Paul is writing from prison.
Under pressure. Opposed. Questioned. Yet overflowing with the riches of God.
There is more! You have more to give!
There is more. Your experience of Jesus in the past, no matter how amazing, is just a part of what can be fully experienced. There is more.
There are things in you that need to be revealed. You operate out of these beliefs, values and goals. There is a hidden DNA in you that people only see the benefit of. Reveal what is hidden. What is most important in life? How do you do what you do? Why do you say what you say? Don’t give up, don’t back down, keep going, the missions is not over, speak again!
“Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2: 3-7
The wrath and grace are part of His character. Without wrath there is no grace.
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, BUT the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. BUT perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, BUT God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
I’m in prison BUT …
And what flows is a cascade of beautiful gifts and actions that God has done for us who deserved only wrath.
We undeservingly have received:
The abundant supply of seeking the best for us. Abundant covenantal love that persistently pursues us despite what has happened.
In 1937, a man by the name of John Griffiths found a job tending one of the railroad bridges that crossed the Mississippi River. Every day he would control the gears of the bridge to allow barges and ships through.
One day John decided to allow his eight year old son Greg to help him. He and his boy packed their lunches with great excitement and high hopes for the future and went to work. The morning went quickly and at noon they headed off for lunch, down a narrow catwalk onto an observation platform about 50 feet above the Mississippi. John told his son stories about the ships as they passed by. Suddenly, they were jolted back to reality by the shrill sound of an engine’s whistle. Looking at his watch, John realised to his horror that it was 1.07pm, that the Memphis Express was due any time and that the bridge was still raised. He calmly told Greg to stay put and then ran back to the controls. Once there he looked beneath the bridge to make sure there was nothing below. As his eyes moved downwards he saw something so terrible that he froze. For there, lying on the gears, was his beloved son. Greg had tried to follow his dad but had fallen off the catwalk. Immediately, John realised the horrifying choice before him: either to lower the bridge and kill his son, or to keep the bridge raised and kill everyone on board the train. As 400 people moved closer to the bridge, John realised what he had to do. Burying his face under his arm, he plunged down the lever. The cries of his son were instantly drowned out by the noise of the bridge grinding slowly into position. John wiped the tears from his eyes as the train passed by. A conductor was collecting tickets in his usual way. A businessman was casually reading a newspaper. Ladies were drinking afternoon tea. Children were playing. Most of the passengers were engaged in idle chatter. No one saw. No one heard the cries of a heartbroken father.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son.
The Son of God became a baby though he is a king.
The Son of God took an ordinary name though he has the name above all names.
The Son of God wrapped a towel around his waist and became a servant though one day every knee will bow.
The Son of God became obedient to death on a criminals low-life cross even though he sits on an eternal throne.
Jesus compromised his position for God so loved the world …
We live in a world of hierarchy, of positions of importance and I speak of within the Church.
Those with the biggest titles have the hardest task to compromise their position in order to save and demonstrate their love.
‘Come down’ is the call of the Spirit. It is down where Jesus is.
There are no adulations and commendations in this place. This place is painful, it is sacrificial, it is very risky and you know people will talk about you. But they do not know your motives, they never know why, only a few know that you came down because you love.