This may appear to be a rather unusual title to give this monthly message to the church members or anyone who may be interested in that they may be intrigued or challenged by the title to look deeper into the following explanation presented.
The ministry in the Cornerstone Family church this year has primarily been focused on the theme of “climbing spiritually higher” in our personal fellowship with the Lord and within the church, this has been placing a strong emphasis upon ones own personal commitment and desire to grow into spiritual maturity.
Candidly it is easy to say we are going spiritually higher, when in practical terms this requires and challenges believers to take a long look at themselves in the mirror of the Word of God and come to the clear understanding that there is a price to pay for every step of spiritual growth.
Recently a book named “Fatherhood” interested me as it was written from a biblical viewpoint. Immediately my attention was captured with an illustration the author had used to emphasize a scriptural principle, that if anyone wishes to climb higher in the Lord they inevitably have to “GO DOWN BEFORE THEY CAN GO UP”.
The illustration is the author is looking down from his room in a high rise hotel and saw foundations were being prepared for another nearby high-rise building, he noticed they dug deep down until hitting Bed-Rock, only then laying directly upon the exposed rock a strong concrete foundation designed to bear the full weight of the future building.
Before Jesus could begin to build the Church, He had to apply the same principle, going down before rising up. The initial step is described to us in Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi.
Philippians.2:5-11. “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.
Instead He gave up His divine privileges. He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form.
He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died criminal’s death upon the cross.Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honour and gave Him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father”.NLT
Jesus is Rock of our salvation, Psalm.62:1-2 & 7, there are many other scriptures that refer to God as our rock. Matthew.7:24-28, Jesus teaching indicated there two total different methods for building a house – meaning oneself, family, or church, a wise man “digs down deep” Luke.6:47-48 building upon the Rock, but the foolish man builds upon the sand or earth. From this teaching Jesus is pointing to himself as the Rock on which to build. John14:6. “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”
Jesus is the one and only foundation.
“According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation and another builds upon it. But let each one take heed how he builds.”
‘“For no other foundation can anyone lay than which is laid, which is Jesus Christ”’
Jesus through His sacrificial death, burial and resurrection laid the once for all time the only strong immovable foundation, upon which the church, or ourselves can effectively build upon as we strive to progress higher and higher in the Lord.
The Apostle Paul is an excellent example to having to go down before rising up higher. His zealous vicious persecution of Christians and the church literally knew no boundaries, as he strongly promoted the narrow Pharisaic belief the O.T Law must be upheld and christianity extinguished. Until one day when on the road to Damascus the Lord Jesus met with him in a face to face confrontation, resulting with Paul falling the ground he immediately submitting himself to the Lord, “What do you want me to do Lord?”.
From this point Paul is a change man, becomes totally committed to the Lord’s purpose for his life, consequently we see that he reaches higher, and higher, becoming a mighty effective Apostle of Christ.
There is no limit or height we cannot reach, providing we are like Paul, and simply say, “Lord what do you want me to do?” Submission and faithfulness opens the way to reach ever higher in the Lord. Spiritual growth is always on the Lord’s conditions and will never ours.
Ps Terry Brinded