GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 595 • December 20, 2020
HOW MUCH LIKE JESUS DO YOU WANT TO BE? ARE YOU REALLY LIKE HIM?
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT JUDAS, AND JESUS’ TREATMENT OF HIM?
I’ve been attending church assemblies regularly for about 64 years, been a Christian for 63 years and a preacher of the gospel for nearly 63 years. “What would Jesus do?” was a popular question and saying some time ago, though it isn’t heard or seriously asked much these days. Why? There was a time when I heard people in church assemblies sing, “Oh to be like Thee, blessed Redeemer; this is my constant longing and prayer.” Another favorite song was, “I want to be more like Jesus…More and more like Jesus.” A common ‘invitation’ song was, “Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.”
I thought, and still think, these songs ought to be the theme of every Christian, sung often in witness of our faith and our relationship to Him and to God. But I do not hear them sung often any more. Why? Is it because we really do not want to be like Him? Do we think Jesus is no longer an effective and satisfying guide and role model for us? Are we afraid the world will shun us if we are like Him and not enough like them? Do we really want to be master of our own life and destiny rather than submit to someone outside ourselves? Maybe we just feel that somehow it would be hypocritical to sing something we do not whole-heartedly attempt to do or to be. Continue reading
Tonight we studied with a wonderful couple of new converts. Our conversation dealt with what it means to follow Jesus. A big part of that is imitating Jesus.
We mentioned that Jesus himself instructed us to imitate him, in John 13. There are so many areas in which this principle is applied. We read specifically about one, using the text of 1 Corinthians 10.23-11.1. (This chapter division is one of the worst, ever.)
People here have a tendency to put distance between ourselves and the Lord. After all, he was the only perfect human being, without sin. One brother even announced before the congregation that no one should follow his example.
But when it comes to limiting one’s personal liberty in order to please others, that they might be saved, Paul tells us to follow his example, because he follows Christ’s.
Everyone should be able to say that.
#discipleship #imitation-of-Christ #example
“You, also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” 1 Peter 2:5.
I’ve come to like the expression, “He’s a chip off the old block,” as it’s said about my son (when he imitates something I’ve done well). This means that he’s just like me. In this passage, Jesus is called ‘the living Stone’ and the members of His body, ‘living stones.’ It’s one thing to describe what the church is; it’s quite another to describe what it does. It does what Jesus does. One does not have to look any farther than how the Savior walked and talked to know how the saved should walk – as Jesus did! In fact the rest of the passage tells us what we are to do. We are to obey, offer acceptable sacrifices, identify with God, declare the gospel, abstain from sinful desires, and live good lives out in the world. This brings “church” out of something the living stones do for a two hour time-slot once a week to a way of life to be lived in as constant a way as the living Stone did.
Are you a chip off the old block?
Plattsburgh church of Christ
author of Kin of Cain
a Christian historical fantasy
NOTE: Sorry for the technical failure. Text is now in the post.
Heard a lesson last night that included a video clip of an atheist. He was commenting on the failure of Christians to evangelize. Paraphrased, he said, “If you really believe their is a heaven and a hell, how much must you hate a person to not warn them about hell? Brothers and sisters, it is a sobering question. Let’s be sure our neighbors are warned.
Hello. We are all friendly, right? I mean, I know of no one who isn’t friendly – – under certain circumstances and with certain people. Our Lord addresses this very matter in regard to friendliness and friendship in Matt. 5:43-48. Here are the common practices of many people:
- Love your neighbor
- Hate your enemy
- Love those who love you
- Greet those who greet you
If the above is the general process you follow, then, you are pretty normal. Many of us probably fall somewhere in between. We don’t hate (at least, by our definition) our enemies. We don’t love them either. We probably find it easy to return love or appreciation to those who love us. I am sure we like to think of ourselves as civil to everyone, but what about friendly? What about seeing and greeting those who may ignore us? What about “doing good” to those who don’t reciprocate?
It is easy to greet our friends with friendship and to love our family or neighbors. Jesus is trying to help us be like God. He loves the unlovable. He helps the unappreciative? He blesses the sinner. These are the goals of friendliness and friendship we are striving to attain. Jesus is saying that if we are ‘normal’ in these matters, we are worldly in our thinking. We do not want to be worldly (James 4:4; 1 Jn. 2:15).
Let’s us become Christ-like in our friendliness and in our friendship. Get out of your box to engage the folks with whom we deal, on a daily basis, in a friendly smile and some friendly small talk that might lead to an open door for the gospel.
God will often turn our dreams upside-down, so he can work his will into our lives, as a part of that process of remaking us into the image of Christ. He makes us dump our own designs, in order to enter fully into the divine project of redemption.
• Making people jump through our hoops in order to come to Christ probably doesn’t make the Lord very pleased with us. And hoops we have, make no mistake. So let us be careful about railing at the religionists for their rules.
• On the other hand, how did some folk get to the point of making the commandments given by the Lord Jesus optional? Doesn’t a command mean it’s obligatory? Mandatory? Now, in so many places, they are dispensed with, with the wave of the hand. “Command of Jesus Christ, be thou expendable!”
• If you’ve not seen the link nor read the article, hustle over to Biblical Notes for Mac Deaver’s fine article, “A difference of perspective.” Makes you think.
• The NLT rendering of Proverbs 4:15 is colorful. Here are verses 14-15:
Don’t do as the wicked do,
and don’t follow the path of evildoers.
Don’t even think about it; don’t go that way.
Turn away and keep moving.
Don’t even think about it. That’s a good phrase to use. Don’t even consider it. Don’t we sometimes entertain the idea of wickedness, as, say, an intellectual exercise? (Yeah, right!) And that’s where it starts, by allowing the mind to consider the possibility. In a very bad sense, what the mind can conceive, the body can achieve.
Enough crankiness for one night. G’ night!
Since I’m teaching today on the Theology of the Pattern, that suggests a question: Tell us today on TFR which aspect of the divine example you find most challenging. See this list from Nave’s Topical Bible for areas in which both God and Jesus are to be our example, and choose your most daunting quality. (Scroll down just a tad.)
Please pray for me as I teach this afternoon, from 3:00-6:00 p.m. (Brasília time). Beside our local folk, people are coming from at least three different cities here in Sao Paulo and from a different state to attend. May the material be of great use to these fine saints.
One of the points is that God is the architect and builder of the universe, and he has not left us to build in his kingdom without plans. We are to be like him in this also. This reflects the principle of being like God and like Christ.