Archive for: December, 2011

Perfection

Dec 26 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

by Dr. Randy Hedlun

 Hebrews 10:14 reads, “For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”

There are truth statements in the Bible that, when we first really encounter them, seem too good to be true. While this is not actually the case, some truth is too good for the human mind to fully comprehend its full breadth and depth of power. This verse in Hebrews, within its supporting context, is just such a statement—it seems way too good for the mind to fully grasp its implications.

Perfection generally means achievement of an intended state; that which is transitioning from one stage to another, completing the transition to fully occupy the new status, form, or position. Examples include a child’s becoming an adult, a damaged body part’s becoming whole, produce’s developing and becoming ripe, something incomplete’s becoming complete, a new recruit’s becoming a full member of a group, an apprentice’s becoming a journeyman, etc.

In our helplessness and hopelessness, God initiated a means whereby our condition is perfected once and for all, forever. This qualifies us to transition from profane people to sacred people, fit to serve in the presence of God himself, compatible with holiness as proven on the day of Pentecost.

What does this mean? The offering of Christ’s body has perfected us forever. Sinfulness has been removed, and there are no requirements to put us in mind of our sinfulness. The application is not only to past and present but also to future sinfulness. The condition of being sinful has been dealt a permanent, fatal blow now and forever. And this is our condition, our status before God, while we are being transitioned from common to sacred, from profane to holy.

Perhaps a fanciful story will help illumine this truth to us:

A man of inestimable wealth, prestige, and sophistication, possessing an insatiable capacity for love and benevolence, takes to the streets searching for a willing object of his attention.

He discovers a child, a street urchin living in the alleys and slums of the city, surviving by performing petty crimes and scavenging. The child is illiterate, filthy, and vulgar in every aspect of his humanness, completely ignorant of social etiquette and ethical or moral excellence. The child is nameless, having early in life lost any connection to family, thus having no real legal status in society. He was disqualified from participating in society by his own criminal bent, his vulgar and offensive demeanor and physical condition.

The man confronts the child with an invitation to become his legal heir and live out his days in unimaginable refinement, safety, and limitless potential for learning and achievement. The boy agrees and is promptly taken before legal authorities to satisfy any judgments against him and to legally bestow on him the name of the benefactor. All legal provisions and requirements satisfied, the man takes the boy to live with him in his fine estate, which is complete with every conceivable refinement: personal staff to see to every need, the finest food, libraries, social events, and never-ending opportunities for affection and affirmation.

But the boy has no clue how to behave in this environment, what is expected of him, or how he could possibly ever live up to the opportunity and potential now afforded him through no initiative of his own. Transitioning from social illiteracy to knowledge commensurate to his new state will take time and will be marked by many failures, slips, self-disappointments, and frustrations.

But there is never a danger of him being expelled from his home or status. He has been perfected forever when his benefactor made him a legal heir, cleansed him of the physical, emotional, and legal residue of the slums, and installed him as his own heir. But the perfection (completeness) of his status is only the opportunity to reside in an environment that will, over time, transition him from ignorance to knowledge, vulgarity to refinement, commonness to sophistication. His perfected condition brought him permanently near to the benefactor. This nearness changes him into an heir who is qualified to represent with accuracy and authenticity the affairs of his new estate.

And so it is with us! We are perfected forever in Christ, while our faithful service to God enables us to grow in grace and knowledge, ever improving our reflection of His righteousness. 

 Randy Hedlun, D.Th., is the Dean of Berean School of the Bible at Global University. For more information about Global University, visit http://think.globaluniversity.edu.

 

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Christmas—A Global Celebration!

Dec 19 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

By Carolyn Hittenberger

 Christmas…for every tongue and tribe and nation

He came unnoticed to a Roman world of injustice, idolatry, and affluence.

He came unexpectedly to Israel who’d long forgotten He was promised.

He came announced by a star to scholars of renown in Eastern lands.

He came humbly to a world in chaos, to sin-infected humankind, to overcome…

 A Global Crisis

He preached in busy cities, sleepy villages, marketplaces, and synagogues.

He attended weddings, religious celebrations, social events, and funerals.

He walked with Jewish fishermen, healed the son of a Roman centurion.

He stopped everything else to speak with Greek seekers…

 A Global Outreach

He blessed children and rebuked hypocritical religious leaders.

He fed the hungry, spoke peace to storms, and wept for sin-sick cities.

He carried light to the darkness of this world and living water to its deserts.

He poured out His life in love for all the world, for every person…

 A Global Sacrifice

Today He comes, sometimes unnoticed, to offer us salvation.

He grieves for lost cities and weeps for humanity’s rebellion.

He rebukes the inequities and excesses of our world.

He walks with us, touches us, and speaks peace to our storms…

 A Global Hope

In freedom we hang stars and sing carols, proclaiming the Savior’s birth.

While forbidden lands and lives long dry flow quietly with Living Water,

A crimson cord encircles our world, joining

Commoners and kings, paupers and presidents.

Believers in every nation, kindred, and tribe,

Some in magnificent cathedrals,

Some at risk in secret places,

All who have met Jesus rejoice in…

A Global Celebration!

 Carolyn Hittenberger is Assistant for the Caribbean Regional Director at Global University. For more information about Global University, visit http://think.globaluniversity.edu.

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The Last Days

Dec 12 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

By Dr. Gary Seevers

Periodically the topic of the last days arises, although not as frequently as in the past. When asked about my eschatological position, I have a typical response that surprises most people. To quiet any concerns, I am committed to a premillennial, pretribulation return of Christ. However, personally, I believe this position misses the essential nature of missions, the missiological role of Global University, and really the love of God for people who inhabit the earth.

You see, I truly believe as people we are living in the last days, but the question of when Jesus will return to call His church home in the Rapture is really not that important. The lack of importance relates to a practical understanding of the concept of last days. As you are reading this, there are people, perhaps some living near you, who will not wake up to see tomorrow morning’s sun; they will have already entered eternity. Today is their “last day.” For them it doesn’t matter if Jesus will return next week or 100 years from now. It is irrelevant to them. Instead, the question to be focused on is, “Has that person who is entering eternity today had an opportunity to hear the gospel message that Jesus died on the cross to forgive his or her sin and grant new life through faith?” In other words, have they heard that Jesus saves in this their last day? If not, we as believers have a far more urgent task to complete, because today is someone’s last day!

Can I suggest that the basis of this perspective emanates from John 3:16, arguably the most famous passage in the Bible—God’s love for those who still need to learn of His demonstration of His love in the giving of His Son, Jesus to our generation.

Now, that brings a choice on the part of believers. Are we going to occupy our time trying to determine exactly when Jesus will return (which Scripture indicates no one knows), or are we going to choose to be part of fulfilling the unfinished task of seeing the good news that Jesus saves presented to every person on the earth before his or her last day? I trust as you read this you too will make the decision to be personally involved in seeing people won to Jesus in these last days.

Gary L. Seevers, Jr., Ph.D., serves as President of Global University. For more information about Global University, visit http://think.globaluniversity.edu.

 

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Prosperity: Blessing or Threat?

Dec 05 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

 By Dr. Randy Hedlun

Consider this quote from a sermon John Wesley preached more than two hundred years ago:

The only inference I will draw . . . shall be, the reasonableness of those precepts of self-denial, daily suffering, and renouncing the world, which are so peculiar to Christianity, and which are the only foundation whereon the other virtues, recommended in the New Testament, can be practised or attained, in the sense there intended. . .

One would think it should be no hard matter to persuade a creature to abhor the badges of his misery; to dislike a condition or mansion which only banishment and disgrace have assigned him; to trample on the grandeur, refuse the comforts, and suspect the wisdom of a life whose nature it is to separate him from his God.

Wesley exerted his considerable influence as a Christian leader in times quite unlike ours. Yet the truth to which he points is still inescapable, and the challenge is perhaps even more unsettling than it may have been to his audiences. How should Christ’s followers relate to the affluence surrounding us? Are we convinced that following Christ and immersing ourselves in prosperity are unconditionally compatible? Can we assiduously obey Jesus’ teachings and successfully replicate His example while at the same time indulging ourselves in material prosperity?

There is a profound warning in Scripture that gives urgency to Wesley’s message, even across the centuries. No less than Jesus himself caused a personal message to be sent to a first-century church in what was then Asia that addressed this very issue. Jesus confronted the community of believers living in and around Laodicea by exposing the self-deception in their pursuit of material comforts. He described them as being convinced they were fully supplied with material goods and the trappings of success to the point they were self-sufficient and lacked no necessary thing. But this unrestrained indulgence in their affluent environment was actually self-deceiving. The trappings of prosperity hid them from the reality of their own desperate plight (Revelation 3:17–20).

God’s imminent response to their self-deception was rejection. He was simply going to disassociate himself from them. Would they even know when that happened? Or would the intoxicating lies of prosperity conceal this fact also—that they were helplessly, hopelessly on their own, left to their own sick and shallow means of self-fulfillment, unaware that even the empty contrivances of religious emotionalism were God-abandoned imitations?

To John Wesley, self-denial, suffering, and renouncing the world were the only foundation upon which a true Jesus follower could build obedience and faithful service. The truth has not changed. The badges of misery have only become so much more enticing and deceiving.

Randy Hedlun, D.Th., is Dean of Berean School of the Bible at Global University. For more information about Global University, visit http://think.globaluniversity.edu.

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