In Deep, Going Deeper

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Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
(Rom 11:33 NIV)

But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
(1 Cor 2:10 NKJ)

Maybe you’ve seen one of those submarine movies where the sub has been detected and is under attack from above, and they’ve gone down as deep as the submarine was designed to go. The captain orders them to go deeper still, but some other officer argues that they’ll be crushed like an eggshell if they go any deeper. Despite the limitations of the ship’s design, the captain orders them down, because there is nowhere else to go, no other solution to the current crisis, and as they descend deeper the audience is treated to sights and sounds of exploding depth charges, groaning metal, warning bells, sparks leaping from equipment, water dripping from pipes and seams, and the lights turning an eerie red until, somehow, they manage to get everything under control. They were in deep, going deeper, and yet somehow they survived.

Many times crises are described in just this way: I’m in deep, or I’m in up to my neck, or I’m in over my head. And very often when crises are described this way, they have not yet reached their climax, there is more and worse to come. People who find themselves in deep are usually going deeper. Cycles are hard to break, crises are hard to resolve, and most of the time the sinking sensation arrives when the involvement in the crisis is already too deep to turn back. This is as true of community actions, and the problems of whole populations of people as it is of individuals. By the time the severity of a problem is recognized, there is often no way of rectifying it quickly, and a certainty that it will grow worse before it is resolved.

A few years ago the L.A. Times reported that L.A. and Orange counties have more than a thousand miles of freeways, and that the average speed on those freeways was 31 m.p.h. They are in deep. They projected that even with current new construction and planned expansion of the freeway system the average speed on their freeways in twenty years will be 19 m.p.h. They are going deeper. We could talk about the water problems, the sewage problems, and the garbage problems they and other large cities face as well, but those are not the largest problems facing that great and growing mass of people in southern California. The biggest problems Los Angeles and Orange counties face stem from the fact that, as a population, many are deep in sin, and going deeper. Deep in idolatry, and going deeper. Deep in rejection of God, and going deeper. I do not profess to know how deep any community can sink into any of these problems before the pressure on the hull goes beyond the red lights, groaning, and drips and results in destruction. Rather, I want to emphasize the fact that Christians, as a group of people who profess to have answers, need to be doing more about it. The churches have a responsibility here. While the populations of areas like L.A. and Orange counties or the San Francisco Bay area grow to the crisis point, churches are trying to hold their own and clutch survival in those same areas. Remedial action is called for as a means of keeping churches alive in a time when believers ought to perceive an opportunity for great growth and new congregations. The world is in deep, and going deeper. How about us? Are we in deep? Are we going deeper?

In Ps. 69, David was in deep, afraid,and sure of going deeper. He called on the Lord for help, and was delivered. David, the anointed king chosen by God, was a symbol of Christ. Christ let himself get in deep, then deeper still. Into the deep waters and the mirey mud. He gave himself up for us, first giving up his heavenly position to become a man, then giving up his life to defeat our worst enemy. He went to the depths for us, and for those millions and billions of unsaved sinners who are already in deeper than they realize.

“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:6-8 NAS)

Paul said that we were in deep, powerless, and inevitably going deeper, but Christ came down to effect a rescue. This was the demonstration of God’s deep love for us. Jesus stepped into our mess, sank into the depths with us and for us, in order to rescue us from the crisis beyond our control.

In Rom. 5:1-5, Paul described how he was in deep in his commitment to Christ and the proclamation of the gospel, and going deeper. In deep, and taking a stand. Rejoicing in hope, rejoicing in sufferings, not disappointed “because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he has given us.” Paul and his coworker commended the Thessalonian church for being deep in their conviction (I Thess. 1:2-10) and ringing out the message, knowing that they had a rescuer who had already been to the depths, “Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.”

When Paul discussed his own ministry, and the purpose of the church to make known “the manifold wisdom of God” (Eph. 3:1-13) he followed up with a prayer that all believers would indeed go deeper. Rooted and established in love, knowing the depth and fullness of the love of Christ, having his power at work within us.

Indeed, as Paul prayed, may the love of Christ which is the power of God be rooted deep within us, in deep and going deeper, so that we can be a part of his desired rescue of the billions who are deep in crisis, deep in sin, and going deeper. The hull of that dripping submarine, down in the depths, may not stand the pressure much longer. The red lights are eerily glowing, the claxons are sounding warning, and we need to be busy and encourage our brethren to get busy working frantically to pull people out of their descent into sin and death by exposing them to the depth and riches of God’s saving grace.

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