The Staying Nature of God

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Roots

Second-class citizen

Perhaps like me, you have never felt a call to international ministry. Living in a family like ours, that emphasizes the ends of the earth like we do, can be tough. I have never lived internationally (does the summer I spent in the San Fransisco Bay area count?), so it is easy to feel like a second-class denominational-citizen.

With us always (& everywhere)

The going-to-the-nations part of the Great Commission is obvious, and typically the part emphasized. But at the end of the Great Commission, Jesus promises his presence wherever we may find ourselves. “I am with you always” (Matthew 18:20) It isn’t necessary to fly off to some far-flung corner of the world to find Jesus at work. 

Staying nature of God

Jesus is present, and at work, right where you are. The place you already live is the most obvious, and maybe overlooked, place to start ministry. Scholars and teachers have convinced Christians of the sending nature of God (the missio Dei). Perhaps more emphasis is needed on the staying nature of God (the incarnation). 

Staying in one place

There are amazing examples of fruitful ministries which have resulted from people staying in one place. Several I know personally are the late Chuck Smith, founder of the Calvary Chapel movement. He didn’t start there until he was 40, but labored for over 50 years at the same church. Wayne Gordon moved to the Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago over 40 years ago. He is still there. My pastor, David Riemenschneider, came to Bloomingdale in 1978. I believe he has the longest tenure of anyone in our network of churches.

Simply sticking it out

Perhaps you are praying that God would bear more fruit where you are. His answer to that prayer could be through simply sticking it out. What if all God needs to produce a harvest is get you to stay put?

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God at Work for You

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Without You

While you are asleep, when you are not doing anything, before you are out of bed, with you not moving a muscle or lifting a finger, the Trinity is at work for you.

The Spirit at Work

Romans 8:26-27 says, “The Spirit himself intercedes for us” and “the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” What is God’s will? Verse 28 explains it is your good.

The Son at Work

Romans 8:34 says Christ Jesus “is at the right hand of God [quite the insider] and is also interceding for us.” He is not against you (8:1). He loves you (8:35). He does not condemn you to the Father, but is for you in whatever you face (8:38-39).

The Father at Work

Romans 8:31-32 says the Father is for us and will not withhold any good thing from you. What is the heart of the One the Spirit and Son is interceding to? He did not spare Jesus–the most precious, lovely, valuable person in the universe! ‘Nough said. If the Father did not withhold Jesus, is there any length He will not go?

The Godhead at Work

The Godhead is at work for you. With this kind of support is there any doubt how things will turn out (8:37)?

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The Difference Between You and God

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Describing the difference between ourselves and God, we sometimes insert an adverb such as “a lot” or “much”. We say, “God is a lot smarter than we are” or “God is much kinder.” We think a point is being made with qualifications like that. However, it only reveals a damaged grasp of God.

The difference is he is infinite and you are finite. Because it is impossible to grasp the truth of an infinite God, it would seem there are times we stop considering it at all. And it’s our language that betrays us.

Jesus was careful with his words when explaining the goodness of God and how giving he is. He acknowledged that people have a capacity “to give good gifts” (Mt 7:11). But he is careful not to say something like, “God is a lot more giving” or “God is much more generous”. He asks a rhetorical question: “How much more will your Father in heaven give….” It leaves room for the truth. How much more? Infinitely more!

You would never say God is a little kinder, a little better, or a little smarter than you are; but when the infinite difference between you and God is forgotten, you might as well.

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