Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Renewal of the Church: Created to be like God - in and through Christ

Over time, I have come to understand that when the Lord wakes me up in the early morning to pray and to read and then to write, usually 4:00 am, although this morning it was 3:30 am, and I was tempted, only briefly, to watch Serena Williams play in the Australian Open finals, it's something more important than at other times. I woke up with two thoughts on my mind, and still fighting sleep, in fact I tried to go back to bed: "now to him who can do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine". And the renewal of the church - beginning with me. So I prayed for the renewal of the church : my own Anglican congregation at St. Andrew Parish Church and the wider Anglican church; the Baptist church; the Moravian church; the Methodist church; the United church; the Roman Catholic church; the Seventh Day Adventist church; the church of God churches; the Pentecostal churches and all the Evangelical churches - for renewal, so that the nation may be renewed.
I even prayed for the Jehovah's witnesses and the Mormons who are not part of the body of Christ.
Then I opened the Bible and turned to the book of Ephesians from where the quotation that was in my heart is recorded - still fighting sleep. And read and prayed. And read and prayed. And then I was told to write this.

" As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love, make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit - just as you were called to one hope when you were called - one Lord, one faith, one baptism,; one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all............

It was he who gave some to be apostles, and some to be prophets and some to be evangelists and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of Christ of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the while body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
So, I tell you this, and insist on it, in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
You, however, did not come to know Christ that way......... You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in your attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness............

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up in accordance with their needs that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander along with every form of malice. be kind and compassionate to one another forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly beloved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
But among you there must not even be a hint of sexual immorality........

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light ( for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is the light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:

Wake up , O sleeper
rise from the dead
and Christ will shine on you.

Be very careful, then how you live - not as unwise but as wise making the most of very opportunity, because the times are evil.............speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Ephesians 4-5:21 NIV

I suppose there is much that I could comment on, but was given no such instructions. The Word of God is sufficient in itself.

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