Thursday, June 12, 2008
Keeping the Main thing the main thing...
Let's read a little Lewis Carroll- from Alice in Wonderland...
(Alice) was a little startled by seeing
the Cheshire Cat sitting on a bough of a tree a few yards off.
The Cat only grinned when it saw Alice. It looked good-
natured, she thought: still it had VERY long claws and a great
many teeth, so she felt that it ought to be treated with respect.
`Cheshire Puss,' she began, rather timidly, as she did not at
all know whether it would like the name: however, it only
grinned a little wider. `Come, it's pleased so far,' thought
Alice, and she went on. `Would you tell me, please, which way I
ought to go from here?'
`That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said
`I don't much care where--' said Alice.
`Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.
This is an obvious fact- yet we miss it- your destination determines your direction. We usually get that backwards at our own peril. Your goals determine your choices. It’s easy for us to get distracted and more concerned with secondary things. Yet wise people think about what they are about
Pascal said- the last thing we learn is what to put first.
Paul prayed a prayer for strangers to him- yet he prayed for the them the things that were most important to him.- for them.
The Greek here says-“praying for you and asking that you may be filled.”
Grammar can be as exciting as looking at a root canal, but let’s do it- it will benefit us here.
It is imperative to see how Paul’s thought flows.
A. v. 9 the Petition-That you may be filled with the knowledge of his will.
B. v. 10 the purpose- That you might live a life worthy of the Lord then follow 4 participles
C. vv. 10b-14-The Products:
• Bearing Fruit
• Being Strengthened
• Giving thanks
This prayer is like a tree- its source or root is found in verse 9
The trunk or substance is in verse 10
The leaves or fruit are in vv 10-14.
The profound question is: What is the right thing? that is the issue. How do we know what is wisdom and what is foolishness- how do we get an anchor for life so we are not knocked back and forth like the waves of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind? (James)
Paul is concerned for believers living in a pagan environment. What do they need most? Paul is not thinking of the theological issues here- God’s sovereignty, etc. “God works all things according to the counsel of his will”
The personal directive will of god is in view here. He does not express it specifically but it embraces all believers here. He is talking about the declarative will of God- the moral will of God. That which arises out of God’s desire for every single person. God’s purposes for all men who name the name of Christ and will follow in His commands.
These people didn’t have the New Testament as we know it- his written commands for us. We hold in our hands the will of God- the known, declared will- which is declared in Scripture-so we can be equipped for every good work. All I need to live a life pleasing to God is contained in Scripture.
The work “know” here is used of the most intimate relationship between a man and a woman. It goes on to say “spiritual wisdom”- this is not the type of word tested in a university, but tested in life. Not just knowing Scripture, but applying it to life.
Personal knowledge and practical skill- the ability to discern and understand what truth applies where. We need to know how the will of God flows into life- not some highly informed intellectual understanding.God says there is a human response to the Word of God.
Menalek the II, was ruler of Ethiopia before the turn of the century. In the Coptic faith the emperor is seen as a descendant in the line of all that. Menalek believed that when he fell ill he could be healed by the Bible. He thought if he literally ate a few pages of scripture it would make him better. In 1913 he fell seriously ill so he decided to eat 1 and 2 Kings…so they tore it out page by page and he ate it and somewhere in 1 Kings he expired.
This is NOT what it means to be filled with the knowledge of His will in case you were wondering about that.- But what DOES it mean?
When we are filled with something it controls us. It is to have the will of God shape and influence my will. And also to be captivated, full of love,
Not only intellect, of our choice, seeking to obey, but also of LOVING His Will. To say as David “Oh how I love your Law!”
We must be possessed by the Word of God, not just possess the Word of God. Do I want to be a man who is shaped by God’s will, by His revealed statement of all the concerns in life?? God has spoken, if we believe that, nothing is more important than being informed and obedient to that written word of God.