Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hope for iPhones & Hope For Sinners

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; 
old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  
- 2 Corinthians 5:17
I love rice!  What would a spicy tuna roll be without rice? For that matter what would most Asian and Cajun food be without rice?  What else would we really want to throw at newly married couples?  Now there is, in my opinion, conceivably the most beneficial use for rice.   Saving the lives of wet iPhones!

In March, Apple announced that approximately 108 million iPhones have been sold worldwide.   Most people who don't have iPhones have phones that are trying (and often succeeding remarkably well) to be like iPhones.   Most are so close to their phone that the thought of losing it is devastating. 

"I'm melting, melting!  
Oh what a world what a world!"
- Wicked Witch of the West

I've jumped in the water only once with a phone and it's a horribly helpless feeling.  You've never seen a man swim to dry land so fast!   I haven't jumped in water since without a quick panicked feeling that maybe my phone is in my swimsuit pocket.  Last week my friend jumped in the deep end with his iPhone 4G and thought it was ruined.  Bummer!

Upon learning of his all too common mistake I remembered what my sister-in-law, Karen, told me was the remedy for his soggy phone:  IMMERSE IT IN RICE IMMEDIATELY.     First turn it off, then put it in the rice for at least a day or so.  Evidently the dry rice draws out the moisture from within the iPhone.   The iPhone is literally suffocated in the rice as the rice has it's way with the iPhone.

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  - Rom. 8:13

Being buried in the rice draws out what was destroying the phone.    If my flesh is defined as those thoughts and impulses "which when conceived give birth to sin" (James 1:15) and consequently, numb my senses to the presence of God's Spirit within me then what my flesh really needs is death.   But how?

The great paradoxical mystery of the Cross of Christ is that although it is a static event that happened nearly 2000 years ago,  it is also a dynamic reality that draws me into it's miraculous power NOW!

He who is drawn into this paradox will experience not only the guilt-cleansing (past) and fear-relieving (future) power of God's grace in Christ but also the present-working power of His Spirit within which empowers him to put starve the flesh.


In The Normal Christian Life Watchman Nee explains that if he folds a piece of paper into a book and mails the book across the country, he who receives the book will also receive the paper because the paper has been folded into it.   This is the mystery of a life in Christ.    To the degree we are "folded into it" we also participate in His death and, praise God, His resurrection life!

Thus my flesh is put to death to the degree I am found "in Christ" or, to jump back to the iPhone analogy, immersed in Christ.  The sacrament of Baptism is so powerful for this very reason.   Your "old man" goes down beneath the water where your deeds (sins: past, present and future) are forgiven and forgotten by God.  Subsequently your "new man" rises to walk in a new life reconciled to God by the sacrificial act of our high priest, Jesus.   From then on in God's economy we are "hidden in Christ".   God does not see our sin and disobedience.   Instead He sees only His Son's sinless life and perfect obedience.

And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created
in righteousness and true holiness. 
- Ephesians 4:24

The central theme in Paul's letter to the Colossians is what it means to be "in Christ".   For example "in whom we have redemption" (1:14), "in him all things were created" (1:16), "rooted up and built in him" (2:7), "you have been filled in him" (2:7) and "triumphing over them in him" (2:10). 

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 
- Galatians 5:16, 17 

Jesus returned from the Garden of Gethsemane to find the disciples asleep even though He'd asked to stay awake while He prayed.   He then declared, "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak"(Matt 26:41).  

The disciples were unable to obey Jesus because they were in bondage to their weak flesh.   They were operating by their willing, but ultimately powerless, spirits.   They were at that point not "in Christ".    But post-resurrection they were given His Spirit and it was, as they say, a new ballgame!

To "put on" the new man is to recognize that though our flesh be strong, His Spirit is stronger. Though our sin be great, His forgiveness is greater.  We are justified in Him, sanctified in Him and sin is mortified (put to death) by Him.

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. - Colossians 3:3

The scripture above confounds the entire world.   It is simply too staggering and unbelievable for any human to understand unless The Spirit of God illuminates their hearts.   The inner-working of The Trinity within brings the spiritually dead man to new life and goes on to deliver him daily from his bondage to sin.  This is salvation.   This is The Gospel.   

Be immersed!


P.S. Shelter from the Storm.......

This Week... 

* Tyler Men's Gathering - 7am, Wednesday AM - Kings Cross Chapter 14
   @ 2 American Center, 5th Floor (Ritcheson Law Firm)

* The Magills share with The Tyler Girls Shelter - Saturday 3pm
Please pray as we're meeting with lots of couples this week.....

Next Week...   

* Men's Lunch @ Dakota's in Tyler, TX - Mondays @ 12pm - Keller's Kings Cross - Chapter 12


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