Saturday, April 14, 2012

God Is Not Silent

"God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a 
more excellent name than they."
Hebrews 1:1-4

God is not silent. He speaks to man so that man might come to know Him. In the Old Testament God spoke through dreams and visions. Sometimes with a direct voice from heaven or through prophets. At times He spoke by writing on a wall, and with signs and symbols. John MacArthur says: "The nature of the Old Testament revelation is that it's all true, but it's not all complete, it builds...the history, the poetry, the laws, the prophecies. God's revelation in many portions through many means begins to accumulate and build until you have the full revelation of the Old Testament which is the preparation of the coming of Messiah." When Christ the Messiah came, God spoke by Him. He revealed Himself through the second person of the Trinity, His Son. Jesus is "the radiance of [God's] glory and the exact representation of His nature." Jesus is the Light, the Brightness of God, the Fullness of God. If you know Jesus, you know God. And everything is held together by the power of His word.  Jesus has all the power of God, because He is God. Only God can cleanse from sin and since Christ "made purification of sins" through His shed blood, Christ is God. Jesus came to reveal God to us, He died to save us, He rose to prove He has power over death and that He lives. Now He sits at the right hand of His Father -- enthroned with God. The Lord is still speaking to us today through His word. The more we study it, the more we will know Him.

Friday, April 13, 2012

He Will Return

And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”
Acts 1:9-11

Jesus bodily rose to heaven, to be seated at the right hand of the Father, a place of honor. When Jesus comes to set up His Kingdom, He will return just as He left -- literally, bodily, and visibly in the clouds.

Daniel 7:13-14:
 “I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations and men of every language
Might serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed."

Matthew 24:30:
And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.

Revelation 1:7:
"BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen."

Jesus will return.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Life In His Name

"Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe 
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; 
and that believing you may have life in His name."
John 20:30-31

The gospel of John is written with one purpose: to show the deity of Christ. John begins with the work and characteristics of the Son of God before the incarnation. He tells us “the Word was God” (John 1:1), he repeatedly calls Jesus the “Son of God” and “Lord and...God” (John 20:28). In John's gospel, Jesus also affirms His deity. In John 8:58 He says “...before Abraham was, I Am” (God called Himself "I Am" in Exodus 3:14). But John also emphasizes Jesus' humanity, challenging the error of a religious sect of his day, the Gnostics, who did not believe in Christ’s humanity. John clearly shows that Jesus not only claimed to be the Christ (the Messiah), the Son of God, but by the many miraculous signs He performed He proved it. The last and greatest of these signs was His resurrection from the dead. John is telling us that God has provided only one way for us to be saved, and that is by believing in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. And by believing this we have the gift of eternal life. "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

By the Word of God

"'Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?' Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them 
the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures."
Luke 24:26-27

The great preacher D.L. Moody once said, “I prayed for faith and thought that some day it would come down and strike me like lightning. But faith didn’t seem to come. One day I read in Romans that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God." I had up to this time closed my Bible and prayed for faith. Now I opened my Bible and began to study, and faith has been growing ever since!" The two men on the road to Emmaus, didn't have the faith to understand the suffering and death of Christ, nor fully believe His resurrection, until Jesus "explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures." If they had been familiar with Moses and the prophets they would have known that the Messiah would have to suffer and die before He would be glorified. We know from the rest of Luke 24 that after Jesus taught them these things their eyes were opened to who He was, and they remarked how their "hearts burned" within them. God's word builds faith. If we want to know Him and have the faith that warms our hearts, we need to spend time studying the Bible. Faith doesn't come like a lightning bolt, but by the word of God.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

He Wrapped Himself in Our Guilt

"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
2 Corinthians 5:21

Scripture is full of verses that attest to the sinless nature of Christ (i.e. Heb 4:15, Heb 7:2,
1 Pet 2:21-22, 1 Pet 3:18, 1 John 3:5).  And this is what made Him the only acceptable sacrifice for our sins. "When it says, 'He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf,' the reference is to the fact that the Lord Jesus was made sin by divine imputation of our guilt.  He was officially guilty with our guilt, is the point.  He voluntarily, from His standpoint wrapped himself in our guilt, and the father meted out upon Him the judgment that was due sinners.' (Dr. S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.).  If you wonder if God loves you, this is the greatest evidence you will ever receive. John 3:16: "For God so loved (put your name here) that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." When we believe that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross was enough to pay for our sins, and place our trust in Him as our Savior, then we immediately become Christ's righteousness.  And when God looks upon us He no longer sees our sin, which requires judgment. He sees His Son's righteousness and grants us His grace.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Christ Has Done It

"All of us like sheep have gone astray, 
Each of us has turned to his own way; 
But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all 
To fall on Him."
Isaiah 53:6

I have heard it said that without a shepherd a flock of sheep will wander and go astray. Isaiah likens our spiritual wandering -- the desire to go our own way -- to straying sheep. And it is "all of us" who do this. Everyone of us. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23). But just as a good shepherd will do whatever it takes to bring his sheep back home, Jesus did what was necessary to bring us back home to God. "I am the good shepherd." He said, "the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep." Sin demands a sacrifice. In Old Testament times, God commanded the Israelites to make animal sacrifices for substitutionary atonement. An animal's death took the place of a person's death, death being the penalty for sin (Romans 6:23). Exodus 29:36a says "Each day you shall offer a bull as a sin offering for atonement,." God's love for sinners compelled Him to offer His Son as the perfect, final sacrifice for the sins of men. When Jesus cried "It is finished" just before He died on the cross, He was declaring that atonement for all the sins of all people for all time had been made. The LORD had caused the sin of all of us to fall on Christ. Jesus' sacrifice made a way for the wandering sinners to come home to God. Every person on earth can accept His gift of atonement and receive God's forgiveness. Hallelujah! It is finished. Christ has done it.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

He is risen, indeed!

"And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him.
Mark 16:6

Throughout history people have rejected the account of Christ's resurrection. Two former skeptics -- Josh McDowell and Lee Strobel -- investigated the facts and became convinced that Christ did, indeed, rise from the dead. They are now His followers.

Dr. Sam Lamerson of Knox Theological Seminary says: "There are so many pieces of evidence for the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ that if we reject the truth of the resurrection, I believe, we must then become total historical agnostics and reject virtually everything that we know about ancient history." According to Lamerson, "There is no ancient historical event that is more certainly testified to both by number of witnesses and by evidence than the resurrection of Jesus Christ."

Why is the resurrection so important?

"We need not wonder that so much importance is attached to our Lord’s resurrection. It is the seal and memorial stone of the great work of redemption, which He came to do. It is the crowning proof that He has paid the debt He undertook to pay on our behalf, won the battle He fought to deliver us from hell, and is accepted as our guarantee and our substitute by our Father in heaven. Had He never come forth from the prison of the grave, how could we ever have been sure that our ransom had been fully paid (1 Corinthians 15:17)? Had He never risen from His conflict with the last enemy, how could we have felt confident that He has overcome death – and him that had the power of death, that is the devil (Hebrews 2:14)? But thanks be unto God, we are not left in doubt. The Lord Jesus really rose again for our justification." (J.C. Ryle)

In the early Church, when one Christian would greet another, often he would say: "He is risen."

And the other would respond, "He is risen, indeed!"

They spoke with certainty and we must do the same. The Lord Jesus has risen from the dead. He is risen, indeed. HE LIVES!

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