—————————————————————–JESUS AND YOU
2 Corinthians 5:10: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,
We must each (individually) stand “before the judgment seat of Christ”. This is not communal; you stand alone before Christ the Judge while many witnesses look on.
2 Corinthians 5:10: that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
You will be rewarded for obedience during the time you spent as a christian on earth.
2 Corinthians 4:17: our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
You want this “weight of glory”. What is it? The Amplified Bible says, “an everlasting weight of glory (beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!)” Repeat: You want this “weight of glory”.
How do you get it? Paul is saying that it is “light affliction” that brings us this “weight of glory”. What did Paul mean by ‘light’ affliction? He wrote, “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed”. (2Cor.4:8,9) This is ‘light’ affliction!?
Yes, compared to the “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” his afflictions were small indeed.
2 Corinthians 4:17: which is but for a moment,
Our christian life on earth, compared to eternity, is like a drop in a very large bucket, like a moment in a year of moments. The manner in which we live this one “moment” determines how richly or (comparatively) poorly we will live out our eternity.
If Jesus told you your entire year would be relative to the way you lived your first hour of the year, how do you think you would live it? Yes, you would most certainly live that hour passionately for Him. If you were fully aware that your moment of time on earth determines your eternity in heaven you would likewise live your entire earth-years zealously for Christ.
2 Timothy 3:12: Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
You must understand that this is a promise, as much so as “Give, and it will be given to you”, or “Seek, and you will find”. You cannot “live godly in (obey, follow after) Christ” without persecution. This, too, is a package deal.
You may ask, “Why are christians around me not suffering persecution?” If they are not it is because they are not living intensely for Christ, but for someone or something else.
Matthew 5:11,12: “Blessed are you when they revile you and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
There are bad afflictions and good afflictions. Bad afflictions could be the flu or cancer or accidents or reaping a bad harvest from bad seeds sown. All of these are conditions Jesus never suffered.
Good afflictions are those that come from serving Christ which could include financial expenses, going without, leaving house and home, being misunderstood, alienation from those living for themselves, persecution from those under the lordship of the way it is.
The good afflictions are treasures “working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” That is why you should “rejoice and be exceedingly glad”. You will be in good company; you will be joined with great men of God throughout the ages, including “the prophets who were before you”, each of whom suffered persecution.
Matthew 6:20: lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
How does one “lay up … treasures in heaven”? There are many ways. Read on….
Psalm 119:11: Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.
An allegiance to the Bible will assure “treasures in heaven”. As a token of agreement with the Bible and a commitment to obey, sign your name at the end of Revelations 22:21 (the end of the Bible). If your signature signifies an earnest determination to obey God’s Word, you will be “a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Mt.7:24); you will not be disappointed at the judgement seat.
Philippians 1:21: to me, to live is Christ,
Live for Jesus.
Because it will be you and Jesus then and there, it should be you and Jesus here and now. No friend or church leader will be there to defend or excuse you when you appear before the Judge. Do not serve Jesus through any man or human agency; rather serve Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Do not look to others to determine how deep your commitment to Christ should be. Do not lean on others to direct your life…. your giving, your good works, your time.
Galatians 1:10: do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
You must repent of any tendency to be a man-pleaser.
1 Thessalonians 5:21: Test all things; hold fast what is good.
Test all things you do by habit or simply because others do them. Compare them to Scripture, leaning on “the Spirit of truth” to guide you. Test your heart, your motives. “Hold fast” to that which passes the test; renounce those things that do not.
Romans 12:2: do not be conformed to this world,
Do not be conformed to That’s Just The Way It Is!.
1 Corinthians 2:2: I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Be consumed with Jesus. Let the theme of your life be Jesus and that which He has done for you. No matter what captivates others, be captivated by the goodness of the Lord and the love He has for you. Glory only in the cross.
Galatians 2:20: I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Like Paul, you can say Christ “loved me” and Christ “gave Himself for me”. The life you live, “live by faith in the Son of God”. Not only will life on earth be meaningful, but your eternity will be so very rich.
1 John 1:3: that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
John and Jack have had strong ties within their fellowship, they and their families, for many years. They have always responded to each other’s needs. When John’s union was on strike Jack was there to help financially. When Jack broke his leg skiing John helped maintain his yard and run errands. Over the years they worked together within their fellowship to raise money to pay for braces for crippled children and together collected canned food, distributing to needy families.
You might envy this sustained friendship and assume since they have a strong and loving relationship with each other, they each must have a wholesome relationship with Christ. But neither John nor Jack (both fictional) are christians. They don’t like Jesus and they don’t like those who do. They would both resent someone implying they had a need to be ‘saved’. Do they not demonstrate love to one another? Are they not gracious to each other? Have they not done many good works through their secular charitable society?
Brothers and sisters in the Lord may have a quality relationship with each other, but that doesn’t necessarily indicate a viable relationship with Christ. Amen?
John 15:5: I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me,
In a sense everyone, christian or non-, is a branch abiding in something or someone. To abide means to relate to, be sustained by, obtain satisfaction from, be in touch with, rely on.
Not all christian branches abide in “the vine” (the Vine). Many abide in fellow “branches”; others abide in themselves. Christians abiding in each other think that’s the way it should be. But it’s not.
Christians are to relate to each other, fellowship with each other, but abide in Christ. Fellowship with each other must be in Christ, or we are no more advantaged than John and Jack.
Most fellowships within evangelicalism ignore Jesus, not totally but mostly, and are oblivious to their own spiritual poverty. Good works, plus fellowship with and love for each other, have blinded them, just as they have blinded John and Jack of their need of Christ’s salvation.
1 John 1:3: and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
Fellowship with each other can enhance our relationship “with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” Or…. it can replace it!
“Branches” can be so infatuated by fellow branches they can see, especially those of renown, that they forget about “the vine” they cannot see. This is not an infrequent tragedy. Christians’ idols are most often christians, more so than business, pleasure, comfort, money. Ears are more attuned to the chatter of saved men than the voice of the Saviour.
Hebrews 13:17 (NEB): Obey your leaders and defer to them;
Obey those who give leadership to the degree that you can without disobeying God. Who are “your leaders”? I would suggest they are worthy, proven leaders (elders) who express the will of the Lord. And I further suggest they are those you choose to be your leaders.
They might exhort, for example, “Be kind to one another”. And so you obey, knowing this is what Jesus requires. Or, “Be diligent in good works”. Or, “Feed the hungry, and visit the lonely”. In obeying them, you are obeying Christ.
The early church did not have the New Testament as we do, and the will of the Lord often had to be communicated verbally through elders. Therefore to obey God one had to (in a limited sense) obey leadership. Now that we have the Bible we do not need to depend entirely on others to communicate the will of the Lord to us.
When leadership (or any person) is speaking the Word of God, obey; it is really Jesus, “the head of the church” whom you are obeying. Have an inclination to submit. When leadership says “sit” then sit, when they say “stand” then stand, when they say “sing” sing. I believe Jesus would have us submit whenever doing so is not compromising His Word.
The dilemma will one day occur (for some it will be frequent) when recognized leadership will mislead or step beyond their boundary of authority. Suppose they say something like, “We believe God wants us to build an addition to our church. Let’s all pitch in and finance it.” What then? Should you obey? Let’s look at it….
Matthew 21:23: the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?”
The Father gave Jesus authority. (“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth”. Mt.28:18) The authority is passed on to the believer and is limited to the Word of God. God does not give any person authority to proclaim/preach/teach another word.
Galatians 1:8: But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
Again, no person has authority to impose any commandment or statute or tradition that is not in accord with the Bible. What should your reaction be if this should happen?
Galatians 2:5: we did not yield submission even for an hour,
This was Paul’s response to “false brethren” (Gal.2:4) who tried to impose unsanctioned conditions.
Colossians 2:20,21: why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations—“Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,”
Obviously, there are times when you are not to “subject yourselves to regulations”.
Acts 5:29: Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.
The only alternative to obedience is disobedience. There may be times when obeying leadership is disobeying God. In matters of spiritual concern, obey leadership only when they obey God by speaking God’s truths. In this way you are obeying God Himself.
Look for the Teacher in teachers, the Pastor in pastors, the Leader in leaders. You are not to obey teachers, pastors, leaders, but the Teacher, the Pastor, the Leader.
Galatians 1:10: if I still pleased men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
A christian cannot “be a servant of Christ” while having a herd mentality. And yet a herd mentality is what the way it is promotes. Anything done outside the permission and control of the local assembly is often frowned upon, this code, written or unwritten, enforced in the name of unity and protection of the sheep.
In controlling assemblies (assemblies that do not respect the lordship of the Holy Spirit in the individual’s life) Bible studies, evangelistic outreaches, prayer meetings, etc., must be approved by leadership. And if leadership is dominated by a pastor (if he controls the board of elders/deacons or if they are advisors only) everyone in the assembly is under one man’s control (or at least his immense influence). This is extremely unhealthy.
John 16:13: when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth;
You need to submit to “the Spirit of truth” who alone can “guide you into all truth”. “All truth” includes the fellowship best suited to you, what friends to have, where/how to invest your life.
All of us have embraced error at one time or another, and on every occasion we got ourselves in that predicament because we did not submit to “the Spirit of truth”. (The Spirit brings us into truth, not error.)
John 8:32: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Truth is powerful, and so is error. Walking in truth will bring eternal rewards; walking in misconceptions will bring eternal losses. (“If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss”. 1Cor.3:15) Some of the concepts (beliefs, doctrines) you cling to are true, others are not. The ones that are true “shall make you free”; the misconceptions will have the opposite effect, putting you in bondage. But how can you know which concepts are true and which are false?
It is hard to give up a pet doctrine; therefore we hesitate to check it out with the Word. However, the more we love Jesus, the more we love truth (“I am… the truth”); the more we love truth, the more eager we are to check it out.
Obtaining truth is a process. Deeper commitment to Christ and prayer will enhance that process.
Colossians 4:17: And say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”
Like Archippus, you also have a “ministry which you have received in the Lord”. Your eternal reward will be great if you “take heed… that you may fulfill it”.
You cannot fulfill your ministry except by the power of the Holy Spirit. And that power will be relative to your commitment to Jesus Christ. That is why you must….
Psalm 37:5: Commit your way to the Lord,
“Commit your way to the Lord” and not to men, not even very dedicated men. Don’t commit to a church. Don’t commit to a building project. And certainly not to That’s Just The Way It Is!.
Hebrews 13:15: let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.
Obedience to this verse will assure you will not be embarrassed on that day of accountability. As you know, there is power in praise…. power to change lives, power to sanctify, power to make us effectual.
1 Thessalonians 5:17: pray without ceasing,
We will go no further than our prayer life. And we will go as far as our prayer life. Repeat: We will go as far as our prayer life. Prayers will not be wasted.
Pray that the Lord will help prepare you for that day of accountability.
Proverbs 4:7: get understanding.
Pray for understanding.
Romans 1:17: “The just shall live by faith.”
Pray for ever-increasing faith. Since faith “comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rm.10:17), ask Lord Jesus to increase your hunger for His Word.
1 Corinthians 13:13: faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Pray for love.
Revelation 4:10: the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne,
I believe “their crowns” are crowns of authority, rewards received for obedience on earth. Your obedience, too, will earn you a crown. The love you now have for Jesus is nothing like the love you will have when you see Him face to face in all His glory. Your appreciation for the vicious Roman flogging and Calvary’s cross will be magnified. At that time you will be so very happy to have a crown to cast before “Him who lives forever and ever” as an act of worship.
Acts 5:29: “We ought to obey God rather than men.
Now back to the building project. (“We believe that God wants us to build an addition to our church. Let’s all pitch in and finance it.”) Yes, God could call a people to build.
Some buildings are sanctioned by God and some (most?) are not. What you support financially is between Jesus and you. The Spirit will guide you as you wait upon Him for direction. If you don’t hear anything (and you probably won’t) don’t invest in brick and mortar.
Leadership should say, “We believe that God wants an addition built to our church. If anyone feels this is what the Lord is speaking to you please let us know. Do not finance this project unless you have a witness of the Spirit to do so.” This is faith. This is true leadership.
It was two in the morning, several years ago, and I had just made a firm decision: I want to be a worshipper of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Oh yes, I praised the Lord periodically most days. I love my praise music. And I tried to remember to thank Him for everything. But my praise life was somewhat sporadic and mechanical. I was not satisfied. I realized I had no power to make myself a worshipper, and so I prayed my two a.m. prayer:
“Father, I choose to be a worshipper of Your Son. You gave me a free will, and I hereby exercise my free will by asking You to transform me into a worshipper of Jesus. I cannot make myself a worshipper, but I know You can. I rely entirely upon You and the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Change came, slowly but surely. Now, many years later, I can truthfully say I am indeed a worshipper of our Lord Jesus Christ. At times I praise Him in my dreams, and wake up in the middle of the night with praises to Jesus oozing out of me. It is not something I intentionally do, but praise and worship just happens. I rarely petition Jesus during my alone time with Him in the morning, but simply try to enter into, and remain in, a state of praise.
Now I am not saying I am content where I am. Oh no. I freely admit I am so-o-o-o easily distracted. I find myself saying, “Praise to You Lord Jesus!” out of rote while my thoughts are far from Him. Yet I think I can rightly define myself as His worshipper. He really is my number one. The Father answered my prayer and is still taking me upward.
And I do not neglect the Father. I know He seeks those who will worship Him “in spirit and truth”. I have asked Jesus to make me a worshipper of the Father. I really love the Father. Like really, really, really. My joy is pleasing Him. (This is not to say I always do. Blush.) My prayer is that one day I will be able to say the words of Jesus, “My food is to do the will of Him”. (Jn.4:34)
May this sharing stir you to turn to our Father, as I did and do, asking Him to make you a true worshipper of His Son. Do you remember His words, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”? The Father wants us to be in a constant state of hearing Jesus, the Son He sent to rescue us. The more we attune ourselves to Him, the more we will love Him. The more we love Him, the steadier the flow of praise and worship.
The Father’s Son is worthy of our highest praises. Let us never forget the Roman whip, the crown of thorns, the cross, the nails, the jeers. The more you praise Jesus, the closer you will be drawn to Him; the closer you are, the more fervently you will praise. A continual anthem of praise will gradually turn one’s life upside down (or rather, right side up). In time it will look something like this….
Heaven’s treasures multiplied.
Sin lost its grip.
Temptation lost its lure.
Prayer life empowered.
Ministry doors opened.
Generosity overcomes stinginess.
Will of God realized.
Concern surrenders to trust.
The way it is loses its grip.
The Father well pleased.
Jesus well pleased.
Holy Spirit well pleased.
No one will be totally successful. I am not even close. It’s improvement we seek. We rejoice in ground gained though there will always be ground to gain.
“Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord! Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forevermore! From the rising of the sun to its going down the Lord’s name is to be praised.” (Ps.113:1-3)
———————————————A TRIBUTE TO JESUS CHRIST
a good man
but more than a man
an anointed preacher
but more than a preacher
a wise teacher
but more than a teacher
a true prophet
but more than a prophet
a gentle healer
but more than a healer
a miracle worker
an amazing miracle worker
but more than a miracle worker
a loving saviour
but more than a saviour
a fierce warrior
but more than a warrior
a regal king
but more than a king
he is god
the i am