Tremendous humility and dependence on God's enabling must always accompany such a task and quite honestly, my history of self sufficiency and self righteous pride have more than once been the anvil and hammer God has used in my life to heat and refine this dross of self. The result is a molten lump of gratitude that He has seen fit to show me His grace, His sufficiency and His true righteousness.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. but one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Php 3:12-14
And indeed this is all that I can do, with diligence, to press forward in trust that as He has hold of me, He is completing me for His purposes, and will do so with glory. Last week underlined more of His hold on me as the teaching, the fellowship, and the rest kept me keenly aware that I can do nothing apart from Him.
And yet, His sweetness in giving divine appointments and friendships, in granting particular conversations and answers to pressing questions, in showing Himself awesome and adorable and awe-full--how can I not give my life wholly to Him and His call?
My teacher for the week was Dr. John Hannah, a true lover of God's Word and student of His ways, humble and gentle in words and thoughts. He would not call himself a scholar, but he has since his conversion in 1955 made all efforts to know, live and share the gospel.
He taught through the Gospel of Matthew, all 28 chapters. He summed the point of the book as Matthew's letter to the Jews to demonstrate Jesus' right and certification in being the Savior and how His kingdom did not fail, though it came differently (spiritually) than the Jews intended (politically). The other significant theme being the truth that suffering is the path to glory. If we deny, despise, or avoid suffering, than we do not share in Christ's glory.
"Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." Romans 8:17
I realize that this type of teaching flies in the face of popular trends, fads and formulas that promise happiness and prosperity if you'll only follow THE method, but honest study of the person of Christ does not reveal Scripture to say otherwise. I was convicted for my own grumbling, my love of ease, and my deficiency in diligence.
Dr. Hannah therefore, did not leave us bereft but with careful precision showed us the redemptive grace of our Lord Jesus the Christ. As tenderly as Jesus restored Peter, His words are left for us today in promise and assurance that He is still making disciples, still saving the children of men, and still always with us.
"And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:20b
When was the last time you read the Gospel of Matthew? Read through it again and rejoice that the kingdom is come in Jesus the Christ!