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Four Spiritual Interventions with Chip Brogden

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Four Spiritual Interventions with Chip Brogden Empty Four Spiritual Interventions with Chip Brogden

Post  Admin on Sun 21 Mar 2010, 8:09 pm


March 21, 2010


Hello Elaine! In this issue...


  • From the Editor
  • Article: "Four Spiritual Interventions" (Intro)
  • Pithy Quote
  • Question of the Week




FROM THE EDITOR


Difficult circumstances will either discourage you or motivate you. In our case, recent difficulties inspire us to dig in, go deeper, and press on more aggressively. With that in mind, we resume our mailings of Christology in an effort to challenge, convict, inspire, motivate, and educate the Body of Christ forward towards Christ-centered spiritual maturity.

This week's article introduces a series that was introduced last year but never completed. Perhaps now is a good time to re-visit this and open it up for consideration once again.


I am your brother,
Four Spiritual Interventions with Chip Brogden Sig
Chip Brogden

http://TheSchoolOfChrist.Org





by Chip Brogden

"The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it " (Ps. 24:1).

INTRODUCTION

Throughout history God has personally and decisively intervened in the affairs of mankind in order to bring about His own Will and Purpose. It should come as no surprise that the Creator of Heaven and Earth, Almighty God, can, will, and does move upon us according to times and seasons of His own choosing. God has complete freedom and liberty to do as He wishes, whenever He wishes. This is what the theologians refer to as "omnipotence."
Because God is omnipotent (that is, all-powerful), He is not limited or restricted (as some suppose) by man's "free will." Some have erroneously concluded that because God has given man the freedom of choice, man can therefore shut God out simply by refusing Him. If we follow this line of thinking then we are compelled to believe that God sits upon His throne in Heaven, looking down upon all the inhabitants of the Earth, waiting to see if anyone will freely choose Him, invite Him in, open the door of their heart, make a decision, or formally surrender to Him. Until then (we are told) God's almighty hands are tied, and He is powerless to save, or heal, or move, or do anything He wishes to do, because - alas! - He must have man's permission before He can do anything. This would mean that the Creator has essentially become imprisoned by His own creation. Not only does this call into question the omnipotence of God, it also challenges His omniscience: wouldn't an all-knowing God perceive that man would be able to usurp His throne via "free will"? Knowing this in advance, would He not then do something to prevent it from happening?
When put in these terms, it is easy to see the foolishness of deifying man's free will. The very idea that man can defeat God simply by refusing to obey or acknowledge Him is absurd. While it is true that God has given man a free will, He has not given man free reign, nor has He endowed man with omnipotence or omniscience. God has granted man free will, but God has not relinquished His own Will. Man is free to act and move and think and decide - but then, so is God.
The question is whose will is stronger: God's Will, or man's will? Who has more power and authority: the Creator, or the thing created? Does man really defeat God when he refuses to acknowledge or affirm Him as God? Or does it only appear that way?
Certainly it appears as though we can limit God, or delay His Purpose through disobedience, ignorance, unbelief, or stubborn refusal to submit to Him. But appearances can be deceiving. When the righteous suffer and the wicked are rewarded, are we to deduce that wickedness is better than righteousness? The foolish will assume that "stolen waters are sweet" (Pr. 9:17) and will abuse the freedom of choice God gave them, indulging in all manner of sinful and selfish acts. But those with wisdom understand that "God is not mocked... whatever a man sows, that will he also reap" (Gal. 6:7). Even if the harvest is delayed the spiritual principle is not defeated, because God is not mocked. When guilty men go free and innocent men are condemned, it appears that there is no justice; but those who know God realize that there is a day of judgment coming when He will set everything right and His justice will triumph even if man's justice fails. Justice delayed does not mean that justice is denied.
In the same way, the fact that God's Will and Purpose can be delayed or limited by man does not mitigate the final outcome. God's Will may be temporarily delayed, but it will never be ultimately denied. In the end, God is and will forever be, God. If His Will appears to be defeated in the short-term, the only possible explanation is that God permits this delay and allows this seeming defeat, to serve a higher goal and purpose that is hidden from us in the short-term, but will be abundantly clear to us later on. Witness the cross of Christ: the Savior of the world despised, rejected, and crucified by the very ones He came to save. From a human perspective it appears that the death of Christ is a defeat, a terrible loss, and a grim reminder of God's inability to do anything not allowed or permitted by man! But God is content to allow Himself to be misunderstood for a season because He knows what is coming on the third day: that Christ will rise again - and in that rising again God has forever silenced the naysayers!
Man's will is finite, changeable, and severely limited. God's Will is infinite, unchangeable, and unrestricted. Yet man's will is thought to be (by men, of course) some inviolable, sacrosanct thing that God Himself cannot touch; while God's Will is, at best, merely optional - something rarely done, and hardly ever achieved, because it must unfortunately bow to the will of man. With this distorted view of reality, man effectively turns God's Will into a Great Wish, since God supposedly cannot do anything without our cooperation and assent.
Instead of exalting man's will to the point of diminishing God's Will, what if we began to esteem God's Will with as much reverence and respect as we do our own will? For the Scriptures say, "[My Word] shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it" (Isa. 55:11, ESV). Only a fool would challenge the authority of God's Word. Why then would anyone challenge the authority of His Will? Let it be known that God's Word is the expression of God's Will; His Word contains His Will, and both are equally unfailing. Jesus embodies both the Word and the Will of God. Christ the Word was "made flesh and dwelt among us" (Jn. 1:14) and this Living Word says, "Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of Me in the scroll of the book" (Heb. 10:7, ESV).
Thus we see that what is truly limited and restricted is not our great and mighty God, but our own judgment and capacity for spiritual understanding. We can choose for or against God and either reap the rewards or the consequences of our choices, but we are not all-knowing, nor are we all-powerful. Even when God appears to be limited by man, restricted by man, rejected by man, or (as in the case of Christ on the cross), cut off and destroyed by man, God is nevertheless working towards the fulfillment of His own higher Purpose, and He will eventually get what He wants, even if He has to raise people from the dead to get it.
This divine zeal to accomplish His own Purpose can be easily demonstrated from the Scriptures. Many are the occasions in which God intervenes in the affairs of man and imposes His own Will, Purpose, and Desire - with or without the cooperation, acknowledgment, or permission of man. He acts as we would expect the Creator to act: decisively, with great power, great authority, great wisdom, and great love. Scripture overflows with testimonies of God intervening on behalf of individuals, groups, and nations in order to save, protect, provide, destroy, punish, or judge. But in this writing we will limit ourselves to an examination of what I call the "Four Spiritual Interventions": those critical acts recorded in Scripture that are most significant in terms of God's Ultimate Purpose and Intention - those heavenly interventions that altered the course of history.Of these Four Spiritual Interventions, two have already come to pass; one is currently occurring; and one is yet to be. And so this is a matter of utmost importance to us all. These Four Spiritual Interventions are not just things to be studied, but they reveal something of the nature of God's Will and His ways. Our spiritual life and walk with God will either be strengthened or weakened by our ability to grasp what will be expressed, and so spiritual wisdom and discernment are called for. May the Lord enlighten us to see what follows.

(To be continued...)



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PITHY QUOTE

"All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them." ~ Galileo GalileiLike inspirational quotes? Follow us on Twitter for a quote every day...
http://twitter.com/schoolofchrist



QUESTION OF THE WEEK


Q: I'm somewhat conflicted about "seeking Christ first" or "seeking the Kingdom of God" first. Is there a difference? Should there be?

CHIP:
With proper discernment we can understand that while the Kingdom of God may be distinguishable from Christ, it is inseparable from Him. The Kingdom of God is simply Christ having preeminence. Where Christ has preeminence then His Kingdom has come. It should be obvious that there is no Kingdom apart from Christ, since it literally means the unopposed rule and sovereign Lordship of Christ (and the Father) over all things. We know from the Scriptures that this preeminent rule of Christ begins invisibly in the heart of individual disciples who make up the Ekklesia; however, for Him to fill "all things" it must necessarily include a literal, physical, "on earth as it is in heaven" revealing as well. Jesus taught us to pray daily for the full revealing of this Kingdom, but this assumes it already exists in our heart; otherwise, how could we pray with any authority for something that we remain unsubmitted to ourselves?
When Jesus told us to "seek first the Kingdom of God" it was not His intention to setup an alternative path away from Himself. Instead, seeking first the Kingdom of God leads us more deeply into the One in Whom God has vested this Kingdom. The issue, of course, is what does a person mean by the Kingdom? Do they mean the same thing that God means, or is it merely an idea they received from somewhere else? If they mean a Person then there is no problem. If they mean something else then it is yet another distraction from Christ which must be dealt with.




CHRISTOLOGY JOURNAL is a publication of The School of Christ, PO Box 552, Canandaigua, NY 14424. It is only sent to those who have subscribed or registered through our website: http://TheSchoolOfChrist.Org. If you benefit from this email please share it with others!


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