Tuesday, October 30, 2007
For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life —is not of the Father but is of the world.—1 John 2:16
On a trip to Alaska some years ago, I went fishing for king salmon. In one spot, our group used bright orange salmon eggs as bait. But in another place, we used another type of lure.
In the same way, the devil uses different kinds of bait, different lures to pull us in. And he works with two close allies in our temptation: the world and the flesh. Every temptation falls under one of three categories: the world, the flesh, and the devil.
The Bible says, “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 John 2:16). When Eve was tempted by the devil at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, she faced all these temptations. “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate” (Genesis 3:6, emphasis mine).
The lust of the flesh is the gratification of physical desires. Eve saw that the tree was good for food. The lust of the eyes is mental temptation. Eve saw that it was pleasant to the eyes. The pride of life is a craving for honor. Eve saw that it was desirable to make one wise.
It is good to recognize that these are the temptation strategies, or bait, the enemy uses in our lives. It helps to know what our enemy is up to, because then we can avoid his lures.
Copyright © 2007 by Harvest Ministries
Monday, October 29, 2007
One of the songs that is reverberating in my soul that we sang at Ebenezers with Steph Modder and at Ballston with Amanda Norwich is Lead Me to the Cross by Hillsong United. I simply love this songs, the lyrics are incredibly power. I know a part of it was how Amanda and Steph led the this song as well. Below is a powerful version of the song set to clips from The Passion of the Christ movie. I was watching this and I became so overwhelmed...
Please watch and worship along...
Savior I come
Quiet my soul remember
Where Your blood was spilled
For my ransom
Everything I once held dear
I count it all as lost
Lead me to the cross
Where Your love poured out
Bring me to my knees
Lord I lay me down
Rid me of myself
I belong to You
Lead me, lead me to the cross
You were as I
Tempted and trialed
Te word became flesh
Bore my sin and death
Now you're risen
To your heart
To your heart
Lead me to your heart
Lead me to your heart
But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.—James 1:14
We all know what it is like to be tempted. But where does temptation come from? It does not come from God. James 1:13–14 says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” We play a key role in our own temptation.
It is like the scorpion who wanted to cross a pond. Scorpions can’t swim, of course, so he needed a ride. He walked up to a rather unsuspecting turtle and said, “I was wondering if you might give me a lift across this little pond?”
The turtle said, “Are you joking? You will sting me, and we will both drown.”
The scorpion said, “My dear turtle, if I were to sting you, I would go down with you. Where would the logic be in that?”
As they made their way across the little pond, the scorpion pulled out his stinger and gave the turtle a mighty sting. As they both sank to the bottom, the turtle turned to the scorpion and said, “There was no logic in stinging me. Why did you do it?”
The scorpion replied, “It has nothing to do with logic. It’s just my nature.”
This is a good point. When we give in to temptation, it has nothing to do with logic. It is just our nature. We like to say, “The devil made me do it” or “Circumstances overwhelmed me” or “I couldn’t control myself.” But in reality, it’s just our nature.
Let’s not give in to the enticement of our own desires.
Copyright © 2007 by Harvest Ministries
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. -Joshua 1:7
In sports, there is a term known as "in the zone." It is a description of a person executing his skills so well that total concentration is taking place, and the athlete is performing flawlessly. It is a wonderful feeling. Performance seems effortless because it comes so easily. For the tennis player, it is hitting every shot right where he wants. For the baseball pitcher, it is throwing to a strike zone that seems big as a house. For the golfer, the fairways are wide, and the hole is big. Everything is flowing just right.
I grew up playing competitive golf. I turned pro out of college for a few years, but later God led me away from playing professionally. When I played competitively, I knew when I was in the zone and when I wasn't. A few years ago, I played in my club championship. It was the opening round, and I was in the zone. I recall the difference was that my mental attitude was focused on executing the swing I wanted to make with little regard to the outcome. I could visualize the swing so well; it was like a movie picture in my mind. Very little thought was given to the outcome of the shot. I knew that if I could make the right swing, the outcome would take care of itself. That day I shot four under par 68. I went on to win the golf tournament. I have had few such days of being "in the zone."
Obedience in the Christian life is being in the zone. When we live a life of obedience, we begin to experience the reality of God like never before. Wisdom grows in our life. Meaning and purpose are accelerated. In the early Church, the Hebrews gained wisdom through obedience. Later, the Greeks were characterized as gaining wisdom through reason and analysis. Today, we live in a very Greek-influenced Church. Many Christians determine if they will obey based on whether the outcome will be beneficial to them. Imagine if the early Church had adopted this philosophy. No walls would have fallen down at Jericho. No Red Sea would have parted. No one would have been healed. No coins would have been found in the mouth of a fish. Reason and analysis would not have led to making the obedient decision. Trust and obey. Leave the outcome to God.
Friday, October 26, 2007
However, my personally is one that almost demands what is going to happen next. I want to know what is happening, what is going to happen, and where I need to begin planning. Right now, I honestly have no clue...and that scares me. I have been praying for God's direction, guidance, leading...more specifically that He would close doors and/or open doors. Either way...I just need a hint, a clue, something.
In past experiences, I have always had a clue, I have always had a sense of certainity, I always had a gut feeling. Now, no clue and I hate it.
I know what God has called me to do, I also know I have had confirmations...now I feel like I am in a holding pattern, circling around. I also know God has giving me great vision, He has given me the ability to lead, He has given me a shepherd's heart. A genuine love and heart for people. I feel where I am at in my stage of life and ministry...I feel under utilized and dare to say outside of my calling and gifting. It is not that I don't feel appreciated (I do) or absolutely love where I am at (I serve a great community and love and adore this team). However, I don't feel like I am operating in who I am, or up to my fullest potential, or take it a step further I feel like I am not in the will of God and that just freaks me out. It is hard to put into words how I feel.
Perhaps, my dreams are too great, perhaps my ideas of how things should be are wrong...I am have no clue.
Please enjoy and share it with others. Heather, Ryan, John, and Amanda this is for you all as well.
What an amazing weekend at Upward Bound! It was an amazing retreat. The best part besides all of us being there was that God showed in an amazing and an incredible way through the whole weekend.
The weekend began with an awesome worship time led by Amanda Norwich. From the start we knew God had something planned and we also knew to stay out of His way and allow God to do His thing. There was such a hunger for God going into the weekend and we were able to see God move through our hunger and honest desire for Him.
Throughout, the weekend people connected with God and encountered Him in authentic ways. There was also such a great connection with others that seemed so natural. It was awesome seeing God's community in action. It truly reminded me of an Acts 2:42-45 community.
The experiences of this weekend was something that I haven't experienced in a long time, I felt such freedom, such heaviness of His divine presence, and in many ways a release of inhibitions.
A few of my personal highlights, was the prayer time we had late Saturday night among Heather, Amanda, John, Ryan and myself. It was simply a time of vulnerability. The times of being challenged, even through my own session of silence and solitude...if you know it is hard for me to be silent for any length of time. :-)
It was truly an honor for me to be able to share during the weekend and being able to be me and to use the gift that God has given to me. I am truly humbled by the opportunity that I had to speak into those lives who were present at the retreat.
The one thing that sticks out in mind during the weekend was the fact that God took me way out of my comfort zone...and allowed me a germaphobe to take off my socks and shoes and walk barefooted on a nasty floor. He challenged me to confess my fears and repent of those fears not just in prayer but with action. It also came at the perfect time when there was such a holiness of God's presence in the room and a holy silence that fell over the place. He spoke to me a Moses come before the burning bush as He told Moses to take off his sandals, that the ground he was standing on was Holy Ground. How can we bring our sins into the presence of a Holy God? This something God is still dealing with me on, it is the issue of complete trust of not only my mind, hear, will, but even my physical body.
That Saturday night, I got to see God move in indescribable ways in peoples lives. I am just so glad God was able to use me and use my personal issues.
Last weekend, it I could put it into words would be incredibly awesome! Thank you Lord that I had honor to encounter you.
Thank you Lord for the Holy Moment
I also know as I delve into this subject, not everyone believes the Scripture as being inerrant as I do. I also don't want to make the blind assumption that everyone has the same believe system as me.
This is what I believe to be TRUE as a core conviction of the foundation of my personal faith.
I believe Jesus was fully man and fully God...He is my Savior...He is my Lord...He was the pure spotless lamb of God. Because I believe these things and that I also believe that He desires a relationship with us all...it my desire to be a Christ-follower.
What different churches teach about Christ's Nature
Believe Jesus was just a man. They do credit him with being an influential philosopher and a moral intellectual who became wiser with age. They do not believe Jesus was raised from the dead.
Jesus did not exist in any personal way before His divine conception but is the literal "word of God" become flesh. He was created a special but mortal man. He received divine power at His baptism which was withdrawn at the cross. Since they assert man has no soul, he also ceased to exist during the three days he was dead. Upon his resurrection, Jesus became the fullness of deity in bodily form thus completing a three step progression in nature. (Heb 13:8) They do not believe Christ will ever be equal to God or truly divine since they believe Jesus is a created being just like man and the angels.
They teach that Jesus was created by God just prior to creation. Jesus then created everything else. (Col 1:16,17 NWT inserts "other" before "things" to make the text read, "By His all OTHER things were created". The word "other" inserted throughout the text is not in the original Greek.) Jesus is not considered to be equal to God at all but a lesser being. Jesus ceased to exist at His death for 3 days.
"As man now is, God once was...As God now is, man can become." Is a saying that accurately describes Mormon view of Jesus. Mormons believe that Jesus was created by God and is a "brother" to Satan. Like H.W. Armstrong, they teach divine progression. Jesus was once just a man who lived on another planet. He eventually progressed to be equal to God and came to colonize planet earth with "gods to be" or humans. Unforeseen to Christ, Satan (Jesus' brother) put a kink in this plan when he deceived Adam and Eve. Jesus was then required to die for fallen man, His creation. Jesus therefore is a model for us and one day we will be equal to God and colonize other planets too. There are millions of other planets being colonized right now in the same way in other galaxies. What makes earth's colonizing process unique is Satan's deception of Adam. Jesus is the God of planet earth. The Mormon hope is to marry, through a Mormon Temple ceremony, as many earth women as possible for eternal celestial marriage. In the resurrection all good Mormon men will call from the dead those women they married in a temple ceremony. They will then fly off to some uninhabited planet with their many polygamous wives and populate that planet.
The Bible teaches that Jesus is one of three separate personal beings who are divine. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are equal and have always existed. The Bible view of the divinity of Christ is categorically different from all the above. We will one day share the divine pattern of moral conduct and be equal to God in righteousness but mankind will in no sense ever be considered divine or equal to God in nature. Jesus pro-existed His physical birth: Jn 1:15 + Lk 1:24-26; Jn 1:1. Jesus created ALL THINGS and therefore is not Himself created: Jn 1:3; Col 1:16,17; Heb 1:2,10. Rev 5:13,14 pictures a scene with all creation worshipping Jesus as God: Rev 5:13,14
I. Jesus pre-existed His physical birth
A. Jesus actually created the universe in Gen 1:1 (John 1:3, Heb 1:2,8-12; Col 1:16-17)
B. Jesus existed before Abraham who died 2000 BC: John 8:56-58
C. Jesus existed before John the baptist who was six months older than Jesus: John 1:15 + Lk 1:24-26
D. Prophecies before his incarnation into Mary's womb:
- He will be called "God with us": Isa 7:14
- He will be called, "Mighty God, Eternal Father": Isa 9:6
II. Jesus is Divine in name and is called "GOD" directly: John 1:1-3
A. Passages where Jesus is unquestionably called God
- Heb 1:8 Father addresses son as God
- Jn 1:1 The word was God
- Phil 2:6-8 Jesus existed in the form of God
- Jn 20:28 'My Lord and My God
- Isa 7:14 "A Child Will Be Born And His Name Is Called": "Emanuel: God with us"
- Isa 9:6 "A Child Will Be Born And His Name Is Called": "Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace"
B. Passages that speak of Christ's deity but because of the wording in the Greek, it can be argued that the Father is being addressed as God, not Jesus.
- Titus 2:13-14 "looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds."
- 1 Timothy 1:16,17 "And yet for this reason I found mercy, in order that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience, as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen."
- 1 Timothy 6:14-16 "that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time-He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords; who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen."
- 2 Peter 1:1 "Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord"
III. Jesus is called Jehovah:
A. When you read the Old Testament passage it is certainly talking about Jehovah. But the Holy Spirit through inspiration, quoted these passages in the New Testament and APPLIED THEM TO JESUS! This proves that Jesus is Jehovah God along with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Applied to Jesus
Creator Of All
Prepare Way For
lsa 40:3; Mal 3:1
Mt 3:3; Jn 1:23,30
Call On Jehovah
Acts 2:21,36; 4:10-12
B. Jehovah is described in the Old Testament in a number of unique titles. These titles are applied to Jesus Christ in the New Testament, proving He is Jehovah God along with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Jesus Christ is
The great "I Am"
Lord of Lords
Lord of Glory
Ps 24:10; 29:3
1 Cor 2:8
First and the Last
Isa 41:4; 44:6; 48:12
Rev 1:17; 2:8; 22:13
C. Jehovah is spoken of in the Old Testament as possessing distinct and unique attributes. (Look for the word "ONLY" Example: If "only" Jehovah was the creator, then the angels had no part in it.) Yet we find that these qualities are directly and plainly attributed to Jesus Christ proving He is Jehovah God, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Jesus Christ is also
Only Creator Of All
Jn 1:1-3; Col 1:16,17
The Only Rock
Deut 32:4,12; Isa 44:8
1 Cor 10:4
Alone Knows Hearts
1 Ki 8:22-23,39
Mk 2:5-8; Jn 2:24-25
Not Give Glory Away
Jn 17:5; 1:14
lea 43:11; 45:21
Mk 2:7; Tit 2:13
IV. Jesus Is Divine In Substance
A. Col 2:9: the fullness of deity
B. Hob 1:3: exact representation of His nature
C. Jn 14:8-10 He who sees Me sees the Father.
V. Theme of the book of John: Jesus Taught He Is Divine
A. Overview of John:
- We begin in John 1:1 with a plain statement of fact that Jesus is God. The gospel of John traces the process of Jesus teaching this fact of His divinity to mankind in various settings. Finally the book closes with another plain statement of the fact of Jesus' divinity, except this time it comes from the mouth of "doubting Thomas".
B. Basic outline of John:
- More than a just a prophet: Jn 6
- V 29 A prophet Believe in Him whom God has sent
- V 30-34 A prophet equal to Moses: What sign? Manna from heaven
- V 41,42 greater than Moses: "I have come down out of heaven'
- Jn 5:17,18 I and Father are working: equality
- Jn 8:53-59 "Tell them "I AM" sent you." (see Ex 3:14)
- Jn 10:30-33 I and Father are one: equality
- Climax of book: Jn 20:27,28: "my Lord and my God'
- Conclusion of book: Jn 20:31 "these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name"
VI. Jesus is one of three members of the Godhead!
God The Father, Son & Holy Spirit (Eccl 4:12)
Baptism in name of (Mt 28:18)
"Holy Spirit "
Creation of universe
Baptism of Jesus (Mt 3:16-17)
Spoke from heaven
Like dove in air
Another comforter (Jn 14:16)
"Ask Father to"
Paul's request (Rom 15:30)
"Prayers to God"
"Love of H.S. "
Paul's farewell (2 Cor 13:14)
"Love of God"
"Grace of Jesus"
"Fellowship of H.S."
Unity passage (Eph 4:4-6)
"One Spirit "
1 Cor 12:4-6
the same God
the same Lord
the same Spirit
1 Pet 1:2
Foreknowledge of God the Father
sanctifying work of the Spirit
obey Jesus Christ
has sent Me
and His Spirit
Unity passage (Eph 4:4-6)
"One Spirit "
Three divine beings: "Let Us"
Genesis 1:26; 3:22; 11:7; Isa 6:8
VII. WE ARE TO WORSHIP JESUS AS GOD:
A. Angels should not be worshipped, only God: Rev 19:10; 22:8-9
B. Men should not be worshipped, only God: Acts 10:26
C. Jesus accepts worship from Angels:: Heb 1:6
D. All creation worships both Father and Lamb: Rev 5:11-14
E. Men worshipped Jesus and He did not refuse:
a. From the wise men - Mt 2:11
b. From the leper - Mt 8:2
c. From the ruler - Mt 9:18
d. From His disciples in the boat - Mt 14:33
e. From the Canaanite woman - Mt 15:25
f. From the man born blind - Jn 9:38
g. From the women and other disciples following His resurrection - Mt 28:9,17
h. From the disciples following His ascension - Lk 24:52
VIII. Attempts to deny the deity of Christ: 2 Pe 3:16
The chart below is typical of how some religious groups attempt to deny the full deity of Christ. Notice that every passage they use to deny the deity of Christ makes reference to the period of time when Jesus existed as a man. When Jesus was on earth He said, "the Father is greater than I". He said this because at THAT TIME the source of Jesus' power was the Father. Phil 2:6 says that Jesus took off the robes of equality with God during his earth life.
Cannot Be Tempted Jas 1:13
Tempted 40 Days Lk 4:2
Alone Hath Immortality 1 Ti 6:13-15
Lived And Was Dead (Passage Refers To Christ Not Father)
No Man Seen 1 Ti 6:16; 1:16-17
John Saw And Bear Record: Jn 1:34 (Passage Refers To Christ Not Father)
God Is Spirit Jn 4:24
Made Of Woman, Flesh & Bones Gal 4:4; Heb 2:14
God Of Knowledge I Sam 2:3; Jer 23:24
Learned Obedience/Increased In Wisdom Heb 5:8; Lk 2:52
God In Heaven Mt 11:25; 6:9
Mediator Between God & Man 1 Ti 2:5-6
Father Of Jesus 2 Cor 1:3
Son Of God Jn 20:30
I Change Not Mal 3:6
Never To Die Again (A Change)Rom 6:9
None Good But God Mk 10:18
Word's Christ Spoke
Father Greater Than 1 Jn 14:28
Word's Christ Spoke
Philippians 2:6-7 "although He (Jesus) existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."
Phil 2:5-8 answers the whole chart. Notice that Jesus did exist in the "form of God" prior to His incarnation. "He did not regard equality with God a thing to grasped, so He lot go of being equal with God, "He emptied Himself" during His physical life upon the earth. Jesus was still divine even though a man, "In His all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form" Col 2:9. Jesus prayed, "Father, glorify He with the glory I had with Thee before the world was" Jn 17:5. Jesus has been transformed back into the "form of God".
IX. Is Jesus not Divine because he must submit to the Father?
A. Phil 2:6-8 Jesus let go of equality, but retained his divinity
B. I Cor 15:28 After resurrection Son will be subjected to Father
1. Perhaps Christ forever gave up equality in rank with God in order to save mankind. If no, Jesus is no less divine.
2. Perhaps the Son being subject to the Father at the resurrection is a restoration of how they related to one another before creation. Again, it doesn't make Jesus any leas divine.
Are they equal???
Galatians 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
Wife must submit to Husband Eph 5:22
Male superiority, women are not equal because they submit
Employees must submit to boss: Eph 6:5-6
Boss is superior. Employees not equal because they submit
labour movement and unions
Jesus must submit to Father: 1 Cor 11:1-3; 15:27-28
Father is superior. Jesus not equal because He submits
deny deity of Christ
Truth: One's nature and equality is not dependent upon whether they submit. Jesus taught the greatest will be the servant!
X. Jesus divinity questioned and affirmed 6 times:
Satan "If you are Son" (Mt 4:3)
God "This is My Son" (Mt 3:17)
Jew's "If you are Christ" (Jn 10:24)
Jesus "I Am" (Jn 10:36)
Soldiers "If you are King" (Lk 23:37)
Pilate "This is the King" (Lk 23:38)
Some at cross "If you are Son" (Mt 27:40)
Centurion "Truely He was Son" (Mt 27:54)
Thief #1 "If you are Christ" (Lk 23:39)
Thief #2 "He has done no wrong" (Lk 23:40)
Thomas "I will not believe unless" (Jn 20:27)
Thomas "My Lord and my God" (Jn 20:28)
Jesus Christ Is God Incarnate
Quoting from Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23 says, "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." According to both of these verses, Jesus was "God with us" when He walked upon this earth. He wasn't merely "God's chosen one with us" or "God's Son with us." As I Timothy 3:16 states, "God was manifest in the flesh." John 1:14 tells us that "the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us..." In Zechariah 12:10, GOD said that HE (God) would be "pierced" by sinners, and Revelation 1:7 states that Jesus Christ Himself fulfilled this prophecy! Friend, the Bible presents Jesus Christ as much more than a great prophet and teacher. God's word presents Jesus Christ as God incarnate.
Jesus Christ Is Eternal
In John 10:28, Jesus said, "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." If Jesus Christ isn't eternal, then how does He have the power to give "eternal life"?
Micah 5:2 states that Jesus Christ is "from everlasting", which is exactly what Psalm 93:2 and Isaiah 63:16 say about God!
In John 8:58, Jesus said to the Pharisees, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am." The term "I am" is the exact term that God used in Exodus 3:14 in reference to Himself! Jesus professed to be the eternal God of the Bible.
Jesus Christ Has Divine Names
Check these references for yourself. In Matthew 22:42-45, Jesus claims to be the "Lord" of Psalm 110:1. He allows Thomas to address Him as "My Lord and my God" in John 20:28.
He is the "everlasting Father" and "The mighty God" of Isaiah 9:6.
According to His own words in John 10:11-14, He is the "shepherd" of Psalm 23:1, Psalm 80:1, and Ezekiel 34:12.
God is the "saviour" in Isaiah 43:3, 43:11, 45:15, 45:21, Hosea 13:4, Luke 1:47, and I Timothy 4:10, yet this same title is given to Jesus Christ in Luke 2:11, Philippians 3:20, II Timothy 1:10, and II Peter 2:20.
God is the "Rock" of Deuteronomy 32:4, 32:15, 32:18, 32:30-31, I Samuel 2:2, and Psalm 18:31, yet this title is given to the Lord Jesus Christ in I Corinthians 10:1-4, I Peter 2:7-8, and Romans 9:33.
God is "light" in Psalm 27:1 and Micah 7:8, and then Jesus is "light" in John 1:4-9 and in John 8:12.
In Isaiah 44:6 God says, "...I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God." In Revelation 1:17 Jesus Christ says, "...Fear not; I am the first and the last."
The Scriptures are clear: Jesus Christ is the God of the Old Testament.
Jesus Claimed Equality with God
Jesus says in Matthew 28:19, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:" If Jesus Christ isn't Deity, then why did He include Himself in the Holy Trinity?
Jesus says in John 14:9, "...he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?" Is the Father someone other than Jesus Christ? No, not according to Jesus Christ.
In John 10:30, Jesus says, "I and my Father are one." Isn't that clear enough?
Philippians 2:6 says that Jesus was in the "form of God", and that he thought it not robbery to be "equal with God"!
The Jesus Christ of the New Testament claimed to be "one" with God and "equal" with God.
Jesus Christ is Omnipresent
Only God has the ability to be everywhere at once, yet Jesus Christ claims this ability.
In Matthew 18:20, He says, "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." How could this be possible if Jesus were not Deity?
The same is true in Matthew 28:20 where Jesus says, "...lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." How could He be with each individual Christian always and be in Heaven at the same time? He is God, for only God has such attributes!
Jesus Christ Is Omnipotent
That is, He is all powerful. He has all power.
Revelation 19:6 states, "...the Lord God omnipotent reigneth." Then I Timothy 6:15 says that Jesus Christ Himself is "...the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;" If Jesus is the ONLY Potentate, then He must be the One of Revelation 19:6, God Almighty!
Also see Colossians 2:9-10, Revelation 2:26, and Matthew 28:18.
Jesus Christ Is Omniscient
To be omniscient is to have all knowledge, unlike normal men. The Bible declares that Jesus was indeed omniscient.
Unlike normal men, Jesus Christ had knowledge of specific details about His own death. In Matthew 16:21, Jesus said that He would go to Jerusalem, suffer many things at the hands of the scribes and the elders, be killed, and then be resurrected the third day. He repeats this prophecy in Matthew 20:19.
Matthew 17:27 offers the account of Jesus knowing of a certain coin in a fish's mouth before the fish is caught!
He knew specific details about a woman's life whom He had never met (John 4:16-19). He also had all knowledge about Nathaniel in John 1:47-49.
Friend, Jesus Christ is Deity because He is omniscient.
Jesus Christ Has Creative Powers
John 1:1-3 says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." The "Word" is the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:14; I John 1:1-3; 5:7), and John 1:3 says that all things were made by Him!
Colossians 1:16 says, "...by him were all things created..." Consider Hebrews 1:1-3: "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;" You see, by Jesus Christ the worlds were made, and by Jesus Christ all things are upheld. He has the power to create and sustain the universe.
Jesus Christ Has Power Over the Elements of Nature
In Matthew 14:25, Jesus literally walks upon the sea, and in Luke 8:24, He rebukes the wind and it obeys Him. How could He perform such tasks if He weren't God? It must be understood that Jesus didn't pray for God to calm the sea; He calmed the sea Himself.
Jesus Christ Received Worship
If we're wrong in teaching that the Lord Jesus Christ is God, then He must have been wrong in allowing people to worship him. Jesus Himself said, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." (Mat. 4:10) Why would He say this at the beginning of His ministry and then spend His ministry allowing people to worship HIM?
In Acts 10:25-26, and in Revelation 19:10, worship of anyone other than God Himself is forbidden, yet Jesus willingly received worship throughout His public ministry (John 20:28; Mat. 8:2; 9:18; 15:25; 28:9; John 9:38). If He isn't Deity, then why didn't He correct those who worshipped Him?
Jesus Christ Forgave Sins
"And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (Jer. 31:34) According to these words, it is GOD Who has the power and right to forgive sins. However, the New Testament says that Jesus Christ has this power.
Please notice Mark 2:5-11: "When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house."
Jesus Christ is God, because only God can forgive sins. It's true that He took on the form of a man for thirty-three years on this earth, but He was still God. He was God manifest in the flesh (I Tim. 3:16).
Jesus Christ Had Power Over His Own Life and Death
How many people do you know who have the ability to lay down their own life and then take it up again? Jesus had this power.
Consider John 10:17-18: "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father."
Jesus had the power over His own life and death! When He died, He willingly gave up His own spirit (Luke 23:46).
According to His own words in Revelation 1:18, Jesus Christ has "the keys of hell and of death." How could He possibly have such power if He were not God?
Friend, make no mistake about it: the Lord Jesus Christ is Deity. He came to this earth and suffered in human flesh for thirty-three years. He lived a perfectly sinless life, and then laid that life down as an eternal payment for your sins. Mohammed didn't pay for your sins, because Mohammed wasn't God. Buddha didn't pay for your sins, because Buddha wasn't God. You can't pay for your sins, because you aren't God. Only Jesus Christ is sinless, because only Jesus Christ is God. He Alone can save your soul from the eternal fires of Hell.
"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)
He was with God from the beginning Eloh(im)
He is the second person in the Tri-Unity (Trinity)
He is God's one and only Son.
He is the Word that became flesh and lived among us.
He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life...no man comes to the Father except through Him.
More of an Understanding of who Jesus is...
THE DEITY OF JESUS CHRIST
. I. Jesus Christ was more than a "good man." He is God.
A. He Himself claimed to be God.
John 4:26; 8:23; 10:30; 13:13; 14:7-10
B. He accepted worship.
Matthew 8:2; 9:18; 14:33; 15:25; 18:26; 28:9, 17
Mark 5:6; Luke 24:52; John 5:22, 23; John 9:38
C. He claimed the power and authority to forgive sin.
Matthew 9:6; Mark 2:7
D. "He was God manifest in the flesh" (l Timothy 3:16), "for in
Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily"
E. "God was in Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:19), Who is "the
brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person...."
F. Jesus is therefore throughout scripture referred to as the
"image of God."
John 1:18; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15
II. By the names attributed to him in scripture it can be seen that
Jesus Christ was truly God as well as man.
A. "Mighty God." Isaiah 9:6
B. The Word of God. John 1:1; Revelation 19:13, 16
C. "Immanuel," meaning "God with us." Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23
D. The Almighty. Revelation 1:8
E . The "I Am." John 8:58 with Exodus 3:14
F. "My Lord and my God!" John 20:28
G. The "Alpha and Omega" (first and last).
Isaiah 44:6; 48:12; Revelation 1:8, 11, 17; 2:8; 21:6; 22:13
H. Son of God. Matthew 17:5; Mark 1:1; Luke 1:35; 1 John 4:15
III. Jesus Christ possessed all the attributes of God.
A. He was (is) omniscient (all-knowing).
John 4:25, 26, 29; 6:64; 13:11; 19:28; 21:17
1. He knew their thoughts.
Matthew 9:4; 12:25; 22:18; Mark 2:8; 12:15
Luke 5:22; 6:8; 9:47; 11:17
John 2:24, 25; 5:42; 6:6; 16:19, 30; Acts 1:24
2. He even foretold His own death by crucifixion.
Matthew 16:21; 17:22, 23; 20:18, 19
John 2:19, 21, 22; 12:23, 24, 32-33
B. He is omnipresent (everywhere).
Matthew 18:20; 28:20; Ephesians 1:23
C. He is omnipotent (all-powerful).
Daniel 7:13, 14; Matthew 28:18
John 3:31, 35; 17:2; 1 Peter 3:22
D. He is eternal.
1 Timothy 1:17; 6:16; Revelation 1:4, 5
1. Scripture claims that Christ was pre-existent to the
creation of the world, that He was present with the
Father from the beginning of time.
Genesis 1:26; 3:22; 11:7 ("... us ... our ... our ...")
Proverbs 8:22-36; Isaiah 48:12, 16; Micah 5:2
John 1:1-3, 10; 3:13; 6:62; 17:5, 24; 8:35, 58
1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 3:9; Philippians 2:5
Romans 11:36; Hebrews 1:2; Revelation 3:14
2. Jesus is "the first and the last" (Isaiah 44:6; 48:12;
Revelation 1:11, 17), the "Alpha and Omega, the
beginning and the end" (Revelation 1:8, 11; 2:8;
E. He is unchanging.
John 8:58; 18:6 with Exodus 3:14 ("I AM")
Revelation 1:17, 18 ("the Living One")
IV. Some claim that the death of Jesus Christ on the cross is proof that
He could not have been God. What evidence is given in scripture
to refute this argument?
A. Jesus' death on the cross was not due to failure or weakness
on His part. It was entirely voluntary.
Matthew 26:39, 42; Luke 22:42; John 10:17, 18
B. It was the will of God that He suffer and die.
Isaiah 53:10 "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him..."
C. He even foretold His own death by crucifixion.
Matthew 20:18, 19; 16:21; Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:32-34
John 2:19, 21, 22; 12:23, 24, 32, 33
D. He said that He had the power to lay down His life and had
power to take it back again.
John 10:17, 18
E. It was not necessary for Him to be defended, He said, for He
could have called upon the Father to send 10,000 legions of
angels for His protection.
F. He overcame death by rising again. The resurrection alone
should be sufficient evidence of His divinity. (See Section
V. Why was it necessary that He should become a man and die?
A. "... that through death He might destroy him that had the
power of death, that is, the devil."
B. To "deliver them who through fear of death were all their
lifetime subject to bondage."
C. "... that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things
pertaining to God ... in that He Himself hath suffered being
tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted."
Hebrews 2:17, 18; 4:14-16
D. "... to make reconciliation for the sins of the people."
VI. The specific details of His birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection, all in fulfillment of Old Testament Messianic prophecy, prove the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.
A. His birth.
1. The virgin birth.
a. Old Testament prophecy: Isaiah 7:14
b. New Testament fulfillment: Matthew 1:23, 24
Luke 1:27, 31, 34, 35
2. Birthplace: Bethlehem.
a. Old Testament prophecy: Micah 5:2
b. New Testament fulfillment: Matthew 2:1, 6
3. Date of birth.
Old Testament prophecy: Daniel 9:24
4. The genealogy of Jesus Christ.
a. Of Abraham's seed.
(1) Old Testament prophecy: Genesis 12:2, 3; 22:18
(2) New Testament fulfillment: Matthew 1:1;
Galatians 3:16; Hebrews 2:16
b. Descendant of Isaac.
(1) Old Testament prophecy: Genesis 21:12
(2) New Testament fulfillment: Matthew 1:2; Luke 3:23, 24
c. Descendant of Jacob.
(1) Old Testament prophecy: Genesis 35:10-12 Numbers 24:17
(2) New Testament fulfillment: Matthew 1:2;
Luke 1:33; 3:23, 24
d. Of the tribe of Judah.
(1) Old Testament prophecy: Genesis 49:10
(2) New Testament fulfillment: Matthew 1:3;
Luke 3:33; Revelation 5:5
e. Descendant of Jesse.
(1) Old Testament prophecy: Isaiah 11:1, 10
(2) New Testament fulfillment: Matthew 1:6; Luke 3:23, 32
f. Davidic lineage.
(1) Old Testament prophecy: 2 Samuel 7:12-14 Jeremiah 23:5
(2) New Testament fulfillment: Matthew 1:1; 9:27; 15:22; etc.
Acts 13:22, 23 Revelation 5:5; 22:16
5. The flight into Egypt.
a. Old Testament prophecy: Hosea 11:1
b. New Testament fulfillment: Matthew 2:14, 15
B. His life.
Jesus alone lived a sinless, perfect life, fully
surrendered to the Father.
John 8:29; 14:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21
Hebrews 4:15; 7:26; 9:14; 10:7
1 Peter 2:22; 1:19; 1 John 3:5
C. His ministry.
1. His manner of teaching was simplistic. He spoke in parables.
a. Old Testament prophecy: Psalms 49:1-4; 78:1, 2
b. New Testament fulfillment: Matthew 13:34, 35; John 16:25
2. He spoke with authority.
Matthew 7:28, 29; Luke 4:32; John 7:46
3. His works, the wonders He performed while here
on earth, prove that Jesus Christ was more than a man.
Matthew 4:23, 24; 11:3-5; Mark 1:34
John 9:32, 33; 10:37, 38; 21:25
D. His death.
1. Betrayal of a friend.
a. Old Testament prophecy: Psalms 41:9
b. New Testament fulfillment: Matthew 26:21-23; Mark 14:10
2. Forsaken by disciples.
a. Old Testament prophecy: Zechariah 13:7
b. New Testament fulfillment: Matthew 26:31, 32
3. Betrayed for thirty pieces of silver.
a. Old Testament prophecy: Zechariah 11:12
b. New Testament fulfillment: Matthew 26:15
4. Potter's field bought with money.
a. Old Testament prophecy: Zechariah 11:13
b. New Testament fulfillment. Matthew 27:1-8
5. Falsely accused by testimonies of many witnesses.
a. Old Testament prophecy: Psalms 35:11
b. New Testament fulfillment: Matthew 26:59, 60
6. Dumb before His captors.
a. Old Testament prophecy: Isaiah 53:7
b. New Testament fulfillment: Matthew 26:62, 63; 27:12, 14
a. Old Testament prophecy: Isaiah 50:6
b. New Testament fulfillment: Matthew 26:67; 27:26
a. Old Testament prophecy: Psalms 22:16
b. New Testament fulfillment: Mark 15:24
9. With evildoers.
a. Old Testament prophecy: Isaiah 53:12
b. New Testament fulfillment: Matthew 27:38; John 19:18
10. His words while dying.
a. Old Testament prophecy: Psalms 22:1
b. New Testament fulfillment: Matthew 27:46
11. Vinegar and gall.
a. Old Testament prophecy: Psalms 22:15; 69:21
b. New Testament fulfillment: Matthew 27:34, 48; John 19:28
12. Scorned by men.
a. Old Testament prophecy: Psalms 22:6-8
b. New Testament fulfillment: Matthew 27:39-44
13. Wounded in hands and side.
a. Old Testament prophecy: Zechariah 12:10; 13:6
b. New Testament fulfillment: Matthew 27:35; John 19:34
14. None of His bones broken.
a. Old Testament prophecy: Psalms 34:20
b. New Testament fulfillment: John 19:32, 33, 36
15. Lots cast for His clothes.
a. Old Testament prophecy: Psalms 22:18
b. New Testament fulfillment: Matthew 27:57-60; Mark 15:24
E. His resurrection.
1. Prophesied: Psalms 16:10 (Acts 2:27; 13:35-37);
Matthew 16:21 (Mark 8:31)
Matthew 12:38-40; 17:9, 22, 23; 20:18-19; 26:32; 27:63
Mark 9:10, 31; 10:32-34; 14:28, 58; Luke 9:22
John 2:19, 21, 22
2. Fulfilled: Matthew 28:6, etc.; Acts 13:30-37
3. Proof that He was bodily resurrected:
Acts 1:1-4 "He showed Himself alive!"
Luke 24:36, 39 ".... Jesus Himself stood in the midst
of them ..."
John 2:19, 21 "...He spake of the temple of His body!"
a. He appeared visibly to many people. Acts 13:30-31
(1) First to Mary Magdalene. John 20:14, 18
(2) Then to the other women. Matthew 28:9
(3) To Peter. Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5
(4) To the two disciples on the way to Emmaus.
(5) In the closed room, to ten disciples.
Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19, 20
(6) To the eleven. John 20:26, 29
(7) In the mountains, to the eleven. Matthew 28:10, 17
(8) At the sea, to Peter, Thomas, Nathanael,
the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples.
John 21:1, 14, etc.
(9) To 500 brethren at once. 1 Corinthians 15:6
(10) To James, and to all the apostles.
Acts 1:1-4; 1 Corinthians 15:7
(11) To Paul. Acts 9:3-6; 22:17-21; 23:11
1 Corinthians 15:8
b. He talked with them.
Matthew 28:10, 18
Luke 24:15-17, 25-27, 36-49
John 20:15-18, 22, 23, 26-29; 21:5, 6, 10-2 2
c. He ate with them.
Luke 24:30, 35, 41-43
John 21:12, 15
Acts 1:3, 4
d. They touched Him.
(1) The women. Matthew 28:9
(2) The disciples. Luke 24:39
(3) Thomas. John 20:27
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.—Philippians 2:5–7
Because Jesus was God, we might ask, did He have full knowledge of God as a little baby in the manger at Bethlehem? Or did this knowledge come to Him over a period of time? When Jesus was born, could He have turned to Mary and said, “I am God Almighty, the Messiah of Israel. I am God in human form. And by the way, Mary, the Earth is round. Some people are going to say that it is flat, but I am telling you it is round. I made it myself.”
Jesus didn’t do that. Instead, He squealed and giggled and made noises like any other baby. And He had a human mind. The Bible says of Jesus, “And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him” (Luke 2:40). When Jesus was 12 years old, Mary and Joseph found Him in the temple after the Feast of the Passover, “sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions” (verse 46).
Then in Luke 2:52, we read that “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” This would appear to be saying that Jesus went through a learning process like anyone else. Yet at the same time, He did not have the limitations that sin brings on one’s life.
Jesus walked the earth in a human body and died like a man, in the sense that His body ceased to function just like ours do when we die. And though He was God, He emptied himself of the privileges of deity and walked among us as a man.
Copyright © 2007 by Harvest Ministries
Thursday, October 25, 2007
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.—Philippians 2:10–11
There are people today who say that Jesus never claimed to be God; it is just something people dreamed up. But that is a lie. Jesus claimed to be God. And any group who says that Jesus is not God is not a Christian group, no matter how big their Bibles may be or how much they might look like Christians.
Jesus made clear claims to deity. He said, “For if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). When Moses saw the burning bush and walked up to it, he heard a voice speaking to him that said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. . . . I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Exodus 3:5–6). It was a claim to deity. So when Jesus said, “Unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins,” it means that Jesus claimed to be God.
To suggest that Jesus never claimed to be God is ludicrous. For instance, we know that on many occasions He accepted worship, something that is reserved for God alone. He said to Satan during the temptation in the wilderness, “ ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve’ ” (Matthew 4:10). Yet on other occasions, Jesus personally accepted worship.
When Thomas saw the risen Lord, he fell down before Him and said, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). Jesus accepted that, because He is indeed the Lord and God.
Copyright © 2007 by Harvest Ministries
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
The Organic God
By Margaret Feinberg
Reviewed by Chris Jarrell
“When I encounter something new that represents everything that is good and true and beautiful, something awakens inside me. Maybe it’s a heart cry for the creator or maybe it’s the Creator heart cry for me.” The Organic God by Margaret Feinberg
The Organic God by Margaret Feinberg is one of those books, that I wanted to read but haven’t had a chance to pick up yet. So, having a chance to do a review on this book is an honor. My expectations going in were high and it did not disappoint.
I really enjoyed Margaret’s natural and simple approach of having an authentic relationship with God. I also gathered many quotes throughout this book as well. All in all it was a great read and very inspiring. This reading wasn’t deep or even extremely thought provoking, it is however a quick read.
I think this book is good for those who are coming into faith as a Christ follower or for someone who may be on the verge of crossing the line of faith. It is an inviting book that I feel draws people to a greater understanding of God’s nature, as well as expressing God’s desire to be closer to those His creation.
In many ways the stories and experiences that Margaret shares about her life I can identify with and relate to. One of my favorite quotes towards the beginning of the book is closely associated my personal heart’s cry, “I want to know a God who in all his fullness would allow me to know.” That just really resonates in me. However, she continues by saying, “I want a relationship that is real, authentic, and life-giving even when it hurts.” Throughout the pages of the book she gives these insightful nuggets of wisdom and reveals her desire to be intimate with such an amazing God.
I also enjoy her attitude of not telling us who God is or not even necessarily how we are supposed to live. Instead, she tries to show ways to explore God and to see for ourselves who He is and what He is about for our lives. Again, she illustrates this by revealing openly and honestly her own personal life and experience.
For me this The Organic God is a gentle reminder that I can continue to encounter an awesome God in simply incredible ways. I step away from this book with a renewed hunger and thirst to seek after an infallible God. The pages of this book challenged me to saturate myself in the pages of Scripture.
My favorite chapter in this book is the final chapter .010 deeply mysterious. Throughout this chapter, she encourages the reader to ask the Why questions of God, such as: Why the abuse? Why the injustice? Why the suffering? Why the silence? She also challenges us to allow God to ask the greater Why questions to us: Why not you? Why don’t you fight against injustice? Why don’t you provide comfort for the suffering? Why don’t you speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves? Thoughtful and yet personally challenging.
I also enjoyed the added bonuses of The Organic God. First of all there is The Organic God Soundtrack, which are suggested songs that you can listen to as you go through the book with various songs that go along with the theme of each chapter. Many of the songs I already had and a few of them I just got off Itunes. The song list includes Nickel Creek’s “Out of the Wood,” Simon & Garfunkel’s, “Homeward Bound,” Sara Groves, Maybe There’s a Loving God,” Derek Webb’s, “Rich Young Ruler” and Sara McLaughlin’s, “Push” among others.
Also there is the Rainy-Day Reflections, which is a great supplement to each chapter that asks reflective questions that you can go through personally or as a small group. It also includes deeper readings from Scripture.
Overall, this was a great book that would be inspiring and even challenging no matter where you are at in your faith journey. This book will give you a desire to draw closer to a real, knowable, conversational, creative, mysterious, kind, gentle, Organic God.
Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”—Matthew 8:21–22
Everyone who serves the Lord is busy. We all have a lot of things to do. But I thank God for every volunteer in the ministries that we so often take for granted. When you go to church, there are people who will help you find a seat, minister to your children, and maybe even show you where to park. All of these people are volunteers. And they are doing these things because they love Jesus.
Maybe the Lord has spoken to you about getting involved in a ministry. And maybe you have been resistant, saying, “I am very busy. I have other things to do.”
That’s what one man said when Jesus called him to service. He responded, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father” (Matthew 8:21). Now, this man’s father was not actually dead. Rather, he was using a Near Eastern figure of speech, a common expression that described a son’s responsibility to help his father in the family business until the father died and the inheritance was distributed. In other words, this man was saying, “Lord, not now. I will do it later. I would like to go and preach the kingdom, but I am busy.”
The same can happen to us. God might speak to our hearts about serving Him more. And we respond, “Lord, I love You. I check in every Sunday. I put a little something in the offering. But I don’t have time to go out and do those extra things. I am so busy.”
If you haven’t discovered the joy of serving God, then you are missing out. There is something for everyone to do in service to Him. Don’t miss out on that.
Copyright © 2007 by Harvest Ministries
Monday, October 22, 2007
“And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it. . . . ”—Luke 14:27–28
When Jesus was in Jerusalem during the Passover, John’s Gospel tells us that many believed in His name after they saw the signs He did. But Jesus did not entrust himself to them, because “He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man” (John 2:24–25).
To put it simply, many believed in Him, but He did not believe in them. Many believed in Him, but their faith was superficial. It was shallow. It was based on the moment, not on a real commitment. Thus, Christ did not commit himself to them.
There are a lot of people who say they want to follow Jesus. And that is good. But that commitment will be challenged. We must decide to follow Jesus not because our best friend is, not because our boyfriend or girlfriend is, not because our parents are, but because we have chosen to follow Christ.
Many of us can get caught up in the moment. It’s like watching an Olympic medal ceremony. We see someone representing their nation standing up on that pedestal. As the gold medal is placed around the athlete’s neck and the flag of his or her country is raised while the national anthem plays, we say, “I want to be an Olympic athlete. That is what I want to do.” But do we realize the hours, days, months, and years these athletes dedicate to one competition?
We get excited about the medal ceremonies. But are we willing to go through the training? Are we willing to count the cost? Is our commitment to Him and Him alone? Are we willing to be real followers of Jesus?
Copyright © 2007 by Harvest Ministries
Friday, October 19, 2007
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.—1 John 5:3
A lot of us don’t like commandments, because we see them as restrictive. CNN founder Ted Turner once made this statement about the Ten Commandments: “We’re living with outmoded rules. . . . Today, the commandments wouldn’t go over. Nobody around likes to be commanded.”
I agree with Turner that people don’t like to be commanded. But if we want to live lives that are full, we have to recognize there is structure, there are parameters, and there are absolutes.
It would be like someone saying, “I don’t like traffic laws. I am not into stoplights. I am not going to live by the rules. I am going to drive wherever I want to drive and go wherever I want to go. I want my freedom.” But those laws are there for our protection. Those stoplights and traffic lanes are there so we can get to where we need to go.
The Bible does say that we should not do certain things. The Bible does tell us to stay away from specific things. But it also tells us what to do. When it tells us to stay away from one thing, it tells us to do another thing in its place.
For example, the Bible says, “And do not be drunk with wine” (Ephesians 5:18). There is the don’t. But here is the d “But be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (verses 18–19). God says, “Don’t do this, but do this instead.”
God’s plan is always better. Sure, He tells us to stay away from certain things. But it is for our own good.
Copyright © 2007 by Harvest Ministries
These movies raise spiritual questions that we have answers for. So often, I feel the church is afraid to tackle the questions that the culture around us have so we ignore and dismiss culture. We can not ignore or dismiss culture, we must be willing to answer the hard questions. If we do ignore and dismiss culture, the culture will ignore and dismiss the church. We can not afford to let this happen!
Thursday, October 18, 2007
I am looking forward to this weekend. It is going to be a great time of getting away and understanding the daily discipline of the Christian faith.
Please be praying for us this weekend, I believe this will be a significant time in people's journey of faith as they take their relationship with Christ deeper and to a more intimate level.
Biblical Definition of Repentance
In Biblical Hebrew, the idea of repentance is represented by two verbs: שוב shuv (to return) and נחם nicham (to feel sorrow).
In the New Testament, the word translated as 'repentance' is the Greek word μετάνοια (metanoia), "after/behind one's mind", which is a compound word of the preposition 'meta' (after, with), and the verb 'noeo' (to perceive, to think, the result of perceiving or observing). In this compound word the preposition combines the two meanings of time and change, which may be denoted by 'after' and 'different'; so that the whole compound means: 'to think differently after'. Metanoia is therefore primarily an after-thought, different from the former thought; a change of mind accompanied by regret and change of conduct, "change of mind and heart", or, "change of consciousness".
There is a three-fold idea involved in true repentance:
As touching the intellect
Matthew 21:29: "He answered and said: I will not; but afterward he repented, and went". The word here used for "repent" means to change one's mind, thought, purpose, views regarding a matter; it is to have another mind about a thing. This change is well illustrated in the action of the Prodigal Son, and of the Publican in the well-known story of the Pharisee and the Publican.
As touching the emotions
2 Cor. 7:9: "Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance; for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing." The Greek word for repentance in this connection means "to be a care to one afterwards," to cause one great concern. This meaning is exemplified by the repentant person who not only has profound regret for his past but also the fulfilled hope in the potential of God’s grace to continually bear the fruit of healing and true reconciliation in himself, with others, and most especially with God.
The Hebrew equivalent is strong as well, and it means to pant, to sigh, or to moan. So the publican "beat upon his breast," indicating sorrow of heart.
As touching the will and disposition
One of the Hebrew words for repent means "to turn." The Prodigal Son said, "I will arise... and he arose" Luke 15:18, 20. The part of the will and disposition in repentance is shown.
One of the key descriptions of repentance in the New Testament is the parable of the prodigal son found in the Gospel of Luke 15 beginning at verse 11.
Repentance is a change in direction. It is a renewal of our mind, heart and will. It is a turning from how we did things to following Christ.
Biblical Picture of Repentance - Isaiah 6:1-8
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory."
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."
Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"
And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
This Biblical picture of Isaiah shows us his confession…who he is…"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips.”
Isaiah’s repentance comes in the form of the live coal on his mouth…"See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."
Going back to the picture of the prodigal son
Daily Need of Confession and Repentance
Daily forgiveness means daily confession of our sins. It means daily repentance. The Christian life is a life of repeated repentance and renewal. We will always be sinners in this life and will always need to be renewed in our faith and repentance.
Psa. 38:18 -- "For I will declare mine iniquity: I will be sorry for my sin." The publican beat upon his breast, and said, "God be merciful to me a sinner" (Luke 18:13). The prodigal said, "I have sinned against heaven" (Luke 15:21).
The essence of perseverance is daily confession and repentance for our sins and trust in the grace of God to save us.
Confession begins with the understanding from our Biblical pictures of Isaiah and the prodigal son…it is an understanding of who we really are and what we have done next to who Christ is and what he has done.
Isaiah says it best…Isaiah 64:6 - All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
Repentance and Confession Prepares the Way for the Lord
o Prepares the Way for the Lord to Use You In a Genuine Way – Just as Isaiah was used to speak to the nation God wants to use us to speak to our culture and world around us.
o Prepares the Way for a Move of the Lord’s Power In Your Life – The same power that was pour out on Isaiah because of his willingness to confess and repent can be in us.
o Prepares the Way for the Lord’s Hope and Help in Your Life – Isaiah Prophetic message of the hope and help that is to come in the person of Jesus. This help and hope is available to all of us.
Ultimately, Confession and Repentance Prepares the Way for True Communion.
Burnt Offerings to God
The Burnt Offering Altar was the first item to be seen after entering through the door into the Tabernacle's Outer Court. It was an impressive construction: made from acacia wood overlaid with bronze, it stood 1.4 metres high and 2.3 metres wide and broad (square).
Wood is a biblical figure of man (Psalm 1:1,3 & Jeremiah 5:14). Acacia wood is a strong, high quality wood, signifying the best humanity, that of Jesus. Bronze in the Bible speaks of God's judgement, particularly His judgement over our rebellious thinking and speaking against Him (as in Numbers chapter 16:29-40 and Jude v11). Since the wood is overlaid with the bronze, the Burnt Offering Altar reminds us of man under God's judgement for our rebellion against Him. Since the wood is acacia wood, this speaks of Jesus bearing the judgement of God for us on the cross.
At the Burnt Offering Altar the priests sacrificed various offerings to God; some offerings were for their own sins and for the sins of the people. The point of the burnt offering was that, by it, a person might become accepted before God and forgiven (Leviticus 1:4)
Our burnt offering tonight will consist of our hearts laid open before God, this bon fire and a plank of wood with our sins written on it.
Throw the Plank in
Repentance begins with confession. We must be willing to confess our sins. In my opinion one of the greatest expression of confession is writing it down. Writing out those sins that we struggle takes the act that is in our heart, processes it through our mind, and then to be able to write them out.
We want you to get alone with you and God and search yourself and allow God to search you…here is a simple prayer taken from the heart of David you can pray and you allow the light of the Lord to search you.
Psalm 139:1-24 – Ask the Lord to search you…
Write your sins on the plank…as you write these sins out confess them to the Lord and ask the Lord to forgive you of these sins.
The hope of 1 John 1:9 is this - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Once you have them written out, place your planks in the bon fire as an offering to the Lord and let Him burn away those sins up in your life.
This act is symbolic of the purification by fire, a refining your life from the sin impurities. It is also prepares the way for the Lord in your life.
Malachi 3:1 -4
"See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty.
2 But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, 4 and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years.
The most important thing to say is that it is a life of confidence in God. And the foundation of our confidence is this promise: The furnace of affliction in the family of God is always for refinement, never for destruction. "I the Lord do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob!" Which simply means that life in the refiner's fire is a life of trust in the unchanging, purifying love of God.
And perhaps the next most important thing to say is that there is no painless path to heaven. Why? Because Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." And it is no more possible to become pure painlessly than it is to be burned painlessly." Purity comes through the refining fire.
Will you allow your sins to put through Refiner’s fire? Will you offer your sins to God with a heart of repentance and allow Him to consume those things in your life that doesn’t belong? We will you allow the fire of repentance to purify you?
Begin to get alone with God and ask him to search you and reveal those impurities in your life and those sins that need to be refined in the fire. Write them out on the plank and throw it in to the fire.