Tuesday, August 25, 2009
A. "No one can come to Me (Christ), unless the Father who sent Me draw him," John 6:44, or "unless it be granted him by the Father" John 6:65 and
B. "No one comes to the Father but by Me (Christ)," John 14:6.
"It seems like a closed loop or closed system," Fr. David said. "How can we possibly get in there?"
He explained that the Father desires all to 'be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth' (I Timothy 2:3,4). We know this deepest desire of God because He opened the Way of salvation by sending His Son Jesus Christ, to live with us, show us the Father and then die for us. All who receive Jesus and who believe in His Name, He gives the power to become children of God (John 1:12). "God staked the fulfillment of His Will on His Son; that the invitation provided in and through Jesus and His Death upon the Cross would be enough," Fr. David continued.
As we considered God's invitation to us (to come to Jesus and find salvation), we then turned to the consideration of the parable of the king's banquet found in the Gospel of Luke 14:16-24:
Then He (Jesus) said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invitedLook at the extent to which God, the Father (banquet host) and God, the Son, Jesus Christ (the servant) went to accomplish a fruitful response to the invitation. The servant reached out, motivated people and even lovingly compelled them to respond so that they would not miss the great feast of salvation. It subsequently took at least some cooperation (faith and trust, with no excuses) from those invited for them to become members of the host's household and taste the great supper!
many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited,
‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ But they all with one accord began to make
excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go
and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five
yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ Still
another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So that
servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the
house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and
lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and
the blind.’ And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and
still there is room.’ Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the
highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’”
"The first step in coming to Jesus Christ", Fr. David continued, " is not as much about us or about our own efforts, but the awesome truth that the Father is drawing us, indeed inviting us, as He grants us every opportunity to come to Jesus". Fr. David continued with consideration of the second step of coming to Jesus, which is about our faith filled cooperation with the Father as we come to believe in Jesus as Son of God and Savior. "The second step is about our growing in faith in Jesus and thereby in communion with Him through the power of the Holy Spirit. And then in the third step in coming to Jesus, the Father grants us the status of being His children, beheld in union with His Son and prepared for being received in His Kingdom forever."
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
He said, "The will of God is summed up in the two 'greats' -- the Great Commandment and the Great Commission" . The Great Commandment: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind", and "You shall love your neighbor as yourself"(Matthew 22:37-40). The Great Commission: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations..."(Matthew 28:19-20).
For the answer, he directed us to I Corinthians Chapter 2:9-12, where St. Paul writes:
as it is written: “ What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love Him.” God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For what person knows a man's thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God.
God wants us to know His Will through our getting to know Him better. God will certainly help us to understand His Will to the degree that we are willing to apply His Will. "If we are first willing to obey God, and then ask for His Will to be done in our lives, He will honor this," Fr. David explained. With our willingness to apply His Will affirmed, "Then we can do what King Solomon did, pray for wisdom. God will honor this. As we are learning to apply/do the Will of God (put His Holy purposes into practice in our lives), we'll come to understand His Will better in the process of living into His Will.
A further point was made: We need to be careful not to be self-serving as we seek God's Will. As we grow, we recognize that this is about God first and that understanding His Will is not a pursuit that is just for ourselves, but for the Church also. As we are willing to be vessels for God's Holy Will to be done in and through us, then the Holy Spirit will fill us more fully with renewal, power, and even understanding."
Indeed, we were reminded: as we 1) open to God spiritually, with 2) our minds being renewed through faith and with 3) our willingness to obey God's Will as we understand it and 4) as we pursue His Will not just for ourselves but for Him and His Church, then we will understand His Will, even coming to the place of having the 'mind of Christ' as stated in 1 Corinthians 2:16!
NOTES: The Women's Book Group has chosen their next readings: Why Faith Matters by David Wolpe, the chapter on Mary Magdalene in Twelve Extraordinary Women by John MacArthur, and viewing of the Ben Stein documentary Expelled, which is about the Intelligent Design vs. Darwinism debate. The next meeting will be in October, date and place to be announced.
There will be two after-service events next Sunday, 8/23. During the fellowship hour there will be a half-hour video presentation on alternative "Green Houses" eldercare in which seniors live in a caring group home environment rather than a larger institution. Then we will adjourn to the Sanders', 3092 Culver Road, for a dish-to-pass picnic. Parking is available in Culver-Ridge Plaza, then just cross Ridge and walk north a few doors on Culver.