on the perfect model of separation from the world

That would be our Lord Jesus Christ. Today I preached an additional message in our Law, Legalism, and Life series as suggested last week by my sister.

The Spiritual Life of Jesus Christ: an exhortation to put on Jesus Christ with Rm 13.14 as its text was our message. I began the message by noting that our ultimate standard for Christian living is our Lord Jesus Christ himself.

When we think of Jesus as our standard, what aspect of his nature comes to mind? Usually I think of Jesus as God – it is a little jarring to think of him in terms of who he is, the God-MAN. Current heresies tend to deny his deity, so we tend to think of him that way in a reactionary defensive kind of mode. In the early centuries of the church, the heretics tended to deny his humanity in some way, in keeping with the Greek/Gnostic notion of the material world being evil.

But when we are urged to ‘put on the Lord Jesus Christ’, what are we being asked to do? Are we being asked to imitate Christ as God? How can we do that? No, we are being asked to emulate and imitate his perfect humanity.

Proposition: To fully live up to Biblical Christian standards, the eyes of your spirit must be focused on following the pattern of the perfect humanity of Jesus Christ.

What kind of spiritual life did Jesus exhibit?

In the life of Christ we see that Jesus practiced what he preached – true spirituality. The one who exhorted us to love our enemies healed Malchus’ ear. The one who told us to turn the other cheek answered not again when falsely accused before Pilate. The Lord Jesus could have called 10,000 angels but denied himself, submitted to the will of the Father, endured the abuse of men, ‘as a sheep before her shearers is dumb’. Jesus is the perfect example of spiritual humanity. How was that spirituality developed? Simply by the self-consciously divine nature of God in Christ? Or simply by that nature alone?

We find him persistently praying. His prayers were such that they moved the disciples (men who had heard prayers and been offering prayers all their lives) to ask Jesus to teach them to pray. We find Jesus habitually and persistently in the synagogues. Luke says it was his custom. It is mentioned so much in the Gospels that I think not a sabbath went by that the Lord was not in a synagogue somewhere. Do you realize that synagogue worship is not required by the OT Law? It isn’t even on the radar screen in the OT. Jesus was in the synagogue because he loved God.

How did Jesus come to this kind of spirituality?

It is undeniable that Jesus grew physically – he was a babe, a child, a boy, and then a man. It is undeniable that he grew mentally (and that to some extent he limited his omniscience as the Son of man as a part of the mystery of the incarnation). We see him seated at the feet of the doctors of the law in the temple, a 12 year old boy, ‘listening and asking questions’ – he is growing mentally.

An often overlooked facet of Jesus life is that he grew spiritually. As a babe, he was cared for and led by devout human parents who consistently kept the Law. On the eighth day he was circumcised, in accordance with the law. On the 40th day he was redeemed as a firstborn, in accordance with the law. On the same day his mother was purified by offering two turtledoves, in accordance with the law. His parents both persistently attended the Passover every year (though it was only required of men). When discovered by his parents in the temple, he returned home with them and ‘was subject’ unto them. Jesus was the perfect model of humanity, growing spiritually each step of the way in his life. The Bible tells us that the child grew in wisdom and grace (Lk 2.40, 52). What is that but spiritual growth?

Jesus is of course on a higher spiritual plane than his parents. John the Baptist considered himself to be unworthy to stoop and loose Jesus shoes, the Lord’s parents were certainly not higher than the Baptist. Yet Jesus submitted himself to their authority, obeyed their leadership, observed their rules and the rules of his religion (Judaism) and beyond.

Are you a Christian? Do you want to be like Christ?

Then you need to emulate his spiritual life. That’s how you are going to put on Christ.

• Prayers
• Bible reading, memorizing, study
• Faithfulness to the assembly — really, you should be in every service
• Commitment to membership [accountability and service]

Proposition: To fully live up to Biblical Christian standards, the eyes of your spirit must be focused on following the pattern of the perfect humanity of Jesus Christ.

~~~

In our afternoon service we began a new series on the nature of the Church. The message was It’s Not Your Church

Our text was Mt 16.18. We looked at the foundation of the church: Jesus the Christ, the Son of God. We looked at the formation of the church: Jesus Christ, the builder. We looked at the future of the church: victorious over the gates of hell [from the cross onwards to the coming of the King, the grave is no victory over the saints, the Lord is the victory].

If It’s Not Your Church, then whose is it? It’s His church. The church belongs to the One who builds it. He may use men and the gifts he gives them to build the church, but ultimately, he is the one at work, he is the one who builds.

Our attitude towards His church should be one of submission. Submission for accountability and discipleship. Submission for opportunities to serve.

~~~

We had a number of visitors today, mostly from out of town. We also had a couple of absences today, so we were about average in attendance after all.

I did experience a ‘first’ for me in preaching the first message. I got about three quarters through and discovered a page of my notes was missing. I had to have some of my people look up a verse for me with their concordances while I was preaching. I managed to remember most of the notes on the page and with the help of our people, carried on. I have forgotten my whole set of notes a couple of times before, but that one was a first!

Regards,
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Comments

  1. Jerry Bouey says:

    Bro. Don, I noticed that the latest sermon in your law series has 12 in the link – but the last one before it was number 10. Did you forget to post one or link to one? Thanks.

  2. Don Johnson says:

    Hi Jerry, No, #11 was just a discussion guide where I listed topics for us to work through in our Sunday School time discussing our series. We did that for the last two Sundays. It is just a one page sheet reiterating the proposition from #10 and the topics:

    Dress [discussed last week]
    Church Attendance [discussed last week]
    Music [discussed this week]

    I also asked our folks last week to do some research on their own in the Scriptures this week on other topics. One of the topics added this week was: Food/Gluttony.