Thursday, September 21, 2017

Reacting To My Savior

Seeing the glorified Jesus will be overwhelming but I do not need to be afraid.


Revelation 1:17-18 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave."

When we think of seeing Jesus in heaven we usually think about the human Jesus that walked among the people and looked just like any other guy but if you study the book of Revelation you will realize that the Jesus that we look forward to seeing isn't going to look the same.

When John saw Jesus in the vision he didn't see a humble carpenter, he didn't look upon a familiar face and have an out burst of joy as we would when we see an old friend, John saw someone that was much different from the man that he knew.

Jesus is now in full glory, the glory that he has always shared with God, the Jesus that John saw in the vision struck him with fear and dread. John is overwhelmed by the holiness of God. John was instantly aware of his sinfulness and his depraved condition and was totally devastated. His immediate reaction is to fall down to the ground like a dead man. (Philippians 2:6-11)

John's reaction was fear but then Jesus reacted to John's fear with assurance. 


It was proper for John to react the way that he did but Jesus didn't want John to continue forever in fear, Jesus touched John and told him to "fear not!" This is similar to what Jesus said in Matthew 17:5-7 when the disciples witnessed the transfiguration.

John receives a touch from Jesus and an assurance that he doesn't need to be afraid. Jesus loves him and went to great lengths so that John could stand before Jesus without fear. Since Jesus is on our side and he will never die we don't have any reason to be afraid.
2 Corinthians 3:16-18 But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord--who is the Spirit--makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.
When we see God's glory contrasted with our sinfulness it will cause us to live differently. If we get close to God through studying his word and we see who he is then we will come to understand our situation without Jesus work on the cross. We will allow God to work in our lives and change us "into His glorious image."

A true Christ follower should be repulsed by their sinfulness, we should desire sin less and less as we get to know and see Jesus more, sin will look a lost less appealing to us and that will cause us to be a better reflection of God's glory.
Revelation 6:15-17 Then everyone--the kings of the earth, the rulers, the generals, the wealthy, the powerful, and every slave and free person--all hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to survive?"
We will all see what John saw and we will probably all fall down like a dead man! If you have a relationship with Jesus then you will not have to fear the appointment that we will all be forced to keep.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Seeing My Savior

The Jesus that was here on earth is not the Jesus that we will see someday.


Revelation 1:9-16 I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God's Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus.

10 It was the Lord's Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit. Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast. 11 It said, "Write in a book everything you see, and send it to the seven churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea."

12 When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lamp stands. 13 And standing in the middle of the lamp stands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across His chest.

14 His head and His hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And His eyes were like flames of fire. 15 His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and His voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. 16 He held seven stars in His right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from His mouth. And His face was like the sun in all its brilliance.

Without a doubt The Alpha and Omega is coming back, he is all knowing, he is everywhere and he is all powerful, so I know that there isn't anything that can happen to make this fact not come true. That is the message that the early churches desperately needed to hear to encourage them as they endured persecution and they wrestled with the idea of how soon it would come to pass.

John was a very close friend to Jesus, he was in the inner circle of disciples and he was chosen by Jesus to care for Mary, but even John wasn't ready to see Jesus. The Jesus that John knew back then is not the same Jesus that he was about to see in his vision.

There is a lot of symbolism in the way that John describes the things that he saw in the Book of Revelation. John gets to see the risen and exalted Lord and try to find adjectives to help us know what we saw. What an incredibly difficult task that John was told to do, how do you describe such an amazing experience of sights and sounds?

The first sound that he hears is a loud voice that he didn't recognize, it was clear and loud like a trumpet sound, this isn't the voice of Jesus that John knew. John turned to see Jesus and the work that he is doing for the church.

Jesus is now full of glory, the glory that he has always shared with God, he is no longer the humble carpenter that could be ridiculed and rejected. This is the Jesus that everybody will immediately bow down and worship just like John did.
Jesus is coming and He's coming not in humiliation, to be scoffed at and mocked and killed again, He's coming in full glory. And when He comes He will deliver the world, He will deliver the universe from the wicked, from sin, from demons, from Satan and from death.
The details of Jesus' features describe him as having snow white head and hair, flaming eyes, a powerful voice and feet that are like refined brass. By this description we know that Jesus is pure, he has laser like eyes that see everything and he has feet that symbolize the elements of the temple that were related to the sin sacrifice. (Daniel 7:9-14)

John got to see the work that Jesus is doing right now while we wait for his return. Jesus is wearing the robe of the high priest and he is working in the midst of the churches (the seven stars according to Revelation 1:20). Our high priest is busy interceding for the church and empowering us for the work that he has given us.
2 Corinthians 3:18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord--who is the Spirit--makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.
Jesus told us that when he goes away he is going to prepare a place for us but he is also preparing us for the place that we are going. He is preparing his bride and helping her be the light of the world. What an amazing sight that we will behold! (John 14:3)

I need to radiate his glory as I become more like him so that the world around me will be drawn to the light.

RELATED ARTICLES


A Year End Look At Jesus (desiringgod.org)
The Vision Of The Glorified Son - Part 1 (gty.org)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Alpha And The Omega Returns

We have no reason to doubt that Jesus is returning.

 
Revelation 1:7-8  Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see Him--even those who pierced Him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for Him. Yes! Amen!  8  "I am the Alpha and the Omega--the beginning and the end," says the Lord God. "I am the One who is, who always was, and who is still to come--the Almighty One."

Revelation 1:17-18  When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as if I were dead. But He laid His right hand on me and said, "Don't be afraid! I am the First and the Last.  18  I am the living One. I died, but look--I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.

Revelation 21:5-6  And the One sitting on the throne said, "Look, I am making everything new!" And then He said to me, "Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true."  6  And He also said, "It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega--the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life.

Revelation 22:12-13  "Look, I am coming soon, bringing My reward with Me to repay all people according to their deeds.  13  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End."

From the very first verse of Revelation you will find that the purpose of this book is to reveal Jesus to us. Revelation was written to reveal his character, his power and his plan for the future.

While Jesus was here with us he made many "I Am" statements that are recorded in the Gospel of John to reveal to us different characteristics of who he is. In these statements he claimed to be everything that we need for this world and for eternity. In the book of Revelation Jesus' claims are supplemented with another "I Am" statement that reveals more about his character and power.

The book of Revelation reveals that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega just the same as God the Father is. The fact that this name is applied to both of them is a strong argument for the deity of Jesus. They are both eternal in both directions, from eternity past to eternity future, they exist now, they always did exist and they always will exist. They are one in their plans and purpose and in power.

Our creator cannot be caught off guard and there isn't any power that is greater that can keep his plans from happening. He doesn't have to rule from a position of power alone, the fact that he is all knowing and also present everywhere at all times tells me that there is nothing that surprises him and he is in complete control.

The Certainty Of Jesus Return

We must open up our understanding to the greatness of this event by sort of getting our arms around how important it is in the Scripture. Some have calculated that there are over 660 general prophecies, 333 about Christ, 109 fulfilled at His first coming, 224 at His second coming.  So the Bible has much to say about His second coming.

Of the 46 Old Testament prophets, less than 10 of them speak of His first coming; 36 of them speak of His second coming.  There are over 1,500 Old Testament passages that refer in some way to the second coming of Jesus Christ.  One out of every 25 New Testament verses directly refers to the second coming of Jesus Christ.  For every time the Bible mentions the first coming of Christ, it mentions the second coming 8 times.

The promise of God 

God came through with his promises concerning Jesus first coming so we should take serious the promise of the second coming and what he promises will happen. (Isaiah 9:6, 11:1-5, 62:11 / Jeremiah 23:5-6 / Ezekiel 21:27 / Daniel 9:25)

The words of Jesus 

Jesus told us that he is preparing a place that isn't ready yet but when it is he will come back and take us home. (John 14:3 / Matthew 16:27, 24:30-31, 25:31, 26:63-64 / Luke 12:37-40, 17:28-30, 21:34-36)

The guarantee of the Holy Spirit 

The Spirit of Truth inspired the New Testament writers to give us scriptures that assure us that Jesus is returning and some of the details about what is going to happen. (1 Corinthians 1:4-8 / Philippians 3:20-21 / Colossians 3:4 / James 5:8 / 1 Peter 1:13 / 1 John 3:2-3)

The humiliation of Jesus Christ

Is there any chance that God is going to allow the humiliation of Jesus to be the final chapter? The Bible has a lot to say about the future reign of the descendant of King David. The disgrace, disrespect and harsh treatment that he endured for our sake is not the end of his story.
Isaiah 9:7 His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!

Revelation 11:15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices shouting in heaven: “The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.”
The Alpha and Omega is coming back without a doubt, he is all knowing, he is everywhere and he is all powerful, there isn't anything that can happen to make this fact not come true.

The next time he leaves Heaven it will be to gather up his children, it will happen suddenly and secretly like a thief in the night so you better be ready. (Matthew 25:1-30)

RELATED ARTICLES
Jesus' "I Am" Statements (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Celebrate The Day

I'll sing, I'll dance, my heart will overflow, from the day You saved my soul



I Am They - "From The Day"

When You found me, I was so blind
My sin was before me, I was swallowed by pride
But out of the darkness, You brought me to Your light
You showed me new mercy and opened up my eyes

From the day You saved my soul
'Til the very moment when I come home
I'll sing, I'll dance, my heart will overflow
From the day You saved my soul

Where brilliant light is all around
And endless joy is the only sound
Oh, rest my heart forever now
Oh, in Your arms I'll always be found

From the day You saved my soul
'Til the very moment when I come home
I'll sing, I'll dance, my heart will overflow
From the day You saved my soul

My love is Yours
My heart is Yours
My life is Yours
Forever


RELATED ARTICLES
Celebrate The Messiah (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)
What A Glorious Day (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)

Monday, August 14, 2017

How Satisfied Are You?

The pleasures of this world will never satisfy your desires.


Proverbs 27:20 Just as Death and Destruction are never satisfied, so human desire is never satisfied.

Psalms 63:1-3 O God, You are my God; I earnestly search for You. My soul thirsts for You; my whole body longs for You in this parched and weary land where there is no water. 2 I have seen You in Your sanctuary and gazed upon Your power and glory. 3 Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise You!

It seems like every time you get a receipt there is an invite to take a survey and let somebody know about your experience. Most companies that you do business with want to be sure that you are pleased with the experience. If we are unhappy then somebody is going to hear about it.

Sometimes we approach God the same way, we expect him to make us happy and to give us a better life, we expect service from him and if we don't get it then we will be giving him a bad review. God doesn't have any comment cards or online surveys to fill out and there isn't a chance to win a prize for giving him our opinion.

You would probably think that there wasn't any reason for discontent back in the Garden of Eden but you would be wrong. It is difficult to imagine how it was living life before the effects of sin damaged everything. Life in the garden included daily walks with God, no struggle for food and huge beast that meant you no harm.

Even in the most ideal circumstances man's desire to be in control and to get more for himself was still present. As far as we know, there was only one rule to live by in the garden, eat from any tree that you want except for the one that God said was off limits. It sounds easy enough but we have all been led astray just as easy as Adam and Eve were.
God was angry because Adam took the gifts of God and used them for his own purposes, so that he became his own god.
We act like God's purpose is to make us happy and content but that is not a priority for him. It sounds absurd to say it but in reality that is the way that we behave. Our consumer mentality follows us to church and we expect the church to serve us.

We want more and more of the things that do not satisfy as if it will someday be enough. We want to control what we have and how much we have instead of looking to him to satisfy.

This lack of contentment is behind our fat stomachs, our adulterous relationships, and our excessive drive to put more money in the bank. Our desire for pleasure is out of control because we do not get our desires fulfilled by the infinite source of pleasure.
Psalms 34:8 Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him!
We need to develop an appetite for the one that created our appetites in the first place. If we really know him and love him then we will desire him and let go of our desire to be indulged by lesser things.

I need to be anxious for opportunities to meet with God, to be excited to spend a few more minutes talking to him and studying the Bible, I need to redirect my cravings to the source if satisfaction that my soul longs for.
Psalms 23:5 You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.
My earthly desires need to fade away as I present myself as a living sacrifice. I will be content with less of the toys that the world seeks to have and I need to be satisfied by giving instead of getting more.

I need to give away my time, talents and treasures for the work of the gospel. I wasn't blessed with all of these things so that I can store them up and use them for myself. I have been given much so that I can accomplish much for the sake of the gospel.

RELATED ARTICLES

Sunday, July 30, 2017

I Am Loved Unconditionally

Praise God that I am his child and I am not defined by my mistakes.



Video: Jason Gray - "Remind Me Who I Am"

Ephesians 2:3-5 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God's anger, just like everyone else. 4 But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God's grace that you have been saved!)

Ephesians 3:17-19 Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Looking back on fifty plus years with plenty of wrong turns and mistakes, it would be easy to get down on myself, we all have a personal history that is full of things we wish we had never done and places we wish we had never gone.

The best way to keep from allowing my mistakes to define me is to remind myself of who I am in Christ. God's grace is so amazing because he knows us 100% and yet he still loves us 100%. How can you not feel loved and forgiven if you fully understand the gospel?

We can never measure up to God's standards but thank God he knows that I can't and he chose to love me anyway. God's infinite mercy came to my rescue and changed my standing in his eyes.
In saving us from his own wrath, God has done what we could not do, and he has done what we didn’t deserve.
-Joseph Scheumann (desiringgod.org)
My identity isn't about all of the good or the bad that I have done, I am identified as a child of God, I can put down all of the labels that life may hand me and take up the label that says "beloved child of God." Any other label that I try to wear will only bring me down and make me feel defeated.

Check out all of the things that God says about me.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Transformed to Serve

God has changed me and I can't go back to the way it used to be.


John 21:3-6 Simon Peter said, "I'm going fishing." "We'll come, too," they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night. 4 At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn't see who He was.

5 He called out, "Fellows, have you caught any fish?" "No," they replied. 6 Then He said, "Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you'll get some!" So they did, and they couldn't haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.

What do you do when you are so excited and you are anxious to share the good news? Probably you don't go fishing. It must have been an unusual time from the resurrection of Jesus until the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit empowered the disciples to go and make disciples.

They were so excited to learn that Jesus was alive again, one day they are defeated and discouraged, the next day they are probably ready to tell everybody, but it wasn't time for them to start their ministry.
Luke 24:49 And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as My Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.
Throughout the Bible you will find God telling people to wait. It seems like any major event on God's timetable is preceded by a period of waiting. I remember Abraham, Joseph, King Saul, Job and Simeon all having to wait on God, some of them being good examples and others showing us the hazards of not waiting. (Lamentations 3:25-26)

Peter didn't do a good job of waiting, he was going back to fishing for fish instead of waiting for men, and he also influenced his fishing buddies to go with him. Maybe Peter was tempted to go back to the way it used to be.

Seven professional fisherman spent the night catching nothing, maybe God is teaching them a lesson about waiting, fishing all night without catching anything is certainly a long and miserable night. It is just about an impossible occurrence for a fisherman that uses a net, catching nothing at all would take an act of God, it makes me wonder if Peter thought about the previous time when this happened. (Luke 5:1-9)

Peter had a surprise appointment with Jesus this morning, an appointment that is just as surprising as the first one that he had after an unsuccessful night of fishing, this meeting would change everything even more that the first one did.

Jesus came to the seashore that morning to restore broken relationships and to teach these men about their responsibilities as witnesses of the good news.

Even though the conversation recorded in scripture is between Jesus and Peter, all of the disciples had failed Jesus, the truth of the lessons that Jesus taught were for all of them and they apply to all of us as believers today.

My Responsibility As A Believer:

Obey Jesus 

Cast your net when and where Jesus tells you. (John 21:1-8)

These guys spent the night working very hard, doing work they were not supposed to be doing, and they probably complained about the results. Catching men is their new job that Jesus has been training them to do for the past three years. After the Holy Spirit comes they won't have time to bother with fishing for fish anymore.

Allowing Jesus to be in control is the best way to avoid wasting your life. This reminder for them is for us as well. I will accomplish what really matters when I am depending on Jesus and submitting to his timing and authority. (John 15:5)

Love Jesus 

Check your love for Jesus and his family often. (John 21:9-18)

Fixing relationships is what Jesus is all about, he asked Peter to confess his love, something he had already boasted about but failed to live out during Jesus' trial. Jesus made the connection between truly loving him and showing it in obedience and service to him.

Do you love Jesus? If you do it should show in the way that you live. We should be fishers of men and we should also help tend the flock. If you love Jesus then you will want to be near the flock and you will be concerned about the health, protection and guidance of the other believers in the flock. (Philippians 2:3-6)

Follow Jesus 

Consider the cost that may be required of a believer. (John 21:19-25)

A repaired relationship with Jesus must have been an amazing blessing for Peter, in Peter's mind that would have been a great place to end this conversation, but Jesus continues to share important information that isn't so easy to hear.

Jesus takes the conversation from Peter's life and ministry to his death as a martyr, Jesus never dodged the issues so that he would have more followers, he was always upfront about the trouble and hardship that his disciples would face in this evil world.

Following without turning away and staying focused on Jesus despite the circumstances are some of the greatest daily challenges for a follower of Jesus. It is a struggle which must be dealt with constantly if we are going to die to self and become a living sacrifice. (Romans 12:1-2)

Following without meddling in what Jesus is doing in another believers life is another challenge. It is easy to look at what God is doing with somebody else and allow that to change our focus and our direction. (John 21:21)

The lives of the disciples were radically changed from the moment that Jesus called them to follow him but the transformation was just getting started. They still needed the helper that Jesus promised to send after he is gone.

The Holy Spirit's power in their lives would change these ordinary men, men that failed so often, men that didn't understand Jesus teaching, men that walked away when the going got tough. They would be powerful and they would speak with wisdom that is unheard of from a group of unschooled fishermen. (Acts 4:13)
2 Corinthians 5:15 He died for everyone so that those who receive His new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.
Jesus Christ is transforming lives today, he is changing us from our old carnal state into a people that will represent him well and serve his purpose on earth. The easy life is not my goal, pleasure and riches are no longer the main desire to be fulfilled.

God has changed me and I can't go back to the way it used to be! I will live for Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. I will set aside the evil desires and the pride that drives men to live for self. I will live to honor my Lord and fulfill his desire and plan for my life.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Risen Without A Doubt

The unexpected happened and there is plenty of evidence to prove it.


John 20:1-9 Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. 2 She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, "They have taken the Lord's body out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put Him!"

3 Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. 4 They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn't go in.

6 Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, 7 while the cloth that had covered Jesus' head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings.

8 Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed-- 9 for until then they still hadn't understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead.

Most authors end a biography pretty soon after the death of the person that is being written about. There usually isn't much to say about a person after they are dead, they quit doing things and saying things for anybody to write about, but that is not so with Jesus.

Jesus story starts to get really interesting after his death. The favorite part of the Bible for a lot of people is probably the New Testament from Acts through Revelation. The story of Jesus is really exciting as you about the amazing changes that happened in our relationship with God as a result of the fact that Jesus came out of the tomb.

None of the stuff that Jesus told us about heaven matters if he didn't rise from the dead, we would be foolish to put all of our hope in a dead man, if he didn't leave his grave then we have no hope of leaving ours. Thankfully the evidence that Jesus did rise from his grave is huge and it gives us plenty of reason to expect that we will experience his resurrection power in our lives as well. (John 6:37-40, 1 Corinthians 15:14-19)

Consider the evidence

  • The open tomb

A sealed tomb with Roman soldiers that "slept" through the noise of the large boulder being moved and now it is wide open for us to see that it is empty. Jesus proved when he came into a room without opening a door that the stone was moved for our benefit, it wasn't moved to let him out, it was moved to let us in. (John 20:19, 26; Luke 24:15, 31)

  • The scared disciples

These guys were too afraid to make a plan to pretend that the resurrection had happened. They didn't even comprehend that Jesus was coming back in three days. Why would they go through so much work and expense to give Jesus a proper burial if they believed that he was coming back so soon?

  • The religious leaders

If these guys had any information about the location of Jesus body they would certainly have been quick to let everybody know, they would have done whatever they could to stop the resurrection stories. Their story about the guards at the tomb taking a nap and missing the thief is rather lame.

  • The empty grave clothes

What grave robber would leave behind the clothing that was on Jesus and carry his bloody body away to a new location. His body was a mess that nobody would have wanted to see or touch.

  • The crowd of witnesses

Post-resurrection appearances of Jesus include the first to Mary Magdalene, then to the disciples on several occasions and to a crowd of over 500 people at once. The varied circumstances of the appearances and the different people that were involved help to validate the truth.

  • The disciples preaching

The powerful preaching of the disciples would have been easy to stop if somebody came forward with a dead Jesus. The disciples accused the Jews of crucifying the Son of God, wouldn't they stop at nothing to find Jesus body in order to stop such serious allegations?

  • The unexpected happened

It is amazing that nobody expected Jesus to be back in their midst after three days. God's word and the prophets had said that it would happen, just days before he was crucified Jesus said he would be crucified but he would be right back, yet nobody expected it would happen. (Luke 24:25-26)

From tears to joy, from fear to courage and from doubt to belief, they were all convinced. Even the Apostle Paul went from being a zealot to protect the traditions of Judaism to embracing the life and teaching of Jesus. 
The Apostle Paul saw Jesus and was convinced:
Romans 1:4 and He was shown to be the Son of God when He was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 4:24-25 for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in Him, the One who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and He was raised to life to make us right with God.

Romans 5:11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

Romans 6:10 When He died, He died once to break the power of sin. But now that He lives, He lives for the glory of God.

Romans 8:34 Who then will condemn us? No one--for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at God's right hand, pleading for us.
Everyone that experienced the risen Savior was never the same and that is still true today. My relationship with Jesus is so awesome because it is the reason that I can have a peaceful, loving and friendly relationship with God while I am here on earth and there is no fear of meeting him when this life is over.

Thank you God that you revealed your plan to raise your Son Jesus from the dead and then you followed through and kept your promise.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Cross and Our Commitment

The cross should be life changing for all of us.


John 19:38-42 Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus' body.

When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away. 39 With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night. He brought about seventy-five pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes.

40 Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus' body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth. 41 The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before. 42 And so, because it was the day of preparation for the Jewish Passover and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

For the past three years there have been crowds of people eager to follow Jesus everywhere that he went, just a week ago there were plenty of people that cheered for him as they declared him to be their Messiah, but where is everybody now?

I remember there used to be a powerful group of seventy disciples that Jesus sent out to do a short term mission trip to prepare the way for his ministry. This group gave up their time and left their families and their stuff behind to obey Jesus command to go. They came back from their mission trip with an exciting testimony about the way that God used them but then they are never mentioned again. (Luke 10:1-24)

Even the twelve that spent almost every moment for three years with Jesus. The only one of their group that was at the cross is John. As committed as this group was and as much as they had given up and invested in Jesus and yet now they are gone.

There were so many people in Jesus life everyday, he was being followed and he had thousands asking for his help constantly, but now it's only his mother and a handful of friends that followed him all the way to the cross. (Matthew 27:55-56; Mark 15:40-41; Luke 23:49; John 19:25-27)

This small group was probably shocked to learn that two people from Jesus past stepped back into the picture to give Jesus a proper burial. These two guys had encounters with Jesus but they didn't reach a decision until later on and they never came forward and expressed their conviction or show any commitment to Jesus.

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were both members of the Sanhedrin, three of the gospels tell us that Joseph of Arimathea was a rich, God fearing man that did not vote to condemn Jesus and the book of John tells us that he was a secret disciple who feared the other Jewish leaders. The Book of John is the only book that tells us the part that Nicodemus played in the burial of Jesus.

I don't think that it is an accident that there was an empty tomb available nearby, was Joseph the rich man that the tomb belonged to? Was it possible for Nicodemus to run out to buy all of the myrrh and spices at the last minute when all of the stores would be closed in preparation for Passover?

It seem like these guys planned ahead to work as a team on the burial. Joseph had the burial place which he may have dug for this purpose and he went to ask Pilate if he could have Jesus body while Nicodemus brought the large quantity of spices that were needed for a proper Jewish burial. While every other disciple was hiding out these two guys were coming out of hiding and stepping up their commitment to Jesus.

The work that they set out to do could not be done in secret, they had to get Jesus buried in the daylight before Passover began. They would be found out but they didn't care, they were no longer ashamed to be identified as believers.

We do not know what happened to make them realize that Jesus is who he claimed to be. I have to wonder when these two men got it and decided that Jesus is the Messiah. They did what we all need to do, they showed courage and faith at record levels. These two would have to miss this Passover, they would be considered unclean, neither of them cared because they had found the real Passover Lamb.

We do not know what happened to these two as a result of coming out to honor Jesus. Any show of sympathy for a condemned criminal could bring trouble on yourself. How would Pilate react? What about the other religious leaders? There must have been a price to pay at the office when the rest of the guys found out about the work that these two had done to give Jesus a proper burial. The rest of the religious leaders must have scorned them and they probably lost their jobs and were not allowed in enter the synagogue ever again.
John 12:42-43  Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. 43 For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.
Earlier in Jesus ministry he warned His disciples about trying to hide their allegiance to Him. It is remarkable that the first fact recorded after the death of Christ is one that shows us secret disciples that came out of hiding despite the consequences. The same cross that made most people run away was the beginning of a new level of commitment and dedication to Jesus.

Don't assume that a weak brother cannot be used for the Lord's purpose and don't put him down for his struggle. You would think that the weaker brother would be the first one in hiding but they overcame their fear and openly followed Jesus.
Ask yourselves whether you have sometimes held your tongues because you knew that if you spoke people would find out where you came from and what country you belonged to. Ask yourselves, Have you ever accompanied the witness of your lives with the commentary of your confession? Did you ever, anywhere but in a church, stand up and say, ‘I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, my Lord’?

When these men came for Christ’s corpse and bore it away, what a sharp pang went through their hearts! How much these two men lost-all those three years of communion with the Master; all His teaching, all the stimulus of His example, all the joy of fellowship with Him! Neglect of duty puts barriers up between you and God.
There isn't any room in the kingdom for secret disciples. You can be a secret sports fan or a secret follower of a particular social or political issue and then come out when the battle is over and squawk loud about your belief in the cause. But where were you during the battle?

The love that died for me should never be repaid with silence. How can we look upon Jesus and realize the evils and terrors that he went through for our sake and keep our love for him silent? I must be willing to share the good news and I must be committed to serve because of how he served the undeserving.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Greatest Words Ever: It is Finished!

God has done it all for me without my help.


John 17:4-5 I brought glory to You here on earth by completing the work You gave Me to do. 5 Now, Father, bring Me into the glory We shared before the world began.

John 19:28-30 Jesus knew that His mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture He said, "I am thirsty." 29 A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to His lips.

30 When Jesus had tasted it, He said, "It is finished!" Then He bowed His head and released His spirit.

There is a voice that stands out above all the others, despite his weakness, it is a commanding voice that can easily be heard above the evil noise of Hell that is all around him. (Matthew 27:39-42) Satan was having his way with Jesus and and he was sure that he had won the war until Jesus told him otherwise.

When Satan heard Jesus words, “It is finished!” he knew what was finished and he knew it would always be finished. If you look at the word in the Greek you will see a picture of how finished it is. The word tetelestai means, “It is finished, it stands finished, and it always will be finished!”
He did not say, "I am finished," for that would imply that he died defeated and exhausted. Rather, he cried out "It is finished," meaning "I successfully completed the work I came to do."
Jesus completed the work required to bring us back into communion with God but Satan doesn't want you to believe it. He wants you to believe that there is something more that you need to do to help Jesus save you. Jesus work was of utmost importance so it is important that we know if it is a finished work or if we need to help him out.
Is It Finished?
Roman Catholicism denies the effectiveness of Jesus' finished work on the cross through the practice and observance of the mass. During the mass, through the unbiblically magical art of transubstantiation (Jesus literally becoming the bread and the wine), Jesus must sacrifice Himself again and again for sin.

Jehovah's Witnesses deny the effectiveness of Jesus' finished work on the cross by denying Christ died on the cross and by insisting one must be a member of the Watchtower Society and obey the Law of God to receive their demonic brand of salvation.

Mormonism denies the effectiveness of Jesus' finished work on the cross by adding their perceived righteousness and works to their ungodly salvation process. According to the Book of Mormon, salvation is by grace, plus works.

Islam denies the effectiveness of Jesus' finished work on the cross by seeing Jesus as nothing more than a prophet, second to their false prophet Muhammad. They also believe it was Judas (a treacherous false convert), not Jesus, who died on the cross.

-It Is Finished! (carm.org)
Satan loves to distort the facts. If the death of Christ satisfied God, then what more can the sinner do to try to satisfy God more than he already is? The answer is nothing. The only thing a sinner can do is receive the free gift of righteousness that God offers.

We could never mend our relationship with God and make it right. Everything has been done by God, he draws a man to him to a knowledge of the fact that he is a sinner and that his sin debt is in the way of having a relationship and then God provides the way to make our relationship with him possible.
Hebrews 10:10-12 For God's will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. 11 Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. 12 But our High Priest offered Himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then He sat down in the place of honor at God's right hand.
It is finished! It is very arrogant for a mere man to think that he could do anything to change his standing before God. It is even more arrogant or mistaken to think that you are a special man that has been appointed to be a priest with the power to grant forgiveness or conduct a Mass and re-sacrifice Jesus all over again. It is finished and Jesus meant what he said.

What was finished?


It is finished! So that I will hear the sweet sound of heaven someday! Jesus did what I could never do for myself. Since I was born into sin and I am a sinful creature right from the start, I would never be sinless and could never have any hope of being righteous before God.

Thank you Lord for paying the debt in full! Thank you for seeing me as if I had lived your son's perfect and sinless life.

RELATED ARTICLES
Forgiving Those Who Killed Him? (jesus.org)
It Is Finished! (carm.org)
Video: It Is Finished [Live] (Gaither Vocal Band)