Wasting Time Focusing On ‘Things’

“Upon reflection, it seems that many Christians regard salvation, evangelism, peace, power, holiness, joy, service, church practice, ministry, and doctrine as simply divine “things,” all detached from the living person of Christ and made something in and of themselves. But God never gives us spiritual things. He never gives us virtues, gifts, graces, and truths to acquire. Instead, He only gives us His Son. He gives us Christ to be all things for us. Consequently, Jesus Christ is the embodiment of all spiritual things. He is the substance of all divine realities.”

– Pg 302 ” Book – From Eternity To Here, by Frank Viola”

I am currently tracking many people who are pursuing ‘good things’ – that is they strive toward perfection, greatness and achieve much by world standards. I have come to the conclusion we could spend a lifetime striving toward these things and gain greater knowledge and power in the process, never actually getting closer to God. I was challenged by Franks statement, it made me realise that I was still pursuing the ‘fruits of my creator and not the creator himself’.

People, having innovation, discipline and virtues are good, but if we seek for these things and don’t derive them from Christ himself then they will fade away like everything else in this world.

To put it plainly, if we live a Christ-centred life (derive our living water and bread from Him) we will notice an abundance of these ‘things’ coming forth from our lives, and they will be eternal character traits of our creator and wont perish fade away like everything we try to create.

Jesus Christ is; hope (1 Tim. 1:1) peace (Eph. 2:14) wisdom (1 Cor. 1:30) redemption (1 Cot. 1:30) holiness (1 Cor. 1:30) righteousness (I Cor. 1:30). 

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

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Element 5 – Everything Wears Out Except for Christ

5. Everything Wears Out Except for Christ

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I often feel that way about contemporary Christianity. As an observer of the passing parade, I’ve noted the following: Most of what’s put on the table with respect to reforming and renewing the church are the same ideas repackaged from decade to decade. There’s very little new in any of them. But more critical, these “renewing’ and “reforming” ideas and solutions lack one critical element. That element is best illustrated by what Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, once said during an interview:

‘Lots of companies have tons of great engineers and smart people. But ultimately, there needs to be some gravitational force that pulls it all together. Otherwise, you can get great pieces of technology all floating around the universe. But it doesn’t add up to much…. There were bits and pieces of interesting things floating around, but not that gravitational pull.’

Jobs’s metaphor is an apt description of the great need in the church today. Christians have made the gospel about so many “interesting things floating around” but without the gravitational pull that brings them all together. And that gravitational pull is the Lord Jesus Christ. That said, if there’s anything I’ve learned by being a Christian over the last thirty years, it’s this:

• Any solution, cure, or remedy that doesn’t have Jesus Christ at its centre is doomed to fail.

• Everything in the Christian life eventually wears out. The only thing that doesn’t is Christ Himself. He is new every morning.

Consequently, all of our methods, techniques, innovative ideas, strategies, programs, and solutions don’t stand a chance if the Lord Jesus Himself isn’t front and centre of them all. He and He alone is God’s method, technique, idea, strategy, program, and solution. He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6) – Christ and Christ alone is the gospel (2 Cor 4:5). Everything else tastes like plain yoghurt.

Notes:

1. See Jesus Manifesto co-authored with Leonard Sweet.

2. By “Christian life” I mean the life that Jesus lived, which was a lifestyle lived by His Father’s life. And it served as an example for all Christians (followers of Jesus).

3. See my book From Eternity to Here for a detailed discussion on the eternal purpose of God.

4. Voices of the Innovators, “The Seed of Apple’s Innovation,” Business! leek, October 12, 2004, http://www.businessweek.com

5. Obviously, God the Father and the Holy Spirit do not wear out either. But all of the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Jesus, and we come to know the Father by the Spirit through Christ.

We hope you enjoyed this article.. Be sure to purchase Frank Violas Book ‘Revise Us Again’ for more info Click Here

Ensure you start from the beggining –  Element 1 Click Here

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Element 4 – It Takes God To Be Human

4. It Takes God to Be Human

We all were born into Adam. We were all born into an old, fallen, corrupt humanity. Strikingly, God has chosen not to renovate, improve, or correct the old humanity. Instead, He has chosen to do one thing with it. Crucify it. We got into Adam by birth. The only way to get out of him and his race is by death. And the  only way to get into Christ is by birth. New birth. Note Paul’s words: “Knowing this, that our old man has been crucified with Him” (Rom. 6:6), and “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20).

You aren’t really human until you’ve died and risen again. The good news is that this has already happened (Rom. 6-8). The old Adam cannot be cosmetically adjusted, repaired, or improved. He must be put to death. Jesus Christ was a living portrait of God’s thought for humanity. He was the true human. In His resurrection, Jesus became the Head of a new humanity that transcends the old distinctions of race and gender (Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:10-11; 2 Cor. 5:17). The Man, Jesus, is what God intended humanity to be. He was a Person who lived by God’s life. In the same way, every person today who lives by the life of God is revealing their true humanity.

So it takes God to be human. Adam and Eve were offered the Tree of Life in the garden. But they never partook of it. God’s intention from the beginning was for humans to live by divine life. And here’s the good news: Jesus Christ is the reality of the Tree of Life. He has been offered to us today to partake of (John 6:57). We can partake of Him now and thus be fully human and part of a new humanity—a new creation—a new kind of human. What a beautiful way to present the gospel to those who don’t know Jesus: Here is a way to become fully human. Receive Jesus Christ, the Head of the new humanity.

No other religion offers such a glorious prospect.

Ensure You Review The First Post –  Element 1 Click Here

This article is an extract from of Frank Violas Book – ‘Revise Us Again’ for more info Click Here

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Element 3 – The Eternal Purpose of God

3. The Eternal Purpose of God

With few exceptions, our gospel begins with Genesis 3 rather than Genesis 1. Our starting point is the fall of humanity. The result: Everything is framed around God’s redemptive mission. It’s all about saving a lost world. Part of the reason for this, I believe, is that evangelical Christians have built their theology mostly on Romans and Galatians. And many non-evangelical Christians have built it on the Gospels (particularly the Synoptics—Matthew, Mark, and Luke). And for both groups, Ephesians and Colossians have been put in the footnotes.

But what if we began not with the needs of humans but with the intent and purpose of God? What if we took as our point of departure not the earth after the fall but the eternal activity within God Himself before the constraints of physical time? In other words, what if we built our theology on Ephesians and Colossians and allowed the other New Testament books to follow suit? Why Ephesians and Colossians? Because these two letters give us the clearest look at Paul’s gospel with which Christ commissioned him. These two letters begin not with the needs of post fall humans but with God’s timeless purpose before creation. They also introduce us to Christ in His pre-incarnate state. I assert that if we did this, the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament (let alone the entire Old Testament) would fall into a very different place for us. The Gospels are not the beginning point of the Christian faith. Neither is the Old Testament. Both give us the middle of the story.

Ephesians, Colossians, and the gospel of John are the introduction and the opening chapters of that story. Those writings give us a glimpse into Christ before time and what His original intention is all about. In this regard, we can liken the gospel that many of us have heard to watching Star Wars Episodes IV, V, and VI first (which is the way they came out in the theatres). But for us to really understand what’s going on in that drama, we must begin at the right place with Episodes I, II, and III. Consider this fact. Human beings didn’t come into this world in need of salvation. There was a purpose in God that came before the fall, and He has never let go of it. Without an understanding of God’s ageless purpose, our good deeds can be likened to playing an instrument on our own as opposed to playing with others as part of an orchestra that is performing one breathtaking song.

Ensure You Start For the Beginning, Element 1 Click Here

This article is an extract from of Frank Violas Book ‘Revise Us Again’ for more info Click Here

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Element 2 – The Greatness of Christ

2. The Greatness of Christ

Some Christian groups present the Christ of Romans and Galatians. He’s come to save the lost. Others present the Christ of the Gospels. His earthly life must be imitated. Some groups present the Christ of the cross. His death is emphasized above everything else. Others groups present the Christ of Easter.

His resurrection is primary. All of the above emphasize the Christ of earthly history. But there is the Christ who exists before time. And there is the Christ of the present and the future. And all are the same Christ. Creation was created in the Son of God before time and when He was made the First Born of all creation (Col. 1). Further, God the Father chose all of His people in Christ before time (Eph. 1). After His resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ sat at the right hand of God as Lord of heaven and earth. Today, He intercedes for us, acts as our High Priest, loves us as our Shepherd, and lives out His indwelling life in and through us. As the Alpha and Omega, time is within Christ. Jesus knows no beginning and no end.

All of creation is moving toward Christ being Head over all, in all, through all, and to all, “that He might fill all things” (Eph. 4:10). In the end, all things will be summed up in this incredible Christ (Eph. 4:10. And this is the Christ who has taken up residence within you and me (Gal. 2:20; Rom; Col. 1:27).

Ensure Review The Previous Post –  Element 1 Click Here

This article is an extract from of Frank Violas Book ‘Revise Us Again’ for more info Click Here

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Element 1 – The Reality of an Indwelling Lord

1. The Reality of an Indwelling Lord (Being Like Christ?)

There’s a great deal of emphasis today on being like Christ. This is commonly tied into and even defined as “discipleship.” The way to be like Christ, it is taught, is by imitating His behaviour.

I believe that this emphasis is correct. But it’s not complete. Christian leaders have been telling God’s people that they must “be like Christ” for the last six hundred years (at least). The well-known book by Thomas A Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, was published around 1418.

Some 480 Years later, Charles M. Sheldon’s book In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do? was published. Ever since then, Christians have been trying to “do what Jesus did.”

But this “gospel” hasn’t worked. The reason? It’s an instance of asking the wrong question. The question is not “What would Jesus do?” I believe it’s “What is Jesus Christ doing through me … and through us?” Jesus made pretty clear that we cannot live the Christian life. Instead, He must live it through us.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John .15:5)

Notice that Jesus Himself couldn’t live the Christian life without His Father.

Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing.” (John 5:19)

By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me. (John 5:30)

Unlike all other religions, the founder of our faith is still alive. But that’s not all. He lives inside of all who have repented and believed upon Him. But that’s not all. As Christians, we have been called to live by His indwelling life. And we can. Note Jesus’ own words:

As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. (John 6:57)

A large part of the gospel is to be awakened to an indwelling Christ—not as a doctrine or theology, but as a living, breathing Person whose life we can live by. Paul’s central message was “Not I, but Christ” and “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (See Rom. 8; Col. 1; Gal. 2; and John 14-17, where Jesus Himself spoke about His indwelling just before His death.) Paul said, “To live is Christ,” which means that Jesus, being in the Spirit, can now serve with our hands, walk with our feet, see with our eyes, and speak with our lips.

Jesus Christ lived His life by an indwelling Father. In the same way, we as believers can live the Christian life only by an indwelling Christ.

This is not a peripheral issue; it’s a central part of the gospel. Imitating Jesus, therefore, is not a matter of trying to mimic the outward things He did (as if we can actually do that in our own energy).

It’s rather a matter of imitating the way He lived His life. It’s to get in touch with the engine of His outward activities and to “do likewise.” This puts us on a collision course with the issue of living by an indwelling Lord. In short, the goal of the gospel is not to get you out of hell and into heaven, but to get God out of heaven and into you so that He may be displayed visibly and glorified in His creation.

Element 1 from of Franks Violas Book ‘Revise Us Again’ for more info click here

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‘Revise Us Again’ – The Message We To Often Miss

I am currently ready ‘Frank Viola’s Book – Revise Us Again’ and it is very refreshing to be reminded of the eternal place I have been given as a gift in Christ.

The following elements are taken from ‘Frank Viola’s Book – Revise Us Again’ To explore this resource and purchase a copy – go to:

http://frankviola.org/2011/03/27/my-new-book-release-revise-us-again/

“Paul of Tarsus used the phrase “my gospel” numerous times in his letters. He was referring to the message that he preached. While there’s nothing wrong with Paul’s gospel, I do have concerns about what’s missing from our gospel—that is, the gospel that many Christians are hearing today. I’ve written an entire book on this subject. But in this chapter, I’d like to focus on five elements that seem to be missing from our gospel that were a large part of the gospel presented by Jesus and the apostles. Of course, your mileage may vary. And if it does, that’s great. But a large portion of the Christian world today has neglected a number of vital elements of the gospel.

Here are five of them.”

Note: In the following 5 blog posts I will detail these 5 elements from Franks Book.

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