Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Refiner's Process: Refinement

This is an excerpt from a message given at the Pembroke Fellowship Church Mother/Daughter Banquet in May. To read the first two parts, click on the links below.


The Refiner's Process

The Refiner's Process: Formation


Once a diamond or a precious stone has been mined, it has to be refined. Refinement is defined as: The process of removing impurities or unwanted elements from a substance. To improve or perfect by pruning or polishing; to free from what is coarse, vulgar, or uncouth; elevate.

 
The value of a diamond is determined by the 4C’s--color, clarity, cut and carat.

                               
Color—Diamonds come in every color and shape and so do God’s precious gems. You don’t have to be a size 2 with hair flowing down your back to be beautiful and brilliant. God made each of us beautiful and unique in our own way. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

 Clarity—The clarity of a diamond is its purity. How many flaws or imperfections are in the stone. We’ve all been marred by sin. Sin clouds us. Sin is impurity. Un-confessed sin blocks intimacy with God. If you’re going to shine, you have to remove the sin from your life.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

 
Cut Diamonds as we know them sparkle because of the facets that are cut into them while shaping them. Natural diamonds that haven't yet been mined don't sparkle because they haven’t been cut. Because a diamond is the strongest material in the world to our knowledge, it can withstand great forces, pressure and highest of temperatures, therefore it is cut using a laser. Laser cutting also means that each cut is the smoothest, ensuring a greater amount of light reflection due to a smoother surface.

 The laser that God uses to cut us is the Word of God.

 “For the word of God is alive, active and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Hebrews 4:12

 “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” 2 Timothy 3:16

 When we want to do wrong, the word cuts us. When you want to cuss somebody out or get revenge when someone has done you wrong. I can’t stand them. The word cuts you.

 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”

 Ouch that hurts Lord. But they did me wrong. “Forgive as you have been forgiven.”

 You want to please your flesh. “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

 Carat This is the weight of a diamond. A diamond’s weight is measured in carats. As the carat weight of a diamond increases so does its rarity and therefore its price.

 What produces our weight? What makes us heavy? Paul tells us right in 2 Corinthians 4:7:

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”

  That word for glory is doxa. Our affliction produces doxa. Weight. Glory. God’s glory.

 In the 70s we used to say something is “heavy” and that gives you the sense of this word. When somebody said something was “heavy” that meant it was so powerful or amazing that you just needed to contemplate it. “That’s heavy man!” God is heavy like that. He’s so amazing, so powerful, his ways are so far above our ways, that we can’t begin to comprehend or understand his greatness. God is so heavy that He spoke and the universe came into existence.  Since God is so heavy, our afflictions are light. But he uses those afflictions to produce his glory.

 God works through affiction. God refines us in the furnace of affliction. (Isaiah 48:10) Affliction means something that causes pain or suffering. I don’t know how He does it, but that’s what he uses. Even Jesus suffered. He suffered bled and died on the cross. He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquites, (our flaws, our imperfections) The chastisement of our peace was upon him and with his stripes, we are healed.

 Sharing Christ suffering transforms us. It’s part of God’s process of making us more like Christ. When we suffer, we become more like Jesus. Through suffering we get to really know Jesus.

 Philippians 3:10 says: That I may know him (progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly), and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.

Next: The Conclusion

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