[forthright] Added to an Elite Group

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Mar 2010 04:11:48 -0800 (PST)
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross

Richard Mansel goes to the Bible to answer ... "The
Most Important Question." Great for classes, groups,
evangelistic studies and individuals. 
http://forthrightpress.com/#MostImportant


COLUMN: LIVING THE FAITH

Added to an Elite Group
 by Richard Mansel, managing editor

In our society, being a member of an elite, exclusive
group is anathema. It supposedly evidences a snobby
attitude where we disdain everyone else who does not
attain our lofty standards.

In a postmodern age, when feelings matter more than
truth, we strive to see everyone and everything as
equal. No one can stand out.

As a result, some schools stop giving numerical grades
and sports teams stop keeping score. A musical in Japan
last year saw everyone play the lead, so no fragile
egos would be damaged.

Accordingly, people apply this worldly definition to
the spiritual realm and allow Satan another victory.
Exclusivity is not inherently evil.

Every amateur and professional sports team is
exclusive. Companies/Corporations only employ a certain
group of people.

These examples are easy to understand, but Satan has
nothing invested in them. Satan’s ultimate goal is to
destroy God’s people. He does that by leading us away
from God and into confusion and division (John 8:44).

We all understand that the Godhead is exclusive. People
usually do not mock the Apostles for being an elite
group. Nor do they criticize Noah and his family for
being the only ones saved from the flood. Are those who
will be in heaven, snobs?

Notice very carefully that we are not in an elite group
because we are in a church. We are in an elite group
because we are in Christ.

Being in Christ is to be a member of the most exclusive
group on earth. He has built one church (Matthew
16:18; Ephesians 4:4), which is his body (Ephesians
1:22-23).

Christians are set apart from the world because of the
blood of Christ (Romans 5:6-9; 1 John 1:7) and the
truth of his word (John 17:17). We walk in Jesus daily
and we enjoy all spiritual blessings because of our
kinship with the Lord (Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 2:19).

Sanctification means to, "set apart for God as it were,
exclusively his."/1 The word for sanctification in
Greek came from a word originally meaning, "an object
of awe." /2

People outside of the body of Christ should look upon
those inside Christ and know that they are different
because they are living the fruits of the spirit and
the love of Christ (Galatians 5:22-23).

Clearly, being in Christ puts Christians into an
exclusive group like no other known to humanity. Christ
built his one church and we can be a part of that elite
family.

Man's idea of exclusivity crumbles when applied to the
Lord’s Church for the following reasons.

Christians are in an elite group because they have been
added (Acts 2:47). They have done nothing to merit
salvation, having had their sins remitted through the
grace of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Therefore, they have
nothing of which to brag (James 4:10).

God's people are in an elite group committed to
service, love, and gentleness. They wish to help those
outside of Christ come to the Lord (Matthew 28:18-20).
They are commanded to love everyone.

Members of Christ’s body are in an elite group bringing
glory to Christ, rather than receiving it for
themselves (Ephesians 3:20-21). They proclaim Christ,
knowing they are mere sinners and have no right to
glory (1 John 1:10).

Christians are in an elite group that teaches rather
than mocks and hates those outside of their group.

In fact, Christians want everyone to be a part of them!
Will you become a member of this exclusive group today?
(Acts 2:38).

_________

1/ Joseph H. Thayer, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of
the New Testament (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1977),
40.

2/ Walter Bauer, William F. Ardnt and F. Wilbur
Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament
and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: The
University of Chicago Press, 1979), 9.

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