Pastor Jonathan Fontanarosa, speaker of the recent E16 conference in SIBKL, spoke about the genius of God’s order.
Pastor Fontanarosa is the senior leader of Edge Church International, a multi-campus church located in Australia, United Kingdom and United States.
He is committed to mobilizing the church to serve the community and over the years has overseen many major community transformation projects.
THE GENIUS OF AND
Pastor Fontanarosa started the session by sharing about the genius of and.
The gospel is a wholesome gospel, tying contrasting elements in one harmonious way.
Truth and Grace
For example, Jesus is full of truth and grace (John 1:14;17). In other words, truth and grace are inseparable.
But for the sake of experimentation, let us explore truth and grace as independent elements.
Truth without grace is Christless and mere religion (John 1:14;17).
Grace without truth is faux (Romans 6:1).
But truth and grace give the full picture of Jesus Christ (John 1:14). Together, truth and grace produce holiness.
Faith and Action
The next example is faith and action.
Faith without action is dead (James 2:17).
Action without faith is not pleasing to God (Hebrews 11:6).
But faith and action produces righteousness (James 2:24).
Head and Body
The other example is head and body.
Christ is the head of the church; the church is His body (Ephesians 5:23).
The head and the body are inseparable. Christ and the church are inseparable.
In other words, God has purposed us to be with Jesus Christ as our head. God has also purposed us to be with other members of the body, the church (Romans 12:3-4).
…so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (Romans 12:5)
Abraham and Isaac and Jacob
Another good example is God identifying Himself as the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob (Matthew 22:32).
God has purposed His church to be a generational church. Every generation has an irreplaceable position and role in Christ’s body.
Power and Purpose
Lastly, we have the example of power and purpose.
Not only God has power, His power comes with purpose.
For example, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego told King Nebuchadnezzar that God is able to deliver them from the furnace (Daniel 3:17). In other words, God has the power to deliver them.
Yet, they declared that they would reject King Nebuchadnezzar’s gods even though God does not deliver them (Daniel 3:18). They recognized that God’s power comes with His divine purpose.
The power and purpose of God are inseparable. It also explains why God choose to heal or not to heal. Although God can heal, He does not always heal according to His divine and unique purpose in each person.
Old Testament and New Testament
The gospel is wholesome, with the old testament and new testament as equally important to us.
Conclusion of and
The genius is not in the isolating and dividing or, but in the completing and harmonious and.
THE GENIUS OF AND THEN
God is also a God of order. If we go one step further than and, we get and then.
Mary and then Martha
For example, the story of Mary and Martha respectively represents sitting and serving.
Sitting (or resting) without serving breeds laziness.
Serving without sitting breeds weariness.
But sitting and serving breeds faithfulness.
We now understand the importance of and in Scripture. But what comes first? Do we sit and then serve or serve and then sit?
It would make sense that we sit and then we serve.
And then according to Scripture
In Scripture, we find many orders of God.
We receive God’s love and then we love Him back and love others. We love because God love us first (1 John 4:19).
We show grace and then we present the truth. Jesus showed grace to the adulterous woman before He asked her to sin no more (John 8:1-11).
We affirm our love and then we gently rebuke the person. Apostle Paul always addressed the saints in love in his letters first before gently rebuking them.
Applying and then in our lives
This revelation of and then is magical when we apply it to our life.
For example, in a conflict with our spouse, we show grace and affirm our love for them, and then only we present the truth. So often, when we do the reverse, the truth becomes less acceptable. This applies to disciplining children as well.
Another brilliant order is to share the gospel at the garden and then sin, the cross and reconcilliation with God. Beginning the gospel from the garden allows us to start from God’s love.
THE BIG CONCLUSION
The and reminds us of how none of us can claim we know it all or we can stand alone. We need God and we need each other.
The and then reminds us that if Jesus Christ comes before all and then, everything will surely follow in proper order.
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Note: All pictures are credited to SIBKL.