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Fall is defintely in the air!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Participation


My continued study in I Corinthians 1:9 caused me to recall an incident that has stuck in my mind for many years.  Back in the early 1990’s my wife and I felt the leading of the Lord to leave the church we had actually help to start and serve in as Assistant Pastor’s.  The Senior Pastor had suddenly announced that he could no longer teach and support certain doctrinal beliefs that we held near and dear to our hearts.  We left in good standing with the Pastor and his wife and actually continued to be good friends for many years.
Following our departure, many of the leaders of that fellowship also felt led to leave.  I can clearly remember the night a few weeks later when my wife and I stood in the kitchen of our house just north of our home town and discussed how we both were directed to keep the core of leadership of our former church together.  From there we gathered the ten of us and began meeting on Thursday nights for prayer seeking God’s plan.  Within a short period of time, through what can only be explained as a Godly orchestrated series of events, we made contact with a couple who had recently graduated the Bible College I would eventually attend and… whoosh… Living Word Family Church of Santa Rosa California was begun!  (and continues today...)
It was Pastor Paul’s first sermon in our crowded living room on that Thursday night that I so vividly remember.  As he enthusiastically bounded around the room in his striped sweater and black dress slacks, he suddenly paused and looked at each of us while asking how many of us were currently standing in faith for something in particular.  What surprised me and has spoken to my heart through the years since then, was that less than a third of those eagerly in attendance that night raised their hands!  These were the leaders in the church and yet they seemed to have zero expectancy for God to move in their lives in any focused way.
I Corinthians 1:9 tells us that “God is faithful by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” (KJV)  The God’s Word © translation says that He calls us “to be partners with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”  That rendering gives us the idea of working with Jesus in our daily lives, but I think the Popular Commentary on the New Testament pinpoints a more accurate picture stating that it is “Not into fellowship with Him, but into participation of Him in all His fullness.”
Accordingly, our lives should be a picture of Him in and through us as we walk day to day!  Our lives are to be an active and intimate participation of His love, His peace, His joy and of His abilities.  The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges declares that to be in fellowship or participation of Him “refers to the life which by means of faith is common to the believer and his Lord.”  Therefore it would seem that faith is the common denominator that connects us to the Lord Jesus Christ.  I think that you might even take it a step further and state that if you’re not in active faith, then you are not in fellowship with or in participation of Him.  Would you agree?
Hebrews 11:6 informs us that “without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, AND that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (KJV)  In other words, we not only have to believe in Him, but also know or EXPECT that He will reward our diligent and deliberate steps of faith in Him and His Word.
I will be honest with you… our diligent and deliberate steps of Faith that are driven and/or empowered by our EXPECTATIONS of the truth of His Word working for Piper’s behalf, is the ONLY thing that causes me to get up each morning.  It is the ever increasing intimate knowledge of His love for Piper that helps me to see past the devastation I feel when I look at how the visible symptoms of this disease has changed my once (and will be again) beautiful, vibrant and incredible wife.  It is the ONLY thing that helps me to see her through the eyes of faith and picture the real her that is reemerging as the promised reward of our active, consistent and diligent faith in Him!
Can you honestly say the same thing concerning your personal EXPECTATIONS for His working in the situations and circumstances in your life?  Remember Hebrews 11:1 clearly states that “Faith assures us of things we EXPECT and convinces us of things we cannot (yet!) see.” (God’s Word ©)
Can your life be characterized as a participation of Him?  Think about it  Have a great weekend by staying in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What am I EXPECTING today?”

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