Tagged: theology

DailyChristianHelp.com

DailychristianHelp.com is the new blog site for Evan Doyle.  You can use this link to head over there.  I think you will enjoy the new site much more as it provides posts and resources concerning:  Christian Living.   Encouragement.  Leadership.  Theology.

Thank you for stopping by:  I hope you will sign up to receive my blog posts via email and receive a FREE chapter from my new book for discipling believers, Starting Point just for doing so.

God bless.

Daily Christian Help

– Evan Doyle
http://www.dailychristianhelp.com/

Advertisements

SEEK THE KINGDOM: LIFE AS GOD INTENDED

            Understanding the Kingdom of God is important in the life of the believer, especially considering that Jesus instructed his followers to be concerned about it above everything else.  In addressing the Kingdom of God I will seek to answer two main questions:  1) what is the Kingdom of God? And, 2) why did Jesus instruct us to seek first this Kingdom?  By answering those questions the benefits of the Kingdom of God are revealed.

            While preaching His most famous sermon, Jesus said “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”[1]  This key instruction was given after emphasizing that no one can “serve two masters”[2] and by a series of reminders of Gods faithfulness that is obviously seen in nature.  The conclusion being that if God takes care of those aspects of His creation, how much more will He take care of us.  In this context, another way we could phrase this passage of Jesus’ teaching is, why be concerned with the trivial matters of life when we could be focused on what matters most, the Kingdom of God.

A.      What is the Kingdom of God? 

            The kingdom of God refers to His absolute rule over all things.  Before defining this rule more specifically a couple things should first be understood concerning the kingdom’s existence and how mankind participates in it.

1.      THE KINGDOM HAS ALWAYS BEEN

            The kingdom of God existed before humanity; this is somewhat obvious but important to point out because the kingdom is not man-made or even about us.  Humanity has the privilege of experiencing a kingdom that is far superior to anything we could create or rule, this kingdom is godly and heavenly.  In the beginning chapter of the book of John, understanding can be gained of the eternal rule of the Godhead.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”[3]   Scripture teaches us that life originates with God.  We read of our beginning in the book of Genesis, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”[4]

            Adam and Eve, who were the beginning of mankind, for a time, experienced a life that was full and complete as participants in God’s kingdom, just as He intended when He created them.  When God breathed His Life into Adam consider the transaction that took place.  Rather than beginning with the dilemma of sin mixed within their nature, like we are, Adam and Eve were perfect.  In the same way that a parent naturally passes on certain traits and characteristics to their offspring, I suggest that God passed onto them the fullness of His love, the fruit of His Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”[5]  Life freely flowed from God to his created beings.

2.      SIN AFFECTS HOW AND WHEN MANKIND PARTICIPATES IN THE KINGDOM

            When Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit, a life-altering shift took place.  Sin entered each of their hearts through disobedience to God.  This event is described beginning in Genesis 2:

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”[6]

            When God instructed Adam concerning the tree, He clearly told him that he would die from eating it.  How and why would Adam and Eve die?  Scripturally we understand that life is more than flesh and bones but more importantly spiritual.[7]    Because of this, Adam and Eve would not only die physically but also spiritually.  Later on we read that they actually ate from the tree:

“Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.”[8]

            Ultimately death entered humanity because a disconnect happened between man and Gods Kingdom.  Essentially Adam and Eve unplugged their self from life and power when they ate from the tree.  This is true because life originated[9], and is sustained[10], in/by God and therefore cannot exist without Him.

            Because of this separation between God and mankind the kingdom of God would need to be re-established on the earth.  This has been done through the work of Jesus Christ as he led a perfect life and defeated death and Satan by resurrecting from it.  Throughout scripture a double-meaning is gathered concerning the fulfillment of the kingdom.  In one sense it is already here through Christ’s rule within the believers’ heart[11], and in another the kingdom is yet to be completely established[12]. Or, in other words Gods rule is already taking place but not yet. 

“These two understandings of the kingdom are both truly taught by the Word of God and coexist in a type of already/not yet reality. They are so interwoven that to refer to them as separately is a misstatement; rather, we ought speak of the two aspects of the kingdom as truly a future kingdom that has penetrated the present.”[13]

            In the book Foundations of Pentecostal Theology Duffield and Van Cleave differentiate between the Church and future reign of God:

       “The Church is not identical to the kingdom of God, for the kingdom of larger than the Church.  However, the Church is the present instrument of the kingdom and will inherit the kingdom (Jas. 2:5; 2 Pt. 1:11)”

       “The ultimate kingdom of God will include, not only the Church, but the Old Testament saints, the regathered remnant of Israel, and the righteous nations that will be a part of the millennial reign of Jesus (Mt. 25:32-33; Rv. 20:4; Is. 66:18-23; Jer. 3:16-18; 23:3-6; 31:10-12; Zec. 14:8-9).”[14]

B.     Why Does Jesus Instruct Us To Seek The Kingdom Of God First? 

            As stated above living outside of submission to Gods rule leads to death which presents the answer as to why Jesus would tell us to seek His Kingdom first, because living according to and in the kingdom of God is life.  Consider the following passages:

 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”[15]

“Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”[16]

“For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”[17]

“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”[18]

            In each of the above portions of scripture, there is a direct correlation between Gods kingdom and life; when a person is a participant in God’s Kingdom they have received power for living according to Gods original plan.  Life is more than living for God, but more importantly from God (in His power, through the life He gives us).  It is more beneficial for the believer to receive the kingdom of God than to seek to fulfill it.  His kingdom is being fulfilled as the believer receives life in Christ.

            Adam experienced an unhindered relationship with God, a life untainted by sin.  Jesus came that we might have life (unhindered relationship with God, restoration).  One can conclude that Jesus instructs us to seek first His kingdom because He desires that we would live and experience the life God created us to have. 

CONCLUSION

            The kingdom of God is His absolute rule over everyone and all things.  His power has existed from all time.  Because of sin, mankind’s participation in Gods kingdom has been affected.  Sin separates us from God but through Christ one can be redeemed and enter into Gods kingdom.

            God’s kingdom should be understood in two ways: 1) It has been established on earth in the hearts of those who put their faith in Him.  And, 2) He will come again wipe out all sin and its leaders.

            It is Gods desire that we be part of His kingdom because in it is life.  God created us to fellowship with Him and sent Jesus to fix what was broken, our fellowship with Him.  To summarize, the kingdom of God is life as He intended it.


[1] Matthew 6:33-34, NKJ

[2] Matthew 6:24, NKJ

[3] John 1:1-4, NKJ

[4] Genesis 2:7, NKJ

[5] Galatians 5:22-23, NKJ

[6] Genesis 2:16-17, NKJ

[7] Hebrews 4:12

[8] Genesis 3:4-7, NKJ

[9] Genesis 2:7

[10] Colossians 1:16-17

[11] Colossians 3:15-17

[12] Revelations 20:1-10

[14] Foundations of Pentecostal Theology, pg. 452

[15] Matthew 7:13-14, NLT

[16] John 3:3, NKJ

[17] Romans 14:17, NLT

[18] John 10:10, NKJ

WHEN FOLLOWING GOD MEANS STAYING PUT

According to Matt. 16:24 Following God seems more like a dangerous walk than a stroll in the park, despite what some may lead you to believe.

Many of us tell God we will go anywhere or do anything for Him.

following God

And no doubt after 14 years of trusting in Jesus there have been many opportunities to go places and do some neat things.

But have you ever felt like Jesus has placed on hold the adventure and wants you to stay where you are?

Look at this verse:

38The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39“Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him. (Luke 8:38-39 NIV)

Is it possible that the man was a little disappointed?

The following three truths will be helpful in deciding when and where to go:

1. Submit To Authority.

The man begged to go with Jesus but He told him to go home.

Of course we should submit to Jesus but also to those who are in authority in our life.

2. Be Obedient.

The man did just what Jesus told him to do which leads us to the next point.

3. Examine The Fruit

Are you producing fruit where you are?  If so, it could be a good indication that you should stay there.

So, how does God help you to keep a fresh perspective on “home”, wherever that might be?

PRIORITY AND PRACTICE OF THE BIBLE

The Bible is a tremendous collection of numerous letters and writings, written over a vast span of time, that is comprised into one consistent book. The Bible comes from the Greek word biblos which literally means books. In addressing scripture I hope to address the usefulness of it and why it is necessary not just for the Christian but for all people. I will categorize the application of scripture into two main areas: PRIORITY and PRACTICE. In doing so I will cover the importance of reading the bible, how to learn from it, and why it should be obeyed.

PRIORITY: Reading the Bible

Anyone who is sincere about growing spiritually must be willing to consistently spend time in God’s Word by reading and hearing its writings.

The Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Aramaic (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament). It has now been translated in many different languages, one of them being English. We also have various types of translations. All of the translations can be categorized into two main types of translations: Exact and Dynamic

An exact translation means that it is word for word from the original text intended to be a literal transcript. A dynamic translation seeks to translate the main idea of the passage in a thought for thought manner.

The Protestant Bible contains a total of 66 “books”, and was produced by about forty writers, but has only one author, God. It has historical significance due to the place and time in which it was written.

The discipline of reading the Bible can be difficult to initiate if we do not understand why the book was given to us, however its purpose is discovered within its own text . Most importantly, the Bible is spiritually significant because of its ultimate reason for being written. Consider the following passage:

“29Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” 30Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:29-31, NIV Bible)

Belief in Jesus is vital to life, earthly and eternally. The Bible tells us that Jesus is/gives life. Because Jesus came to give us life we can determine if we are experiencing this “life” the Bible promises is available by considering what our life resembles. We can conclude if we are living the life that Jesus intended to give by examining the differences between life and death and answering honestly which they relate to more.

Understanding that God’s Word is life to the reader provides good reason for it to be read. The Bible tells us it is inspired by God . In Greek the word used is theopneustos which literally translates: God-breathed.

There are basic elements of life that we cannot physically do without; air, food, and water. These things sustain our body and allow us to function correctly. We find in scripture that these same elements are represented in the personhood of God and are life to our spirit. Consider that scripture is breath , bread , and water . The Bible also tells us that Jesus gives water and that He is bread . We also read that Jesus is the Word . Jesus is the perfect embodiment of the Bible and the Bible is the perfect embodiment of Jesus. When we read the bible we are not just learning something but experiencing Someone, God.

If God’s Word is breath, bread, and water for us, and if Jesus is the Word, how can we expect to know Him or become like Him in image and character if we do not read the Bible?

If you consider how long the human body can physically last with food, water, or air it is easy to connect how vital reading the Word of God with understanding should be to all people. Simply put, you will be unsatisfied if you do not read God’s Word. There will always be uneasiness within without proper knowledge of God; this only comes through the Word .

PRACTICE: Learning the Bible

If one is going to truly learn a skill or understand an idea it will require practice of those things. In Romans we are instructed to “offer” our bodies so that we might live as a sacrifice unto God, one in which we are being transformed and able to discern Gods will . This is referred to as sanctification. We understand that God is the one who completely cleanses and sets us apart ; however, there is the act of obedience to what God calls us to that allows this work to take place. How can a person experience this work without the daily application and practice of what is read? This is a cleansing work that is for our good. Though, potentially painful at times it is an act of love so that the fruit of our life will be more productive and available to all who surround us. In the book Foundations of Pentecostal Theology the author writes:

“Sanctification is seen to be a continuing process throughout a Christian’s lifetime. It is not something negative. A man in not considered holy because of the things he does or not do. Virtue cannot be judged by the vices from which a person abstains. There must be a positive conformation to the image of Christ. This is seen as a gradual growth in, not into, grace…”

The believer in Jesus Christ should understand salvation in three ways or tenses: Past, Present and Future . When a person trusts in Christ He saves them from past sins and from the penalty that those sins warrant. Salvation from our past sins is referred to as Justification. We are righteous before God, the price has been paid, and the believer is justified before God because of Christ. In the above paragraph taken from FPT the writer is specifying the difference between the past and present tense of our salvation as he writes, “This is seen as a gradual growth in, not into, grace” meaning the believer is already into grace, he is righteous. However, because we live in the grace of God we can grow in it, or be sanctified. Sanctification is the saving work of Christ that frees the believer from the power of sin and death on a daily basis . And lastly, trust in Christ will save the believer from the presence of sin when Jesus comes back a second time for His people . This is known as glorification and is described in 1 John:
“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

A sobering couple of sentences are found in John 8:
“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

This passage is startling because Jesus makes it very clear who are true disciples: those who abide or hold fast to His teachings found in the Bible. Abiding in the Word of God is vital to one’s growth and understanding of how the words of the Bible should be applied. There are tremendous benefits mentioned for the one who will do so: 1) they will discover truth and 2) they will be free. Freedom requires knowledge of what is true. One can read this passage as an if/then series of events; if we will remain in the word then we will know what is true. If we know what is true then we will be free.

In a book I once read the writer described a conversation that he had with a drunkard. The two were discussing the bible and the issue of freedom. Suddenly during the talk the drunkard rebutted that he was free to drink; to do whatever he willed. To this the writer agreed but also asked the question, “Are you free not to drink?” For the one who is growing and learning the ways of God the beauty and power of His grace is displayed in the freedom to overcome, think differently, and to pursue what is honorable.

CONCLUSION
The Bible informs us of a God who saves, enables us, and helps us to become more like Him. The practical application of the Word of God reveals His faithfulness and the truth of what is written. Because of this emphasis and focus should be placed upon reading and learning it. God offers to humanity grace that goes beyond the present and contains power to redeem eternally, saving from the power of sin in every way.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Guy P. Duffield and Nathaniel M. Van Cleave, Foundations of Pentecostal Theology, Foursquare Media, 2008

Ethix: Being Bold In A Whatever World, Sean McDowell

New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

New International Version Study Bible, Copyright 2002 by Zondervan Corporation

http://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/stewart.cfm?id=267

http://www.apbrown2.net/web/TranslationComparisonChart.htm

https://doylevan.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/the-specifics-of-gods-will-for-my-life/

http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2315&t=KJV

http://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/stewart.cfm?id=523

THE LANGUAGE OF GOD

A few years ago I was a maintenance man at a hotel. The housekeepers would complete work orders and then I was responsible to fix what was listed on the work order. The only problem was ALL of the housekeepers only spoke Spanish, which also meant the work orders were in Spanish, I only spoke and read English. Needless to say, there were a few communication breakdowns. But, over time as we worked together the job was able to get done because we both desired to understand each other.

Communication is a transfer of information. Two parties are responsible for effective communication to take place: 1) the person sharing information must do so in a way that is understandable and 2) the person on the receiving end must desire to comprehend what is being shared.

God’s desire to communicate with us, and He does. God is an effective communicator. BUT, do we desire to understand what He is saying?

Regardless of what language you communicate in, God is speaking one language to mankind; GOD.

When God speaks, in all the varying ways that He does He is communicating one thing: He is God and we need Him.

When God speaks to us He is communication spiritual truth through human words (languages) and understanding. He has done this all throughout history:

A. God Spoke Through Prophets

Consider Daniel’s influence while serving under King Belshazzar. Once, while the king was throwing a wild party God used a hand to write a message to the king on a wall in his palace. No one in the king’s house could read or interpret the writing until they called for Daniel to do so.

Daniel 5:5-6
5Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. 6His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way.

Daniel 5:25-28
25 “This is the inscription that was written: mene, mene, tekel, parsin
26 “This is what these words mean:
Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
27 Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
28 Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

Think about this, why was Daniel able to read the writing and interpret its meaning? Was it because he was fluent in the unknown language that was written on the wall or because He DESIRED to understand God?

The king and his men had no desire to know or understand God and therefore could not interpret what God was communicating to them.

Not only did God speak through prophets but He also spoke through His Son, Jesus:

Hebrews 1:1-2
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;

B. God Spoke Through Jesus

Jesus only shared what the Father revealed to Him:

John 12:49
49For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.

But how did the people respond?

Matthew 12:38
38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”

This is an amazing statement! If you have ever read the chapters prior to this verse then you know that they are filled with signs, wonders, and miraculous events.

Up to this point the following events have taken place:
*John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus.
*At Jesus’ baptism God confirmed His authority by descending like a dove upon Him and even spoke favorably from heaven about Him.
*Disease and sicknesses were healed.
*The demon-possessed were set free.
*He preached the Sermon on the Mount (the most radical, and applicable sermon ever preached).
*A dead girl was raised to life.
*The blind and mute were healed.

The Pharisees demanding a sign at this point would be like a reporter who has followed the career of a superstar athlete in the NFL. For years the reporter has recorded all of the plays and accomplishments, conducted interviews, and has even seen his trophies. Imagine the reporter asking the player after the final game of his career for proof of why he should be considered for the Hall of Fame. It would be ridiculous! The reporter has witnessed the events and has all the proof he needs as to why the player deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

Are we any different with God?

Do we demand proof from Him that He’s speaking to us, despite all that we have witnessed, read, and heard from Him?

God is speaking to us in a way that we can understand and will use any means necessary to communicate to us. But if we do not believe our understanding will be hindered.

1 Corinthians 2:14
14The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Your understanding of God and His ways may only be at a very surface level. All you may know is that He wants you to follow Him. Until you do your understanding of Him and the plan He has for you will be limited.

What questions do you have? Do you carry insecurities, doubts, or fears? God is ok with you approaching Him with these things.

God is ok with your questions but He is concerned with how you respond to His answers.

Ultimately, no matter how much we know or how strong we think we are both are no match for what God has to offer.

1 Corinthians 1:25
25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

Taken from sermon:

CONNECTING MELCHIZEDEK WITH JESUS

Recently I was asked about connecting the priesthood of Jesus with “the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 7:11). After reading through a few commentaries I found a collection of descriptions pertaining to Melchizedek. I believe the most important things to note concerning the connection of Jesus’ priesthood and Melchizedek’s are:

1. Both are priests and servants of God (Jesus is the Great High Priest, Hebrews 4:14)
2. Melchizedek gave bread and wine (Jesus gave His body and blood, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
3. Melchizedek bless Abram (Jesus blesses His children, John 17:20-26)
4. Abram payed tithes to Melchizedek (we pay our tithes unto God, Malachi 3:8-10)
5. Melchizedek priestly order was not Levitical (nor was Jesus’ He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, Revelations 5:5)
6. Melchizedek was the king of Salem, Salem in Hebrew means peace (Jesus is the Prince of Peace, Isaiah 9:6)
7. Melchizedek’s priesthood is forever (Jesus’ priesthood and rule is forever, Hebrews 7:24-27)

Some scholars believe Melchizedek to be a Christophany (an appearance of Jesus in the Old Testament). However, this is not really important nor is it exactly clear. It is more important to see the similarities between the two and how Melchizedek is a foreshadowing of the present rule of Jesus Christ.

    Chuck Smith’s Commentary:

“The king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is in the king’s dale. And Melchizedek the king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of El Elyown, or the God, the most high (Gen 14:17-18).
Or the most high God.

And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of the heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And Abraham gave him tithes of all (Gen 14:19-20).
So briefly we are introduced to this interesting mystical person Melchizedek of whom the scriptures speak very little. It tells us nothing of Melchizedek’s parentage, nothing of his mother and father, tells us nothing of his genealogy. All that it tells us is that he was a servant or a priest actually of the most high God. He came up to Abraham with what? Bread and wine which are the symbols of communion. And he gave these unto Abram and then he blessed Abram.

Now the lesser is always blessed by the greater. Therefore, in blessing Abram it puts him a level above Abram. And Abram giving tithes of all that he had to him, again it was signifying of the lesser paying the tithes to the greater, to the servant or the priest of the most high God. So Abram received the blessing, recognized the man as the priest of the most high God, gave tithes of all of the spoils that he had taken unto him. Nothing more is said of Melchizedek until we get to the 110th Psalm. And suddenly out of nothing that seems to relate to the rest of the 110th Psalm, we read the words, “I have sworn, and will not repent, I have made thee a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” (Psalm 110:4).

Now Abraham’s son Isaac had a son Jacob who had twelve sons, one of Jacob’s sons was Levi, and when the law was established, Levi was the tribe that was to become the priestly tribe. And so they were called the order of Levi or the Levitical order of priesthood, order referring to the family. Now here is an order of priesthood that precedes the Levitical order and is superior to the Levitical order in that Levi, in essence, when Abram paid tithes; great, great grandfather of Levi, Levi in essence was paying tithes unto Melchizedek.

So it puts the order of priesthood of Melchizedek in a superior order to the Levitical order. And God has sworn and will not repent; I have made thee a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek. That Psalm had to remain a mystery as did Melchizedek himself until we come to the book of Hebrews when the mystery begins to unravel.

For the author of the book of Hebrews when he begins to point out the fact that Jesus, though He is from the tribe of Judah of which the scriptures have nothing to say concerning the priesthood, but even though He is of the tribe of Judah, He is of the order of priesthood of Melchizedek, the superior order of priesthood. Thus, He can be the great high priest of those who will come unto God through Him.

Now Melchizedek was called the king of righteousness as well as the king of peace. King of peace is Salem, which is the early name for Jerusalem. So he was one of the first kings of Jerusalem. But he was also called the king of righteousness. Now it is interesting when he refers to Christ who is of the order of Melchizedek and he talks about Christ making intercession for us as our great high priest. “Wherefore we have a great high priest, even Jesus Christ the righteous” (I John 2:1). Again the repetition of that word the righteous, king of righteousness. We have a great high priest, Jesus Christ the righteous One literally, who has entered into heaven for us.

Now you see how the word of God is so beautifully tied together. Here is just a little snatch in Genesis. By itself we don’t understand it very much. If that was all that was said, Melchizedek would be just lost in history as a mystical character. We know very little about him.

And then when David comes along in Psalm 110 and said, “I sworn and will not repent, I made thee a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek”, you think, What in the world is David talking about? Psalm doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense until it’s all put together in Hebrews and we realize that Jesus is our great high priest. He’s not of the tribe of Levi, true, for He had to be the lion of the tribe of Judah to fulfill the prophecy of the Messiah. But He is also the priest, but not after the Levitical order, after the order of Melchizedek who has neither mother nor father or genealogy.

Now there are many Bible scholars who believe that Melchizedek was none other than Jesus Christ Himself. Very possible. Jesus said to the Pharisees, “Abraham rejoiced to see my day and saw it. They said, What do you mean Abraham saw you? You’re not fifty years old” (John 8:56,57). So Jesus could have been referring to this particular incident.”
http://www.blueletterbible.org/commentaries/comm_view.cfm?AuthorID=1&contentID=4727&commInfo=25&topic=Genesis

    Matthew Henry’s Commentary:

“This paragraph begins with the mention of the respect which the king of Sodom paid to Abram at his return from the slaughter of the kings; but, before a particular account is given of this, the story of Melchizedek is briefly related, concerning whom observe,
I. Who he was. He was king of Salem and priest of the most high God; and other glorious things are said of him, Heb. 7:1, etc. 1. The rabbin, and most of our rabbinical writers, conclude that Melchizedek was Shem the son of Noah, who was king and priest to those that descended from him, according to the patriarchal model. But this is not at all probable; for why should his name be changed? And how came he to settle in Canaan? 2. Many Christian writers have thought that this was an appearance of the Son of God himself, our Lord Jesus, known to Abram, at this time, by this name, as afterwards, Hagar called him by another name, ch. 16:13. He appeared to him as a righteous king, owning a righteous cause, and giving peace. It is difficult to imagine that any mere man should be said to be without father, without mother, and without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, Heb. 7:3. It is witnessed of Melchizedek that he liveth, and that he abideth a priest continually (v. 3, 8); nay (v. 13, 14), the apostle makes him of whom these things are spoken to be our Lord who sprang out of Judah. It is likewise difficult to think that any mere man should, at this time, be greater than Abram in the things of God, that Christ should be a priest after the order of any mere man, and that any human priesthood should so far excel that of Aaron as it is certain that Melchizedek’s did. 3. The most commonly received opinion is that Melchizedek was a Canaanitish prince, that reigned in Salem, and kept up the true religion there; but, if so, why his name should occur here only in all the story of Abram, and why Abram should have altars of his own and not attend the altars of his neighbour Melchizedek who was greater than he, seem unaccountable. Mr. Gregory of Oxford tells us that the Arabic Catena, which he builds much upon the authority of, gives this account of Melchizedek, That he was the son of Heraclim, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, and that his mother’s name was Salathiel, the daughter of Gomer, the son of Japheth, the son of Noah.

II. What he did. 1. He brought forth bread and wine, for the refreshment of Abram and his soldiers, and in congratulation of their victory. This he did as a king, teaching us to do good and to communicate, and to be given to hospitality, according to our ability; and representing the spiritual provisions of strength and comfort which Christ has laid up for us in the covenant of grace for our refreshment, when we are wearied with our spiritual conflicts. 2. As priest of the most high God, he blessed Abram, which we may suppose a greater refreshment to Abram than his bread and wine were. Thus God, having raised up his Son Jesus, has sent him to bless us, as one having authority; and those whom he blesses are blessed indeed. Christ went to heaven when he was blessing his disciples (Lu. 24:51); for this is what he ever lives to do.

III. What he said, v. 19, 20. Two things were said by him:-1. He blessed Abram from God: Blessed be Abram, blessed of the most high God, v. 19. Observe the titles he here gives to God, which are very glorious. (1.) The most high God, which bespeaks his absolute perfections in himself and his sovereign dominion over all the creatures; he is King of kings. Note, It will greatly help both our faith and our reverence in prayer to eye God as the most high God, and to call him so. (2.) Possessor of heaven and earth, that is, rightful owner, and sovereign Lord, of all the creatures, because he made them. This bespeaks him a great God, and greatly to be praised (Ps. 24:1), and those a happy people who have an interest in his favour and love. 2. He blessed God for Abram (v. 20): and blessed be the most high God. Note, (1.) In all our prayers, we must praise God, and join hallelujahs with all our hosannahs. These are the spiritual sacrifices we must offer up daily, and upon particular occasions. (2.) God, as the most high God, must have the glory of all our victories, Ex. 17:15; 1 Sa. 7:10, 12; Jdg. 5:1, 2; 2 Chr. 20:21. In them he shows himself higher than our enemies (Ex. 18:11), and higher than we; for without him we could do nothing. (3.) We ought to give thanks for others’ mercies as for our own, triumphing with those that triumph. (4.) Jesus Christ, our great high priest, is the Mediator both of our prayers and praises, and not only offers up ours, but his own for us. See Lu. 10:21.

IV. What was done to him: Abram gave him tithes of all, that is, of the spoils, Heb. 7:4. This may be looked upon, 1. As a gratuity presented to Melchizedek, by way of return for his tokens of respect. Note, Those that receive kindness should show kindness. Gratitude is one of nature’s laws. 2. As an offering vowed and dedicated to the most high God, and therefore put into the hands of Melchizedek his priest. Note, (1.) When we have received some signal mercy from God, it is very fit that we should express our thankfulness by some special act of pious charity. God must always have his dues out of our substance, especially when, by any particular providence, he has either preserved or increased it to us. (2.) That the tenth of our increase is a very fit proportion to be set apart for the honour of God and the service of his sanctuary. (3.) That Jesus Christ, our great Melchizedek, is to have homage done him, and to be humbly acknowledged by every one of us as our king and priest; and not only the tithe of all, but all we have, must be surrendered and given up to him.”
http://www.blueletterbible.org/commentaries/comm_view.cfm?AuthorID=4&contentID=641&commInfo=5&topic=Genesis

YOU ARE A INTENTION

While reading Acts 9 it is interesting to note that God was clearly speaking to both Paul and Ananias and how intentional He was in doing so.

Acts 9:3-15  3As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”  5And he said, “Who are You, Lord?”  Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.  It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”  6So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”  Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”  7And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. 8Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.  10Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.”  And he said, “Here I am, Lord.”  11So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. 12And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.”  13Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. 14And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.”  15But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.  16For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”

In realizing that God spoke to a man who believed in Him (Ananias) and one who didn’t (Saul) one should ask the question, “Does God speak to me?”  According to the bible, He does.

quotations

GOD SPEAKS TO EVERYONE.  There is, however, a difference between hearing and listening.  Surely you have been in conversation with someone who no doubt can hear you but is clearly not listening.  Depending on how focused the person may be on something else determines their ability to accurately understand what you are communicating.

Listening for provides a better opportunity to understand rather than simply hearing a faint voice, noise, or static.

1.      Have confidence that God speaks to you.

  • Creation Speaks To Us On Behalf of God (Psalm 19:1-4)
  • God’s Teachers and Preachers Speak On Behalf of God. (Ephesians 4:11-13)
  • God’s Word Speaks To Us (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
  • The Holy Spirit speaks To Us

John 16:7-8  7Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

If you have ever wondered if you are sinful, the Holy Spirit will prove to you that you are (I am too).

The conviction of the Holy Spirit is a work of love in that He does not push you away from God but points you to Him.  While the Holy Spirit does seek to prove our sinfulness He does so because provisions have been made.  And really, if you and I are honest we are already aware that we are capable of doing and thinking things that are not right.

God’s goal is more than proving sinfulness.  He has made provisions because we are.

The New Testament of the bible is a freeing read because salvation is not based upon abilities but upon receiving.

2.      God wants to use you to confirm what someone else has been hearing.

Acts 9:17-19  17And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.

19So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus.

The location of Damascus is interesting for at least two reasons: 1) Saul could have had very logical reasons for going there to stop the potentially rapid spread of Christianity because of the trade and commerce that took place.  2)  Ananias could have been dispersed to Damascus because of the persecution that was taking place in Jerusalem.

With that in mind, one should never forget that there place in time, both physically and geographically has the potential for GREAT purpose.

Put yourself in Ananias’s shoes:  Damascus could have been a city that He had always lived in.  Like, for many of us, Damascus could have become the “same old” town to him.  Or, he could have been forced there due to circumstance and for that reason he may have longed for what was familiar.  Either way, he was there for a significant purpose.

Like Ananias, you are where you are for a reason.

As purposeful as Saul was in going to Damascus, Ananias was just being faithful living life.

Where is your Damascus?

Your city?  Your family?  Your job?  Your church?

Concerning your place of familiarity or unfamiliarity will you be content in waiting for Gods plan to be revealed?

Saul could be coming to your Damascus?  Will you be there?

Taken from sermon:

WHEN GOD SEEMS ABSENT

Have you ever asked the question, “Where is God?”  I would guess that most often the question is not asked concerning where God specifically lives (What’s His address) but where is His help, voice, provision, guidance, protection, etc.

The Bible very clearly tells us where God is no matter where we might be.  God is closer than what we normally believe. He’s really, really close.

Psalms 14:4-5  There they are in great fear, for God is with the generation of the righteous.

Psalms 46:1  God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Hebrews 13:5  Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

God clearly tells those who trust Him exactly where He is. He is with them.

Concerning God’s presence and accessibility, the following are some thoughts and questions that challenged me. See what they do for you.

I have found it to be true that when I begin to focus on the fact that God is with me, I begin to become more aware of His presence, His voice, love, acceptance, provision, etc.? When I purpose to push aside the noise of this life it creates awareness in my heart of just how close God is to me.  The problem is I am enticed to live in the noise more often than not. Noise creates confusion, distortion, and distraction.

For example, if I am watching TV and the volume is louder than my wife’s voice I have a hard time hearing her. The volume level (the noise) disables me from hearing her correctly and I begin to ask myself, “What did she say?” or I mishear her and respond in a foolish way.

Our relationship with God is no different.  In our little finite minds we begin to ask, “Where are you God in all of this?”  The pressures, demands, lies, our selfishness, and worries all seem to be closer than God, and in a self-absorbed way they can be.

However, we must remember, He is with us.

Have you ever in a time of worship or turmoil said something like, “God, I invite you here” or, “I want more of Your Presence”?  I have.   I don’t know if phrases like that are necessary even though the intent and reason behind those statements may reflect a sincere heart that loves God.  The point is He is already with us! It may be more appropriate to say things that correspond with His current condition, such as, “Thank you for being with me” and “I want to honor your Presence”.

When I begin to focus my time, energy, and attention all towards Him I become more and more aware that He there with me.

And so, is this a legitimate question to ask, “In the moments that we feel, think, know, or believe that God’s presence (in any way) is stronger or more tangible is it because He has opened a door or is “pouring out”?  Or, does God’s presence become reality in our life because we are actually honoring and focusing all of our attention on Him and who He is.  After all, remember He did say, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you”?

God has already given everything for us. We have access to Him because of Jesus, and He is the same yesterday, today and forever[1]. God has laid it all out on the table for us to have. So… in a time of an increasing awareness of Him being with me is it because He has “pockets” of His presence that He decides to unleash or, is because I have decided to honor the fact that He is with me and that He has done so much for me, thus enabling realization and revelation of who He is and where He is.

If it is true that all of His presence is there for the taking (honoring)[2], if He has withheld none of the privileges of being a son or daughter of the Most High[3], and if we have total access to Him because we are in Jesus Christ[4], then it is exciting to know a God who is very near and always with us!

God has made an offer to us through Christ. Everything that needed to be done has been completed; there is nothing more for Him to do. He has thrown a life-changing offer on the table for us to accept or deny.

God is not waiting to “pour out”, He already has. He is waiting for us to experience what has been there all along.

And so concluding, rather than asking where God is, it seems the better question to answer is “Where am I”?  Am I living in the noise or in the quietness of His presence?

You may not know Jesus.  If not, repent and honor the Son of God as the Lord of your life.  Read the Bible.  Find a church that teaches the bible and functions as the Body of Christ.

Have questions?  feel free to send a message or to leave a comment.

God bless.


[1] Hebrews 13:8

[2] Psalm 84:11

[3] Psalm 103:1-6

[4] Ephesians 2:18

THE ORIGIN OF MISSIONS

Concerning Missions it is extremely important to have a foundational understanding that the idea, purpose, and means of mission(s) begins with God.  This awareness matters because if an individual or church considers or participates in missions without knowing completely how and why they are doing so the impact of the effort could be lessened.

Ultimately the mission of God, and hopefully His church, should be to reveal who God is and why He is worthy to be honored above all and everything else.

The truth that God is by nature missional is revealed throughout scripture, particularly within the creation account found in Genesis and especially within the New Testament gospels that record Jesus life, death, and resurrection.  This attribute was modeled by Jesus and shared by His disciples.  Christians today also participate in this mission by duty and nature.

God is Missional

God is a missionary.  In the beginning verses of Genesis we read that God created all that we know and see.  He purposefully created through His own strength, and out of nothing, the universe.  One definition of “mission” that is helpful is: “a specific task with which a person or a group is charged”[1].  This meaning of the word “mission” is useful because of the context in which God created mankind: “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”[2]  Notice the word “us” as God was charging His triune nature; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to make man.  A couple verses later we read that God gave man a mission; multiply in number and rule over all creation.

Don Stewart[3], author and apologist, suggests that God ultimately created mankind and the world for Himself[4].  This conclusion is in agreement with the familiar doctrine of Missio Dei (Mission of God).  George Peters, author of A Biblical Theology of Missions wrote, “It is understood throughout Scriptures that the end result of such Missio Dei will be the glorification of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.[5]  Or in other words, Gods purpose is that He be honored through and in all things.  To properly understand biblical missions, one must understand where missions originate.  Missions originate with God because it is His nature. Portions of an article by Mary Sue Dreier, Associate Professor of Congregational Mission and Leadership at Luther Seminary, will help to further understand the concept of Missio Dei:

“Mission isn’t a program of the church; it is an attribute and activity of God, bringing God’s redemption to all creation… Mission does not belong to the church; it belongs to God. One cannot subordinate mission to the church nor the church to mission; both are taken up on the missio Dei, which became the overarching concept…  The church shaped by the missio Dei is missionary by its very nature as well…

            The doctrine of the Trinity is the theological key to understanding missio Dei. Historically the Trinity has been the theological resource for understanding the nature and actions of God in the world. So as the church became energized by this new understanding of mission, theologians looked again to the doctrine of the Trinity to explore more fully the attributes and activity of God in mission in the world…

            From the Western Christian Church came this notion that the Trinity is a sending God: as the Father sends the Son, and the Son sends the Spirit, so the Spirit sends the church. To participate in the missio Dei is to be sent into the world for the sake of the world.”[6]

The foundational understanding that mission is more than an effort of the church but is also one of Gods attributes is key to understanding why the church should be missional and how God displayed this characteristic to His creation.  Without grasping this concept, the impact of missions is reduced to an earthly level rather than eternal.  If missions is not understood as the heart and nature of God it could become something that individuals and church bodies do out of obligation rather than inspiration or as a means to “do their part” rather than fulfilling the will of God.

The mission of God is most obvious in the sending of His Son, Jesus Christ.  Because God is love[7], eternal[8], creator[9] and omnipotent[10] it is also necessary that He be missional by nature.  Because God loves and creates He would naturally redeem.  Because God is eternal and knows all things He knew what He was getting into.  For God to be insufficient in mission would cause a dilemma in the salvation process; how would He save without sending?  The essence of mission was not something God would need to develop or acquire but rather have simply because of the other attributes He already possessed.

When Adam and Eve fell into sin God declared that the serpent would ultimately be defeated[11].  In the book of Revelation we read of the victorious fulfillment of God’s declaration to the snake, “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”[12]  Within these portions of scripture, among many others, two important aspects of missions are revealed: 1) A commitment to send.  2) The act of being sent.  Both are significant.  Without understanding a need there will never be a desire to help.  If action is never taken the desire will remain only as emotion or knowledge.  The act of sending is what releases the potential that lies within the desire or promise to help

Jesus declared His purpose for being sent boldly on multiple occasions, one example takes place when He continued teaching those who believed in Him while his mother and brothers waited outside for Him[13].  Another instance while Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, “…You both know Me, and you know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know.  But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me.”[14]

The Disciples Were Missional

Those who were close to Jesus certainly were able to pick up on the fact that Jesus had an ultimate goal that He was going to accomplish.  However, they did not always understand[15] and at times even tried to prevent Him[16] despite their participation and close relationship with Jesus.

Eventually the disciples recognized the mission of Jesus after His resurrection from the dead.

The disciples upon being commissioned to “Go into all the word”[17] took those words to heart and put into movement what being birthed in their heart: the desire to reveal who Jesus was/is through any means possible and to declare why He alone is worthy to be glorified.  This is evident by their obedience to wait in Jerusalem as Jesus instructed[18]  for the much needed empowering to witness that would come through the Holy Spirit[19] (Again, regarding the missional character of God, we are able to see the sending nature of God through the baptism of the Holy Spirit).  Immediately after this event occurs the disciples began to teach and preach as the Spirit led.

The Apostles followed the model of mission displayed by Jesus within the body of believers by appointing other disciples to the work of the ministry so that they could focus on teaching the Word of God[20].  The Word of God was able to spread out from Jerusalem to other regions such as; Rome, Galatia, Corinth, Ephesus, and even remote areas like Crete and Malta by the missionary efforts of men like Paul, Barnabus, Peter, and the other believers.  These men were motivated by a desire for other men (and women) to experience the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ in the same way they had because of this nothing but the Spirit of God stopped them in their efforts to glorify God and to make Him known through Jesus Christ.

A Christian Should Be Missional

In some ways the potential to spread the gospel today has never been easier, due to advancements in travel ways and communication and the speed in which we are able to do both.  However, in some parts of the world Christians face many of the same persecutions and trials that the early church faced.

All true Christians should find that they are on mission be that in their home, workplace, neighborhood, country, or other parts of the world.  Wherever one finds ones-self they should also find that a need to share in the mission of God is necessary.  The world has not changed in regards to sin and neither has God’s heart or character.  God is a saving God and therefore a sending God.  The Christian is the sent and called one to deliver the message of Christ and to declare the glory of God.

 

Mission is not an issue to be avoided because in doing so one is denying the character and nature of God.  Missions are not an idea of man or an effort of the church but rather an attribute of God and His followers.  For the Christian and the Body of Christ being missional should come as a natural response to the Spirit of the living God within them.  Being missional is necessary as long as we are on this earth and surrounded by other people the need to present the gospel and to glorify God will always be present.


[2] Genesis 1:26, NKJV Bible

[5] A Biblical Theology of Missions, George Peters, pg. 9

[7] 1 John 4:8

[8] Revelations 22:13

[9] Colossians 1:16

[10] Acts 2:22-23

[11] Genesis 3:15

[12] Revelation 1:18 NKJV Bible

[13] Luke 8:19-21

[14] John 7:28-29 NKJV Bible

[15] Luke 18:31-34

[16] Mark 8:32

[17] Mark 16:15

[18] Acts 1:4

[19] Acts 1:8

[20] Acts 6:1-7

THE NECESSITY OF THE BIBLE

While considering the importance of the Bible I recalled how vital it was to me when I decided to follow Jesus with my whole heart.  I began to sort through old journals and found one that I wrote in during that transitional time of my life.  There were many bible studies recorded in the notebook but one entry stuck out the most.  The entry was written as I was spending time in prayer and contained what I believed God was speaking to my heart.  One portion of it read, “You know the Word, now read it; learn it; obey it.”

I understood that statement on a very surface level at the time but now realize God was speaking something much deeper to me.

You need to understand, I knew the Word of God.  I had studied it most of my life to some degree as a result of attending christian schools.  But, there is a big difference between knowing something and honoring it.

I believe the following is what God was really getting at with me:

Reading =    Priority

Learning =   Practice

Obeying =   Proof

If I was going to be a Christian who was sincere and if spiritual growth was going to consistently take place then spending time in God’s Word would be necessary.

The discipline of reading the Bible can be difficult to initiate if we do understand why the book was given to us.

The bible was originally written in Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament)

It has now been translated in many different languages, one of them being English.  We also have various types of translations.  All of the translations can be categorized into two main types of translations:   Exact and Dynamic[1]

Exact Translations:   word for word, literal translation

Dynamic Translation:  thought for thought translation

There is one author of the Bible, God.  There were about forty writers.  And there are sixty six individual books and letters that compose the entirety of the Bible.

Also, the Bible has historical significance due to its place and time in which it was written.  However, most importantly, the Bible is spiritually significant because of its ultimate purpose for being written.  Consider the following passage:

John 20:29-31  Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”  30And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

1.       The Bible Was Written So That We Would Believe In Jesus.

Why Does God Want Us To Believe In Jesus?

JESUS IS/GIVES LIFE.[2]

John 10:7-10  Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Jesus came to give us life.  The thief comes to bring death.  The condition of our life resembles one or the other.

To help determine if you are living the life that Jesus intended to give you examine the differences between life and death.

HOW DOES DEATH AFFECT ME?

1. DEATH REMOVES OPTIONS.
2. DEATH REMOVES LIGHT.

3. DEATH CAUSES SORROW.

If we find ourselves relating to the results of death than it is time to question our relationship with Jesus Christ and our obedience to His Word.
HOW DOES LIFE AFFECT ME?

1. LIFE PROVIDES OPPORTUNITY.
2. LIFE PROVIDES FREEDOM.
3. LIFE PROVIDES FULLNESS.

When a sheep goes through a gate it is either entering confinement or openness.

Did Jesus say whoever enters his gate will find the confinement?

In other words, Jesus opens up the pasture not the pen to us.   

Where are you living?

A pasture is open, peaceful, it contains provision; all the room needed to fulfill destiny.

2.       The Bible Was Written So That We Would Be Equipped For Life. 

2 Timothy 3:16-17  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

            A.        The Word of God Sustains The Believer. 

Inspiration of God = God Breathed

Stack the following truths upon one another:

*Scripture is God breathed. (1 Timothy 3:16-17)

*Scripture is spiritual “bread” and “water”. (Matthew 4 & Ephesians 5:26)

*Jesus gives “water” so that we are no longer thirsty (John 7:37) and that He is the “bread” of life (John 6:35).

*The Bible also tells us that Jesus is the Word (John 1:1-14)

Jesus is the perfect embodiment of the Bible and the Bible is the perfect embodiment of Jesus.  When we read the bible we are not just learning something but experiencing Someone.

If God’s Word is breath, bread, and water for us and if Jesus is the Word how can we expect to become more like Him if we do not read the Bible?

When considering the necessity of the Bible compare the needs of the spiritual with the physical:

How long can a human physically go without food? Around 40 days

Water? Around 3-7 days

Breath?  Minutes

You and I will not be satisfied if we do not read God’s Word.

B.        The Word of God Teaches The Believer.

Have you ever tried to teach someone who is only willing to learn what they want to learn?

My sophomore year of high school my German teacher taught us the following question:  “Darf Ich Auf Das Weissay (unsure of spelling)?”

In English this means, “May I get a drink of water?”  Because of my attitude toward spending time in class I learned if I raised my hand and asked the appropriate question that I could go to the water fountain.

Understand, I was not learning how to speak German but how to get out of class.

I tell that story because when it comes to the Bible many times we interpret it according to what we want to learn.

This is a problem because many times people do not learn how to follow Jesus but only how to get out of a problem.

The Bible is not a cafeteria of instruction that we get to choose from according to what we agree with.  It’s either all or nothing.

John 8:31-32  Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

If you’re frustrated as a believer it is because you are not remaining in God’s Word.

To further illustrate God’s intentions to teach us consider that God’s word is like an umbrella.

Much like an umbrella provides an area of protection, the Bible provides truths and principles that if applied will keep us from bringing self-inflicted storms upon our life thus enabling us to stay out of the rain.

In another sense the Bible is like an umbrella in that it helps one to get through the storms of life that are out of our control, storms that we did not ask for or bring upon our self.  Life has a way of sometimes smacking us in the face.  In these times God’s Word doesn’t necessarily remove us from the storm but it does help to get us through by its promises, encouragement, and wisdom.

Is the Bible just a book to you or is it literally breath, food, and water to your spirit.  I hope you are encouraged to read, learn, and obey the Word of God.  Or in other words to make it a Priority, to Practice it, and have Proof of its existence in your life.

God bless.

Taken from sermon:


http://mycfm.org/church-series/steps-towards-christ