Message – The Poem of your life, has an Author
The Poem of your life, has an Author
Last week we took some time to look at a sampling of the Person and work of the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us as a downpayment or a first installment of our Great Inheritance.
In that amazing list, one of those things mentioned was His work within our hearts to make us living letters read by all people – or living testimonies of Christ, which the world cannot ignore.
He authors our lives as living letters to be read by all men – as living testimonies of Jesus!
He transforms us into Christ’s image
This is found in several places in scripture, but is clearly and specifically stated in 2Cor. 3 which we will read soon.
This last week I read a statement made by a brother in the Lord who has a ministry in Sarasota I believe. It read like this…
“If talking to others about Jesus seems difficult for you—if it still feels scary, or like a chore—you are probably doing it out of obligation or maybe trying to fit in.
If that’s you, stop it!
Don’t even try to share Jesus.
Instead, invest your time to drink in the love of Jesus!
When you drink enough, it will eventually spill out. You won’t need to force it.
It becomes a pent-up fire in your bones! The love will need an escape valve!” ~ Ron Kutinsky
It’s the difference Between “witnessing” (which is man’s idea) and BEING a witness (which Is God’s commission).
When we simply keep our focus upon Him, responding in kind to His abundant love for us, we become living testimonies of Christ to all around us. This happens because of the faithfulness of the Holy Spirit our Helper due to His inward work.
Romans 1:20, which we will read in more detail later as well as Eph. 2:10 use a word which you are somewhat familiar with, which is an amazing and wonderful notion. It is the word Poiema.
The word poíēma [Ποίημα] means Something made, a work, workpiece, workmanship.
But before there is something made there is creativity. Before art there is artistry. As such, Poiema denotes the result of work, what is produced, whereas poíēsis is the creative act of making.
And where there is art and artistry – there must be an Artist!
One would think this is an obvious truth, but it is nevertheless an obvious truth which many fields of what is called and which passes somehow for science have a clear problem in terms of nature.
All commons sense individuals know instinctively that where we see creativity we know there must be a creator, where we see information, there must be an intelligence behind it, where we see beauty and art, there is an artist, where there is a literary work such as a novel or a poem, there must be a writer or poet.
So the scriptures would agree.
Not only we, who are the apex of God’s natural creation, but ALL of creation itself is Poiema.
But in order to have Poiema, there must first exist poietes – the one who does the making.
Now I’m stressing this due to our focus on our relationship with the Holy Spirit. Our partnership with Him in kingdom work Beginning with His inward work of forming Jesus in us.
We know this, but it becomes more effective in us as we acknowledge the truth of His presence with us.
Psalm 100 encourages us with this wisdom,
“(1) Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands!
(2) Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.
(3) Know and acknowledge that the LORD, He is God; It is He Who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
(4) Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
(5) For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.”
You know it tells us or encourages us to “know” and “acknowledge” that the Lord is God and is therefore our maker… and as the word Poiema suggests, He is the Poet writing the story of our lives in narrative and rhyme.
Nearly all of the sorrows we have in this life… nearly all of the frustrations, causes of anger and being overwhelmed flow directly from our misguided attempts to capture and commandeer the pen out of His hand!
The letter God is writing in writing you, is not independent of your input, and that is part of what we are learning in our joint-participation with the Holy Spirit.
There is no separation. There is no distance. We have forever been brought near. There is no more “I”… there is only “we”.
Our heart choices have authorship power, in that they steer the end trajectory of our story, but MUCH of the story itself… the details and their miniscule outcomes are more the work of His hands than ours.
“(13) The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. (14) From the place of His dwelling He looks On all the inhabitants of the earth; (15) He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works. (16) No king is saved by the multitude of an army; A mighty man is not delivered by great strength. (17) A horse is a vain hope for safety; Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength. (18) Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope in His mercy, (19) To deliver their soul from death, And to keep them alive in famine.”
“(8) For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift– (9) not from works, so that no one can boast.
(10) For we are His creation–created in Christ Jesus for good works,”
So the story God is telling… or the poem He is writing has a theme, and it is one where we, out of our unity with Him… and because we know and trust Him… and cooperated with Him… is a story of good works.
“which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.”
God has gone before us and prepared good works that we should walk in.
Consider Abraham, Moses, Sarah, Joshua, Rachael, Leah, David, Esther, Jeremiah, Daniel… all of them. Both ‘In them’ and ‘through them’ God was telling a story and He had gone before them, just like He has us and prepared good works for us all to walk in.
But… What if we don’t?
That’s a choice! It’s a bad choice but it’s a choice nonetheless.
God had prepared works for Pharaoh too. But he failed to walk in them.
In the end, it did nothing to obscure the truth of the redemptive story Guide was telling, but it excluded him from the joys and rewards of obedience.
How can we tilt the scale in our favor?
What can we do to make it more likely that we will comply and obey?
Recognition with gratitude!
Remember two of the verses we’ve read this morning both told us to know and acknowledge God in some way.
Remember that last week, some of you experienced a very real awakening… an inward response in your hearts as we recounted the attributes of the Holy Spirit and the roles He plays in our lives!
As we acknowledge Him, gratitude begins to take a primary role in our lives, and that gratitude helps secure humility and trust.
“(11) So then, remember that at one time you were Gentiles in the flesh–called “the uncircumcised” by those called “the circumcised,” done by hand in the flesh.
“(12) At that time you were without the Messiah, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, with no hope and without God in the world.”
” (13) But now IN Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. (14) For He is our peace, Who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In His flesh, (15) He did away with the law of the commandments in regulations, so that He might create in Himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace.
“(16) He did this so that He might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross and put the hostility to death by it.
” (17) When Christ came, He proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. (18) For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.”
“(19) So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, (20) built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. (21) The whole building is being fitted together in Him and is growing into a holy sanctuary in the Lord, (22) in Whom you also are being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit.”
[Remember that! ]
The Holy Spirit authors your witness
“(1) Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you?
(2) You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; (3) clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.
(4) And we have such trust through Christ toward God. (5) Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, (6) Who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”
So don’t lose the focus of what Paul was talking about here. He starts off asking whether or not he and those with him need letters confirming their authenticity as Ministers of the Gospel or if they need letters from the Corinthians which offer testimony of their sufficiency as Ministers of the Gospel.
These of course were rhetorical questions because he goes on to say that it is God through the Holy Spirit, Who made them sufficient as Ministers of the Gospel of God’s grace.
Don’t lose sight that… that is what he’s talking about as he goes on to compare the ministry of Grace with the ministry of condemnation.
The ministry of condemnation was one of distance with God due to the response of the Israelites at the mountain called Sinai.
The New Covenant is one that is built upon the inward work of the Holy Spirit and the testimony of those who have had an encounter with Him and who walk out their daily lives with Him.
That is the gospel of grace!
The gospel Grace is not a written testimony it is a living testimony . In fact even the written accounts only have power because they were birthed out of a living Witness.
This is no different than what we see in Jesus as is given witness to in the Gospel of John.
That gospel, if you remember, says that IN Jesus was life or In Jesus was intimate Union with God and that intimate Union with God was the revelation to man.
Jesus, in His person, was the testimony of Grace and the kingdom of God.
Now He has left and has commissioned us through the power of the Holy Spirit, Whom He left with us, to carry on His ministry work.
We are letters or Gospels of God’s grace, authored and written by the precious Holy Spirit of God Who has been given to us.
“(7) But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, (8) how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?”
How has and how does the Holy Spirit Minister but through God’s people?
” (9) For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. (10) For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. (11) For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.
(12) Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech— (13) unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. (14) But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.
(15) But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart.
(16) Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
(17) Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (18) But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
What story are you telling?
What are you a witness of?
In the grand scheme of things your story and mine are of little importance in terms of their details, because in the end, like pharaoh, we can do nothing against the truth.
If ours is a story of defeat and perpetual failure in godliness, it speaks of our wrestling to take the pen from God’s hand and a propensity to not ultimately trust Him.
Conversely, when we succeed in overcoming the world and experience an ongoing formation of Christ in us – it too tells a story.
It speaks of God’s extraordinary work in our lives, which flows from our relinquishing of control, from our submission to Him and trust in Him.
Both stories tell the truth, but only one glorifies God directly. Only one tells of Christ and His saving grace and only one, saves us!
“(12) Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; (13) for it is God Who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
(14) Do all things without complaining and disputing, (15) that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, (16) holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.”
“(14) Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.
(15) For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.
(16) To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.”
And who is sufficient for these things?”
“(17) For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.”
As such we are the workmanship of God AND the partnership of the Holy Spirit of God Who builds Christ’s kingdom in and through us!
It is this reason why the world is and will be the recipients of God’s wrath.
Because even though the story of life and grace through Jesus was the clear story He was telling – and they knew it, they turned a blinded eye at His narrative and chose their own way.
Rom. 1:18-20 [Weymouth],
“(18) For God’s anger is being revealed from Heaven against all impiety and against the iniquity of men who through iniquity suppress the truth. God is angry: (19) because what may be known about Him is plain to their inmost consciousness; for He Himself has made it plain to them. (20) For, from the very creation of the world, His invisible perfections–namely His eternal power and divine nature–have been rendered intelligible and clearly visible by His works, so that these men are without excuse. (21) For when they had come to know God, they did not give Him glory as God nor render Him thanks, but they became absorbed in useless discussions, and their senseless minds were darkened.”
Holman translation –
“(18) For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, (19) since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. (20) From the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse.”
Remember this Wednesday night, it has direct implications for something said to Daniel in the last chapter.
We are the workmanship of God AND the partnership we have with the Holy Spirit of God builds Christ’s kingdom in and through us!
Remember the topic Jesus was addressing teaching the day He spoke about the 10 virgins, the 3 servants with talents and the sheep and the goats?
He was talking about the type of lives we are to live in preparation for His return, so that we are ready.
All of the virgins were sleeping when the bridegroom arrived, but only 5 had gone to sleep prepared. Their lamps were full of oil and ready.
The stewards with the talents who were rewarded were found DOING the work which was consistent with their stewardship.
The sheep and the goats were identified not by what they believed but by what they were DOING.
In all of these the testimony of their lives was one where the good works God had prepared for them to walk in – were being walked in, by and through their union with the Holy Spirit.
Let’s close by reading part of the encouragement Paul gave in the letter to the Colossians.
“(1) We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, (4) for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints (5) because of the hope reserved for you in heaven. You have already heard about this hope in the message of truth, (6) the gospel that has come to you. It is bearing fruit and growing all over the world, just as it has among you since the day you heard it and recognized God’s grace in the truth. (7) You learned this from Epaphras, our much loved fellow slave. He is a faithful minister of the Messiah on your behalf, (8) and he has told us about your love in the Spirit. (9) For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, (10) so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God. (11) May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy (12) giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light. (13) He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, (14) in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (15) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation; (16) because by Him everything was created, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him. (17) He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together. (18) He is also the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He might come to have first place in everything. (19) For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, (20) and through Him to reconcile everything to Himself by making peace through the blood of His cross–whether things on earth or things in heaven. (21) And you were once alienated and hostile in mind because of your evil actions. (22) But now He has reconciled you by His physical body through His death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before Him– (23) if indeed you remain grounded and steadfast in the faith, and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel that you heard. This gospel has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and I, Paul, have become a minister of it. (24) Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I am completing in my flesh what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for His body, that is, the church. (25) I have become its minister, according to God’s administration that was given to me for you, to make God’s message fully known, (26) the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to His saints. (27) God wanted to make known to those among the Gentiles the glorious wealth of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (28) We proclaim Him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. (29) I labor for this, striving with His strength that works powerfully in me.”
As you continue through this book it is all about our living testimony produced in us, not by works of the flesh apart from the Spirit, but works accomplished in and through us by our union with, submission to and trust in the Spirit!
The Poem of your Life
Life is a song we must sing with our days
A poem with meaning more than words can say
A painting with colors no rainbow can tell
A lyric that rhymes either heaven or hell
We are living letters that doubt desecrates
We’re the notes of the song of the chorus of faith
God shapes every second of our little lives
And minds every minute as the universe waits by
The pain and the longing
The joy and the moments of light
Are the rhythm and rhyme
The free verse of the poem of life
So look in the mirror and pray for the grace
To tear off the mask, see the art of your face
And open your earlids to hear the sweet song
Of each moment that passes and pray to prolong
Your time in the ball of the dance of your days
Your canvas of colors of moments ablaze
With all that is holy, with the joy and the strife
With the rhythm and rhyme of the poem of your life
With the rhythm and rhyme of the poem of your life
The pain and the longing
The joy and the moments of light
Are the rhythm and rhyme
The free verse of the poem of life
Matt. 24:44 – 25,
“44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. people 45 “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. 47 Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. people 48 But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, 51 and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
1 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. 6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. 11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. 14 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ 21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 22 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ 23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ 26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. 29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ 41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ 44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”