The 3 Things We Forget About Jesus Christ

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The 3 Things We Forget About Jesus Christ- Who He Is, What He Said, and What He Did

Any Christians offended yet? Sometimes I like to “offend” Christians, because when someone is offended, they’ll engage in a “fight”. And if I can engage you, hopefully you will listen. Jesus was known to offend people, but we’ll get into that shortly.

1. Jesus- Who Is He?

Of course, Jesus Christ was the Son of God. Most Christians will agree with that.

But, also, Jesus was a Jew. Not only was he a Jew by the nationality of the word, or the religious sense, he was a Jew through and through. The gospel of Luke tells of his genealogy from Joseph, his earthly father, all the way back to Adam, the first man created by God (read Luke 3: 38).

So we as Christians need not forget this important fact: Mary was favoured by God (read Luke 1:30), a servant to God (Luke 1:38) and her husband to be, Joseph, was a man faithful to the Law of God (Matt. 1:19).

We can consider the specific ‘role’ of parenting the Son of God, but I just want us to point out that God chose two people with such a task who were obedient and faithful.

This brings me to point 1 of Jesus Christ and who he is: He did not distance himself from the Old Testament. Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-19.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets;
I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen,
will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 
Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

2. Jesus And The Pharisees (What He Said)

The Pharisees were important to the story of Jesus Christ and his ministry. They were highly religious, they loved the Law and they could not tolerate people who broke the Law. They even made laws to prevent people from breaking the Law.

Isn’t that interesting?

In a lot of sense, Jesus would have fit right in because of his exceptional moral character. Sadly, Jesus was (and is) the Son of God, and thus Jesus cared more about the people than a position of high status. In Matthew 23 many flaws in the Pharisees. Let’s begin with verses 2-6:

“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.”

“Everything they do is done for people to see…they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues…”

I encourage you to read Matthew 23 for yourself, but I’ll share a few key verses with you here:

13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness.

25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.

28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

3. Jesus And What He Did

In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus said,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Sadly, a lot of people simply believe Jesus came to earth to die. But he didn’t.

  • He was born in Bethlehem (fulfilling prophecy from Micah 5:2)
  • Fleeing to Egypt (fulfilling prophecy from Hosea 11:1)
  • Growing up in Nazareth (fulfilling prophecy)
  • Going to Jerusalem on a donkey (fulfilling prophecy from Zechariah 9:9)
  • Dying on a cross (fulfilling prophecy fulfilling Psalm 22:14 “my bones are out of joint” which illustrates that the death was not by weaponry. Psalm 22 also records the people around Jesus in verse 16 as “dogs” and “a pack of villains”, their actions in verse 18 “they cast lots for my garments” and their words in verse 8, “He trusts in the LORD let the LORD rescue him.”
  • Resurrecting (fulfilling prophecy from Psalm 16:10)
  • And ascending to Heaven and seated at the right hand of God recorded in Hebrews 1:3 (fulfilling prophecy from Psalm 16:11)

Now that you see that Jesus was born and lived, let’s go back to the verse above where Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and LEARN from me…”

So what did he do in the time on the earth? He taught. How many times did people call him “Rabbi” or “Teacher”.

The Sermon On The Mount

And the most famous of sermons? “The Sermon on the Mount” found in Matthew 5-7. And what did Jesus teach? Law. Not the Law the Pharisees taught. Not a Law that is designed to condemn man kind in their sins. He taught the Law in it’s purest form.

Matthew 7:28-29 says, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

Now, let’s look at the teaching of Jesus Christ.

Jesus would say, “You have heard it said (dot dot dot), but I tell you.” He would take the Old Testament Law and put it on a higher plateau. “You’ve heard it said murder is a sin, but I tell you that if you call someone a “Fool” you’re endanger of the fires of hell.”

“Oh, you’ve heard not to commit adultery? Well I tell you that if you look at a woman lustfully, you’re an adulterer at heart.”

Check out what he says in Matthew 5:20-

“For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

I encourage you to read for yourselves. But check out this last line concluding the Sermon On The Mount:

When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 
because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

Why Am I Sharing This?

I am sharing this with you because God loves you. By no means am I saying that we are saved by the Law, but through it we get a glimpse of the Holy, Eternal God who has set eternity before us.

In 1 John 1:5-6, it says,

God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him
and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 

Let us put away our sins. “Put To Death,” Apostle Paul tells us in Colossians 3:5, “sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”

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The Weekly Bible Lab: S1E4- The Parables- with John Stapleton

YouTuber John Stapleton continues with the Gospel of Mark 5- The Parables. Be sure to subscribe.

Also, if you’re on the go or in the car, click on the podcast play button to listen to the audio just below the YouTube video.

The Parables
Get it on Apple Books

BIG IDEA

We fight fear with faith. Based on Mark 5.

1. The Story

When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered
around him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and
when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying.
Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to
bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had
spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.

When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from
her suffering. (5:21-29) 1

2. Comparison of Jairus and the Woman

1 Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by
Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. http://www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and
“New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica,
Inc.™

3. Responses to Jesus: Fear and Faith

Jesus switches the two, raising the status of the woman by making her the one to emulate. The
woman was afraid, but she professed her faith. “Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid. Just believe.’”
(5:36).

Jesus goes and raises the girl and the witnesses still don’t believe. “They were completely astonished.”
(5:42). The root of unbelief is fear. Fear is a lack of faith and this is a theme that serves as an
undercurrent of this gospel.

The disciples were afraid when Jesus calmed the sea (4:40).

  • The townspeople were afraid when they saw the demoniac healed (5:15).
  • Peter was afraid at the transfiguration (9:6).
  • The disciples were afraid of thinking about Jesus dying (9:32).
  • The disciples were afraid going up to Jerusalem (10:32).
  • The women were afraid at the tomb (16:8).

CONCLUSION: “Don’t be afraid, just believe.” (5:36)

Q&A

1). Why did the Biblical God give humanity the option not to follow God?

Because love would not be freely given if it is forced. The ability to choose love
over hate; to choose who we will love, is what makes love so genuine. But if God
pre-programmed humans to love him, that wouldn’t be love from the will; it
would be instinct. If love is free, it is possible that some people won’t choose to
follow God.

2). I’m getting better at knowing how to read the Bible and understanding it.
Why is that?

I don’t know you personally, so I can’t tell you specifically what is working, but
my guess is you have devoted a lot of time to learning it.

It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at anything. Your commitment to the
day in, day out, rhythms of daily devotions, Bible reading, and Bible study has
certainly paid off!

The Bible has been described as pond that an infant can splash in, as well as an
ocean that the biggest of elephants can wade in. Perhaps you want to start
learning the original languages to know the precision of the text better. Maybe
you want to read commentaries. I just want to challenge you, as I also encourage
you, to keep up the good work as you grow deeper in love and understanding (as
you always can)!

3). What is the most relevant to modern life, the Old or New Testament?

The New Testament is more applicable to Christianity, since the New
Testament is the words of the New Covenant that was inaugurated by the blood
of Jesus

However, the question is about modern life. Well, the Bible is an ancient book
that records ancient history and people; the Bible however is timeless, so it’s able
to speak to any people at any time. We are not that different from them.

The book of Proverbs (in the Old Testament) is a great practical book that is
modern people could stand to benefit from. It has a wealth of information about
living well – from money to relationships! I think we rob ourselves when we pick
and choose of gleaning from all of the Bible.

4). Will this current generation live to witness the rapture and Christ’s return?

No generation can confidently affirm that they will see Christ return. Howbeit,
we are one generation closer to his return than before.

It’s tempting for every generation to look at the brokenness of the world in their
given era of history and assume that they are the last generation, but we would be
false prophets if we make that claim.

When I consider what Jesus taught about this, I conclude that he wants us to
know about the day of his return (it won’t surprise us like it will surprise the
world) but we won’t know the precise time of the event itself, and that is how
God wanted it because only he knows. Our ignorance of when Jesus is coming
back encourages us to live faithfully and expectantly, like the Old Covenant Jews
waited for the Messiah. Faithfulness is our only option, not predicting dates.

5). What does “for the time is at hand” mean in Revelations 1:3?

John means that the time is near. This creates more questions though, like, “The
time for what?” and, “How soon is soon?”

When John says that the time is at hand, he’s saying it’s time for Jesus to be
revealed and for the curtain to be pulled back that divides life on earth from
spiritual realities. The book of Revelation wasn’t given to us so that we can know
the future timeline of world events; it was given to see Jesus’ authority over all
time and space.

What does ‘soon’ mean? I’ve done a word study on it and it simply means… soon.
One thing to keep in mind when reading the Bible is it is a mix of God’s
perspective and ours. What does ‘soon’ mean to God who is not confined by
time? It will mean something different than how we consider soon. It’s almost
comparable to how long you thought an hour was when you were a kid versus
now; an hour felt like forever and now it’s a small window of time.

6). How do you pronounce ‘Selah’ in the Bible?

“Say-law”

Selah is a Hebrew word that appears many times throughout the Psalms and
means something like an interlude. It is an invitation for the hearer or reader to
stop and reflect on what was just said.

In general, Selah is a constant reminder in the Bible to not just read it, but
meditate on it, mull it over, keep chewing, keep pondering; have the scriptures on
playback in your mind.

7). What does it mean in the Bible, “godliness with contentment” in 1 Timothy
6:6?

In order to understand godliness, we need to understand what wickedness is.
Earlier in this passage, Paul gives us a definition:

“If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our
Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand
nothing” (1 Timothy 6:3-4 NIV).

If wickedness is against biblical teaching, godliness is what lines up with what
God’s revealed will is in the Bible.

Contentment is not complacency. It is being satisfied with your situation while
planning for the future. It’s not a constant grabbing for more; not a constant
ache for the next stage of life.

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The Water IS Rising by Kathleen Derbyshire

Kathleen Derbyshire Water Is Rising

When you know something is coming, set your mind to prepare for it, rather than trying to avoid it.

The LORD spoke to Noah, giving him a vision and instruction for what is to come. But what kind of vision doesn’t involve the whole family? Noah leads his family on this giant sized quest and his wife, knowing the water was going to rise, runs to it, taking her daughter-in-law’s with her.

Biblical Ground Work: Genesis 6-8

Noah’s vision was for him and his family to work together to accomplish this task. Your vision from God includes whatever is happening right now, with your family in this pandemic. Noah, his wife and all of their kids knew what was coming. Their job was to prepare for it to save themselves and select animals. This work would then prepare them for their next task — rebuild the earth.

They spend 120 years building a huge boat in their back yard while everyone around them watched. Jesus even mentioned the ignorance of the people around them as they prepared it for operation (Matthew 24:37; Luke 17:26). They were not ignorant of Noah building a boat, they were ignorant of what it meant. As a result, they were washed away by the water.

Biblical Life Lesson: Your vision is a future event you need to prepare for.

I think Noah and all the other Bible characters were so fortunate. The Lord called them out, then told them what they would do for Him. Thomas was told what it would be like for us. Doubting Thomas said he would not believe Jesus had risen again until “he himself” sees Jesus. Jesus said in response, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:24-29)

Noah, Thomas, Paul, Peter and more, saw the Lord and were told directly by Him what they would do. We do not see Him but we have seen His vision for us through many different sources such as a flash picture, a movie real or even a person giving you a snip it of what the Lord requires of you.

You have seen a mental image of God’s direction for you (your vision). Whether you believe it or not is irrelevant. Look back in your journals. Find God’s vision in your Bible. Look back in your memory and find it. If you have seen it, it is yours to prepare for.

Noah’s wife prepared for the flood. She was not caught off guard when the waters rose and we should not be caught off guard when Jesus comes. His vision for you is the same today as it was yesterday and it will be the same tomorrow. Noah’s wife’s story is a biblical lesson that you can live life to.

Are you getting the help you need to fulfill your vision?

What do you need to do the work Jesus is sending you to do?

The ladies in The Bible Gals are being empowered to walk in their purpose with vision. Join us today in this engaging Facebook group here.

Click Here To Check Out Kathleen Derbyshire’s Book and Interview

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MARK- Part 1- Son of God (S1E1) by John Stapleton

John Stapleton The Bible Lab

BIG IDEA

Jesus proves that he is the Son of God by exercising his authority. Based on Mark 1. (Notes Provided Below)


INTRODUCTION

Mark got his collection of Jesus stories from Peter but arranged them himself to display his own theology. Mark likes to show instead of telling. He does this through “Markan
Sandwiches” – stories that are interrupted by another story that contrasts with elements from the first story. I’ve built our study around these and added a few more installments to emphasize our lesson today, the parables, and the resurrection.

Mark was the first gospel written and the other synoptic gospels use Mark’s account as a
launchpad for their accounts. For the most part, they keep the Markan sandwiches, but they often condense the facts or rearrange the order completely. Mark is not just a ‘shorter version of Matthew’s gospel,’ but it is unique in its order and purpose. It’s closer in purpose to John’s gospel who writes so “that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). Like John, Mark wants to show us that Jesus is the Son of God. The other main purpose of this gospel is discipleship. We will look at key elements of following Jesus such as faith, fear, suffering, and more.

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,
“Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way,
3 the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.’ ” (Mark 1:1-3)

EXEGESIS

I. The Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This means that this gospel account represents the gospel message that Jesus proclaimed. “Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God… ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:14, 15). This is also the gospel about Jesus. There is a lot of speculation about who Jesus was, but this gospel will tell you exactly who he is.

II. Christ, the Son of God.

Jesus is God and Messiah. This is the first thing that Mark wants us to know. This is the purpose of his book (Mark 1:1). Jesus is both God and the Messiah.

This echoes Peter’s words from his Pentecost sermon (Acts 2:36). The Messiah (the Jewish
title and Christ is Greek), is the anointed or chosen one, chosen by God to save us from the curse of sin brought on everyone in Genesis 3.

III. As it Is Written.

God has spoken through written words, the Bible. The point here is that everything happens according to what was written. The prophets spoke for God and predicted the coming of Jesus. Every move of God begins with a move back to the Bible.

IV. Messenger.

This word (Gk. angelos) is translated in other places as “angel.” The idea here is that God speaks through people. His voice could thunder from heaven, but he prefers to entrust his message to people.

V. The Wilderness.

The desert has always been a symbol of death. Nothing grows out in the wilderness. Yet, God often draws his people out into the wilderness so that they may grow.

This reminds us of when God delivered his people out of Egypt and brought them into
the wilderness. John the Baptist (mentioned in verse 4) is calling people to a spiritual
renewal with the themes of the desert and baptism.

VI. Prepare The Way

1). Jesus DEMONSTRATES His Authority

As God Jesus is God and he shows us that in a variety of ways. He has power over nature; his disciples remarked that “even the wind and the waves obey him!” (4:41, NIV). He has power over disease; “Jesus healed many who were sick with various diseases” (1:34). He has power over demons; “he also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was” (1:34, NIV). They knew he was God. Curiously, the demons are the only people in this gospel who recognize that Jesus is God. (I know Peter confessed Jesus as the Messiah, but he later gets called Satan, so I don’t count that.) We will discuss how people respond to Jesus when we cover the parables.

Mark spends the opening chapters of his gospel with these kinds of stories back to back to
show us that Jesus is God.

2). Jesus is VERBALLY AFFIRMED as God

There is plenty of verbal affirmation that Jesus is God. Some people claim that Jesus never
said he was God. This couldn’t be the furthest from the truth. I mentioned how Mark leaves out the nativity scene; he also leaves out most of Jesus’ teaching, except for key parables, and anything about the identity of Jesus. Before we hear from Jesus, we hear the voice of God booming from heaven (Mark 1:11). This phrase serves as a bookend to the first half of this gospel account because later at the Transfiguration, we hear a similar endearment from the Father (Mark 9:7).

Jesus is more powerful because he is God. Speaking of voices, John the Baptist was a voice
(Mark 1:3). Later on after the transfiguration, the disciples were reminded of John the Baptist when they heard the voice of God from heaven (Mark 9:11-13). After this Old Testament quote that informs that the Messiah will have a forerunner, we read (Mark 1:4, 7-9). Jesus later picks up where John left off preaching (Mark 1:15).

CONCLUSION

Everything that Jesus does backs up his claims to be God.
Next time, we will further explore this idea as he is revealed as the Son of Man.

Q&A

1. Is it true that the rapture is not considered the great and terrible day of the Lord which is to come? – Marc Bloemers

Those who believe in a physical rapture see it as a separate event from Judgment Day. One event has to do with God collecting his people. The other event has to do with God judging those who are not his people.

Also, there is a difference between “the last days” and “the last Day.” The last
days refer to the time between the first and second coming of Christ. The last
Day is the day when God judges to world.
• The Last Days (Acts 2:17; 2 Timothy 3:1; Hebrews 1:1-2)
• The Last Day (John 6:40; 12:48; Acts 2:20)

In other words, the rapture marks the end of the last days with Judgment Day
to follow. So no, it is not the same day.

2. Is it true that the Bible provides many examples which refer to the rapture, it
just doesn’t say the actual word like in Luke 21:36? – Marc Bloemers

In order to understand Luke 21:36, we must look at verses 25-28. This is a complicated passage because it has near and far application. The near application is the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. The far application is the Last Day that the Bible speaks of regularly.

In this passage, Jesus talks about signs in the sky. This is all figurative language from the prophets (Joel 2:1-2; Isaiah 13:9-11).

Perhaps the closest clue to a rapture is the word escape. This word ekphygein is consistently translated as, “escape,” or, “fleeing.” It simply means, “to run away” (Acts 16:27; Romans 2:3).

As far as the rapture in particular, this passage doesn’t mention it, but Matthew 24:31 talks about us being “gathered” together from the earth. This could be the Bible’s way of describing a rapture. Moreover, Paul talks about being “caught up” to be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:17). This idea of being snatched up or carried away could be the biblical idea of the rapture.

3. Is it wrong to speculate or be curious about certain biblical passages if the
apostle John warns in Revelations not to add or take away? – Stef Lynn

The passage you’re thinking of is Revelation 22:18-19. When John said, “this book,” he’s talking about the volume of Revelation itself, not the entire Bible. This doesn’t give us permission to change other parts of the Bible either; it is simply a warning to not add or take away from the book of Revelation, which is a summary and retelling of the entire Bible.

Speculation is okay if it doesn’t replace the Bible. Before we can know what the Bible means, we first need to learn what it actually says. Speculation is without question in the category of “what does this mean?” One preacher I listen to calls it your “santified imagination.” It is certainly never wrong to be curious either. That’s how a lot of great Bible studies start.

4. Would Daniel be thought of as the forerunner to John the apostle in terms of
their perspective end times prophecy? – Stef Lynn

I would say he is not the forerunner. Prophecy involves a lot of cross-reference between the prophets so I would avoid trying to pair up the biblical writers. To be honest, the other gospel writers quote Daniel and John never does not.

5. Is it possible that Adam would have helped build the Ark since he would
have still been alive during Noah’s day? – Stef Lynn

The simply answer is that Adam lived to 930 years and then died shortly before Noah was born. He could not have possibly helped with building the ark.

6. Is it possible to serve God without the Bible?

No it is not. The Bible is how we get to know what God is like, as well as what he wants.

Say for instance, you’ve never met me but wanted to do something nice for me. Your only option is to surprise me with something, because you don’t know what I like and don’t like; same thing with God. How we please him if we have no way to know exactly what he wants, let alone finding him from the pantheon of over gods and religions.

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Church Discipline: God’s Method of Restoring Broken Fellowship

Church Discipline God's Method For Restoring Broken Fellowship

Church Discipline is a long forgotten teaching that few pastors preach about and even fewer churches practice. Because of the lack of teaching on it, when most people hear the term “Church Discipline” it conjures up images of a bunch of mean vigilantes in the church deciding to kick out another church member because they did something they didn’t like.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

As you will see in this book, Church Discipline is actually a biblical resource Jesus gave the church body in order to know how to deal with problems between believers in a way that would bring restoration and healing.

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God: The Master of Sin & Satan The Beautiful

God The Master of Sin and Satan the Beautiful

Do you question the status quo of the Christian faith? Why does God get to tell you what is right and wrong? What does He know about it? Have you considered that God is The Master of Sin? And Satan is “The Beautiful”?

God: The Master of Sin and Satan The Beautiful discusses the topic of sin. What are sins and why are they sinful?

Sin, or to sin, means “to miss the mark,” and to sin against God means “to miss the mark” of God. We must understand that God didn’t simply give us a random set of rules to follow, but gave us a way to live.

God: The Master of Sin begins in the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The book continues bringing up what sins are sinful and shares a deeper look into the Law of Moses and redemption found in Jesus Christ.

On the topic of Law, many people misquote Apostle Paul and say, “Well, I’m not under the Law, I’m under grace.” But Jesus Christ himself said, “I did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it” (Matt. 5:17).

This second edition includes additional chapters:

  • There’s More To Say
  • So, Who Is God?
  • Are You Eternally Saved?

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Jesus Christ Was An Utter Failure

Please let me explain before you stone me.

Brothers Of The Faith Meeting

I was having a conversation with some of my “brothers of the faith” about church. One of these brothers has been doing a deep study of the book of Revelation. He brought up the seven angels of the seven churches in Revelation 2 & 3. If you’re unfamiliar, Jesus sends these angels with a warning against the churches some are rumoured to be ‘alive’ in faith, but are dead.

This is what was brought up against me in our discussion:

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. (Rev. 2:4-6)

This was the angel sent to the church in Ephesus. The church in Ephesus was supposedly very focused on God with a very ‘holier than though’ attitude. As we read, they hated the practices of the Nicolaitans.

So, I asked this brother, “What are you saying? I love God and I try to take care of those in need. But I cannot compromise the Gospel message of repentance to make the masses feel better.”

The Doctor

I explained it this way:

“A person goes to the doctor. The doctor says, ‘I’ve seen your blood work and your charts. Your cholesterol is high. If you don’t stop eating salts and red meat, you’re going to die.”

The brother commented that if we are truly born of the Spirit, we shouldn’t speak in parables. But that’s another topic to discuss later.

My point, however, was that the patient has essentially two option:

  1. The patient can say, “Well, Doc. I don’t believe in your medicine and your analysis. I’m going to eat what I want, when I want. And if I die, so be it.”
    OR
  2. The patient can say, “Thank you, doctor, for taking the time to examine me and tell me what’s wrong. I will do the best I can to limit my salts and red meat.”

What that patient CANNOT say is, “This doctor is a hateful, red meat-a-phobe, salt-a-phobe, biggot.”

The brother concluded that this same example can be used that if the doctor is rude and straightforward, the patient will never return.

So, let us conclude with:

Jesus Christ Was An Utter Failure

In John 6:1-15, Jesus feeds the hungry people following him. Verse 10 says that there was about 5,000 men (not including women and children).

The next day, the crowd found him on the other side of the lake (John 6:25). While they came for food (John 6:26), Jesus began to teach them and many left (John 6:66). Finally, Jesus’s crowd was left to 12:

“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. (John 6:67)

That is a horrible number. From 5000 to 12 is a loss of 4,988 people. I can hear the church group now, “Hey Jesus. Lighten up. You’ve offended the audience.”

Example:

Imagine if Joel Osteen invited you to preach in his mega church, easily holding 5,000 people. After preaching the Word of God, the auditorium is empty aside from 12 people. You would never be asked to speak again.

Note that I don’t encourage listening or reading Joel Osteen’s books. In fact, as I said, if he or anyone genuinely preaches the Word of God for truth, you will likely lose most of your audience by next Sunday.

Concluding Thoughts

I conclude with saying that I worship God for who He is. I was a man lost in sin and the Word of God gave me direction. And while the Word of God also condemned, the Works of Christ gave me hope that His death on the cross brought me back to the Father.

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. (John 17:3)

Click Here To Read More by Michael Furlonger

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Jesus, “Light Of The World” . . . Literally!

When I think of Christmas, one of the things that I picture in my mind is all of the lights. We refer to these special lights as “Christmas lights”. They make the long dark days of winter tolerable for me and help get me in the Christmas spirit.

Last week, I saw an amazing light show choreographed to music to start the Christmas holiday season. It drew quite a crowd. I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t like Christmas lights. If only we could have the joy these Christmas lights provide all year long.

Can we?

Jesus spoke… “I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12)

Was Jesus saying this as part of an illustration to make a point? Did He really mean He was the literal light of the world? Could the answer to both questions be “Yes”?

In the final two chapters of the Bible, there are some amazing statements that say Jesus is the year-round “light of the world.”

“And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb [Jesus] is its light. The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the world will enter the city in all their glory. Its gates will never be closed at the end of day because there is no night there.” (Rev. 21:23-25)

“And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.” (22:5)

Understanding Jesus to be the literal “light of the world” sheds a lot of light (pun intended) on one of the great mysteries of the Bible for me. That mystery was with God creating the sun, moon, and stars on day 4 of the creation week, where did the light on days 1 through 3 come from? 

And how did the plants, trees, and other vegetation created on day 3 survive if the sun wasn’t yet created to provide them light necessary to live?

Now, I believe I have an answer to that mystery.  Jesus was the source for that light until the sun, moon and stars were created. The Bible begins and ends with Jesus being the source of Light.


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Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

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Journey Into God’s Kingdom by Joe Gelak

Journey into God’s Kingdom

Take a look around your home. What do you see? Electricity, heating and air conditioning, lights, running water, flat screens, laptops, cable, and internet?

Now take a moment to visualize the very same land your home sits on a few millennia ago. No homes, no streets, no power lines, no running water or sewer. Just trees or grasslands or desert or tundra.

Picture yourself being among the first people to step foot on your land. You are faced with finding springs of water to drink from and game and plants to eat, pitching a teepee or tent, and making clothes to wear appropriate for the climate.

Imagine what a struggle it was, requiring every ounce of effort and capability and smarts.

This is not unlike our current state. We are called even now to migrate to a whole new place. And like it did with those before us, the task will require every ounce of our effort and capability.

God Calls Us Into His Kingdom

God calls us to depart from our old life and enter His Kingdom. “Seek first the kingdom of God,” Jesus says (Matt. 6:33 ESV). He also instructs us to pray, “Your [God’s] kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (v. 10).

To enter God’s Kingdom, though, we first need a passport. Where do we get it? From Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He stands ready to issue a passport to anyone who asks. We must simply confess our sins, admit we need help, ask God for forgiveness through the sacrifice of Jesus’ death on the cross, and believe and receive this forgiveness. This is the passport. It is free to us because He paid dearly for it with His blood.

But this is just the beginning. What good will it do us if we just sit at home and never use the passport?

Where Do We Find His Kingdom?

There is no point in searching for God’s Kingdom in this world, because it is not here. It is not a physical place or a set of circumstances.

On the contrary, we enter into it, or maybe we should say it enters into us, through our inner being – our hearts and souls. It exists in the deepest part of us.

Jesus announced, “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the Kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21 KJV). God’s Kingdom brings about a totally different life in all the ways that really matter. Over time it changes how we experience life, how we perceive things, and how we think and feel.

How Do We Enter And Live In His Kingdom?

You have probably heard of the legend of the great ancient city of Atlantis and how it sank slowly into the sea. Some variations of the story describe how the people of Atlantis followed their city as it sank over many generations. By swimming and diving constantly, the people were somehow gradually endowed with the ability to live under the sea. To do so, they had to make every effort, and they had to be eager to learn.

Whatever you think of the legend, the truth is that God will likewise endow us with a supernatural ability to live and even flourish in His Kingdom. He does this by helping our efforts. He tells us that He will “equip you with everything good that you may do his will” (Heb. 13:21 ESV), and He promises “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3 ESV).

Learning How To Operate In God’s Kingdom

God is ready and waiting for us. He wants to help us. He wants to bring us into His glorious Kingdom—a Kingdom better than we can ask or imagine.

But we must do our part. Recall the story of the Exodus. God did His part to deliver the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt and bring them into the Promised Land, but Moses and Aaron and all of the Israelites had to first do their part.

We have to learn and understand the process God has designed. Just as Moses did when God taught him what would happen and what he would be required to do when He spoke out of the bush that was ablaze with fire and yet not consumed (Exod. 3).

Here is what we need to know. It works like this: out with the old, in with the new. Displacement. It sounds simple, but it is where we so easily get tripped up.

Take a look at the diagram below. Picture one of your science labs from high school. At the start of class your teacher shows you a closed container, a tank. It is made of glass, so you can see inside of it. It is filled with a toxic fluid. This toxic fluid represents our “old self.” It represents us, our inner being, before we become a part of God’s Kingdom. It is us living and existing separate from God. Struggling and striving to make ourselves feel important and successful and popular and secure and satisfied. And feeling frustrated when we fail, as we inevitably do.

The Goal

God instructs us, “put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires” (Eph. 4:22 ESV). He also tells us to lay aside the old self with its evil practices and put on the new self (Col. 3:9).

The goal is to drain out the old self. We want to replace it with God’s Kingdom, represented by the life-giving, beautifully pure air above the tank. In His Kingdom we connect and become united with Christ, which fills us with His perfect love, peace, joy, Spirit, goodness, hope, beauty, and so much more.

How It Doesn’t Work

Let’s get back to our science experiment.

Your teacher unscrews the tube at the top of the tank. He then attaches a pump to the tube and attempts to force air into the tank. Very little air makes it into the tank because liquids are not easily compressed. It only ends up building pressure in the tank, causing it to nearly shatter.

This illustrates what it is like when we attempt to bring God into our heart and soul while the old self is still alive and well.

We can spend time praying, reading Scripture, and worshipping, hoping that God will fill us, but as long as we remain attached to the world that feeds the old self, it will not happen. It cannot, because we are still harboring and nurturing elements of our self—things such as our craving for wealth and success, our need to be right, our demand for attention and recognition, our obsession with what others think about us, our refusal to forgive, and our impulse to manipulate circumstances to our advantage. This is true even if we change on the outside.

Your teacher reseals the tube at the top. Next, he opens the seal in the drainpipe at the bottom of the tank. You wait for the swishing sound of fluid draining out, but nothing happens. Why? Because air is not free to enter the tank from the top and displace the fluid.

This depicts when we work to remove the old self without opening ourselves to allow God to fill us in our inner being. This was the condition of the Pharisees, whom we read about in the Gospels. They changed superficially on the outside; they rid themselves of obvious and visible sin and busied themselves with good activities like praying and reading Scripture. The problem, though, was with their hearts. They were not welcoming God into the deeper part of themselves.

How It Does Work

Finally, your teacher opens up both the drainpipe at the bottom and the cap at the top at the same time. You hear the satisfying sound of the toxic fluid draining rapidly out at the very moment the class bell rings, and you rush toward the cafeteria for lunch so you can get a place near the beginning of the line.

Just as in the physical world, we must expel the old self and open ourselves to God’s Kingdom simultaneously. We do this by journeying deep into God’s Kingdom.

I hope you will join me as we explore how we can do this as we continue our series.

Click Here To Read More By Joseph Galek

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What Is Most Important To Me?

What's Most Important?

What’s Most Important?

If you could have or accomplish one thing in your life, what would it be?

We need some purpose in our lives beyond just breathing and eating and sleeping.  What are your dreams and goals?  Maybe it has to do with your career, or starting a business or ministry, or buying a beautiful home. Or as life moves on, perhaps working on your bucket list of things you want to do before it is too late.

Now, what if we ask the question – how does our relationship with God fit in?  Is it competing with these other things?

Or should God be so much more? Something that is above all other purposes and goals and missions?

To truly connect with Christ as he intends, our connection with him must be number one: Our prime directive, our supreme mission, our ultimate purpose. 

This sounds awfully demanding, doesn’t it?  How do we know God asks so much from us?

The Psalmist tells us “Whom have I in heaven but you?  And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you” (Psalm 73:25 ESV).  In another instance in scripture, Jesus makes it so clear in his parable of the valuable pearl.  His kingdom, by which we connect with him, is “like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it”  (Matthew 13:45-46).  Note how the merchant had to sell and lose everything else to gain the magnificent pearl. 

Why does he ask for so much?  Because he wants us to be “conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29).  By being conformed, we are empowered to understand him deeply, share his thoughts and feelings, and connect intimately in divine love.  Though we may not be aware of it, we are designed for this purpose. 

What Is The Nature Of This Divine Connection? 

It is something that goes above and beyond all else:

  • The forgiveness for sins.
  • The theological beliefs.
  • The knowledge. 
  • The human capability and activities.

It is instead about transformation – deep and profound change. 

These days there is a lot of talk about transformation. But the question to ask is – what is being transformed? And how?

God’s transformation plan is not primarily about the way we feel and perform and act on the outside.  Or even attitudes and sentiments and possessing a positive outlook.  He is more concerned about what lies even deeper inside of us.  At the very center of our heart and soul and spirit.

How are we transformed?  By connecting with God at a very deep level, and there, surrendering our self to him. 

Where does this take us?  By becoming like him even while we continuously seek and pursue him, we are united with him. In sweet intimacy.  God’s Word talks about us being united with Christ (Philippians 2:1, Romans 6:5, 1 Corinthians 6:17).  God’s Word similarly talks about us being in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1, Acts 17:28, John 15:5, 1 Corinthians 1:30, John 14:20).

Just to show how powerful this connection and relationship is designed to be, God’s glorious plan is that we first spiritually enter and dwell in heaven in Christ, even before our physical death!  God tells us in Ephesians 2:6, “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” This is what we are designed for!  It brings perfect completion and satisfaction and contentment.  It is beyond what we can ask for or imagine.  Hearts joined in beautiful unison.

How Do We Build This Connection To Our Spiritual Journey? 

God informs us that it is not by doing a bunch of good things in our own strength while we live as free and independent agents.  Nor is it by passively sitting back and waiting for God to do everything while we busy ourselves with the affairs of this world.

Rather, it is an active receiving from God. 

Jesus tells us of the vine and the branches in the book of John chapter 15.  The job of the vine is to feed the branches, and the job of the branches is to open and receive the life-giving flow from the vine.  Jesus tells us “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

It all happens through a connection and intimacy with our Lord Jesus Christ.  Our souls grow as we are fed through the opening of a channel between God and our inner being.

What Is Our Part To Make This Happen?

First:

  • We need to resolve in our hearts and minds to pursue our relationship with Christ, this inner connection, far above all else.  And remember that he told us “apart from me you can do nothing”.  We must resolve to do this whatever the cost, whatever the sacrifice, whatever it takes.  It is like in the Mission Impossible movies, God is presenting a mission, should we choose to accept it.  And like in the movies, the hero drops everything else in his life to pursue the mission.

Second:

  • We must constantly and continuously invest in connecting with God.  While countless messages have been preached and books written for this very purpose, we will simply mention three things briefly. 

The first is what we call connecting moments.  This can happen during our normal prayer and scripture reading and worship time.  But just as importantly, it can happen during moments throughout our day.

Connecting moments can take many forms.  One way is like this. Stop, shut your eyes, and set aside all your normal thoughts. Breath slowly and deeply, and “be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).  Adopt a mental and heart position of openness and receptivity.  Picture yourself as dry ground receiving living rain waters; or a flower blossom opening to the sunlight.  In your heart and mind, surrender all of yourself to the Lord.  Offer yourself up to Him as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1).  Wait upon Him in silence and expectation. 

While connecting, speak words of love and devotion.  Feel him touch you.  Ask Him to come and fill you.  Then gently proclaim and tell God, “I am yours and you are mine” (Song of Solomon 2:16), “I am your property and possession” (Numbers 18:20), and “You bought me for a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20).  All this while simply maintaining a position and condition of openness and surrender and receiving.

These practices fit perfectly with God’s Word. 

  • He tells us that we should be “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:2 NIV)
  • “focusing on the things that are above, where the Messiah is seated at the right hand of God.” (Colossians 3:1)
  • “focus on Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession” (Hebrews 3:1). 
  • We are setting our minds on “things above, not on earthly things” as God has instructed (Colossians 3:2). 

Perhaps the most perfect example of connecting was when Jesus visited his friends in Bethany.  His dear friend, Mary, “sat at the Lord’s feet” as she listened with rapt attention, absorbed in Jesus  (Luke 10:39).  When Mary’s sister Martha complained that she wasn’t busy helping prepare the meal, Jesus said of Mary, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.  Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42).

As you practice these connecting moments, God’s presence may seem somewhat vague at first.  But just like our physical senses become keener and sharper with use, we will perceive the Lord and his love more and more, and become ever more like Him.  God tells us that “we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Connecting moments can happen just about anywhere and anytime.  For example, when you are driving or pumping gas or riding the bus, drop your phone and look up and connect.  Connecting can be done in so many moments throughout your day.  Even when you are super busy you can steal moments to get away with Jesus.

Third:

We can let God know how much we want to connect and unite with him.  Make it our central request to Him, far more important than asking him for help with any of our problems, or to make us successful or wealthy.  Ask him this each day.  Plead with him, beg him. 

Fourth:

  • We can picture and envision and imagine what it would be like to be perfectly connected, perfectly intimate with Jesus.  Liberated and set free from the bondage of our attachments to all the passing, silly concerns of this life.  Permeated and saturated and infused fully in His love, His greatness, His glory.  Purified and cleansed in Him.  Knowing His thoughts, His feelings, His power, His nature.  Tearing down every wall and obstruction that cuts us off from him and keeps us distant.  Ask God to make this vision and picture more real each day. 

Fifth:

View everything, absolutely everything, from the prism of how your connection with Christ will be impacted.  When you read scripture, make it about how God is wanting to connect.  When you think about sin, view it not so much as something to make us feel ashamed and guilty, but rather as anything that blocks and obstructs our connection with Him.  Dedicate yourself to removing every obstacle.

I hope and pray that these thoughts will help you progress on your spiritual journey.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you that you have lovingly designed such an amazing and glorious destiny for me.  How incredible to think and know by faith that you desire us to be together.  Connected in intimacy and love and affection.  I know that in this oneness and unity with you is found perfect fulfillment, perfect completion, perfect wholeness.  In you all of my brokenness and frustration and lostness and darkness is washed away.  In you all things are made good and right and lovely.  In you I am finally at true peace and rest.  In you all my fears and dread and doubt evaporate. 

Click Here To Read More By Joseph Galek

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