Utterly Different

"And all of us have had the veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him and reflect His glory even more." 2 Corinthians 3:18....."What came in at Pentecost was a creation of a people 'utterly different in the very center of their being. Their power and influence lie in that fact. It is the secret of their influence in the world." T. Austin-Sparks

I don't doubt at all the desire of the Church to have great impact and influence upon the world it seeks to minister to and win. The "buzz word" for some time now has been "missional." We are to be a missional church, outreach minded, desiring to reach a world trapped in darkness. So, pastors and leaders constantly exhort the people to "go out and make disciples." The results of it all are a very mixed bag. If we are making disciples, just what kind are they? Are they, are we, really a people who are "utterly different" from the culture that surrounds us? Utterly different in the very center of our being? The Father, in seeking a people for Himself, has always commanded that they be a "people set apart." What is that sets you and me apart? The fact that we go to church, listen to Christian music, and read Chirstian books? Go to Bible studies, even read those Bibles? Good things all, but is there something going on, something real and powerful, in the very center of our being? Something unexplainable yet undeniable to a watching world. Do we live among that world with and in Kingdom power? Do we speak into that world with Kingdom power? Paul said he was "all things to all people," yet we have so misunderstood and watered down his meaning to the degree that we have harmed, even nullified our witness. Sparks said of Christ's earthly ministry, "Jesus could move in any circle, but His power over them was in His basic difference from them. To conform is to lose spiritual power." Somehow, in our good intentions, we have drifted very far from such a life and witness. How can this be so in a Church that professes to be controlled and led by His Holy Spirit?

Leonard Ravenhill said of John the Baptist, "In his eyes was the light of God, in his voice was the authority of God, and in his soul was the passion of God." And all of this BEFORE the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. If such a life and witness was John's before that outpouring, how can ours be something that is so much less? So much weaker? When we pastors preach, do those who listen see a reflection of His glory? Do they see and hear what the listeners of John saw and heard? The old hymn goes, "Heaven came down and glory filled my soul, when at the cross my Savior made me whole." Is such happening in what we call "worship?" Francis Chan once said that he wondered what the first century church would have made of the church today? He wondered what they would think of a crowd of people coming to a building, everyone facing forward for an hour or so, and then going out to the parking lot, getting in their cars and going home? What would there be about such a people to make them "utterly different?" What makes us so?

In Luke 4, Jesus proclaimed the words of Isaiah 61, which foretold of the coming of the Messiah. After reading those words, the scripture reads, "Everyone in the synagogue stared at Him intently. Then He said, 'This Scripture has come true today before your very eyes.' " They had heard that passage read countless times before. Now they saw it come to life before them. Jesus was, is, the Living Word in all it's glory. We are to be vessels of the same. We can either accept or reject such Living Glory, but we can never be neutral towards it. Are the fellowships we are a part of such vessels? Are our lives? We cannot motivate or program this. But we can be part of a movement raised up by Him, empowered by His Holy Spirit, and then move among a world trapped in darkness as His Living Light, reflections and vessels of His glory. His words come to life. Such is what I long to be. Utterly different. Utterly His. How about you?

Blessings, 
Pastor O

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