“To Be or Not to Be”… Chosen

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“I am not talking about all of you; I know those I have chosen.  But the Scripture must come true that says, ‘The man who shared My food turned against Me.'”  John 13:18

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Lord, You speak words of encouragement, but always around Your words of encouragement are words of warning.  And this continues the warning.  But, no matter what, You always speak truth because You are Truth.

Now, You just finished telling us “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”  Which means, “Everything I’ve shared, all you’ve seen of Me and learned of My character, this is what gives You supreme joy and fulness as You let it flow from you.”  Skip Moen put it this way, “The one who realizes, acknowledges, and lives according to the truth revealed in [You] is the luckiest person on earth (and in heaven)[!]  He has found the key to life itself[!]”   (Exclamations added by me!)  And that is the awesome news, the Good News!  But it is conditional news.  It’s conditional upon our acting upon You.  But there are also conditions of our not acting upon You, which is really acting against You.  

“I am not speaking of all of you…”  Jesus was saying that for Judas Iscariot’s benefit.  Things were already going on in Judas’s heart.  The others didn’t know yet because it’s easy to hide sin in our hearts from others for a while.  It’s easy to look good and righteous on the outside and hide things on the inside.  But Judas already had a greater love for money than he did for people.  Now, Scripture says that the disciples saw the woman pour the alabaster flask of very expensive ointment over Your head and they were really mad thinking, “Why this waste?  For this could have been sold to care for the poor.”  But Scripture lets us know that Judas wasn really concerned for the poor, but for the money bag.  Somehow, Judas ate and slept and performed miracles under You, He listened day after day to Your teaching, and He saw Your character, yet He was unmoved by You internally.  I don’t know what he was holding on to, Lord, but he never took hold of You.  But You knew that all along.  You know our hearts.  We can’t hide anything from You.   It’s not a sin to not fully understand Your heart.  The other disciples were starting to get it.  At least they realized Your compassion for the needy, that they were worth changing our lifestyles and spending over.  But it is a sin when I refuse to agree with Your heart, when I reject what is right in Your eyes.

“I am not speaking of all of you…”  “Some of you will not accept these things, just like Judas did not.  Some of you will not accept Me for who I AM, just like Judas did not.  Some of you will remain lord of your lives and will not let Me be.  I know who You are.  You can’t fool Me.  I’ve always known.  See, You missed the whole point, the whole truth of the matter, I’m God!”  

“I know whom I have chosen…”  This is really powerful here.  Earlier in John 6:70, You said, “Haven’t I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?”    You know intimately who You have chosen.  “But the solid foundation that God has laid cannot be shaken; and on it are written these words: ‘The Lord knows those who are His’ and ‘Those who say that they belong to the Lord must turn away from wrongdoing.’  In a large house there are dishes and bowls of all kinds:  some are made of silver and gold, others of wood and clay; some are for special occasions, others for ordinary use.  Those who make themselves clean from all those evil things, will be used for special purposes, because they are dedicated and useful to their Master, ready to be used for every good deed.”  (2 Timothy 2:19-21)  What shows I am Yours?  I turn from wrongdoing.  What is wrongdoing?  

The Greek word, “adikia” and it’s Hebrew equivalent throughout the Old Testament means injustice, “moral wrongfulness of character, life, or act.”  But the only way we can know what injustice is, what moral wrongness is, is by comparing our character, life, or actions against Yours.  You are the One who has set justice and righteousness in motion.  I must compare myself to You.  Does my character line up with Yours?  This is righteousness.  Does my character not line up with Yours?  This is sin.  What do you mean it’s sin?  1 John 5:17  says “All unrighteousness is sin…”  Unrighteousness is not lining up with Your character.  It’s not giving like You give.  It’s not loving like You love.  It’s not having Your compassion for others.  It’s not having Your heart for the poor and needy.  It’s not surrendering to You.  It’s not sharing.  It’s not giving thanks always.  It’s not rejoicing in the midst of trials.  It’s having my own way and not Yours.  This is SIN.  And if I choose my own way over You and Yours, I will not be blessed.  I’ll be pronouncing a curse on myself.  I choose to deny the blessing of walking with You and and may be choosing my own eternity separated from You if I choose to remain my own “boss.”

I can’t help thinking about the Tabernacle and the Temple.  How all the instruments and bowls used inside were of finest quality and craftsmanship.  They weren’t just created by anybody.  You gave the craftmen skill from You to be able to create those items to Your specifications because they were to be set apart and holy and represent You in a symbolic way.  They were Yours.  Fine gold and silver bowls were used in Your holy place.  No one ever would have brought a chamber pot in.  How foul!  But there are times when we need a pot for an “ordinary” use.  Only we don’t save them and treasure them.  One day, those “ordinary” items get broken or sent to the trash heap or burn pile.  You chose both Moses and Pharoah.  No matter what, both would bring You glory.  If they both surrendered to Your choosing, it would have looked differently and many lives would have been saved.  But Pharoah hardened his heart first and refused to let You craft him into a vessel of honor.  So he stayed a chamber pot.  And after his usefulness was over, he met his destruction.  Sadly, he took his people with him.

“I know who I have chosen.”  It’s really special to be chosen.  And the wonderful thing is, that in Your kingdom, it’s just as wonderful and rewarding to be chosen last as it is to be chosen first.  Not so in the world.  The Greek of “chosen” is “eklegomai” and it means to select, to choose out.  It carries the meaning of “electing people to perform a certain task, or administer a certain office.” (C. Gordon Olson, Th.M., D.Miss)  He goes on to add that the election itself is what gives the person the ability or power to do what he is called to do, or to fulfill that office.  And that’s what this is all about.  You are choosing us and electing us and appointing us to fulfill Your office here on earth.  But some of us are refusing that office.  Some of us are denying the power of that office.  We are walking away from our election, from our obligation.  But for those of us who accept that office, Your office, WOW!

“I know who I have chosen.”  I better keep this in mind.  “For many are called, but few are chosen.”  (Matthew 22:14)  Lord, You invite many into the priveleges and functions of Your office, of who You are.  You invite many to participate in You.  But the problem is so many don’t choose to measure up to the standards of the office.  We refuse to step up.  We can’t, because we won’t let You shape us for it.  Ah, but if I do, if I let You shape me and I accept Your office, Your calling, that is the greatest adventure of life!  This is the thing, You sum it all up in Revelation 17:14.  Who makes it to the end?  Who will You know before the Father?  Who will be with You until the end?  “[They] that are with Him are [the] called, and chosen, and faithful.”   What I do with You makes all the difference in my life and my death.  

Twelve men shared Your food.  Twelve men walked with You and learned from You.  Twelve men experienced You and Your power.  Eleven men received You.  Eleven men accepted Your calling and entered Your office through You.  They accepted everything You suffered for themselves.  They accepted Your way of life for themselves.  They received You and Your power and Your life and Your way of life.  But one of those twelve, Judas, turned against You.  He chose to reject You and Your office.  He chose his own way and his own destiny separate from You.  He chose destruction over blessing.

Lord, I choose You.  You are the Way to Life.  Make me like You in every way.  I want to spend so much time with You that I know exactly how You would respond no matter the situation.  And that will take time.  But, Lord, I have all eternity because I’m already Yours!  So, every day may I respond more and more like You as I continually draw nearer to You.  I want to give like You give.  I want to love like You love.  I want to learn humbleness after You.  All that “little stuff” we often overlook, seems like the really important stuff to me, and that’s how I want to resemble You.  I want to live just like You, no matter what, because I want people to know what You are really like and who You really are.

And, Lord, maybe there is someone out there struggling with really trusting You right now.  Maybe they are having trouble really acting in faith.  Give them eyes to see what it really looks like.  Open their eyes to see You.  And let them experience You and come to know the little things that are what make You You.  I pray that today is the day that they surrender everything to You and stop pretending they’re o.k.

 

 

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