High and LowBro. David Chancellor
1/22/2006 6:00 PM
Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: But the rich, in that he is made low; because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
This talks about some being brought down, and others being brought up. The grace of God will bring us to the place where God would have us to be. God’s church is built by bringing each of us to the place where we need to be to find salvation. God has to make us fit to be part of his body.
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever.
James probably thought of this passage. He had seen fulfillment of what Isaiah speaks of here. We shouldn’t expect to succeed on our own. Our own efforts can better some things, but on our own we can’t change our hearts. It takes God to change the heart, and a change of heart will change your life. God will smooth your rough edges and will reveal his glory in you. Of ourselves, we are nothing. This life is fleeting and changeable. Nothing is permanent. We want to put all we are and all we have in his hands. Let your life reveal the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 8:13-17
For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality; As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack. But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you. For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you.
God works an equality that makes us all children of God and members of his body. God’s plan is that we would work together to meet each other’s need. Without God, there is a big I and a little you. Something has to change to make us equal. If we went the way of natural man, our own interests would be first. With God, there is a change of heart that causes us to be what we should be as God’s church. This brings us together as a church. Prayer requests should cause us to share the concern. There are many needs for us to be concerned about. We want others to prosper. Envy shouldn’t arise. We realize the things of this world don’t define us. Our jobs shouldn’t make a difference. We’re here to help one another. This equality is possible because of the change God has made in us. He would have us to be one with each other.
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
“…and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls…” 3,000 people is a lot to try to get together. God can do this in a way to make them fit. The apostles were teaching these what Christ had taught them. When people care about each other enough, they will be motivated to share what they have. We should be willing to do what we can to help each other. The love of God in us will cause us to look out for each other. We should all feel our “littleness,” but we should all feel a part.
And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
No one claimed ownership of the possessions they had. They realized that it was God’s. If we come to this realization, we’ll be happy because we’ll use what we have in the best possible way. If the church of God is operating as it should, no one will lack. Communism didn’t work because it didn’t change the heart. The problem with communism were the people that said, “mine.” They denied God. Unregenerate man can’t make this work. The love of God in the heart of man is necessary to make this work and to provide for others. We need genuine care for each other. Our needs vary and there are those around that can help fill the needs.
The apostles didn’t keep what was brought, but distributed it to where it was needed. When you get people to the point where everything is God’s, and the love of God is there, the minister won’t have to worry about being taken care of. If people don’t care about others, the minister needs to focus on the Spirit and love of God. When care is there, the church of God will prosper. The churc should be like family, but it should also bring in others.
1 Corinthians 12:20-27
But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary; And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need; but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked; That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
Many members but one body… There is an interdependence within the body. All of us need each other. We need the church, but we are also a part of it. All of us have needs. We couldn’t make it on our own. Our experience is individual, between us and God, but we also are joined to the body and have our part there.
“That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another…” The love of God in us gives us the same care. When this love is working right, there won’t need to be divisions and schisms and groups. God will help us to love each other as we should. We all need to do our part. If you care about others, you’ll push yourself harder than you will them.
1 Peter 1:18-25
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently; Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
Peter was telling them they had been redeemed with something better than silver or gold. Both rich and poor will have to stand before God alike. Redemption is found in Christ. Jesus makes a change in the life. We are changed so that we can love without pretending. Some people act like they care, but don’t really care. The Spirit of God can purify us so that we can care about others. He can change us so that we really care about each other. Pray when you see a need, whether you’re asked to or not. The church will prosper when the Spirit of God puts the love of God in our hearts and draws us all together. The church is dependent on having the love of God abiding in the heart.