My talk on Sunday.
I don’t know what you are like but I am an absolute sucker for magicians and conjuring and magic tricks. When they come on TV or at a kid’s party you will find me in the front row. And please don’t tell me how it works (the magic trick) – I don’t want to know. It’s magic!!
But you know the best part? It is the reaction of the kids. The kids become totally absorbed in a show whether it be a magician, a pantomime, a television show or whatever. They are there totally involved laughing and screaming and pointing and joining in with the show. They relax and enjoy themselves. They live in the situation.
Then again I do find myself touched by a really good movie, or affected by music or moved by talented artists even overwhelmed by real life situations on news or media channels.
How about you when you are absorbed or immersed in a book or a movie or music or whatever? Do you let yourself go and become enthralled as you live in that moment, that situation, that happening around you?
I am not ashamed to say I find myself emotionally moved when I really involve myself. I am moved when music gets into my soul. I am moved when a movie grips my mind or my heart, I am moved when watching young talented performers, I am emotionally moved when the moment overcomes me and I let it enfold me and I live it. I live in it.
Similarly there are times when I have been led by Jesus to a warm place where my heart overflows and literally feels as if it is flooding with warmth and joy. I just wish the experience happened more frequently in my walk with Jesus. Living my faith. Living in my faith.
I am filled with positive emotions as a result of His intervention in my life. Peace, joy, fulfilment, calm, wonder, exultation etc. etc. I want to and try to live my faith. I want to live in my faith.
I am a fan of Oswald Chambers and here are his comments regarding John 4:14 which reads “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
“This is not a simple stream of water it is an overflowing fountain. If you find His life is not springing up as it should, you are to blame – something is obstructing the flow.
We are to be fountains through which Jesus can flow as ‘rivers of living water’ in blessing to everyone. Yet some of us are like the Dead Sea always receiving but never giving because our relationship is not right with the Lord Jesus. Is there anything hindering your faith in Him?”
My problem is when I do find those fountains of living water flowing from me they can stop flowing after a while. My human nature allows me to slide back – again. I create the obstruction and the flow stops. I need the support of those around me to maintain the flow and to stay where I want to be all the time. I want to be a conduit for the living waters flowing from Him.
Family and friends and my church are obvious sources of support but sadly this is not always the case. Family, friends and the church can – and do – become opinionated and careless discouragers.
Brother Yun is a quite remarkable evangelist from China who has written several books and I will quote from his book titled “Living Water”. He quotes, first of all, from Hebrews 1:7 – “He sends his angels like the winds, his servants like flames of fire”.
“Satan can’t stand in the face of God’s fire. He hates it and spends much time trying to douse the flames.” Then later on he says:-
“Many churchgoers see it as their duty to extinguish any signs of fire in the church. Even the smell of a smouldering ember causes them great alarm. Often when a Christian gets a vision from God believers come along and do everything they can to throw a wet blanket over the zealous disciple. Wet blankets are highly effective at dousing flames.”
While it is human nature to accept opinion as fact we must be careful voicing negative opinions. What we say may heavily influence the actions of those who hear our opinions.
Brother Yun again – “Many passionate followers of Christ have missed their ministry as a result – the ministry God has called them to perform. The wet blanket brigade celebrate – they have another disciple in their image.”
BUT – NOT in the image of Jesus Christ. The image of Jesus Christ is clearly where I want to be?
Let me put that another way – in the words of Oswald Chambers – “Are you more devoted to your idea of what Jesus wants than to Jesus Himself?” In other words do you love the thought of Jesus Christ or do you actually love Jesus Christ Himself.
I have to give the Son of God His opportunity to work in me. I want the direct simplicity of His life worked out in me exactly as it was worked out in His life on earth?
Is our concentration on Jesus Christ and do we praise Him with ALL our hearts? Because that is what we say during our service of worship – to love Him with all our heart, all our souls and all our mind.
The church is a place where I should feel loved and encouraged. The church is a place where I should love and encourage others. My desire is to grow in my knowledge of and love for God the Father. This is the place where we (meaning all of us – not just a few) decide on the type of Christian environment in which we want to participate, grow and find Jesus Christ. Church should be my safe spiritual home where Jesus reaches out to me and teaches me. Where I openly provide Jesus with the opportunity to reach out to me and teach me. Where maybe Jesus has reached out to teach me using a member of the church. It must be my Christian duty to provide that member with the opportunity to fulfil God’s call. It is the encouragement and support every Christian needs to move closer to their God. To obey God’s call.
Oswald Chambers asks the question “Is the Lord Jesus Christ being abundantly satisfied by your life, or are you exhibiting a walk of spiritual pride before Him? Never let your common sense become so prominent and forceful that it pushes the Son of God to one side. Common sense is a gift that God gave to our human nature— but common sense is not the gift of His Son.”
The wonderful thing about our faith is how simple it is. Jesus Christ wants nothing more than my love and my devotion to Him. To HIM. Not to a cause. Not to a mission. Not to a ministry. Not to anything. Just Him. Just Jesus Christ Himself. The other things may very well follow if it is His will.
In Matthew 18:3-4(NLT) Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
It is as simple as the life and love of a little child. Humble and not self-centred. Simple love and devotion for Jesus Christ – nothing else. Unreserved.
I have invited the Son of God into my life and I assume many of you have done the same. Surely having issued that invitation my purpose is to allow Him to do His work in me. Is the simple life of Jesus Christ allowed to flow out of me? Exactly as it flowed out of Him when He was walking this earth.
John 14: “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!”
Is the Son of God given an opportunity to do His work in me and through me? Am I filled with the Holy Spirit of God? Is Jesus in me? Do I allow the Father to be glorified through me?
You cannot do it on your own. But Jesus will do it through you so that His Father may be glorified. So that your Father may be glorified.
The question is do I allow Him into my life? Do I let Him move close enough to be one with me? Do I allow Him to work through me? Do I actually ask Him into my life?
Do I provide the support and the love necessary to help others? Do I encourage other followers of Jesus Christ? Do I actually ask Him how I can help others?
God always hears the prayers of His Son, and if the Son of God has been formed in me the Father will always hear my prayers. How is the Son of God formed in me? Through the Holy Spirit being in me and for me to be in the Holy Spirit and for me to be led by Him.
Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.” —John 11:41