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Observations on the Christian Life
Observations on the Christian Life
The story of the wedding at Cana. We
learn some important lessons. i. Invite
Jesus. If He hadn't been there at the wedding, it would have ended in shame
& reproach for the bride and groom (and for the governor of the feast). ii.
Obey Jesus. If the servants had
argued with Jesus, or thought the idea of filling up of the waterpots was
absurd, there would have not been any wine. And you have to realize that it was the
best quality wine, 720 litres of it. (I believe every one of the six waterpots,
each 120 litres in capacity, was turned into wine.).
So what is the third lesson we learn from the story? Imitate Jesus. I believe neither the governor of the feast, nor the bride & groom, nor the chief guests, nor anyone (except the servants, and Mary, and the disciples) knew about the miracle. Jesus remained in the background. We too need to learn to 'hide ourselves' (or humble ourselves). It is only by doing so that God gets the glory – and Christ is exalted.
The Sower Parable. You have to read the 3 gospel accounts together to get the full picture. In Matt 13 it is 'hears & understands'; in Mark it is 'hear & accept'; in Luke it is 'hear & hold fast'. In Luke there's something more: 'an honest & good heart'. And much more: 'with perseverance'. So many do not hear at all. So many hear, but don't accept; they don't submit to the Word. And very few really come with an open, sincere & humble heart, ready to be corrected, and determined to cling to the promise till it bears fruit in God's own time.
The Sower Parable. While the Lord spoke about the seed and the soil, in the background I see the cross. How else can you break up the hard ground, remove the rocks and stones, weed out the thistles and thorns? Unless the plough & harrow of the cross does its deep work in the human heart, we cannot reap 30 or 60 or 100 fold!
The Sower Parable. Some imagine that the soil which bore thorns is 'sort of' approved by the Lord. We excuse our failures (regarding temporal cares, seeking riches, desires for the world, etc). After all, that thorny soil bore some kind of 'fruit', we say. But I don't think carnal Christians will make it through. If a soil 'yields thorns & thistles, it is worthless & ends up being burned', Heb 6.8
I was sitting with my wife at the dining table doing evening prayer. I read a portion from 2 Cor 6. The first verse spoke to me loud and clear: 'Do not receive the grace of God in vain!' God's grace is abundant and always available for His children, but we can restrict the inflow of grace by our lack of faith, by seeking worldly methods to solve problems, by carnal reasoning, by worrying too much.
Sitting for prayer this evening, reading 2 Corinthians 6. Paul talks about his ministry, and the qualifications for truly spiritual ministry. From 2 Cor 6:4-10 he mentions 29 things, experiences we go through to become real 'servants of God'. It's a fact that the world will not appreciate you, rather will hate you; but though you are poor, you make many rich; though you possess nothing... yet you possess all things. 2 Cor 6:10. Possess all things? Yes, when we possess Christ. Christ is all.
There is a subtle self-delusion about the easy-believism of the adherents of Charles Finney and Billy Graham. They seem to have mentally and emotionally accepted some 'born-again formula' taught in an evangelistic crusade - and they confuse mental and emotional acceptance with a true 'change of heart'. To all those of this shallow evangelistic tribe, I say, 'Examine yourself, to see if you are in the faith.' 2 Cor 13.5. A strong dose of ‘The Pilgrim's Progress’ would do wonders to shake up the self-delusion of many who think they were born-again, but have not taken a single step to 'come out of this world', 2 Cor 6:17.
I honestly think that a true Christian is a very moral Christian. He has a sense of right and wrong, good and bad. He walks uprightly and in all sincerity and truth (honesty). The Christian faith, while being a spiritual faith, is also a moral faith. And above all, it is a practical faith. It has to do with how we live the Christian life, and walk the Christian walk, so that others seeing us may be attracted to Christ!
I asked a young lady in Indonesia if she was a born-again Christian. She said, 'I'm a Calvinist!'. I said, 'That doesn't necessarily make you a born-again Christian.' She didn't seem to understand. She was pretty aggressive. She wanted to discuss anything but Christ. I said, 'A Christian speaks of Christ!' She was very proud. I thought, 'Oh this Calvinism! Doesn't Calvinism teach people about Christ?'
I do believe Calvinism has boxed in everything in its creed and not given room either for the Word of God or the Spirit of God. It tends to be very legalistic.
I am sick of all these ‘isms’. We
have Arminianism, Calvinism, Monergism, Evangelicalism, Presbyterianism,
Methodism, Pentecostalism (including the Charismatic Heresy), and so on and so
forth. Men are trying to box in Christ, within the framework of creeds and
doctrines. We have the Word of God, and we have those who are the children of
God (the born-again ones), and
we have great men of God such as Martin Luther, John Bunyan, John Wesley,
Spurgeon, Moody, and others such as the great Brethren writers and the great
Baptist preachers. Strangely, all these people belong to different
denominations (which subscribe to different
We should be able to know through the Word of God and the Spirit of Christ (dwelling in us) - who is genuine and who is false! But alas, those who subscribe to isms don't seem to understand and continually mislead many regarding the born-again experience. And they interpret the Word of God through the tinted and tainted glasses of intellectuality and imagination. Let the Word of God speak for itself!
At the same time, I do keep reading what the men of God in the past have written and I try to learn from them. It's only that many of us seem to studiously avoid what Paul the Apostle has written - especially about the work of the cross within, the trials and sufferings, the misunderstanding and persecution - and project an 'easy believism' (there's the ism again!)...and I say that's bad!
- Further Observations on the Christian Life
1 Twenty years in Christ. I am a twenty year old Christian in the Lord. In the eyes of the world, I am a failure. I could have made it big; I could have become rich and famous ...but there is nothing to match the unsearchable riches we have in Christ