How Profound is His Love?

February 17, 2014

Romans 5:6-8

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


How Profound is His Love?



Meditate on this simple truth that we often so quickly read past.  Nothing you, I or anyone did or could do could provide for us what only God the Father could provide for us through the love of His Son Jesus Christ.  It speaks to a principle of God, that out of utter weakness, helplessness and depravity the power of God is revealed toward us.  Most of us know that we could never get good enough on our own to deserve God’s love and salvation.  He is not wanting us to come to Him only after we have cleaned up our lives, that is like trying to take a bath without water or soap. He is the only way that we can get clean. Faith in His blood and in the washing of the water and the Word is our cleansing.  It is by nothing we can do or earn, but by simple faith that embraces God’s Son who took our sins upon Himself, suffered the incomprehensible pain and shame that  should have been ours and then died the death of sin that we deserve.  

Who is this Jesus that He should die for me?  He was the divine expression of God’s insurmountable love for all of humanity.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).”  This is a very simple elementary truth of the Christian faith, but one we never want to loose sight of. It is the simple faith we placed in Jesus that has brought us into one body and one hope of our calling.  Nothing else exists without this foundational truth and reality.  Even the faith that we have to embrace Christ was the gift of His grace, lest any of us should boast (Ephesians 2:8).  

Do we fully understand that it is not our power that is at work here in our Christian walk and faith?  It is religion and a religious mindset that doesn’t comprehend this mystery of God and tries to establish a godliness out its own works, strength, knowledge and goodness, but God operates best out of weakness and total dependence upon Him.  Just as we couldn’t save ourselves, we can’t produce our own righteousness.  He alone is our righteousness.  It is in that daily exchange by faith of “who we were for who He is”, that we embrace that divine nature.  There is no amount of knowledge or gifting that can bring you into the likeness of the Son, only He can do that by the power of His Spirit working in you.  It doesn’t matter your status, your fame, your perception in the eyes of this world, Father knows and wants us to know that it is only His power working out of our weakness that makes us strong.  

Notice that there was an appointed time, just the right time, when we were still powerless , that Christ died for the ungodly.  There is another time, just the right time, when as 1 Thessalonians 1:10 says, “on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.”  You and I are the incubator and womb of this manchild that is growing inside the true Church.  There is a right time, the fullness of time when Christ shall be revealed in glory, within and without of His body, which we are.  

It is this simple truth that we first embraced that now grows within our womb.  This seed of life, deliverance, salvation and glory.  In your weakness He is working His strength.  Let your dependence and your hope be in none other, but Him.  He is the author and the finisher of your faith.  “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).”

 
Blessings,
kent
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The Blessing of Obedience

December 16, 2013

Genesis 22:1-18

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

2Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”

3Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

6Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

8Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

9When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

12“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

13Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

15The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”


The Blessing of Obedience


This  story of God asking Abraham to offer up His only son Isaac, the son of promise, was God’s ultimate test of Abraham’s faith and obedience.  It is one many of us are familiar with and hopefully we have seen it as the type of God the Father offering up His only Son of promise, Jesus Christ.  What we see happening through this story and through Abraham’s faithful obedience is a perpetual blessing that has been cascading through the ages in both the spiritual and natural realms.  The focus of what is shared in this discourse is the promise and the blessing that was produced through this act of obedience.

We learn a number of lessons from this passage.  One very important one is that I don’t have to understand why God does or ask what He does, it is only important that I am willing to obey Him no matter what the cost.  When God requires a death it is for a multiplication of life.  When God plants a seed, that is sown by His people in faith, He has already seen the harvest it will produce.  A Father’s heart is for legacy, but legacy is not created by holding on, but in letting go.  What God gives us in promise and blessing can become our idol if we are unwilling to release it back to Him.  Our heart of complete trust and obedience is the key to unlocking God’s unconditional and exceedingly great blessings and promises.  

What God promised Abraham those many hundred of years ago we are still reaping in our world and in our personal faith today.  You, in Christ, are an element of that answered promise to Abraham.  You are one of his descendants, stars and grains of sand, rather you were born a Jew naturally or not.  “A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God. (Romans 2:28-29)”  You see God’s true seed that He is looking for are those that have that same kind of heart as His friend Abraham; a heart of complete surrender, trust and obedience.  This is what the Father is looking for in us.  

When God made this promise to Abraham, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me,”  He swore by what Hebrews 6 calls an immutable or unchangeable thing in which it is impossible for God to lie. 

Why did God do this?  Hebrews 6:17 says, “Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.”

What does that mean to you and I?  Sometimes as we labor in kingdom purpose we can get discouraged in well-doing and good works.  When can get lazy and complacent concerning our faith and the purpose that we have in Christ.  I believe this is what prompted the Hebrews’ writer to share this and remind us of our inheritance; “It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”  He says prior to this in verses 10-12, “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. 12We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”  

The promises of Abraham are flowing through you as you are faithful to persevere in the faith and His blessings are unto you as well who obey and keep His Word.  Faint not, for His promises never fail. 

 

Blessings,

kent

The Greatest Gift

December 24, 2012

John 3:16
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

The Greatest Gift

If we do the research we find that Christmas isn’t really a biblical institution as much as it is a religious one. One could get as religious about dispelling it as one could get trying to defend it.
Hopefully for most it hasn’t become just an obligation of giving, of materialism, of fantasy, gluttony and wanton revelry. It’s one good and primary focus should be to help us prioritize those things that are most important to us in life, God and family. With all of the busyness of life this is one of those Holidays that should get our focus off of ourselves and on to others. It is a time to re-prioritize our family and loved ones. It is a time to exercise God’s grace and forgiveness toward our family and others. It should be a time of reconciliation, healing, and letting old things go. Life is too short, for us to continue to hold offenses, anger, hatred, bitterness and resentment. Our humanly love, will at best , put up pretenses and false gestures while maintaining our grudge or dislike. God’s love in us will enable us to resign our feelings to be able to love, forgive and accept even those who have wronged us or hurt us.
The Holidays can pull us into all that men have made it about, but for us, as believers, it should be a time to remember and proclaim to the world God’s greatest gift of all to mankind. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 Out of the abundance and fruit of that gift, which we now hold in our hearts, should come the greatest expression of His love through us. People need to see through our lives, not just at Christmas, but in all seasons, the unconditional love and gift of giving we have living in us.
Perhaps at this time of the year some non-believers are more open and tolerant to hearing and receiving about Christ than at any other time. Our strongest message may not be in what we say, but in the actions with which we say it. This is our exceptional opportunity to be a blessing and to show Christ though the way we touch the lives and needs of others.
More than a tradition, Christmas should just be an exclamation mark of who we are in Christ and who He is in us. Christ is truly the reason for all seasons.

Blessings,
kent

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