Monday, January 15, 2018

Home Church Video: Staking Our Claim on Freedom in Christ ~ Part 1 ~ Introduction

I often wonder if the amount of conflict that surrounds some of the things that have most helped me grow up in Christ is there because Satan knows how much God would be glorified if Jesus’ whole church banded together to join him in his work.

One such ministry is that of freedom in Christ. When I first heard about this facet of Christian ministry, it felt like a God-given gift of the “this-is-just-what-I-need” variety. I was quickly overwhelmed with encouragement in both the gift, and God’s timing in sending it my way.

However, since that time I have heard so many opposing views on the subject that I have once again[1] had to find out for myself what “accords with sound doctrine,”[2] while fulfilling Jesus’ ministry to “proclaim good news to the poor… proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour.”[3]

Understanding that a plumbline approach to any teaching of God’s word will invariably look like I am “the other guy” compared to both the pendulum extremes,[4] here is a home church introduction to what is meant by freedom in Christ, and why it is necessary to tackle such things even in the midst of those with weapons ready to shoot down anything they don’t like.

Over the years, I have met far too many broken people who need more than the every-day life of the institutional church. They need to feel Jesus proclaiming good news to their innermost soul-condition through his church. They need to hear the body of Christ proclaiming liberty to them in their captivity, and recovering of sight to them in their blindness, and freedom from their oppression, and the favour of God comforting hearts so long burdened with condemnation.

They need what is so aptly described as freedom in Christ. They need freedom from things that are holding them in bondage to the world, the flesh, and the devil, and they need to know the full gamut of freedom as it can only be found in Jesus Christ the way, the truth, and the life.[5]

Keeping in mind that this video is only an introduction to a series on this theme, if any of this concerns you, or if any personal issues surface affirming your own need for freedom in Christ, or if you have heard negative stories about people who are engaged in some form of freedom in Christ ministry, please take the time to send me an email and I will make every effort to address these things in the rest of this series.

My simple contention is that, when Jesus read the prophecy regarding his ministry of freedom and declared, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing,”[6] he meant that everything he came to do would now be accomplished through his body, the church. Whatever needs to happen for Christians to work together in purifying our ministries of freedom while we, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins,”[7] let us be so “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,”[8] that people will be set free by the church working with each other rather than trampled underfoot as church-folk join Satan’s schemes to steal, kill, and destroy.[9]

Or, as Hebrews says it, “Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.”[10]

If people come to the church “lame," let us not do further damage by fighting over how much Jesus would do to help them if he was here. Rather, let us at least unite to pray for their healing, and then encourage people to use their spiritual gifts to administer healing to the brokenhearted and binding up of their wounds however their needs require.[11]

And then, let us be careful we don’t go shooting down ministries just because their spiritual gifts help people differently than ours. Maybe if we came alongside people who have a different place in the body than ourselves, we would discover that working together gives our Savior even greater glory than isolating ourselves with self-induced arguments and confrontations.

At the very least, here is an introduction to joining together to lead people to freedom in Christ.

© 2018 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

[1] I say “once again” because, from early childhood on, beginning life with an agnostic dad and a very quiet church-going mom, I have had to test opposing views in order to know which one had a solid foundation on which to build my life. While some readers may still disagree with my conclusions, I hope you will at least accept that I have made every effort to test everything by the Scriptures, to reject what doesn’t line up (and yes, there are some things), and hold on to that which is good (I Thessalonians 5:20-22).
[2] Titus 2:1
[3] Luke 4:18-19 (Context ~ Luke 4:16-21)
[4] For introduction I will simply say that the pendulum extremes are between those who deny freedom in Christ ministry because they don’t believe Christians can have such problems as they bring to freedom in Christ ministries, and those who are so Charismaniac in dealing with spiritual and emotional issues that Satan is free to work through them even while they act like they are doing God’s work. The deniers help Satan’s work by shutting down opportunities for God to glorify himself in the lives of broken people, and the crazies help Satan’s work by giving Satan so much room to work that people are led astray even while thinking they are doing so much good in Jesus’ name (compare that to Matthew 7:21-23). The plumbline approach seeks to be true to every Scripture that describes the freedom Jesus gives us, and to apply it to anything and everything Satan has tried using to keep people from rejoicing in Jesus Christ to the glory of God the Father.
[5] John 14:6
[6] Luke 4:21
[7] I Peter 4:8
[8] Ephesians 4:3
[9] John 10:10
[10] Hebrews 12:12-13
[11] Psalm 147:3

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