I Never Knew You

August 10, 2015

I Never Knew You

Matthew 7:23
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

How do we know Jesus? Do we know Him in name only or do we know Him in intimate relationship? The Greek word for “knew” used here in our verse means to “have knowledge of, perceive and understand.” It is also the Jewish idiom for sexual relations. So it carries not the sense of a casual acquaintance, or just knowing about someone. It is about knowing someone intimately, relationally, up close and personal. There are many in this nation and world that would identify themselves as “Christians”. That qualification isn’t often really based on the quality of relationship with the person of Christ. It may be based on the culture they grew up in, a general belief in God or because they’ve gone to church.
There is a commercial where a man that has won a great sum of money is suddenly confronted by all of these strangers that are popping up in his life claiming to be related to him. It is obvious that there motive is based on what they hope to gain from this now rich individual rather than what they can add to his life. Many people are “Christians” for the same reason. What can God do for me? How can He bless me or answer my prayer in time of crisis or need? The people that really love you aren’t just there for what you can give them; they are there to share in relationship with you. Both parties are interested in how they might bless and meet the other’s needs. Obviously in regards to the Lord He has far greater resources than we do, but there are elements by which He identifies those that really love Him and are in relationship with Him. In John 14:15 Jesus says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Listen as He goes on to explain how this plays into the relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit as well. “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; [Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I [am] in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, being [yet] present with you. But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you (John 14:16-26).”
Jesus also brings out another primary element of relationship and discipleship in John 17:8, “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received [them], and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.” Through these scriptures and many others like them we gain an understanding that ” knowing” Christ is based on faith and obedience to Him and the Word He has given us. It is about abiding in relationship, communion and fellowship with Him as you would with a close friend or lover.
Jesus lets us know that there is a general “Christian crowd” out there that really doesn’t know Him. They may have experienced His power, or done things in His name, but they aren’t in relationship with Him. Let us summarize by expanding on our opening scripture, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Matthew 7:15-23).” Do we really know Him today? If not, He really wants to know you.

Blessings,
#kent

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Your Priestly Calling

July 1, 2015

1 Peter 2:4-5
As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Your Priestly Calling

In today’s culture we often relate priest or priesthood to Catholicism or some of the denominations that still use this title to distinguish their spiritual leaders, bishop or pastor. What Peter is revealing to us as true believers here is that each of us, in Christ, have a calling and an appointing from God to be His spiritual house of holy priests. Many of us may have never thought of ourselves in the light of being a priest, but in Christ, that is who you are.
The Word speaks about two priesthood orders that are established by God. The first one and one we are probably most familiar with is the Levitical priesthood instituted during Moses’ time. The second is the Melchizedek order spoken of first during Abraham’s time when Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek, this priest-king of Salem who had no genealogy, no beginning or end. In light of this let’s look at the priestly calling upon Jesus in Hebrews 5. “Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. 3This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people.
4No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was. 5So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him,
“You are my Son; today I have become your Father.”
6And he says in another place, “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”
7During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.”
Now Jesus is declared by the Father to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek. In reality Jesus was also the fulfillment of the Levitcal priesthood as well, which was the type and shadow or the figure of what was to come. The Levitial priesthood typified the spiritual role that we have as priests, but no longer after the Levitical order, but after the order of Melchizedek, an everlasting priesthood.
What does that look like for us as the spiritual priests of God under the high priest and king, Jesus? This could become quite extensive, but I believe God wants to really introduce many of us to the concept that we are His priests. For instance, Thayer’s Lexicon gives these qualifications for priests: Implies divine choice, implies representation, implies offering sacrifice, implies intercession.
We have seen that clearly, God has chosen us as His royal priesthood from our introductory scripture and Peter goes on to expound this in 1 Peter 2:9-10. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” Revelation 5:6 also declares, “He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.”
Now that we know who we are it is important that we realize that this constitutes that we are God’s representatives on the earth. We carry and represent His holiness. We host His holy presence in our mortal beings. This is that representation that is another aspect of the qualification of a priest.
A priest is an agent that reconciles God and man. In 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 Paul tells us, ” Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” A priest is an ambassador that brings two opposing parties together. We take man’s hand in our one hand and God’s hand in our other and we join the two together. That is our reconciling priestly ministry.
This office implies sacrifice. We no longer offer the blood of bulls and goats, because Jesus is now that fulfillment of sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. Even as Jesus gave himself, we commit as Romans 12 says, to ‘offer ourselves a living a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable to God which is our reasonable service’. We are as Isaiah in Isaiah 6:8, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
We are the priestly agents of His service.
Lastly I will touch on the final qualification that Thayer gave for a priest. It was intercession. As priests we stand in the gap for others just as the example our high priest and king sets for us in Hebrews 7:25, “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” Because we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and the prayers of a righteous man availeth much we enter into intercession for others as a part of that priestly office and anointing that we carry.
Only the priests were able to wear the garments of beauty and glory that were typified by their office. They minister before the Most High and carry that ministry out to the people. In Christ, as His priest, we make up that bridge that joins heaven and earth and we bring the kingdom of heaven into the earth. Never take for granted the great and holy calling that you have and carry upon your life. You are His royal priests.

Blessings,
#kent

John 5:37-40
And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, 40yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

Always Learning, Never Knowing

There are those among us that may know the Word of God better than you and I do, but does that mean they are of God and know Him who is truth? 2 Timothy 3:7 says, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” It is interesting that both Jesus and the apostle Paul address these who often come in a spirit of religion and piety. They have great knowledge, but they have no revelation of the truth of what they know. In fact these are often the greatest enemies of the cross. Because of what they know they seek to undermine the faith of believers and discredit the finished work of Christ.
We see in today’s passage that Jesus is addressing the religious leaders, who supposedly know God and teach His ways. They hated this Jesus. He was unconventional. He didn’t adhere to the laws and traditions of the fathers the way they thought he should. He even did miracles on the Sabbath and proclaims God to be His Father. How blasphemous! Who does this guy think He is, “The Messiah”? These religious leaders and zealous Jews grew up learning the Tora and the letter of the law, but they had no revelation of the Spirit of the Word. Here was the Word Himself speaking to them and they discerned it not. Does our spiritual credibility come from our theological background or our degrees? Spiritual men can have great education, but great education doesn’t make spiritual men. It is not what you know, but whom you know. It is not what you can intellectually relate, but who you are in relationship with that gives you credibility and spiritual endorsement.
Paul was a man of tremendous religious education. He was a pupil of Gameleal, a foremost teacher of the law in His time. He speaks of himself in Acts 22:3, “Then Paul said: “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. Under Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today.” That was His credentials as a religious man. Later, Paul speaks in contrast to this in 2 Corinthians 3:4-6 when he says, “Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. 5Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” It is not just what you know, but who you know.
In this day and age, we also need to be aware of the religious spirit that has a form of godliness, but denies the power thereof. Let’s go back to 2 Timothy 3:3-9 and listen again to the warning that Paul brings. “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
6They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. 8Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth—men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.”
It is a day in which we must be discerning and not just blindly trusting of other men and women, just because they have a knowledge of the Word. The fruit of their lives will tell you more about their character than what they know and can recite. Never get your eyes on any person, even if he or she is spiritual, because in man you will always be disappointed and hurt. Always set your eyes only on Jesus, for He alone is the author and finisher of your faith. The church is full of people who are wounded and hurt from what so-called spiritual people have done to them. When you have your eyes and trust wholly upon Jesus, then your faith is not shaken when others fail you.

Blessings,
kent

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