COMING OUT OF THE SHADOW (NKJV)
We are still coming out of the shadows of religious traditions and legalism. We must now consider a different aspect of the Christian life. Something we don’t think about until we find ourselves smack dab in the midst of it. There will be a video after this post, which I believe is one of the most powerful messages I have ever heard or seen. It brought me to tears because I can relate to the speaker described as “The Secret Storms” in life. These are the things that we hide behind all of the smiles, handshakes, giggles and hugs we experience every Sunday at each church services. You might say it’s hidden in plain sight. The truth is in the eyes, and the eyes don’t lie…Amen.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, The Apostle Paul wrote at least thirteen epistles that we know of to different churches throughout Asia Minor. Each church experienced its own set of trials and triumphs as they sought to spread the Gospel of reconciliation in a troubled world through the persecution. I have spent three sleepless nights listening to The Holy Spirit as He delivered this message to me. I really struggled with it because there are things I do not want to talk about. I don’t know if any of you can relate to that. The Spirit of God keeping you awake at night as He works out His will in you. (Phil. 1:6; 2:12-13). This work seems to be a recurring theme throughout The Book of Philippians. So is the word “mind”, which is present at least twelve times in various forms. However, there is one verse in this book loved and quoted by practically every Christian on the planet: Philippians 2:5 “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” We can put this in the category as a lovely sentiment. When we quote this verse out of context, it does sound lovely. Nevertheless, if we take into account what is said before and after and see it for what it is, it’s not so much:
Philippians 2:1 “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth.”
Verses 1 and 2 have been a problem in The Body of Christ since its conception. As we study the Book of Acts, we see Christians quarreling over who can sit where, and who should be served first at their love feast. There was discrimination against Greek-speaking Jews (Hellenist). Some Jewish believers felt that Gentile believers ought to be circumcised according to the tradition of the Jews. The fulfillment of Paul’s joy was that they be like-minded. Nevertheless, human beings are full of pride, and prideful human beings come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. Ever since sin entered into the world and Cain slew Abel, we have become extremely proficient at hurting each other. In practically all of Paul’s letters, he addressed the same issues. From the least to the greatest, being on one accord is just as painful as pulling teeth. People attend church with the hope of finding solace, only to find judgment and criticism. There are preachers who will stand in the pulpit and talk more about people than they talk about Jesus.
I must make this confession, as I point one finger at someone else there are four pointed back at me. From time to time, I look back at my so-called Christian walk, and I remember hurting the best friend I ever had. We received the new birth and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit together. We preached in the streets of Long Beach and Los Angeles California together. We had a bromance founded upon the solid rock of the love of Christ, nothing weird or perverted…we were simpatico, on one accord. However, the flesh drew me toward a woman, and I let that woman come between what Christianity should look like. Ultimately, I sent him packing with no place to go except back to his incestuous parents, all because I wanted to satisfy my flesh. That was almost 36 years ago and I still feel so ashamed of what I did. As I type this blog, tears come to my eyes because I’ve haven’t seen him since that day. I still dream about him and I beg his forgiveness, in every dream he hates me and he pushes me away, just as I did to him. I know that there is redemption in Christ Jesus; I know that I have been forgiven and washed in His blood. Still, I am a human being, with human emotions. I do not want to make his name public so I will just call him Joe. I loved Joe more than I been able to love any other man in this world. He was truly a brother to me and I just can’t get over what I did to him.
I told this story because I know that there are others. People you have hurt, who fully trusted you or you fully trusted him or her. Maybe to this very day you still feel the pain from what you did, or what they did to you. Speaking for myself, I don’t know if I will ever be able to rid myself of the pain I feel. I am sure that on the day of redemption all tears will be wiped away. However, I was a babe in Christ at that time, and Satan can’t destroy the work of Christ in me. It will not cripple my service to my LORD Jesus Christ. I will use it for His Glory. I now know and understand that when I am weak, He is strong. Joe, if you are out there and you read this post; I want you to know that I am so sorry for what I did to you. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me. To be continued…
Healing Center Community Church | God Make it Stop Praise Dance (Dr. Jamal Bryant Sermon)
Posted by I need a WORD on Thursday, January 4, 2018