IT’S STILL ALL ABOUT ME!
The Kind of Christian I Am!
Some folks believe that trusting Jesus, and becoming His disciple is surrendering life and its potential to a static life of religion. Oh, how the devil delights in spreading that lie! The truth is that in Christ, nothing is lost but the condemnation of sin, and the new life in Him is continuous gain upon gain. Joyfully, in Christ, life is still all about me, but in a much better way! Think with me about this.
Why did God leave heaven and become a man? It was to fulfill the types and promises of the Old Testament, and to pay the penalty of sins on behalf of mankind. He did this for me! You see, it really is all about me!
Why did He provide an everlasting salvation for all who repent of sins and trust Him as the personal Savior, especially me? Oh, yes, it is all about me!
Why did He create the living organism known as His body, the church? He did it that I might learn of Him, grow in grace and knowledge. Yes, it is all about me!
Did He not promise His dear children new life, and a new, incorruptible body, even me? Oh, yes! It is about me!
Does He not give us the opportunity to mature in the faith once delivered to the saints? Will that not qualify us to rule and reign with Him in the age that is about to happen? Does this include me? Indeed! It is all about me!
He will show me how an entire universe may be destroyed and return to the unseen state? I will see how creation is done. Because once resurrected I will ever be with the Lord, I will have a bird’s eye view of the creation of new heavens and a new earth! Hallelujah, it is all about me!
Who then will get to live in the New Jerusalem on the new earth, but his disciples of every age? That includes me! It is indeed all about me! Who then has the joy of studying, praying, coalescing the rightly divided Word that takes one from mountaintop to mountaintop? Among others, it is I! Thank the Lord it really is about me!
Dear reader this is for you, too, because of God’s love. I claim all these blessings for myself within the constraints of the Blessed Word of God because that is the kind of Christian I am!
Luke 24:26, 44-47
“Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?” Luke 24:26.
In the garden, man sinned but it was no surprise to God. He, Jesus and the Holy Spirit already had a plan.
From Genesis through Malachi, the need of a Savior was indicated and foretold. The Law required that every detail be fulfilled and yet, it remained unfulfilled by man—that is, until the perfect sacrifice came (Luke 24:44; Acts 4:12; Heb. 4:15).
Indeed, God cannot lie, therefore He must fulfill His required justice for sin, honor His Law, secure due regard for His kingdom and make a way of pardon for sinners as He promised. Jesus Christ filled all of these requirements.
We can be thankful that Jesus was willing to leave His heavenly abode and be the sacrifice for sinners. And thankful too, that God in His love allowed His Son to bear the burden of sin on the cross, to bear torture, mocking, embarrassment, shame and agony for us. The necessity of Christ’s death was so that “whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:15), and that we might have life abundant while we live for Him.
Friend, the only way that you can benefit from His death, burial and resurrection is to accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.
And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem (Luke 24:47).
“Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury,” John 19:40.
Jesus had many disciples; some of them, because of fear, were afraid to be seen with the others. But when they were needed, they gathered courage and stepped up to the task, while the other disciples slipped into silence. Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus were not well-known but nevertheless were important disciples.
Joseph, a wealthy man and honorable counselor, went to Pilate and begged to bury the body of Jesus. Nicodemus joined Joseph, and together they took the body of Jesus and prepared it for burial. The body was washed, wrapped in linen and spices of myrrh and aloes were tucked into the folds of the cloth.
At some burials a bed of spices was formed and the body was laid on top. We do not know if this is what Nicodemus did with the hundred pounds of spices or not, the Bible does not say. We do know that Jesus was not embalmed and before He could be He had arisen.
In the end, Joseph and Nicodemus found a place of service for our Lord. Yes, even secret disciples can be used by God.
In closed countries there are many secret disciples. Thankfully, in America we have religious freedom—for now.
1 Corinthians 6:14-20
“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s,” 1 Corinthians 6:20.
On this day, we are celebrating Valentine’s Day. We have come to know this day as a day to express our love to those we have deemed worthy of our love. Florists and confectioners alike have prepared elaborate and costly gifts for our beloved ones. However, no one has ever paid as much for a gift as Jesus.
The Father set the price as a pure demonstration of His love. The Son paid it. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9, 10).
The sacrifice of Jesus bought slaves, and set them free; it bought the ugly and made them beautiful; it bought the sick, and made them whole; it bought the castaways and made them family. He bought us for a price that no one else could ever pay. Once and forever, He bought us with His life, His blood, His death and His resurrection. Oh, the love that Jesus has for us!
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not (1 John 3:1).
Galatians 1:3, 4
“Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father,” Galatians 1:4.
Jesus gave His life for us! The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus combined is the fundamental doctrine of the Christian religion and declared it throughout the Bible. Furthermore, it is the reason we do not have to wait until Heaven to enjoy the blessings of being believers! The beautiful reality of the sacrifice of Jesus is that He gave His life for us so that we can give our lives to Him. It is a win-win situation. (Gal. 2:20)
Salvation is so much more than escaping hell. It is having victory over Satan through Jesus while we live on earth (Rom. 8:38, 39). Satan cannot defeat Jesus. He has tried multiple times and failed; he will never win. But Satan can defeat us if we do not let Jesus fight with us. We are not watching the battle from the sideline; we are soldiers in the Lord’s army. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:10, 11). Jesus gave His life so that we can be more than conquerors with Him (Rom. 8:37).
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (Rom. 8:31).
“And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice,” Luke 22:61.
Just a few hours before the Gethsemane prayer meeting, Jesus admonished Peter to pray for spiritual strength, to be on guard because Satan wanted to use him. Peter, like many, depended on his physical strength rather than his spiritual strength. It is better if we depend on God; for when we are weak He is strong, and He will help us when we depend on Him (2 Cor. 12:9). Peter had not yet learned this truth. Admitting our weaknesses is the first step in becoming a stronger Christian.
Most Christians fit into one of two categories: the tested and the testers. The tested Christians have been flat on their backs, either literally or metaphorically, and have learned to reach up and out to God and that He will help them. God is willing and honored when they ask Him to lend them His strength. The testers think that they are stronger than the temptations and trials they face or will face. This false thinking leads down a broken hearted path. Peter seemed to fit into the second category. He learned the hard way that failure has a great cost.
The rooster crowed—Jesus looked straight into the heart of Peter—shame filled his heart and tears filled his eyes.
After a good cry, confession and repentance, Peter became one of the most spiritually strong disciples of Jesus. The change began with the heart piercing, loving eyes of Jesus.
“Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high,” Hebrews 1:3.
Paul, by inspiration, describes Jesus as “being the brightness of his glory,”—God’s glory. We have never seen God, but we have seen the glory of God—Jesus Christ. Jesus is the human form of God. In the Psalms, many verses call or compare Jesus to Light (Psalms 4:6; 27:1; 36:9; 89:15 and many more verses). John calls Jesus the Light (John 1:7-9). In Revelation 22:16, Jesus said that He is the bright morning star.
Jesus is the bright light in a gloomy sin filled world. “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12), and “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Cor. 4:4). Jesus the Son of God came to earth to bring the light of the glorious gospel to a sinful and failing world. He accomplished His mission and returned to Heaven, there He eagerly waits for the Father to proclaim—go get my children.
And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof (Rev. 21:23).
“He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep,” John 21:17.
Pastors, at times, need the same admonishment that Jesus gave to Peter. As a whole, pastors strive to feed the flock every time they teach or preach. But, are they guilty of viewing the flock as merely church members instead of the lambs and sheep of Jesus and themselves as the undershepherd of Jesus? From time to time we need a reminder of the importance of teaching and preaching relevant, Holy Spirit inspired messages to Jesus’ sheep.
Most pastors, like Peter, love Jesus but do they really LOVE Jesus. There is a difference. Pastors like other believers can become cold and indifferent. Their love of Jesus can wane and become stagnant. And, like Peter, they need occasional reminding that they are prone to sin and failure and that the path to rekindling is always open.
Early in the morning, still damp from his swim to shore, Peter must truthfully answer Jesus’ question, “Lovest thou me?” His answer was in his actions. It was after that encounter with Jesus that Peter became one of the strongest, most steadfast and influential of all the disciples.
Pastors, do not be discouraged, see the importance of your position and then feed His sheep and His lambs!
John 12:27, 28
“Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour,” John 12:27.
For a moment, a split second, the humanness of Jesus was troubled. He knew the shame and agony that lay before Him. He, in His infinite wisdom, knew the answer to His own question, “But for this cause came I unto this hour.” His question, “What shall I say?” (verse 27) did not mean that Jesus was doubting the plan and purpose of His death, and certainly not that He was trying to back out. It only proved that He agreed with His Father’s plan.
We as believers are often brought to a crisis of belief—our will versus God’s will. In our imaginations, we conjure up all sorts of buts and what ifs that pull us away from the will of God. This is observed in all walks of life and in the Lord’s churches. God calls young men into the ministry, but the temporary hardships of a seminary education seem like a mountain instead of a hill; and they allow the stress of employment to suppress the will of God. Instead, let us be brave, go forward and follow the will of God by saying, “What shall we say but, yes, after all the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.”
REFLECTION - When God calls you, what will you say?