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

Be Anxious for Nothing

August 14, 2014

be anxious for nothingThere are times in life where the message from God is truly clear. You hear it ringing out as when someone rings a bell for dinner, a church bell, or a bell in a town when the clock signals the time. For those situations, the sound reverberates in your ear. There is no escaping that sound. No one can claim that he did not hear the bell. Today, I had one of those moments. I have lived in my current home for more than a decade. As I looked at the home, I liked it. I came by the home several different times of the day to gauge how quiet is the neighborhood. It passed the test. The first night I moved into the home I was shocked. There was an unmistakable sound just like any of those bells. Between 2 and 2:30 in the morning, I heard it. There was no way for me to account for that sound. For several nights leading past week, I was awakened by that sound near the same time every day. Today, I heard it again like clock work. It rang out. I looked at the clock. It read 2:03 a.m. What was that sound that resonated? It was the sound of a train horn. I live a little more than a mile from a train track. While there are no noises at 2 a.m. to compete with, the train’s horn ruled the night. When I first moved in, it took me a while to get used to it, so I could sleep. Well the morning, God allowed it to awaken me. There was nothing to do. I wasn’t going back to sleep. I followed God’s leading. I got up.

As I came to begin to read to hear what God would speak to me about, I turned on my computer. Just like the resonating sound of the train’s horn, there was no mistaking what God was speaking to me about. As I turned on the computer, an unusual thing happened. The window with all of my files opened. Dead center in the window was the thumbnail of the picture above. I saw it. It called my name. It demanded me to click it to see what it was. When I opened it, it was clear that this was another one of those times that God was clearly speaking to me. In fact, God immediately told me that did not need to read John 12 today to hear His voice. My message was front and center – Be Anxious for Nothing.

God is reaffirming His expectation to me about circumstances for which I have no control. Man likes to assume responsibility for things he has no control over. Man not only has no control, he has no power to influence or affect the direction of the circumstance. That’s why he has not control. He has no power to influence or affect the outcome. I am not sure about you, but there are countless of situations that I have not control or influence, but the impact on my life is huge. Similarly, I had no control over the train’s horn when I first moved into my current home. Today, I was reminded I had not control. God allowed it to awaken me. It was God calling me to Himself. How sweet is that, but that is not what I first thought. I said, “man, I am so tired”, but God told me He wanted His time with me. He did not want to get short-changed by my penchant to want to be prepared for work, my classes. What a reminder. I thought God wanted something from me. He only wants what will benefit me. As with any parent, we don’t always see that. What we see are expectations that inhibit in most instances. That’s not what God said today to me. He quietly and sternly said, “Be Anxious for Nothing“.

Listen to what God is saying in Philippians 4:6-7.

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (ESV)

God’s Word is living. It continually tells us not to be anxious about anything. There is nothing that exist outside of anything. God is saying no matter what it pertains to I do not want you to be anxious. I don’t want you to worry. We only are concerned about the future because we have no control over it. God’s expectation about being concerned over the future are simple and clear. Listen to what God says about being worried about the future

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6

What about the future is plaguing you? What is consuming your mind? Not only does God tell us not to be anxious or not to worry, He tells us how to do that. First, He tells us to pray to Him about it. The implication is that we are valuable to Him, so He cares about our future or what happens to us. God tells us to pray with thanksgiving. What does that mean? We should be thankful that God cares enough about us to consider us and our concerns/needs. God is not only concerned, He will attend to what we need as He determines the need. When we trust Him, He says that He will give us His peace which surpasses all understanding and guards our hearts (what we feel) and our minds (what we think) in Christ Jesus. In Christ Jesus means it is for those who are in Christ Jesus, but God is gracious to the saved and unsaved. The principle works for any who will trust God as they seek to Be Anxious for Nothing.

I take a little liberty with Paul’s word and God’s Word to personalize it, so it can be come our word too.

I do not want you to be uninformed brothers and sisters about my experiences in this world. I have experienced great pressure but none that God did not enable me to endure. The devil has wanted to claim my life, but the Father, up to this point, has spared me from such a fate. Despite that, all the hardships, trials and sufferings have happened to cause me to rely on God not myself. God raises from the dead. He has delivered me in the past, and He will deliver me again. Because of His Word and His work in my life, I have to set my hope on His promise to continue to deliver me. (2 Corinthians 1)

Join me on my quest today to “Be Anxious for Nothing” but to thankfully pray to our caring God who will give us peace that surpasses all understanding. Pray and trust Him that you are indeed more valuable than birds of the air whom He provides.

By your choice, God’s Word can help you if you listen or hurt you if you don’t. When God’s horn (His Word) sounds and you don’t listen, words will hurt you.

 

Honor in the Hour

August 12, 2014

When I really need God to do something and time has almost run out for him to provide, I will say to God, “Father, we are in the eleventh hour.” That is the last possible moment for Him to do something before we ask Is The Hour At HandIn the post Is The Hour At Hand?, it was shared that Jesus knew that it was for the purpose of dying that He came. Do we know why we are here? As believers and followers of Christ, Jesus clarifies our purpose for us in John 12. Our lives are not our own. Jesus says that we must lose our lives in order to gain it just as He lost His life to give us eternal life. We must honor God more than honoring ourselves.

Let’s face it, many people, including Jesus, have been measured or defined in the The Hour At Hand. The mere fact that we are still discussing Jesus’ response in the hour at hand illustrates how important our response is to God. What we do know is that Jesus was committed to the Father in a time of sacrifice, struggle and stress. Jesus demonstrated Honor in the Hour. Are we willing to evidence such commitment to the Father when the circumstance calls for sacrifice, struggle and stress?

Let’s see what Jesus said in John 12.

23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. 27 Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.

How was Jesus able to give Honor in the Hour to God? How was He able not to retreat and seek what was best for Him? The key is shared in verses 27-28. First, Jesus said, “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.” Jesus acknowledge the truth about His emotional/mental estate. It is okay for us to acknowledge to God, even others, that we would rather not endure hardships. Dah! Who really does? What is more important is not just acknowledging it but not yielding to ourselves. Jesus realized His purpose and to whom He was committed. Jesus said it was this very reason I came to this hour. This was a choice. Jesus willingly came to this hour. Let me remind us of what Jesus said in John 10:18 – “…No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” Jesus chose this moment in honor and obedience to the Father. It was a part of their plan.

We are not a part of the God-head; yet, we have the same privilege of entrusting the Father with our lives, with our contribution to the kingdom. Our contribution comes as a cost – personal loss. We see parents on a regular basis sacrifice or suffer personal loss for their children. My wife has given the last twelve years of her life to the rearing of our children – a long Honor in the Hour. She relinquished a career, some financial freedom, some relational development and many other things for the sake of her children. How did she do that without bitterness? She frequently focuses on the privilege and benefit of participating in the building of the kingdom of God. Like Jesus, she has benefitted the kingdom. Both of our children have professed faith in Jesus as the Son of God, Savior and Lord. While that is no indication of what choices they will make as they get older, it gives us both a greater hope that their salvation will lead to a partnership in the Gospel of Jesus Christ until the day of completion.

As with Jesus, we can say that God glorified His name and Himself with the salvation of our children. God’s glory is the end game for Him. It is the ultimate goal of all He does in, on and through us. God wants to bring glory to Himself through man. Our acceptance of that role should help us display Honor in the Hour. Are you willing to forsake yourself to evidence Honor in the Hour? If not, you should consider Jesus who, after honoring God, was honored by God. In this chapter, Jesus says, “26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” Do you want to be honored by God? Serve Jesus by displaying  Honor in the Hour.

Is The Hour At Hand?

August 11, 2014

Life is like the sea. It has cycles of ebbs and flows. There are times when life gives, a flow if you will, and times where life takes back, an ebb. Whether in an ebb or flow, we are well aware of timing in our lives. We are waiting for something to happen, experiencing a happening or reflecting on what recently happened. For me, I use a common coined phrase to describe my hope and anticipation as I am waiting for something to happen. When I really need God to do something and time has almost run out for him to provide, I will say to God, “Father, we are in the eleventh hour.” That is the last possible moment for Him to do something before we ask Is The Hour At Hand. The Hour At Hand is the moment that something is to happen. 

Like us, Jesus experienced ebbs and flows in His incarnation. In the book of John, we see Jesus is truly time conscious. In John 2:47:68308:20, Jesus told people over and over that His time had not yet come. Now in John 12, we see Jesus acknowledge the first of a number of statements that His death, burial and resurrection are at hand (v. 2713:116:3217:1). Let’s see what Jesus said in John 12.

20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.

23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. 27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.

Based on the text, we see that Jesus knew the answer to the question Is The Hour At Hand. Jesus plainly tells the Andrew and Philip that the hour has come. Jesus is announcing to them that He must die for the sins of man in order to bring about forgiveness, the salvation of man’s soul. In spiritual terms, the hour at hand always refers to God doing something to bring glory to Himself. As with Jesus, it more than likely will call for us to sacrifice something. This is what Jesus’ analogy is about. “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

Jesus knew that it was for the purpose of dying that He came. Do we know why we are here? As believers and followers of Christ, Jesus clarifies our purpose for us in this passage. Our lives are not our own. Jesus says that we must lose our lives in order to gain it just as He lost His life to give us eternal life. Is The Hour At Hand? YES! God is calling all of us to surrender our lives to Him in order to receive life. He said, “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life” Moreover, Jesus said, “My Father will honor the one who serves me.”

We can’t run from this hour. Jesus models for us that in the ebb of life that we should willingly retreat just as the waters of the sea. God has ordained and orchestrated the moments in our lives where we will have to die like the kernel of wheat. If we willingly die, we will bear fruit. We will become more like Jesus. After all, this is God’s goal for the believer. Romans 8:29 says, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”

Is The Hour At Hand? I say yes because Jesus said yes. It is always the hour to serve Him, to give up something in our lives for Him. The result is that we will keep our lives and will be honored by the Father for serving Jesus. God showed His approval of Jesus when He spoke saying “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” My goal is to hear my Master reply  ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matthew 25:21

 

Going After Jesus

August 8, 2014

Jeremiah 8

‘This is what the Lord says:

“‘When people fall down, do they not get up?
    When someone turns away, do they not return?
Why then have these people turned away?
    Why does Jerusalem always turn away?
They cling to deceit;
    they refuse to return.
I have listened attentively,
    but they do not say what is right.
None of them repent of their wickedness,
    saying, “What have I done?”
Each pursues their own course
    like a horse charging into battle.
Even the stork in the sky
    knows her appointed seasons,
and the dove, the swift and the thrush
    observe the time of their migration.
But my people do not know
    the requirements of the Lord.

There are many pursuits that people have in their lives. Many people pursue their dreams. Some pursue happiness. A number of people pursue fame while others pursue fortune. What is it that we should pursue in life? Is it our dreams? Is it wealth? Is it our happiness? We find the answer to those questions in John 12 where we rejoin the frenzy surrounding Jesus.

John 12

17 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18 Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”

Who was in the crowd? In John 11, we know that Mary, Martha, the disciples and  some Jews were in the crowd when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Who in the crowd is not as important as what they did. As we see in verse 17, those in the crowd continued to spread the word. The word that Jesus had done something unseen before. Jesus had performed a miracle. Jesus was the resurrection and the life. Now, we see people Going After Jesus.

The text is clear that people were Going After Jesus because they had heard that He has performed a great sign, the resurrection of the dead (Lazarus). Jesus’ earthly nemesis’, the Pharisees, even concluded “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!” The ironic thing is that the Pharisees, in mass, were never found Going After Jesus for healing, for salvation. They pursued Jesus to kill Him. They were jealous that Jesus garnered the attention, respect, and hearts of many of the people.

By contrasting the various purposes, godliness vs godlessness, that people have Jesus answers the question of are you Going After Jesus. What does God want us to go after, to pursue? What is it that God expects us to do? That question is answered over and over in the Word of God. It is succinctly in 1 Timothy 6:11 where God says, “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” All this is described as desires to get rich which lead to foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.

Are you Going After Jesus? If not, Mark 1:15 tells us that “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”


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