Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Consuming Glory of Christ

THE CONSUMING GLORY OF CHRIST

II cor.4: For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

How can human words accurately and completely provide the looking glass into the glory of Jesus the Christ? I mean we are so limited in our definition, to say nothing of our knowledge, of the word “glory” that it presents an insurmountable challenge to present the glory of Christ through the medium of words. And yet the Spirit has allowed us to undertake that challenge even though it cannot be complete. How can the finite capture the infinite? How can the limited communicate the limitless? How can the temporal teach the eternal?

But I submit that because it is limitless and eternal and filled with a glory which cannot be fully comprehended, that the challenge to even pursue it is a sacred wonder which fuels our souls and brings us into places we never dreamed existed. And we were so ignorant to the fact that these places could welcome our minds and hearts. Emotionalism, you suggest? Oh my dear brothers and sisters, if you believe that seeking the face of Christ with a broken and contrite heart and desiring to more fully enter into His presence is emotionalism then you are dwelling in a wilderness of dry doctrine and perfunctory religious oblations.

In these days of false teachings and great error many have pitched their tents upon hills witch overlook and continually spy on those spiritual miscreants. Some pitch their tents on denominational hills, some on national hills, some on moral hills, and many pitch their tents on their own hill. Oh but there is a river which floods the soul and cleanses the heart and rushes our hearts and minds down to the mouth of that river which drains into the utter expanse of an endless ocean called Christ. And those who have gladly drowned in His ocean suddenly realize that Christ was the source, and Christ was the destination, and Christ was the river itself.

If we really knew and experienced the glory and magnitude of the kingdom where Christ alone is king then we would seek Him with all of our being. We would be consumed with pursuing Him every moment. Even while we worked our hearts would be completely surrendering to His presence. So much of what now occupies and even consumes our time would lose all its appeal. Our non-responses to any and all offences committed toward us would be effortless. The constant back and forth of politics would have no entrance into our hearts and minds. The country called America would be the field in which we labor for the gospel and it would surely not elicit any kind of personal allegiance.

The Scriptures would be a source of daily survival and they would occupy a most sacred place in our heart and our lips. Prayer would be the reality in which we lived and breathed and not just some perfunctory religious exercise. And worship would be the absolute spiritual nexus which relentlessly called to us. Our emotions would regularly be on edge as we were continually in a state of brokenness over the majesty of the Risen Christ. And the reality of eternity would be so real and so tangible that this world would hold no power or allurement over us. In fact, our lives would be a living sacrifice that burned continually for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In essence, if we really knew and experienced the glory and magnitude of His kingdom we would gladly die so that He might live in our place.

Col.1: For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

Think about the implications and exhortations of these verses. We are to be filled with the knowledge of His will, and in so doing we walk worthy of the Lord, and we are increasing in the knowledge of God. Increasing? We have our systematic theologies and our statements of faith and our neat little doctrinal presentations, so what does the Spirit mean to “increase in the knowledge of God”? How have we left the sacrifice went chasing the birds of this present world? But to increase in that knowledge requires more than just memorizing and studying what you already know. It demands much more than being fluent in theology and doctrine.

Increasing in the knowledge of our Blessed savior require spiritual labor. When have we fasted just to seek Him? When have we for one week refused to speak anything but wholesome words which bring our hearts into compliance with His will? When have we surrendered an entire day just to pray and meditate and walk with Him in the Spirit? The example of Martha seems so much stronger than the place where Mary worshiped at His feet and let every one of His words flow into her being.

This is not some ethereal philosophy which deals in machinations of the mind. This is the reality of His glory which is His presence which should be, which must be, the very essence of what it means to be His worshiping follower. We have lost the very part of our faith which brings life to these earthbound bodies. Afraid of excesses as well as imprisoned by the dictates of the temporal, we continue to pass by the surpassing majesty of deeper revelations of the Eternal Christ while we feast on the cotton candy of this present world.

Oh, but as you read these poor words do they resonate with your inward man? Do you not feel a authentic and heartfelt longing to know Him more? Are you not convicted on some level with the paltry sacrifices we present to Him as if we fit Him into our pressing lives? Just coming out from among them and separating yourself unto Him opens doors to endless treasures that the average pew dweller will never know. His Being is an endless flow of heavenly manna which is new and fresh every moment and yet so much of Him remains untouched because who seeks Him with that kind of relentless fervor?

But how can we explore the depths of His glory? To sit back and allow mere words to do our spiritual labor is a fool’s errand. The Spirit calls and calls and calls and yet who hears and who follows? I submit to you that the lack of prayer and fasting continues to allow the church to spiral down into the abyss of outward religion, and it has stripped the church of the true and earth shaking knowledge of the Christ we profess. This is no small correction that can be repaired by just a little more attention to ecclesiastical detail. No, a thousand times no!

It is this very dearth of knowledge that causes the church to hate sinners. It is this perfunctory religion which leads the church to seek political leverage. It is this passionless discipleship which allows the church to go into debt and spend large amounts of money on salaries and buildings and activities and advertisement. It is this shallow religious spirit which leads people to seek excitement rather than brokenness. It is this religious culture which ignores Christ and studies man and his desires.

But who will hear the call and drop the cares of this world and quickly retreat into the glory of His soaring presence? Who will see this decaying world for what it is and leave that which is perishing for that which is eternal? Who will leave behind all grudges and unforgiveness and fall on bended knee in surrender to Him? Who will feel such a thirst that only being with Christ will quench it? Who will acknowledge a voice crying, “Come and dine!”? Who will see that we have left our first Love and allowed all kinds of religious activities to replace the glory of His matchless presence?

Is.40: 28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

It is a wonderful given that one day every redeemed soul will look upon Him in all His glory. But we are called to wait upon Him and seek His face.

Ps.27: One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.

Fasting and prayer and meditation are portals through which we can allow the Spirit to transform us from glory to glory. And if we are willing and surrendered to seek Him with all of our hearts than we are afforded by His grace a place which is both shadowed by His everlasting wings as well as unimaginably illuminated by the glory emanating from His being.

If that is way too metaphysical or heavenly or rarefied for your religious taste then so be it. But one day, if you are redeemed, as you gaze at His immobilizing glory you might regret the time you wasted pouring over the nonsense of this present world. But if we are willing to lay down upon the altar of His grace, and if we are willing to deny ourselves so that we may apprehend Him, and if to live is Christ and to die is gain, then be prepared, You are about to be consumed by Christ and Christ alone in all of His glory.

17 comments:

Cherie c. said...

There is no way we can in our finite minds can we even begin to understand all about God. There is so much just about Jesus, that John said would fill the world with books about Him.

I in no way, shape or form even begin to completely grasp all that is written before my eyes when I read His Word. I do however, enjoy the blessing that reading His Word brings, and thinking about Him and what His Word says. I don't know if thinking about God in a way that tries to figure Him out, I know it is an exercise in futility because His Word is sufficient. But I like to think about Him none the less.

Perhaps some day we will know all, but for now I don't see the harm in basking in His Glory as we read His Word. I don't see the harm in discussion of His Word. It is when we, at times, try to be the authority that can lead down the wrong path.

There is only one interpretation of God's Word when taken in context, and even with that, it is limited at best.

One thing is very clear, we cannot fathom just how wonderful it will be when Jesus returns. I am late for work, but He is so worth it.

Pastor Rick, please correct me if I am in error.

your sister in Christ,
Cherie c.

Rick Frueh said...

To fully explore and understand the depths of His Word requires much prayer and meditation. My point is that many have a working knowledge of the theological mechanics of the Word without knowing Christ to that same degree. There is a difference.

Shannon said...

Romans 8:26,27
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

I cannot pray enough or the necessary words to be able to understand the Word of Truth. Thankfully, His Spirit within me opens the eyes of my understanding. HE is Faithful and He is giving me desire to delve into and study His Word in order to know Him now that He has saved me and His Spirit lives within me.

Annette said...

Another great post and yes, another genteel reminder of the Spirit's leading in a life that has lost interest in so many things of this world since my surgery of last year. And this careless attitude to the cares of this world have slowly grown into a careful understanding of God's Word, which often conflicts with those around me. And so I am learning, the hard way, that vain arguments concerning the pride of life, in simpler terms, "knowing it all", are not worth the effort to those who only see our Father in terms of earthly treasures and earthly power and authority over man. By the Spirit's leading, it is becoming much easier to simply walk away and allow Him to present the light of the truth to all of us.

And this may sound absurd, however albeit, I long for those days following my surgery when I was totally in the care of our LORD Jesus Christ, For I embarked on a prayer life I have never experienced before. Having been blessed with good health all of these years and growing up in a loving home never brought me to my knees in brokenness, fully realizing my depravity in the natural.

And yes, this is so true "to fully explore and understand the depths of His Word requires much prayer and meditation," which becomes so difficult at times in this busy, busy, busy world.

continued....

Annette said...

So in effect, I consider having poor health for three years followed by surgery, to be a broken blessing in my life, if I may use that term, for it brought me to my knees, to my sickbed, and to a total reliance on Him for my condition was beyond my control. It was all in His hands, His precious hands.

And during the recuperation period following, it was so delightfully easy to be in His Word and meditate upon His precepts, and I felt a closeness and a love I had never believed nor experienced before. There was plenty of time to Sabboth in Him every day for several weeks and I made good use of that opportunity.

So, for today, I ask that "LORD, please bring me back to that time, to that I can press forword and set aside that precious time every day for You, despite and in spite of my busy work, for there is no greater joy, no greater peace, no greater contentment, and no greater love apart from you. In Jesus precious Name. Amen."

"For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings." Psalm 61:4

Shannon said...


The emphasis is that the prayers are too deep for words
Remember that people are praying and people say this is a prayer language but the point is it is without words.
People sometimes use prayer as a "formula" to get God to move in a direction that we think He should. In fact, He is always doing His will, whether or not we are praying in accord to what He wills.

brcorcoran said...

Rick Frueh said...
To fully explore and understand the depths of His Word requires much prayer and meditation. My point is that many have a working knowledge of the theological mechanics of the Word without knowing Christ to that same degree. There is a difference.

I believe I've also read on this blog and have definitely read in the Word, "we are to be (doers) of the word and not (hearers) only...

totally agree...meditation and prayer to become what the bible says we are to become is needed...not just reading...

In example, we say we love our enemies and then speak evil of the President because we believe he lied to us...quoting the word verses living or "personifying" the word...two different things...

Thank You Rick...

Cherie c. said...

The Word is communication and prayer is the deeper form of communication aided by God the Holy Spirit.

My knowledge of His Word is more than just mere mechanics of theology. His Word is life to me and I cannot fully explain it. The day just isn't right without it.

Isn't thinking about His Word meditation. Because I don't use the same terms that you (universal you, not to anyone in particular) use, does not mean I am not meditating on His Word.

Annette, yes, when I was sick this past spring, my prayer life was so much more than it is now, much to my disgust. I am praying that I can return to such a great time of prayer without the illness. How blessed to be disciplined to be always prayerful in good times as well.

I am embarking on an endeavor close to my heart that will require much prayer. For me anyway, serving the Lord keeps me in prayer and that will be my focus. I pray His hand on my work to Glorify Him only.

Please forgive my ramblings of an earlier comment. That is what happens when you're in a rush but hate to leave study and fellowship in the Lord. I am working on increasing my time in the Word and in fellowship, as that is my desire.

Thanks Pastor Rick.

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.

Bill Cotton said...

Brother,

The Lord feeds you such deep, convicting words and I am so blessed to have been led to this blog. Thank you for being His obedient servant and not shying away from delivering powerful messages to us out here. I pray that He consumes me as a flame doth consume dry timber. I must die daily so others can see Him instead of me.

God bless to all of you who want to be consumed by the King of Glory!!!

michael said...

I read somewhere that the Rabbi begins teaching his youngest students, pre-kindergarten age, by putting their finger in a jar of honey and then on the Scriptures then in their mouth!

Psalm 119:103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

There are two things I want to comment after reading this post. The first thing is one verse out a flow from Ephesians 3:

To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, (Ephesians 3:8 ESV)

Just how does one preach the UNSEARCHABLE riches of Christ to others?

And this, how can one come to Christ at His bidding? Read these verses and ask yourself "how" you have come to know both Our Heavenly Father and or Christ Jesus?:

At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:25-28 ESV)

Finally I'd ask others to understand God is Sovereign and no one comes into the kind of maturity in Christ this post is describing unless God permits it! See Hebrews 6:1-3 and note carefully verse THREE!

Anonymous said...

Dear readers,
Prayer isn't wordless. Jesus' words to us in Mathew 6:9-13 are still valid. Let's remind ourselves of how He prayed whilst He lived on earth and desire to follow Him.

He had a great hunger and thirst to pray that resulted in Him waking up early to honor the name of holy God. Let's also remember how prayful true believers like David and Paul are in the Bible and endeavor to emulate their godly example.

Blessings

James

A Biblical Woman said...

Amen James, Amen

Anonymous said...

Our prayer sessions will have moments of wordlessness but they should be grounded in the word of God!

James

Annette said...

Thank-You Cheri for your personal/public confessions concerning prayer lives during times of trials verses times of wellness. I consider my persaonl hardship a tremendous blessing, although at the times it was difficult to endure the pain and messiness of my physical condition, as well as the verbal sarcasms from believers and unbelievers alike. Jesus understood this condition in Matthew 5:20-22 and in Mark 5:25-34 and His compassion for her still moves me in the Spirit; what great love this is to know a Savior who understands even the plight of women, no less.

So, for today, I am encouraged in my faith by your post and send you a hug, long distance!

con't.

Annette said...

I recently received a light hearted card in the mailbox a couple of days ago from a dear sister in Christ Jesus. It was received with delight as it said, "I bet you could use a hug...." and on the inside, "And a cook, a chauffer, a secretary, an accountant, and..."

(sending you lots of hugs.)

Penned by her own hand were a few words that touched me so..."Thinking of you today and everyday. May God keep you safe. I love you so much."

I work in a "man's world" in fields of dirt involving intense physical labor, large machinery and equipment, and hectic schedules. There is no time for sickness, sentimental feelings, nor compassion. The focus in on work, business, and time tables....and in the midst having to perform and work in areas that I was not equipped for in the natural, our LORD has carried me under His Wings, and my faith has grown significantly as a result of these hardships and sufferings of which I can be exceedingly thankful to Him.

continued....

Annette said...

So to make a long story even longer, this year was the first year I have experinced good health during my work year with not even one day of sickness and I humbly Praise Him.

Do you ever find yourself just singing out all of sudden, one of your favorite Psalms or Scipture verses that you have committed to memory in praise and thanksgiving without being self conscious of your surroundings? The simplicity and innocence of Praise and Worship to our Great God that is not planned nor scheduled for a precise time, can offer such joy to the soul.

Even in the middle of nowhere, our Mighty God does care.

This Scripture bears witness to all; "Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." James 5:16

May God be with you always....grateful to you Cheri.

Cherie c. said...

Love you back Annette.

Yes, I have just broken out in singing Praises and filled with unspeakable joy.

A true blessing.

Annette, please email me. cchrinc@gmail.com

Love to all
your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.