2003-11-17 - Casting
James 4:10 Cast downe yourselues before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
I am using a sermon by Sebastian Benefield, published in 1614, that I found convicting. I found it fairly hard hitting, and while the situations are different, and the spelling off the wall, and the perspective is not what we might be used too...well, I had to read it twice. I would like to take one thing he hit on and try to make it contemporary. (On the side here, I don't know what version he was using with the verse quoted above. It is not the KJV, which came out in 1611, so I imagine he might have been using his own translation of the Greek, but I really don't know. It could also be the Geneva Bible, but I don't have a copy of that to check. This is why I maintained the spelling and word usage exactly as he had it in the verse quoted above.)
Benefield, in the only book I could find anything about him in, was called an eminent divine. He was born at Pretbury, Gloucestershire, England, 1559 and died in 1630. The book I got my info on him has just over five short lines, but it says, "He was well skilled in all parts of learning, and remarkable for strictness of life and sincerity." Can you imagine living a life of faithfulness to the extent that almost 400 years after you die, someone is saying that about you? Amazing.
Benefield starts off by touching on what Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:4, namely, that it is not a good idea to get sidetracked by speculations. He gives some examples that are not currently relevant to the struggles of our church today, but I would like to supply one on my own that I know will get me in trouble. Here is what I see. As far as speculations go in the Christian community, I see people more interested in what day Christ is going to return than they are about how to make sure they escape the judgment that comes with his return. Benefield did not say that, but I think it fits our contemporary church.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:2 that he was, "Determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." That is to be our perspective. It is not about dates or speculations. We don't need to set time tables for the Lord to return, or do this or that in the world, or even in our lives. We will know when the Lord is working. One of the things we see in Scripture is that when the Lord works, He makes His business known.
I am not sure I live my life in such a way that I can say with confidence, "I cast down my life before the Lord." Sure I can say it, but I also live very independently. Can I really simply cast down my life? It is easy to say. It is easy to say we embrace such a character. It is not easy to live. Can we cast down ourselves? Can we live a life that does not seek to lift ourselves up? It is a penetrating question. Can we be people of faith to the point that we cast down ourselves before the Lord with the trust that He will lift us up? This is what the verse says. Do we embrace it?
Soli Deo Gloria,