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Getting into the Ditch

Oct 7, 2016

Greetings Beloved,
Do you believe that all the grace God gives to you in justification, He likewise gives in sanctification?  I really desire that you would see the truth captured by these words,“All that is true for me in Christ has not yet been accomplished in me by the Spirit” (Sinclair Ferguson, Christian Spirituality, 62).
God will bring to completion what He has declared to be.  He has declared the saints to have the righteousness of Christ (justification).  He will deliver on that declaration.  He will make you, in actuality, what you are declared to be.  He will sanctify you.  Paul captures this glorious reality:

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24  

23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely,

and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

Now beloved, I would like to write briefly about the means God uses to accomplish what He demands.  God demands holiness (cf. Hebrews 12:14).  Thus, He accomplishes sanctification.  To be sure, He often uses suffering.  Indeed, suffering is an exquisite means of sanctification…but that is not what I want to encourage you in today either.

Today I want to encourage you that God intends to use your shepherds in the grand design of your growth and change into Christ-likeness.  God uses means.  God uses pastors.

Three texts will be our guide:

 

Acts 20:31  

Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears.

Colossians 1:28-29  

28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,

          that we may present everyone mature in Christ.

29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12  

11 For you know how, like a father with his children,

12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God,

         who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

 

I would like to draw your attention to one thought that runs throughout all three texts, namely individuality.

In Acts, Paul says that he admonished (counseled) “each one” (ESV has “everyone”).

In Colossians, Paul warned (counseled) every person (lit: “every man,” where “man” is singular; ESV has “everyone”), taught every person…that every person may be presented mature in Christ.

In Thessalonians, Paul exhorted, encouraged, and charged “ya’ll” (“you” plural) and then he adds an explanation to what he means by “ya’ll”.  He adds “each one of you.”

Did you see the truth, the sweet design of God?  God intends for all pastors (not professionals, not just ones with a certain title), ALL pastors (if the Apostle Paul did it, so should all those that follow his example) to be involved in each person’s life.

God, just like a father, would never merely lob truth grenades at you.  No.  He gets into the ditch of life lived in a sin-cursed world with EACH ONE of you.  If your life is troubled, God has given you pastors for help and hope.  Go to them and seek their counsel.  Intimacy should engender intimacy.

May God grant you to share in His holiness through the shepherding ministry of your pastor.

10,000 Blessings in The Wonderful Counselor,

Jim