Archive for March 5, 2011


The Big Picture – Part 13

Servants, Disciples and Sons

The ultimate and final goal for every child of God is that we grow, “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:  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;  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” Eph. 4:13-15.

God never planted a seed except that it might produce a good crop, enriching and nourishing the lives of others and then after growing going on to reproduce, multiplying itself to create many more like itself. Christ was the first fruit. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Rom. 8:29.

We are here because the seed of Adam has been faithful to produce a natural crop. Christ is here in God’s children because His seed, the Holy Spirit, in us has been faithful to produce a spiritual crop, being fruitful and multiplying.

Hows your crop? My wife enjoys the hobby of scrap booking. They have intense weekend encounters in which many scrappers get together and work hard at making progress in their books. The event is called Crop till you Drop. I think we Christians should crop till we drop too. Don’t you?

Go back and look at the progression for the journey that God has in mind for us. That we move from “children tossed to and fro”, to completion or full maturity “unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”. This doesn’t occur overnight. Think about our natural children. Do they go from a child to a fully mature adult without stages of progression? Neither do spiritual children.

Just as a natural son goes through many stages: newborn, infant, toddler, child, adolescent, teenager, youth, young man, man, adult, etc. and then eventually on to being a father himself, so goes the spiritual.

There are quite a few different Greek terms that we have interpreted as “son” in our Bibles, each with their own respective and unique meaning for that phase of the maturity process. I will not go into these although they make a fascinating study themselves. Instead I want to look at the manifestation, what we can see and experience of the maturity of the inner process going on.

There are many subtle nuances of degrees of manifestation besides these three but I want to focus on the hallmark divisions as the Bible has, namely — servants, disciples and sons. There are many references to the types of relationships we have with Christ in each of these roles.

I believe that each has to do with a maturing process in our own hearts. God is always our Father and his heart is always perfect toward us. It is our heart that is growing toward Him in Love and Truth. “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” 2 Chron. 16:9.

Our heart is not automatically perfect toward
God although it could be at any time. We can even waver in indecision in our hearts which is the situation when they are not perfect toward Him. It is a matter of our willingness to die to ourself and live to Him. It depends upon our being living sacrifices. It is all bound up in the statement, “Not my will but Thine be done.”

Servants serve out of a sense of duty, because they believe they must. In their hearts there is a fear of punishment or loss. “If I don’t obey, I will have to suffer a consequence.” It is true that being disobedient carries a natural consequence but that is not the right reason to do God’s will.

A good way to explain the heart of a servant is: “I will do your will because I must.” This servant gives the right result with the wrong motive.

Disciples choose to do His will — and make no mistake, it is a choice of the will. They see that there is reward and benefit to doing God’s will. They take note and realize that the law is good and right. They follow Christ with a part of their heart, the part that is interested for what Self will gain. Remember that Judas is labeled a disciple. Remember also the rich young ruler. He kept the law, but when asked to make a personal sacrifice he went away sad. The heart is involved for sure, but why?

A good way to explain the heart of a disciple is: “I will do your will because I see that it will be good for me.”

Now each of the roles of servant and disciple are not wrong or bad they just are not best. They are not revealing the that heart that is well pleasing to God. That is the heart of a son. “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matt. 3:17. Remember God is looking for those whose hearts are perfect toward Him.

God uses even our wrong motives to move us along the path to sonship. We are moving from faith to faith one step at a time, precept upon precept. Servanthood and Discipleship are steps to becoming the sons of God.

Now the heart of a son of God is the heart of THE Son of God. God sent us Christ so we could know Him and so we could be like Him. The heart of a true son is grounded in love for the Father. It is not interested in it’s own will. It only seeks to please and do the Father’s will with no strings attached.

That is where God is bringing those who will follow and stay their course, trusting Him, depending on Him. He does not promise that every child of God will be a son of God. He gave the power, not the promise. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” John 1:12.

He did not even promise that every child of God would be a disciple. Throughout it is a choice you must make. Here are some supporting verses:

Luke 14:26: If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:27: And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:33: So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

No all along it is a choice. It is a matter of your heart. Do you want to be a servant, a disciple or a son? There is a progression on the Way. Get on it and stay on it!

A son says, “Not my will, but Thine be done”. The motive is the love of the Father. We know Him because we have served Him and followed Him. “We love him, because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19.

Job reveals the heart of a son when he is tested. Remember the scene?

“Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD.” Job 2:1.

“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” Job 13:15.

That reveals a motive of love, not fear, not gain… a perfect heart — a son’s heart.

Advertisements
Quote Title Quotation Source
No Finish Line, No Pit Stops Just as the end of life is the beginning of death, so also stopping in the race of virtue marks the beginning of the race of evil. Gregory of Nyssa – The Life of Moses, circa 375; excerpted from Devotional Classics by Foster and Smith © 2005
Walking Is A Continuous Action If self-denial is a condition for salvation, desire to be saved must make self-denial a part of everyday life. If humility is a Christian duty, then the everyday life of a Christian must show forth humility. If we are called to care for the sick, the naked, and the imprisoned, these expressions of love must be a constant effort in our lives. If we are to love our enemies, our daily life must demonstrate that love. If we are called to be thankful, to be wise, to be holy, they must show forth in our lives. If we are to be new people in Christ, then we will show our newness to the world. If we are to follow Christ, it must be in the way we spend each day. William Law -God the Rule and Measure, circa 1750; excerpted from Devotional Classics by Foster and Smith © 2005
The Victorious Virtue True virtue and love reside in the will alone. It is a great virtue to always desire God, to keep the mind steadily turned toward Him, and to bring it back whenever it is perceived to wander. In short, to will nothing but what He wills,… to remain the same in the spirit of a submissive irreclaimable, burnt-offering. Fenelon – Christian Counsel, circa 1690, copyright 2002 Bridge-Logos Publishers
Freely You Have Received, Now Give Freely The true Christian life is a balanced life one of receiving and giving. When we first come face-to-face with God’s presence, when He draws us to His throne, there is no other reasonable act than to give, give the bended knee in humble, reverent awe and adoration. So John the Baptist came proclaiming “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand!” In other words, give give your reasonable act of worship. Kill the disposition that I am here for me and what benefits me. Bow and die in the presence of a Holy God. Unfortunately, the church for many generations, has approached the Christian life as an opportunity to get. The first emphasis is to receive Christ and He is the gift of God. Then continue to come back each week as His gifts are doled out in a perpetual succession, one after another, week after week. Always receiving. To be sure there are emphasis on giving too. Give to the church building program, the church operational budget, the church’s programs cost money too. Give your time and talents to the church’s program so that its influence will grow in the community. This is not Christianity, this is a mere business transaction. Tit for tat. A one-hand-washes-the-other thing. God came and gave, not so He could get, not so you would give, rather because of your great need. Now He does not call you to a business relationship but to a love affair. In true love identity is lost. The two become one. He gave so we might have the right to become Sons of God. How does that work? Sons share all things in common with their Father even the family business. He died so we might become like Him, giving His life for many. You see the only reason we were given His life is so we might give it to others, broken and poured out. Tom Van Hoogen
Lost to Me, Found in Him O how few are the souls that attain to this perfect way of praying because they do not penetrate enough into this internal recollection, into mystical silence, and because they do not strip themselves of imperfect reflection and of sensible pleasure! O that your soul without thoughtful attention even to herself might give herself in prayer to that holy and spiritual tranquility and say with St. Augustine, “Let my soul be silent, and pass beyond herself, not thinking of herself” (Confessions 9.10). Let her be silent, and desire neither to act nor to think; let her forget herself and plunge into that obscure faith. How secure and safe would she be, though it might seem to her that abiding thus in nothingness she would be lost. Miguel De Molinos – The Spiritual Guide, 1675 – excerpted from The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism by Bernard McGuinn copyright 2006 by Random House, Inc.
At the Sight of Holiness The work of unheard-of condescension proceeds in silence, until the turn comes to Simon Peter. Here, as might be expected, resistance is offered and a stand is made. When the Master approaches him, his face flushes with a fiery excitement. He hastily draws back his feet, and, as on a former occasion, he exclaimed, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, oh Lord!” so now he cries in the violence of his feelings, “Lord, dost thou wash my feet?” He cannot comprehend how any thing so unseemly should take place. The glory of the Lord and the worthlessness of the creature contrast too strongly. How deeply does Peter abase himself in this expression of his feelings, and how highly does he elevate his Lord and Master! “Thou, the Holy One,” is the language of his heart — “I, a worm of the dust! It cannot be.” F. W. Krummacher – The Suffering Saviour, Meditations on the Last Days of Christ, Wipf and Stock Publishers
Robbed of Happiness but Not Joy All degrees of joy reside in the heart. How can a Christian be full of happiness (if happiness depends on the things that happen) when he is in a world where the devil is doing his best to twist souls away from God, where people are tortured physically, where some are downtrodden and do not get a chance? It would be the outcome of the most miserable selfishness to be happy under such conditions; but a joyful heart is never an insult, and joy is never touched by external conditions. Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers
A God-sized Peg for a God-sized Hole In comparison with this big world, the human heart is only a small thing. Though the world is so large, it is utterly unable to satisfy this tiny heart. Our ever growing soul and its capacities can be satisfied only in the infinite God. As water is restless until it reaches its level, so the soul has no peace until it rests in God. Sadhu Sundar Singh – With and Without Christ – circa 1925; excerpted from Devotional Classics by Foster and Smith © 2005
Are You a Kingdom Worker? Neither the home nor the foreign missionary work of the church will ever be done right until every believer feels that the one purpose of his being in the world is to work for the kingdom. Andrew Murray – God’s Plans for You, circa 1890, © 1983 by Whitaker House
%d bloggers like this: