Stop – Read First!

Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10 Psalm 19 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a Luke 4:14-21

Kingdom Principle:  The body must be disciplined & We are Christ’s body.

The Body is disciplined, developed and directed to be with the King.

Almost anything you purchase today has a warning label that says “Stop -Read First”… often I see this as a waste of paper making sure that if we are to hurt ourselves in the assembly we can’t sue the manufacturer. Beyond this most instructions are so simple and rarely helpful that it is hard to believe they even put it in print. (Except for the “secret” screws that Ikea puts in step 2 for something you will need on step 38). And yet, there are other instructions that without them you are not likely to ever fully enjoy the product you have purchased. The instructions are never expected to replace the product, simply guide us to its full purpose.  I have heard a number of times in my journey with others, reading the Word, “If God wanted us to understand this – why did He make it so complicated?” In jest I have replied, (to younger, single men only) “I see, you are yet to fall in love with a women.” God does not long for us to simply follow a set of rules, nor does he hope for us to treat him like a spiritual genie.  (My comment is not negative, simply an observation of the complicated and delicate nature of love.) Yet, I remember learning that the B.I.B.L. E. provides basic instructions before leaving earth. While this is catchy– I do not hold that the Bible’s message is basic instructions to figure out how to get eternal life. Nor are there 10 steps to a perfect marriage. (But Dr. John Gottman has written great books I value, that tell me otherwise.) Many even attempt to reduce the message of the Bible to principles that can be applied without a relationship with the Creator who set them in motion.  This is never my intent in discovering Kingdom Principles… the goal is to be in relationship with the King.  (I have recently been convicted of this concept in a book called “With” by Skye Jethani , it is simply profound, here is a 9 min video summary). God’s Word reveals the Love of God to his people, and leads us into relationship with the Holy One of Israel, God Almighty, Our Savior – Jesus. (Skye might add, without fear and control creating the boundary of that relationship.)

We have all been taught by someone about God. You cannot be reading this and say that is not so – for in reading this you are being taught. But not all of us have been taught how to be in relationship with God. Not all teaching is good, and yet we are still without reason to know the God of the Heavens. For the creation itself declares the Glory of God. Paul adds this clarification – How can one believe if they have not heard, and how can they hear without having someone to preach  to them? (Romans 10:14) The gospel of John, brings to light the work of the Spirit in this journey, Jesus said, “The Father has sent the Holy Spirit in my Name to teach all things… (John 14:26), and later John further explains, “You do not need anyone to teach you, if you have the anointing of from the Holy One, for then you already know the truth and all things. (1 John 2:20,27). Let us remember, “All Scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16) Such things do not happen in a simple reading of the Word rather through instruction and be done in relationship.

Before you go further – reflect on who taught you about the God of the Heavens, and His Kingdom which has been established now and that which is yet to come. Now, reflect on the relationships you are in which demonstrate that this same God of the Heavens, is living with and between you and them here and now. The Scriptures this week declare that the Word of God is instructive and God has placed his Word into the hearts and lives of His people so that they might teach and disciple others to be with Him. There is great reward in keeping the Word of God, and beyond obedience we are to eagerly desire all the God has for us…. but these things are not the sole purpose of the Word. We have previously looked at the individual aspect of a Kingdom Servant whose body is to be disciplined, their soul to be developed and their spirit to be directed, but the concept this week is not individual, it is corporate.  The purpose again is that we might be united with Jesus. This union is as the head is united with the Body, where the head goes, the body follows. In this, we, who are the body of Christ are called to be united in our union with Jesus.  The foot is as connected to the head as the arm, as is the eye, or any other part of the body. This union is open to all who come to Jesus. Jesus proclaimed and taught this using the words of the prophet Isaiah, Jesus has fulfilled the very salvation promised to the poor, the prisoner, the blind, and the oppressed. This is for all, male and female, young and old… while this is made implicit in the New Testament it is demonstrated in our text this week of Nehemiah, as well as elsewhere throughout the Old Testament. There is so much more to say regarding the scripture texts of this week – in a future post we will discuss the healing components of Psalm 19:7-11, but for now, let us be the body of Christ, growing up, in Christ so that there is no division and mutual concern for all.

Who can you encourage and equip (disciple) to grow in the Word of God?

Who is encouraging and equipping (discipling) you to grow in the Word of God?

Is there part of your body that needs discipline or healing? (Did you read that question as an individual or corporately as the body of Christ?) How do the answers differ…?

About chaplaincasey

In my Community I am a Chaplain, Coach and Catalyst.
This entry was posted in Epiphany, Year C and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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