Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Pastoral Pings ~ Branching-Out to the Glory of God

          There is a big difference between the way the moon shows the glory of the sun, and a branch shows the glory of the vine. The moon is an inanimate, lifeless orb of rock and dirt that has no glory in and of itself. What it shows us of the glory of the sun is by default. It is not a reproduction of the sun that calls attention to its father that birthed it into existence. It is just a chunk of rock in space that reflects the glory of the sunlight without any active participation whatsoever.

          On the other hand, a branch can only show the glory of the vine by experiencing the life of the vine. The more the branch looks like the vine, the more it glorifies the vine for giving it such life. The more the branch bears the fruit that is the purpose and aim of the vine, the more the branch glorifies the vine for producing such fruit.

          God’s children do not give their Father glory like a display case full of trophies that lifelessly speak of his accomplishments. We are not an Olympic sculpture that lifelessly reminds people of past events and experiences. We are not a museum filled with inanimate objects that remind people of animated people, and living seasons of history. We are living branches of the living vine,[1] our very life speaking volumes about the One from whom our life flows. Our livingness testifies to the one in whom “we live and move and have our being’.”[2]

          The same picture continues when God reveals that we are the living members of the body of Christ.[3] Jesus is the head, we are the living extensions of his life, body parts that live out of the life we have in him. We have the mind of Christ[4] so that we can think about how to serve one another in love.[5] We receive the organizational work of Christ’s mind so we can build up each life in the church with the life that each one receives from the head of the Church.[6]

          Another example of this same connection between Jesus and his people is the picture of Jesus as the living Cornerstone of the church,[7] with believers as the “living stones”[8] that are being built upon Jesus Christ as the temple in which God lives by his Holy Spirit.[9] No longer are lifeless stones built upon a lifeless foundation in order to give God a material home that invading armies can desecrate and demolish. All that the earthly Tabernacle and Temple displayed for us was a small token of thoughts leading us to something even greater. The Living God would inhabit a temple made from living people who were redeemed out of their sin, snatched from the flames of judgment, brought into the life of the Lord Jesus Christ, and united by the Spirit of God through the bond of peace.[10]

          Jesus did not call people to just hang-out in space and let him shine his glory off our lifeless orbs of dirt. He actually gathered dirt together into the form of a man, breathed into this corpse of clay the breath of life, and caused all the chemicals contained in the dirt to suddenly vibrate with life. Man became “a living creature”.[11] And now, although sin had killed this man, Jesus continues to breathe new life into those who receive him. He unites these people with himself so that he can show the glory of his life in the life that is now in them, a life that increasingly changes from from one degree of glory to another.”[12]

          Jesus is for too loving, and living, and active to illustrate his relationship to his people as the light of the sun reflecting off a lifeless moon. He has to speak of his love relationship to his people as a living Shepherd watching over living sheep; as a living cornerstone building up a temple of living stones; of a living head animating the life of his living body; and of a living vine filling his branches with such life that they glorify the Father by bearing much fruit in Jesus’ name.[13]

          From my heart,

© 2013 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

[1] John 15:1-11
[2] Acts 17:28
[3] I Corinthians 12
[4] I Corinthians 2:16
[5] “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13)
[6] Ephesians 4:1-16
[7] Ephesians 2:20; I Peter 2:4
[8] As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (I Peter 2)
[9] 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (Ephesians 2)
[10] Ephesians 4:3
[11] then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (Genesis 2:7)
[12] II Corinthians 3:18
[13] By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. (John 15:8)

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