Friday, February 8, 2013

luther's "power in the pants" prevention convention‏

My Utmost for His Highest encouraged me to remember that of first importance today when it said,

We lose power because we don’t focus on the right thing. The effect of the Cross is salvation, sanctification, healing, etc., but we are not to preach any of these. We are to preach “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).The proclaiming of Jesus will do its own work. Concentrate on God’s focal point in your preaching, and even if your listeners seem to pay it no attention, they will never be the same again.If I share my own words, they are of no more importance than your words are to me. But if we share the truth of God with one another, we will encounter it again and again. We have to focus on the great point of spiritual power— the Cross. If we stay in contact with that center of power, its energy is released in our lives. In holiness movements and spiritual experience meetings, the focus tends to be put not on the Cross of Christ but on the effects of the Cross.
Luther wanted the church to be rooted and anchored in that to which the Bible points us: the Gospel of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord. In his last sermon, he warned his congregation to stay true to God’s means of grace and to find power in it alone. His anxiety was provoked by many in his congregation journeying over to reliquaries to see the Catholic relics. At this particular time, it was the pants of Joseph (search for “pants”) that were on display. The people wanted to see them and touch them because they wanted to see God’s power. They wanted to witness it.

We, like them, like power.
We, like them, want power.
We, like them, want to witness it.
God has placed His full power for salvation in the Good News.

Romans 1:16-17

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel,because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek.17 For in it God’s righteousness is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written:The righteous will live by faith.
There is power in the blood of Jesus.
There are certainly other powers at work and they produce fruit in keeping with their pride. They want a power that is not anchored in the Cross of Christ. They want influence, persuasion, charisma, prestige. And they often get it because people flock to be associated with that kind of power.
Do you trust the Gospel to convert its hearers?
Do you trust that God’s power is employed in its proclamation?
But we’re so sophisticated, right?
We don’t worship pants and wooden statues after all.
Rather than panting after pants, we flock to the futility of merely telling people that we are Christians without telling them about the Christ.
Rather than running after relics, we sidestep salvation and tell people how to have their best lives now.
Rather than trusting in trousers, we place security in a statement rather than salvation in the Son.
Rather than longing for long pants, we cling to a confession we made once upon a time.
If we are more clever in this regard, it is not a compliment.
The Bible is not about good advice.
It is about Good News.

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