be protected.”

I was too astonished to reply. The tall one only motioned for the others to leave. He himself stepped to the doorway and then he turned to speak one last time. “I saw widows and orphans in your congregation,” he said. “I saw them singing and giving praise. Why are they happy when death is so near?” It was still difficult to speak but I answered him. “Because they are loved by God. He has given them life, and will give life to those they loved, because they died in Him.”

His question seemed strange to me, but he did not stay to explain. He only shook his head in perplexity and walked out the door. I stared at the open door of the vestry for several moments and then sat down on a nearby straw mat chair. My knees were no longer strong and I could feel my whole body tremble. I could not think clearly. Less than ten minutes before, I had considered myself a dead man. Even though I was surrounded by 7,000 people there was no human being to whom I could appeal. I could not ask the elders to pray, I could not appeal to the mercy of the Nubian killers. My mouth had frozen and I had no clever words to speak. In that moment, with death so near, it was not my sermon that gave me courage, or an idea from Scripture. It was Jesus Christ, the living Lord.

Standing Strong