Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Words of Jesus

Are the words of Christ relevant to Christian living today? Should all of the gospels be suitable for our understanding of who Christ is and what He came into this world to do? As you read each gospel you discover that Jesus’ teachings about salvation includes both subjects of believing and behaving.

In Matthew 5:1, 2 Jesus taught the disciples who were his followers, “kingdom of heaven” principles for them to live by. In verse 6 He states: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” From that one verse we learn about the fact of God’s “righteousness.” Righteousness is what the “new birth” brings at salvation. By believing on Christ that, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” The moment you receive Jesus into your heart as your Lord and Savior you become “righteous” in God’s eyes.

This is called our position of righteousness.” Jesus places us in right standing with the Father. We become His children. When we become born by God’s Spirit into God’s Kingdom, His Spirit works within us to help us become more and more like Christ. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (TLB)

Salvation is not just a position of righteousness you hold before God, but it’s a condition of righteousness you live out before others every day. It is a present work of God sanctifying us by bringing our character development into conformity with our position in Christ. We are called to “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18) The Scriptures are all given to us to “teach, rebuke, correct, and instruct us in righteousness; so that He may complete us and equip us for all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17)

When we read the gospels we discover that all the words of Jesus are words of spirit and life to the soul. How would we discover who Jesus is outside of what He communicated while He was here on earth? Through His words! And the example He set with His deeds, culminating in His death and resurrection. What kind of relationship can we have with the Lord if we did not have any of His words which He spoke to us?

I have renewed my interest in reading the four gospels. I pray that this also might be placed in your heart to do as well!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Holy Spirit

Jesus was preparing His disciples for His departure to His death on the cross.  As long as He was with them in His flesh, He was able to teach them all the things that pertained to His spiritual kingdom.  He could comfort them, love them, and teach them His Father's love for the world.

Much like we would wonder, the disciples were somewhat fearful, unbelieving, and disconcerted over their Master's plans to leave them. But Jesus had a much greater plan for them just as He has for us.  This is where Jesus told his disciples that "I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to You!” (John 14:18)  When, and how would He come to them?  How does He come to us?

Jesus prayed to the Father "...to give us another Helper, that He may abide with us forever..." The Spirit of Truth whom the world cannot receive, because it doesn't see Him or know Him, for He dwells with you (bodily at that moment), and will be in you. Our "Helper" is the Holy Spirit (Paracletos), the one who is with us to help us and comfort us.  Let's look at the blessings of the Holy Spirit to us.  We find some of these in Romans 8:

  1. Vs. 1: "He has canceled the law of sin and death that works through the redemption of Christ to make us free from sin.”
  1. Vs. 4: "Helps us to walk without sin in our flesh."
  1. Vs.10: "He indwells believers to help us live in all righteousness."
  1. Vs.11: "He quickens and makes us alive in our spirit and body."   
  1. Vs.13: "He helps us to mortify (put to death) the desires of the flesh."
  1. Vs. 14: "He leads us as God's children."
  1. Vs. 15: "He adopts us into God's family."
  1. Vs. 16: "He bears witness that we are God's children."
  1. Vs. 26: "He helps us in infirmities, physically, mentally, morally."
  1. Vs. 26: "He helps us in our prayers for others.”

Finally Jesus said, "When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth."  Spiritual guidance for God's people is so essential to God's people in these days of darkness and times of confusion and deception.  God wants to order our steps so that we might delight in His way.  (Psalm 37:23) The Holy Spirit is our heavenly GPS System (Global Positioning System). On our cell phones we can open Google Maps at any time and find exactly where we are and a map to direct us to get where we are going.  The GPS works from a series of satellites high above the earth which are able to determine our exact position.  These satellites give us a "higher perspective” than we could ever receive down here on earth.  Our God has a much higher perspective which is available to us every day of our lives.  He knows where we are, where we should be going, and exactly how we can get there.

If we are sensitive of the Holy Spirit, our GPS, He will lead us and guide us into all truth and in every step of our life. This is why Jesus calls the Holy Spirit our Mighty Helper!!           

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Words of Christ - Spirit and Life!

We begin the New Year with our focus on the earthly ministry of Christ and what He taught us about knowing God and living for Him. It was Jesus Himself who introduced the message of grace and truth that offers an abundant life of peace, joy, and righteousness that we find completely in Him. (John 1:17 and John 10:10)

The abundant life literally means - superabundance, excessive, overflowing, surplus, over and above, more than enough, profuse, extraordinary, more than sufficient! (Strong’s Concordance #4053)  The Gospels contain the words of Jesus that proclaim the Kingdom of God and teach us how to become His followers as true disciples.  The ministry of His disciples is to teach others. He said, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19, 20 NIV

Jesus reminded his disciples that the “Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My Name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:26 The Holy Spirit would bring back the remembrance of Jesus’ words which would be important to follow throughout the book of Acts and into the writings of Apostle Paul. Acts 1:1 states “I remind you O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and to teach.”

So, the words of Jesus in the Gospels are for all time and for all who believe on Him. His words never bring shame nor condemn those who obey His commands. Abiding in Him and obeying His words are tied deeply in His love. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” John 15:7 Jesus said in verses 8-11 “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples. As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

This is the path to joy! We are not running from the words of Jesus. Throughout the teachings of the book of Acts as well as in the later epistles, the teachings and commands of the Gospels are carried out. This fulfills Jesus’ statement repeated three times in the Gospels, that, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” Matthew 24:35  Let us embrace everything that Jesus taught, and be brought to our knees in utter dependence on Him. That is the place of grace. Happy and blessed New Year!