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(Part 123)


June 18, 2015
Today’s reading: 2 Corinthians 11:1-11

What is the wonderful nature of our calling in Christ? We as God’s people are the bride of Christ. We are betrothed to God, who as lover and husband is jealous and possessive, as is fitting. Thus, in Paul’s work of proclaiming the gospel and bringing people to God, he too was mindful of such calling, and jealously and zealously worked to keep God’s people on the right track. “For I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God, since I betrothed you to one husband to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” (v.2). We are to be mindful of our covenant, in the context of love and marriage. We are to be chaste, pure, holy, as is fitting for the holy and divine Bridegroom.

Now just as the devil is destroying marriages today (actually from the beginning in Eden), the devil continues to deceive us about such calling, in order to draw us away from God and away from our destiny. “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts my be corrupted from a sincere and pure commitment to Christ.” (v.3). We start off professing love for and commitment to Jesus, and then later veer away. This happens as we no longer strive to be holy, as we do not live out our covenant in community, as we remain self-referential, as we dissent from our vision and mission, as we fail to live out servant leadership, as we are reluctant to embrace the cross of Christ. Such corruption of mind is the work of the enemy.

This is why it is important and necessary to keep harping on our vision, mission, call and culture. This is the purpose of these From the Servant General articles. Thus “in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.” (v.6b). But are you listening? Are you even reading and meditating on these articles? If you do not, then you can be more easily seduced by the enemy and swayed by others, even including other Christians. “For if someone comes and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it well enough.” (v.4).

What are these other Jesuses?

  • One who in the name of mercy and compassion will stop short of calling sinners to repentance.
  • One who loves all people such that no one will be condemned to hell.
  • One who does not call for self-denial and embrace of the cross.

What are these different spirits?

  • The spirit of complacency that makes us comfortable in our inaction.
  • The spirit of contradiction that makes us insist on our own ideas, priorities and agenda, even to the point of conflict and division.
  • The spirit of worldly leadership that looks to power, position and perks, contrary to the call to servant leadership.
  • The spirit of competition and exaltation that makes religious organizations look basically to their own interests rather than to that of the wider Church, even to the point of causing scandal and disobeying bishops.

What are these different gospels?

  • The gospel of prosperity that shuns the cross.
  • The gospel of kumbaya that just looks to getting along well together and feeling good in each other’s company, while ignoring the demands of the authentic gospel for righteousness and discipleship.
  • The gospel of sects and cults that reject Jesus as God, the one true Church that is the Catholic Church and Mary as Mother of God and Mediatrix.

There will always be attractions offered by the world and the devil. Even assuming we are firmly in Christ and will not easily fall into serious wrongdoing, we can still be deceived, and thus disarmed. We must understand and embrace the fullness of who we are and what our call is as CFC-FFL.

One more thing. We proclaim the gospel free of charge. We are like Paul, who “preached the gospel of God to you without charge.” (v.7b). Other Christian preachers are making oodles of money from preaching the gospel. This is not our way. We do not benefit financially from the gospel, individually or corporately. God intends the gospel of salvation to be preached to the ends of the earth, and grace is God’s free gift. Thus paying money to hear the gospel should not be placed as a stumbling block.

This is why our CLSs are free. This is why the NEC was free, even as it cost us a bundle to mount it. How can the poor participate if they have to pay? I would like to see the day when we do not charge anything at all for our programs and events--MERs, conferences, anniversaries, etc.

How then do we pay for our expenses? We must exercise financial stewardship and pay our tithes. If all CFC-FFL members gave something, even not a full tithe, we would have more than enough to fund all our expenses and expand our work even further. Then there are resources of parishioners, which remain to be better tapped. Then there are other sources, such as foundations and CSRs of corporations. “I plundered other churches by accepting from them in order to minister to you.” (v.8). There is more than enough money available. The problem is what God intends for mission has remained in the pockets of His people. Shame!

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