Posts Tagged ‘submit’

The Church Christ Envisioned

“This church (the local church that each Christian should join) must look like the one that Jesus envisioned when he built the church.” (Howard Norton, longtime missionary in Brazil, in The Christian Chronicle, August 2011, available here) This quote led me to think of the following:

That is our plan. To build, be, develop, grow and belong to the church Jesus envisioned. That is one of the reasons we choose the name Church of Christ. That is why we base every decision on what Jesus and his apostles said and wrote.

And, since we base our practices completely on what is written in scripture, we have some practices that differ with the majority of churches. The conviction to follow the Bible only, completely, and absolutely has led us to teach adult baptism as opposed to baptizing infants, a capella music for worship as opposed to any mechanical instruments, and congregational autonomy as opposed to organization in synods, dioceses, etc.

We look strange to some, but the church looked strange to those who saw her first built, too. The breakaway from Old Covenant ritual and the avoidance of societal habits estranged the early Christians from other religious folks. Note that Peter called them strangers, foreigners, aliens (1 Peter 1:1, 2:11).

Not that we are different just for the sake of being different. But because we do not allow the world around us to change our allegiance to what the Bible dictates, we will continue to look strange. Let’s just make every effort to have that look mirror the vision Christ had when he built his church.

Still Thankful

I was still thinking of thanksgiving as I read my Bible this morning and today’s schedule happened to include Matthew’s short description of Jesus being baptized by John (Matthew 3:13-17). I am thankful that we have the wonderful example of Jesus’s life. He has laid out the race we should run (Hebrews 12:1-2). We are to have the same mind as he did (Philippians 2:5), to love as he did (Ephesians 5:2) and to act as he did (John 13:15). And his baptism is part of that exemplary life.

In Jesus’s baptism we have a simple but powerful display of how he planned his days. “It is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Jesus said this in response to John’s protest: “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

It was true–John was baptizing penitent sinners and Jesus certainly was not a sinner. But Jesus had come to earth to follow God’s will in all respects. Since John’s baptizing was God’s will, Jesus would follow the command, even though he had no sins that needed to be remitted.

Often we are moved by a desire to prove that we are right. It matters not how trivial the issue, we demand to be seen as right. Here Jesus relinquishes his claim to rightness–even though he is the only one that could have claimed it. The only thing that mattered to him was God’s will fulfilled.

I’m thankful for this example. I often think that I know better how to do certain religious things, but here is Jesus, who certainly could have come and taken over for John rather than submitting to him, but didn’t. I need to submit to God’s will, not take over. I need to hear his commands for my life and not make excuses for ignoring them. I need to accept the wisdom of God’s instructions even if I can’t understand it right now. I need to practice what the apostles taught even if it doesn’t seem to fit society’s politically correct view of things.

Father, Thank you for Jesus and his wonderful example. And help me be more like him today. Amen.

Not Listening

It has happened generation after generation. I did it to my parents. They did it to theirs. My kids have done it to me…NOT LISTENING; everything a parent (or teacher) says going in one ear and out the other. And, of course, it’s not only the kids that are guilty.

As God’s children, we find the same thing to be true in our spiritual lives. He says so much that is for our good, but we don’t stop to listen. We are too busy, we are distracted by other things, and so on and so on. Is your life guided by the words of God? What has he asked you to do that you aren’t doing?

Related scripture references: Mark 4:14-15; James 1:22-25; Matthew 7:24-27