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Series: Other Speakers
Sun am 6 October 2013 – Justus Swart
John 14:1-7; Phil. 1:21; Col. 3:4; 1 Kings 17:7-14; Mark 3:1-6; (Rom. 8:14)
Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. …Jesus *said .. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him” (John 14:1-7). Jesus says, “I am the life”. If understood correctly that should shake our perception of what it means to be a Christian. He does not say, “I have the life”, but He states “I am the life”, making a clear declaration that only He is life itself. The person of Jesus Christ is life. Consequently we can never, ever talk about our own lives without mentioning the person of Jesus Christ. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain (Phil. 1:21). When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory (Colossians 3:4). There is no separation between Jesus and you. When He appears, you appear also. His life becomes your life.
I am guilty of making my Christian walk about living my life, waiting for God to interrupt me before I go out of my way for Him. How am I supposed to go if I do not know the way? How are we confronted out of that situation? Christians are encouraged to live a morally good life that does not impose upon others any form of injustice. At the beginning of Christianity it was called “the Way”, that was Jesus’ way and only His way. The way was a life of kingdom virtues that He embodied that frustrated the Pharisees. The way Jesus was referring to was much higher than principles, rules and regulations, which the Pharisees already had. What Jesus was referring to was something far more intense.
If we understand Christianity, we understand we are giving up control over our life. We are giving up the illusion that we can work out what the end is for us. One of our biggest challenges is learning to trust in a God who is not visible. We cannot come before God without faith, but the “way” is placing complete trust in God. It means stepping back from trying to control your life. To become followers of Jesus means that we, like Him, must be dispossessed of all we think gives us power over our own lives and lives of others. The “way” is being vulnerable to God’s leading.
We need to train ourselves to be dispossessed from anything that is not Jesus. We need to be in a place where we are totally and completely at the mercy of God’s provision. To be dispossessed means to identify wholly and completely with Christ and not with the things around us. Our careers, our circumstances around us, all the things going on do not hold us back from stepping in to what God wants us to do. Elijah the prophet was living completely from God’s provision; He was completely cared for by God then God told him to move on. The story if a powerful illustration of what it means to actually come to a place where God uses us once we are dispossessed from everything around us. The woman, who was literally defined by her poverty, was asked by God to give what she did not have. She was able to give out of nothingness because then He supplied the abundance. She was then dispossessed from her identity as a woman with nothing and God was able to use her (1 Kings 17:7-14).
He entered again into a synagogue; and a man was there whose hand was withered. … He *said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. …(Mark 3:1-6). Jesus encounters a man with a shrivelled hand. He asks him to do something he could not do. He goes with the command of God and as he is doing it, the arm is healed. In trusting the word of Jesus, he did what he was told and was completely restored.
Only when we fully grasp the concept are we able to live out what is required in Rom. 8:14 where it says, “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” We are so often going to find ourselves in places where Jesus is going to require something of us, and we say, “But I cannot, I do not have.” He is not just the one who was crucified; He was the one who lived out a heavenly life on earth. We should commit ourselves to the way; to live a life so completely focussed on the Spirit and completely trusting in God, that we can abandon our lives and just give. Too often our circumstances dictate the level of our faith and commitment. When are we going to tap into the next level where God says, “Just do it and trust Me.” All of us in some way or another willingly submit to the illusion that we can rid our world of chance and surprize. Yet when we do that our world becomes diminished as we try to live securely rather than well. We constantly try to predict safety in the future. When we try to live securely, we are stopping ourselves from being used by God; we are not in the Rom. 8:14 place, where the sons of God are led by the Spirit of God.
If you are asking Jesus which way you need to go, you first need to know Jesus in order to know the way. We need to be able to encourage each other and push each other into places where we say, “God will protect you, but I am also here for you.” That is what it is about. Love God and love your neighbour.