Friday, October 24, 2014

His Love Provokes Us to Love Others

"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:" (Hebrews 10: 24)

The word "provoke" evokes a harsh, antagonistic tone for modern readers of the King James.

The original word is "paroxysm", which means irration and incitement, but also excitement and exhortation.

How do we get people excited about loving others and doing good works?

Tell them all that Jesus is and all that He has done for us:

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3: 16)

and also

"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10: 10)

Paul later writes:

"15But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. (Romans 5: 15-17)

and also

"20Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Corinthians 5:20-21)

and also

"4But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:" (Ephesians 2: 4-6)

When we see how much God loves us (actively, presently, and eternally), how can we not love others?

Is that not what the Bible says, anyway?

"We love him, because he first loved us." (1 John 4: 19)

Paul prayed that we would comprehend His love (Ephesians 3: 16-19), and when we understand His love for us, then we love others.

Today, if you want to get other people excited about loving God and other people, let them know how much God loves them!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

He's Faithful, so that We are Faithful

"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)" (Hebrews 10: 23)

When we read passages like "hold fast", we may be tempted to thinking of faith as a struggle, or something that we must fight through strenuous effort.

Jesus has given us His faith to believe on Him:

"8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast. " (Ephesians 2: 8-9)

And

"20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. 21I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (Galatians 2: 20-21)

Paul writes to Timothy:

"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses." (1 Timothy 6: 12)

The better translation (although somewhat awkward for an English-speaking audience):

"Let the good fight of faith be fought."

Jesus defeated Satan, sin, and overcame the world at the Cross (John 16: 33).

We just need to believe that He finished everything when He cried out: "It Is Finished!" (John 19: 30)

God came through for us when we weren't even looking for Him, when we were lost, and had no idea that we were lost:

"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5: 8)

Even when we waver and we want to trust ourselves, He is faithful:

"If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself." (2 Timothy 2: 13)

Look to the Parable of the Loving Father (Luke 15) to see how faithful God our Father is, even when we as sons think that we can live on our own without Him.

God cannot lie, and He swore by Himself:

"18That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; " (Hebrews 6:18-19)

He is faithful. When we understand this, we are growing from faith to faith (Romans 1: 17), and we can hold fast the profession of our faith in Him.

Don't focus on your believing. Focus on how faithful God is, and you will find yourself believing on Him!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Let Christ Assure Your Heart Today

"Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." (Hebrews 10: 22)

We can come to God knowing that He will never punish us, nor hold our sins against us:

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus," (Romans 8: 1, NIV)

John tells us that we do not have to worry about what's on our hearts, in the first place:

"And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him." (1 John 3: 19)

Let us always remember that the truth is a person (John 14: 6), and the truth speaks of the Gospel of Grace.

Grace and truth are one in Christ:

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

The truth of grace, not the law, sets us free:

"31Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8: 31-32)

The truth is all about the Gospel:

"To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you." (Galatians 2: 5)

And the Gospel in short form is provided for you here:

"Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: 39And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." (Acts 13: 38-39)

 But what if our heart is not assured?

 20For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things" (1 John 3: 20)

We need to know that God knows everything about us, yet He sent His own Son to die for us (John 3: 16), and that He remembers our sins no more (Hebrews 8: 12) 

21Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. 22And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight."

We have this confidence, that all things have been taken care of, and that we are fully washed and sanctified in Christ.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Jesus, Our High Priest Forever

"And having an high priest over the house of God;" (Hebrews 10: 21)

Jesus is our high priest today.

In fact, He ministers on our behalf, and ever stops serving:

"For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Mark 10: 45)

and also:

"Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life." (Hebrews 7: 16)

Why is it important for us to know that our High Priest today has an endless life?

Under the Old Covenant, the high priest would go into the Holy of Holies once every year to atone for the sins of the people:

" And Aaron shall make atonement upon its horns once a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonement; once a year he shall make atonement upon it throughout your generations. It is most holy to the LORD.” (Exodus 30: 11)

This high priest would enter once a  year, which signified that the shedding of blood was not enough.

When Jesus shed His blood, the eternal value of His blood covers our sins forever.

Not only that, but because He is a perfect, never-dying priest, we can rest assured that our perfect standing before God will never change.

"For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." (Malachi 3: 6)

We are made not just righteous before God, but the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5: 21), and we keep receiving this righteousness (Romans 5: 17) because our righteousness is based on Jesus, our High Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek (King of Righteousness):

"(For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)" (Hebrews 7: 21)

When we understand whose we are, and where we are in (in Christ), then we understand fully who we are:

"Herein is love perfected among us, that we may have boldness in the day of judgement; because as He is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4: 17)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Jesus, Our Living Way to God the Father

"By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;" (Hebrews 10: 20) 

Jesus declared to His disciples:

"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)

When most of read this passage, we usually think of a pathway to getting to someone. Then again, how is a person a pathway?

Jesus was speaking to His Jewish disciples then, and the context of coming to God, or getting close to Him, was always tied up in the sacrifices:

"26Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon." (Exodus 20: 26)

and

"And Moses said unto Aaron, Go unto the altar, and offer thy sin offering, and thy burnt offering, and make an atonement for thyself, and for the people: and offer the offering of the people, and make an atonement for them; as the LORD commanded." (Leviticus 9: 7)

Because Jesus is the Lamb who takes away (present tense) the sins of the world (John 1: 29), we know that we can come to God our Father anytime, since the blood of His Son Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1: 7).

Now, what does the veil and the flesh speak of, regarding the living path that we have to God?

When Jesus died on the Cross, the veil in the Temple, which had divided the Holies of Holies from the entire world, was ripped from top to bottom:

"50Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; " (Matthew 28: 50-51)

Because Jesus died for us and as us, sin was condemned in His flesh:

"2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:" (Romans 8: 2-3)

When we come to God today, even if we find sinful thoughts and feelings in our bodies, we reckon ourselves dead to these sins, too (Romans 6:11-14), because Jesus' death accomplished a perfect work in purging our consciences and perfecting us forever before God the Father (Hebrews 10: 14).

Jesus is alive, and we live because of Him, and through Him we have perfect access to God our Father, knowing that Jesus perfected us in Him, and thus grants us boldness to come to God in our every time of need (Hebrews 4: 16)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Have Boldness to Come to God

"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus," (Hebrews 10: 19)

Why do we have boldness to enter before God at any time?

The blood of Jesus!

The previous verse explains what Jesus' blood did for us: taking away all our sins. All of them.

Now, when we read this verse and take in the message about coming to God, we can understand why many people have a hard time coming to Him.

Some of us may feel that He is not big enough:

"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)

Some of us may feel that He does not want to help us, because of our sins.

Regarding the guilt of our sins, some have read this passage, perhaps:

"1Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
 
2But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear." (Isaiah 59: 1-2)
 
Yet that is no longer the case, for He remembers our sins no more (Hebrews 8: 12), and:
 
"But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ." (Ephesians 2: 13)
 
and
 
"21And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight." (Colossians 1: 21-22)
 
Maybe you think that He does not care about what you are going through. Perhaps you had parents who did not care what you were going through.
 
Jesus knows what you are going through:
 
"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." (Hebrews 4: 15)
 
And He cares:
 
"6Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." (1 Peter 5: 6-7)
 
Because of Jesus, all He has done and all that He is, we can come to God:
 
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4: 16)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

There is No Other Offering But the Blood

"Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin." (Hebrews 10: 18)

Jesus' blood did away with our sins forever.

"But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;" (Hebrews 10: 12)

These sins are put away from us, and we no longer identify with them. Only when we forget this do we find ourselves not living a victory:

"But he that lacketh these things [traits of godly character] is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins." (2 Peter 1: 9)

We do not remove our sins through anything that we have done, but rather everything which Jesus did:

"4But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:" (Ephesians 2: 4-6)

and then

"13And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it." (Colossians 2: 13-15)

All our trespasses are forgiven because of Jesus' death, and through His death the Mosaic law was fulfilled, and rendered inoperative against us (Matthew 5: 17, Hebrews 8: 13)

In the last days, the greatest fight would be with those who believe that Jesus did not finish the work/ They would not deny that He never existed, or that He never died, but that He did not finish the work:

"O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? 2This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? 4Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain." (Galatians 3: 1-4)

and

"(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things." (Philippians 3: 18-19)

And also

"3Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. 4For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." (Jude 3-4)

There is no other way for our sins to be put away forever, because in order to have eternal, there had to be a sacrifice of eternal consequence, the blood of Jesus, which keeps on cleansing us (1 John 1: 7)