Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Clay Pot's Sunrise Meditation on Gathering Day

“But as soon as they believed Philip, which preached the things that concerned the kingdom of God, and the Name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized both men and women” (Acts 8:12, Geneva Bible).

Bind us in our words and worship to these things this day, our God and King (1 Timothy 1:17; Revelation 15:3).

“For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God that commanded the light to shine out of darkness, is He which hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of that power might be of God, and not of us. We are afflicted on every side, yet are we not in distress: we are in doubt, but yet we despair not. We are persecuted, but not forsaken: cast down, but we perish not. Everywhere we bear about in our body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus might also be made manifest in our bodies. For we which live, are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh...and because we have the same Spirit of faith, according as it is written, ‘I believed, and therefore have I spoken,’ we also believe, and therefore speak, knowing that He which hath raised up the Lord Jesus, shall raise us up also by Jesus, and shall set us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that that most plenteous grace by the thanksgiving of many, may redound to the praise of God. Therefore we faint not, but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed daily. For our light affliction which is but for a moment, causeth unto us a far most excellent and an eternal weight of glory: While we look not on the things which are seen, but on the things which are not seen for the things which are seen, are temporal: but the things which are not seen, are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:5-11,13-18).

On these days of the Gathering when I’ve been feeling particularly “earthen” and aware of the slow perishing of the “outward man,” I remember the message of the Kingdom and the Name. I don’t have to be powerful, strong, and confident: it is powerful and strong and unstoppable. It’s not about me. The leadership of Christ’s Church does not require me to be the Charismatic Leader. It requires the message of Christ the King and Savior.

And I suddenly remember (being so stupid – along with Agur in Proverbs 30:2 – that I repeatedly need to be reminded of it) that He does this...He often humbles me and burdens me in heart, mind, and body for days leading up to the Gathering of His Congregation. And I am reminded that they are His, I am His, and He is in charge of this thing, regardless of my self-doubt. I am earth, He is astounding glory, and He will shine through His vessels (the proclaimer and hearers both).

“As the providence of God in general reaches to all creatures, so, in a more special manner, it takes care of His church, and governs all things to the good of His church” (1689 Baptist Confession, 5.7). This governing to the good comes especially through His primary means of grace, the preaching of “the kingdom of God, and the Name of Jesus Christ” by a lowly, weak clay pot.

Bind us in our words and worship to these things this day, our God and King (1 Timothy 1:17; Revelation 15:3).

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