Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Thieves in His Storehouse

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love (Eph 4:1-2).

The Doctor once wrote that "preaching is logic on fire." But it is also true that the fire often enlivens the logic.

At least that's what happened while I was preaching to the saints at Sunriver Community Church this past Lord's Day (if you're looking for a Christ-centered and Biblically-grounded fellowship in Fresno, CA, join them!).

Working through Ephesians 4:1-6, I noted that the character qualities enjoined by the Apostle in vv. 2-3 are inextricably bound to the salvation exposited in Ephesians 1-3 (connected by that weighty "therefore" in v. 1). That is, since the Lord initiated salvation in Christ that we would be "to the praise of the glory of His grace" (1:6, 12, 14), since the Lord applied salvation in Christ to dead and hopeless sinners that "He might show the surpassing riches of His grace" (2:7), and since the Lord has given the message of salvation in Christ that "the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church" (3:10), Christians are to glorify God by living together in humility, gentleness, patience, and tolerance (4:2).

And this is when the fire of His Spirit enlivened the logic of His text for this preacher:
As we have been redeemed in Christ to bring glory to God and to display His calling in our conduct, when we lift ourselves up to one another in pride... we steal glory from God. The prideful Christian is a thief in the storehouse of the Lord of glory. When you or I shun humility, gentleness, patience, or tolerance in our life together, we wrongly claim for ourselves the praise that belongs to God alone.
I was convicted even as I spoke, the Spirit illuminating the implications of the passage in my own soul. Steal from God?! Never! Really? With every angry retort, every impatient display, and every intolerant, unloving exchange... we thieve from His storehouse.

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