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"The Highest Calling of the Church - Faith Part 5"
Dr. Allen M. Barber
February 24, 2008

Because of having a bad case of the flu, I did not post Part 5 of this series as intended. Whenever, I am seriously ill, I always go before the Lord first to discern the root cause whether a violation of natural law; sin or obedience; and an attack of the enemy. In this case, I contacted the flu from the Health Club my wife and I had just joined. After two workouts at the club, I came down with the flu that has the hospitals full in the Dallas area. In fact, from what I see reported on the news, this years flu virus has pretty well impacted the whole nation and the vaccine has proven to be ineffective (I never take a flu shot). I failed to wash my hands thoroughly after returning from the club. Many people use the exercise machines and even though they provide towels to wipe the machines down before and after using them, all you are doing is transferring the germs to the towel, which in turn gets on the hands, then you breathe the spores into your lungs resulting in contamination. The best antidote is to wear a protective mask (most won't do that) and wash your hands thoroughly with an antiseptic soap and hot water. Also taking vitamin C (a minimum of 2000 mg daily) will minimize the impact of the cold and flu bug. I was ill for two weeks and now my wife has it. It was the worst case of the flu I have ever had. Take your vitamins and wash your hands thoroughly every time you return from being out in the public.

To repeat, the reason I call this series, The Highest Calling of God in the Church, is that Hebrews 11:6 days without faith it is impossible to please God. Therefore, if we want to please the Lord, we must learn how to live by faith and not just sometime, but all the time. In our modern world of "do everything for us" much of what we do is not real genuine biblical faith, but more the result of having all our needs met with the flip of a button or our personal computers. The laptop has replaced the desktop and now we have IPODS, IPHONES, etc. that bring the world to our fingertips. Even the Churches have gone high tech with overheads and monitors telling us when and what to sing. In addition, the mega-church pastors are using their laptops instead of their Bibles and turning the Word of God into a power point presentation. There are less and less prophets standing in pulpits with a worn-out Bible in hand and a rhema word in their spirits.

Christians living and working in high tech environments from Monday - Saturday, come to Church on Sunday's and are exposed to more of the same. Then we wonder why Church attendance is declining (a recent survey shows overall Church attendance is declining despite the mega-churches popularity) and people are becoming less interested in Christianity. Believers are not living by faith in the United States because we don't have to - the high tech machine will provide for all our needs. Actually, it does not provide for our most basic need - a vital relationship with our Lord, which we covered in the Law of Vital Relationship. High tech marvels have replaced personal Bible Study and devotion to prayer and because we can see and touch everything we need to maintain a daily existence, the unseen spiritual realm where faith operates is becoming more and more unknown to the average Christian. I dare say most ministers do not live by faith either for the pastorate has become a job rather than a calling. As you enter the West entrance to one mega church in North Dallas, you pass by the reserved parking space for the senior pastor whose shiny new expensive sports coupe cannot be missed. The church is extremely wealthy and the pastors are living like kings. There is no reason for them to live by biblical faith for they have everything - at least they think they do.

The third law that governs the life of faith is, The Law of Recognized Lordship:

Hebrews 12:5-11 NKJV

5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

"My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives."

7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

We throw around the phrase, "Jesus is Lord," without really knowing what it means. Lordship means absolute master and sovereign of everything. It also implies perfect obedience on the part of the servant. Paul said that he was a doulos - a bond-servant of the Lord. By virtue of our spiritual relationship to Jesus via His vicarious suffering on the cross and subsequent resurrection, we have become united to Him as willing servants to obey Him as the supreme Lord of our lives. That means that nothing can happen to us unless the Lord wills it. Now that does not eradicate freewill, but even when we disobey the Lord, He brings chastening or discipline into our lives to teach us obedience. This is the meaning of the Hebrews 12.

God says he chastens or disciplines His children whom He loves. If a professing believer is never chastened for sin and acts of disobedience (we sin in many ways and we also violate God's written commandments and laws which is disobedience) then that person's faith is suspect. Chastisement from Gods' point of view does not connote punishment in a negative sense, but constructive in a positive sense to train us in the way of righteousness. It is God's way of bringing us into maturity. You've heard it said that we learn more in the valleys of life than on the mountain tops and that is true. When everything is going smooth - all bills paid, money in the bank, good health, blessings and more blessings, we tend to get fat and sassy, and before long if we are not careful, we think we deserve all the good things happening to us. Pride sets in and we become useless to God and His Church. When that happens, know for sure chastening is on the way. God's correction class is to give us an opportunity to develop our spiritual muscles. If we truly live by faith, we must recognize that Jesus is Lord of everything.

When Jesus is Lord of our lives, we must understand that everything that comes to us whether good or bad must first pass by the Lord before it can impact us (Read the book of Job). We all love to quote Romans 8:28 - "That everything works together for the good to those who love the Lord and keep His commandments," but oftentimes when the bad stuff comes and the trials are severe, we lose our grip on faith thinking God has either abandoned us or He doesn't care that we are suffering. Recognized Lordship means that we understand everything that impacts our lives, good or bad, God allows so we can develop our faith and maturity level. The Scriptures say that even Jesus learned (as a man) to walk by faith because of the things He suffered (sometimes we forget that God had never been a man until Jesus came to earth to live in a human body).

Manley Beasley says, "That when we see things from this perspective, we realize that Satan is nothing but God's delivery boy." He cannot touch us without God's permission and apparently the reason God has left him around is for a tool in bringing us into maturity. Jesus is Lord of all."

When we have financial, material, and health problems they are simply the means to increase our spiritual sensitivities. If Jesus is truly our Lord, then everything comes into our lives to purge and refine us so we can be vessels of His glory. If we do not understand how His Lordship works in our lives we limit our own usefulness in the Lord's kingdom. Manley says, "We can never fully trust the Lord until He is fully Lord!"

Are you fully trusting the Lord as the sovereign monarch in your life meaning that He is in charge and directing your life by obedience to His will IN EVERYTHING?  Do you recognize that He has the right to be the supreme Lord of your life? Do you begin each day by checking in with Him first to ascertain His perfect will for your life or do you rush off to work not giving Him a thought. When making decisions, even the small ones, do you seek His counsel? While the Lord does not want to be a dictator, He does want to be involved with your life 24/7 and guide you along the straight paths of life keeping you from making wrong turns and suffering needlessly. Jesus in not only your Lord and Savior, but your very best friend - Let Him be that to you today.

God bless you.