Thursday, June 29, 2017

HEBREWS 13:13-14

"So, let us go out to Him outside the camp,
bearing His reproach.
For here we do not have a lasting city,
but we are seeking the city
which is to come."

Sigh.  They have been pulled up by the roots.  They will be transplanted, not in a temporary place, but will be held until they can be planted in a garden that will be like Eden, only better.  That's us, in fact.  "This world is not our home.  We're only passing through."  This world is shifting sand.  But in the meanwhile, we will face reproach as a Christian as long as we are in this godless world. 

Andrew Murray writes, "The world has cast Him without the camp, and us with Him: we belong there...The camp was not Rome with its heathenism, but Jerusalem with its religion...There Jesus was rejected of the Jews, because He condemned their self-righteousness and formality.  It is not the irreligious but the religious world from which we must go out--that is, from everything that is not in harmony with His cross and its spirit of self-sacrifice."  Hmm.

And guess what!  About seven or eight years after this was written,  Jerusalem was totally destroyed."  God plucked out His people from Jerusalem to save them.  Some may have looked back like Lot's wife with a sigh, but it was God's design to save them when they chose as the persecuted Christians to go outside the camp bearing His reproach. 

Adam Clarke said, "Here is an elegant and forcible allusion to the approaching destruction of Jerusalem of Jerusalem.  The Jerusalem that was below was about to be burnt with fire, and erased to the ground (as in Jesus prophecy); the Jerusalem that was from above was that alone which could be considered to be permanent.  The words seem to say: 'Arise, and depart; for this is not your rest; it is polluted.' "

Have you ever seen God save you from a situation of which you were unaware until you looked in the rear-view mirror seeing how you were spared?  Yep, me too.  Have you ever gone against the current?  Being a Christian in a worldly world means taking a stand rather than being a worldly Christian who blends in with the  world.

The only district assembly I got up and spoke in was concerning a proposal to loosen the stance against alcohol.  I wasn't nearly as popular afterwards.  But that's okay, I wasn't really popular anyway being the new kid on the block since we had been transplanted from our old denomination to this new denomination. 

But then again, I had taken a stance that was unpopular in our last denomination and was called on the carpet by the district superintendent and some of the big-wigs.  I was in the middle of a stream going against the current.  You see, I was a third generation of pastoral ministry in that denomination from its very beginning, a product of their higher education institution, and we had invested the whole course of our lives with them.  I cried every single day for a year (usually when I was driving alone) mourning the direction of my church before I left the denomination.  Funny thing was that as soon as I left, my tears totally dried up for the next several years when I couldn't squeeze a tear out if I tried.  They are back now, even when I laugh until I cry or when I watch a movie or commercial on T.V. 

Yeah, I've gone outside the camp.  I have born the reproach. But nothing like these Hebrew Christians who gave up everything to follow Christ.  Yeah, we had to change our employment, and my husband had to become bi-vocational as we planted a new church.  But we never looked back unless it was a sigh of relief.

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