Michael Daly CJ Blog

A Companion of Jesus

KEEPING THE FAITH. By Gayle Erwin

Everything humanly produced changes. A famous poet described it by saying you can never go home. In other words, once you leave, things change and they will not be the home you remembered when you return.

Businesses and movements change. An author who examined big business said that they would never get big if they did in the beginning what they were doing when they became large.

So, why am I saying this? This is a declaration from Servant Quarters to stay the same. We are under contract from God to teach on and (hopefully) example the Nature of Jesus. It is now an old message, but, to me, forever young. Every time I share it, I gain new insight or am challenged in new ways.

Perhaps God makes me repeat it just so I will learn it, regardless of how others react. That message, at the insistence of my students at a college I taught at, was condensed to the book The Jesus Style. I knew in my heart, because of the impact it had on me, that this would be well-received. It has!

Now, with translations in ten languages, it has become required reading for many church leaders and missions workers. Everything we do or write flows from the message of the Nature of Jesus. Sometimes people pray for me that I might get a new message thinking they are doing me a favor with that prayer. In my mind, I am saying, “No, Lord. Let me truly learn your Nature better and teach it more effectively.” Some occasionally call me to ask me to speak, but first they ask if I have anything new to say. Our conversation ends quickly. I can teach on the whole Bible, but every session will have the “Jesus” spin on it.

I have heard others say, “Now that you know Jesus, I want to take you beyond Jesus into deeper things.” My response? Hogwash! Baloney! There is no “beyond Jesus.” There are no “deeper things.” Paul states clearly in Colossians 1 and 2 that God put everything He was in Jesus. Hebrews 1 says Jesus was the exact likeness of the Father. What is there beyond that?

Nothing I have ever said or seen changes lives for the better than an understanding of the Nature of Jesus. Around the world, Christians, new or old, instinctively know that my description of Jesus is true. Individuals have, with tears, thanked me for restoring them to the Jesus they first believed in. Scholars of note have called me to express their verification. Knowing His nature unlocks and interprets the Scripture more than anything I have seen. Knowing His nature guides my actions and thoughts better than anything I have ever seen.

If the writers of the New Testament were as sold on Jesus as it appears, I am just as sold on Him because of my belief in Biblical Truth, but I am also sold on Him because he is verified in my own life. This is not mere intellectual pursuit. These are not philosophical ruminations. This is Life! My travels place me in position to see many religions and traditions. The errors they chase and the anguish and hopelessness I see breaks my heart and renews my desire to share the Truth. But it also makes me giddily thankful that I know Him and His rest and peace have captured my heart.

So, we keep on keeping on. Our list on His nature as revealed in His “Greatest in the Kingdom” teachings is plastered here again. Burn it into your heart. Make a poster of it. Run all your actions, thoughts, interpretations through it. It will be your best friend.

Servant

Not lord it over others

Leadership by example

Humble

As a child

As the younger

Least

Last

No force

No selfish ambition

No reputation

Human

Obedient

Death

Because we believe Jesus was this way, our eyes focus more clearly on God the Father. Since Jesus came to reveal him, any beliefs about the Father that vary from this must be erroneous. Studying this reawakened me to the Grace of God. Folks, Chuck Smith’s book title says it all “Grace Changes Everything!”

A heartbreaking discovery forced changes in approach to communist countries as they began to open to the Gospel. The churches that existed were so traditional and legalistic that new converts could not be trusted to them. Indeed, the opportunity was given for them to train new converts, but rather than teach them about Jesus, they merely taught them church rules and denominational history. The converts disappeared. They simply did not understand Grace.

Now, we reach for the youth and make sure they understand the Grace of God and what it means to love people and have the joy of close relationship with God. Paul’s warning to teachers sometimes terrifies me, but it keeps me on track. I do not want to stand before God to answer for my mission to teach about Him and only be able to say I taught about my church and my rules. My friend Mike Nelson put it in a unique way: “If I turned my children over to someone to have them teach my children about me and they taught the way people teach God’s children about Him, I would be furious.”

So, we put a hammerlock on Grace. Never let it go! That brings up the next list that must be burned into our hearts. How anyone can read Exodus 34:6 and reject Grace mystifies me. Here God the Father describes Himself to Moses. Hear it! Hear it!

Grace

Compassionate

Gracious

Slow to anger

Abounding in mercy

Abounding in faithfulness

Mercy to thousands

Forgiving wickedness

Forgiving rebellion

Forgiving sin.

So, how is God doing so far? Is there any better message? Then, just so we will not miss the message, the Holy Spirit comes to make sure we get that message and not some different one. He is not an adrenaline surge or a justifier of weirdness. He is the great pointer and mover. He points us to Jesus and then moves us that direction. So, the message is complete and adequate. When I lay my head on my pillow at night, I rest well knowing I have shared only things that will bless and edify. I like that. Join me in a big “Aaahhhhh!”                Gayle D. Erwin

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July 22, 2010 - Posted by | Thoughts

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