Know Thyself

September 1, 2014

It has been written that “To Know Thyself is a phrase, by Socrates and also an inscription at the Oracle of Delphi in Ancient Greece, used to discuss the importance of getting to know yourself.  He believed that self-knowledge was important in order to find peace, happiness, and become who we were meant to be in life.  Getting to know yourself is discovering and getting to know everything about who you are and who you want to be.  It is about looking inside and thinking for yourself about what you like and dislike.” [s]

Know Thyself is a lofty aim. In my experience, most people don’t know themselves or even how to access who they are. It appears to be more of a life journey in discovering who were are. Moreover, our lives or persons is not static but dynamic. We are always changing either progressing or regressing, but we are always changing. I believe that when we know who we are in light of who God is and the plan He has for us that life is a beautiful experience. Life comes alive.

We are back in John 13 as an example. We look at Jesus who knew God and God’s plan for His life. Listen to the commentary about Jesus in one of the most crucial and tense times in His life.

The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

In knowing God’s plan and who He was in light of God and His plan, Jesus could take action uncommon to man. The text states that Jesus knew that:

  • the Father had put all things under his power
  • he had come from God and was returning to God
  • he could serve man and still be who God called Him to be

In essence, I can imagine Jesus said, “I Know Thyself. Jesus knew He was in complete control. Jesus knew He had all authority; yet, we find Him here washing His disciples’ feet. Knowledge and confidence causes us to take unconventional paths or actions. Jesus did not exercise harsh authority or control over the ones He knew would betray and deny Him. He served them. WOW!!! How many of us would respond in such a manner. This passage reveals that knowing thyself is not the key but knowing who you are in light of who God says you are is the key to life.

How does one know who he is in light of who God says? 1 Corinthians 2 says,

“as it is written:

“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
    the things God has prepared for those who love him—

10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughtsexcept their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”

We can know what God says by knowing God who gives us His Spirit to reveal the things of God to us. We have to surrender our will to Christ in order to have the Spirit of Christ leading us. Otherwise, we will consider the things of God foolish. If you ever wondered why the things in the bible seemed foolish or crazy to you, it may be that you have not surrendered your life to Christ. As a consequence, you don’t know the mind of God because you don’t have the Spirit of God. That is the only true way to Know Thyself.

I am asking you to Know Thyself not to gain some mystical insight or power, not to develop your self-esteem or even as Socrates thought – to find peace and happiness. True peace is only found in Christ as He is our peace Ephesians 2:14. God is not concerned with happiness as much as He wants us to experience joy which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. I am asking you to know yourself because it requires you to know God. To reiterate, “What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us… for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” For those of us who know God through Christ Jesus, we can truly Know Thyself because we know God who reveals God to us.

By knowing God, you Know Thyself. 

Have You Loved to the End?

August 30, 2014

“36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” We are commanded to love God first then our neighbor as Matthew 22;36-40 tells us.

Have You Loved to the End? I am sure that I can say no to that answer. The only ones who come close to loving to the end are real mothers. Their love most resembles Christ. Well, at least, I can say that about my mother. Mothers don’t stop. They pursue you when you don’t want to be pursued. When they tell you things, you know they are right even though you don’t want to hear it. Despite the depth of a mother’s love, it does not come close to how God loves. His love is so high that He sent Jesus to demonstrate it.

32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.” Luke 6:31-33 We get hurt, and we pull back. We know folks are up to no good, and we pull back. We pull back from loving people when they don’t love us, but Jesus is a different story. He loved them to the end.

John 13

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

Jesus knew that the day would come. He knew that He entered the world to die for the sins of man. He knew that His death, burial, resurrection and ascension would bring freedom and salvation for man. He chose to focus on God’s outcome and not the circumstance. Picture this. You invite your closest friends out for dinner. You are footing the bill. You know that one there will betray you within hours. You know there is another who will deny being your friend or ever walking with you while others will fade to the background as a movie scene fades to black when it is over. That’s what Jesus knew when He went to have the Last Supper with the disciples. More than anything else, Jesus knew that He would experience the greatest pain ever. No, not the beating and degrading comments. He knew that He would be separated from God. For the first time in eternity, Jesus would not be with the Father. We cannot fathom this. We can only peer into what it would be like to be separated from the one whom we care the most about. That still does no justice to what Christ endured for us.

Have You Loved to the End? God is calling us to love Him to the end. He is calling us to focus on the Provider not the problem. God wants our hearts and minds to be consumed with following Him. He wants us. Are we willing to die for God? For most of us, God has not required that we give our physical lives. Pray for the persecuted church as they are required to give life or limb for Jesus. God has required us to sacrifice for Him. He has called us to love to the end, to love those who hurt us and persecute us. Let me remind us of what God has said. 32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.” Luke 6:31-33 Loving to the End means that we forsake protecting ourselves, but we give ourselves away in confidence that God will lift us up just as He lifted Jesus up. 

God has loved us to the end. The question is Have You Loved to the End? 

Whose Prompting You?

August 29, 2014

Motivation can be internal or external. When you are extrinsically motivated, you are being controlled by forces outside of you. As much as we like to lead our own lives, I marvel at how much we like to give away control to those who have no vested interest in us, those who are not worth our attention; yet, we live for the created rather than the creator.  Whose Prompting You?  The created or the Creator.

There is not a clearer picture for us to contrast than with Jesus and Judas in John 13.

 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

Jesus, from the first verse of this passage, is aligned with the Father. He was returning to the Father after celebrating the Passover and becoming the sacrificial lamb. Here too, we have Judas. Let’s see whose prompting Judas. Verse 2 tells us “The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.” There we have it. Judas was prompted by the devil to betray Jesus. The New King James Version says “the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him” The culprit was the devil. Whether prompted or put into the heart, it was the devil who influenced Judas. 

A prompt seems to convey a choice, but the reality is that one who does not know Christ, save from the grace of God, cannot say no to sin. Romans 8 says, “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.” Have you ever wondered why you could not just stop doing something that you knew was wrong and not good for you. Well, there it is. None of us, without the power of God, is able to say no to sin. This is why Jesus willingly went to the cross. The very thing that sent Him to the cross is the very reason He went to the cross. He defeated sin for us when He went to the cross.

As Risen Savior, He offers victory over all who are being prompted by the devil. Titus 2:11-12 says, “11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,” Jesus is that grace that appeared and offers salvation.

Whose Prompting You? If you have not surrendered your life to Jesus, you are living on borrowed grace from day-to-day. Your life is a  roller coaster because you have not consistent connection with Jesus who can empower you daily to live a life worthy of Him who died for you and one in which you are free from the ravishes of sin. Without Christ, you are at satan’s mercy. He has none. The fact that you have not been lead to a destructive fate as Judas has only been halted by the grace of God. Will you not consider surrendering your life to Jesus, so you can be free from the control of the wicked one. For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set themfree from the sins committed under the first covenant. Hebrews 9:15

Whose Prompting You? Either God or satan is putting actions in your heart. Who are you following? Who will you commit to following?

What Will You Do With Your Last Hours?

August 28, 2014

What Will You Do With Your Last Hours? We have a preoccupation with death, and what we would do before that hour comes? The movie The Bucket List  is one example of how the world sees our last hours of life. On one hand, the storyline has it wrong. Two men who are dying spend their last hours seeking to do things they wished they had done. They travel the world going places and doing things for themselves. They spend their last hours on themselves. On the other hand, one expresses concern and a desire to serve the other. He realizes that he could not repay his fellow-man for all the experiences on the bucket list that his money afford him, so he writes to him a wish. He wanted him to find the joy in life. At that, the gentleman began to be selfless not selfish. He engaged with those in his life, his family, that he had lost from seeking himself.

God has always shown us the way of life is through service. None is more apparent than through Jesus Christ’s example of humble service. You can hear a quick synopsis of His service in Philippians 2; however, I want to take a closer look into Jesus’ position on What Will You Do With Your Last Hours? For that, let us go to John 13

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father.Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

 In John 2:47:68308:20, Jesus told people over and over that His time had not yet come. Now in John 13, Jesus acknowledges that His hour had truly come. Jesus was well aware of what was about to happen. He was in the last hours of His life. He knew the answer to What Will You Do With Your Last Hours? Jesus served. Jesus taught. Jesus was aware that man learns more from practice than he does from precept, so He washed His disciples feet. He told them that they did not know what He was doing, but later, they would know what the act of washing their feet meant for them.  Luke gives us insight into what was going on at the time.

Luke 22

14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”

17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.[a] 21 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!”23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.

24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. 28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom,just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

As a servant, people will almost always want from you not seek to give to you, but the servant gives anyway. This is the example Jesus set. This is the practice while here and in John 10:11-18 [Full Chapter], we seek Jesus provide the precept – “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. Service was taught there, but it was not caught. It was caught when Jesus demonstrated service. In the moment when He most deserved to have those whom He created serve Him, Jesus continued to serve. He did not seek for Himself but for those to whom He had been given.

Who is it that has been given to you to serve? Jesus answers that for us too in Matthew 22:37-3937 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Someone already asked Jesus “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus answers in Luke 10:25-37. Essentially, our neighbor, the one we are to serve, is whomever God brings in close enough proximity for us to demonstrate the love and life of Jesus.

Unlike Jesus, we are not aware of our hour. What Will You Do With Your Last Hours? If we spend our lives serving others out of reverence for Him, Jesus tells us we would have fulfilled His expectation for what we should do not only with our last hours but our entire lives. Service for Jesus’ sake. Let’s do it.

The Teachings of Jesus

August 25, 2014

I am out of time today for writing, but I wanted to leave the Word of God in which Jesus references His teaching (Matt. 7:28).

John 12

47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken.50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

Jesus is further asserting that He came to this world to save the world, but there would be many who rejected Jesus. John 3:36 says, “36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”

What are the ramifications of rejecting Jesus as Savior and Lord? Have you rejected Jesus? Now is the time to ask Him to forgive you and receive forgiveness of sin.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Receive Jesus and receive the forgiveness of sins. That’s one of Jesus’ teachings.

Jesus used His Outside Voice

August 24, 2014

As social beings, we are always clamoring for the attention of those who are around us. We want and need the attention of those whom we have chosen to value or love. When we really want people to get something or to reach a crowd, we use our outside voice. Here, Jesus used His Outside Voice. Based on John 3:16 For God so loved the world…, we know that God has chosen to value and love those born into this world. It should not be strange for us to see and believe this. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:17.

In our text, John 12, Jesus’ desire to save those in the world is visible in the manner in which He related to man. Let’s become a fly on the wall on another of His conversations with man.

44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

The Greek word used for cried out here is krazō (krä’-zō) – hence, to cry out, cry aloud, vociferate; cry out aloud, speak with a loud voice. In John’s Gospel krazō is used three times when Christ made an appeal for man to believe in Him, 7:28, 3712:44. Imagine that, He who created all things calling unto man in a loud voice for man to believe. When we really want people to get something or to reach a crowd, we use our outside voice. Here, Jesus used His Outside Voice.

Jesus used His Outside Voice as an appeal for man to surrender his life in exchange for eternal life. Jesus wanted man to believe in Him as the Son of God, as God. Jesus continued to tell the people that He was God’s representative, that He was God. “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me” As in that day, many chose not to believe that Jesus is God. The fact that the Almighty God chose to use His outside voice conveys that He truly values and loves man, the greatest of His earthly creations.

While we will not hear Jesus cry out to us now, we don’t need to because we have His Word. Hebrews 1:1-3 reiterates what Jesus was telling the people. “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways,but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” Jesus used His Outside Voice to tell the people He was the light that had come into the world, so that no one who believes in Him would stay in darkness.

Jesus used His Outside Voice, so we could come into the light. Hear the cry of Jesus to gain peace with God and the peace of God. Listen to the the Word now to hear and believe Jesus, the Son of God and God incarnate.

Do You Love Human Praise More Than Praise From God?

August 22, 2014

Abraham Maslow is well-known for his theory of Hierarchy of Needs. In it, he outlines a set of five levels of needs common to every human. The third level of need is “Love and Belonging”, which are psychological needs; when individuals have taken care of themselves physically, they are ready to share themselves with others, such as with family and friends. Whether we agree with Mr. Maslow or not, we all can attest that humans seek love and seek to belong. We all can reflect on actions either we or others have taken that are solely rooted in the need to be loved or to belong.

In the bible, loving yourself or others before God is idolatry. God abhors idolatry; “therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.” 1 Corinthians 10:14 We Jesus condemning that behavior in our text today. At every turn, idolatry causes man to seek someone other than God. God desires for those whom He created to serve Him rather than those or that which He created. Jesus was confronted by the Jewish leaders (Pharisees, Sanhedrin). After Jesus had done many works evidencing His deity and authority, They Still Would Not Believe in Him; yet, there were some who believed, but Jesus asked them Do You Love Human Praise More Than Praise From God?

42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved human praise more than praise from God.

44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

Jesus’ commentary on those who wanted to believe in Him was that they loved the praise of men more than praise from God. In 1 Samuel 15:30 1 Samuel 15:30, we see this same mentality in Israel’s first king, Saul. “Saul’s real concern becomes clear in his second confession (cf. vv. 2425 and note). As Samuel seems already to suspect (v. 26 note), Saul is less concerned with being reconciled to the Lord than with finding honor before the elders of “my people.” In return for this honor, Saul offers to do obeisance before the Lord “your” God.” (Reformation Study Bible)

Likewise, the believing Pharisees were more concerned about their status. They wanted to remain their place in the synagogue which distinguished them among men, but God was not concerned about their status with those who were deceived and lost. Jesus tells the Pharisees who believed in Him that they loved human praise more than praise from God. What or more importantly who is causing you not to pursue God as your first priority in your life? God wants us to understand that there is no one, not even a spouse, a parent, a child, a friend, who is worthy sacrificing your faith in Him. Jesus makes it clear that when you believe in Him you are also believing in God who sent Him. Beyond that, you walk in the light or true understanding when you believe in Christ who is the Light of the World. God is calling us live in light and not darkness. God is calling us to live in truth not in lies.

Do You Love Human Praise More Than Praise From God? Examine how make decisions. Is your desire to be loved or belong superseding your need for the Savior and Lord Jesus Christ? If you are not sure where you are, ask God to reveal your heart. He will show all of us where we are.

They Still Would Not Believe in Him

August 19, 2014

Let’s face it, mankind has a trust issue. We see it in our relationships with one another, with group to group, and nation to nation. Many a book or article has been written to document and counteract our issues with trust. Because of our sin, we have experiences in our lives where people have not been truthful and faithful in what they said they would be and do. We carry that baggage over to every relationship whether it negatively impacts us or not. It is there. This surfaces with our interaction with God, so much so that God had to say “God is not man, that he should lie, nor the son of a man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19 NIV1984)

In regards to Jesus Christ, They Still Would Not Believe in Him is a statement that could be applied to any man or woman who has ever dawned this earth, but it is in sharp contrast to who Christ is and what Christ did. Christ is faithful and true. We see man’s trust issues throughout the New Testament as it relates to who Jesus is, what Jesus does and what Jesus promises to do. In John 12, we see the commentary on man’s trust issue. About the people in John 12, we see John write They Still Would Not Believe in Him.

John 12

37 Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet:

“Lord, who has believed our message
    and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:

40 “He has blinded their eyes
    and hardened their hearts,
so they can neither see with their eyes,
    nor understand with their hearts,
    nor turn—and I would heal them.”

41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.

John explains the people’s trust issues and unbelief through the lens of Old Testament prophecy. Since it is true prophecy, it has to come true just as the prophecy of Christ having to die for the sins of man had to come true. People wanted to know if Jesus was so exceptional, so marvelous, so great why didn’t everyone clamor to Him and believe in Him. John explains, through the Word, that not everyone will believe because they harden their hearts against the truth. Moreover, God, at a point of His decision, takes an active role in not only hardening but cementing the hearts of some who harden their hearts towards Him. That could be all of us, so I am truly grateful for God’s work in my life. He gave my wife, daughter, son and I hearts to believe Him; yet, there are some who will not have the privilege according to what is written here.

Jesus had turned water to wine, healed the royal official’s son, commanded the lame to walk, feed thousands, calmed the storm, opened the eyes of the blind, and raised the dead to life, but of some it is said They Still Would Not Believe in Him. Look at verse 40. At a certain point, it is impossible for them to believe. This is why in verse 35 Jesus was said “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going.” Jesus always warns us of the error of our way. He gives us an opportunity to choose life or death, light or darkness. As you read this today, you have a choice.

Will Jesus’ commentary of you be They Still Would Not Believe in Him. If so, listen to the commentary about your eternal destiny from John 3.

31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

While there is still The Light, walk in it. Look at the miracles in your life. Don’t be in the number of which it is said “They Still Would Not Believe in Him.

The Defeat of Death and Satan

August 18, 2014

In John 11, Jesus resurrects Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus laid in the grave for four days demonstrating that he was good and dead. Jesus’ raising of Lazarus shows His authority over death. It served a precursor to His being raised from the dead. Now John 12, Jesus tells of His death and resurrection which signals The Defeat of Death and Satan. The defeat of death regards physical death and spiritual death. With Lazarus, Jesus demonstrated that He had the power to conquer physical death. He would show that again in His resurrection, but He would also show that He overcame spiritual death – separation of our spirit/soul from God. Since He overcame, He can offer defeat of death to us. 1 John 5:4-5 says, “for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

John 12

 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.

34 The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Messiah will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”

35 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.

Jesus said that it was time for judgement on this world. The cross not only judged the world it also defeated Satan (the prince/ruler of this world will be cast out). The defeat of the world and Satan was God’s victory and the victory of the people of God. We can have victory over sin both now and in the life after. I want to high light two passages capture The Defeat of Death and Satan.

Ephesians 2

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 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. 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.But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 2:13-15

13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

I have read that the verb used for lifted up (the ancient Greek word hypsothenai) has a deliberate double meaning. It means both a literal elevation (as in being raised up on a cross) and exaltation (being raised in rank or honor). We don’t “lift up” Jesus with our praises in the sense He means here. He was lifted up on the cross, and we proclaim that fact to the world. We lift Jesus up by preaching Christ (1 Corinthians 1:23). We must proclaim Christ as Savior and Lord to offer life to others who are perishing.

In John 8:12 , Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. Now, Jesus is telling them the light, Himself, will not be here with them much longer. Jesus is telling them that He is going to the cross and will accomplish what the Triune God set to accomplish before time began. We must believe on Jesus while the light is there, because it won’t last forever. God’s Spirit will not always strive with man (Genesis 6:3), and we must answer His call while it rings to us. When Jesus judgement day comes, it will be too late for man to seek the light. God is calling all men to walk in the light, Him, now.

Where are we this morning? Are we in the light, in Christ, or are we in the darkness, with satan? Christ is the light of life. He offers The Defeat of Death and Satan, but we cannot seize life without Christ as Colossians tells us man is dead in his sins. He can only be made alive by Christ. Join Christ to play your role in His life-giving ministry in this world.

Anxiety: Why We Will Not Enter God’s Rest

August 15, 2014

Today’s post is an intense look in the mirror. In the post Be Anxious for Nothing, I encouraged us not to be anxious about whatever circumstance we may be facing. As with almost everything, we have choice. Our choice can impact our futures in a significant way. The Bible says “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”Galatians 6:7 How would we mock God? By not believing in Him, by not trusting in Him. Why would you or I not believe God? One word – Sin.

In the Old Testament, God chronicles the lives and the journey of His people to enter into the Promised Land; the place of good and rest. Why did not many of those who were with Moses did not enter into the Promised Land? Sin. Specifically, it was unbelief which is the failure to trust in who God is and what God has promised. In them, we see the result of Anxiety: Why We Will Not Enter God’s Rest

Let’s use our time machine to travel back to see what happened. Remember, God promised Abraham (Genesis 24:7) that his offsprings would be given the land He promised. Moses led the Exodus out of captivity in Egypt on their way to the Promised Land. Moses himself chose to rely on himself rather than God. He did not honor God in faith or belief, so he did not enter the Promised Land (Numbers 20:12Deuteronomy 34:4). Because the people did not trust and believe God (Numbers 32:11), God told them not one more than 20 years old would enter into His rest, the Promised Land.

Numbers 13

1The Lord said to Moses, “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.”…

26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land.27 They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”

30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size.33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

There it it is in verses 28 and 32 – Doubt and Disbelief. Of the leaders who went to explore the land, It was only Joshua and Caleb who believed God could and would give it to them (Numbers 14:8). Listen to what God said about those who saw His glory and the signs He performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed Him and tested Him ten times— Numbers 14:23 “not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it.”

We treat God with contempt when we do not believe Him. The KJV says those that provoked God. We provoke God to act against us when we fail to believe Him. God sees our unbelief as acts to despise, dishonor and disgrace Him before the world. We believers, like the leaders who went to explore the land, are supposed to lead people to God not away. See other post this year about fear.

God summarizes Anxiety: Why We Will Not Enter God’s Rest in Hebrews 3. Listen

12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. 15 As has just been said:

“Today, if you hear his voice,
    do not harden your hearts
    as you did in the rebellion.”

16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

If we claim to have faith in God, He is saying to us that I have given you promises. I have kept all my promises. Believe in me. We will be just like those who perished in the desert if we fail to believe God. We will not enter His rest both now and in the hereafter. It’s our choice to exhibit anxiety. – Anxiety: Why We Will Not Enter God’s Rest

Psalm 106


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