How to Get in the Game

from John MacArthur, www.GTY.org

When I played college football, my coaches constantly drilled our team with the admonition: “Play your position!” They had to repeat it often because when we saw the play develop toward another place on the field, we were tempted to dash over and try to tackle the guy with the ball. About that time the play would reverse direction to the spot we had just left.

One of our best players was very aggressive and often strayed far from his position. He was all over the field tackling people, and invariably the wrong ones. Finally, he was benched. Though he was a good athlete, he proved worthless to the team because he wouldn’t stick to his position.

Since we all tended to make the same mistake, the coach would take us back to the locker room to draw the plays on a chalkboard. He would first make everyone’s position plain to see, and then he’d explain how the plays were supposed to run. There’s a parallel to that in Christian experience. God has put you on His team and given you both the resources and the obligation to “play” your position in the Body of Christ. He has given you spiritual gifts for carrying out your assignment.

Your first obligation as a Christian is to learn about your position in the Body of Christ. You’ve got to study the chalkboard, so to speak, and see where you stand; see who’s on either side of you, who’s behind you, who’s in front of you. Unfortunately, many Christians don’t know how to live, partly because they don’t know their position. I want to draw your position on the spiritual chalkboard so you can be an effective player in the game.

Basically, God’s gift of salvation in Christ brings a believer into a position of righteousness. God imputes the perfect righteousness of His Son to the believer, and thereby declares him righteous positionally. But as you know full well, believers still have sin in their lives—Christians are not practically righteous, 100 percent of the time. However, it is on the basis of our positional righteousness, that we are exhorted to strive for practical righteousness in our daily lives.

If you can set your personal struggle with sin aside for a moment, I want you to consider what the Bible says about your position in Christ. As a Christian you are: spiritually alive unto God, dead to sin, forgiven, declared righteous, a child of God, God’s possession, an heir of God, blessed with all spiritual blessings, a citizen of heaven, a servant of God, free from the Law, crucified to the world, a light in the world, victorious over Satan, cleansed from sin, declared holy and blameless, set free in Christ from the power of sin, secure in Christ, granted peace and rest, and led by the Holy Spirit.

You’re probably thinking, “The Bible may say all that, but I sure don’t always live up to those descriptions.” That’s why in the New Testament, for every one of those statements about your position, there is a corresponding practice you’re to follow. For example, the New Testament tells you:

  • Since you are spiritually alive to God, live according to that new life.
  • Since you are dead to sin, don’t give sin any place in your life.
  • Since you’re forgiven, count on that and don’t go through life feeling guilty.
  • Since you’ve been declared righteous, live righteously.
  • Since you’re a child of God, act like one of God’s children.
  • Since you are God’s possession, yield to Him in humble submission.

I’m convinced that if you will honestly study your position in Christ, your life will change. You’ll understand that failure in some aspect of Christian living doesn’t mean you lose your position. The position of a true Christian is settled forever—it’s unchanging and permanent. And on the other hand, just as stumbling won’t change your standing for the worse, growth won’t add to it for the better either. God’s favor doesn’t depend on your works. God “has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity” (2 Timothy 1:9).

Positionally, you cannot increase or decrease in the favor of God. As a genuine Christian, nothing you do, or fail to do, can change to the slightest degree your perfect standing before God—for “in Him you have been made complete” (Colossians 2:10).

Thankfully, that completeness does not mean that when you understand your position you will remain as you are—no, you will see changes in your life. The New Testament continually emphasizes your identity as a believer and urges you understand and apply your spiritual resources. As you continue to mature in Christ, you will not only come to a greater understanding of who you are, but you’ll also rely more consistently on your resources—those granted to you as a result of your position in Christ—to handle the practical aspects of Christian living. That’s the thrust of Paul’s appeal in Ephesians 4:1: “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.”

So what about you, Christian—do you know your position? If not, go back to the locker room and study the chalkboard—your Bible—and you’ll discover afresh the joy of who you are in Christ. If so, get in the game, play your position, and become in practice what you already are in position.



Who Does God Say We Are?

Who Does God Say We Are?
The New Testament describes the new identity of a disciple using a variety of word pictures. Here are a few…
Which of these new identities suits you best and why?
Disciples called / likened to:  

Scripture

 

Meaning

Fishers of men Matthew 4:19 We are called to “fish for people” with the net of the gospel.
Salt Matthew 5:13 We are to live in a way that makes people thirsty to know God; we are to act as a preservative in a corrupt society.
Light Matthew 5:14–16 In a dark world, we reflect God’s nature and shine for him.
Branches John 15:5 As branches connected to the Vine, Jesus, we bring his blessing/fruitfulness to the world.
Stewards/ Servants 1 Corinthians 4:1–2 We are managers of God’s good news, gifts, resources, and blessings—ultimately responsible and accountable to him.
Ambassadors 2 Corinthians 5:20 We are representatives of Christ’s kingdom to the lost people of this world.
Saints/Holy people Ephesians 1:1 We are God’s holy ones—by virtue of what Christ has done for us.
Citizens of heaven Philippians 3:20 Our allegiance is to God and his kingdom—not this world.
Soldiers 2 Timothy 2:3–4 We are engaged in a battle—not against people—but the spiritual forces of evil.
Athletes 2 Timothy 2:5 We are to live self-controlled lives and train ourselves to be godly.
Farmers 2 Timothy 2:6 We sow God’s word faithfully in order to reap an eternal harvest.
Living stones, a spiritual house 1 Peter 2:5 We are God’s dwelling place; his modern-day temple.
A priesthood 1 Peter 2:9–10 We may draw near to God—& we have the privilege of helping others do so.
Foreigners, exiles 1 Peter 2:11 This world is not our home. We are only passing through.


In Case You Still Aren’t Sure About The Shack…Updated For The Movie

Sadly, there is still need to address the serious theologically heretical issues presented in William Paul Young’s book, The Shack, because now it has made it to the big screen. 
The Shack 
will be released as early as tomorrow in many markets and is being promoted by many within evangelicalism.
 
There have been numerous articles written concerning the errors & dangers of the book and movie. Here are a few to study and share (Please share as Christians today repeatedly demonstrate a serious lack of discernment in spiritual matters):
 
 


Jesus is Lord

02-why-do-we-call-Him-Lord
That is the single, central, foundational, and distinguishing article of Christianity. It is also the first essential confession of faith every true Christian must make: “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
The belief that someone could be a true Christian while that person’s whole lifestyle, value system, speech, and attitude are marked by a stubborn refusal to surrender to Christ as Lord is a notion that shouldn’t even need to be refuted. It is an idea you will never find in any credible volume of Christian doctrine or devotion from the time of the earliest church fathers through the era of the Protestant Reformation and for at least three and a half centuries beyond that. The now-pervasive influence of the no-lordship doctrine among evangelicals reflects the shallowness and spiritual poverty of the contemporary evangelical movement. It is also doubtless one of the main causes for evangelicalism’s impoverishment. You cannot remove the lordship of Christ from the gospel message without undermining faith at its core. That is precisely what is happening in the church today.

Read more…