Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Free Indeed

John 8:31-36 (NKJV)
31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
33 They answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, 'You will be made free'?"
34 Jesus answered them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.  
35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.
36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.  

Abiding in His word means more than hearing.  It means living it, in obeying His commandments.  Obedience is love in action.  His word today comes to us from Scripture and the attending revelation of the Holy Spirit.  We have been told elsewhere that both Jesus and the Holy Spirit only speak the words of God.  

Jesus offers freedom from sin.  This freedom He speaks of is a result of us becoming His disciples, which means becoming sons of God.  Becoming a son brings eternal life.  

Even though verse 31 says He was speaking to the Jews who believed Him, verse 33 reveals the depth of their belief.  They still saw their identity as being descendants of Abraham and keepers of God’s law as given by Moses.  But Jesus was speaking not of physical children of Abraham but those who would be spiritual descendants in faith which leads to being children of God.  The law produces slaves because of sin.  Faith in Jesus produces sons.  That is the true and only way.  His word is the way.  It is the truth that will make you free indeed.  

Monday, April 27, 2009

Out Of The Grave

Romans 6:3-8 (NIV)
3 Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.
6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin--
7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

When the stone was rolled away and Jesus came out of the tomb, it was a glorious day.  Death was overcome.  But when we consider that the stone was rolled away for us, for you and me, doesn’t it become all the more glorious?  

Here Paul says in our baptism we died and were raised from the dead in Christ.  That means when Jesus came out of the tomb we were able to come out with Him.  The rolling away of the stone enabled us to leave the darkness and enter into the light of a new day, of new life. 

There are many who choose to remain in the darkness.  Some like it even relish it.  Some make fun of any talk of a world of light and freedom, of anything that runs counter to the comfort of their tomb, to what they think they know. Words of freedom, light, and spirit are incomprehensible to those who exist behind a stone that has not been rolled back. 

The resurrection did take place.  The way to life has been opened for all who would receive the wonderful gift of grace.  He invites us to step out into the light with Him.  

Friday, April 24, 2009

What Do You Want To Hear

2 Timothy 4:3-4 (NIV)
3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

There are many who say “What is truth?”  Pilate asked that question long ago.  There are many who say there is no one truth.  Each man’s truth is as valid as another’s.  Perhaps it is in the sense that only God’s truth is the one truth.  Any variation is as useless as another.  

The question is what do we want to hear?  Is it something that fits in with our desires or that which fits in with the desires of God?  We are blessed when we long for the things of God.  We give up that blessing when we do not. 

What do you want to hear?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Way To Wisdom

2 Timothy 3:14-17 (NIV)
14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,
15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Just as God imparted life to Adam and the disciples by breathing the breath of life on them, Paul speaks of that same that same life giving breath applied to Scripture.  Here he lists the wonderful power of the book we know as the Bible.  The writers of the different books contained in the Bible are not the true authors, for their hands were guided by the Holy Spirit.  

Therefore we have the most precious writings in the world, inspired by God Himself.  We are not left on our own wondering who we are and the why of creation.  It is all there in the book.  Most importantly, verse 15 tells us that it is able to make us “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” 

Sadly, not everyone has access to a Bible.  Even sadder is the Bible that is little touched.  Many treat the Bible as just another book, a quaint story, or even a fairy tale that has little bearing on our modern, much more sophisticated times. 

Many think that we now know better.  This has always been the central motivation for rebellion against God.  We are prone to follow that which seems good or feels good to us.  God’s way is revealed in the Holy Scriptures.  It is His way that counts for salvation and eternal life.  This is the way to wisdom.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Saving The Best For Last

John 2:1-10 (NIV)
1 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there,
2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.
3 When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine."
4 "Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied. "My time has not yet come."
5 His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."
6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
8 Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet." They did so,
9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside
10 and said, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now."

It is not by chance that there were six water jars containing water for ceremonial washing that happened to be there.  Six is the number of man.  This miracle is a foreshadowing of the new covenant that Jesus would bring in His Gospel.  The old would be changed into the new.  

The water changing into wine speaks of the grace of His Gospel replacing the Old Testament system of sacrifice and the requirements of the law.  The water used for the temporary washing on the outside to become clean is replaced with the wine of the new covenant.  This wine is not to be splashed on the outside but taken within.  Drinking this wine brings the Word of God into the heart of each believer. The resulting cleanliness is eternal. 

God did provide the best by sending His Son

Come drink all who are thirsty

And you will be satisfied

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

He Breathed On Them

John 20:21-22 (NIV)
21 Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."
22 And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit.

 In Genesis God breathed the breath of life into Adam and Adam rose alive.  Likewise, Jesus breathes on His disciples and they are made alive in the Holy Spirit.  Their own spirits are quickened.  They are now ready for the Holy Spirit to descend on them in power and might as would happen later. 

In the first Adam, spiritual death entered creation through disobedience.  Spiritual life has been regained through the obedience and sacrifice of Christ.  We have been sealed in that life by the giving of the Holy Spirit.

It is with thanksgiving and joy that we consider that the same breath of life is given to you and me by our God and Father through our faith in Jesus.  Each breath we take can be a reminder of our new life as children of God.  Therein is the comfort and strength that we can call on today and the promise of our hope to come.  So He has spoken and so it will be.   

Monday, April 20, 2009

Lest We Drift

Hebrews 2:1 (NIV)
1 We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.

The writer of Hebrews warns these early Christians of the danger of drifting away from the Gospel.  It applies to you and me as well.  Nothing has changed. We are all prone to drift.

 Jesus is the anchor of our salvation.  We will drift in the waters of the world unless we remain steadfastly connected to Him.  There is little benefit of an unattached anchor when the wind begins to blow. 

There are two primary ways of establishing and maintaining that vital connection that come to mind:  spending time in His Word and spending time in prayer.  Spending time in His Word allows the Holy Spirit to speak to us.  Spending time in prayer allows us to speak to God.  Both provide a method of coming before God.  Jesus made that possible.  He made it possible to enter into His kingdom and boldly come before Him.  As brothers and sisters of Christ we can call Him Father, just as Jesus did.  

We must be mindful of so great a salvation, lest we drift.