Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Subversive Minded Saints

Subversive Minded Saints
May 11, 2014
Lynchburg, Virginia

         It is good to be back in the pulpit. We missed you this last couple of weeks but we were comforted be among our new brothers and sisters in Christ in Poland.
         I knew that I would not have a lot of time today for a sermon because of bringing in our new members and the deacon ordination. So, I decided to take these ten minutes and try to tie together Mother’s Day, our trip to Poland, Graduation, Church Membership and the Diaconate. That’s a lot but I’ve got eight minutes! I know I am still jetlagged and discombobulated from the trip but I think I can do it.
         This homily is titled Subversive Minded Saints. This may sound odd to Christians who are used to being good citizens, good workers, good members, but I put to you that all of our relationships ought to be subversive in the right way. We are trying to overthrow everything that resists the Lordship of Jesus Christ. But our weapons are not carnal. Carnal weapons are not strong enough for these subversive activities. It takes something mightier than the sword to bring every lofty thought captive to Christ. It takes something mightier than the pen to bring down the principalities and powers.
         The victory that overcomes the world is our faith. This is the sublime subversive. As the agents of Christ, we wait and believe and the Lord Jesus rules from Heaven and the powers fall at His feet. But this takes time and waiting takes faith.
         It has been said that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. This is true, for in our children is the power of the future. We rule in them for good or ill. But for you who are called to the Lord Jesus, your faith is not in your children but in the God who gave them to you. He is faithful to finish that which He has started. We believe God and we have a long view of His rule in the world. We wait and work and believe. Mothers, your work is the work that brings the world to Christ. Have faith.
         When I was in Poland, the folks we were riding with were a little confused which way to go. I assured them I knew the direction. We all agreed on the turn. We went left. We should have known then we were wrong! After a while, Mariusz and Ewa decided we needed to turn around but I was sure we needed to keep going. They turned on the GPS and it said to turn around but I was still convinced we should keep going. I was wrong. They were right and so was the GPS. I told this story in one of my talks and was making the point that we need to listen to the GPS. Our GPS is the Bible. We heed the Bible because without the Bible, we really do not know which way we are going. Some landmarks may look familiar but if we do not have our road map, our GPS, we are going to get confused and get on the wrong track.
         We need to continue to believe what God has said until He gets us to our destination. That destination is nothing less than the entire Earth submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
In Poland, the signs of Poland submitting to Christ are not too good. Most Polish people are Roman Catholic. There are some believing evangelicals among them but few. Most of them are Catholic or even Christian in name only. They rarely go to church and their lives are not transformed by the gospel or the Holy Spirit. Of those who do attend church regularly, many are devoted to Mary. Pawel described Mary as the fourth person of the Trinity. It is somewhat of a joke and Polish Roman Catholics do not believe this formally in their doctrine but practically, Mary is every bit as important to them, perhaps much more important to them than Jesus. This road sign looks bad. They are lost and wandering. It takes faith to believe that God will wake them up, grant Reformation and Revival and bring Poland to active faithful living in Christ. But He will do so. We already see the seeds of Reformation in our subversive minded saints in Poland. It takes time and faith. They believe.
         Our graduates are going out into a world that is increasingly anti-Christ. It is increasingly anti-Christ, while insisting it embraces all faiths, all peoples. We know this is the devil’s lie. Only Christ can embrace all peoples. He does this when they bow the knee to Him. All other so-called gods demand absolute allegiance and insist upon it with a bludgeoning stick. We know this and understand that true grace, true salvation, true forgiveness, true redemption, true brotherhood, is only in the name of Jesus. It takes boldness to resist all the other so-called gods in the name of the one true Lord, Jesus Christ. But Jesus insists we do this. It takes faith to see the world submitted to Christ. We do not yet see all things in subjection but we do see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, who is now seated at the right hand of the Father, ruling Heaven and Earth. Our subversive graduates go into the world with this faith and the walls of resistance against the Lord Jesus come crumbling down.
         We thank God for our new members, Ian and the McMasters. Sounds like a good Celtic band. They have now formally joined us at Providence Church in the fight to see all things in subjection to Jesus. Membership is important for many reasons. There is mutual accountability. There is encouragement. There is chastisement. There is covenant between members and elders, between members and members.
This is nothing less than a revealed covenant of love between the saints. This is a picture of the love of the Trinity. The persons of the Trinity are diverse but one. So, these new Providence saints are many but are now one among us. This one-anotherness, this Koinonia, this love among the brotherhood, reveals Christ among us. It reveals our faith that God will one day bring all things into subjection just as He has brought us into subjection to Him and just as we live in mutual submission one to another. This is our faith in Jesus that overcomes the world.
         Finally, we are pleased to bring on a new deacon. Deacons, like mothers, are among the greatest representation of Christ’s kingdom. Pastors get to stand in front of the people and pontificate. They receive many of their rewards on Earth.
Elders have real authority and have to be often reminded not to Lord it over the flock but to serve as an example. Elders need much prayer to not get too proud of themselves and fall into sin and thus give unbelievers a reason to blaspheme Christ.
          But deacons do most of their work behind the scenes. The Bible requires that they have nearly all of the same qualifications as elders and pastors. They are to be men of integrity, godly and with godly families. They are honorable men but are seldom honored. You might see them making coffee, or setting up tables. You might see them mopping the floor or cleaning the bathrooms. You might wonder if they are honored church officers or maybe just the janitor? But they do this work without complaining or grumbling. They have come to serve rather than be served. Instead of seeking rule and authority, they serve and bring the world to submission through the subversiveness of service. They are like Stephen, who saw the Lord Jesus seated at the right hand of the Father. They are like Jesus who washed the disciple’s feet. They serve Jesus in this way until all men serve Jesus. Go and do likewise. This is our faith that overcomes the world.

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