His Banner Part 2

At age 12 Jesus recognized his overall mission, and as He Statue_of_Jesus_Christ_in_Prayergrew He continued to receive His specific “marching orders” daily during His quiet time, praying to the Father. Missions like “Go to Nain” – for a widow and her dead son. And another day, “Go to the Syro-Phonecian woman” –  and help a desperate single mother of a demon-possessed girl. Death and Demon-possession were no problem for Him because He did the works of His Father. He was totally submitted  allowing the Father to use Him.

People in our world have the same desperation and problems.  They need…  And God wants to use us as his chosen vessels. GOD IS ABLE, AM I WILLING?

The first mention by Jesus of God the Father being our Father is in reference to service and being about our Father’s Kingdom Business. Matthew 5:16  “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” The word “let” implies that we are to allow what comes naturally. Am I in any way hindering my light from naturally shining?

What is our light? John 1:4 says, “in Him was life; and the life was the light of men.”  But perhaps you don’t want to take the word of a follower of Jesus.  Jesus declared plainly of himself, “I am the light of the world” (John 9:5).

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And yet Jesus wants to shine through us to the glory of the Father. 1Thessalonians  5:5 states, “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” 2 Corinthians 4:6 explains it well saying, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” The same God who made light on creation week, is shinning in our hearts as sons and daughters of God.  He shines in us to give the light of knowing God’s glory, which is His character- as revealed in the humanity of Jesus.  The light we receive from our connection with Christ we are to shine on the pathway of those about us to brighten their darkness.

GOD IS ABLE, AM I WILLING?

God has given to you and to me the job of serving humanity by joining them to God through Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5: 18-20).  We are now the “ambassadors for Christ” pleading with others “be reconciled to God.” This is the clear outline of our mission.  The world is our field.  The message: Be reconciled to God.  We are to stand under the Banner of Christ Himself and shine it out of our own lives.

Service to God is born out of our own experiences. We have to receive the light of Jesus ourselves.  We must know His character, and His power at work in us in order to share that light with others.  A book on the life of Jesus, Desire of Ages, says:

“Our confession of His faithfulness is Heaven’s chosen agency for revealing Christ to the world. We are to acknowledge His grace as made known through the holy men of old; but that which will be most effectual is the testimony of our own experience. We are witnesses for God as we reveal in ourselves the working of a power that is divine. Every individual has a life distinct from all passport.jpgothers, and an experience differing essentially from theirs. God desires that our praise shall ascend to Him, marked by our own individuality. These precious acknowledgments to the praise of the glory of His grace, when supported by a Christ-like life, have an irresistible power that works for the salvation of souls” (347).

The mission: to the world. The message: Be reconciled to God. Our very lives – the banner that revels the truth of this.

The German word for banner took a twist and added some meaning.  It came to mean an official edict or proclamation, basically any written orders. These often prohibited some activity.  The word was “BANDUM.”  The assumed meaning of a ban. It is where we get the word. a-BAN-don.    Abandon- considered a change in loyalty, to disobey orders.  “To leave the cloth or flag.”

How can I be a vessel for the Lord’s use?  I do not wish to abandon the banner of Christ.  “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work,” says 2 Timothy 2:21. I want to be used. I want to be prepared for every good work.  So what are these things that I am to purge myself from?  Verse 19 answers that, “depart from iniquity.” So the question is “Just what is iniquity?” The best definition I found: “Iniquity is sin at its worst” (http://www.gotquestions.org/iniquity-sin-transgression.html). Sin is what ruins our testimony. Sons and Daughters of God who are on Kingdom Business must be clean.

GOD IS ABLE, AM I WILLING?

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image by New Life Church Collingwood

I feel mortified by the stress of the thought.  I am not able to clean myself, and rid myself of sin, fitting myself to be a vessel ready for use.  Of myself I can do nothing (John 15:5). Paul speaks of his own work as a laborer in God’s Kingdom business.  He writes in  Colossians 1:29  about how He became a vessel fit for service: “Whereunto I also labor, striving according to His working, which works in me mightily.”

What is this striving about?  Hebrews 12:4 reveals that this striving is against sin.  Paul strives against sin, but also says it is cooperating with God’s work in Him (which he adds a descriptor) “which works in me mightily” that fits him for service (Colossians 1:29).  God is able to work in me mightily, as I strive against sin – in preparation for good works.  Am I willing?

Good works arise from God working in us by Christ Jesus.  It is a great relief that cleaning up is not up to me alone, but that I cooperate with God with my willingness. God is able.  “God make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever Amen” (Hebrews 13:21).

Our knowing God’s love for ourselves is a key foundation in our ministry for Him.  Paul shares a prayer for the early Christian church in Ephesians 3:16-21,

“That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man. That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.  Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.  Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

God is able to do exceedingly above all that we ask or think!   It is His power that works in us.  He is able and he longs to strengthen us, and to give us those experiences with Him that are a testimony to the world-spreading the messahopege: Be reconciled to God.

Philippians 2:13   assures us “For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”  God is able to do ALL – creating in us both the desire to do His will and the working of it.  He means what he says,  and he says it many times and many ways so we will be sure to hear Him.  There is no misunderstanding “ALL.”

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:17b – “(God) establish you in every good word and work.”
  • 2 Corinthians 9:8 – “And God is able to make ALL grace abound toward you; that ye, ALWAYS having ALL sufficiency in ALL things, may ABOUND to EVERY good work.”
  • Isaiah 26:12 – “LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought ALL our works in us.”

Praise God, He does it all!  I am willing; He is able.

Preacher and Evangelist, D.L. Moody is quoted as having said, “No one can sum up all God is able to accomplish through ONE SOLITARY LIFE, WHOLLY YIELDED, ADJUSTED and OBEDIENT TO HIM.”

Ephesians  2:10  agrees with this stating, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

GOD IS ABLE, AM I WILLING?

May we each walk forward securely standing under the Banner of the love of Jesus for the glory of the Father.  Amen.

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