#Pastor #FtLauderdale and the Ressurected Life in Christ Jesus
It happened last week! But it is still a big story in my country. The news that a 60 year married pastor was caught having sex with a minor.
Even the shocking revelation of #12murderedin3days had to compete with this distressing news item.
Perhaps now that the even more shocking news today, that an arriving passenger, retrieved a gun from his checked luggage at Ft. Lauderdale airport, and then proceeded to kill 5 people and injure 8, is now a top news story worldwide, the discussion about the #pastor may recede into the background somewhat.
However, as I went for my morning walk this morning, the following ‘ revelation ‘ came into my mind.
That the vicious crimes being committed in Jamaica in 2017, carrying over from a disastrous 2016 ( and now this #FtLauderdale madness), and the #pastor, are related. How come?
Starting with this scripture, which I had been led to read recently, the revelation continued:
“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 NIV
The key thing in this passage is the revelation that a Christian’s body is ‘ temple of God’. However, the challenge for the Church, is that there is an even deeper reality to what the #pastor did in not ‘ honoring God with his body. As bad as that act of statutory rape undoubtedly is!
For the greater truth is that the church is the ‘ body of Christ’. And therefore, in a mysterious way, through the power of the Holy Spirit, faithful committed ‘ born again’, people constitute the church of the Living God.
But you can only be ‘ born again’ if you have truly died to self in Holy Baptism. And just like how Christ was raised from the dead, by the power of God, so too, by that same power, those who are committed to ‘ dying to self’, are made new in Christ. Romans 6:2-4.
The challenge then for the church, in teaching the flock, and living the authentic Christian life, is to empower its members to understand this basic and fundamental life altering reality. That :
I have been crucified in Christ. Nevertheless I live. Yet not I, but Christ who lives in me . Galatians 2:20.
For unless that’s the Christianity we live, then many more Pastors will do crazy stuff. And many other members of the congregation will continue to engage in acts which bring the body of Christ into disrepute. A serious problem for the church on Twitter and other social media platforms generated by #thepastor. As ‘ flesh and blood’ , cannot resist the temptatations of the devil, ” who is like a roaring lion’ seeking to devour all in his path.
And so the connection between #pastor and Crime and murder and terrorism, is that unless we who are called to ‘ follow Jesus ‘, according to the great theologian and Christian martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, are called ‘ die’, accept and commit to this ‘ denying of self’, then we cannot prevail against the evil forces of this world.
And it is that kind of evil which wittingly or unwittingly our Prime Minister Andrew Holness recently observed, ‘ had been let loose in some of our men’. This while speaking about the horrors of murders at a Church function recently.
And it is the power of darkness and evil which, whether we believe it or not, is responsible, at a spiritual level, for the kind of wickedness rampaging across the length and breath of my country, the USA, France, Syria and the Middle East.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:12 NIV
In this context an introduction of two Greek words Hapax and Mallon, which came into my mind this morning, is apropos.
This after having been exposed to them by another theologian, the late Evangelical Anglican Pastor Rev. John Stott in his book, Evangelical Truths; A Personal Pleasant for Unity Integrity and Faithfulness.
” Christ died for sins once for ( hapax), the righteous for the unrighteousness, to bring you to God. 1 Peter 3:18
” So the appropriate adverb to describe the Holy Spirit’s activity today is not hapax ( once for all) but mallon ( more and more).
For the Holy Spirit is constantly and indeed increasingly showing Christ to us and forming Christ in us…….also we ” are being transformed from one degree of glory to another ” by the Holy Spirit. 2 Corinthians. 3:18.
Therfore the reason why, in my humble estimation, the church celebrates Good Friday and Easter with deeper reverence than Christmas, whilst for the world, the reverse is true, is that the promised Holy Spirit which ‘ invades the church ‘ more and more each day, ( mallon), does so because Jesus died and was raised from the dead, once for all ( hapax).
Therefore, as I have been reading since the new year, the call for us Christians is to live a ‘ ressurected life’ :
AN EARTH SHATTERING EVENT
Chris Tigreen Devotional : One Day Wonder of the Cross
January 1 ( Excerpt)
……..It is impossible for us to understand, two millenia later, how utterly radical the idea of ressurection was. It was not an illusion of prescientific people. Jesus appeared to a lot of people, for many days and displayed His eternal body. Many who saw Him were later martyred for admitting it.
That doesn’t happen en masse with illusions. It happens only with historical facts.
If you think about it, this fact changes everything. It changes how we think, how we plan, how we work – everything!
Let it change you; no, let it define you.
Resolve this year to live a resurrected life.
No doubt all if this was being worked out as I posted this message on Facebook last week.
” It’s not only an individual thing. But as a nation we are #pronetowander from our Redeemer God.
That’s why we have #12murdersin3days at the start of the New Year. And why a mother cries out for her dead #Stephan from the depths of her soul
” Come thou fount of every blessing……
Jesus sought me when a stranger
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious Blood
Oh, to grace how great a debtor
daily I’m constrained to be!
Let thy goodness like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee:
prone to wander, Lord I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it,
seal it for the courts above.”
For too long, we’ve not, as a church truly lived the ressurected life of Christ. And so the lands mourns, and people perish. In Jamaica and in the USA.
As the manifestation of the authentic body of Christ is clouded over by the lives of people prone to wander from the God who died for us, once and for all. And who so lovingly pours out The Holy Spirit, more and more each day, with Power ( to transform lives….to set captive free…) upon all who are prepared to die to self.
May the God of Jacob have mercy on our souls for our unwillingness to truly die to self. For this is what our Lord and Savior. Even unto death on a Cross
” Therefore God highly exalted him and gave him a name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow…….”.
So too St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Collosian church that:
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.
You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
Colossians 3:1-10 NIV
Then I came back home and began singing from memory without any thought on my part:
Are you washed? Are you washed? Are you washed in the Blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless, are they white as snow, are you washed in the Blood of the Lamb?