Posted by: Terry | June 12, 2016

Knowing at the end

I have spent much of my life teaching others about God and how to reach him, I look forward to spending the end of my life getting to know God and speaking with the Father. Jesus came to reveal the Father and remove the barriers between God and people. Our highest calling is to adore and commune with the Father.

Christ spoke often about the communion he had with the Father, if we are his followers, his disciples, communion with the Father will be our desire as well. Worship is first of all adoration that grows out of contemplation of the person and work of the Father.

For much of my life doctrinal correctness and exegetical preaching were the heart and center of worship and church. The quest to understand the truths which God has revealed is certainly important, but too often I see it morph into equating faith with accepting a doctrinal checklist. A creed may be a concise statement of belief, but intellectual acceptance is not the same as faith in God.

Over the last fifteen years or so there has been a reaction to the doctrinal checklist thinking. The result is that personal application has been elevated to top priority. Bible teaching was often little more than head knowledge, intellectualism frequently posed as true worship of the Father. The Romans 12 admonition to “renew your mind” developed a culture of head knowledge only. So pastors and teachers began to emphasize application, taking James to heart when he admonished us that “faith without works is dead.” As with most things the pendulum has swung to a place where following Jesus means patterning your life after him, and where most sermons spend more time on self improvement than they do on illumination of God the Father.

I remember one pastor friend telling me that if your sermon did not change people’s lives you were missing the goal. Yet I would counter that the first duty of a prophet was to proclaim God’s message, and the messenger was not held responsible for the failure of the listeners to respond. He also said that seminaries today said that at least forty percent of the message should be personal application, another word for self help.

There is much in the Bible that does not have direct personal application, it is simply there to inform, enlighten, and reveal God. The Bible is the account of God reaching out to his people, it is not an owners manual, as bumper stickers would label it. Because in the end, God desires communion with his creation.

I am grateful that God allowed me to teach, many were blessed. I look forward to time with God, my tea with God has become more precious than ever. Given the chance to teach again I would spend more time in Psalms, proclaiming the person and wonder of my creator. I would encourage people to learn to pray in a new way, to see the beauty in liturgy, and learn from our Anglican friends the wonder of the Eucharist.

The Holy Spirit is quite able to change me, my efforts usually fail, but just as being in the presence of my wife has made me more like her, and a better person, so being in God’s presence will conform me to his image. “Show us the Father, and it will be enough for us.” Amen.

Our Father who is in heaven, we are humbled at the invitation to call the creator and sustainer of all things Our Father. You who are high and lifted up reached down through your Son the Lord Jesus Christ to reveal yourself to us and bring us close to you as a child in the presence of a loving parent. We pray that your Holy Spirit would manifest the relationship we have with you in ways that will move us to interrupt our busy lives with moments of worship and thankfulness. Amen


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