Jesus Contact 5

Pursuing Your Salvation

Jesus was passing through Samaria with His apostles on their way to Galilee when they came upon a well. He sent His retinue to a nearby town to purchase food. After they left, a Samaritan woman approached the well and Jesus asked her to draw Him some water to drink.

The woman was taken aback because this Jewish man was speaking to her, a Samaritan, of whom the Jews normally held in great disdain because of their mixed-race (Jew and Assyrian) heritage. But Jesus doesn’t have a prejudicial bone in His body. He answers:

“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” Jn. 4:10 NKJV

What is Jesus doing here? He’s pursuing her salvation! This is the merciful love of God, pouring out His grace – a free gift that perfects and prepares us for eternal life. We were created for this heavenly ‘love call’ to come in union with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The woman asks Jesus to tell her the whereabouts of this ‘living water.’ He ignores her question and instead begins to reveal the nature of it:

“Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” Jn. 4:13, 14. NKJV

Now, the woman’s curiosity is piqued, and she asks Jesus for some of His living water. However, He keeps her off balance until she can absorb the entirety of the message He has come to share. Instead of responding to her request, He tells her that He knows that she has been married and divorced five times and is presently shacking up with another guy.

Christ does not condemn her. He is bringing the depth of her sin to the light for her examination so that she could perceive her need for salvation. Then Jesus leaves the subject of her sin alone.

Our merciful God confronts us with love even in our darkest state. He provides a Light (Jesus) to help us see that we are living in a misery of our own making, caused by our sins that punish us. Hopefully, when He compassionately brings us to that place, we can dispense with our will to continue in our old ways – in that sensual selfishness that blocks the charitable hand of God.

Because Jesus is able to reveal the Samaritan’s past, she thinks Him a prophet; and the woman asks what she believes to be a relevant question about which temple she should worship at – either the one in Samaria or the other located in Jerusalem. He replies in a way that plunges her into greater contemplation:

“Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.” Jn. 4:21, 22. NKJV

Jesus is saying that worshiping God will no longer be limited to designated physical settings. He’s also telling her that the Samaritan type of worship is a bastardized conglomeration of Mosaic Law and Assyrian paganism. And He’s letting her know that He is a Jew and that the Messiah comes from the Jews. Jesus continues:

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is a spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” Jn. 4:23, 24. ESV

The time for worship is now. God is a Spirit occupying all space and time (as well as transcending them). Thus, He can be worshiped anywhere at anytime. Jesus is opening the woman’s ears to hear that God is available to all sincere worshipers regardless of race or ethnicity.

How do we worship in the spirit? We begin in baptism when we allow our spirit to subjugate our flesh.

Jesus has worked His wonder. The woman’s spiritual eyes begin to open and she expresses her heartfelt yearning:

I know that the Messiah is coming, He who is called the Christ (the Anointed One); and when He arrives, He will tell us everything we need to know and make it clear to us. Jn. 4:25 AMP

In response, Jesus throws the doors of her salvation wide open. Turning to her in His infinite compassion, He says:

“I who speak to you am He.” Jn. 4:26 NKJV

The Messianic age begins.

God created every one of us perfectly. However, we all carry an Adam-stained soul, which given to its own desires will perpetuate a life of transgression. We cannot solve this problem by ourselves. We need God to wash that stain away and let our perfection shine by living out the loving grace of that God within.

We can only do that if we satisfy that innate thirst we have for Him that He placed in our hearts at birth. And that will only happen when we make our Jesus contact – allowing Him to pursue our salvation…
Goodnight and God bless.

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May 05 2016 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

What Does God Say About Your Life? – Part 4

A portion of what we looked at in part 3 of this recap of the last 11 months’ worth of posts about how to live a godly life, concerned itself against one of the major roadblocks to your spiritual path – the devil.

Today, we’ll concern ourselves solely with our major ally on that same path, our Lord Jesus Christ – the Centerpiece of the entire Bible. The entire Bible revolves around the promise of His coming, His arrival and completed ministry, His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension to His Father, and of His return to shepherd God’s children to their eternal home.

Only the Bible can tell us accurately everything there is to know about Jesus (with the exception of possible future Holy Spirit revelation), and it does so through the mouths of the Old Testament prophets, Jesus Himself and the New Testament apostles.

Beginning with the prophets, we find that Jesus was with God (in His true Spiritual being-ness) at the time that the universe was created. In fact, Christ was God’s agent of creation for the universe and everything that inhabits it. The apostles corroborated this as well. (Gn. 1:26; Jn. 1:2, 3; 1 Cor. 15:59; Col. 1:15; Rv. 3:14.)

The prophets referred to Jesus as the ‘Messiah’ in a plethora of prophecies before they actually knew what His name would be. In those God-inspired predictions we learn that the Messiah and His followers would be engaged in a struggle against evil (Satan and his followers) until the end of time. Thankfully, we also know that the Messiah’s side is ultimately victorious. (Gn. 3:15)

We learn the He will come to earth and in His earthly incarnation will be a Jew from the lineage of King David and reign over the earth forever. (Job 19:25; Dt. 18:18; 2 Sam. 7:13, 14; Ps. 2:6 – 8 & 72:6 – 8.)

Mind you these prophecies were spoken over a thousand years before the birth of Christ. If we leap ahead to 700 years before Jesus arrives, we hear prophecies of His virgin birth, His forever and peaceful reign over all peoples and how He is the exact likeness (image) of God with all His attributes. [Is. 7:14, 9:2, 6 & 7, 11:1-5 & 10, 49:5, 6; Dan. 7:13, 14; (see also apostolic corroborations: Jn. 1:1; Col. 1:15 & 5:16 – 20; Heb. 1:3.)]

In this same time frame, God sent prophecies regarding the horrific treatment Jesus would receive when He was on earth; and yet, He would purposefully step up and give His life for the salvation of all mankind. (Is. 50:6 – 8 & 53:1 -7.)

We also learn the birthplace (Bethlehem) of Jesus (Mic. 5:2), and at 500 years before His birth, we see that this Messiah-King would enter Jerusalem on a donkey and His sacrifice would cleanse the people of their sins. (Zec. 9:9, 12:10 & 13:1.)

Through the apostles, we learn of the events that led up to and surrounded the birth of Jesus – the actual virgin birth of Mary, the name Jesus divinely given to the baby Messiah, the angelic declaration of who Christ is, and how the Holy Spirit strengthened the Child with the wisdom of God. (Jn. 1:14, 16 & 18; Lk. 1:30 – 33, 35 & 2:10, 11, 29 – 32 & 40; Mt. 1:20, 21.)

Jesus Himself had much to say about who He was and of His mission. When He was baptized, (even though He was sinless) Jesus told John the Baptist the baptism was necessary in order for His ministry to begin (for His indwelling of the Holy Spirit). And when it took place, both John and God Himself declared the identity of Christ. (Jn. 1:29, 30 & 34; Mt. 3:15, 16.)

Early in His ministry, Jesus told Nicodemus how He came from heaven and of His imminent death to pave the way for eternal life for God’s children. (Jn. 3:13 – 16 & 18.) He also revealed Himself to be the Messiah to a Samaritan woman during His first journey to Galilee. (Jn. 4:26)

Once in Galilee, Jesus enters the synagogue in Nazareth and elucidates the nature of His ministry as He professes that He is the fulfillment of the prophet Isaiah’s messianic prophecy:

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery to the sight of the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD…Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Lk. 4:18, 19 & 21. NKJV

And Jesus turned no one away who sought Him out, regardless of their past. (Mt. 9:12, 13.) His preaching brought the ire of the priests in power because He exposed them for the hypocritical, self-seeking, lying charlatans that they were. They were especially riled up when He declared His divine relationship with His Father and that He was the only open door to salvation. (Jn. 5:19-24 & 28, 29.)

Jesus also taught His apostles and an accompanying crowd at the Sermon on the Mount that His professions were an evolvement of the Mosaic Law but by no means did they do away with it. Mt. 5:17) As He continued His travels, Jesus preached about His God-given authority, the unique connection He and He only has with God, and then He humbly invited those present (and all of us) to be a part of that connection through Him. (Mt. 11:27 – 30.)

After Jesus performed many miracles, He sent His apostles out to evangelize – stressing that the message be strong and clear, and to make sure that their hearers learn that there is no middle road. We must be ready to drop everything and follow Him, tell others about Him, and step away from any worldly possessions or endeavors that distract us from that. (Mt. 10:32 – 36 & 40.)

Why?It’s because only Jesus and His message contains the way to life now and eternally. (Jn. 6:27, 31 – 33, 47*, 51 & 53; Lk. 9:23.)

*“Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.” Jn. 6:47 NKJV

In the fall of 29 A.D., Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. He entered the Temple, whereupon He taught that He was the righteous representative sent from God as the embodiment of Jehovah’s salvation promise. (Jn. 7:18, 29, 37, 38; 8:12.)

But when Jesus declared Himself the Son of God and that His nature was similarly eternal, the priests and Pharisees in the Temple blew their tops. (Jn. 8:19, 28, 29 & 58.) Yet that did not deter Christ from pressing His gospel home:

“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Jn. 8;31, 32. NKJV

“Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.” Jn.8:51 NKJV

(Also: Jn. 10:7 -11 & 16 -18, 25, 26.)

After Jesus taught in the Temple for the last time, He gathered His apostles and assured them (us) that He was coming back (second coming) with His angels to gather everyone who had ever lived: those who were His followers to their heavenly destination and those who were not to their condemnation with the devil. (Mt. 25:31 – 34 & 41; Jn. 15:1, 2 & 4 – 6.)

Jesus said He was preparing a place in heaven for God’s children. In the meantime, we were to rest in His peace, knowing that now He was ruling the world. (Jn. 14:1 – 3 & 16:33.)

And with that, our Savior willingly gave His life so that we could keep ours forever…

After Jesus’ ascension to heaven, the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles and filled them with complete understanding of everything that Jesus had revealed to them as well as the Old Testament scriptures, and He permeated them with the revelations of everything Christ had yet to teach them – including the grandeur of His nature.

The apostles then began to preach. They reiterated the veracity of the cleansing of one’s sins through faith in Jesus. (Acts 10:36, 42, 43 & 13:38, 39; Rom. 3:22 – 26 & 8:1, 2, 38, 39 & 10:9, 10; Gal. 1:6, 7; 1 Th. 5:9, 10.)

They reassured us of Christ’s second coming. (1 Cor. 15:22 – 26; 1 Th. 4:16 – 17.)

And they revealed the immeasurable grandeur of His person: He is the exact image of God and shares all His attributes and power (Heb. 1:3, 4.), He is our High Priest and our intercessor to His Father (Heb. 2:9,10 & 7:25; Phil. 4:4 – 7; 1 Tim. 2:5, 6.), He has conquered the devil on our behalf (Heb. 2:14), His name is exalted above all names (Phil. 2:9 – 11.), He is the head of the church (Col. 1:18 – 20.), He watches over us and empowers us (1 Jn. 5:4, 5, 11, 12 & 18.), and He places all God’s children in their victorious heavenly state (Rv. 1:17, 18 & 2:7, 10, 11, 17, 26, 28, & 3:5, 12, 21 & 22:12, 13, 20.)

That is your ally on your road to salvation and your gateway thereof. Praise God for Jesus Christ!

 

Goodnight and God bless.

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July 02 2015 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »