October 29, 2011

Christian Image…

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:50 pm by sranderson0103

Christian Images – Don R. Patton

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).
Christians and their characteristics are described in terms of many colorful metaphors in the Bible. Figures of speech often reach beyond the scope of our literal language and effectively communicate complex concepts in easily understood pictures. Picture what Christ is saying in the above text. Christ calls us “my sheep,” and has also said: “I am the good shepherd, . . . and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:14-15). The relationship between sheep and shepherd, familiar to New Testament Christians, beautifully illustrates sacrificial care, guidance, dependency, etc. Jesus says if we are truly His sheep, then we will listen to His voice, follow Him, eager to receive safety, peace, and nourishment.
He has also said: “You are the salt of the earth:…You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-14). We are therefore expected to bring the salt of preservation and joy to a bland, tasteless, and otherwise decaying world. We are entrusted with the light of salvation to guide a dark, tragically lost, sinful world to an eternal home in Heaven.

In another beautiful metaphor, the Lord Jesus has likened us to fruitful branches: “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5). Does He see you as fruitful branch or barren, uselessly absorbing nutrients with no produce?
The apostle Paul compares us to soldiers, to athletes, and to farmers: “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. He expects hardship. It’s a part of his job. Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. He understands, stepping out of bounds disqualifies. The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the bountiful harvest (II Timothy 2:3,5,6). These figures should illustrate and help us understand what Jesus expects of us.

With regard to our Christian life, Christ said “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16). The apostle Paul compares us to individual members in a great body. “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.” (I Corinthians 12:27). Peter says we are like, “living stones, …being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” He says we are, “chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (I Peter 2:5,9).

There are many other beautiful and meaningful figures of speech in the New Testament, all of which help us to appreciate the richness and fruitfulness of the Christian life. (Adapted from article by Henry Morris)

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