Summary: gifts, zeal, faith in action

Epiphany 5 Strive?

Feb. 4

1 Cor. 14:12b-20

† In Jesus Name †

Grace and Peace be yours, from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ!

Knowing versus Being a Father

The lessons of fatherhood have begun, and I have to admit, some of them are not… pleasant. One of the lessons, one of the harder lessons, that I learned this week, best illustrates the lesson we see in reading from 1 Corinthians.

It is probably not the most colorful lesson, or the most… fragrant, that was the diaper changing lesson. But it was the most dramatic, and for me, a painful lesson. You see, during the week I learned that there is a big difference between knowing you are a father, and being one.

Thursday evening, it became pretty apparent that I had contacted some kind of 24 hour stomach virus, as I became pretty ill. That is where the difference between knowing I am a dad, and having the blessing that I am one comes in. You see, knowing I had a bad bout of the flu, I determined to stay as far away from Kay, and from William, less I get them sick.

As I would look across the house, as William cried, I knew the difference between knowing I was his dad, and being his dad. I could not hold him, and soothe his emotions and stop his tears, I could not be his dad.

There was no doubt in my mind, that I was his dad, and yet, the reality of holding him in my arms, of seeing relief and peace brought to him, was beyond my reach. There was a disconnect between knowing, and being – and the difference was staggering.

Our life as believers, can be compared to the experiences of fatherhood I have had this week. I think that there are times, we are satisfied with sitting across the room, knowing that we are believers, that we have faith in Jesus. I would have us today, move to hold our faith in our arms, bringing Christ’s peace to those whose cries would would cease, as they cry AMEN to the words with which we proclaim and praise our Lord Jesus.

Zeal for Manifestation of the Holy Spirit

Isaiah’s Vision

For some tongues “proves” this

What proves to you, you’re touched by God?

Better if it benefits others!

The people in Corinth, had a great measure of eagerness to see the Holy Spirit’s power demonstrated in their midst. They wanted, perhaps even needed to know that God would work in their midst. There is, a certain faith-strengthening that occurs when we realize that God does work in our midst, and perhaps, that is even stronger when we realize it is because we are saved, that we can see God work, that our strength is given a boost.

Consider the other two readings today, and I think I can illustrate this more. When Peter is in the boat, and the miraculous catch comes in, he realizes that Jesus is from God. His reaction – please get away, I am a sinful man. That reaction is not so different from Isaiah’s, as he realizes he is in the very throne room of God. I am dead, I cannot live in the presence of Holiness.

Sin cannot abide, it cannot live in the presence of pure holiness. Matter of fact, the phrase that is often used in comparison to being unholy, is impure, or unclean. As in Isaiah’s own words, noting that he deserved judgment. In Malachi chapter 3, there is a great prophecy, which pictures Jesus refining the people of God, even as silver or gold is made pure. So pure, it is promised, Jesus will make the people of God, that they will be able to come into God’s presence again, with offerings done in righteousness.

And so Jesus refines, with Peter, as he calls Peter to work in the Lord’s work, to fish for men. And Jesus refines Isaiah, who as he realizes this, responds to a call, to use his gifts, that he might call Isreal back to God.

In both cases, their spirits are strengthened, and renewed, as they realize that they have been redeemed, purified, refined as they live in the very presence of God.

In the same way, the gift of tongues, used on its own, gives some assurance to the user of their salvation. Yet, as it only benefits them, to some extent, it is like me looking at a picture of William, or sitting across the room, assured I am his father. So much different is it, though the relationship doesn’t change, if I actually go over, and pick him up.

Zeal for Edification

The stranger saying Amen

Let Him give praise too!

See the Holy Spirit work there….

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