Month: February 2017
God’s Word – God’s Truth
Do you want the truth – we are God’s people. We are loved to much to be allowed to let sin and its consequences shackle us which leads to death. Thus, it was the mission of Jesus Christ when He was born, to free us from this scenario by His death on a cross. That is not new to those who believe in God as the creator of all of creation or to those who accept Him, to come and take up residence in their hearts.
The role of God’s people is to proclaim His word and His coming back to collect His own. God’s people are charged to digest and deliver His truth. This begs the question what is keeping me, what is keeping us from proclaiming God’s Word? He assigns each believer to proclaim His truth. God’s Word and God’s story come from God. As we grow in knowledge and in awe of God, we speak more of God’s word and less of ours, so that when we speak, our words have God’s power and wisdom behind them.
God is love. This is His nature. He can be nothing else. God loves His people and exposes us to His truth. Love is not love if truth is withheld. That being said, The End will be hard for Him. The end of life as we know it. Here is an absolute: God will conclude human history His way. Everything from Genesis to Revelation will be fulfilled when the end comes. This is a certainty: God’s timing is perfect. When the end comes, the earth will be purged of sin and it will be destroyed. Then the creation of a new heaven and a new earth. God will triumph once more over Satan, a second time, and he will be locked away for 1,000 years. God’s people are called to celebrate His triumph.
Washing the feet!
What is the most humbling thing that you ever did?
The power in that question is awesome because ‘across the board’ it is different for everyone. There are some faiths and religions that find truth and meaning in humble acts. What about God? What was the most humbling act that made Him who He is today? I think Paul would agree with me when I say ‘denying Himself and His divine nature then taking on the form of a man’. During His life here on earth it was something else. It was during the last week of His life, that Thursday night, at the close of the Last Supper – He washed the disciples feet.
Washing someone’s feet is the most humble act a person could perform because of what it involves. That is denying one’s self, emotions, feelings, what one thinks of the recipient, etc…. If this is done with unconditional love the effect on one’s life could be astounding. There are some religions and faiths that use this last act – before His death – of Jesus as part of the Easter celebration.
Humility begins with identity in Christ; pride is rooted in the wrong identity. An earthly identity will end, it is temporal. An identity rooted in Christ will never die since He rose from the dead. This identity is eternal. An identity rooted in Christ gives us a new perspective of who we are. Humility begins with recognizing my identity in Christ.
Now, back to Jesus and the Last Supper where He took on the being of a servant and washed His disciples feet. He said “Those who bathe are cleaned. All they need is their feet washed”. This statement speaks of the cleansing powers of water and baptism by immersion. Being baptized into the newness of life and God’s love and the forgiveness of sins. This is part of the act of justification . Santification, on the other hand, is a life long process by which I participate in my identity in Christ. It is a process by which there is a progressive growth toward the image of God thereby being set apart for God becoming more fully obedient to God through the work of the Holy Spirit.
Blessing comes from humbly serving. This has a double meaning here as implied by Jesus, pointing to life in Christ and serving others. His suffering would have caused many of us to break down in sorrow. Identity in Christ gets us through devastating relationships. Imagine, what if Judas had repented for his betrayal of Christ. If you take the two beams of the cross and label them both life you have the horizontal beam which is temporal life, representative of our sojourn here on earth. The vertical beam being the transcendent life, our life in Christ. God does not call us to lay like a rug and be walked on but rather to walk with His identity given to us. When we are humble our hearts will be broken by God. Humbly serving humbly restores joy in God and others
We have a choice
The characters that were around when Jesus walked the earth were many but probably the most important of the supporting cast were the PHARISEES. They see themselves as free when they are actually shackled to sin and the devil. They see themselves as leaders that lead and direct the way to Christ when they themselves do not see the Messiah amongst us.
Sin is to be confronted for correction to save us rather then be condemned. How do I confront my sin and the sin of others in my life? Once, upon receiving the grace of God into my heart the grip and hold of sin are overcome by the effects of that grace and love to the point that I just want to go out and shout from the top of my lungs and from the mountain tops. They should just want to come out.
Now, those who reject God and his son Jesus in this life have no hope after death. The life that came to this world in the person of Jesus is the inauguration of God’s plan of redemption. Our sins are not written in the sand but in the Book of Life. It is in Jesus that the truth shall set you free from the shackles of sin and its death. Adam and Eve came into the world without sin but by free will chose to do so. We have the opportunity and ability to choose Jesus and follow Him. There is a difference between a ‘professing’ and a ‘possessing’ believer.
One final thought. Freedom in Christ gives us the ability to live in Christ. Jesus was not born of sexual immorality. Jesus is not merely a man. Jesus is the God/man.
The righteous sinner
God declares a sinner righteous because of the perfect life, death and resurrection of His son, Jesus Christ. The life of His son, Jesus Christ was preparation for the cross. It was the life of Jesus that prepared Him to go to His death on the cross and take with Him the sins of all mankind( past, present, and future)subsequently purchasing the redemption of man with His blood. Jesus’ glorification came through the cross. Jesus said “Love one another as I have loved you.” He then backs that statement up with an absolute-“There is no greater love then this, for a man to give up his life for the sake of another”.
The love of God is determined by His character. God is love and He cannot be anything else because He came from love. When Jesus came to live on earth in the form of a man His life was the crux-and it still is-of what unconditional love looked like. So Jesus treated Judas no differently than the rest of the disciples.
Based on this and the fact that our identity comes from Christ, love is the greatest outward indicator of our faith. This causes us to search inward and ask the question “How am I loving like Jesus.” The love of God is who God is and not who we are. So what does God think of us? This is an absolute. The only way for us to Jesus is thru the Father. The only way for Jesus to the Father was the cross. Therefore, Jesus is the ONLY way to eternal happiness with God. So, the only way through the muck, mire and pain of this life to the eternal presence of God is through the gate, which is accepting the gift of grace and going thru the narrow gate. A Christian’s greatest works show that Jesus is God and they spread His kingdom. When we pray in Jesus’ name we are not asking that a mystical power be released to accomplish what we ask. We are praying in Jesus’ name so that what we ask comes in line with His will for us. Nothing tears at a father’s heart like the death of his son.
I have stayed away from defining justification and sanctification – as they have been touched upon here – because they are two very distinct but separate concepts, ones that are worth exploring. They ‘piggyback’ each other as one is an act and the other is a process. The act is important in starting the process and the results of the act are instantaneous while the results of the process are life long and may never be seen by the individual. One is temporal and the other is eternal.
The Hour Has Come
Worship(love for Jesus)is devoting one’s time and love to Jesus. This is a time that is unmeasured. In other words there are no limits or barriers as to how much time is spent in prayer, praise, song etc… with Jesus. The only limits are those which we put on this time spent with Jesus. I have found myself, at times, rushing my time in communion with my personal Lord and Saviour. There should be no other single thing or act that is more important than spending time and being in the presence of the One who spoke creation into existence. Being in the presence of the One who created us – us – the very quintessence of His love that He has for us and His masterpiece made in His image. Think about this – this is a power that is incomprehensible and awesome and yet His power is even greater then this.
Worship is not a single act but rather a way of life. It is focused and is sacrificially given to Jesus regardless of others. However, when we give our devotion to someone or something other than Jesus, we open ourselves up to the influence of other weaker idols. Worship done without being in the presence of God is nothing but idolatry. This begs the question “who influences my worship? the eternal Jesus Christ or something other? Prayer is to worship as a bat is to a ball. A Christians worship anticipates the enterance of Jesus into his life daily. Augustine of Hippo said “God should be worshipped in faith, hope and love. Furthermore, He should be reflected upon daily. When I spend time with God, my heart is ready for the day”.
There is onething that even we as Christians get confused about. When we are involved in our daily life and the circumstances around us we must be understanding the moment through the eyes of scripture and not understanding scripture through the eyes of the moment. The greater our position, the greater our need to worship the one we came from to remain humble and to remember our identity as a child of God. The great Charles Spurgeon once said, “If I am more concerned about the thoughts of men than what God has to say to me, then I have lost sight of God’s worth for me and where my identity comes from.”