Category: Jesus, The Christ

Nine – Our Purpose, pt. 2 – p. 336

1 Understanding our purpose 2 Rule of God

February 27

The Creator also set His desire upon dethroning the usurper – and his dominion. When He came to this earth, this is one of Jesus’ main objectives: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work… (that) by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil…” (1 John 3:8; Hebrews 2:14)

As Jesus resolutely set His sights upon the ordeal of the cross, He announced triumphantly:

last supper BG - Copy

The Savior came to bring the culmination of God’s plan of reconnection and restoration – bringing all things back to what the Creator designed them to be.

But there was one more necessary component that was requisite to this reconnection and restoration. It is essential to understand that what was lost, through a man, was required to be restored through a man. This was a highly significant problem since there was no man on earth capable of bringing such a restoration!

Prophetically, the prophet Isaiah spoke of the condition of mankind (especially God’s people; Isaiah 59!) and of the need to find a man to be the means to arrest this condition: “The LORD looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, He was appalled that there was no man to intervene…” (from Isaiah 59:15-16).

But a foundational message of the gospel of the Kingdom emerges: God stepped into the breach and did what only God can do: “…so His Own arm worked salvation for Him…” (Isaiah 59:16b) Scripture informs us that the eternal Son of God, the One Who created all things, took on human form (Philippians 2:6-7) and became the “Man from Heaven.”

formed from the dustfrom heaven

This second man, the One from heaven, came and made possible the reparation of vital connection with the sons and daughters of the first man, and became the way and means by which all things in heaven and on earth would be restored back to the Creator-King’s original design and purpose.

But He did much more than just become the means of restoration and regeneration – He came as the very Model of what was to come. He came as the living demonstration of what all human beings, connected to Him, could be. He came to show us what once was (before sin devastated mankind) and to show us what would be, once sin and its power to debilitate and dominate was rendered powerless.

Jesus’ work at the cross shattered every barrier to our divine destiny and made the way for 2nd adameach of us to discover the fullness of our dual purpose once again. His everyday life was lived in constant example of our dual purpose, forever proclaiming and demonstrating, with His every word and action, what was ordained for mankind from the very beginning of all things.

Jesus came as the “second Adam,” to restore what the first Adam had lost. The “second Adam” came to renew what the first Adam had carelessly ruined. The eternal Son of God came to make the sons of men into the sons of God, once again.

Five – Understanding Revelation, p. 141

Divine Rev

May 22

Let’s look into a few examples of divine revelation in Jesus’s ministry…

Lessons from Two Women

The fourth chapter of John’s Gospel provides the description of Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well. This is a classic case of divine revelation at work in Jesus’ life and ministry. The setting is near the town of Sychar in Samaria. The location is Jacob’s well. The situation is that Jesus is quite weary from a long journey. He sits down beside Jacob’s well and soon begins a conversation with a Samaritan woman who has come to gather water.

woman at the well

After talking to her about living water, and how He was able to supply this water to her, she decides this offer of living water is a pretty good deal. John records the next portions of the conversation: Jesus requests, “”Go, call your husband and come back.”

“I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” (John 4:16-18)

How would Jesus have known these things? He had no previous dealings or conversations with this woman (She was a Samaritan and, as rightly stated, “Jews do not associate with Samaritans.” [John 4:9]) She was a stranger to Him. It seems rather obvious that she had never heard of, or recognized, Him. There really is no other possible answer than the fact that Jesus received inside information through divine revelation. The issues of the woman’s life were revealed to Him.

The woman herself recognized this fact, as recorded in John 4:19: “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.” Prophets, in those days, were recognized as people who could see things that others couldn’t see, and know things that others didn’t know. This is because prophets had a “direct line” to the God Who sees and knows all things. Because Jesus “knew” the secret things of her life, He was now perceived as Someone who could have God’s insight into other issues.

Given this conclusion, she goes on to seek an answer to a spiritual question that had been troubling her (see verse 20). Jesus’ answer, and ensuing conversation, leads back to the central issue: the true identity of The Messiah. “Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am He.”

woman_at_the_well

(John 4:26) In summary of the rest of John’s account, through the encounter with this woman and through several other ensuing occurrences, Jesus stays for two days in Sychar, “and because of His words many more became believers” that Jesus really was “the Savior of the world.” (from John 4:41-42)

The open doorway for all this life-changing work was provided through divine revelation. Because Jesus had received revelation into the woman’s life, she is progressively drawn to accept Him as a Person Whose voice she should heed. John records that the woman even goes so far as to mention this fact as her primary reason for responding to Jesus. Twice she mentions Jesus as the Man, “who told me everything I ever did.” (John 4:29, 39) John concludes that “many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony.”

woman of sychar tells all

This is especially amazing when you consider that the “woman at the well” was almost certainly of very poor reputation in this town. Yet, her actions and her words were so invigorated by “the Prophet,” and His revelation into her life, that the townspeople were intensely compelled to take notice. Their lives were impacted and changed forever through the catalyst of the revelation of the hidden things in one woman’s life. All this happened because Jesus received, and acted upon, divine revelation.

Five – Understanding Revelation, p. 138

Divine Rev

May 19

There are three main aspects to Jesus’ focus in Matt. 16:18.

Jesus’ primary focus throughout this whole conversation was upon the identity of the cornerstone of The Church – the identity of the One to Whom the disciples had committed their lives. Jesus’ central thought is that this true identity is not discovered through a matter of human reasoning or debate – it can only come through revelation by The Father. So we must conclude that Jesus’ primary focus is upon the Father’s ability to reveal truth to those who are seeking to discover that truth. The emphasis is on the prime importance of God’s input and not upon the importance of a man, or men, who are the recipients of this divine input.

Simply stated: divine revelation, and especially divine revelation of the true identity and purpose of Jesus, is the “rock” upon which The Christ will build His Church.

Matthew1618

There is a secondary, but just as essential, emphasis discovered here in Jesus’ words. It is the focus upon human beings who have been made partakers in this divine revelation. Peter is the first to confess Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the Living God” and his confession is the direct result of The Father imparting this revelation into Peter’s heart. Jesus’ emphasis is that, once received, humanity is directly influenced and coupled to this revelation.

What occurs within someone who receives this divine revelation is not just the impartation of facts or knowledge – it is the transference of the compelling sense of the authority and power of divine truth. Divine revelation is centered in divine governance. It is in direct connection and correlation with the God Who is the rightful Ruler over all of Creation. When human beings receive divine revelation, it also comes with the backing of the divine Ruler.

King Jesus

Under the influence of divine revelation, human beings are equipped to bring the rule of the King of all kings into contact with this physical world (and to everything not submitted to that rightful rule). This is the very essence of the power behind true ministry. God brings revelation of His Person, His will, His purpose, and His power; and human beings, who receive this revelation, become active participants in the workings of God to accomplish His will upon this physical planet.

This is exactly what occurred when we witness the life of Jesus as He ministered among us. The revelation of the Father to Him brought the revelation of the Father through Him. As the Book of Acts records, this wonderfully simple model would become the precise pattern of Jesus’ disciples as well.

Five – Understanding Revelation, p. 134

Divine Rev

May 15

We have seen that the people of Jesus’ day were seeking to understand Jesus by connecting Jesus with God’s work from the past. This tended to blind them to the new thing that God was doing through their Messiah. But there was a second reason why they did not properly identify with Jesus…

The crowds of people were mistaken about Jesus because they were the unsuspecting victims of the common predicament of elevated human opinion.

opinion 1

It seemed that everyone had “the answer” to the burning question of what to make of this Jesus. Those among “the people” were certain that they had come to the right conclusion about Jesus’ true identity – and every one of them was completely wrong!

This opinion-obsession is deeply embedded into human nature. Because of our God-given intellect and ability to reason, we have the tendency to believe that we can figure out most anything. But, so much of the time, our conclusions, and our opinions, are just mistaken.

The real problem comes when, after we come to our conclusions, we base our life’s decisions upon our flawed opinions. Truly, what we think shapes how we will will live and act. Unless our life’s foundation is based in God’s complete and absolute truth, we will find ourselves so often mistaken and misguided – even if our intentions are good. We discover that there is a supremely significant battle that continually occurs between human opinion and the Source of God’s truth.

we_have_the_mind_of_christ

Jesus’ question to His disciples, as recorded in Matthew 16, points out an immeasurably important issue: the precise identity of Jesus is essential to a true faith. Everything in Christianity is centered in the Person of Jesus – in exactly Who He is, and what He has done.

If Jesus is mislabeled or misrepresented or misunderstood… any respect or faith applied to Him will be largely erroneous. Vital to a true expression of Christian faith is an accurate and true recognition of this Person named Jesus.

Three – Understanding Salvation – pg. 95

April 6

Receiving Salvation

praying for salvation

Having discovered what salvation is, and all it entails, we must now look at what the Scriptures have to say about how to receive it. It is not enough to know about salvation – we must know how to experience it’s life-changing treasure, in all its wonder and fullness.

Jesus gave us a simple blueprint for receiving salvation when He said: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:16; following Mark’s account of the Great Commission) As we mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, the apostle Paul was inspired to give us a concise model of the “mechanism” of salvation when he wrote this summation and conclusion:

prayer - BG

Scripture consistently reveals that there are two necessary aspects involved in receiving salvation. Every person must: 1) “believe;” and 2) respond in (act upon) that belief. Biblically speaking, belief is not just accepting the facts of a matter – it requires a response, a corresponding action, based on what we accept as a truth. The accepted truth compels us to an action commensurate, or appropriate, to what we “believe.”

For example, if I am invited to the home of someone with whom I am not acquainted, I will A man relaxing on a single couchundoubtedly walk into an unfamiliar room and be encouraged to sit down in a chair (of which I have never sat in before). In this act of sitting, I am exercising a belief: A) that my host is not a practical joker (famous for rigging chairs for crumbling beneath the weight of unsuspecting guests); and 2) in the fact that chairs are made, specifically, to be sat upon (and that this particular one will hold me up when I sit in it). If I choose not to sit in the chair, I might claim that I believe in the chair’s ability to hold me up, but without acting upon that belief I can never know for certain. In short, if I do not sit in the chair, it is because I do not really believe in that chair’s ability to stand up to the weight of my seated body. True belief always requires a corresponding action.

The same thing applies to salvation. It is a trust issue – and this trust is based on a Person, and what He has accomplished for us. Jesus is the central Figure of salvation. He made provision for it – and He is the provision of it. He came to this earth to make salvation available to us – and to become the means to make salvation applicable to us. As He, Himself, has told us:

death of J

As we recall, Jesus’ name means “YHWH saves” – to believe in Him requires that we fully accept, and act upon, all that His Name makes available to us.

Three – Understanding Salvation – pg. 90

April 1

Saved from the ramifications of sin

Once we have experienced salvation from the guilt and penalty of our sin, and from the dominion and slavery of sin, there is another significant issue to be faced. Scripture is clear that sin has made this planet a difficult, dangerous and tragic place to live. Sin brought suffering and death, touching everything and everyone that lives on the face of the earth. Death, sickness, disease and other natural disasters are now an integral part of this world. They are the culmination of the corruption of this world and the ever-present reality of the curse resulting from mankind’s sin (see Genesis 3:16-19). Because of sin, our ordinary daily lives are deeply impacted by sickness, disease, infirmity, hardship, and death. Pain, sorrow, and suffering are now an inherent part of the human condition – a part that was never intended to be.

sickness

But something extraordinary happened when Jesus came to this earth. Jesus did not just survey our human condition and merely offer us words of encouragement, hope, or consolation – Jesus brought the touch of Almighty God to our lives. He came to give us a glimpse into God’s true intention for all people. Jesus came to the broken of this world and brought wholeness. The Christ came to the sick and diseased of this world and brought healing. He came to the infirmed and brought a living demonstration and affirmation of God’s desire to undo the stranglehold of the curse for all those ravaged by sin’s fallout.

jesus-healing-blind

When Jesus came, He refused to accept the normal state of humanity’s condition. He rejected the notion that mankind was destined to be forever trapped and tormented by the curse. Wherever the curse of sin brought devastation and despair, Jesus brought hope, help, and healing. Truly, one of the great hallmarks of Jesus’ ministry was his attention to the physical needs of those He encountered.

This fact brings a great truth to light. God is not just interested in our spiritual needs or our spiritual condition, He is interested in meeting the needs of the whole person! The message of salvation, through the provision of the Savior, is a message aimed at every facet of human life. The gospel of salvation is a message of hope for the spirit, the soul, and the body of every human being on this planet. Whatever has been touched and devastated by sin, and its resulting curse, is gloriously countermanded through the Savior. Jesus is the wondrous antidote to the pandemic of sin and its effects. He offers a whole solution to the whole of humanity. Through the ministry of Jesus, we clearly see that God is just as interested in the wholeness of our bodies as He is in the wholeness of our souls and spirits.

Jesus heals Jairus daughter

Three – Understanding Salvation – pg. 89

March 31

Because we now have this new person living within us, we have been completely released from our bondage to the taskmaster called sin, and we have a new identity before God. Scripture even goes so far as to tell us that God now calls us “saints.” We are not just “sinners saved by grace.”

Take a quick glance at the opening paragraph in most of the letters to the New Testament churches and you will find that these letters are addressed to the “saints.” These letters are not just written to the ultra-spiritual, or to the best of the best, within these churches. These letters are addressed to all who dwell in fellowship with the Lord Jesus, and the apostle is inspired to refer to all these people as “saints.” This term, in the original language, literally means “holy ones.” It is not just because our sins have been forgiven and our slates are wiped clean. It is because an amazing work has been done, within each of us, that causes us to be able to resemble and represent our Holy God!

all-saints

This change is reflected in the new manner in which we can now approach life. No longer enslaved and encumbered by the wicked taskmaster of sin, we are free to live by the power and influence of God’s indwelling Holy Spirit. Simply stated: God has come to live within the dedicated believer, and God will lead that believer to do the kinds of things that God does, and to say the kind of things that God says.

The believer in Jesus is truly able to live life as The Christ Himself lived on this earth. We talk a lot about the need to be Christlike – this is where it finds it’s true foundation! True holiness is not so much to be seen as moral purity – but rather as the ability to faithfully reflect and imitate the very character and nature of God Himself. This is exactly what God is seeking from those who would embrace His New Covenant promises and provisions.

christ-like

God’s plan from the very beginning was to produce a holy people. “For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.” (Ephesians 1:4) The work of Jesus was the centerpiece of God’s intention and provision. Peter makes note of God’s goal when he is inspired to write, “Just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”” (1 Peter 1:15, 16) This last phrase is significant in two ways. 1) It is directly from the mouth of God (see Leviticus 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:7); and 2) It is a command! Holiness is near and dear to God’s Heart, and He expects and commands it from His Covenant people.

Be-HOLY-for-I-AM-HOLY-660x330

As we have stated before, and it bears repeating here, whenever God commands something, He always makes provision to enable His people to be obedient. God’s commands are obeyed through God’s provision, and God supplies whatever is needed to produce in us what He desires. No human being can ever take credit for obedience or holiness before the Lord. Every act of our obedience or purity or holiness is because the grace of God has enabled us to be obedient, pure, and holy. It is His work, manifested (made seen) through us! He alone deserves all the credit.

The work and message of Jesus, our Savior, is more than just a message about God’s love in providing forgiveness for our sins. It is also about the provision of God’s grace to utterly defeat the power of sin and its subversive sway over our lives. We have been truly saved and delivered from the guilt of our sin. We have also been saved and delivered from the dominion of sin. True Christians have discovered the awesome power of this truth, and daily experience the reality of its liberating capacity.

Three – Understanding Salvation – pg. 88

March 30

The good news of our deliverance from the power of sin goes even deeper. They took Jesus’ lifeless body off of that cross and buried Him in a tomb. Scripture asserts that those who believe in Jesus “were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death…” (Romans 6:4) We, who believe, are made to share in Jesus’ burial.

tomb1.jpg

The good news goes deeper still… we know that Jesus did not remain dead and buried, but He rose from that grave three days after His sacrificial death. The apostle says: “We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (also Romans 6:4) The apostle concludes, “If we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection.” (Romans 6:5) So as Jesus was raised from the dead by the power of God, so also, we who believe in Him, and embrace Him as Savior, are “united with Him” and share in His resurrection!

resurrection

The spiritual reality for every devoted believer in Jesus is that the old person (the old self, the sinner, helplessly and hopelessly caught in the bondage of sin) was literally crucified with Jesus, died with Jesus, and was buried with Jesus. But the same old person was not raised with Jesus – the person raised up with The Christ was completely new! This new person (also called the “new man” or “new self,” in Scripture; see Colossians 3:10; Ephesians 4:24) is fully capable of living life just as Jesus Himself lived His earthly life – in unbroken fellowship and harmony with God, in eagerly seeking God’s desires, and in making God known through what is done and said.

new life

All this is possible because Y’shua, our Savior, came to do much more than just bring forgiveness into our lives. He came to destroy the tyrannical reign of sin upon our hearts, by making a way for that old person (so enslaved to sin) to utterly die. “For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with (i.e. rendered powerless), that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.” (Romans 6:6-7) The Christ gave us the opportunity for new life by making a way to kill our “old man” – and bring the “new man” to life.

Three – Understanding Salvation – pg. 85

March 27

It is from the contemptible condition of spiritual death that humanity needed a Savior.

The New Testament Scriptures declare that we were all “dead” in our transgressions and sins, following the “ways of this world,” gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. We were all, by nature, deserving objects of God’s wrath – enemies of God, powerless to help ourselves, and opposed to Him and His purposes (see Ephesians 2:1-3; Romans 5:6-10).

God, fully knowing our sinful condition, did an utterly amazing thing: He sent us the glorious gift of His Son. We are made painfully aware that the only solution to death was death. The judgment for sin is a death sentence, and that sentence had to be carried out.

death sentence

The great problem was that no earthly human being could possibly pay that price because every human being was already “dead.” The only One Who could pay the penalty was One Who was alive – One Who was living in unbroken fellowship and harmony with God; One Who was sinless and faultless; One Who was capable of laying down His pure and perfect life so the price could be paid.

Jesus came to this earth to be The One to stand in the place of all human beings (who had ever lived) and pay the terrible price that our sins deserved. So effective was this Savior that the Bible declares that: 

2cor 5 19 21

This facet of salvation comes to us from the heart of a giving God. Death was entirely deserved, but Jesus paid the death penalty for us. Jesus took God’s wrathful judgment on our behalf! His sacrifice is applied to our lives when we turn our hearts to receive Him and what He has done for us. When we receive the Savior, we are immediately restored back to a state of unbroken fellowship and harmony with God. We are literally brought from death to life:

resurrected

In receiving Jesus, and what He has done for us, our time of darkness in separation from God is ended and we are immediately ushered into the light of God’s Kingdom. “The Father… has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves…” (from Colossians 1:12-13). Not only this… but also restored is the sense of God’s Presence in our lives and the significance of God’s purpose for our lives. All these things accompany what we call “faith in Jesus.” He is our Savior, and He has come to pay, and remove, the penalty of death for our sin.

1Pet 2 24

Three – Understanding Salvation – pg. 84

March 26

separated

The real tragedy of this chasm of sin-separation is the fact that humanity could no longer fulfill what they were specifically designed to do. Sin separated people from God’s true purpose. That purpose was to be the embodiment of God’s will and objectives here in this physical world. After sin had come, people could still partially perceive God’s Presence (even limited communication with God was still possible) and all human beings possessed a remnant of the embedded sense of God’s great purpose within them, but the whole relationship with God had become corrupted, confused, and distorted. Guilt and shame drove people into hiding, and into assessing and deflecting blame and to fend for themselves. People tossed aside their innate sense of reliance upon fellowship with God, and for the fulfillment of God’s purpose, and replaced it with a passion for self-reliance, and for the pursuit and fulfillment of self-serving purposes.

Human beings were originally created to have unbroken fellowship with God, but when that fellowship became utterly broken, human beings turned to themselves to shape and manipulate their world after their own ways, will, and desires. This self-serving condition became the very nature of all human beings – to live life by promoting and taking care of one’s self, first and foremost.

all about me

We are brought to the ultimate conclusion that the very essence of sin is selfishness – and as the sense of the brokenness of fellowship with God grew, so did mankind’s “need” to please the selfish animal nature. The downward spiral of sin led humanity to deeper and deeper depths of self-serving desires and appetites. The more selfish that people became, the more also did their desires for self-recognition, self-importance, self-indulgence, and self-gratification.

With the abundance of sin, God began to be willfully pushed out of the picture – replaced by the escalating emphasis upon what humanity thinks, feels, and reasons. Without the guidance of The One Who is Truth, the ensuing consequences reveal a telling testimony of the miserable “best” that humanity can offer. All the evils of mankind trace their source back to the loss of the sense of God’s Presence and the loss of the significance of God’s purpose. This is the wages of sin in full flower. This is the very nature and demeanor of spiritual death.

spiritual-death