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Ephesians 2:12. Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.

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Ephesians 2:12

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Ephesians 2:12

Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without Godin the world.

  • Vast numbers of well-intended folk have exhausted themselves in church work and discovered that this did not substantively change their lives.

  • They found that they were just as impatient and egocentric and fearful as when they began lifting the heavy load of church work.

  • Our lives are fractured and fragmented.

  • As Thomas Kelly puts it, we are living in "an intolerable scramble of panting feverishness."

  • We feel the pull of many obligations and try to fulfill them all.

Romans 12:1

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.

Romans 12:2

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.

  • Vampire Christianity

  • The widely-accepted concept that we humans can choose to accept Christ only because we need Him and His blood as Savior and that we have the right to postpone our obedience to him as Lord is heresy!

  • Vampire Christianity

  • This heresy has created the false impression that it is quite reasonable to be a "vampire Christian." One in effect says to Jesus: "I'd like a little of your blood, please. But I don't care to be your student or have your character.”

Romans 6:4

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Romans 14:17

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

  • The "greatest difficulty in conversion, is to win the heart to God; and the greatest difficulty after conversion, is to keep the heart with God. … Heart work is hard work indeed.“

  • -John Flavel (17th Cent.)

Psalm 139:23-24

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

  • We are each a tangled mass of motives: hope and fear, faith and doubt, simplicity and duplicity, honesty and falsity, openness and guile.

  • God is the only one who can separate the true from the false, the only one who can purify the motives of the heart.

  • This work is solitary and interior.

  • It cannot be seen by anyone, not even ourselves. It is a work known only to God.

  • It is the work of heart purity, of soul conversion, of inward transformation, of life formation.

  • It begins first by our turning to the light of Jesus.

  • For some, this is an excruciatingly slow turning. For others, it is instantaneous.

  • In either case, we are coming to trust in Jesus, to accept Jesus as our Life.

1 Peter 1:23

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.

1 Peter 2:1-3

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

2Peter 3:18

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

  • God is interested in our growth!

  • The church, starting with the leadership, seeks to facilitate our spiritual growth!

  • We must put ourself in the best position to grow!

2Peter 3:17

Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried awayby the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.

  • We begin to develop a habit of divine orientation. Behind the foreground of daily life continues the background of heavenly orientation.

  • We are not alone in this work of the re-formation of the heart. It is imperative for us to help each other in every way we can.

  • Fellowship Gathering Power

  • This naturally leads to asecond great arena of work for the years ahead: congregational renewal.

  • Fellowship Gathering Power

  • If in our churches we do not do the hard work of spiritual formation, we will not get spiritually formed people.


  • We have in our churches a "hurry sickness."

  • Many are adrenaline addicts, and the overall spirit of our day is one of climb, push and shove, of noise and hurry and crowds.


  • But spiritual formation work simply does not occur in a hurry. It is never a quick-fix deal. Patient, time-consuming care is always the hallmark of spiritual formation work.


  • 2. We now have a Christian entertainment industry that is masquerading as worship.


  • 3. We have an overall consumer mentality that simply dominates the American religious scene. It is a mentality that keeps the individual front and center: "I want what I want, when I want it, and to the measure I want it."


  • The church is re-formed and always re-forming.

  • And if my heart and soul and mind and spirit are being re-formed, then I am powerfully drawn toward anyone and everyone who is seeking to know, follow and serve Jesus and be formed into the image of Jesus.


  • In the beginning God plucks the world out of our hearts. We experience a loosening of the chains of attachment to positions of prominence and power. All our longings for social recognition, to have our name in lights, begin to appear puny and trifling.


  • We learn to let go of all control, all managing, all manipulation. We freely and joyfully live without guile. We experience a glorious detachment from this world and all it offers.


  • And then, just when we have become free from it all, God hurls the world back into our heart—where we and God together carry the world in infinitely tender love.


  • We deepen in our compassion for the bruised and broken. We ache and pray and labor for others in a new way, a selfless way, a joy-filled way. Our heart is enlarged toward those on the margins. Indeed, our heart is enlarged toward all people, toward all of Creation.

  • It is this moving of God’s Spirit that compels millions of ordinary folk like you and me to minister life in Christ's good name to our neighbor, our nigh-bor: "the person who is near us."

  • If


  • It is this moving of God’s Spirit that compels millions of ordinary folk like you and me to minister life in Christ's good name to our neighbor, our nigh-bor: "the person who is near us."

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