Still Water Love: United In Christ

Reading Time: 7 minutesWe Have This Hope

This is what the LORD says to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people: “Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. (Isa 8:11-12).”you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” (Rom 8:15)

still water love, Psalms 23:2
still water love, Psalms 23:2

The Biblical basis for true unity is Christ and Him crucified. (Gal 6:14). It does not have anything to do with the constant pandering to just one or two of the bigger, or more insistent denominations. Ecumenism, as it can be seen throughout history, to include today, has nothing to do with Biblical, Christian unity for it involves throwing away our diversity, only to compromise it for fake religion where everyone has to be the same. United in Christ always means WITH all of our diversity, NOT without it! I guess some prefer “the other warning message;” but thats OK. Jesus has got that.

The love of Christ, (at Calvary) is termed as “still water love” by The Psalmist in Psalms 23 for a reason. Christ and Him crucified cannot be taken away from anyone. (See Rom 8:31, 38, 39). Still Water Love that runs so deep. Still water Love that will stand by me. We all NEED that Still Water Love. And the only way to get that kind of love is to give it!

Today as I pen this week’s email, we face unprecedented times and troubles. People need hope that does not wither under pressure. Pandemic pressure. But what kind of hope are we actually talking about here?

Hope is how we truly recognize Jesus; and His presence in all of the events and circumstances of our life, today. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. Today. (Mat 6:33) The realization that despite all of the suffering we are now seeing in these pandemic times of covid19, Jesus is here. God is a very present help in trouble. (Psalms 46:1). According to Isa 53 and other passages, Jesus directly enters our condition. Yes. Even now. Even in the midst of wide-spread fear, suffering and death from covid19 and many other maladies.

Jesus carries our griefs and sorrows, (Isa 53) and as such, the cross of Christ is virtually the very seat and foundation of Hope for Christians today.

In the cross of Christ we see a God who has gone to the uttermost (Heb 7:25) of our dire condition to meet us right there, at the point of our felt, expressed need. To draw us up into His new life (2 Cor 5:17), which was made manifest through His resurrection.

In Christ there is no suffering or difficulty that is without hope. Because Jesus has gone there before us, and because Jesus has been through what we are going through; He has made it holy, because He is holy, and He is there. The Psalmist describes our Lord as “a very present help in trouble. (Psalms 46:1). This is why Paul said in 1 Cor 2:2

“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you; except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

The cross then, as the very core of Israel’s life, as the centrality of Christ’s mission, and as the very heart of our churches today, is the very same lens by which we view what is happening to us today in the midst of covid19 and other world events.

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The cross, The Man on the middle cross, Jesus, is always active, always effective, and always drawing His people into an active communion with Himself; and His saving mission: “Christ and Him crucified.” (Gal 6:14). Christ at Calvary is always drawing His Church into Holy Communion with Christ’s saving mission and ministry. Christ, on the cross, is our dynamic proposal to The Church, to the world, inviting everyone to embrace salvation and hope in the middle of a pandemic.

In the middle of the pandemic, there IS the middle cross.

The Church must always ask: “How do we live this Hope of Christ and Him crucified now? At this point in time? In the middle of covid19 and other world issues developing? HOW do we live “Christ and Him crucified” as a sign and as a model of Hope now?

Hope is any location or means by which grace; God’s grace, works in us. Hope locates itself in the very territory of where, sometimes, we actually don’t know whats going to happen next. But, in the face of THAT uncertainty, , there is always room to act. Something we can do. Some choice to make. “There is always a little light; even in THAT place. Even in THAT cloud.

Embracing Christ and Him crucified simply means that I see hope in suffering. Christ and Him crucified is why I always say:

“there is always a little light,” or “there is light in every cloud.”

As a Church, when we embrace our mission to “take up your cross daily,” (Luke 9:23) to suffer with Jesus on the cross, (Phil 3:10), then and only then, we become beacons of hope to a world that is seriously crashing and burning.

During this current pandemic, the usual church life and tradition that we are used to practicing is dramatically curtailed. Very limited in some ways now. Some of our leading Pastors are heading up the charges that “this is our last chance to preach the truth,” but because of Christ and Him crucified, the Church can actually view this pandemic time as an opportunity to unite ourselves with Christ, and with one another, in a powerful way that helps us to still carry our mission forward with “many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3). His saving mission to the churches and the world around us.

According to the “everlasting gospel,” (see Rev 14:6-12), there is always hope amongst the fragments. If your heart has been broken by grief, by worry, by fear, or by anything else, then make art with the broken pieces.

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We are born of the anguish we bear, and we turn that into the love we want to give. Jesus said:

“Gather up the fragments that nothing be lost.” (John 6:12)

In our often turbulent journey of today, we must accent “the cross”(*) by asking Jesus in our prayers, to help us see Him in the midst of our’s or someone else’s suffering. Many are enduring unprecedented hardships, and are in need of this Light of Christ in their clouds. Christians who know Jesus create hope out of their sufferings. (Rom 8:28). By accepting all of the trials and inconveniences to our usual way of life we show, as an act of love, that we have not lost our freedoms; but rather our act of love in accepting that “all things work together for good if we love Jesus,” (Rom 8:28), is the Church’s freedom; and we then show the world that our freedom in Christ cannot be violated. By anything.
Love that cannot suffer is not even worthy of that name. With Jesus, every crises is an opportunity.

By living under such Hope, and by abiding in the beautiful, still-water love of The Saviour, we are all united in Christ, united in diversity. “Christ and Him crucified” is the “glue” that keeps us all together in this “lively hope.” (Gal 6:14, 1 Pet 1:3). Our collective, Christian responses to the pandemic should NEVER be fear-mongering or a dismissive, doubting attitude. Why should we use modern media tactics, to help modern media instill F.E.A.R. (**) into the people, when we could give them such hope in Christ and Him crucified? It doesn’t make sense what some are doing.

Right now, we need the position of Hope that searches confidently for, and finds “Christ in every cloud.” In the midst of all the suffering and fears, we need to respond with the genuine love of Christ.

“The badge of Christianity is not an outward sign, not the wearing of a cross or a crown, but it is that which reveals the union of man with God. By the power of His grace manifested in the transformation of character the world is to be convinced that God has sent His Son as its Redeemer. No other influence that can surround the human soul has such power as the influence of an unselfish life. The strongest argument in favour of the gospel is a loving and lovable Christian. {MH 470.1}”

There are likely many Unknown Friends Of Christ and His Church. Many of them already have this hope. Its our job to accept them into fellowship, and to let them into the doors of our churches without judging them or shunning them; but in “unfeigned love for these our brethren.” (1 Pet 1:22).

Into the hearts of many who beheld that crucifixion scene, and who heard Christ’s words, was the light of truth to shine. With John they would proclaim, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” There were those who never rested until, searching the Scriptures and comparing passage with passage, they saw the meaning of Christ’s mission. They saw that free forgiveness was provided by Him whose tender mercy embraced the whole world. They read the prophecies regarding Christ, and the promises so free and full, pointing to a fountain opened for Judah and Jerusalem.

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The sacrifice of Christ as an atonement for sin is the great truth around which all other truths cluster. In order to be rightly understood and appreciated, every truth in the Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation, must be studied in the light which streams from the cross of Calvary, and in connection with the wondrous, central truth of the Saviour’s atonement. Those who study the Redeemer’s wonderful sacrifice grow in grace and knowledge. (2 Pet 3:18). When Christ crucified is preached, the power of the gospel is demonstrated by the influence it exerts over the believer. In place of remaining dead in trespasses and sins, they are awakened.

The cross stands alone, a great center in the world. It does not find friends, but it makes them. It creates its own agencies. Christ proposes that men shall become laborers together with God. He makes human beings His instrumentalities for drawing all people unto Himself. A divine agency is sufficient only through its operation on human hearts with its transforming power, making men colaborers with God (RH Sept. 29, 1891). {5BC 1138.1}

There is one great central truth to be kept ever before the mind in the searching of the Scriptures–Christ and Him crucified. Every other truth is invested with influence and power corresponding to its relation to this theme. . . . The soul palsied by sin can be endowed with life only through the work wrought out upon the cross by the Author of our salvation. {FLB 50.2}

Christ declares, “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all people unto me.” If the cross does not find an influence in its favor, it creates an influence. Through generation succeeding generation, the truth for this time is revealed as present truth. Christ on the cross was the medium whereby mercy and truth met together, and righteousness and peace kissed each other. This is the means that is to move the world
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(*) “the cross” is a suite of doctrines, including the birth, life, death, resurrection, and intercessory ministry of Jesus now.
(**) F.E.A.R. = False Evidence Appearing Real

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“If I say, “My foot is slipping,” Your faithful love will support me, LORD. When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy.” — Psalm 94:18-19 Listen to chapter . Powered by BibleGateway.com.
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