Friday, February 26, 2016

Possessing the Whole Promised Land

After Moses died, God spoke to Joshua and said, “Moses my servant is dead. Now, therefore, arise and go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I give them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast” (Josh. 1:2-4).
Everyone who has studied the geography while reading the Old Testament story of the conquest of Canaan knows that Israel never took all the territory that God told Joshua to take. They never possessed and dwelt in the part of the Promised Land that was farthest north, the land which reached the Euphrates River. King David and King Solomon forced the people living in that territory to pay them tribute, but even they never took possession of the land for Israel.
Did the New Testament people of God do any better? Has the body of Christ attained to the power and wisdom that rightly belongs to it? Obviously not.  I believe that someday it will; at the same time, viewing the confusion and divisions that exist among those who belong to Jesus, I have to say that the New Testament family of God has not attained to its potential in Christ. How patient God has been with us!
The same, no doubt, holds true for individuals. Each born-again soul is given the power through the Spirit to fully conquer their old, sinful nature. But how many actually fulfill that potential in Christ? That is a sobering, humbling question. May God grant all of us, and all His children everywhere, the grace to conquer the entire land of our lives, and to make all of it a dwelling place for Jesus!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Fellowship Is Precious

“. . . there are many gods and many lords,
yet, for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things,
and we exist for Him,
and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things,
and we exist through him.”
1Corinthians 8:5–6

Your most important asset is the fellowship you have with another in Christ.  It is through fellowship that you receive much of the strength, encouragement, correction, and knowledge that you will receive in this life.  God’s people who do not get along very well still have great hope of getting along well if they have fellowship in the things of God, and if they love what fellowship they have.
The fellowship you have with anyone else in Christ has been created for you by God!   It is priceless!  Love it!  Suffer for it!  Fellowship is more valuable to you than your life in this world.  Fellowship in Christ is the work of God; you did not do it, and you cannot fix it once you ruin it.  Only God can.
When a brother in Corinth sued another brother, Paul was deeply saddened because that lawsuit put those brothers’ fellowship at risk.  He asked the brother who filed the lawsuit, “Why wouldn’t you rather suffer being wronged?”  In other words, “Your fellowship is too precious to put at risk!  Suffer being wronged rather than risk losing fellowship!”
I have yet to see anyone in the Lord do well without loving and pursuing fellowship.  And loving and pursuing fellowship includes overlooking faults, making room for differences in things that don’t matter to God, and sometimes, being misunderstood.  The benefit to you of having fellowship with a brother or sister in Christ far outweighs whatever you have to fight through to keep it.  Do not love yourself so much that you let fleshly differences become so big to you that they endanger the fellowship you have with someone else in Christ!