Reflections – 2013.08

What is Jesus Doing? – August 2013

Have you ever wondered this?  We know that Jesus Christ is “ascended into heaven and seated at the right hand of the Father and that from there He will come to judge the living and the dead.”  But until He comes again, what is He doing?

I wasn’t really even pondering that question the other day when I stumbled upon a little section in John Owen’s “Temptation: Resisted and Repulsed” which I found helpful as a minister and a Christian.  So here it is:

“The works in which Christ seems to have been particularly engaged in our day are these:

Pouring contempt on the great men and the great things of the world, and all its enjoyments.  He has brought to light the barrenness of all earthly things in overturning, overturning, overturning both men and things, to make way for the things that cannot be shaken.

Distinguishing between his own people and the world, claiming them as His inheritance, putting a difference between the precious and the vile, and causing His people to dwell apart and not be reckoned among the nations.

Drawing near to faith and prayer, and honoring them above all strength and counsels of men.

Recovering His ordinances and institutions from the carnal administrations that they were in bondage under through the lusts of men, bringing them forth in the beauty and power of the Spirit.”

In short, Christ is about overcoming the world, calling out a people for Himself who draw near to Him in faith and prayer and who do not trust in their own strength.  These people, the Church, He calls to worship Him, not doing fancy things, but showing forth the “beauty and power of the Spirit” in our joy, in our love for one another, in our love for God and His Word and so on ….

So what are we doing?  Owen’s concern is that we are not on board with what Jesus is doing … He suggests in the section following the one I quoted that we overvalue the world and the things in it, that we slight God’s people and treat them like we treat anyone else, that we “follow our hearts”, relying on our own counsels and understanding instead of faith and prayer, and that we defile the worship of God by preferring to be “relevant” or impressive or popular rather than desiring the “beauty and power of the Spirit” to be evident in how we worship and engage with each other.

So what do you think?  I pray that we will become a people who are excited about what Jesus is doing and that this will be expressed in our worship, in our love for one another, in lives that are marked by faith and prayer, and in a genuine desire to share the Gospel in word and deed with others.   May the Lord bless us as we seek to follow Him.