Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Perfecting the Saints

 Scripture: Ephesians 4 v 11 - 15: "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 
14  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:"

We are a work that is in constant progress.  When we become born again we become as clay in the Potter's hands.  The thing is......what will He form out of the clay?

He needs supple and yielded clay not stiff, dry, hard matter, so He applies the oil to soften it.  In real terms we need the oil of the Holy Spirit to break down our resistance to change.  We know we need change but with the business of life its often inconvenient to accomplish it.  

Many times the Lord has to extricate us out of wrong teachings, false doctrines, bad relationships or idolatry, things that have warped our knowledge of Almighty God.  He will use whatever means to bring us to the correct understanding of His Word and His love for us.  The more we yield to that love the quicker our spiritual growth will be.

Love means speaking the truth in order to change someone's wrong perceptions or some lie they believe to be true.  Matthew 6 v 22 - 23: "The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
23  But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!"

If, before you met Jesus, you were subject to a false religion with a foreign God whom you were taught was the same God as all religions have.  You would be walking in double darkness.  Everything you know is tainted and needs to be totally discarded.  Paul counted everything he learned as a Pharisee as dung, threw it all out, in order to have a clear and true understanding of who Jesus is.

We are being perfected to achieve unity of Faith.  Right now there is much division in the Body of Christ because of false doctrines that bring confusion and doubt, controversy and arguments.  The Rapture, speaking in tongues, the Holy Spirit baptism, the Resurrection, the Second Coming, the Law, Grace, once saved always saved, Toronto Blessing, statues etc are among those divisions and arguments preventing unity of Faith.

So the work of the ministry needs to be defined by yielded members to perfect the saints until they come into the full stature of Jesus Christ.  We are being changed into His likeness.  To follow Him is to desire to be like Him.  It takes commitment, discipline, submission and determination.  It takes time away from recreational pastimes and putting Jesus first.  

We are in the grip of a pandemic that is forcing multiple changes to our lifestyles, from lockdown to travel restrictions, from church gatherings to wearing masks and sanitizing, from loss of income to loss of life.  And it seems that this ugly virus is having multiple mutations or variants which the new vaccines may not be able to overcome.  War games from Hell.

In this new normal whatever we are being quietly separated into the sheep and the goats for further refinement.  In a Covid hospital with no visitors you are very alone and somehow the love of God is all you have.  How you respond to that love determines which pen you go into.  Sheep or goat.  It may determine whether you live or die.

Let us at least start checking our spiritual bearings to make sure we are complying with all Jesus wants us to do.  Put Him first, ask Him permission to do things which may compromise our integrity.  Be obedient without grumbling.  Love, give, pray, go the extra mile, turn the other cheek.  

Prayer: Heavenly Father Your patience with us is amazing, and we are very grateful for Your kindness and mercy.  We yield ourselves to being made perfect so we can be like Jesus.  It seems a very long way off but through the power of the Holy Spirit we will be changed.  In Jesus' name. Amen.