Foundations: Mission

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)

The past three days we have reviewed some beautiful realities. By the truth of God’s authoritative Word, empowered by grace, we are called out of our former darkness to live as holy. We have just one of our blog’s foundations left, and that is that we are created to be missional beings. After being for God’s glory, we are called to live set-apart lives because we are given the incredible job of being ambassadors for the Kingdom of God! We represent our King, bringing the gospel of reconciliation to a lost world.

Since I was young, I have loved reading missionary biographies. I always admired that missionary men and women showed such consistency and clarity of purpose in their lifestyles. There was no question as to why they went to the people groups God called them to; they were there with the singular objective of evangelizing and making disciples. For years I yearned for that type of clarity in my own life.

When I was 18 years old and attending summer camp as a middle school leader, I had the opportunity to sit on the beach one afternoon with our visiting missionary and speaker’s wife and share my heart for the mission field with her. One part of our conversation in particular stood out to me. She said, “If you aren’t living a missional life in the context God has placed you in today, you won’t become a faithful missionary just because you have a change of address.” Through our conversation, the Lord grew my understanding of His Word and I felt convicted that we are actually all called to be “missionaries.” All Christians are commanded in scripture to evangelize and disciple, wherever God has placed us!

Certainly vocational missionaries have a wonderful and special role in this endeavor as those who work to spread the gospel to unreached people full-time; but that does not mean the rest of us are off the hook. There are at least two things that we can do on earth now, of which we won’t be able to do in Heaven: sin and evangelize to the lost. Which do you think we are here on this earth for? We have been redeemed to lives of purpose! We have a mission, and that is to proclaim Christ’s name with our lives and voices in the places and at the times the Lord provides, making the most of every opportunity. It is with this understanding in mind that we write to you here at Adelphe Collective. Our posts are written with the goal that you would be challenged to think missionally with us about our world, but also that you would consider your personal context and how God has called you to serve and proclaim Him faithfully there. If you are in Christ, we write to you as those who have been set-apart to passionately proclaim the great gospel we have received. And if you are not yet a believer, we write to you to say, “We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God,” (2 Corinthians 5:20).

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Foundations: Holiness

Holiness

It is a fearful thing when justification by faith alone, in Christ alone, is not taught clearly in any given ministry. And it is important that, as Christians, we be sure to explain the truth that salvation comes not from works but through faith, given to us as a free gift of God’s grace. And yet, we see that the Bible still calls us to action. For example, Scripture is clear that in being saved, we are adopted as God’s children; and if we are His children, we are to act in such a way that we represent our Father. “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,  since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy (1 Peter 1:14-16).”

Peter’s instruction to the church is to be holy, just like God. God’s holiness is one of the incommunicable attributes that makes Him so different from us; God’s holiness, His perfect character, is in a class all of its own. So how can we be holy like Him if we are naturally so different from God?

It seems that we often approach the truth of Scripture with self-confidence and certainty, looking to our own understanding of the Bible that seems to click well with our experiences, circumstances, and cultures. However, a call to holiness, a call to be like God Himself should humble us and even cause us to doubt our thinking that has been painted by culture and upbringing. The great contrast of considering His holiness against our sinfulness should really show us just how inadequate, ignorant, and helpless we truly are. And we should meekly come to God, asking Him for all wisdom to understand His holy Word.

Sometimes we think we can make sense of God, and we feel comfortable with what the Scriptures say. They may encourage us and bless us – the Word of God does that. But when the Bible shows us the implications of God’s holiness, we are often confused and willing to shy away from the truths that we should obey, scared by the fact that this new knowledge of God doesn’t seem to fit our understanding of Him.

But we can’t shy away because the cost is too high! As women who worship the King, we need to examine our lives in light of God’s Word, and submit ourselves to Him – not just because it’s right, but because He is worthy of our obedience and submission! God alone is perfect, holy, and righteous, and He alone should be worshipped. So let’s look boldly to God’s Word, not placing any confidence in our own former ignorance, but being sure in Him, our God who practices and delights in love, righteousness, and justice (Jeremiah 9:24). Adelphe’s goal is neither to be different nor have different perspectives for the sake of being different, but instead to be set-apart for the sake of honoring Christ and bringing glory to His name. Ladies, let’s not be Pharisees, leaving people with an incomplete understanding of Christ and the gospel. But let’s call sin, sin so that we can show people their need for a Savior. ∇

 

Foundations: Grace

Grace

“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Colossians 4:6

We hope that the topics that are brought up on this blog will cultivate considerable amounts of thought, spur on a conviction, and even entice change in the hearts and minds of those who read. But maybe you’ll find that some of these topics are difficult to settle with one post. It might be that your personal experience, or that of a friend or family member, gives you reason to be cautious when approaching a certain issue. Or maybe you find that, upon reading a post, you’ve searched the scriptures and dealt with the same questions, and completely disagree with our conclusions.

It is our desire that Adelphé Collective be a medium by which you are thoroughly challenged to consider God’s word and character, and your heart and ways. And we have purposed ourselves to graciously present the truth of scripture when defending a position. Grace in writing is extending a kind word, filled with hope, and rooted in truth. We understand that there is so much to grapple with when discussing challenging topics surrounding sexuality and gender, racism, submission and authority, and more; and yet we aim to have all that we write uphold God’s truth while also displaying the love we have for every person!

Our example is the Lord. Jesus was 100% truth: never dishonoring His Father in heaven, He spoke accurately of the prophecies and did not shy from preaching of the judgment to come. But He was also 100% grace: extending His love to anyone who would receive, embracing sinners and inviting them to freedom from sin, and promising to sustain His followers until their faith became sight. His kindness, His grace, leads us to repentance.

Most of all, it is our desire that these writings direct you to know the grace that can only be found in the Lord Jesus Christ. “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace,” (John 1:16). This grace is given freely those who are humble, and who trust in God for all wisdom and righteousness (James 4:6-7). To think, that such a holy and awesome God would provide such grace, the only means by which we can obey Him – this only speaks of how great His love and kindness is towards us. We pray that you would know the fullness of God’s grace that is found in Jesus Christ, and that you would consider Him more beautiful and more essential than all else. His grace is what saves us, and provides us the means and desire to do and think according to His will (Titus 2:11-12). And so, it is by grace, and with grace, that we will share what we’ve learned with you. ∇

Foundations: Truth

Truth, grace, holiness, and missional living. These four ideas are the foundation for everything we plan to write about on this blog. For the next four days, Priscilla and I will take turns sharing mini-posts expounding upon why each particular element is necessary to thinking accurately about the world around us. If we leave even one out, our perspective will end up skewed in some way. So let’s dive in!

Truth
American culture is entrenched in relativism, the belief that all things are subjective based on personal experience. Maybe you have heard the analogy of “The Elephant and the Blind Men” before? Each one of them arrived at a different conclusion of what an elephant was like (It’s flexible and thick! It’s broad and rough! It’s thin and hairy!) based on the different part of it’s body that each man was feeling. Thankfully they had a wise king to reveal to them that they all held a piece of the truth. None of them were wrong, they just held a piece of a puzzle that made up the whole picture! That story sounds really profound for about two seconds, until you realize that the teachers of relativism ironically are placing themselves in the position of the wise king who sees what everyone else doesn’t. Apparently, they see the whole puzzle. Everyone else is just a silly blind man describing an elephant based on how it’s tail, or trunk, or leg alone feels. What else would give them the authority to know that everyone’s truth is relative to another person’s truth? Subjectivity reigns, with a few enlightened individuals seeing the big picture. The only objective reality to a relativist is that there is no objective reality. (Wait, what?)

Any discussion about what truth is or is not eventually comes down to an issue of authority. As created beings, it follows that we would look to our Creator as the authority on what truth is. Our Creator God has chosen to reveal Himself in His inspired Word. 2 Timothy 3:16a tells us that, “All scripture is breathed out by God,” and it is there that He tells us, “Be still and know that I am God,” (Psalm 46:10). If we begin with that premise, we are able to understand that when it comes to truth, it is objectively based on the Word of God alone. We are pursuers of truth because we serve the Originator of all that is true in this world. Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” (John 8:31b-32). Our culture puts a high value on liberation, and yet because of the scriptures we know that true freedom can only come from knowing and subjecting ourselves to the One who is, “the way, the truth, and the life,” (John 14:6). Freedom is rooted in knowing God and His truth for our salvation and sanctification, which is to say, in knowing the gospel. We are committed to being pursuers of God’s truth, and to teach it with authority (Titus. 2:15), because God’s holy Word truly holds the answers for all of life! We are fallible human beings, so we’ll be the first to admit we might not see the whole elephant (does any one person understand all things about everything and how they all go together?), but we know the One who created the elephant, the people feeling it, the sky above, and the ground they’re all standing on. He is the King of Kings, and He invites us to know what is truly true through the Bible!