Revelation: The Hope for the Church, churches and all individuals

 

Devotional Thought of the Day:
18  You are to open their eyes and turn them from the darkness to the light and from the power of Satan to God, so that through their faith in me they will have their sins forgiven and receive their place among God’s chosen people.’     Acts 26:18 (TEV)

182      Be filled with wonder at God’s goodness, because Christ wants to live in you. Be filled with wonder also when you are aware of all the weight of your poor wretchedness, of this poor flesh, of all the vileness of this poor clay. Yes, but then remember too that call from God: Jesus Christ, who is God and Man, understands me and looks after me, for he is my Brother and my Friend.

A lot of my thoughts these days seem to be about the Church, especially as I see it enduring an ebb tide, as the everything seems to be receding.  From church attendance (especially in the USA and Europe ) to the number of men preparing for ministry as pastors, to numbers of other church workers, to the money which we think makes this all possible.

I also think about it because I get so many different “solutions” offered to me, or advice.  I hate to say it, but most of it is treated with the same attitude I have towards used toilet paper.  It’s not about the technology we use or the organ that we cherish.   It is not the philosophy that will address the issues of only one generation.   It’s not about planting new churches that are buying into the fact that they will be irrelevant in one generation ( that’s the justification in planting them – only significant growth happens in churches 25 years old or less – at least that is what we are told! ) It is not about keeping our doctrine and practice as pure as it was 50 years ago, or even 500.

Real growth, from maturity to conversion is the result of revelation.  It is found in the awe of knowing this paradox, that those who are evil, vile, depraved, wretched, trapped by sin, its shame, its anger, and resentment; that these same people are understood by God,  saved, found to be righteous, and made HOLY.  They are made God’s children, HIs family, HIs people, are counted as Jesus’ siblings and are called by Him, friend, and beloved.

It is hearing this revealed that a light shatters the darkness, it is more shocking than getting in your car after having lent it to a teenager and not checking the stereo volume before turning the key.  This is so shocking it is like a prisoner, kept in jail for 25 years, being let out, or the patient who was told they were dying being healed.

The shock of the Revelation, of the greatest Apocalypse ever, to know that God understands me, knows my weaknesses, knows my rebellion and brokenness and still loves me.  Jesus names means it all – God Saves.  His title Immanuel echoes it – He is God with US.  More intimately, more completely that even the apostles knew before the cross.

Despite my sin, despite yours, He came to us.  He cleanses us, He redeems us, He justifies and sanctifies us, not as a theological exercise, but as reality. 

This is the Revelation we need, it gives hope to the Church, as it creates and recreates life in Her.  It gives the meaning to her sacraments, to her work, to her worship and praise.  It gives the churches hope, for as God is transforming the CHurhc – this Revelation calls men to shepherd, people to serve. And to each of us, it gives the most incredible of hopes, the greatest expectation, we walk with Him, from now through eternity.

Share this hope, reveal the depth and height, the width and breadth of Christ’s love for those around you to them, and be astounded as it becomes more that the hope it of your love. For His presence will be the focus of your life.

AMEN!

Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 840-843). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God’s saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on May 3, 2016, in Devotions, Poiema, The Forge, Theology in Practice and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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