Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Christ

10
Mar
17

One In Christ

In the family of God, we believe that God has made us all in His image. He says:

Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. – Colossians 3:11 (NIV)

Paul said something similar in Galatians 3:28 (NIV):

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

The things that could divide us should instead remind us that we are all made in the image of God and are one in Christ. We could be divided along racial, social, financial or gender lines as much of the world is today. In the church, however, the One who unites us is much more powerful than that which could divide us. Let’s commit ourselves to unity in the church because it will speak volumes about the power of our uniting Savior to a very divided world.
03
Jan
17

Who Is Jesus?

John 7:25-31 (NIV)

 At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? 26 Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Messiah? 27 But we know where this man is from; when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.”
28 Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, 29 but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.”
30 At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. 31 Still, many in the crowd believed in him. They said, “When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs than this man?”

After Jesus secretly went to the feast, He got up to speak and the people recognized Him. They started to draw the conclusion the He just might be the Messiah. What is interesting is that those who were trying to kill Him were the ones who were inspiring faith in Him. They crowds knew that there must be something to Him if the chief priests and leaders of Israel were trying to do away with Him.

Many have tried over the years to prove that Jesus was not who He said He was. Many have tried to prove that Jesus was not the Son of God. They have discovered, when doing an honest investigation, that Jesus was, in fact, the Christ, the Son of the Living God. He is the One whom God promised to send to save the world. He is the One to whom the prophets pointed. He is the One to whom billions have looked for hope and forgiveness. He is the only One who can save us from our sins and from ourselves. Yet many will reject Him and call Him a good teacher or a prophet or a good man. He was all of those things, indeed. He was so much more, though. He claimed to be the Messiah and the Son of God. You cannot accept His teachings without accepting His claims.

If you are a skeptic, do the research. Do not ignorantly claim that Jesus was a liar or a lunatic. Discover whether or not He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. Find out whether billions of us are blindly following a madman or if we have truly found the Messiah, the Savior of the world.

PRAYER: Father in Heaven, we pray for the masses who have rejected Jesus or who have never heard of Him. May they come to know the hope and peace that He gives. May they receive Your love that You demonstrated through Him. May they find the joy of following Jesus that we have found. In His name, amen.

15
Dec
16

A Rescue Mission Of Love

1 John 4:9-10 (NIV)

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

The message of Christmas is more than just angels and mangers, shepherds and magi. The true meaning of Christmas is the story of a rescue mission of love. 1 John 4:9-10 sums it up so well. God sent His Son to die so that we might live. How did He do this? Through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Jesus laid down His life as a human sacrifice to take away the sins of the world. He is the perfect, unblemished Lamb of God. He was miraculously conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit and He lived a perfect life. He was an acceptable and pleasing sacrifice to our Heavenly Father on our behalf. He took our place by taking our punishment. We deserve death and Hell and Jesus died in our place to keep us out of Hell. He faced the full brunt of the wrath of the Father so we wouldn’t have to face it ourselves.
The question is, “Why?” Why leave the throne room of Heaven and the adoration of angelic beings for a manger? Why come to earth knowing that You would be despised and rejected? Why come to earth knowing that You would suffer and die for the sins of humanity? The simple answer is, “Love.” The birth, death and resurrection of Jesus is an expression of and demonstration of the love of God. God’s love is so powerful and compassionate that He sent His only Son to make eternity possible with Him. He would rather die than spend eternity without us. Think about that today as we get closer to Christmas.
PRAYER: Father in Heaven, thank You for Your love that sent Jesus to earth to take away my sins. Thank You for the true meaning of Christmas and for the rescue mission of love Jesus came to fulfill. In His name, amen.
28
Apr
16

Escaping God’s Wrath

Zechariah 1:1-6 (NIV)

In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo:

2 “The Lord was very angry with your ancestors. 3 Therefore tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty. 4 Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the earlier prophets proclaimed: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Turn from your evil ways and your evil practices.’ But they would not listen or pay attention to me, declares the Lord. 5 Where are your ancestors now? And the prophets, do they live forever? 6 But did not my words and my decrees, which I commanded my servants the prophets, overtake your ancestors?

“Then they repented and said, ‘The Lord Almighty has done to us what our ways and practices deserve, just as he determined to do.’”

 

Zechariah was a prophet and priest who was born in Babylon when the Jews from Judah were in captivity there. When the Persians conquered the Babylonians in 539 BC, the Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. About 50,000 exiles returned to Jerusalem, just as God had promised. Zechariah called God’s people to remain faithful to the Lord Almighty as they began to rebuild the temple.

In verse 2, the phrase, “The Lord was very angry…” is literally translated, “The Lord was angry with anger.” God’s people, with whom He had entered into a loving relationship, rebelled against Him and did evil in His sight. God punished His people because of their rebellion. God’s anger does not last forever. He promised that a remnant would return to Jerusalem. That is exactly what happened.

Zechariah reminded the people that God’s heart is for repentance and forgiveness, not wrath and punishment. We see this in the New Testament in the life and death of Jesus Christ. God sent His Son to call people to repentance and to take the punishment for our rebellion and sin. When Jesus went to the cross, He was the object of God’s wrath. God poured out all of His wrath on Christ on the cross.

1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 (NIV) says:

For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.

Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:1-5 (NIV):

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

God has saved us by His grace through faith in His Son, Jesus. His wrath is reserved for those who reject Christ. Let us live to tell of Jesus and His love so that others may escape the coming wrath of God.
PRAYER: Father in Heaven, thank You for Your grace that saves us from wrath. Thank You for rescuing me through Your Son, Jesus. May I have an opportunity to share the good news of Jesus with someone today that they might hear, believe and repent and turn to You for forgiveness. In Jesus’ name, amen.
15
Mar
16

Suffering Because Of Sin

O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your wrath.
For your arrows have pierced me,
and your hand has come down upon me.
Because of your wrath there is no health in my body;
my bones have no soundness because of my sin.
My guilt has overwhelmed me
like a burden too heavy to bear.
My wounds fester and are loathsome
because of my sinful folly.

O LORD, do not forsake me;
be not far from me, O my God.
Come quickly to help me,
O Lord my Savior.  — Psalm 38:1-5, 21-22 (NIV)

How much of our suffering in life is caused by our sinful behavior?  Psalm 38 is a petition of David’s to the LORD to hear him and help him.  David was sickened by his guilt.  He was crushed by the weight of what he had done.  He does not tell us what he had done, but we know that he came to the realization that he had indeed sinned against God.  So what does David do?  He cries out to God for forgiveness.  There was only one cure for his suffering in body and spirit.  He needed God’s mercy.

The same thing goes for us.  When we sin against God, willfully or without thinking about it, guilt can wash over us when we realize the gravity of our situation.  It can be so easy to take God’s grace for granted.  “Oh, God’ll forgive me for this,” we tell ourselves.  “It’s not that big of a deal,” we say.  “At least I’m not committing this sin or that sin,” as though any one sin were worse than any other (sin is sin!).  We are all sinners who have sinned against God and others.  We need to seek God’s forgiveness on a daily basis with the knowledge (from Scripture) and hope (confident expectation, but not arrogance) that He will forgive us our many sins through the atoning sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.  May we never take Christ’s sacrifice or God’s loving grace for granted.  May He forgive us when we do.

PRAYER: Father, forgive me when I take Your grace for granted.  I know that You have forgiven my many sins.  I am in need of your unfailing love and mercy.  Thank You for forgiving me time and time again.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

02
Mar
16

Partners In The Gospel

I love the book of Philippians.  It was a letter written by Paul to the church at Philippi.  It was a major city in what is now northeast Greece.    It was a city founded about 400 years before this letter by the father of Alexander the Great, Philip II.  In Acts 16, Paul, Silas, Timothy and Luke (the author of Acts) traveled to Philippi in order to establish the Christian church there.  On the Sabbath, they went to the river where Jews would gather to pray.  It was there that they met Lydia and she and her household became the first converts to Christianity, not only in Philippi, but in Europe.
It is clear from Philippians that Paul had a great deal of affection for the Philippian Christians.  Look at what he says to them at the beginning of this letter:

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now… – Philippians 1:3-5 (NIV)

He loved the Philippians and was grateful for their “partnership in the gospel.”  We see later on that the Philippian Christians were generous toward Paul and his ministry.  They had a real heart for people who did not know Jesus throughout Macedonia.  So they supported Paul’s ministry of spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ.
We need to have a heart like the Philippians.  We need to understand that the most important thing we do as Christians is to share God’s love with those who do not know Christ.  We do this through the ministry of outreach from our local churches.  We do this by supporting missionaries across the world.  Matthew 28:19-20a (NIV) says:

…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

We who are followers (disciples) of Jesus are to be making others what we are: disciples.  We do this in a variety of ways.
  • Invitation of co-workers, family members or neighbors to come to  church events or worship services (most people will say yes, but just haven’t been asked)
  • Praying for opportunities to share the Gospel
  • Giving to missionaries
  • Volunteering your time in your church’s children’s ministry so that little kids can hear about Jesus and their parents can, too
  • Tithing to your local church to keep the lights on, the building warm and to pay the staff
  • Sharing your testimony with someone who doesn’t know Jesus
  • Leading a small group Bible study to teach others about Christ – both Christians and those who don’t believe yet

What steps will you take to become a disciple-maker?  How will you partner with God to share the Good News of Jesus?  How will you be God’s partner in the Gospel?  The world needs to know Jesus.  We know Jesus.  We need to make sure that they meet.

PRAYER: Father, I want a heart of evangelism that beats for lost people.  I want opportunities to share the good news of Jesus.  Thank You for the people in my life who brought me to faith in Jesus.  Bless them today in Jesus’ name, amen.
Philippians 1:1-11 (NIV)

Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,

To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

01
Mar
16

My Dirty Laundry

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.  (Isaiah 64:6, NIV)
Everything I do that I do for Jesus is nothing compared to what He has done for me.  The sinless Savior is my model and example.  Yet I fall short and miss the mark and sin on a regular basis.  The righteous things I somehow manage to do cannot compare to His perfection.  How I desire to be better!  Yet sin comes calling and crouching at my door.  Temptation seizes me and my weakness leads to my failure.  I need the righteousness of the truly Righteous One to be imputed to me.  I need to be clothed in Christ.  Praise God that on the day I was baptized that is exactly what happened!  Galatians 3:27 says that “all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (NIV).  How great is this amazing love and grace of God that He has declared me righteous because of His Son’s death.  Now my acts of righteousness are not done to earn His favor but rather they are done out of gratitude.  I do what I do because Jesus did what He did on the cross.  Praise be to His name!
PRAYER: Thank You, God, for washing me clean and clothing me with Christ.  Help me to live for You today because Jesus died for me so long ago.  Amen.



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