The mantle of suffering has been delivered to us: both to suffer for the sake of Christ, and to suffer in place of Christ, as a testimony into The Lord!
Mark J. CongrovePastor, Bethel Baptist church
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Begin forwarded message:
From: “Mark Congrove, Pastor, Bethel Baptist Church” <mjvicarc52>
Date: October 7, 2012, 8:05:05 AM EDT
Subject: A Message from Pastor Mark
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Title: The Mantle Falls to us
Sunday, October 7, 2012
Premise: With the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, our role of participation has entered a new and unchartered arena.
Pastor Mark Congrove
Granted unto You!
Review: With the prison in present view and memory of Jesus in “mind’s eye”, Paul patiently walks his disciples through their future privileges:
A reminder of the provisions for us.
Granted unto you!
Big Idea: His suffering ended, ours now unfolds…
It’s been granted unto you… To believe on His name!
We can take our privilege to assume rank, take our gift and reduce it into God’s fondness with our station or name in life, but that’s not what I read in Ephesians 2:8.
The grant is given not just for our benefit but for God’s sake, here for Christ’s sake.
Part of the phenomenal if not miraculous process of using our lives to bring glory to the Father. (Romans 8: 35)
Trouble is, we even get humanistic about our Salvation. Way too many folks living under the false impression that God’s chief interest in your salvation was you being snatched from hell. That is but the personal benefit to the eternal transaction that translated you from the realm of darkness, into His marvelous light and in the meantime, brought great glory to God. If we could only get that, we might become less self centered, less disinterested in the real work of perseverance in our lives, might wake up out of our slumber, and become more interested in having a longer conversation with God than merely salvation.
It’s been granted unto you…To suffer for his sake
Suffering is not missing your favorite game for church… A Two-fold application.
To identify with the death of Christ is to take up the sufferings of Christ.
Certainly, in identifying with Christ’s death, I realize that I will suffer for the sake of Christ. But here’s where it gets interesting…
It’s been given to the saints to suffer, not only for the sake of Christ, but in place of Christ. What this doesn’t mean.
- We’re not suggesting that we duplicate the suffering that served as a payment for our sin; that rendered it powerless. That propitiation is possible with Him and Him alone.
- But, the suffering that was related to his early confrontation with evil lies within the responsibility of believers, once Christ left the earth to rejoin his heavenly Father.
Text: Col. 1:24 Comments:
We hold carefully a Savior who once resurrected was removed from the world; and we savor the message of salvation– a message and a Savior offensive to the world.
When we suffer for that message, we substitute our lives for that of the Savior– and receive the antagonism directed at Him from a world that has lost its way.
In no way alarmed: (Connection to vs. 28): Terrified, when viewed in its true light: as a gift rather than unjust evil.
Its been granted unto you… To be part of the real world.
To be part of the real world is to know conflict: (vs. 30) “Experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me.”
Word used to describe athletic contests:
- Life is the truest of all Olympic contests: From this word, we get our word, Agonize.
- The agony of the contest provides the best proof of the character of the competitor.
Wm. Barclay writes of a conversation between a French veteran soldier and a recruit who was fearing for his life. “Come son” said the veteran, “and you and I will do something fine for France.” So Paul, says to the Philippians, ” For you and for me the battle is on; let us do something fine for Christ.” Barclay, pg. 31
Part of the joy that comes to us in the Christian life is by reminding ourselves the greatest and deepest joy in life is drawn not from the moments of our own exaltation, but all of those moments when Christ is reflected in us.
Conclusions and final illustrations
In a fine piece of writing, Anne Ortland writes about a message her husband had just finished preaching on Mark 14, our men would recognize this from our study of Mary and the broken alabaster vase of record costing ointment: She notes, ” Many bodies who file into church, no doubt , do so because the have Jesus inside of them. Jesus! Precious, exciting, life giving. But most of them keep him shut up, contained, enclosed all their lives, And the air is full of nothing. They come to church and sit– these long rows of cold, beautiful, alabaster vases. Then the cold, beautiful, alabaster vases get up and march out again, silently– or maybe talking their cold, alabaster talk– to repeat the ritual week after week, year after year.
Unless they just get too bored and quit.
The need for Christians everywhere (nobody is exempt) is to be broken. The vase has to be smashed. Christians have to let the life out. It will fill the room with sweetness. And the congregation will all be broken shards, mingling together for the first time.
Of course, its awkward and scary to be broken. Of course its easier to keep us that cold alabaster front. It was costly for Mary too. pg. 73: Mediocrity
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