Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Decent Order of Grace - Part 3 - Links in a Chain

Order must flow from the top and be initiated by someone. If the atmosphere dictates the order then rest assured it is not decent order.

The process of discipleship is (for the most part) not Christ and me against the World. Discipleship is handed down from people to this generation and this generation hands it off to the next generation. You often see God address a generation in the scriptures. People of a generation have a responsibility to handle 'The Faith' and then pass it on. The next generation learns dignity and has a covering of maturity. Many generations have mistaken the outer trappings of faith for the substance and tried to conform to clothing, custom and tradition as a form of honor but the dressing is not necessarily the substance.

"Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands." 2 Tim 1:6

"Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery." 1 Tim 4:13-14

I have seen men study... now I study. I have seen men be kind beyond reason... now I have an example of what kindness is. I pray because the scripture teaches me but perhaps some of the phrases I use come from the Bible teacher... or the Pastor... or the Sunday school teacher who prayed and then I was touched by the substance that came after. Now his prayer is my prayer. It is not my only prayer but it is part of my prayer life.

"Which in other AGES was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit" Eph 3:5

"Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all AGES, world without end. Amen." Eph 3:21

Ages here is Genea (G1074) and it is better translated generation. Time ticked off not by the Earth traveling around the Sun but by men living and dying.

When Jesus started preaching He preached John the Baptist's message.

"From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matt 4:17

What!?! God Himself came under a man. Yes, A man submitted to His Heavenly Father was His Earthly example. John prepared the way of the Lord for the people but also for the Earthly Messiah. He was the last man of a chain of men who served God before the cross. The next link would be the Chief cornerstone of all redemption. Christ needed to be Baptized by someone. Even later when John's faith became a little wobbly Christ never betrayed John or uncovered him. He only showed public respect for John. Or course Jesus never betrayed or uncovered anyone.

Decent order is handed down. God raises men up 'out of nowhere' because a generation has dropped the ball not because it is the right order. It is wrong for us to make the exception the rule. When the faith is not handed down all kinds of novice mistakes happen. You can bet that those men who have no spiritual father spend time on their knees wishing they did. A spiritual heritage is no substitute for a prayer life and a life of scriptural discovery but what a blessing it is for those that have it.

"Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works. And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness. They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness." Ps 145:3-7

I say these things to say this. It is not wrong to tuck yourself under the wing of someone who knows grace and can teach you gracious ways. To dedicate years submitted under the vision of a Godly man who will disciple you 'unto Christ.' Nor is it wrong to be such a man. To be a man whose children can go to for God's mind. To be a man with room under his wing for others who might be warmed and covered there for a season.

Paul was a man keenly aware of the uniqueness of his calling but associated Himself tightly with the other Apostles and took up the needs of Jerusalem as his priority. Paul had room under his wing for Titus, Timothy and other men who would carry the faith beyond his Earthly demise.

I want to live my life aware that in the great cloud of witnesses there are people who have known me in this life. They love me. They cheer for me. They want me to go far and live in purity and grace. They want me to live in the grace they taught me and to go deeper and deeper into that grace.

We are not just solitary clay vessels filled with treasure. We are links in a chain of faith. A chain that stretches into the mists of the past and into the future.

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