“The Trinity has eternally been self-sufficient. There has never been a time when God was not giving and receiving love,” Dr. Ike Butterworth said in his Foundations Class Sunday, Nov. 23. “God was eternally self-sufficient. He wasn’t lonely. The three members of the Trinity were always loving each other.”
Butterworth recalled seeing a play where James Earl Jones (portraying God) came out and said, “I’m lonely so I think I’ll make a world. What’s wrong with that? He wasn’t lonely, that’s right.”
“We’re not here to fill out a void in God. We’re here because the love of God is overflowing. And because of that He brought us into existence. It’s a wonderful truth isn’t it?”
In 1 Peter, chapter 2, verses 9 and 10 we are told that we are a chosen race, a royal priesthood and a holy nation,” said Butterworth.
“What makes the church distinctive is that we were once in darkness, but we have now been transformed by the grace of God into the Kingdom of His Son, which is a Kingdom of light. We were not worthy of that. That’s not the point. And I think there are a lot of people outside of the church who look at us and think we think that we’re a little better than them. And that’s one of the things I would have to say that we need to guard against very carefully. We don’t want to come across as holier than thou or self-righteous. Our witness is not about us. We bear witness to the one who is truly the source of light Jesus Christ, right?”
“So God shows us because he loves us, not because we’re lovable. He wants us to both experience his love and to embody his love as we take the gospel to neighbors and the nations,” he said. “That is a well-stated concept.”
“Take that and work it into a commission you might think that God has for you. How would you write a commission? Peter tells us we’re a royal priesthood. What would be elements Christ would tells to be sure to include in our commission?”
One class member said, “We’re supposed to engage with people. We’re supposed to connect.”
Another said, “Your words should be consistent with your actions.”
Jay Bitsche said, “Get out of your comfort zone.”
Butterworth said, “Jesus always had his disciples out of their comfort zones didn’t he? He had them walking on water. He had them feeding huge crowds of people.”
Another member said, “I think of David and Nathan when Nathan called David out on what he was doing. It’s accountability.”
Butterworth said, “It might be a hazard to open our hearts in a group this size when we say ‘I want to ask you about this.’ In a culture of accountability there has to be a lot of trust.”
Another member said, “Being faithful to the Word.”
“If Jesus were commissioning us what might He say to us?” Butterworth concluded. “We could refine this list. Can you imagine yourself every morning before you walk out the front door of your house thinking, ‘Why am I here? I am here to do what Jesus told me to do in the Great Commission. Go make disciples of all nations. What if you and I were to be stewards of every role we play, eveery place we find outselves so that when I’m at work or at home I’m going to work for my employer I work for the honor of the one who has commissioned me.”
Butterworth said, “What would happen if we did say in thie course of tis day I’m going to be present wherever I am for the glory of the Kingdom. As a witness to Christ. What would that be like?”
One member said, “Life-changing.”
Butterworth answered, “I’ve heard people say that when they wake up in the morning, place their feet on the floor they say ‘Lord before I take another step I want you to take me where you want me to be today, give me the words you want me to say today, help me to love the people you place in my path and let me be a witness to your grace.'”
“What does holy mean?”
“Set apart,” a class member responded.
“That’s right we’re set apart to serve God. Not holier than other people or holier than thou,” Dr. Butterworth answered.
“We are people set apart for this. We’re here because God wants us,” Butterworth further said.
“If you let these scriptures seep into you you can see that God wants you in his family to do the family business. It’s nothing in me that sparked His interst in me. He moved toward us in grace because of his purposes. If we can remind ourselves we’re Christ’s treasured possessions, we’re in this world to work on God’a agenda as well as our own,” Butterworth explained.
He further said that next week the class would discuss “the perfection that awaits us someday. I love how John in his little epistle 1 John 3, talks about God’s love, ” Beloved see what great love God has for us. What we shall be is not yet clear. When we see Christ, we will be like him. And so that’s what we’ve got to look forward to in the Kingdom of God.”
The Foundations Class will meet again at 9:30 a.m. next Sunday at 3601 Taft across the street from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. It is open to the public for those who would like to hear a discussion of what we will be like when we see Christ. The class is located at First Presbyterian Church of Wichita Falls, Tx.