Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The significance of a prefix (1)

Things go amiss in the church because we send the wrong man to do the job.  Whether it’s raising money for a Jesus Centre, bringing up children, counselling relating couples, leading people to faith, maintaining our gardens and property, stamping on Mammon in common purse community, standing up to mockery or pressure from friends, shepherding and training the saints entrusted to leaders, loving the fellow-workers in the kitchen or office – we must send Christ, not Adam.  Often we don’t; result – a mess!

GALATIANS 2:20  but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
An important little word.  “I’m Peter Graham, your captain on this flight, and our co-pilot assisting me is Andreas Von Graff…”  The prefix co- tells us a lot.  It’s definite and active.  In Greek it’s sym.  We use it directly in symmetry, symphony and sympathy – measuring the same, and making music together and feeling together.  Here’s what the bible tells us we have co-accomplished with Jesus Christ – all in our baptism:

1. Crucified with Him: Romans 6:6 (and Galatians 2:20).
2. Died with Him:  1 Timothy 2:11.
3. Buried with Him:  Romans 6:4, Colossians 2:12.
4. Made Alive with Him:  Ephesians 2:5, Colossians 2:13.
5. Been Raised with Him:  Ephesians 2:6, Colossians 2:12, 3:1.
6. Living with Him:  Romans 6:8; 1 Timothy 2:11.
7. Seated with Him:  Ephesians 2:6.
8. (Enduring and) Reigning with Him:  1 Timothy 2:12.

Here are some of the texts, to run your eye down.
ROMANS 6:3  Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.  5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.  6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-- 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.  8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.  
EPHESIANS 2:4  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved.  6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  8 For it is by grace you have been saved,
COLOSSIANS 2:11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.  13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature,  God made you alive with Christ.  He forgave us all our sins, 
2 TIMOTHY 2:8  Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David.  This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal.  But God's word is not chained.  10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.  11 Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him. 

Hidden, Guarded and Defended.  Our self-life is the most protected place on the planet.  We substitute and sacrifice anything else as long as it may live.  This is the complete opposite of God’s intention; God Who takes the greatest pleasure in disclosing Himself, sharing Himself and expending Himself freely.  We were created with an amazing self-conscious capacity, like God.  We were made to reflect on our being, intending, and doing, and live to together in mutual support.  The fall made it all go wrong.  Our self-life is a traitor and tyrant in our centre.  We need a stronger Self to overcome and evict this self, and to rehabilitate us.  This is exactly what God did through Jesus Christ’s cross and resurrection, and the Holy Spirit through our baptism. 

Meet the family.  Watchman Nee says, “Self in the church builds five feet of wall, then knocks it down.”  A brother said, “We manoeuvre to a place where we avoid accountability, then complain that we’re unfulfilled.”  We promote self-esteem that isn’t based on any virtue that connects with God’s goodness, then find people can’t cope.  Selfishness has distorted some good self definitions and introduced many fallen ones; here’s some:
Self -absorbed, -abuse, -accusing, -accusing, -actualisation, -admiration, -affirmation, -awareness, -centred, -conceit, -concern, -condemnation, -confidence, -control, -deception, -defence, -delusion, -destructive, -determination, -development, -discipline, -effort, -enlightenment, -esteem, -evaluation, -exalting, -examination, -expression, -forgiving, -fulfillment, -gratification, -harm, -hatred, -help, -improvement, -indulgence, -injury, -interest, -justification, -love, -made, -management, -motivated, -opinion, -pity, -preoccupied, -preservation, -promotion, -protective, -realisation, -recommending, -regard, -rejection, -reliance, -righteousness, -sacrifice, -serving, -sufficiency, -worth…

Application.  People look at their background to explain behaviour: baptism requires that we look forward.
* Have you or others been disappointed with the results of your baptism/initiation?  Why may this be so?
* How have people challenged you lately?  Did you respond with deceit, defense, depression, or change?
* Corinth’s church was full of self-living saints, despite many gifts of the Holy Spirit.  How’s your scene?

All quotations from the New International Version

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