Thursday, January 12, 2017

Not Just Redemption, but Fulfillment in Christ Jesus

"I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it." (Psalm 81:10)

In the Bible, references to God leading the Israelites out of Egypt speak of Christ's redemption for everyone of us at the Cross.

Jesus was the Angel of the Lord who lead them out.

He is the pillar of fire and the pillar of clouds which protected the Israelites out of the land of bondage to the Promised Land.



Notice what the Psalmist connects with redemption:

"Open your mouths wide. I will fill you up."

Salvation is more than deliverance from death.

Salvation is more than being saved from hell and going to heaven

It's about God blessings  us spirit, soul, and body:

"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

And

"Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." (3 John 2)

Remember. The Promised Land was a real place on this earth, not some far away kingdom.

Indeed we are citizens of the kingdom of heaven, not the earth (Philippians 3:20), but He intends to prosper us here on earth in the meantime!

"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32)



and

"The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD'S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men." (Psalm 115:16)

We receive all things in Him, and our loving Father wants us to receive all things from Him!

Don't limit God's grace and blessings!

"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:" (Psalm 103:2)

Light Came First, and The Darkness Cannot Overcome It

"And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." (John 1:5)

Five is the number of grace.

Let us never forget that even when sin increases, God's grace super-duper abounds (Romans 5:20)

Notice that in the beginning, it was dark and without form before God:

"And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." (Genesis 1:2)

God created the heaven and the earth--then it was without form and void.

Let's never forget that there can be no darkness without God first having created or restored something,

God always comes first.

Light has already been there.



God the Father invited His Son to come: "Let there be light."

Notice that he did not "make" the light, nor did He create it.

The Light was always with the Father at the beginning of beginnings:

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

And Jesus is the Light of the World (John 8:12)

He has overcome the darkness, just as He was before all things with His Father, and the darkness could not last.

Rest in Jesus, the Light of your world, and know that the darkness cannot overcome you!




Sunday, January 8, 2017

Grow in Grace not Just Knowledge of the Lord Jesus

This is a new thought of sorts, if there ever was one!

I had been reading, hearing, and learning from pastors and preachers for the longest time -- you need to know the Lord, know about Him, read up and see more of Him.

Yet what did Peter exhort to His readers?

"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen." (2 Peter 3:18)

We are called to grow in grace first.

We need to see more of how much we have been forgiven, and how much He has blessed us!

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:" (Ephesians 1: 3-4)

and there's more:

"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power," (Ephesians 1:17-19)



We need to see how much He has blessed us, how great is His goodness toward us!

"O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him." (Psalm 34:8)

and

"I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it." (Psalm 81:10)

Let us not forget that Grace is a Person, anyway! When we learn more about the abundant, unmerited favor our Jesus, we are learning about Him!

"For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." (John 1:17)

Bringing Every Thought into Captivity to His Obedience

"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" (2 Corinthians 10:5)

We are not called to bring our thoughts into obedience to God's law.

No one can keep God's law:

"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." (Romans 3:20)

and

"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." (Galatians 2:16)

It's not about bringing out thoughts into captivity to Christ, or trying to tie everything to Him.

We are to settle every dispute and attack against our minds because of Christ's obedience!

What is this "obedience" specifically referenced by Paul?



"For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." (Romans 5:19)

We are to rest in the truth that all our sins are put away because of Christ's obedience to His Father at the Cross.

Any fears about the future are put away at the Cross, because Jesus shed His blood and enacted the New and everlasting covenant:

"For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." (Matthew 26:28)

Here are the full elements of the New Covenant:

"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

"And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

"For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." (Hebrews 8:10-12)

Faith: Not About Believing Him for Something, But Believing He Did Everything

"Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." (John 6:29)

For us today under the New Covenant, faith is not about agitating in our minds or speaking words at great length about the future.

It is not a supposition that good things will come to pass.

Faith is about Jesus, and believing that He accomplished all thing for us at the Cross.

Faith is trusting that Jesus accomplished has provided all thing for us.

"1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)

The whole context of Hebrews 11 and the Hall of Faith is not about people getting stuff. It's not about hoping for better personal outcomes in their lives.

It's about the coming Messiah and the promise of deliverance from sin, and the enactment of the New Covenant.




8By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went." (Hebrews 11:8)

What did God say to Abram (before he became Abraham) that would bring him into the Promised Land?

"1Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

2And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

3And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." (Genesis 12: 1-3)

We are blessed because of JESUS!

"6Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. 7Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 8And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 9So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham." (Galatians 3:6-9)

And who is the object of our faith?

JESUS!

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Romans 10:9)

Faith is about believing in Jesus, and that through His death and resurrection, He has justified us, and has granted us His life!

When we believe on Him, we can the truth that He will take care of everything in our lives!

"31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 34Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." (Romans 8: 31-34)


Saturday, December 31, 2016

God our Father Can Tell Us What Shall Be--and It is Good!

"Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him. 7For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?" (Ecclesiastes 8: 6-7)

Any one of us can find great revelation in reading the Book of Ecclesiastes.

Solomon in his old age muses on what a sad and empty life he leads. He acquired great wealth and riches, wives and concubines, children, buildings, a great name and incredible wisdom.

Yet he summed up his life in the first chapter with "Vanity of vanities! All is vanity!"

For those of us who know Jesus, who have the Savior and Messiah that he did not know, we can reject his empty cynicism. The questions he poses, we have an answer, because Christ Jesus is our Wisdom and righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30).

Here is another set of questions we can answer:

"Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him. For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?" (Ecclesiastes 8:6-7)

Jesus!

"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." (Revelation 1:8)



and also

"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." (Hebrews 13:8)

Even Isaiah declared the omnipotence of our Lord:

"Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:" (Isaiah 46:10)

Our Father can declare the end from the beginning. He can relate a matter from the end to the beginning. He is outside of time, and no one can upend His will.

And what is His will for us?

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." (Jeremiah 29:11)

and

"Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." (3 John 2)

While King Solomon, for all of his wisdom. feared for the future, and had no knowledge of what was to come, today because we are in Christ, and Christ is in us (Colossians 1:29), we have nothing to fear, and everything to hope for!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Because of Jesus, We Will Never Again Walk in the Shadow of Death

"The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.' (Isaiah 9:2)

This prophecy in the Old Testament speaks of Jesus.

The rest of the passage particularly points to His birth:

"6For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

"7Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." (Isaiah 9:6-7)

During His earthly ministry, He preached the Gospel to great acclaim, specifically to the Gentiles, the people of "the nations":

"Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations." (Isaiah 9:1)

Notice "Galilee of the nations", which speaks of non-Jewish believers.

Jesus is the Light of the World, for Jew and Gentile, for slave and free:

"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12)

He is our light, and He came into a world covered in darkness, a realm where the pagan Empire of Rome was dominating the people of Israel.



Today, though, let's meditate on how Jesus is the Light of the world for all of us, and how no matter how dark the circumstances may be around us, we will never stumble.

Consider again the prophecy of Isaiah:

"They tat dwell in the land of the shadow of death ..."

Where have we read a passage like this before?

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." (Psalm 23:4)

Notice that David wrote this Psalm, long before Jesus arrived. He prophesied of our Savior, specifically detailing the account of His Crucifixion in the previous Psalm.

Today, let us recognize that we can never find ourselves under the shadow of death.

Jesus, the Light of the world, has established His Kingdom. He died for us, He died as us, and He rose again from the dead, now seated at the right hand of His Father (Ephesians 1:21-2)

Looking back over the verse in Psalm 23, notice that David starts with "Yea, though" or "Even though."

This verse does not communicate that some day we may end up in this valley.

Read over his musings in Psalm 139:

"8If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

9If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;" (Psalm 139:8-9)

The statements are hypothetical, just like in Psalm 23: "Even if I walk through the valley of the shadow of death ..."

The truth, the Grace and Truth which came to us in Christ Jesus, we can never walk in the shadow of death ever again!

He is our Light, and He is our Life!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!