Saturday, August 15, 2015

Faith Has Legs

Do you believe?  I read this passage out of Luke this morning. Have you ever really thought about the words that Jesus said and exactly what the implications are?
Luke 14:26-27 “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple."
I believe that salvation from the wrath of God that we all deserve for our sin is a gift, by His grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.  But faith is not without legs, is it?  

If I am standing on a rail road track and I believe that a train is barring down on my position, am I not going to get off that track and out of the way of the train?  Like wise, if I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; that He promised eternal life to His disciples, was crucified dead and buried then on the third day arose from the dead; am I not going to follow Him, thereby forsaking everything that prevents me from following Him?

What if you had to really forsake your father and mother to follow Jesus?  Would you? 

What if you had to really forsake your wife or children in order to follow Jesus? Would you? 

What if you really had to forsake your brother or sister to follow Jesus?  Would you? 

What if it really meant pain, suffering, and loss of life to follow Jesus?  Would you?  

What if Jesus said, "go make disciples" and in order to do obey Him you had to risk losing family, friends, job, home, freedom, life and any number of things that you love in this world?  Would you?  

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

I was thinking back today, to a time when I thought I believed, but my faith had no legs. I spent much of my childhood in a Methodist church in Garland, Texas. I knew that Jesus was called Christ and was the Son of God, but that belief had no effect on me. In fact, once I left home and joined the army I didn't go to church, but if you asked me what religion I was I would have said that I was a Christian or Methodist. 

So what is the difference today verses then?  I believe now that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. But the faith I have now has legs, it causes me to do things. True faith begets fruit!  The honest answer is, I did not believe. Praise God for opening my eyes!

Friday, August 7, 2015

A Picture of the Judgment

John 19:18 
There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between.
I began memorizing and meditating on John 19:18 this morning. When Reading it in the past I did not realize just how incredible it is. This single sentence is a picture of the judgment.  Jesus taught His disciples about the judgment in Matthew prior to His crucifixion.
Matthew 25:31-33
“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
Note that Jesus seperates the sheep from the goats and He is between them.  Now pay attention to what happens at the end of the judgment.
Matthew 25:46
These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
The ones on His left go away into eternal punishment, but the ones on the right into eternal life. Both the sheep and the goats deserve eternal punishment (see Romans 3:23 & 6:23), the goats get what they deserve, but the sheep get what Jesus deserved, eternal life.  Now look at what Luke says about these two men on either side of Jesus to get a more vivid picture of the judgment.
Luke 23:32-43
Two others also, who were criminals, were being led away to be put to death with Him.
When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.” The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine, and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!” Now there was also an inscription above Him, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
All I can say is that the scriptures are amazing. Three different authors, painting three different pictures of our Lord, and all three are linked together to give a picture of the judgment. Glory be to God in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Who is Jesus?

Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, Immanuel, which translated means, God with us. Jesus came forth from the Father into the world as Prophet to testify to the truth and as Priest to redeem the sheep.  Jesus will return at a time of the Father's choosing as King for judgment.

The Seven Signs:

  1. Jesus turned water into wine (Jn 2:1-12).  
  2. Jesus healed a Nobleman's son from dying over a great distance (Jn 4:46-54).
  3. Jesus healed a man who had an infirmity for 38 years that had made him lame, when Jesus had healed him the man took up his bed and walked (Jn 5:1-17).  
  4. Jesus feed five thousand men with five barley loaves and two fish (Jn 6:1-14).  
  5. Jesus walked on water across the Sea of Galilee or Tiberias (Jn 6:15-25).  
  6. Jesus gave sight to a man who had been born blind (Jn 9:1-41).  
  7. Jesus called a man who had been dead for four days out of the grave alive (Jn 11:1-46).

The Seven I Am Statements:

  1. Jesus said, " I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst." (Jn 6:35 [NASB])
  2. Jesus said, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life." (Jn 8:12 [NASB])
  3. Jesus said, "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. " (Jn 10:9 [NASB])
  4. Jesus said, I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep." (Jn 10:11 [NASB])
  5. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" (Jn 11:25-26 [NASB])
  6. Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him." (Jn 14:6-7 [NASB])
  7. Jesus said, "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." (Jn 15:5 [NASB])
And Jesus cried out and said, " He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me. He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me. I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me." (Jn 12:44-50 [NASB])

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23); the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 6:23). Jesus lived a perfect life (2 Cor 5:21) and He died for our sins according to the scriptures, and He was buried, and He was raised on the third day according to the scriptures (1 Cor 15:3-4); and He presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to His disciples over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3). All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him (Mt 28:18); He ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God, and is presently making intercession on behalf of everyone who comes to God through faith in Him (Heb 7:25).

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left." (Mt 25:31-33 [NASB]) The sheep are all those who believe in Jesus, hear His voice, and follow Him (Jn 10:27-30). They are justified (declared righteous by God), as a gift, by His grace; they are redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ through faith (Rom 3:24-25). The goats are all those who do not believe in Jesus, reject Him, and do not receive His sayings (Jn 10:25-26 & 12:47-48). "These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Mt 25:46 [NASB])

Jesus performed many signs in the presence of His disciples, which are written in scripture; and have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.  Get a Bible and read it beginning with the Gospel According to John; it is an eye witness account of the life, death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Struggling With Sin

Are you in a struggle with sin?  I was thinking about this when out for a run this morning.  The apostle Paul said;
What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, " You shall not covet." (Rom 7:7 [NASB]).
 Let us stay with this sin of coveting that the apostle speaks of in this passage.  I see something that belongs to someone else, I desire it, then I remember the Law;
"You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor." (Ex 20:17 [NASB]).
 So when I remember the Law I say to myself, "Don't covet!" which causes me to think about the object all the more.  And the more I say "Don't covet!" the more I think about the object.  Is it the Law then that causes me to do this?  No, it is sin which dwells in me as the apostle says in the next verse.
But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. (Rom 7:8 [NASB]).
 Sin uses the Law to produce coveting.  So if I then cannot defeat sin through the Law do I then go on sinning?  May it never be!  I hate sin; I desire to be like my Lord Jesus Christ.  So how then do I defeat sin?  The apostle asks that same question;
Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? (Rom 7:24 [NASB]).
And then gives the only answer;
 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. (Rom 7:25 [NASB]).
The only answer for any of us is Jesus Christ.  I cannot be righteous by keeping the Law, I have already broken the Law.  By the time I think "Don't Covet!" I have already done so and then after I have thought "Don't Covet!" I do so all the more.  Nor can I pay the price for my sin; the wages of sin is death and eternal punishment in the lake of fire.  The only answer is to look to Jesus; He alone is both my righteousness and my propitiation.  He did what I could not do; He kept the Law perfectly and He died in my place for my sins and then having satisfied the wrath of God He defeated death and arose from the dead.  So instead of thinking "Don't Covet!" or go on sinning; instead look to Jesus, and remember that He never sinned, and He died on the cross for our sins, and on the third day He arose from the dead defeating both sin and death.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

A Good Day

Today has been a truly good day to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, but isn’t everyday like that?  How do I gage a day?  Is a day good because I feel good or am happy?  Or is a day good because God made it and everything He does is good?  I have not always thought that way and I am still guilty of often looking at myself; how I am feeling or my personal situation in declaring the day good.  I may not be happy and I may even be sad, but that does not make the day bad.  “Then God said, “Let there be light; and there was light.  God saw the light was good; and God separated the light from darkness.  God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” (Gen 1:2-5).  Yes the day is good because God made it!

Nursing and the Law of Christ

The Lord’s teaching recorded in John 13-21 is amazing. It is what the apostle Paul calls "the Law of Christ." (Cf. 1 Cor. 9:2...