April, 2023 (Vol.57-No.4)

Preached by Dr. Gene Scott on January 4, 1976
     . . . hereby know we that we are in him.
     He that sayeth he abideth in him ought
     himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
     1st John 2:5-6
     1st JOHN 2:6: “HE THAT SAITH HE ABIDETH IN HIM ought also so to walk, even as he walked.” Hear it again, “He that saith he abideth in him . . .” and I might say, “Who is among us that saith this?” We who are filled with the Spirit say that He abides in us because we know the promise that the Spirit comes to abide. In verse 5, John asks a question by implication; and then he answers it in the statement: “hereby know we that we are in him.” How do we know? “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”
     There is a lot of talk today about spirituality. There are those who point to someone else and say, “He is spiritual” or, “He is not spiritual.” I wonder what these people mean by that word spiritual. Some people think that in order to be spiritual, you have to float 40 feet off the ground and act funny. They relate spirituality to certain kinds of “feeling” phenomena, having not learned to distinguish between “manifestation” and “demonstration.” It is a subtle distinction.
     When you deal in semantics, you can talk in “reportive” or commonly agreed upon meanings. Or you can stipulate just about any meaning you want. I can call a blackboard a “bicycle;” and once I stipulate that meaning, ever after when I talk about a bicycle I mean something I am going to write on. Only those who heard the stipulation know what I am talking about. When you trace many words to their roots, you come to some common meanings and the word “demonstration" puts the emphasis on my reactions to reality.
     Demonstrations are as different as the multitude of personalities. I don’t act the same way other people act at a Rose Bowl game, and some wouldn’t act as I act. Someone might elbow the people sitting next to him and yell and wave things around and jump and holler. I don’t give up on football or baseball because of his demonstration; I just write it off and say, “That’s the way he is.” Other people just sit silent and boil; it is an inner fire that is flowing. Anytime you encounter reality, this mechanism is designed to react. My Bible says, speaking of God, that “in thy presence is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11). Well, that means that if you are going to encounter ultimate reality, “in whose presence is fullness of joy,” you have to expect some variety of reactions and demonstrations.
     Again, it is a matter of emphasis: the word manifestation comes more to the root of revealing that which was not seen. Sometimes God manifests His presence with either demonstration or non-demonstration; and once His presence is manifested, there is a spectrum of multiple demonstrations. None of that defines spirituality, though manifestation comes closer. Demonstration is not necessarily a mark of spirituality on the part of the demonstrator.
     The way some people approach producing spirituality is like a farmer who goes out to an apple tree and, shaking the branches, demands “Now, give me some apples!” They think they can “work it up.” Well, if it is a good apple tree, it is going to bear good fruit. It is not a good apple tree just because it shakes when the wind blows: every tree in the yard shakes when the wind blows. There is nothing special about responding to ultimate reality: that doesn’t make a good tree. The good apple tree, because of what it is, produces fruit.
     In the New Testament Greek, the literal meaning of spirituality is “the expressions of the Spirit.” Literally, it is God being Himself through us. It is God having an opportunity in a garment of flesh to be Himself, the expressions of the Spirit. Now when Paul speaks to the Corinthian church of their riches in the gifts of the Spirit, he calls them by a word in the Greek from which we get the English word plutocrats: literally, those Corinthians were “overfull.” I challenge you to diagram the sentences of the Corinthian letter. Never once is there a suggestion by Paul at any time were these Corinthians having less than genuine infilling of the Holy Spirit: they were plutocrats in the Spirit.
     The Corinthian church in the New Testament is absolute proof that the Holy Spirit is not His own best teacher; you can be overfull in the things of the Holy Spirit and still need some correction. They were plutocrats in the Spirit, but they had their eyes on Apollos and Paul and Cephas instead of Jesus. They made a carnal feast out of the Lord’s Supper. They became warped in their views of grace. Some of them began to succumb to the doctrine that since God is revealing His grace and God’s grace is being poured out every time somebody is saved and sin is forgiven and since this old world needs all of God’s grace it can get, they would sin in order that more grace might be poured out on them. Just a little of that doctrine was seeping into Corinth; it was more prevalent in other areas. They had a lot of errors.
     Paul took 11 chapters to deal with their carnality; yet he had not exhausted the subject. Paul never heard of “chapter and verse.” He ended chapter 11 saying, “I’ll deal with the rest of it when I get there.” The King James Version has him saying, “Now concerning spiritual gifts,” but the word gifts is in italics, meaning it was added by the translators: it is not in the original. What Paul says is literally, “Now concerning the spirituals.”
     Then he begins to define those spirituals, which were the expressions of the Spirit. You see the many sides of God’s Spirit when it begins to flow, those articulative gifts and dialogue relationships with God; those gifts that augment the mental side: discernment and knowledge and wisdom; and the gifts that relate to our physical wellbeing: healing, faith and miracles. All of that was nothing but the Spirit flowing through the channel, the spirituals.
     Do you know what a spiritual person is? In New Testament Greek, a spiritual person is literally “the Spirit’s person.” In the Old Testament, God says He “clothed” Himself with Gideon: God put Gideon on and wore him like a garment. A spiritual person is one so possessed by the Spirit that you can truly say, “That person is His.” That is what the church of the New Testament was. The Lord’s, they called them; a simple designation, the Lord’s. We have another phrase in the New Testament, “we have this treasure,” God’s Spirit, “in earthen vessels” (2nd Corinthians 4:7).
     Spirituality is God’s own nature finding an expression through us. Now, some people do not know how to yield to it. Those who have watched people who are in the Spirit have witnessed the tension that begins to come when they are learning how, and then that breakthrough when the flesh begins to finally yield and flow with the Spirit, and then it flows easily and the struggle is over. This current charismatic renewal is learning you don’t have to tarry and wrestle to get it; you just receive, which is the message.
     So spirituality is God being Himself through us. Now what is the fullest measure of that: Jesus. Literally, He was the out-raying of God’s glory. When you look at Jesus, you see God, moved into a tent of human flesh, unflawed by sin, with no distortion. As Jesus of Nazareth expresses Himself, you find spirituality incarnate: God’s nature moving from behind the veil and being seen in flesh. This is why John says, then “hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” Only one measure of spirituality suffices; I don’t care how high you jump, how loud you holler, or how silent you remain. The ultimate test is Jesus-ness. Do you look a little more like Him this year than last year? Will you look a little more like Him next year than this year?
     When I was younger, I used to pray, “God, help me to be a good preacher,” or to be a good minister in some particular category of expression. Now, I pray, “God, help me to be a Christian.” Christian means “follower of Christ.” I am going to lift this mirror in front of Gene Scott and let you look in. Once a year at least, I want to preach to myself on this subject and ask myself, “Am I walking as He walked?”
     As we have crusaded and repeatedly said, we want to demystify spiritual things and bring them out of that “float 40 feet above the ground, never-never land” into the stuff of history where He brought it, walking the most ordinary streets, going about the most ordinary kind of activity and bringing God into the stuff of life. He still wants it to happen. That is why the church exists, to send some little Christs out.
     But what does it look like? If you want to know what spirituality looks like according to that measurement, it starts with commitment. Everywhere that you see Jesus, He treats this life as though it has only one reason for existence, and that is to do the will of the Father that sent Him. Early in life, His parents would lay a pressure on Him that conflicted with His higher calling. And as a boy, He said, “I must be about my Father’s business” (Luke 2:49).
     When He began His ministry, clothed with a tent of flesh capable of the same kind of human responses that we have, He was tempted 40 days in the wilderness. You can reduce those temptations down to one simple thing: the temptation to use this life, express it to its own satisfaction or to a fulfillment other than the purpose for which God sent Him to this Earth, namely, to die. Turn stones to bread to satisfy the flesh. When He wouldn’t yield to the flesh, then the other extreme comes: be super-spiritual. Dive off the pinnacle and the angels will catch you and let you down softly. Now that is, in one fell swoop, a way to become a super-spiritual giant: dive off and let the angels slowly float you down off the edge of Jerusalem’s wall and everybody would be amazed in a moment about your spirituality. I sometimes wonder if some people want God’s Spirit working in them for the recognition it brings.
     Jesus would neither yield to the flesh nor be a spiritual show-off. The devil offered Him kingdoms if He would just come under him. God had offered Him kingdoms, but He had to die. The devil offered Him kingdoms if He would bend His knee. He turned from the temptation and said No. When you look at it and quit making it a big mystery, while clothed with the same kinds of desires that you and I have, He said no to the flesh; He said no to spiritual pride; He said no to power. He walked out and treated His life from morning to night as though it had one reason for being, and that is to do the will of the Father that sent Him (John 4:34).
     As soon as He gathered the disciples around Him, they too challenged His commitment. When He spoke of the cross, they said, “Be it far from you.” His own agony of soul resisted. In the garden, He prayed, “If it be possible let this cup pass from me. But nevertheless not as I will, but thine” (Luke 22:42). While He was on the cross, the rulers cried out, “If you be God, come down.” He held Himself as though He did not hear them. There is no easy way to be like Jesus. As we go through this year, we will lay on ourselves again and again the sacrificial purpose and sacrificial opportunity that cuts across the flesh and the desires of self.
     But “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” He came to die and as we behold that dying, as Paul said to the Romans, “we ought then to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto Him” (Romans 12:1). You can’t be like Jesus until in the core of your being you recognize eternity is our home and this life is but an arena in which we give our self ultimately and utterly to Him: total commitment. You can react to God’s presence all you want and it can be as real as the Corinthians’ expressions, but genuine spirituality carries beyond that. “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” He gave Himself for the will of the Father.
     Look at Jesus’ concerns. What were His joys? They were not in the plaudits of the crowd who sang “Hosanna” as they went into Jerusalem. You find His joy expressed in His parables: the joy of a father who sees the prodigal son come home; the joy of a widow who lost a coin and hunted all over the house until finally she finds it; and the joy of a shepherd who, having lost the one sheep and left the ninety and nine in the wilderness, went after that which was lost until he found it. And when the shepherd found his sheep, in Jesus’ words in Luke 15, “He layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing . . . I have found my sheep which was lost.” What brought Him sorrow? Looking at a city and a people He would have gathered, who would not receive the good news of the gospel He brought (Luke 19:41). “Jesus wept” at the death of Lazarus (John 11:35). His joy and His sorrow tell of His concern. He came to die for a world that is lost.
     I was pressured by the church through my days growing up as a preacher’s kid to have a burden for the world that is lost. I have learned cognitively that I ought to have a burden for a world that doesn’t know Jesus and a burden for the world that is lost. But I have learned that I cannot “work it up” myself. I have learned I can exercise the will and tell myself that I ought to have a burden, but over many years I have learned that is not the way it comes.
     On the other hand, I have learned when I have renewed that relationship, when the Holy Spirit has begun to flow anew, including all of those things that are the wondrous, edifying parts, as Paul says, when you speak in tongues, you are edified and “forget it not.” There is enough in this world to tear us down, so don’t take away from me that which makes me feel good. As Paul could say, “I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all” (1st Corinthians 14:18). Why do you think Paul said that? If he was bursting forth in tongues all the time, it would be superfluous to say it. He must have been anticipating some criticism from those who would say that he did not do it at all. Now, if every time we see you, you are speaking in tongues, you don’t have to tell people: they know you speak in tongues more than everybody else. Why did he have to tell them? Maybe he wasn’t doing it much in their presence. But he said, “I thank God I speak with tongues more than you all.”
     To be fully possessed of God’s Spirit is to have every part of my being capable of being expressed to God’s glory. Brought under His control, this bridle here, the tongue, this most unruly member is the last to yield (James 3:2-8). When God’s Spirit possesses you, He is going to take that articulative member, so important in the covenant relationship with God, and possess it, too.
     I am looking for deeper truths. I have learned when that experience is made a daily experience, when I have renewed the fullness of the Spirit and when I have drawn nigh to Him and His Spirit begins to flow through me, some strange thing happens. I begin to find that the burden for the world is rekindled. So I know, like faith, when I lack faith I don’t beat myself over the head; I do what the Bible says, “Faith cometh by hearing, and that by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). I plant the seed of the Word. When my burden wanes, I know I need a fresh infilling of oil in the cup, because “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” A world that was lost brought Him here; a world that was lost took Him to Calvary. That was His chief concern.
     Being like Jesus doesn’t keep you in a super-spiritual environment all the time. Let me string another bead on this thread of 1st John 2:6. Do you ever get tired of routines in your life, or am I the only one? I like to sing and pray and preach and be in church. I don’t like writing letters and waiting in lines at airports and wrestling with crowds in restaurants and reading mail and filing and routines. Are you the same way? For some people, spirituality has become an escape area.
     The first time I ever really reflected on this, I was in a hotel in Kansas City. I had been on a committee; and as you know, there is an old saying, “a camel is a horse produced by a committee.” A committee just frustrates me; you just go on taking ten times as much time to do one thing. I was frustrated; and I had business problems pressing in because I had always made “tents” while I preached, that I might give the gospel without charge, and I was tired. I remember opening the gospels and doing what I sometimes do: hunting for something in the Scriptures that I could shake at God like a club and say, “Now look here, God, You have to change into what it says here.” Do you ever do that? Have you ever hunted a Scripture to hold over God’s head? I read in the gospel where Jesus poured out the water at the well. I said, “Now, Lord, why don’t You keep me where the water is flowing?” I read where He raised Lazarus from the dead. I said, “That’s where I want to stay, where resurrection power is flowing.” I read where the Mount of Transfiguration incident occurred. I would have joined right there with Peter and said, “Add 27 more tabernacles, make it 30 if necessary, to keep us here where the glory is coming down.” Now, I don’t think I am alone. We have an overpopulation of people who are hunting “spiritual atmospheres.”
     I argued with God. I said, “God, when are You going to graduate me,” in my language at that time, “when are You going to graduate me to spiritual things?” I am tired of routines. I want to go where the water flows, where resurrection life is being expressed and transfiguration glory comes down. But something kept me reading, and I said to myself, “Where was Jesus before He went to that well? How did He get there?” He walked, same method of perambulation that you and I use. He didn’t even get raptured like Philip did off the Gaza strip. The Son of glory walked, and that is rocky walking in that land! Where was He before He raised Lazarus from the dead? How long did it take Him to make the journey? Where was He before the transfiguration experience? He wore out those disciples climbing up the hill, until they slept. Take a map and look at the geography of that land and analyze the life of the Lord of glory. He spent a lot more hours and days of His life doing the ordinary, trivial kind of things that make up the routines of our lives than He did those peak moments of “spiritual blessing.” The Lord of glory, with all the angels of Heaven at His beck and call, walking dusty streets, getting tired doing the ordinary trivial things that make up my life.
     I knelt by my bed that day in a hotel room; and I have prayed the prayer many times since and I am a far cry from measuring up, but I hope I am closer. I said, “God give me a fresh understanding of what spirituality is.” It is easy for me to act like a preacher in church, behind the pulpit. But the Lord of glory brought God’s nature into the stuff of everyday life. Spirituality is not just singing hymns, shouting and bursting forth having a good time in the crowd where the manifestation is. Spirituality is being like Jesus: “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also to walk, even as he walked.”
     I have flown into cities to conduct campaigns and concentrated on my behavior on the platform; but I passed by hundreds in a hotel that I could have had an impact on, with some tone on my life that stayed close in to the Spirit of God. That is what it means to be spiritual. How do you act when you drive the freeway? I am spiritual in a pulpit by traditional definitions; the real test is when you cut in front of me on the freeway. Now I have to confess, I am not “batting a thousand” on that one! But I know what the measure is.
     In the early days, after I had finished preaching, when someone came to an altar I wanted to say, “What in my message made you want to come?” I never did ask and I am glad I didn’t! Do you know what the answer would probably be? “I made up my mind last Thursday I was going to give my heart to the Lord and I could hardly wait until you got done preaching so I could get up there.” They had seen Jesus somewhere.
     As we have taught from Hebrews, “sermon” comes from the Latin word sermo; it is a cognate. The Latin Bible opens John’s Gospel, saying, “In the beginning was the sermo, and the sermo was with God, the sermo was God . . . the sermo was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” Jesus was the sermon, and He said to us, “ye shall be witnesses.” Do you know what a witness it? Literally, the word translates a Greek word that means martyr. It is one who so dies to himself and comes alive to the Lord that he becomes a living exhibition, a sermon written on hearts of flesh.
     Jesus was a friend of sinners. I hope this church gets full of them. I think the church world is all too occupied in transplanting saints and doing too little in saving sinners. Tell the world the worst sinners in town are welcome! Jesus was a friend of sinners. You see people sitting around having a good time and then the preacher shows up, and somebody whispers, “Here comes the Reverend.” Then watch their behavior change: all joy gone! They think God is some cosmic killjoy sitting out yonder trying to find people having a good time so He can put a stop to it, sending in His preachers as emissaries to help Him out.
     Now this might shake your spiritual preconceptions, but I challenge you to deny the truth of it: the first miracle Jesus performed was to turn water into wine to keep the party going. That is hard for some to accept. You have made void the word of God because of your traditions. You don’t have to love sin to love the sinner. You cannot be complacent about sin if you look at Jesus dying on Calvary for the sins of many. Some people think spirituality gives them the magnanimous ability to put down the spirituality of others; it somehow graduates them into the judgeship of determining everyone else’s spirituality. Someone has rightly said you can judge how non-spiritual someone is by their concern over the spirituality of others. The truly spiritual person is so wrapped up in concern about his own condition that he keeps that as his focus. The saints and all the history of the saints show the closer you get to God the more aware you are of your inadequacy. In the book of Isaiah, in the year when King Uzziah died and the kingdom was on the verge of crumbling, the one man closest to God saw Him high and lifted up on a throne and cried, “Woe is me” (Isaiah 6:5).
     Scripture says, “Ye which are spiritual, if a brother be overtaken in a fault, restore such an one” (Galatians 6:1). Now, the King James Version is interesting. It makes it almost sound as though the guy got caught: “If a brother be overtaken in a fault.” The Greek is more precise: he didn’t get caught by you or by me, he got caught by himself. The literal meaning of “if a brother be overtaken in a fault” is that “old man in us,” that we are to crucify daily, overtakes us until all of a sudden it has taken hold of us. That law in my members that Paul talks about in Romans 7 brings the cry of misery, “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” For he has argued, “What I would do I find myself not doing, and what I would not do I find myself doing.” I know there is a law and my mind agrees with it, but another law in my members literally drags me down, grabs hold of me and takes me captive; and I am doing what I don’t want to do. “Who shall deliver me?”
     That old nature is the one that is being referred to: “If a brother be overtaken in a fault,” it leaped out on him, ‘Ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; and consider yourself, lest you also be taken.” Because the same old man is in every one of us and no matter how hard we try to mask it over, God knows it is there, and, by His Word, so do I.
     Jesus was a friend of sinners: He loved them. I want the world to know we love them. We don’t have to condone their sin; we don’t have to wrap holy robes around ourselves. I don’t think Jesus made a big deal out of His spirituality. I don’t believe we have to make people so uncomfortable with our presence all the time.
     If you have God in you, you do not have to work so hard to announce it. You will be different, because “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” If you are totally committed to Him, if nothing matters as much to you in this life as doing God’s will, then that will make you different. His burden will consume you. You will be aware of His presence in the ordinary stuff of the day when you iron clothes in the home, when you drive down the freeway and when you work on the job. The majority of this community will never come to hear a preacher preach, but they will watch your sermon, that bringing of God’s nature into the stuff of history.
     He was a friend of sinners: be their friend. Some people witness like a big-game hunter running out to grab trophies to mount on their wall and brag about. One of these days I am going to write a book entitled Soul Winning Is Not Easy! If you really reach into lives, it will only happen when the Holy Spirit in you has put God’s nature so indelibly on your frame that they see that power of Christ to draw them like a magnet. And soon they will ask some questions, and you can point them to Him.
     Being like Jesus involves this, too: do you ever get disappointed in anybody? Has anybody ever let you down and it affected you? I wonder today how much of God’s work would cease if we removed human reaction to it. How much singing would go on if we didn’t have the crutch of human appreciation? I get disappointed in people. I used to work in Sunday school with teachers; and I would think finally I had brought a staff of workers to a point that they understood the wondrous privilege of being co-creator with God of His nature in man. Then, like that! They would let me down on a crucial day. I have worked with associates and with helpers; I have relied on friends; I have had those closest to me undercut my hopes and desires. I am sure I have done it to others, too.
     But my Scripture says that this is spirituality, “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” Every disciple that Jesus had failed Him, with no exception. He taught them love, and they bickered among themselves. He taught them to bear a cross, and they ran and hid while He bore His. He taught them to deny themselves for the will of the Father, and they fought selfishly over the best seats in the Kingdom. He taught them of the Resurrection, and they hid behind closed doors and didn’t believe it. He asked them to watch and pray, and they slept. When He needed them the most, they ran away. Every disciple He had failed Him, but it did not affect His doing of God’s will one iota. He went on alone to do it. I have come to know that if you are going to be what Jesus wants you to be, without flaunting it, you have got to come to a position where His approval alone is enough. Certainly we get disappointed; we want God somehow to be in the people around us until we can touch Him and we want to excuse our own weaknesses by being let down or failed by someone else. Well, “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” He went on, though everybody failed Him.
     The Son of man came not to be ministered to, but to minister. He didn’t come to get, He came to give. “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” Take His humility. The church never suffers from lack of front-page performers; there are plenty of people who want to get on a platform. The difficulty is finding those willing to perform the hidden tasks. “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” He stepped from Heaven’s glory . . . to die for me.
     There is no mystery to spirituality. It is being like Him. I have only scratched the surface. He died a failure in the eyes of men. It took the Resurrection to vindicate Him. But even at Calvary, He was a failure. Go to the Resurrection: there He is vindicated. As Dr. Tozer has said, being like Jesus might cause you to die a failure in the eyes of men and wait for the Resurrection to vindicate you. That is a long wait. That is being like Him.
     What were His results? He changed people. That was a miserable band that He chose, but when He finished, they were changed until, save one, they turned the world upside down. I have come to know that what I am, is what I impart to others. Jesus lived what He talked better than He talked it. The subject is inexhaustible, but that is what spirituality is. I have come to know when I get more concerned about being like Him than getting the job done, through me He starts doing the job.
     When I was 16 years old, I listened to a chaplain preach in Northern California; and I suppose more than any other single thing, outside of what God Himself has done, that message changed my life. He was a chaplain in Patton’s Third Army. He said that he used to newspapers from home and would read that Patton’s army had moved ahead so many miles. And you would get the impression that the army just sort of picked up en masse and set itself down. He said that wasn’t the way it happened. One soldier in a tank or in a foxhole got the message, “Move!” If he stayed where he was and asked himself the question, “I wonder if the guy on the right is going to move and the guy on the left is going to move and if the shells are going to be on target and if the planes are going to be one time?” he never would have gotten out of that foxhole.
     But he made the decision to move as though he were the only man. If he looked at no-man’s land out there and said, “What can I do?” he never would have made it; he was one guy making this move. But he made the decision as though the whole battle depended upon himself. When the word “Move!” came, he moved. After he moved, he found there were some on the right and some on the left, the shells were on target and planes did appear. He made the decision as though the whole battle depended on him. I was 16 when I heard that speech; and I made up my mind that day that if I ever found something that I could commit to, I would hang my life on it as though the whole war depended on me doing it.
     That is what I ask of this church today: a band and a company of people who will settle for nothing less than genuine spirituality, who will ask themselves week after week, “Am I abiding in Him?” Hereby we know, “He that saith he abideth in him ought also so to walk, even as he walked.” Analyze your commitment: does it match His? If it doesn’t, then draw nigh. Analyze your concern; if it doesn’t match His, then draw night to Him and renew the experience. Analyze your attitude about being a flowing light of the gospel and a flowing spring of His nature wherever your life, routines, and tedious detail take you. Analyze your dependence upon what other people do. Do you come to church to be ministered to or do you live to minister? Look at your humility; look at your own results among loved ones. For too long the church world has been running out bellowing with the mouth in little formulas of salvation. We need to bring that ineffable nature of Jesus until those closest to us will wonder, “What’s made him different? He’s different every day.” That is what spirituality is, and the Spirit came to be that in you and me if you give Him the chance.
     Heavenly Father, it is a sobering message, but a glorious message, too. You want to be Yourself through us; we just have to give You a chance. I pray for this congregation, as we face this year together, I preach first to myself and then to everybody else. Let’s clear all the dust and stuff away from religious performance and the over-glamorized things that are going on in the name of Your Son today and really come to grips with what it is all about. “God enters into all things to work His good, to them which are the called, according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28), that purpose being that we might all be conformed to the image of Your Son. God gave to the church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers for the perfecting of the saints, bringing us to a unity of the faith, the knowledge of the perfect man that we come to “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13).
     Paul said to us in Romans, “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14). And John has said “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” Christianity has not changed. In New Testament times when the Holy Spirit came on that day, miserable vessels of flesh that had denied You and failed were changed, until men could look at them and say they perceived they were ignorant and unlearned men, but they also saw and took notice of the fact they had been with Jesus. What the world needs to see is Jesus. There are enough of us here to reflect His image all through these communities. Grant it, we pray, in Jesus’ name.
     Reprinted with permission from Pastor Melissa Scott

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