Thursday, April 28, 2011

April 28, 2011 … The Resurrection: Motive for Sanctification

Passage of the Day: 1st Corinthians 15: 33 - 34 … 33 Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character." 34 Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.

My Journal for Today: Perhaps as you grew up you heard your parents say, as I did, something like this: ” If you run with a bad crowd, you become a bad person.” In fact my parents were very vigilant to see that I ran with the “good guys,” so that I didn’t become one of the group of kids we used to call “the hoods,” who drove fast cars and did bad stuff. But I don’t think that my parents realized that their parental vigilance about my friends was a biblical principle.

But it certainly was; and it’s discussed in today’s passage. However, as we bring this up, the group identification principle of 1st Cor. 15: 33 doesn’t preclude any person from doing ungodly things on his/her own. Even though I was identified as one of “the good boys” growing up, I let my own mind wander into some pretty ungodly behavior as I moved farther and farther away from a relationship with Christ in my own world of habitual sexual sin. And truthfully, it is this latter relationship, in the context of today’s teaching, which becomes a powerful guideline of Christian discipleship.

If we, as individuals, have a deep/abiding personal relationship with Christ, believing in the truth of the Gospel, which we’ve been exploring this month, and we tie that with close association with other like-minded Christians, Paul’s exhortation today will likely produce a cohesive group of believers where Christ’s love and His power can work through the group more effectively and with more power. And that is how individual belief and collective discipleship can produce God’s power working in the lives of believers to use God’s grace to overcome their own deceitful hearts, and the forces of Satan in the world.

This month we’ve been looking at how Christ’s resurrection and the belief thereunto lead to salvation. But in today’s verse we see how that belief takes the next step, resurrection belief moving the church toward sanctification. We remember Christ’s admonition for individual disciples [from Luke 9: 23], … for believers to deny self, take up their crosses daily, and follow Him. Well, the application of individual believers, collectively following Christ in the fellowship of believers, allows the church to become the collective agent of Proverbs 13: 20

SCRIPTURE: Prov. 13:20 ... He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

We also know that “…as a man thinks in his heart, so is he [Prov. 23: 7 – NKJV];” … and this movement from Godly thought to Godly action works most effectively for God’s kingdom when thinking/believing individuals come together to think and believe AND ACT together. And Paul recognized what was going on in the hedonistic and godless culture where Christianity had been planted in Corinth; and he knew that it would be very difficult for these Corinthian believers to thrive in their discipleship and in Christlikeness if they were fragmented and separated. Hence, we read Paul’s admonition in today’s passage.

We, who believe in Christ’s resurrection and the power of the Gospel message, do need to come together as is exhorted by the Author of Hebrews …

SCRIPTURE: Heb. 10: 24 - 25 … And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Together, as believers in Christ’s resurrection, we in the church can do so much more for His gospel and His kingdom than we can as “lone ranger” Christians. In Battle Plan Ministry, where I’ve been called to lead, we advocate this “group-think” >>> “group action” principle in discipleship to promote freedom from sexual sin. Christian men (or women) standing together, well grounded in God’s word, and being accountable to one another is one of the most salient battle plans a group of Christians can have to help them all walk in a worthy manner (see Eph. 4: 1 - 2) and to do battle for Christ in the world (see Eph. 6: 13 – 18). I pray that you are in a battle cohort with other like-minded Christian soldiers, fighting together side-by-side and back-to-back against the forces of evil in the world, thinking together and growing together into Christlikeness. Always remember the instruction of Prov. 27: 17 that “iron sharpens iron!”

Everyday I thank God for the cohorts of accountability and strength which surround me, … at church, in Battle Plan Ministry, in my family, and in prayer to help keep me standing upright and walking with my Lord.

My Prayer Today: Help me to become like You, Lord, by working with other Christians. Amen

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