Do you have a favorite first century apostle? Somewhat strangely, most of us do.
Until 1998 mine was Apostle Peter. Peter is the man . . . lol. Apostle Peter always tells it as it is never pulling any punches. Oh how I wanted to be like Apostle Peter in my service to God, in the ministry I was called and ordained to do.
As a young minister I was a crack the whip kind of preacher. If anyone left my meeting with out their toes being trampled upon, they had to have slept through the sermon. I don't say this with pride. God forming us into what He wants us to be in this world begins at the moment of our salvation and continues until the day we take our last breath.
Yes, in my young mind the Church had to be perfect and that meant every child of God had to be perfect. As a pastor I received perfection of His children as my assigned responsibility concerning the flock God was giving me, as well as any visitor who attended our services.
I was a no nonsense kind of preacher. Any and all sin had to be addressed and dealt with immediately, even if that meant not sparing some of the flock. After all, we are told to “come out from among them.”
It's seems a strange thing but my fellow ministers who remind me of who I used to be are the ones who aggravate me the most. I love them just as I love all my brothers and sisters but they remind me so much of who I used to be. So much of who I was until God totally took matters into His own hands.
It's not that God never spoke to me concerning the change He desired in me. He even gave me a word for other ministers who were like me.
Often I would hear in my spirit, “More love, less law.” “More kindness, gentleness, mercy, grace, and understanding.” “Speak truth to them in love with compassion. Trust Me to do the rest.”
Yes, when I heard these things I thought all that is good for the others, but not me . . . I'm exactly who God raised me up to be. That was my position and I was not about to change. I fully believe God's Son is deserving of a perfect bride. One without spot or wrinkle. My love for Jesus compelled me to do all I could do in perfecting His bride. Silly me!
Now I'm fully convinced it is Jesus who has perfected all who are God's and it is His Holy Spirit who guides us and keeps us clean through the washing of His Word during our sojourn on earth.
Yes, I was stubborn and hard headed. God gave me every opportunity to come to changed thinking (repentance). I praise God because He did not condemn me. He fully knew my heart and knew what I was doing, I was doing out of love for Him and in ignorance of His way. The Way which is the new Way that was taught by the Apostles after the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ during the first century.
However, when God had to intervene, it certainly felt like judgment, condemnation, and harsh punishment because my whole world fell apart overnight. My family who I love with all my heart, and the ministry He had called me to, all of it came to an end in a matter of seconds.
In my mind I had done nothing to deserve this and I could not understand why? Why did this happen? Why did God allow this to happen? Every moment of my every day was given to Him. I truly lived the life I preached. I was not a hypocrite. I worked hard at always being alert and never allowing any form of sin enter my life. So why . . .why?
It took eight long years before any form of recovery was being realized in me. It was eight long years before I began accepting I could do nothing. What ever good is to come in His Church and in any child of His can only come by Him and through Him.
Yes, I was totally broken. Never out of His Grace but broken all the same. I could not envision ever again preaching or serving in leadership in His Church.
I won't go into the details at this time however God had to totally break me so that He could reform me into the creature, the pastor, the preacher, and the teacher He desires me to be.
Glory to God, after breaking me it took all of eight years, because of my stubbornness, before I was to the place where He could restore me and return me to ministry. Even then, some of my old self remained and God was continuing to work a good work in me. This good work continues until this day and will continue until He brings me home to be with Him.
Every one on CB who have known me from my arrival have witnessed change in me over the years. My earliest writings contained much legalism. Now many speak of me as being all “grace” and very “liberal.” I don't know that is fair but it is what it is.
All my writings remain open and available for reading. Feel free to read them for your self and watch change happen before you own eyes.
I still love Apostle Peter and his teachings. However, over the years I have come to love Apostle Paul and his teachings more and more. I love all the apostles and all the writers of Scripture however I must admit Apostle John is my favorite today. Apostle John is the apostle of Love.
John's first epistle is one of the most intimate of the inspired writings. John treats the sin of a believer as a child's offense toward his Father. He deals with the sin of God's “little children” as a family matter. John does not bring the moral government of the universe into the issue. When one becomes a child of God law is no longer their judge. The righteous requirement of law was met (satisfied) at the cross of Calvary by Jesus. Jesus is “the righteous One” and is now the advocate of all children of God.
I love the Gospel of John. John's Gospel leads God's children across the threshold of our Father's house. His epistles makes us at home there. We belong in our Father's house because God through Christ Jesus has placed us there.
John is the Apostle of Love. He, more than any other writer with the exception of Solomon (maybe), brings us into an intimate family relationship with God. If we are God's, we are His children. We are children of LOVE . . . Glory to His Name!
Blessings to all