Is Your Focus on Jesus?

Why focus on Jesus? It’s because of what He does for you when you do:

…the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, is all speech and knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Cor. 1:4 – 9. NASB

When you accept Christ as your Savior, He fills you with the Holy Spirit, so that you will receive an enriched plethora of revelation with regards to who He is, what He did, and why He came. The Spirit then fills you with the spiritual gifts that you need to walk by faith, and to spread the gospel message, advancing the kingdom of God.

From this oneness that you were called into with the Father and the Son, you are cleansed of sins, so as to be prepared for your date with eternity.

As a child of God, you have all the tools to stand in unison with the body the church of Christ. The last thing in the world that God wants, is for His children to be divided in purpose:

Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 1 Cor. 1:10 NKJV

The church of Christ was supposed to be as one – required to have Jesus as its focus. Jesus can only be saddened by the advent of a Catholic, Protestant, Presbyterian, Calvinist, Lutheran, Unitarian, or Jehovah Witness church to name a few – churches focused on man’s interpretation of the scripture as well as the interpreter.

The church of Christ has unfortunately been fractionated almost since its inception:

What I mean is that each of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephus,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or where you baptized in the name of Paul? 1 Cor. 1:12, 13. ESV

‘Cephus’ was another name for the apostle Peter. Apollos was a highly skilled Christian orator. What the apostle Paul is trying to convey here, is that it is the message of salvation from God through Christ that is paramount, not the messenger.

When you have God in your heart, through Christ Jesus, (not by something man has done or thought), the Holy Spirit will open your eyes and the scriptures will come alive for you:

Where is the wise man (philosopher)? Where is the scribe (scholar)? Where is the debtor (logician, orator) of this age? Has God not exposed the foolishness of this world’s wisdom? 1 Cor. 1:20 AMP

…your faith should not be in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 1 Cor. 2:5. NKJV

…no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 1 Cor. 2:11, 12. ESV

So, it is by embracing our spirit, which is connected to God’s Spirit, that the revelation of His word is given to us. Unbelievers don’t get it, because they deny their spiritual side, and thus they cannot connect to the Spirit of God or to His Son.

We can and should appreciate our pastors, priests, etc., but we always want to have our focus on the Source:

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants no he who waters is anything, but only God gives the growth. 1 Cor. 3:5 – 7 ESV

For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. 3:10, 11. NKJV

So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death of things present or things to come; all things belong to you, and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God. 1 Cor. 3:21 – 23. NASB

I am not a big fan of church denominations, because I feel that they invite division, strife, judgment and one-upmanship. None of these things belong in the house of God. Yet, I do not bring fault upon anyone who chooses that route.

Just as long as you take what you hear and bring it under the scrutiny of the word of God, and most of all, keep Jesus your focus…

Goodnight and God bless.

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February 07 2018 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

Jesus Is Our Hope: The Book of Hebrews – part 2

In part one of this series, we learned that this biblical book’s author was anonymous (though the apostle Paul or his associates Barnabas or Apollo have been suggested). The author wrote this epistle to a group of Jewish Christians who were wobbling in their faith, because Christ had not returned since His ascension sixty years prior. In this epistle, the author is inspired by the Holy Spirit to reveal to them just how vital the Son of God is to their salvation by teaching them in great detail who Christ is, what He’s done, and about the promise of what He’s still going to do.

He continues…

Jesus and Moses:

The author contrasts Jesus with Moses – the greatest biblical prophet in the eyes of the Jews: …consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest Whom we confessed [as ours when we embraced the Christian faith]. [See how] faithful He was to Him Who appointed Him [Apostle and High Priest], as Moses was also faithful to the whole house [of God].

Yet Jesus has been considered worthy of much greater honor and glory than Moses just as the builder of a house has more honor than the house [itself]. Heb. 3:1 – 3. AMP

And Moses certainly was faithful in the administration of all God’s house [but it was only] as a ministering servant. [In his entire ministry he was but] a testimony to the things which were to be spoken [the revelations to be given afterward in Christ.]

But Christ (the Messiah) was faithful over His [own Father’s] house as a Son and a master of it. And it is we who are [now members] of this house, if we hold fast and firm to the end of our joyful and exultant confidence and sense of triumph in our hope [in Christ]. Heb. 3:5, 6. AMP

So, the offices of apostle and high priest are combined in Christ as opposed to Moses, who was the apostle, but his brother Aaron was the high priest. Jesus, the apostle, pleads God’s case to us, and Jesus the high priest, pleads our case to God.

We see too that Moses served the house of God (the tabernacle in his time), whereas Jesus personifies the Spiritual house of God. As part of his servitude, one of Moses’ purposes on earth was to preach about the greater importance of the coming of Christ: The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your midst. Him you shall hear… Dt. 18:15 NKJV

Next, the author pleads with his audience to exercise endurance in maintaining their faith in Jesus:

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion in the day of trial in the wilderness where your fathers put Me to the test…They shall not enter my rest.” Heb. 3:7 – 9 & 11. NKJV

Let us be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. Heb. 4:11 – 13. NKJV

The author was referring to the behavior of the Jews who were traveling with Moses in the exodus from Egypt to the ‘promised land.’ The Holy Spirit is telling us that the Jews who rebelled against Moses (i.e. had no faith in God) did not get to enter into God’s ‘rest.’ (Heaven)

Thus, all followers of Christ are being called to persist in faithful obedience to the word of God and to hold tight to God’s promises (accomplished through Jesus) for their future.

Jesus the Most High Priest:

Inasmuch then as we have a great High Priest Who has [already] ascended and passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith in Him]. Heb. 4:14 AMP

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Heb. 4:15, 16. NKJV

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. Heb. 6:19, 20. ESV

While on earth, Jesus was tempted by every form of unrighteousness Satan had to offer; yet He, and only He, out of all of history, remained sinless. Therefore, He can both empathize with the suffering that you endure when you are tempted to sin, and show you the way to resist those temptations.

The author goes on to use the architecture of the temple of Solomon (something the Jews would be well versed in), to illustrate to them how Christ, through His death and resurrection, covers those who follow Him with righteousness – so that they may gain entrance into the ‘Holy of Holies,’ i.e. into the presence of God Himself:

In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.

Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all who obey Him the source of salvation, being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. Heb. 5:7 – 10. NASB

God appointed Jesus to be the High Priest over His children. Recall that Melchizedek was the high priest and king over Salem during the time that God helped Abraham deliver his nephew Lot and his family from captivity. (Gen. ch. 14)

Jesus’ heavenly office is like Melchizedek’s in that He too holds the office of both King and High Priest. However, God tells us that Christ’s priesthood far surpasses any who have ever worn that mantle:

…our Lord sprang from the tribe of Judah, and Moses mentioned nothing about priests in connection with that tribe. And this becomes plainly evident when another Priest arises Who bears the likeness of Melchizedek, Who has been constituted a Priest, not on the basis of a bodily legal requirement [an externally imposed command concerning His physical ancestry], but on the basis of the power of an endless and indestructible Life. Heb. 7:14 – 16. AMP

So, Jesus did not inherit His priesthood due to any Levitical type of lineage. He was set apart from the history of the office of the priest to be set above and superior to the earthly station; and Jesus’ priesthood is eternal. How does that help us?

For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. Heb. 7:18, 19. ESV

This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant. Heb. 7:22 ESV

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Heb. 7:25 NKJV

…Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Heb. 8:6, 7. ESV

When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear. Heb. 8:13 NASB

God evolved the Mosaic Law into His eternal salvation model – the gospel of Christ, which brings with it a much greater significance and authority:

…Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.

Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. Heb. 9:11 – 15. NKJV

For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us… Heb. 9:24 NKJV

…at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Heb. 9:26 NASB

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sins, but to save those eagerly waiting for him. Heb. 9:27, 28. ESV

…it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. Heb. 10:4 NKJV

And in accordance with this will [of God], we have been made holy (consecrated and sanctified) through the offering made once for all of the body of Jesus Christ (the anointed One). Heb. 10:10 AMP

…this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God… Heb. 10:12 NKJV

For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. Heb. 10:14 NKJV

Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin. Heb. 10:18 NASB

Jesus went into the heavenly Most Holy Place, i.e. the throne room of God, for you. He rendered His own blood from His only and last sacrifice to bring you to sanctification. (Did you notice those words in the second to the last scripture above which says ‘perfected forever’? That’s what Jesus has done for you.)

It was the moment that Christ decimated the power of sin for all time. If you want that sin power over you to be decimated, you only need to confess and repent, accept Christ as your Savior, and do your best to walk as He walked. And when you come up short, Jesus has got your back.

Did you notice too that at the end of time, if you are a follower of Jesus, He’s coming to save you and nothing will stand in His way? (John 10:28, 29.)

Talk about love…

Goodnight and God Bless.

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December 21 2013 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »