Monthly Archives: April 2012

Growing in Christ

Flowering tree privet

Flowering tree privet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[3] And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; [4] and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. [5] “Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. [6] “But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. [7] “Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. [8] “And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. – Mat 13:3-8 NASB

I named this blog post “Growing in Christ”, but I want you to understand that it could equally be called “Christ Growing in You”. The two names are synonymous.

Lately, I have been impressed with the importance of the inner Life. This inner Life is the inner experience of Christ. The parable of the sower stresses upon us the need of having a deep inner experience of Christ.

You will find a better and more practical explanation of what I will talk about by a great brother in Christ, Milt Rodriguez, at The Rebuilders. His blog post is called Root Before Fruit and I highly recommend it.

Let’s begin with the Seed. The Seed contains the Life. Everything is there in the Seed. Whether it is a flower, a bush, or a great tree, it is contained within that Seed. If you have the Seed, you have the everything!

The Seed planted within us is Christ. If you have Christ you have everything. But, how small He seems at first! He starts as a little Seed inside of us. But, if we would we allow Him to grow in us, to fill and saturate us, how He would be magnified within us and through us!

A glorious mystery is that the Plant that grows forth from the Seed and the soil is our expression of Christ. That Plant is Christ. That Plant is you. That Plant is the beautiful mingling of divinity and humanity. That Plant is the enlargement of the Plant, who died to spread its Seed.

[19] …holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God. – Col 2:19 NASB

I am not talking about Christ in an objective way, but in a subjective way. I think you all know how great Christ is in a objective way, but we need to experience this Christ in a subjective way if we are going to continue on to maturity.

Back to our Lord’s parable, it is obvious that the different outcomes are due to the difference between the soils. There was no lack in the Seed. Three of the soils were lacking. The Seed must be planted in the innermost being of the soil. Then that Seed must be allowed to grow and spread in the inner being of the soil. From the inner growth of the Seed, its outward expression bursts forth.

We see this outward expression in two, maybe three of the cases. We definitely see some outward expression of the Seed in the shallow and good soil, maybe even in the thorny soil. But, I want to focus on the difference between the shallow soil and good soil. Without deep roots, the outward expression dies. It is by the inner growth of the roots that the outward expression grows. The shallow soil did not allow Christ to grow in its inner being. It tried to express Him outwardly before it had the deep inner experience of Him. With that kind of attitude, we will not experience Life, but death.

[6] Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, [7] having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. – Col 2:6-7 NASB

Brothers and sisters, do you see what I am getting at? Do you want to express the glory of this Seed? From the inner growth, comes the outer growth, and eventually brings forth flowers and fruit, which are the Plant’s glory!

[18] I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, [19] and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might [20] which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, [21] far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. [22] And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, [23] which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. – Eph 1:18-23 NASB

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God’s Household Administration

The Nant Llancarfan flowing toward the River K...

The Nant Llancarfan flowing toward the River Kenson at Llancarfan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many of you already know about God’s eternal purpose, to sum up all things in Christ. This is God’s desire and He will attain it.

But, do you know how God is attaining such a high desire?

He will attain His desire through His household administration. In Greek, the word for this is oikonomia. It is such a rich word, it is helpful to look at the various meanings of oikonomia.

  • (literally) household law
  • stewardship
  • administration
  • economy
  • dispensation

A household administration was necessary for wealthy families. Wealthy families needed a steward  so that the riches of the family could be dispensed as needed.

The riches of Christ are unsearchable. We are in the family of God, the unsearchably rich family.

To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, – [Eph 3:8 ESV]

God’s household administration is to dispense this unsearchably rich Christ into us, through the Spirit, as our Life and as our Everything. As Christ is filling and saturating us, He is overflowing out of us into each other. This economy is God’s Way of attaining His desire. We are being built up into the fullness of Christ, to be a dwelling place for God, expressing His image and exercising His authority.

We are stewards of this divine mystery. We are called to receive Christ and dispense Christ into others, by the administrating Spirit. This is discipleship. We have a well of Living Water within us that springs up, and streams of this Living Water flow out from us. Our streams form just one river, the River of Life, God’s flowing.

We should read Ephesians with this view. We should read the entire Bible with this view. We should live with this view. This is not just dead knowledge, but this is the living Christ, moving and growing on earth. He is the Vine Tree of Life that grows in and with the flow of the River of Life.

Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. – [Rev 22:1-2 NASB]

What a mystery! We are the enlargement of the immeasurably abundant Christ!

Psalm 119: A Psalm of Christ

Have you ever read the Old Testament, in order to see Christ? All of the Scriptures are just about Christ. In Psalm 119, I have replaced some words with Christ. I replaced words such as, law, precepts, commandments, word, and ordinances. Christ is the Reality of these things. You can read more about that in Who or What is the Word of God? If you have never read Scripture in this way, I think you will find fresh Life through the Old Testament.

Aleph. How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in Christ.
How blessed are those who observe Christ, who seek Him with all their heart.
They also do no unrighteousness; they walk in His ways.
You have ordained Christ, that we should keep Him diligently.
Oh that my ways may be established to keep Christ!
Then I shall not be ashamed when I look upon Christ.
I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart, when I learn Christ.
I shall keep Christ; do not forsake me utterly!
Beth. How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Christ.
With all my heart I have sought You; do not let me wander from Christ.
Christ, I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.
Blessed are You, O LORD; teach me Christ.
With my lips I have told of Christ.
I have rejoiced in the way of Christ, as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on Christ and regard Your ways.
I shall delight in Christ; I shall not forget Christ.
Gimel. Deal bountifully with Your servant, that I may live and keep Christ.
Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Christ.
I am a stranger in the earth; do not hide Christ from me.
My soul is crushed with longing after Christ at all times.
You rebuke the arrogant, the cursed, who wander from Christ.
Take away reproach and contempt from me, for I observe Christ.
Even though princes sit and talk against me, Your servant meditates on Christ.
Christ also is my delight; He is my counselor.
Daleth. My soul cleaves to the dust; revive me according to Christ.
I have told of my ways, and You have answered me; teach me Christ.
Make me understand the way of Christ, so I will meditate on Your wonders.
My soul weeps because of grief; strengthen me according to Christ.
Remove the false way from me, and graciously grant me Christ.
I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Christ before me.
I cling to Christ; O LORD, do not put me to shame!
I shall run the way of Christ, for You will enlarge my heart.
He. Teach me, O LORD, the way of Christ, and I shall observe it to the end.
Give me understanding, that I may observe Christ and keep Him with all my heart.
Make me walk in the path of Christ, for I delight in Him.
Incline my heart to Christ and not to dishonest gain.
Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, and revive me in Your ways.
Establish Christ to Your servant, as that which produces reverence for You.
Turn away my reproach which I dread, for Christ is good.
Behold, I long for Christ; revive me through Your righteousness.
Vav. May Your lovingkindnesses also come to me, O LORD, Your salvation according to Christ;
So I will have an answer for him who reproaches me, for I trust in Christ.
And do not take the word of Christ utterly out of my mouth, for I wait for Christ.
So I will keep Christ continually, forever and ever.
And I will walk at liberty, for I seek Christ.
I will also speak of Christ before kings and shall not be ashamed.
I shall delight in Christ, Who I love.
And I shall lift up my hands to Christ, Who I love; and I will meditate on Christ.
Zayin. Remember the word to Your servant, in which You have made me hope.
This is my comfort in my affliction, that Christ has revived me.
The arrogant utterly deride me, yet I do not turn aside from Christ.
I have remembered Christ from of old, O LORD, and comfort myself.
Burning indignation has seized me because of the wicked, who forsake Christ.
Christ is my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.
O LORD, I remember Your name in the night, and keep Christ.
This has become mine, that I observe Christ.
Heth. The LORD is my portion; I have promised to keep Christ.
I sought Your favor with all my heart; be gracious to me according to Christ.
I considered my ways and turned my feet to Christ.
I hastened and did not delay to keep Christ.
The cords of the wicked have encircled me, but I have not forgotten Christ.
At midnight I shall rise to give thanks to You because of Christ.
I am a companion of all those who fear You, and of those who keep Christ.
The earth is full of Your lovingkindness, O LORD; teach me Christ.
Teth. You have dealt well with Your servant, O LORD, according to Christ.
Teach me good discernment and knowledge, for I believe in Christ.
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Christ.
You are good and do good; teach me Christ.
The arrogant have forged a lie against me; with all my heart I will observe Christ.
Their heart is covered with fat, but I delight in Christ.
It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Christ.
Christ is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
Yodh. Your hands made me and fashioned me; give me understanding, that I may learn Christ.
May those who fear You see me and be glad, because I wait for Christ.
I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are righteous, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
O may Your lovingkindness comfort me, according to Christ to Your servant.
May Your compassion come to me that I may live, for Christ is my delight.
May the arrogant be ashamed, for they subvert me with a lie; but I shall meditate on Christ.
May those who fear You turn to me, even those who know Christ.
May my heart be blameless in Christ, so that I will not be ashamed.
Kaph. My soul languishes for Your salvation; I wait for Christ.
My eyes fail with longing for Christ, while I say, “When will You comfort me?”
Though I have become like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget Christ.
How many are the days of Your servant? When will You execute judgment on those who persecute me?
The arrogant have dug pits for me, men who are not in accord with Christ.
Christ is faithful; they have persecuted me with a lie; help me!
They almost destroyed me on earth, but as for me, I did not forsake Christ.
Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, so that I may keep Christ.
Lamedh. Forever, O LORD, Christ is settled in heaven.
Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations; You established the earth, and it stands.
They stand this day according to Christ, for all things are Your servants.
If Christ had not been my delight, then I would have perished in my affliction.
I will never forget Christ, for by Him You have revived me.
I am Yours, save me; for I have sought Christ.
The wicked wait for me to destroy me; I shall diligently consider Christ.
I have seen a limit to all perfection; Christ is exceedingly broad.
Mem. O how I love Christ! He is my meditation all the day.
Christ make me wiser than my enemies, for He is ever mine.
I have more insight than all my teachers, for Christ is my meditation.
I understand more than the aged, because I have observed Christ.
I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Christ.
I have not turned aside from Christ, for You Yourself have taught me.
How sweet is Christ to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
From Christ I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.
Nun. Christ is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
I have sworn and I will confirm it, that I will keep Your righteous Christ.
I am exceedingly afflicted; revive me, O LORD, according to Christ.
O accept the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me Christ.
My life is continually in my hand, yet I do not forget Christ.
The wicked have laid a snare for me, yet I have not gone astray from Christ.
I have inherited Christ forever, for He is the joy of my heart.
I have inclined my heart to perform Christ forever, even to the end.
Samekh. I hate those who are double-minded, but I love Christ.
You are my hiding place and my shield; I wait for Christ.
Depart from me, evildoers, that I may observe the Christ of my God.
Sustain me according to Christ, that I may live; and do not let me be ashamed of my hope.
Uphold me that I may be safe, that I may have regard for Christ continually.
You have rejected all those who wander from Christ, for their deceitfulness is useless.
You have removed all the wicked of the earth like dross; therefore I love Christ.
My flesh trembles for fear of You, and I am afraid of Your judgments.
Ayin. I have done justice and righteousness; do not leave me to my oppressors.
Be surety for Your servant for good; do not let the arrogant oppress me.
My eyes fail with longing for Your salvation and for Your righteous Christ.
Deal with Your servant according to Your lovingkindness and teach me Christ.
I am Your servant; give me understanding, that I may know Christ.
It is time for the LORD to act, for they have broken Christ.
Therefore I love Christ above gold, yes, above fine gold.
Therefore I esteem right Christ concerning everything, I hate every false way.
Pe. Christ is wonderful; therefore my soul observes Him.
The unfolding of Christ gives light; He gives understanding to the simple.
I opened my mouth wide and panted, for I longed for Christ.
Turn to me and be gracious to me, after Your manner with those who love Your name.
Establish my footsteps in Christ, and do not let any iniquity have dominion over me.
Redeem me from the oppression of man, that I may keep Christ.
Make Your face shine upon Your servant, and teach me Christ.
My eyes shed streams of water, because they do not keep Christ.
Tsadhe. Righteous are You, O LORD, and upright are Your judgments.
You have commanded Christ in righteousness and exceeding faithfulness.
My zeal has consumed me, because my adversaries have forgotten Christ.
Christ is very pure, therefore Your servant loves Him.
I am small and despised, yet I do not forget Christ.
Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Christ is truth.
Trouble and anguish have come upon me, yet Christ is my delight.
Christ is righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live.
Qoph. I cried with all my heart; answer me, O LORD! I will observe Christ.
I cried to You; save me and I shall keep Christ.
I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Christ.
My eyes anticipate the night watches, that I may meditate on Christ.
Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness; revive me, O LORD, according to Christ.
Those who follow after wickedness draw near; they are far from Christ.
You are near, O LORD, and Christ is truth.
Of old I have known from Christ that You have founded Him forever.
Resh. Look upon my affliction and rescue me, for I do not forget Christ.
Plead my cause and redeem me; revive me according to Christ.
Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek Christ.
Great are Your mercies, O LORD; revive me according to Christ.
Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, yet I do not turn aside from Christ.
I behold the treacherous and loathe them, because they do not keep Christ.
Consider how I love Christ; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your lovingkindness.
The sum of Christ is truth, and Your righteous Christ is everlasting.
Shin. Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of Christ.
I rejoice at Christ, as one who finds great spoil.
I hate and despise falsehood, but I love Christ.
Seven times a day I praise You, because of Your righteous Christ.
Those who love Christ have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble.
I hope for Your salvation, O LORD, and do Christ.
My soul keeps Christ, and I love Him exceedingly.
I keep Christ, for all my ways are before You.
Tav. Let my cry come before You, O LORD; give me understanding according to Christ.
Let my supplication come before You; deliver me according to Christ.
Let my lips utter praise, for You teach me Christ.
Let my tongue sing of Christ, for Christ is righteousness.
Let Your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen Christ.
I long for Your salvation, O LORD, and Christ is my delight.
Let my soul live that it may praise You, and let Christ help me.
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant, for I do not forget Christ.

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