Our church did an awesome job of putting on a passion play for Easter. The key thing emphasized was the question “Is it I?” Having asked this they all went on to abandon Jesus. John was so focussed on relationship that he did the best and returned to follow the Lord through most of the process and was there for Jesus to give him, from the cross, the responsibility for Mary.
Where was their humility. You would think that walking with God for three years would have produced enormous humility.They should have said, “Given all that I know about myself, SURELY IT MUST BE I WHO WOULD BETRAY HIM!”
I have learned that I cannot read the word of God usefully unless, when it says ,” Do something!” I conclude that I am certainly not doing it; and when it tells me to “Don’t do something!” I conclude that I must not be doing it.
There is no godliness without the growing realization that IT IS I who am the CHIEF OF SINNERS!
And so let a man examine himself and so partake of communion. It is easy for me to look at my surface performance and conclude that there are lots of worse people. Rather,like D.L. MOODY, I should say “Except for the grace of God, there go I.” How I boast as if anything I have is not given to me?
I had a pastor listen to all my tapes, and the only theological fault he could find was in my emphasis that all of us need to declare loudly, along with the apostle Paul, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, than Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I, yes I, no one else but I, am the chief! He really thought that the apostle was worse than Dr. Bell! I hope that my tombstone will read CHIEF OF SINNERS/FRIEND OF GOD!
My brother and his wife help young would-be missionary candidates prepare for launching into “full time ministry” One of their greatest flaws, the candidates that is, is to think that because they at THE CALLED therefore whatever they think feel or do must be godly. They stop examining themselves and stop taking feedback and stop growing and soon the God who called them can’t use them. Pastors and church leaders often fall into the same pit.
I grew up in a church where members were so eager to “arrive” at a position where they no longer needed to grow or struggle with sin that they simply declared themselves to have arrived and quit growing. Needless to say the church has not grown in 80 years, has abandoned its drive for holiness and tries to look good at home about the real warfare on the mission field by telling their missionaries to lie about how well they are doing.
Moses was called dramatically at the burning bush , gathered his wife and kids and headed for full time ministry. God then stopped him and offered to strike him dead because he had not circumcised him sons. Aaron’s boys offered incense to worship God, incense that was to them more interesting and which they liked better and God struck them dead and told Aaron not to morn. Annanias and Sapharia gave a lot of money to the church and were struck dead because they pretended it was more. The early church gathered for communion and didn’t examine themselves and died like flies.
I need to walk in fear and trembling, read the word and pray and talk with fellow believers with a constant assurance that IT IS I and rejoice in feedback and spankings and anything that leads to my growth. I must not STRIVE TO ARRIVE but rather REST IN THE FACT of my position in Jesus. Otherwise my arrival will be the end of my growth or usefulness to God.
Two things keep growing as I go, and they will produce ever increasing humility gratitude and usefulness 1. humble awareness that in me, apart from God dwells no good thing 2. that I am not apart from God and can do all things through him!