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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Of Course I'm a Good Person!

Luk 18:9-13 KJV "And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: (10) Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. (11) The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. (12) I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. (13) And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner."

You know, most people (and rightly so) interpret this as a teaching against the religious leaders of the day who felt that they were better than "the masses" because they tried to follow the law, prayed all the time, gave alms, etc. See what the Pharisee says in vs. 11 & 12...I'm not...and extortioner...unjust...adulterer....publican (tax collector). I fast...pay tithes/alms...etc. He is basically telling God how good he is...following right along with what the Bible says in Proverb s 20:6...that people love to declare their own righteousness.

While this is, in fact, a teaching that illustrates the difference between those who wear their religion like a badge as compared to those who are truly repentant and seeking God's forgiveness and righteousness...it is also an illustration of the unsaved...the unbeliever...the atheist...compared to those who have come to know their sinfulness and repent. The Pharisee could just as easily be the atheist who says..."Of course I'm a good person! (Pr 20:6) I've never killed anyone. I've never stolen anything. I've never committed adultery. Etc., etc.

The problem with this kind of thinking though, is that Jesus tells us that the above sins that the atheist claims to have never committed, actually begin in the heart. The Bible tells us that we should not murder (the 6th commandment)...but Jesus tells us that if you "hate" anyone it's the same as murder. (Mt 5:21-22). The Bible tells us that we should not commit adultery (7th commandment)...but Jesus tells us that if we look at another person with "lust in our hearts", it's the same as committing adultery (Mt 5:27-28).

I could go on and on with the commandments and show that we ALL have broken EACH AND EVERY ONE of them...but breaking even just ONE is enough, because by breaking one...you've broken them all (Ja 2:10). Some may say, "Well, I'm under grace and not the law." And that's true, if in fact you've truly repented and have accepted what Christ did on the cross as your own and now live your life for Him. If you haven't done that...you're still under the law because the law is our schoolmaster (teacher) which points us to Jesus. If you haven't accepted Jesus...you will be judged by the law, because sin is the breaking of the law (1 Jh 3:4).

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Word of Christ / Word of God

Word of Christ / Word of God
Mt. 24:35

Heaven & earth...pass away...but my words..

Can you imagine the audacity, the temerity, the brazenness of someone who would make such a statement?
I would imagine this is exactly what many of Christ's hearers would be thinking...

The very idea that a person's words would out-live both heaven and earth is ridiculous to the extreme...

If there were no longer a heaven...
If there were no longer an earth...

*How would it be possible for anything to remain?
*Not only to remain—but to remain valid?

Just think of it...no heaven...no earth...

It would mean that there is absolutely nothing left...nothing at all...not even words...

Unless...the One who spoke the words was something more...much more...than mere mortal man...

Joh 1:1-3

The One who spoke the words, was the Word of God! There is no other way that His words could out-last heaven and earth.

Because as the Word of God, Christ was with God in the beginning...before time existed...before matter existed...in the nothingness that existed before anything existed...
Gen 1:1-2

He was there when God created...because He is the Word of God that created...
When God said, (vs 3)...Let there be...
*Christ was the Word that created the Light!

When God said (vs 6)...Let there be...
*Christ was the Word that created and placed the firmament above the earth

In the rest of the creation account, when God said...Let there be...
*Christ was the Word of God that created and put ALL things into existence...
*and according to Heb 1:3, He also upholds what He created by the Word of His power!
* He is not only the Creator...but the Sustain-er of all things!
The fact that there is no heaven or earth, then, holds no meaning when it comes to the Word of God

Because the Word of God was in the beginning...in the forever-before there was a heaven and earth...

And the Word of God will be there, in the forever-after there is no longer a heaven and earth!

And because the Word of Christ is, and always will be...
We know that they are more sure and longer lasting than heaven and earth...

We can have more complete and utter confidence in the words of Christ than we can in the pillars of heaven...or the foundations of the earth!

* * * * * * * * * *

It may appear to us, that the Word is delayed for a time...

Or that we've been forgotten.

Events may make us feel that His words have fallen to the ground...

2 Pet 3:3-4

People, or events may ridicule us for believing the Word of God

That it will come to pass...that He will return to earth just as He left...
That they shall never pass away
They are pure and therefore -- sure
They will accomplish what He has determined...according to His own counsel and foreknowledge

Isa 55:11

This is that same Word of God who was in the beginning with God...

That created all things, and without Him nothing was created that was created...

This is that same Word of God that became flesh and dwelt among us

Joh 1:14

The One who revealed His glory to some of His disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration

That same Word of God who hung on the cross and spoke the Word of God...“It is finished” (Joh 19:30)

And after finishing the job the Father gave Him to do...
After completing the task set before Him...
The Word made flesh ascended to heaven and is now seated at the right hand of the Throne of God (Act 1:9-11; Rom 8:34; Eph 1:20; Heb 1:13; 12:2)

As God said in Isa 55:11, the Word that He sent out, did not return to Him void...
He accomplished what He pleased...
He prospered in what He was sent to do!

* * * * * * * * *

This, however, is not the end of the story...

Jesus' words are sure...heaven and earth will pass away...
But His words will remain

His word is that He will one day return to us...

Joh 14:3; 18; 28; Acts 1:11

Rev 19:13 KJV And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

Rev 22:12-13 KJV And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. (13) I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

The Word of God (the Bible), begins and ends with the Word of God!

He was there in the beginning...and He will be there in the end...He is the Alpha and the Omega...the first and the last...

Rev 22:20 KJV He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.