Week 18

Cleansed by Christ: Our Hope for Healing

There is much in us - our hearts (mind, emotion, and will) and also our bodies (biological self) – that grieves the Spirit of God who dwells within our spirits, and therefore grieves us, so much that we long to be purged of it (healed). But this cleansing from contamination does not come by our attempts to cast it off, work it off, or command it to go away, or even by petitioning God to remove it. Rather, we are healed of our grievous condition by the presence of the Life of Christ within us which we experience as we take quiet time daily for worship to receive him.

“Christ in you, the hope of glory (godliness)” and “…the power of God for our salvation (healing).” – Colossians 1:27; Romans 1:16-17

“In him was Life and that Life was the Light of man, and the darkness could not prevail against it.” – from John 1:3-5

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12E04

Strikingly the Same: Explaining Examples of Christians Who Frequently Express Common Features of Experiencing Christ

Performers (entertainers, including athletes) tend to admire the strengths of other performers - so much that they sometimes consciously or unconsciously emulate characteristics of their behavior or personality. 

But this is not the same as the Life of Christ, birthed and nurtured in us by the Holy Spirit, manifesting powerfully and unmistakably through us (members of his Body, the Church) as love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faith, and temperance, so that each of us, though having many strikingly different natural features, nonetheless bear resemblance to each other. And, when members of the Church have like temperaments, gifts, and talents, the similarity of how Christ expresses himself through them will be even more strikingly the same.

“They took note that these men had been with Jesus.” – Acts 4:13

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12E03

The Enjoyment of Music Surpassed by Our Experience of Christ

I remember during my early ministry when the sound of music, and, of course, the meaningfulness of the lyrics, were powerfully supportive for my quiet-time worship. I recall many hours of weeping and rejoicing as I listened to favorite recordings of O How I Love Jesus (To Me He Is So Wonderful), Blessed Redeemer, I Need Thee Every Hour, The Solid Rock, and many others. Today, while my experience of those songs is as rich as ever, they are far surpassed by my experience of the One about whom they were written. More than the music, we have opportunity for a deeper experience of Christ himself.

 “When the perfect comes, the incomplete will pass away.” – 1 Corinthians 13:10

“I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” – Philippians 3:10

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12E02

Worship: Our Experience of God, Not His Experience of Us

Strictly considered, adoration and respect expressed to God, either privately or publicly, is not worship.

The act of worship is best understood, not as God’s experience of us, but our experience of him.

It is not something we do toward or for God, but something he does in and for us.

This understanding may be the turning point in our healing and recovery. That’s because, any and all of our efforts, including tears, singing, and praise, to express adoration to God with hopes of winning his favor will not, themselves, result in our experiencing him.

Rather, we experience God, with the result of healing and renewal, when we open the door of our hearts to receive the flow of his life into our inner being (mind, emotions, and will) – which is the meaning of “worship.”

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12E01

Enabled by the Love of Christ to Communicate Truth Specific to Every Listener

A young man said he became a Christian when a neighbor invited him to church to hear an evangelist. He said it seemed the evangelist knew about his life as if someone had told him.

This may have been the same testimony the woman gave in John 4 when she returned to her home after talking with Jesus at the well. “He told me everything I ever did,” she said (vv28-29).

I have heard preaching that “went after” someone present in the meeting. Once I heard a preacher call out a person by name and identified her “sin.” I don’t know the outcome of that effort. It may have been that shame motivated some change.

But what is a legalist preacher to do? If he has no understanding of God’s plan for investing in our healing, then pounding on behavior is all that is left to do.

But that does not mean preaching should not pierce man’s heart and conscience. A common compromise in the pulpit is for a minister to not communicate the message God is giving him because of timidity and fear he might make someone uncomfortable.

My encouragement to ministers is for them to say nothing to others that is not motivated by God’s love - that because, the heart of Christ in us for others enables and qualifies us so that we are safe to say to those we serve whatever God gives us to say without the distraction that some may feel the message is pounding on them so that they dismiss it.

Again, the minister’s concern should be, not that his listeners may think his message is directed at them, but that they may miss understanding that it indeed is.

DonLoy Whisnant/The Grace Perspective 12D30

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