Friday, August 29, 2014

One In Christ

John 17:22-23
One In Christ

     “And the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them; that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, that the world may know that Thou didst send Me, and didst love them, even as Thou didst love Me.”

     What does it mean to be one with Jesus and our Heavenly Father? Let us consider what it would be like if you went to grab a glass of water and your hand picks up the spoon next to it. Your hand has disregarded your body’s desire for a drink and decided it liked the feel of holding a spoon. This is kind of a funny illustration but we have been called the body of Christ and He is our head. For us to work as one body the head of the body must direct the rest for the good of the entire body. To be one in Christ is to be of the same mind, heart, and action with Him. His desire is our delight to carry out. Everything we do affects the entire body of Christ and when we are stubbornly set in our earthly pursuits, refusing to let go, it can have consequences that can take a long time to recover from.
     We need to look more closely at what this signifies in terms of the unity Jesus has said we are to have with our brothers and sisters. The comfort of the entire body is dramatically altered when all of its members are working together under the leadership of the head. Caring for one another, bearing with one another’s faults, and forgiving one another, is the muscle and tissue that keeps us together. Having hearts set on helping one another everyday should be an active thing rather than waiting for something bad to befall a neighbor before we feel any kind of need to help them. Our love and concern should not be cause and affect but continuous. 
     This is significant because it pulls us out of ourselves and into a life of service and blessing to everyone around us. If we let it, everyday will consume us with pursuits for our own gain, and concern for our neighbors, family, and friends will be forgotten. It is so easy to get caught up in these things that we don’t even notice. To be one with Jesus is to be filled with His love for everyone around us and to find ways to help them. To be one with Him is to seek His plan for our lives so that we can be doing the job that will most benefit the body of Christ. To be one with Him is to be filled with the joy of serving Him and seeing Him work through our lives.
     So I want to encourage all of you today to earnestly seek His plan for your life. It can be hard to lay down your earthly ambitions in order to do this but only someone who is truly willing to do whatever God’s plan is will receive His plan for their lives and carry it out. You cannot want your own plan and His because invariably your plan will hinder the effectiveness of His plan and the two will get in the way of each other. We cannot be divided when we serve God, but must serve Him with our whole heart. When we have committed all our heart and all our life to Him, His joy and excitement will come pouring into us to the point where we cannot even contain it.
    God desires to fill your life with excitement and the most amazing adventure, but it requires counting the cost of what you are going to let go of. His plan for your life will fill the rest of your life. It is all or nothing and will not be joyful and exciting unless you have committed everything to Him.
     So let us renew our commitment to Him and serve one another joyfully. Encouraging one another and spurring one another on to greater works in Christ!           God bless you all!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Testimony Of A Christian

John 17: 3
The Testimony Of A Christian

1. John 17:3 “And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.”

2. John 17:18 “As Thou didst send Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.”

3. John 17:21 “That they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they may also be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me.”

4. & 5. John 17:22-23 “And the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them; that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, that the world may know that Thou didst send Me, and didst love them, even as Thou didst love Me.”

6. John 17:25-26 “Oh righteous Father, although the world has not known Thee, yet I have known Thee; and these have known that Thou didst send Me; and I have made Thy name known to them, and will make it known; that the love wherewith Thou didst love Me may be in them, and I in them.”

     We are to be living proof that God is the only true God, and that He sent Jesus Christ to save us and to give us eternal life. Jesus says that eternal life is knowing God, and believing in Him, and His Son Jesus, whom the Father sent to us. If we are to be witnesses and the living proof that Jesus is Lord of all, then how are we to do this? There is nothing supernatural about us; we do not stand out or show God’s glory in ourselves. In point (3.) Jesus requests of God that we be made one with Him, and with Jesus, that we might truly know the Love that the Father has for us and be able to share it with the world.
     It is time for us to ask for help. It is time to pray for Jesus to take His rightful place in the center of our lives, as He did when we were first saved. Too many things are trying to steal our hearts away from Him, and we lose our connection to His life-giving presence. It is time to pray for a revival in our hearts, that we might be centered on Jesus. When He is the center of our desire, we will bear an overflowing testimony of His sovereignty in our lives. 
     In points (4 & 5) Jesus tells His Father that He has granted to us the glory that God has granted to Him that we might be one in Himself. What is that glory which He has passed on to us? The glory is unity with God. Jesus, having removed the barrier of sin from between us and God, has given us complete access to the thrown of God and to the wonderful works of God through prayer. We are open vessels able to convey the glorious truths of God. Again, what is that glorious truth? It is the reality that He is the only true God and that He has sent His beloved Son Jesus to us to be our Savior.
     Point (6) The world, having lost its ability through sin to be able to see God and to know Him, was in need of a witness. Jesus was sent to be the mouth of God and to bring the light of God’s word to mankind. I think this is an amazing picture. A world in darkness which could no longer see the glory of God is given the light of Jesus Christ and yet if God did not open the eyes of the people still no one would be able to see His glory. What kind of darkness is it that we are dealing with here on earth? If Jesus was invisible even to those who were teaching the laws of God, this is a deep, spiritual darkness. This is why Jesus sent His Holy Spirit to open our eyes to the brilliant light of Christ. We too, can expect an impossible task of bringing the Gospel of Christ to people if we do not have the blessing of God’s Holy Spirit with us to open their eyes. We must pray earnestly for the awakening touch of the Holy Spirit on those with whom we share the Gospel. The world cannot see the truth even if Jesus Himself were here in person to present it. Jesus relied on God to send the Holy Spirit to awaken the hearts and minds of the people and to be a witness to the truth of what He taught.

     Therefore – eternal life is – That we may know God, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He sent.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Jesus Has Overcome The World

John 16: 31-33
Jesus Has Overcome The World

     Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? Behold an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

     The question for today is, “Have you been scattered”? Have you been holding on to Jesus as your Savior and support and yet your confidence has been shaken because of the great trials that have come upon you, and you have asked – Where are you Jesus in my hour of need? Have the trials been so great that you have fled for your life in despair that not even God could save you from them anymore? Jesus’ words are as much for us today as they were for His disciples. Jesus was about to be publicly executed which He knew would greatly weaken their belief and confidence that He was indeed the promised Messiah for whom they had forsaken their earthly comforts and homes to follow. The disciples had given up everything in this world to follow Him and suddenly their trust and faith was going to be tested. Jesus promises them that He will be their peace in the midst of the trial and that though there was going to be tribulation, He had overcome it.
     Why does Jesus’ “overcoming of the world” give us courage? What did this mean for them and what does it mean for us? Jesus’ words were His confirmation that He had not bowed to any of the temptations and that He was about to give the final blow to the hold that sin had upon their lives. His last great battle was about to be won in which the devil’s power over us would be crushed once and for all, opening the door to the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit upon all who believed in Him and forever changing the world. Jesus was clearing the road that led to our Heavenly Father that we might be reunited with Him and become a new creation. Jesus was not saying that they would have no more tribulation on earth, but that He had purchased the peace of pardon so that our souls would no longer be at war with God, but full of His Life and Power. Jesus is telling them that He was going to be victorious in spite of their inability to stand up in the midst of the trial.
     So what does this mean for us? Jesus’ words, “Take courage, for I have overcome the world” are for us in the same way, that though the trial may have caused us to lose our confidence in Him, yet He will be faithful to rescue us anyway. He is with us even when we have forsaken Him because of our doubts and fears and He will complete the good work He has started in us because He loves us and has already overcome the world on our behalf.
     So take courage my brothers and sisters – in this world you will have tribulation that will cause you to stumble in your faith, but God will surely rescue you for He loves you and has overcome the world for you that you might be with Him forever! 
     God bless you all!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Christ Glorified In The Life Of A Christian

John 16:13-14
Christ Glorified In The Life Of A Christian

     “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak, and He will disclose to you what is to come. He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you.”- Jesus

     Jesus has sent His Holy Spirit to be our teacher and to open our eyes to the scripture. He desires to reveal all that God has for us, both here on earth and also in eternity. Jesus says that whatever the Holy Spirit hears from God He will pass along to us. The Holy Spirit is our direct connection with God and our greatest companion. Not only will He instruct us but He will also glorify Jesus physically as well. In Mark 16: 17-18 Jesus gives us some pretty astounding promises of what the Holy Spirit will do. “And these signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it shall not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” These are some very physical manifestations of the power of God that He says will accompany all who have believed and follow Him. In Matthew 10:8 Jesus describes how He views these gifts. “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons; freely you have received, freely give.” Jesus considers the gifts He has promised us to be freely used for the benefit of others. They are a free gift to us and therefore we should not hold onto this blessing but freely give it to others. These things are not mysterious happenings; they are a gift to be shared.
     The Holy Spirit wants to move with might and power in our lives and He does not desire to be some mystical religious force, but to be our instructor, teacher, and companion in bringing forth and spreading the glory of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The reason I am dwelling on these things is because Jesus wants us to walk victoriously in His name, not being afraid to speak up for Him, and continually benefiting from all He is truly able to do in our lives. He wants to give us complete victory over every sin and at the same time, fill our minds with the wisdom and beauty of God. He wants to show us new things about God’s creation every day that will only feed our growing desire to learn more, and at the same time, to pour out His compassion on the blind, lame and weak of this world.
     Jesus wants to affect our lives as never before, but we must lay down our lives to follow Him. We cannot pick up this new life He offers us while hanging onto our old lives. The two cannot mix. One is based on selfish desires and pride while the other is the life of a servant, full of compassion for others and demonstating a sweet, Godly humility. Jesus’ love can only come forth from a humble heart. So let us humbly seek the Lord that we might let go of the world each day and serve Him with our whole heart that the Holy Spirit might be free to glorify Jesus in our lives.