Wealth and Happiness – Two Sides of the Coin

worship_money“You cannot worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You cannot worship God and money both.” – (Matthew 6:24 The Message)

A study of the correlates of happiness 
across society reveals several important facts. 
First and foremost is that wealth is a poor predictor of true happiness. 
Though not entirely useless as a predictor, it is limited.
$20 an hour or so will afford one about all of the joy you can get from wealth. 
But the difference between earning nothing and earning $7 an hour is enormous – that could be the difference between having shelter and food and being homeless and hungry. The economic axiom shows that after basic needs are met, 
there is not much difference in personal benefit (marginal utility) to increased wealth. In other words, the difference between a person who makes $7 and a person who makes $20 is much bigger than the difference between the person who makes $40 and the person who makes $400. Social, religious and economic gurus are quick to say that money cannot buy happiness. Such trite shortsightedness betrays a failure to understand what it is like to be down and out with an empty stomach. It’s amazing how big a difference money makes to people who have none. 
Simply put, once basic needs are met, 
further wealth does not necessarily create further happiness. Thus, the relationship between money and happiness is complex and not linear. 
If it were, billionaires would be a thousand times more happy than millionaires, who would be a hundred times more happy than blue-collar workers. That clearly isn’t the case. 
On the other hand, healthy relationships within communities are a far more powerful predictor of happiness than more money. Happy people have a healthy “tribal” mentality that translates into healthy social networks with good relationships with the people in those networks.
What I find extremely telling is that while money is both weak and complex as it correlates to happiness, and tribal, social relationships are strong and simple correlators, most Americans trade off their time pursuing happiness through the former.
Why is this? I believe it’s due to the influence of society upon individuals to satisfy its demands over the individual need. Individuals want to be happy, society wants us to consume, so they subconsciously promote a false sense of joy and happiness based upon material possession and pleasure. (see The Ant and the Elephant: Leadership For the Self by Vince Poscente)
So, 
while most Americans do not feel personally responsible for fueling America’s economic engine they do feel personally responsible for increasing their own well-being. This dichotomy presents a real dilemma, which commercialized society solves by cunningly duping the public into believing that increased consumption and personal, instant gratification bring happiness.
Here’s the sad conclusion to all of this:
Through the medium of “Elephant” focused advertising and propaganda, we are subconsciously indoctrinated that what is good for the economy is good for us. At every turn, we are confronted with the message that yesterdays goods are insufficient for the day. We find the voices of instant and large gratification screaming at us through TV, Radio, billboards, newspapers, magazines plunked down in front of us at the doctor, dentist, airport and car wash. It blares out at us in the privacy of our cars and has now found its way, with our full cooperation, brazenly imprinted across our clothing…
Through it all, we have bought the bill of goods that happiness is just within our grasp…If only we can upgrade that last good thing to the next best thing, and so the cycle perpetuates. We are so entrenched in the lie that instead of feeling cheated and exposing the plot, we find ourselves blaming our lack of style, fashion or upgrade for our hapless state. So the cure for us is to run out and 

get just one more small upgrade to my Iphone, car, TV, refrigerator, or wife, and then I will be happy. “

Americans live in the shadow of a great lie, 
and by the time we figure out that it is a lie we are closing in on death 
and have become irrelevant consumers, 
and a new generation of young and relevant consumers 
takes our place in the great chain of shopping.” (Daniel Gilbert, professor of psychology at Harvard University and Director of Harvard’s Hedonic Psychology Laboratory)
The Cure
Sadly, there is no quick fix to this. It has taken us as a society decades of steady hammering at the anvil of decline to bring us to this place. However, there is a fix. It will take a change of individual thinking that will oppose the law of inertia and turn the tide 180 degrees.
We will need to raise a tribe of leaders from the ground up who will recognize the steady erosion of our basic freedoms and be prepared to fight a different battle, the battle of personal responsibility. The solution is not to change the government, or change the economic system. These solutions merely remove individual responsibility and assume that man will become just and good, that he will know exactly what to do with his money, that he will no longer covet his neighbor’s possessions, that he will no longer steal, that he will give up bribing women and public officials, that he will not be corrupted by his own material good fortune, that he will sympathize with the needy, that he will neither hoard his money nor waste it, that he will no longer dream of “upward mobility,” that he will not use his accumulated wealth to gain power in society, that he will not use his money to humiliate others.
To take personal, individual responsibility will mean that these leaders will undertake the fundamental steps required for any nation to effectively turn the tide.
1. Recognize their own personal responsibility and need for personal repentance.
2. Connect with a community of Tribal thinkers who are connected by the common cause of faith and freedom.
3. Be open and teachable through the Great Conversations of responsible thinkers of our day (eg, Leadershift – Orrin Woodward and Oliver DeMille, Resolved – Orrin Woodward, )
4. Seek out mentorship with those who have proven their understanding of the deeper issues and who have demonstrated their credibility and competence to be effective change agents.
5. Become involved on a civic level and through effective leadership influence their concentric circles towards true liberty and justice.
6. Pursue and promote the entrepreneurial spirit.

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands that feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.” -Samuel Adams

 

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The Greatest Cost

lordshipThe Redemptiveness of Christ’s Lordship

This is the fourth in a series on the pursuit of characteristics of Kingdom Living. One of the most difficult and most controversial aspects of faith is the idea of submission to the Lordship of Christ.

Jesus said, “If anyone wants to be my disciple he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”

The cross road is not necessarily an honorable or a pleasant road. Rather it is a costly road of Lordship.

Why is it so difficult? Because this is a foreign concept in 20th century America. It is diametrically opposed to the philosophy of the day. We have rights and we plan to hang onto them as long as we are able. It establishes itself in the home, it runs over into the church, and it seeps into every segment of society.

In Acts 14:22 the apostles, in strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith said “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” This is a great cost, but it is not an optional way for the believer. It is the only way.

Romans 14:5-12 One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11It is written:

” ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,

‘every knee will bow before me;

every tongue will confess to God.’ “

12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Back to vs. 9 “For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.”

There were two disputes involved here. And, much like the church today, these issues under dispute did not seem to be very important. Yet it is the least important things that split the church today.

The issue then was meat and holy days. Notice however how Paul responds to this. He does not take sides concerning the issues. That is because he knew that the answer to unity in that church is not in the summing up of the issues, the answer is whether or not we have surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The issue then and now is, “Is Jesus Christ Lord of the Assembly” You see, where Jesus Christ is Lord, there will not be disputes over unimportant issues, because His word will be final.

I would venture to say that you can go to any church in any denomination, anywhere in the world and I guarantee that there is not a dispute which cannot be settled when the scrapping parties submit themselves to the sovereign Lordship of Jesus Christ. This is the supreme message of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. And in that final day when everything is consummated and all matters are ended, all of creation – everything that is above in the heavens, everything on earth and everything below will bow down and proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father.

That is the apex to which all destiny moves.

The Lordship of Jesus Christ. What does this mean?

Lets try to unpack this from Romans 14. The first thing the text points to concerning this subject is:

I. The Redemptiveness of His Lordship

9For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

Involved in this redemptiveness are three awesome truths.

1. Christ died that He might purchase us as Lord.

This is such an overriding theme of the New Testament church. It was something that they preached over and over again so that they could get a hold of it.

Acts 20:28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

1 Cor. 6:20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

1 Cor. 7:23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.

Galatians 3:13-14 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” 14He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

Ephes. 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

1 Peter 1:18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers,

Rev. 5:9 And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.

No matter who you are, your status in life, or your particular brand of faith, every person who professes faith in Christ must realize that when Christ died He bought us outright. He bought our eyes that we may see His glory. He bought our hands that we may use them to accomplish His purpose. He bought our feet that we may walk in paths of righteousness and go where He wants us to go. He bought our lips that we might testify of His glory and his grace and that we might sing His praises. He bought our hearts that we might love Him unconditionally. He bought our personality that we might reflect His joy and His radiance, and His patience.

He bought us outright!

And until we realize that and come to grips with it and quit trying to take our lives back off the altar of sacrifice we cannot be faithful ambassador’s to His Kingdom.Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,

1 Cor. 4:20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.

And this power is only available to those who are sold out to the Lordship of Christ in their lives. Anything less is an anemic and pathetic faith who’s only hope is escape from the fire and nothing more.

Christ died that He might purchase us as Lord, once and for all.

In the second place here,

2. Christ Rose that He might pardon us as Lord.

“…. returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.”

1 Cor. 15:17-20 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. 20But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

There is only one that can pardon us from our sins and that is Jesus. He rose that He might be our pontiff. Our bridge builder between unholy man and Holy God. He is our High Priest, forever interceding with the father on our behalf. The devil tries to condemn us and destroy our souls but Jesus Christ is there on our behalf.

The problem lies in that one cannot accept what He does until you accept who He is.

I agree with what the great Sydney Hudson Taylor said about this issue. “Jesus Christ is either Lord of all, or He is not Lord at all”

He rose to pardon us as Lord, yet we cannot accept what He does until we accept who He is.

There is one more step in this idea of the Redemptiveness of His Lordship.

He died to purchase us as Lord. He rose to pardon us as Lord. third place,

3. He Lives to Posses us as Lord.

Our text says He died, He rose, He lives.

The great concept of Christianity is that the Christian is an indwelt man. God made us to be inhabited. He made Adam that He might inhabit him by his spirit. It was when Adam sinned that the indwelling consciousness of God disturbed his inner being. We were made to be inhabited. As the philosopher said, “there is a God shaped void in every person that must be filled with God. And if man is not filled with God he is filled with self and ultimately the devil. And make no mistake about that.

We were made that we might be possessed by Christ as lord. And inherent in that very word used in the Greek New Testament, the word Adonai, is the idea of ownership. The idea of proprietorship.

This is why Paul could say, “Yes, I know the glorious truth that Christ died for me according to the scriptures. I know that Christ rose again according to the scriptures and that my sins are pardoned, but I have learned an even greater truth. Not only did Christ die for me, but I died with Christ. And yet I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live on a different basis altogether. I live by faith, yes the very faith in the indwelling Son of God who created it. Faith in the indwelling Christ who loved me and gave himself for me.

Dietrich Bonhoffer in his book. “The High Cost of Discipleship” speaks of cheap grace. And I am convinced that we are reaping the harvest in our nation today, in our churches today, in our homes today, because we have preached cheap grace. The grace that says that law has no demands on my life. We have lost our way theologically. We teach that Christ has died to do away with the law. That is false. Christ died to deal with the curse of the law. Christ died to deliver me from the condemnation of the law. But Christ did not die to deliver me from the implications of the law. He died that in me the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled, as I walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.

Therefore, Paul says, “I frustrate not the grace of God, I am living by the indwelling Christ.”

Christ died to purchase me. He rose to pardon me. He lives to posses me.

When Christ lives to be Lord, He lives to be Lord.

This is the redemptiveness of the Lordship of Christ.

And because He died to purchase us and because He rose to pardon us and because He lives to possess us, we must yield to Him. We cannot put this off. He does not give us that option. We must say today either I acknowledge you as Lord, or I reject you completely. Christ is either Lord of all or He is not Lord at all. If the story of the rich young ruler does not bring that solidly home to us, then we are in deep trouble.

At a crusade meeting in England led by the notable British theologian Dr. Scroggin.

He had preached on the matter of Lordship. A very challenging message after which there were many who responded to the invitation. Among them was a young girl who was weeping. She told Dr. Scroggin that she wished to surrender who life totally to Jesus but she was afraid. She did not want God to do with her life as He chose. He may send her to Africa and she was afraid of that. He may plan for her to remain single and minister for him on the mission field and she was afraid of that. Dr. Scroggin listened, and then he took his bible and turned the pages to Acts 10:12-15

The story of Peter when Jesus came to him in a vision and told him to eat all of those unclean animals, Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” 14″Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. Dr. Scroggin pointed to those words and told her that was the greatest contradiction of terms. It is impossible to say “Surely not”, and “Lord!” in the same sentence. You must either say “surely not” or, “Lord” He gave her a pencil and told her he would leave her alone for a while, and that she should search her heart and make her decision by canceling out either the words “surely not” or “Lord.”

He went into another room and prayed. When he came back he walked quietly up behind her, and looking over her shoulder he saw that she had scratched out the words “surely not” and through her sobs she was repeating the word, “Lord!, Lord!, Lord!”

Is he Lord of your life?

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Bad News – Good News: Perfect Wrath, Perfect Mercy

SalvationEaster – Reflections on the passion and the purpose.

As we come away from this joyful season of the celebration of Christ’s resurrection it behooves us to take a step back and examine once again the real purpose behind it all. For those reading this for the first time some of these thoughts and ideas may come as a complete surprise. Hopefully it will give you a fresh understanding of the matchless mercy and grace of our heavenly Father, while at the same time reveal his unquenchable anger towards the sin that robs so many of the life that He longs for us to experience in Him.

St Augustine rightly stated that we were made for a relationship with God and we will remain restless until we find our rest in Him.

The 5th chapter of Romans is for me one of the most exciting passages of Scripture. Here we see a revelation of God’s heart. How you can know how to get from your address to Heaven, no matter how messed up your life may be. This is a clear expression of how to find peace with God for eternity.

As we attempt to unpack this we must recognize that there is an underlying Premise – We will find that God’s perfect Mercy is matched with, and presupposes God’s perfect wrath.

Before we can understand anything of the magnitude of this great mercy we must be smitten in our hearts with some understanding of His perfect wrath. Some theologians refer to this as the “unfriendly side of God”

 There are some principles that will guide our understanding of this.

Principle # 1. The wrath of God is against ALL sin. It would not be perfect if it were not. It would not be complete if it were not against all sins and if there were some sins that were acceptable to Him. His wrath is perfect because it means His is angry against all sins.

You may say that is not how I understand God to be. I understand God only as a forgiving God full of mercy and love. The bible teaches otherwise. Yes, God is love, but God is also justice. He cannot look the other way, ignore sin, and still be a just and loving God. It can be argued that for most, the happiest, most hopeful story in the Bible is the Nativity. But apart from the message of Calvary, the story of His birth is meaningless. The greatest message by far of God’s grace is the message of the Old rugged Cross – but to encounter the message of the cross and recognize it ONLY as a message of God’s mercy and grace is to miss the point. The message of the bloody old cross is also a message about God’s wrath. If you can pass by the cross and with a sentimental curtsy acknowledge His expression of love alone, and miss the fact that this was a message declared in the blood of the only begotten son, the only pure man that ever lived, that God is just and He judges all sin then you have missed the point.

The motivation for the Cross in the heart and mind of God was His perfect wrath and his hatred towards sin alongside His great love for you and me. This love is measured by the fact that He substituted immediate and permanent judgment against us by placing that judgment square upon the shoulders of His Son who became our sin, so that the requirement of a just God may be satisfied.

Principle #2. Not only does God in His perfect wrath deal with all sin, but also he deals with all sinners. Ch 2 & 3 declare that God is Holy, hates all sins, and He is also the judge of all sinners. Religious sinners with their marked bibles that sit in a church pew Sunday after Sunday; Pagan, rebellious, unbelieving sinners that would never darken the door of the church. All are the same in God’s eyes. If rich sinners were excluded… If smart sinners were excluded…If certain classes or colors would be exempt…if certain good works based upon initiative, will and talent and understanding could exclude one, his wrath would be imperfect and his justice unjust. So Paul says Jew and Gentile are all alike in God’s eyes.

Romans 3:9-20 The Message (MSG)
We’re All in the Same Sinking Boat

9-20 So where does that put us? Do we Jews get a better break than the others? Not really. Basically, all of us, whether insiders or outsiders, start out in identical conditions, which is to say that we all start out as sinners. Scripture leaves no doubt about it:

There’s nobody living right, not even one,
    nobody who knows the score, nobody alert for God.
They’ve all taken the wrong turn;
    they’ve all wandered down blind alleys.
No one’s living right;
    I can’t find a single one.
Their throats are gaping graves,
    their tongues slick as mudslides.
Every word they speak is tinged with poison.
    They open their mouths and pollute the air.
They race for the honor of sinner-of-the-year,
    litter the land with heartbreak and ruin,
Don’t know the first thing about living with others.
    They never give God the time of day.

This makes it clear, doesn’t it, that whatever is written in these Scriptures is not what God says about others but to us to whom these Scriptures were addressed in the first place! And it’s clear enough, isn’t it, that we’re sinners, every one of us, in the same sinking boat with everybody else? Our involvement with God’s revelation doesn’t put us right with God. What it does is force us to face our complicity in everyone else’s sin.

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Rom 3:23 NASB)

All sin, all sinners, and thirdly,

Principle # 3 For all eternity.

Luke 16:19

God’s wrath includes all eternity. He does not change his mind in the middle. There is no purgatory.

(Rev 20:13-15 NASB) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of themaccording to their deeds. {14} And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. {15} And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

If your name is not in the book you are lost for all eternity. No other options. God is perfect in his love, in his power, in his knowledge, but also in his wrath. All sinners. Religious sinners. Smart sinners, dumb ones, skinny ones and fat. All.

That’s the bad news today. But thank God there is good news!

The good news. God is not only perfect in his wrath, he is also perfect in His mercy.

Perfect Wrath, but also Perfect Mercy:

In the same way that his wrath and judgment would not be perfect if it did not cover all, sin, all sinners, for all eternity, it would not be perfect mercy if it did not cover it all. Unlike a like a term life insurance policy that only runs till you’re 60.

His mercy presupposes that we are all guilty and ALL require mercy.

Romans 5:6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless (helpless), Christ died for the ungodly. It includes the helpless.

(Acts 4:9 NASB) if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well…” This word “sick” is the same word as “helpless”

Its used again in Acts 3 to describe the helplessness of a paralyzed man: “A certain man who had been lame” God’s mercy is not for the strong and the well. The strong never have a sense that they need God’s mercy. It includes all and especially the helpless.

Those without strength in the face of the call to be righteous.

Without strength in the face of the requirements to follow the laws of God.

There is no strength from within to do right. Perfect mercy for those that are helpless. Blessed are the poor in Spirit for they shall inherit the kingdom of God. His wrath is perfect, but his perfect wrath is matched by his perfect mercy.

And the mystery and majesty of this whole story is in how His wrath and his mercy could meet. How his wrath could be satisfied and his mercy could be extendedAnd it is narrow. As narrow as the point on pencil. There is only one place where his wrath and mercy meets. At the Cross of Jesus.

God Has Set Things Right Romans 3:21-24

21-24 But in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.

If we are spending all our time telling people how to feel better in the 21st Century. . How to get physical healing. How to get prosperity. How to make friends and influence people…as helpful and needful these may be, all of that perishes with the dying and will be worthless unless there is the understanding that in our helplessness, when those things don’t show up and our goodness and strength fails us, his mercy goes much deeper and has the power to set us free. The real issue is God’s perfect wrath and the need for his perfect mercy.

Christian, beware of your soul. Beware of soulish mercy that will just massage people to make them feel better. We need to get out of the way if that’s all we are doing. We are in Gods way. If they have not got a hold of the truth of God’s wrath and His merciful solution then we need to quit and get out of the way or we will be a stumbling block in the way of their salvation.

Look at that word helpless. When “we” were without strength. We need to quit telling people that there is nothing wrong when there is.
Romans 6:23 says that there is the potential for this God of wrath to turn into the God of Mercy. Not just mercy. Perfect Mercy. Romans 6: 22-23 (MSG) But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.

Perfect mercy necessitates a Perfect Savior, and so enter the Passion Event.

And this is how we come to that place of satisfaction, back into our predestined place of right relationship with God as Father through the blood of a perfect introducer who is no longer a baby in a cradle, but grew up in every way perfect, so that he would become our προσαγωγη (prosagōgē), “an alongside into relationship bringer”  (From προσάγω (G4317) (cf ἀγωγή (G72))

And this is what Romans 5 is about. Its about perfect mercy. It’s about perfect grace.

Read: Romans 5:1-11

Three things in conclusion:

 I. The Perfection of His Grace.

Christ perfected this grace by bringing us into a right relationship with the Father.

1. Perfected grace has no strings attached.

A story is told of a page in the court of Queen Elizabeth who had an assignment to assassinate the queen. She hid behind the curtains in the Queens chambers awaiting her opportunity to stab the queen to death in her. However, word had gotten out of the attempt and the guards swept the room finding the page. The page was brought to justice, and because of some extenuating circumstances the queen found it in her heart to extend mercy to the page, based upon certain conditions. When the queen pronounced her judgment, she told the page that she would be freed from the penalty of her crime if she would make an oath that she would remain indebted and in service to the queen for the rest of her life, the page responded, “Then let me die, for mercy with such strings attached is no mercy at all.” It is said that the queen was so impressed by this statement, that she freed the page unconditionally. The page ended up in the service of the queen for the rest of her life becoming her most loyal servant.

Once we have partaken of this free grace, there is nothing we can, or need do to merit it. It is a grace which Paul says, “In which we now stand”.

2. Perfected Grace has no term limits.

It is an inheritance. It is not a job assignment or an office of state or government that is passed on to someone else. It is a permanent inheritance. The sense Paul is using here is a perfect tense.

Paul says His Son, Jesus, has brought us into a direct and lasting relationship with Father by divine access as is by divine introduction. Our most accurate contemporary word for this idea is the word “entrée”, and here is what it actually means:

One person that knows the King. Another person wants to know the King. The person that knows the Kings gets a hold of the person wanting to know the King and tells him… the King likes you to dress in this manner…The King likes you to behave in this particular way. And the word describing what Jesus has done for us is this word “entrée”, or introducer, an “alongside bringer”.

He has become our introduction into the Kingdom.

Now not only has He given us the manner in which we can come to this King, but He has provided for us far more. In order to get us into the place of favor with the King, He has washed us with His own blood. He has clothed us in His own garments that are acceptable before the king, and He has presented us to the King based upon His own credentials and His right to come into the Kings presence. Through the shed blood of Christ we have been introduced into a permanent state of relationship with His Father who now becomes our Father…No longer is He our judge

II The permanence of His Grace

“where we now stand”

It is place in which we stand not because of our sweat, but because of His blood.

So permanent is this place that not even the passing seasons of sin in the believer’s life can disqualify us, or uproot us from that place in which we now stand. Our pastor, David Walker shared this story of a fiery preacher in Kilgore Texas by the name of Slim Sullivan. He believed this with such conviction – that if you have been saved, if you have been introduced into the presence of the King, paltry professions and passive lip service aside, a person who has a new heart, that if he thought such a one could lose this standing before the Father by one fit of sin – a succumbing to the flesh that profits nothing, he said he would lead that person to Christ, to forgiveness of sin, and then he would take out his 45 and shoot him dead right there before he had a chance to fall into sin ever again! As far as is known he never did have occasion to do this!

This matter of being saved is not about you getting a grip on God and trying to hang on to Him. It is all about being dead in our trespasses and our sins and the great God who loved us before we were even born, came out of heaven and took hold of you and by His Spirit quickened you towards His great love and by that goodness and kindness drew you to repentance and adopted you by choice into His family.

John 10:28-30 says (paraphrased) I have got a grip on you. My Father has his fingers wrapped around my hand, and nothing can take you away from that grip.

Some would say, oh well, that gives me license to sin. That means I can do whatever I want and I am saved. Paul never for a moment intended to say that. If you have that desire. If you deliberately go on willfully delighting in sin without discipline or conscience, then you have yet to be introduced to the King. You have yet to be washed and made presentable by the blood of Jesus. You have yet to be clothed in his righteousness. Your heart has yet to be changed and until then you are under the wrath and Judgment of a Holy God.

If you are truly saved you cannot consistently sin and get away with it. Your Father will not let you get away with it. He will hound you and track you down. The old revivalists called Him the “Hound of Heaven”. He will track you! He will Tree you! And he will climb up after you. He will not let you go! “Oh love that will not let me go. I rest my weary soul in thee”. We need to rest in that assurance.

It would be a terrible injustice if God were to give us this wonderful free gift and then require that we hang on by our fingernails to keep it. It’s not just pardon. Not just payment. It is the imputing of His righteousness. God is never going to change the way He sees the righteousness of His son. And somehow miraculously He sees us through the righteousness of His son and He declares…This one is forgiven. This one has a rightful place in my presence. This one has a place in which to stand. The permanence of that grace!

III. The Enabling of His Grace

Vs. 8-10. We are justified by His death and we are saved by His life. As long as He shall live, so long shall we be saved.

Why, because He is our eternal intercessor. If it was up to me it would be hopeless. God would have to take me out of this fallen body immediately upon my salvation. I am closer to 100 than 1 am to zero and I still struggle with things I struggled with when I was 12 years old. But in conclusion, here is the most wonderful thing.

Romans 8:26-39 The Message (MSG)

26-28 Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

29-30 God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.

31-39 So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

He is the one that keeps us in the place of grace in which we now stand, AND He is our enabler.

He does not just leave us with this book of instructions and expect us to keep it all together. He enables us by His Spirit. And that is the good news as we reflect upon these days past. When we come to understand these principles behind so great a love and so rich a mercy, motivated by His steadfast and perfect justice, everything changes.

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You don’t know what you don’t know…even when you think you know…

I found this video posted on my FB Timeline recently. It seemed like some pretty good info at first, but the deeper I got into it, the more it rubbed me up the wrong way and pretty soon it was evident that there is some very messed up thinking being propagated out there concerning the distribution of wealth in America. So, heres my “rock” in response. Throw it far and wide if you dare 🙂   There are some crazy assumptions made here:

1. The majority of wealth is owned by employed CEO’s – FALSE. CEO’s earn and spend their massive wealth in the same way as the rest of 95% America and most are just as broke. They have higher mortgages, bigger car payments, higher lifestyle maintenance, more tax, greater domestic struggles and so forth. The true wealth in America is owned by the 5% of Americans who not only have wealth, but also wealth “thinking”. They have learned the skills to work hard, work smart, over time and deserve every penny they have managed to keep. Most of these are NOT CEO’s, but owners and entrepreneurs. The CEO’s in this group are also Owners who have already “distributed” their wealth by sharing their success with public investors.

2. Average Americans “waking up to the reality” will change things – FALSE. Simply coming to the realization that things are a lot different to what they thought changes nothing. Information without action is nebulous. Along with waking up there needs to be acting up. None of the skills required to become wealthy are acquired at birth. They are ALL learned. Even the poorest and most disadvantaged can learn to earn and accumulate wealth at their particular level of lifestyle. The problem is that broke living is the byproduct of broke thinking. Someone who is broke at $7 an hour will still be broke at $70 an hour. The thinking has to change.
3. The solution is to be found in the fair distribution of wealth. TRUE. However the fairest distribution of wealth is for all Americans to be exposed to wealth thinking – Long Term Thinking, Delayed Gratification, and The Power of Compounding. There is more to be learned but these are a good start.
According to Robert Kiosaki (The Cash Flow Quadrant), 95% of Americans earn 5% of the wealth while 5% earn 95% of the wealth. He maintains correctly that the 95% are made up of employees and self employed while 5% are Business Owners and Entrepreneurs with the two groups separated only by different thinking applied to opportunity.
The American job is not the solution, nor is it the basis of the America Dream. In fact I believe the sad state of the American family is the result of the American job. Obviously jobs are necessary to maintain society, and there are many right thinking citizens holding jobs that they love. Wealth thinking applied in these cases can provide the same successful lifestyle as the 5% sans the wealth. The issue here is not jobs but slavery. People who are slaves to broken thinking and to what they do. They don’t see any way out, and in fact the majority have become “Happy in their Subserviency” (Huxley – Brave New World).
The decline of wealth for the 95% in America is a result if the the same poor thinking perpetuated from a misguided government who have instilled in our society the concept of learned incompetence and dependency – happy subserviency.
In Leadershift by Orrin Woodward and Oliver de Mille. Americas decline is attributed to Five Laws. Sturgeons Law – 90% of everything is crud; Bastiats Law – Given repeated  “Handouts” and entitlements, society will eventually habitually take whatever they can get without working for it – the line of least resistance; Greshams Law – when the bad or lesser is consistently perpetuated over time it will eventually drive out the good; The Law of Diminishing Returns – you CAN have too much of a good thing. The more you experience of the good thing, your overall happiness and satisfaction will decline; Law of Inertia – a culture moving in a particular direction will increase its velocity until an outside force acts upon it.
In an earlier writing De Mille outlines a recipe for socio economic reform which has nothing to do with the socialist model being proposed by the ignorant masses.
What we need to bring about reform is a grassroots movement of citizens who will commit to the following:
1. Become Voracious Readers – read good books including the bible, and give careful thought to what you read (including the fine print).
2. Pursue Tribal Mentality – Connect with a community of similar minded Rascals who have character born out of integrity multiplied by courage. Seek them out and associate with intention.
3. Seek out Entrepreneurial enterprise. Gain control of your future by defining the life you want, associating and learning from those who have the results that you desire, and then doing the things they do.
I would add one more – with all your heart, pursue your God given purpose. We all have one. It consists of a light he has given us that was placed there for the whole world to see. It is unique and powerful and brings glory to Him when men and women see the good works that rise up as a result (Matt 5:16)
Remember, be true to yourself. Your success is a byproduct if personal integrity.
Fight the Good Fight!

 

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The Day Death Died

Death diedThe Day Death Died

“ The Message of the Empty Tomb”

A young mother found herself on the last train out of Poland during Hitler’s regime. She had her first born toddler and her newborn nursing infant with her. The bombing was fierce and the train had to stop many times for the passengers to take cover. A trip that should have taken a few hours took a few days. The food ran out and there were no liquids to be had. Consequently, when they arrived at their destination, the infant was starving and ill. A group of nuns met her there and took the baby to their hospital where they would nurse it back to health. The mother felt great relief at the apparent reprieve. But the joy was short lived. The next morning she was given the news that the hospital had been bombed during the night and that her baby had not survived. The mother was given a flashlight to search for her baby’s body. What a tragic scene. Imagine the confusion. The pain. The grief. The hopelessness of a mother who herself was a doctor whose hands and skill had no doubt saved many but now could do nothing in this situation.

Death without Christ provides the same sense of hopelessness.

But imagine a different ending. Imagine the mother desperately seeking through the rubble with her little one in tow. She is crying loudly together with many others in the same situation when all of a sudden, there is another cry. The sound of an infant. Could it be? She runs to where the sound comes from and there in the rubble she finds her baby still alive. What incredible relief, mingled with joy. All the questions now do not need to be answered. All the “what if’s” no longer matter. Her baby is alive.

That’s what the resurrection of Christ does with death. The certainty of knowing Christ and the reality of his resurrection changes the mood of death from a sense of hopelessness into joyful rejoicing. Not just then, but now. It is the event that separates the Christian Faith from all other religion and gives to it power.

So Paul can write in 1 Cor 15:14,17 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.”

On the morning of the Resurrection, the Angel of the Lord appeared to the women who came to the tomb and gave them a message. That message is recorded for us in Matthew 28:1-8.  And that message, while it is nearly 2,000 years old, is relevant to us today.

Matthew 28 1-4 After the Sabbath, as the first light of the new week dawned, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to keep vigil at the tomb. Suddenly the earth reeled and rocked under their feet as God’s angel came down from heaven, came right up to where they were standing. He rolled back the stone and then sat on it. Shafts of lightning blazed from him. His garments shimmered snow-white. The guards at the tomb were scared to death. They were so frightened, they couldn’t move.5-6 The angel spoke to the women: “There is nothing to fear here. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed.“Now, get on your way quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He is risen from the dead. He is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.’ That’s the message.”

The significance of this message for us today is established in the opening sentence of the chapter.
“After the Sabbath, at dawn.” In the King James – “Just before the dawn” This is a significant statement and we should halt here for a moment. It speaks of the promise of a new day.

The last sentence of the last chapter ends so dismally with the words “So they posted a guard.” It was the end of the story.

All that remained was for the body to decay, and with it all of the memories of those three awesome years. But the next sentence. “Just before dawn.” Those are the darkest hours, but with them come the promise of a new day. The brightest hope was to be born in a few hours.

A new covenant would be made between God and man.

And when the resurrection of Jesus Christ becomes a reality to us. When He rises in our hearts this is what happens. A new day breaks, and religion changes to relationship. The reasoning of man becomes secondary to the reality of the living Christ in us. A new day and a new hope begins with the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

There are several truths about this new day contained in the angels message that give us hope in moments such as this.

First, it is A Day In Which Fear is Neutralized.

“Fear not”  said the angel.

Those who have placed their faith in the resurrected Christ have nothing to fear! It’s interesting that these women are greeted with the same words the shepherds were greeted with at Christ’s birth.

The birth of Christ and the resurrection of Christ are related!  He was born so that He could die and rise again! The Message of Christmas finds its fulfillment in the Message of the Empty Tomb! Christmas is the promise, and Easter is the Proof!

One of the fears that the resurrection of Jesus removes is the fear of Death’s Destruction

1 Cor 15: 42 Paul says, “We are sown perishable. But because of the resurrection we are raised imperishable.”
We are born into this life as perishable beings. But because of the resurrection we have eternal life. From the moment a person receives forgiveness through belief in Jesus Christ you have victory over death. Your physical body might fail you or fade from you, but your soul will never die. You will be raised, forever to live with Christ in heaven.
In the resurrection account in Luke’s gospel the angel said to the women at the empty tomb, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” They did not understand, but they soon would. When they realize what he meant they would no longer spend their lives fascinated with death. They would spend the rest of their lives fascinated with life.

A little girl who had to walk through a cemetery on her way home from school was asked if she was afraid. “No” she replied. “I simply cross it to get home.”

That is what the resurrection has done with death. It has turned it into a harmless pathway on our journey home. As Jesus was resurrected from death, so the resurrection awaits us all. Those who are in Christ will be raised from death to live with Him forever. The fear of death has gone.
The resurrection removes the fear of death because it Removes The Power of Death.

Hebrews 2:14-15 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil–  15and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

Someone suggested that when Jesus came to the door of the tomb, His first step on resurrection soil caused the silence of the first Easter morning to be broken by the muffled crunch of a serpent’s skull.

I like that. The devil no longer has power over death. He is a defeated foe. He may be alive but he is not well. He is mortally wounded. Paul says in the later verses, “Death, where is your sting? Grave, where is your victory.” In Christ, the greatest and the lowliest have the assurance that death is no longer victor because of the resurrection of Christ.
About fifteen years before Mahatma Gahndi died, he wrote,” I must tell you in all humility that Hinduism, as I know it, entirely satisfies my soul, fills my whole being, and I find a solace in the Bhagavad that I miss even in the sermon on the mount.” Then, just before his death He wrote: “My days are numbered, I am not likely to live very long – For the first time in fifty years I find myself in the slough of despond. All about me is darkness; I am praying for light.”

The resurrection of Jesus has brought us out of the darkness of death into His marvelous light.

Into marvelous light I’m running,
Out of darkness, out of shame.
By the cross you are the truth,
You are the life, you are the way!

My dead heart now is beating,
My deepest stains now clean.
Your breath fills up my lungs.
Now I’m free. now I’m free!

Christ’s resurrection takes away the STING of death and it takes away the SOURCE of death: The resurrection removes the fear of death’s destruction because It removes the Fear of Sin’s Dominion.

James 1:14-15 “but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” Rom 6:23a. Why does man die?  Because of SIN.  Sin is the source of death but because of Christ’s victory at Calvary, my sin has been removed: 1 Peter 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, 2 Cor. 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, 1 John 2:2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. Romans 8:3 God sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man,

In order to have eternal life, I must place my faith in the finished work of Jesus!
The resurrection of Jesus Christ removes the fear of sin’s dominion. Through the new nature that I have through Jesus Christ, sin loses it’s power. Temptation no longer ends in death because He has provided a way of escape according to 1 Cor. 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

So we see that it removes the fear of Deaths destruction. It removes the fear of Sin’s dominion, but what about Life’s Dilemmas?

In 1 Corinthians 15:43 Paul says that apart from the resurrection power of Jesus Christ, we are sown in weakness. But through the resurrection we are raised in power. We are born weak with no power to overcome the many obstacles that we face in life. But the Bible says that all power is given unto those who believe. Though we were dead, yet shall we live.

Many people today are afraid of life. They are afraid of what tomorrow holds for them.  They are so wrapped up in the things of this world, so dependent on material things, that they have no joy in living.  Because Jesus is alive, those who are genuinely seeking Him can face each day with calm assurance.

The women went away from Jesus’ tomb with “great joy”, a great calm and assurance that everything is going to be all right.  For those who know Jesus, life is not dependent on the stock market, employment or economics.  Life is worth living because Jesus is our Life!

You see, the promise of the resurrection is not that there is no death. It is not that God won’t let you or your loved ones die. The promise of the resurrection is not that faith is easy. The promise and the hope of the resurrection is this. That above the greatest storms of your soul, one word is forever etched in the heavens. The word “Nevertheless” Nevertheless says that when it’s all gone wrong, that is not the final word.
Listen. The most important thing we can learn today is this. Easter is not great for us because it makes us feel good, with all it’s pageants and singing and beautiful new dresses and new bonnets, and the music and the sunshine and the birds and the flowers and the baskets full of chocolate eggs. Easter is great because it is God’s great nevertheless in a life full of uncertainty. And we need that hope this morning and every morning.

Easter gives us the promise of a new day. A day in which Fear is neutralized. It is also the promise of A Day in Which Faith is Personalized

“COME, SEE” said the angel. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ Must be personally experienced.  The Angel invited these women to see for themselves that Jesus was alive. YOU must experience the Resurrection for yourself.  It cannot be experienced for you. The faith of the women in the resurrection was not enough for the disciples; the disciples had to see for themselves that Jesus was alive.

The experience, if valid, will change your life
2 Cor. 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

All you need is to experience the reality of the resurrected Christ! The Resurrection is a truth that can be experienced.  It is not some dry, dusty point of ancient theology.  It is a relevant truth that will change your life. So many in our broken, messed up world desperately need to experience that reality today. Jesus says, “Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. He did not say come unto me so that I can give you some more bondage or a new load of religious rules that you must live by. He calls us to come to Him and experience His life empowered by His resurrected strength in us.

This is a new day. A day in which death is neutralized and Faith is personalized and most importantly its a day in which the Faithful Are Mobilized.

“GO QUICKLY, AND TELL” v. 7, 10 This is the responsibility of every person who has met the resurrected Christ. Those of us who claim to be followers of the Resurrected Christ ought to be excited, just as these women were, about telling what we know! He’s alive! And He lives within my heart! And He wants to live in the heart of every person who will by faith receive Him! Too often, I believe, our experiences with Christ are just empty ritual. They have no real impact on how we behave or how we live. The resurrection of Jesus changed the lives of those early followers of Jesus. It gave them boldness; it removed their fear. They were not afraid or ashamed to tell others that “He’s alive”! Are we doing the same?

May it be different this Easter. My it be different this month. May we leave this page so moved by the reality of the resurrection of Christ that we will be compelled to go and tell. May our response to what Christ has dome for us be as that of Paul’s 2 Cor. 5:14-15 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 20 We 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. 6:1As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.”

I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

Happy Easter!
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TETELESTAI – “It Is Finished”!


It-is-finished

It is Finished! The Courage of the Cross.

As we prepare and contemplate the events of this Holy Week I want to draw your attention to the penultimate cry of Jesus on the Cross. Of the many lessons that Christ taught us through His life on earth, here is one that resonates in all of us spoken at His death. “It is finished.” His first recorded words were, “Should I not be about my Fathers business?” Among His last were “It is finished”

Several years ago, Simon and Garfunkel wrote a song about a poor boy who went to New York on a dream and fell victim to the harsh life of the city. Penniless, with only strangers as friends, he spent His days “laying low, seeking out the poorer quarters where the ragged people go, looking for the places that only they would know.”

Easy to picture him there. Looking for work and finding none he dreams about going somewhere “where the New York winters aren’t bleeding me, leading me home.” He thinks about giving up, going home. Quitting. Something that he never believed he would do. But just when he is about to give up, he encounters a boxer.

The words go:

In the clearing stands a boxer and a fighter by his trade, and he carries a reminder of every blow that laid him down or cut him till he cried out in his anger and his shame – “I am leaving, I am leaving!” but the fighter still remains.

Those who remain like the boxer are a rare breed.

A colorful character in the world of heavyweight boxing was a close friend of mine, Gerrie Coetzee, three time WBA heavyweight champion of the world, taught me first hand the resilience and tenacity of a boxer. He had a flaw which would be any boxers’ worst nightmare. He had brittle bones in his wrist that were broken in almost every fight he had. He once gave me a plaster cast that was removed from his fist after one of these repairs. Many of his championship fights were won with broken hands. Gerrie would never give up! Though many times his cry may have been the same as the boxers in the clearing, but the fighter still remains.

Our human tendency is to quit before we cross the finish line.

Our inability to finish what we start is seen in the smallest of things.

A partly mowed lawn

A half read book

An unfinished letter

An incomplete degree

An abandoned diet

A car up on blocks

An Expired Gym membership

Or it shows in life’s most painful areas.

An abandoned child

A faded faith

A job hopper

A wrecked marriage

An un evangelized world.

If I’m addressing someone who’s considering giving up, I hope I can encourage you to remain. I want to encourage you to remember Jesus’ determination on the cross.

He did not quit. And don’t think for a minute He was not tempted to.

Wincing as the disciples backbite and quarrel.

Weeping as He sits at Lazarus’s tomb

Wailing as he claws the dirt of Gethsemane.

Watching as small groups of Pharisees, scribes and soldiers secretly plot his death.

Did He ever want to quit?

You bet. Twice that we know of…

That is why these words are so remarkable. “It is finished.”

Stop and think for a minute what it was that He finished. There is one thing of which I am certain. It was not a cry of defeat. It was the cry of a certain victory.

Tetelestai! “It has been finished”

So what is it that has been finished?

In Acts 2:23 Luke says that Jesus was delivered into his sufferings by the determinate council of his Father.

Jesus had said upon entering his sufferings “Father, thy will be done” and he had said earlier in John 4:34 “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work.” Now he is able to say with victory,  “Father it is done.” He had carried out his Fathers will to the enth degree. And it was finished.

What was it that had been finished?

The Old Testament contains no less than 37 prophecies pointing directly to Christ. Seven of these had been fulfilled at Calvary. Now upon receiving the vinegar Jesus realizes that all had been fulfilled and cries out in victory “It has been finished” All has been fulfilled.

What was it that had been finished?

Up till now mankind had been judged under the law. Now the substance had been provided to free man from the burden and the shadow of the law. No more would animal sacrifice have to be made. No more would our access to God be through the priest. The veil of the Temple separating man from the presence of the holy of holies would soon be rent in two. The wall of partition would be taken down. “It is finished.” The price is paid.

What was it that had been finished?

The power of sin is ended by the bringing of an everlasting righteousness.

Dan 9:24 Tells us that “he would finish the transgression, that he would make and end of sins and make reconciliation for iniquity and bring an everlasting righteousness.” The Lamb of God would be sacrificed to take away the sin of the world, and it was done!

What is it that had been finished?

Jesus sufferings were now over. Both those of his soul and of his Body. The storm was over. The worst was past.

All his pains and agonies are at an end and he is going to paradise. He was no longer to be of this world. He had run the race. He had finished the course. Along with this there is an assurance that all who suffer for and with Christ throughout the world must endure for but a little while and then will also be able to say “It is finished!”  “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith and there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord will give me on that day.”

What is it that has been finished?

Finally and above all, the work of mans redemption and salvation is now completed. Full satisfaction has been made to the justice of God.

A fatal blow has been given to Satan and death.

A fountain of grace has been opened which shall forever flow.

A foundation of peace and happiness has been laid that shall never fail.

God’s work is perfect. “When I begin” said He, “I will also make an end. And so in the purchase of our redemption, there must also be an application. He that has done a good work in you, will also perform it to the end. The mystery of God will finally be finished.

Wherever you are in life at this point, let not your heart be troubled! This Holy Week holds a promise for you that can never be broken because it was made by one who is the embodiment of all Truth. His promise is clear that through His Life, Death, Burial and resurrection, there is nothing that can separate us from His love.

Romans 8:31-39

31 So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? 32 If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? 33 And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? 34 Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us – who was raised to life for us! – is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. 35 Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: 36 They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. 37 None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. 38 I’m absolutely convinced that nothing – nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, 39 high or low, thinkable or unthinkable – absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

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Farewell Facebook!

Here’s my FB Swan Song… I’m sure the flack will fly
The idea that we are improving the race is an illusion. Our race is worse off than its ever been. We pay millions to people who can’t sign their own name. Our youth don’t know who invented Pasteurization. Chivalry was respected and admired, now its labelled chauvinism. Education has been dumbed down to ideas like OBE and ACE. Absolutes are rejected and replaced by situational ethics and Nihilistic hogwash. Real heroes don’t exist beyond that Rock Star or Athlete who couldn’t sign his name. The value of a Whale has surpassed the value of the unborn. Marriage has been redefined from a relationship between Adam and Eve to one with Adam and Steve. When we gave lip to Aunt Jemima she slapped us in the chops and we knew not to do that again. Today our teens are the ones slapping Aunt Jemima in the chops.
Oh, we could go on… But what would it matter. We have gone from generation X, to generation Y, to generation “I don’t care”.
In the beginning, God created man as a marvelous, near perfect specimen. He knew all things. Knew the names of every constellation, was able to name every creature, fauna and flaura. What he didn’t know he could simply ask God in the evening, because he walked in communion with God. He knew God. But something went wrong. The Bible says that man sinned against God, and this sin had a debilitating effect on man. You see sin when it is full grown produces death. But in the process it produces many forms of insanity. Man began to degenerate, and we live not in the best world that ever was, but in the worst world that ever was. In fact the bible also says that man by his own efforts will continue to deteriorate until things become so bad, that it will be called the great tribulation. The Bible also says that things will be so bad in that day that unless those days be shortened, there should no flesh be saved.
Happy New Year!
Welcome to our future…

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