Friday, October 21, 2011

Men of Iron

   The Overt Message: True Righteousness, True Healing.

   The Covert Message: I Dare You to be a Kingdom Christian.

    St. Jerome said "the earliest members of the Christian Church lived in the way  in which monks of today try earnestly to live."  Though that may be overstating the case, the early Church was nothing if not puritan.  Its moral standards were lofty, its disciplines rigorous, and its demands total.  God preserved, and continues to preserve,a remnant of those who follow the spiritual disciplines we studied this past summer.  Those who have smuggled themselves off into monasteries and cloisters, I'll submit, are not adhering to our common charge to be in the world but not of the world.   There were some exceptions to this; mendicant (means poor on purpose) friars who lived the practices that led to intimacy with God amidst the mess that was the Middle Ages.

    One leader of these abandoned men was named Columbanus.  Living in Ireland, and so separated from some of the chaos of the Dark Ages, these men pursued God in a manner not paralleled outside of scripture.  Above all they refused to accept counterfeits for the Truth.  They would meditate and pray, give all to Kingdom service, and adhere to a stern standard of physical mortification.  When Columbanus and his fold first landed in France, they were dubbed "Men of Iron" by the followers of Franciscan monasticism.

    They were, simply, impeccable followers of Jesus Christ.  Like the Apostles, they chose to stand and deliver.

    So What?

    So when we are being called to lead similar lives (as the  past 16 sermons have unmistakably done) in a similarly dark age, we could do worse than to look to the Word of God and those who have successfully lived that committed life.

    Key  Questions & Scriptures:

   1. Do you want to have True Peace, or do you want to be comfortable?

       John 14:27, John 16:33, Isaiah 28:12

   2. Do you want True Healing, or just to be numb? 

       Isaiah 58:8, Malachi 4:2, 1 Peter 2:24

   3. Do you growth that leads to reconciliation, or do you want to get your way and stay as you are?

       Luke 9:23, Matthew 5:20-48

   4.  Do we want to be filled, or just a comfortable compromise?

    No one can get strong in Christ for you; we have individual responsibility before God.  You and I must decide the answers above for ourselves, and let our lives be our testimony.  Success in the Lord requires no explanations; failure permits no alibis.

   Our study bore the following fruit.


1. Holding True Peace requires remaining in Christ, and obediently responding to the conviction of the Holy Spirit when we stray.

2. Fasting from our agendas to live God's yields True Healing; FEAR GOD

3. True surrender begins in crucifixion, and is maintained in spiritual  disciplines born of love for God 

4. We have one choice; His righteousness or our own.


    We are actually being called to this level of commitment.  Lord, help our unbelief.

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