Social and even spiritual progress is generally characterized by a dissatisfaction with the status quo and some anticipated hope in the future. This generally requires a depreciation of current ideas, thoughts, and practices in order to establish credibility to new ones. Paul never
depreciates the law and prophets. Quite to contrary, the apostle builds upon historic traditions. Henry Ford did not devalue the horse and buggy as a strategy to introduce the horseless carriage. To discredit history can be risky since some very significant information can be lost. It is profitable to integrate the past with the future. In essence, history needs to speak to the future and the present need listen. This is possible is several perspectives are kept in mind:
*full counsel-hold all truth simultaneous and not specialize in one dimension
*transcendence-communication beyond our doctrinal and practical borders
*endurance-a consciousness of finishing the journey
*foundation-a connection between historic and present truth
*long range-consciousness of history and the future
These perspectives are indispensable for a profitable journey.
CHARISMATIC CRISIS AND CHAOS
Paul expresses his desire to know Him and the power of His resurrection and is made conformable to His image and likeness. These three critical objectives, the resurrection, Holy Spirit, and redemption, are fundamental to the apostle. He knows that the resurrection validates all that the Lord and the prophets have declared and promised (Rom. 4:1; 8:11). The gift of the Holy Spirit is the “earnest,” “first fruits,” and “seal” of our future redemption. This hope set before Paul is so great that it superintends all earthly desires and challenges. It is for these reasons that the resurrection and the Holy Spirit are being marginalized and domesticated respectively. To minimalize and distort the ministry of the Spirit and to dismiss the resurrection from our preaching and teaching agendas promotes an ignorance, gullibility and even a skepticism among a generation that has never heard of these issues of faith. The chaos is a result of the misuse and abuse of spiritual gifts and the crisis is the anti-charismatic sentiment that has crept into the churches.
Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
The ministry offices of apostle, prophet, and bishop are much emphasized during the last two decades. Since the 1980s conferences, coalitions, networks, and publications focus on the function and significance of these offices in the government of the Church. There is an abundance of apostolic, prophetic, and episcopate organizations. During the time of the focus upon these three offices, there is a subtle decline in the awareness of other ministry offices such as the pastor. Even though the ministry of the apostle, prophet, and bishop are trans-local and relate directly to the work of the Church, it is the responsibility of the local pastor to rule and feed the flock of God. It is not unusual during periods of a revival of interest in a specific principle, practice, or ministry office for there to be a corresponding decline of interest in other related areas. Consequently, with the focus on evangelism, prayer, the kingdom of God, worship, liturgy, structure, and other doctrinal interests, there is a need for balance. Since the local pastors are the primary caretakers of the saints, the chief fundraisers, the resident evangelist, and the lead negotiators in the midst of the majority of Church problems, it is time to re-establish a proper perspective regarding the essential function that this office provides.
Successful decisions are not always a matter of enthusiasm, zeal or passion. Such characteristics must be viewed as convictions and not simply emotions. Consequently, the tenth gift of the Holy Spirit, common sense, should always be engaged. The right choice is not always the happy one.
Water baptism the initial response the gospel. It is the public declaration that the faith propositions are accepted. It is inseparable from the Blood of Christ, repentance and faith. It is the door into the redeemed community. If it is so important in Scripture then it should be re-examined for its place in our gatherings as redeemed communities.
The Cross reveals the cost of our salvation while the Resurrection demonstrates its power. What the Cross ended the Resurrection began. The Resurrection gives meaning to the Cross for if Jesus had only died that would not be good news. But the Resurrection validated all of His ministry and authorizes our faith…..He is the Son of God,
The Kadesh-barnea experience reveals the crisis of life….a decision to be made in the face of a multitude of counsel that seems popular. However, the conflict can be resolved by memory……faith works by memory……to simply recall the promise and obey.
All too often we make decisions based upon existing standards of criteria. A visit to the physician is met with blood pressure, blood chemistry and weight standards to determine health. Decisions regarding life and ministry are often measured by economic standards. However, there are spiritual callings in life and ministry that cannot be deemed healthy or productivity by such standards as money, popularity nor even visibility. Paul notes that spiritual things should be compared to spiritual things. When this is done then the standards or indicators of health and productivity are Divine favor, guidance, deliverance and provision.
The dimension of our world depends on the people, ideas, and experiences we include or exclude. It is possible to accommodate without compromise. To abandon every environment because of disagreement is to surrender the privilege of influence.
Eternity is the atmosphere of God. Time is the dwelling sphere of human existence. It is characterized by such terms as past, present, future, today, yesterday and tomorrow. Time is a healer, concealer, and a revealer for it possesses the authority to manage all human activities. But time is not a stealer for as we age it offers wisdom and knowledge. Although the outward person perishes with time, the inner person is renewed day by day.