August 2nd, 2013 by Carl Buffington
Friday, August 2, 2013. Dear Member of New Covenant and Community, Check out the newly renovated web site www.new-covenant-church.com. And soon and very soon sermons will be back on line. We have been recording them now for several weeks. “Only mostly dead” In this scene from The Princess Bride Fezzik carries the stiffening body of Westley to Miracle Max’s place looking for a miracle. INIGO (stupefied) "He's dead. He can't talk."
Look who knows so much. Well, it just so happens that your friend here is only mostly dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Please open his mouth.
Inigo does. Max inserts the bellows in Westley's mouth and starts to pump.
Now, mostly dead is slightly alive. Now, all dead...well, with all dead, there's usually only one thing that you can do.
He stops pumping.
Go through his clothes and look for loose change.
As I was pondering total life under lordship and Paul’s description in 2 Colossians of what God has done for us, it occurred to me that maybe our problem is that we are only partly dead in him, not even mostly dead, maybe we’re not completely buried with him. Could that be a way to life in him?
Lord Jesus, this day I do with the utmost solemnity surrender myself to you. I renounce all former Lords that have dominion over me, and I consecrate to you all that I am and all that I have – the facilities of my mind, the members of my body, my worldly possessions, my time, and my influence over others: all to be used entirely for your glory and resolutely employed in obedience to your command, as long as you continue me in life. To your direction I resign myself to be disposed by you in such a manner as you, in your infinite wisdom, will judge most useful to the purposes of your glory. I leave to you the management of the events of my life, and say without reserve, not my will, but Thine be done! Amen.
When the story of Jesus is told -- his birth, his life, his teaching, his miracles, the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension, few shrug their shoulders. To simply dismiss him people need to be horribly misinformed or ignorant of the story. Most realize that something remarkable happened.
Many consider Jesus truly important along with other Hall of Famers in world history along with Buddha, Gandhi, and add your own favorites… For them, Jesus has prestige but not preeminence or supremacy.
Colossians is one place where Paul articulates the preeminence and the supremacy of Jesus.
Col. 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,
And from Sunday’s epistle reading --Col. 2:9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,
It’s a matter of fact. Jesus is Lord was the first Christian creed
Jesus said things like, “I am the father are one.” “If you've seen me you've seen the father.” And “No one comes to the father but by me.” These are pretty audacious and arrogant claims unless, of course, they are true. I think it was CS Lewis who said Jesus was either a lunatic, he thought he was God but wasn't. Or he was a liar, he said he was God and knew he wasn't. Or he was indeed, Lord.
It's quite honestly so much more reasonable, rational, politically polite to say things like, “It's all one God. No need to be confined to one tradition, one-way, one religion. Do what works for you. You can grow spiritually any number of ways.”
Yes, it is more reasonable, rational, acceptable, and politically polite to say those other things but Paul is quite clear in saying, “Only in Christ can the true God be found. Only in Christ can true spiritual progress be made.”
My friend Brennan Manning used to say that on resurrection morning all creation picked up Jesus is Lord as the theme for its symphony!
And it is:
Tapped out in the morning rain.
Pounded out and rolling thunder.
Chanted in the changing tides.
Blinked in the twinkling stars.
Whispered in each moment of stillness.
Brennan used to say Jesus is Lord is the hymn of the universe,
When his story is told, his creation does not shrug its shoulders.