The Godhead In The Gospel

February 26, 2015

I readily admit that I am not a bible scholar. That is one of my shortcomings. I have not indulged myself deep enough into the study of God’s Word. Since its canonization, the Word of God has come into consistent challenge regarding its authenticity. We can quote scriptures like 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that attest that the Word of God was inspired by God. That is that God directed the writers on exactly what to say. We point to the fact that the bible talks about what we think are dinosaurs. We can point to the undisputable proof of the overwhelming 100% accuracy of Biblical prophecy. Literally, the Bible has thousands of fulfilled prophecies including those about the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. One example from Old Testament Messianic prophecies that Jesus fulfills is in Isaiah 53.

The Trinity is another divisive truth about God. If people do not reject God all together, many have difficulty comprehending that God is monotheistic yet is pluralistic in function. That is the doctrine of the Trinity. Questions are asked about how could there be three persons, God The Father, God The Son, and God The Holy Spirit, but one God called the Godhead. How can this be? Like everything else in Christendom, you believe it by faith. Romans 1:17 says, “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.””

We see The Godhead In The Gospel throughout the scriptures. Again, there are a multiplicity of scriptures that demonstrate, announce and confirm the Trinity. Today, however, I will point to two in the text that I have been writing from over the past few weeks – 1 Peter 1.

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus,Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his bloodGrace and peace be yours in abundance. (v1-2)

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things. (v10-12)

In the first two verses, Peter clearly outlines the existence and work of The Godhead In The Gospel. I am not sure if you see it, so I will point it out. How do we see God the Father in the Gospel? The elect, those who are saved, were chosen God. How do we see Jesus in the Gospel? Jesus is the standard to which we are called to live that is the obedience. It is Jesus’ blood that those who have been chosen are purified from their sins. Similarly to the lambs blood on the door frames in Exodus 12, it is the blood of Jesus that saves us from death – the spiritual separation of man from God. How do we see the Holy Spirit in the Gospel? It is the Holy Spirit who sanctifies us. Sanctify is to consecrate which means to set apart or dedicate to the service of God. Of the work of the Holy Spirit in the Gospel, Jesus spells it out plainly for us in John. Now, we see Peter giving assent to Christ’s prophecy about the Holy Spirit.

Did you see the evidence of the Godhead in verses 10-12? I will not go on and on about The Godhead In The Gospel. It is true. It is there and the evidence supports it. The question is will you believe it. You don’t have to believe it, but if you deny The Godhead In The Gospel, John tells us what you can expect. He says, “18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.

I thank God that The Godhead In The Gospel. Of the gospel, I will stand on what Paul said 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”” In faith, I trust that there is one God but works His redemptive plan through three persons: God The Father, God The Son and God The Holy Spirit. What do you have faith in? What do you trust? Will the blood of Jesus cover you when God sends the destroyer for the last time? Make a the right choice. Your place in eternity depends on it. 

Glory Follows Suffering

February 25, 2015

Glory has many connotations in everyday life. One of my favorite scenes is from the movie Glory. John Legend just won an Oscar for his song Glory. I am writing this morning about God’s Glory. While the movie and song are important, they pale in comparison to the importance of God’s Glory. As widely as the connotations are, there are a wealth of definitions for glory. Dictionary.com provides several definitions of glory: very great praise, honor, or distinction bestowed by common consent; and adoring praise or worshipful thanksgiving. For the purpose of this post, I will major on how glory is outlined in the Word of God.

In 1 Peter 1:11, the word used for glory is doxa (do’-ksä). In the context of that verse, doxa means the kingly majesty of the Messiah and the absolutely perfect inward or personal excellency of Christ. Christ has been, is being and will be praised for His personal excellency or majesty. The text sets the order of things based on Christ. Of Him, the text says that Glory Follows Suffering. Let’s read it.

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow.

There it is in black and white – Glory Follows Suffering. The text conveys that Christ had sufferings.Christ’s gloriewould follow those sufferings. All true believers in Christ should expect our lives to be that of Jesus’. Colossians 3 says, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature” As a Christian, our lives are not our own, and we are to offer ourselves to God as a living sacrifice which is our spiritual worship.

Since Christ suffered, we will suffer. While not in the same degree and manner, we will, as 1 Peter 1:6 tells us, suffer grief in all kinds of trials. Our expectation is to demonstrate the character of Christ in response to those trials. He, like we are told the prophets of old, recognized that life was about others not Himself. As a consequence, we are told that “God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”*

Consequently, we, as followers of Christ, should do likewise. Endure our hardships and trials with the understanding that we are not doing it for ourselves but for others for the sole purpose of bringing glory to God. We have the assurance that Glory Follows Suffering. As such, we should embrace trials and hardships because the end result is glory to God.

That is hard to accept in the moment of your trial or suffering, but it is expected of followers of Christ to live by the Spirit who will enable us to follow Him. Philippians tells us “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” God’s good purpose is Himself – to bring glory to Himself as only He is worthy of praise, glory and honor.  We know from 1 Peter that He gets glory when we reveal His character i.e. walk in the Spirit responding as Christ would.

There are many examples of in the Word of God that illustrate or depict that Glory Follows Suffering. Consider Abraham and Sarah; Joseph; Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; the Apostles – Peter, Stephen, and Paul along with many others.

Whether it is having a limb amputated, being beheaded, or sitting in a house with a broken heater, Glory Follows Suffering. Look in your life today to see what God will allow to bring glory to Himself. Don’t just grin and bear it, exult in it. Hallelujah.

What is the End Result of Faith in Christ?

February 24, 2015

I, in my finiteness and ignorance, am in no way trying to say that faith in Christ is simple. It is not; yet, it is simple. Faith in Christ  brings about many things. For example, my daughter was anxious about a test she had on Monday. She came to me to tell me that she and one of her friends whom she was texting were anxious. I quoted Philippians 4:6-7 and Psalm 56:3 to her. Those verses were also texted to her friend. I know my daughter told me that she had more peace. When I went through a job change last June, I was quite concerned about my family’s future, but the Spirit of God reminded me of Jeremiah 29:11-13. I had assurance that God was sovereign and had a plan for my life and that of my family. Not only that, I was reminded that I had God living in me through the Holy Spirit. Lastly, our home phone went out last week on the very day that my wife was to have had a phone interview. She had prepared and solicited prayers, but the interview never happened. Humanly, her hopes were dashed, but she remembered Psalm 9:10. Against all odds, she remained hopeful that she would have another opportunity to interview. She does this Thursday.

In those examples, we see peace, assurance of God’s sovereignty and hope. Those are just a few example of results of faith in Christ. While a part of the journey and package, they are not the most important benefit of faith in Christ. This leads me to ask What is the End Result of Faith in Christ?

Like many other musings, thank God that He answers that question in His Word.

1 Peter 1:6-9

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

What is the End Result of Faith in Christ? That question is answered for us rather succinctly in the text above. The end result of faith in Christ is the salvation of your souls. No wonder God says, “the righteous will live by faith“. No wonder God says, “without faith, it is impossible to please God.” Throughout scripture, God is telling us the end result of faith in Christ.

Romans 6:20-23 gives us a picture of life with faith in Christ and of life without faith in Christ. Which one would you like to be your end?

“20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

In Christ, God is offering us life instead of death.

Listen to the End Result of no Faith in Christ.

Daniel 12:2 - “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.”

Matthew 25:46 – “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life”

John 5:29 - “and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.”

Acts 24:15 - “and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked”

Romans 2:8 - “But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.”

Galatians 6:8 – “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

God says that through faith during trials our faith may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Faith reveals Jesus Christ who gives salvation of the soul when one has faith in Him. What is the End Result of Faith in Christ? SALVATION!!! Do you want to be saved from the eternal wrath of God? Trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior and you shall be saved.

Are You Filled with an Inexpressible and Glorious Joy?

February 19, 2015

Our lives are consumed with filling. We want to fill our stomachs, so we will not be hungry. When we go to eat, we want to fill our cups with the flavor of the drink we purchased. We have to fill our cars up with gas in order to reach our chosen destinations. When we are sick, we want to fill our bodies with medicine to address our illness. We want to fill our bank accounts to be able to meet our needs and attend to our wants. We want to fill our lives with meaningful relationships that allow us to love and to be loved. In all of those efforts, the question of Are You Filled with an Inexpressible and Glorious Joy? still goes unanswered.

In reality, I am not sure how many of us are filled with joy not to mention inexpressible and glorious joy. How does one even get to those. Inexpressible and glorious are words God reserves for Himself. Since God is incomprehensible, we know that inexpressible joy comes from Him. Also, we know that only God is worthy of glory, so glorious joy too stems from God. That is the beauty, God is willing to share those things with us. This is what Peter is discussing in 1 Peter 1:6-9 as he sought to encourage God’s elect.

1 Peter 1:6-9

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Are You Filled with an Inexpressible and Glorious Joy? The answer is no, but why? We aren’t filled with inexpressible and glorious joy because we do not rejoice in God, in Christ, in the living hope we have in Christ, nor in salvation from Christ. Simply, we are not filled with God through the Spirit. We spend too much time focusing on the grief we experience from the trials of our lives. We choose grief over God. We choice grief over His glory.

Have you ever noticed that we gravitate to the negative rather than the positive? Newspapers, news outlets, news stories and news about everyday life that we choose to focus on regards grief rather than Jehovah. We exchange the truth about God for a lie. Romans 1 tells us the consequence for such an exchange are grave resulting in spiritual death. What truths about God are you exchanging for a lie? In 1 Peter 1 alone, there is so much to be excited about, but we fail to do so because we don’t believe God.

For example, people express great joy about being chosen in the first round of a draft for a sports team. If you were chosen to serve as leader in your company, city, state, or country, you would be joyful. Without contention, we enjoy being chosen; yet, when Peter says to God’s elect or pilgrims, we cruise past those words as if it has no meaning. God’s elect conveys that one has been chosen by God to experience God’s plan for man which involves a loving relationship with God where we can partake in God’s plan for our lives by having a rightful claim to the promises of God. 2 Corinthians 1:20-22 says, “20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” Since God lives in you and set His seal of ownership on us, shouldn’t we have an affirmative response to Are You Filled with an Inexpressible and Glorious Joy?

That is a resounding yes, but we do not because we exchange the truth about God for a lie. We can’t get caught up in how inexpressible it is to know God, be chosen by Him, to be filled by His Spirit, to etc. God offers us a great, glorious and inexpressible life in Him if we would just believe Him. Let’s work on refraining from filling our hearts and minds with lies. Let’s work today to not exchange the truth about God for a lie. After all, not only does our joy depend on it but our lives as well.

Are You Filled with an Inexpressible and Glorious Joy? If not, trust God and think about that truth.  Believe God and refute the lie not the other way around.

Love Without Sight

February 17, 2015

Now, many claim to have loved at first sight, but is that really true or possible. There are numerous of relationships that hail love at first sight. They saw each other and knew that they were going to be together. The claims of love at first sight has been reduced to a physical attraction or infatuation because who could love someone by simply seeing the person without ever having an opportunity to get to know them? Can we reasonably say that we love that person? Well, some are convinced they do and have married because of it.

Well, in our text today, Peter tops that and heralds a Love Without Sight. On the surface, this seems even more improbable than love at first sight. To the natural eye, it is impossible, but I have submitted posts about the Mystery I of God. Peter shares more about the mystery of the gospel that confirms the truth and reality of Love Without Sight.

Let’s dig in to see what this is about.

1 Peter 1:6-9

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

In the post The Purpose of Trials, we learned that we must endure through trials facing them with faith and joy despite not seeing the God we serve. In verse 8 above, Peter knew that though he had seen Jesus, both before and after the resurrection, most every Christian in the early church had not seen Jesus. Yet they loved Him. Jesus was no less real simply because they had not seen Him. If Peter expected Love Without Sight for the early church, the body that would follow are certainly expected to demonstrate Love Without Sight. In 2 Corinthians 5:7, the Apostle Paul tells us “For we live by faith, not by sight.”

While we have not physically seen Christ, He has been revealed to us through God’s Word and through God’s people. The mere fact that I am writing about Jesus Christ is evidence that I Love Without Sight. Christ Himself gave a key indicator to identify those who Love Without Sight. John 15 says, “10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command.

We may ask how can we love someone we have never seen. We love Christ because of what He has done for us. We love God for what He has done for us. They offer us freedom from the dominion of darkness as Colossians 1 informs us. In fact, it says, “and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” We have already learned “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Christ laid down His life for us which is why we love Him. We love because He first loved us.

Love Without Sight is understandable and attainable when we consider the triune God. If you still don’t understand how you could Love Without Sight, start reading God’s Word to discover who He is and what He has done for you. When we are loved, we love back. If we can love dogs, cars, a game like football, true love is seeing who God is and what He has done for us then yielding oneself to Him for His acts of love. Love Without Sight is not blind. It clearly sees God and responds. Do you?

I hope to be able to write about the inexpressible and glorious joy tomorrow, but how can I adequately do that if it is inexpressible. I will try none the less.

The Purpose of Trials

February 16, 2015

1 Peter 1:6-7

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

The Greek word trial is peirasmos (pā-rä-smo’s). We can categorize trials into two basic propositions: 1. an enticement to sin, temptation, whether arising from the desires or from the outward circumstances (self or satan); 2. adversity, affliction, trouble: sent by God and serving to test or prove one’s character, faith, holiness. We all go through trials, so the question isn’t whether will experience a trail, but how will we respond?

If we look at how Jesus responded in Matthew 4:1; Mark 4:12; Luke 4:1, we see the model for which we should respond when the wicked one tempts us, or when we are tempted by our own sinful desires. We need to confront the sin with the truth – His Word is truth. Moreover, Jesus was tempted to show us The Purpose of Trials. Jesus’ greatest trial, incarnation to crucifixion, was designed to reconcile us to God but also to show us the purpose of trials. Peter makes it plain in the passage above, so that our faith ….may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

If you ever have been in a situation and wondered “why is this happening to me”, that is why. God wants to strengthen our faith, so that it results in Him being praised, glorified and honored. That is our purpose on earth. It is to bring praise, glory and honor to Him. Truthfully, the only way for us to please God is through faith. It is through our godly response that the character of Christ is revealed. Christ will be revealed now and in eternity. Now, it occurs day by day when we act like Jesus acted when confronted by the sin of man on this earth.

Let’s remember what Philippians says, that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. Our trials cannot begin to equate to Jesus’ trials. First, He is perfect and didn’t sin. We do. Second, He did not deserve anything that He faced. We do. Last, He did not fail God in representing Him to man. We do. Jesus is worthy of praise, glory and honor. When we act like Him in our trials, finally it can be said of us a mirroring Jesus – We do.

The purpose of trials is for God to receive praise, glory and honor, but the benefit to us is that our faith is purified and draws us closer to Him. This is why James says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” God is trying to grow us up while He brings praise, glory and honor to Himself through using flawed beings like mankind.

Mystery III: A Place for Suffering Trials

February 14, 2015

Several posts ago, I attempted to demystify various misconceptions about God by sharing God’s revelation about Himself namely through Jesus Christ. In Christ, the mystery of how God would reconcile man to Himself was revealed. Through Christ, salvation was revealed. I also shared that many people use the quote that “God works in mysterious ways” in error. The bible never uses that quote. For what He wants us to know, God reveals how He works, moves or acts.

While that is true, God’s character still remains cloudy or unclear to many. It is unclear because God is not sought through His Word where He reveals Himself. I am not suggesting that everything about God is revealed in the Word.  Our lives are not long enough to read all of that if we were able to comprehend Him. What I am saying is that God reveals what we need to know about Himself and about us. It is Mystery III: A Place for Suffering Trials.

One occurrence that people have always seen as mysterious is hardships, sufferings and/or trials. It is shrouded in misconceptions like “Why do bad things happen to good people”. First, we know there is no one who does good in and of himself, so to propose that man does not deserve to go through anything bad is a flawed proposition. Moreover, man is sinful and deserving of death.  Next, we know that the people of God will experience hardships, sufferings and/or trials.

Since we will endure hardships, sufferings and/or trials, what hope do we have? This is exactly one of the mysteries that Peter was unveiling for us. Let’s hear the Word of God.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.           1 Peter 1:3-9

Peter asks us to remember that we have an inheritance that is incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, and it is kept in heaven for us. In light or view of that, he says, “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” We are to rejoice because we know Jesus, better yet, Jesus knows us as friends.

As a consequence of our union with Christ, we may have to endure all kinds of trials. That is ones of various natures. It is not requisite, but it is a reality. Peter is saying if hardships, sufferings and trials come, this is why they come – is to display the enduring quality of our faith. Listen to Spurgeon’s quote about hardships, suffering and trials

“Indeed, it is the honor of faith to be tried. Shall any man say, ‘I have faith, but I have never had to believe under difficulties’? Who knows whether thou hast any faith? Shall a man say, ‘I have great faith in God, but I have never had to use it in anything more than the ordinary affairs of life, where I could probably have done without it as well as with it’? Is this to the honor and praise of thy faith? Dost thou think that such a faith as this will bring any great glory to God, or bring to thee any great reward? If so, thou art mightily mistaken.” (Spurgeon)

God’s goal is for Him to receive the praise, glory and honor in our trial when we reveal the character of Christ in it as well as when Christ is revealed. God compares our faith purifying of our faith to that purification of gold – the burning of dross or material that is not pure gold. Likewise, hardships, suffering and trials serve to purify our faith leading us to greater trust in God, thus greater demonstration of who He is to a world dying to appropriately place the object of their faith. While gold has an enduring quality, it will pass away but not our faith as it leads us to the salvation of our souls.

Mystery III: A Place for Suffering Trials. God has A Place for Suffering Trials. I trust you will look to Him in faith in the next difficulty you or a love one faces. For the Word of God says, “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:10

Mystery II: Perishable to Imperishable/Mortal to Immortal

February 11, 2015

As I began to think about writing this morning, I took under consideration a prompt from a dear brother in the Lord to not forget about the mystery in Ephesians. As I began to read, i was led to 1 Corinthians 15 then I got excited. Mortality is real and more apparent to me as I have grown older. People around me are dying all the time. My own dear mother fell this past weekend. Thank God she was not seriously injured. As the older folks would say, my own “pangs” remind me of my mortality. My joints aren’t as elastic as they used to be. My bones feel every bump and are susceptible to humidity and cold. Let’s face, we all are decaying. While some feel a little closer to death than others, we are all dying.

Despite that, I want to share with you Mystery II: Perishable to Imperishable/Mortal to Immortal. When I say this Word excited me, I am amped, geeked, overjoyed, relieved, and any other word that connotes a greater understanding that leads to peace and joy. Truth is peace and joy, like salvation, are only found in Jesus. Moreover, God reveals more about His Mystery to us in His Word; therefore, let us read His Word not just today but daily. Your daily bread today is

1 Corinthians 15

Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.

12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

29 Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them? 30 And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour? 31 I face death every day—yes, just as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord. 32 If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised,

“Let us eat and drink,
    for tomorrow we die.”

33 Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 34 Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.

35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” 36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39 Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.

42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.

50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

If you were not excited by reading this text, you should contact me, so I can share with you my excitement and my insight which may help you. A better step though is to ask God to open your eyes and ears that you may see and hear Him from that text. Then read it again.

Hallelujah! My death or the death of those who know Jesus is not the end. It is only the beginning. We will be like the heavenly man, Jesus. It is a truth revealed in Mystery II: Perishable to Imperishable/Mortal to Immortal. Believe it.

Mystery I

February 9, 2015

In life, the word Mystery is used a lot. Of God, the most quoted statement I hear is “God moves in mysterious ways”, but I have never found that verse in the bible. Truth is it does not exist in the bible; however, the word Mystery is contained in the Word.

Mystery is defined as anything that is kept secret or remains unexplained or unknown or the one I like best is any truth that is unknowable except by divine revelation.

1 Peter 1 gives a glimpse of God’s revelation of His Mystery

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.

Reading the text, I realize that I am blessed to live in the times God has revealed Christ Jesus to us. I am out of time, but the Word of God speaks infinitely better than I. Read His Word and let HIm speak to you. Lord willing, see you tomorrow.

Lifting A Spiritual Embargo

February 8, 2015

Over the past few months, my students have learned about major trade barriers. They quickly learned that a barrier was something that was an obstacle, something that slows passage or something that limits or stops progress. When presented a graphic of a brick wall, all students understood the concept of a barrier. They could articulate how the way would slow or keep someone from reaching another place. Ultimately, we defined embargo as a complete ban or block on trade with another country.

We then talked about the trade embargo the USA placed on Cuba in conjunction with the Cuban Missile Crisis. We discussed some implications of the ban on trade with Cuba. Most Americans could no longer travel freely to Cuba. Products, such as cigars, were banned from being imported which caused a “black market”. We discussed how the decrease in trade would impact the people there who were living in Cuba. A student stated “Since the Cold War is over and there is no threat of Cuba launching nuclear missiles at us, why do we still have the embargo on Cuba.” He felt there was a need to lift the embargo. Almost on cue, President Obama began talks and actions to “normalize” relationships with Cuba. Congress has the authority/power to lift the embargo, but President Obama has the authority to loosen the effects of the embargo.

Like with Cuba, the rise of sin and the fall of man brought about a spiritual embargo. There was a ban or block on relating to God. Isaiah 59:2 says, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” Sin has separated man from God. Consequently, man cannot fully experience the love of God because of his sin. Man cannot be in complete fellowship with God. Because of sin, man cannot be one with God. Just as the Cuban embargo affected the lives of those living in Cuba, sin affected the lives of those who do not know God through Christ. If one has an embargo, that is a ban or block on relations with God, what hope does he have to ever relate to God, to know God?

There is only one hope. There is only one name in which salvation is found. That name is Jesus Christ. Listen to what 1 Peter 1 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you” In our country, Congress is the only one who can lift an embargo. In the realm of God, Lifting A Spiritual Embargo is solely Christ’s domain. It is through Christ alone that the ban on relating or being one with God is absolved. Romans 5:10-12 tells us ”

10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—

Chris it our hope. This is what 1 Peter 1shares with us. Peter is telling the believer even though Christ is the one responsible for Lifting A Spiritual Embargo, we still will have hardship, trials and problems, but for a divine purpose. Listen to the Word of God.

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

It is because Christ lifts the embargo that we have hope of enduring the hardship, trials and problems of life. In Christ, God promises to never leave or forsake us. If that is not an assurance of Lifting A Spiritual Embargo, I am not sure what would be a greater indication of the assurance of His presence in our lives. In Dt 31:6, 8; Jos 1:5, God references His promise to the Israelites to deliver them unto the promised land. The promised land for us is God Himself and the kingdom He dwells. This is the promise we when Peter says, “new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you

Lifting A Spiritual Embargo is Christ’s authority alone. If you have not Christ, you still have a spiritual ban or block in your life. The Word says that wrath of God remains on them without Christ and that they will not see life. Seek and surrender Jesus to experience the Lifting A Spiritual Embargo.


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