Colossians 1:15-20 Our text teaches us that real peace is a Priority to God and that real peace is Expensive and we need an Ally.
Dear family and friends, I will be off the grid for the next two weeks and I will not be posting. Thank you for your prayers and love support as we endeavor to grow into the likeness of Christ Jesus our Lord.
Consider the price that was paid to purchase our peace. The Son of God had to leave the glory of heaven, descend into a fallen and corrupt world, take on the form of a helpless baby, walk countless miles over deserts and dusty roads, submit to mocking, beating and torture, and shed his own life’s blood on the cross.
Ken Sande in his book Peacemaking he made this comment: As the only Son of God, Jesus’ life and blood was infinitely precious. If his atoning work could somehow be converted into pure gold, all the vaults in the world could not hold the resulting treasure.
Why would God be willing to pay such a high price for our salvation? He tells us over and over in Scripture: it is love that moved him to pay the supreme price for our peace and salvation.
1 John 4:9-11 9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.
As this kind of love flows through our veins, we will be willing and even eager to pay whatever price is necessary to be reconciled with others, just as Christ Jesus paid an infinitely expensive price…his very life! to be reconciled with us.
Remember conflict is most often two sided as Jesus tells in
Matthew 7:3-5 3 "And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own? 4 How can you think of saying to your friend, 'Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye.
Are we willing: to overlook and offence when we can; to talk to someone who has offended before the conflict begins; to help other through reconciliation whenever possible? Three conditions to overlooking an offence: When I take time to pray and realize the offence was my issue; when there is no serious harm to God’s reputation, to others or the offender; when the offense is not a part of a destructive pattern. Are we willing to stop dwelling on what others have done wrong and confess, in detail and with sincere sorrow, how you have contributed to a conflict or broken relationship?
The Scriptures point out
Philippians 2:3-4 3 Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
The expense of real peace is something we will all deal with. Some of the questions that have come up as people walk trough promoting real peace are things like: Will you admit that others may understand a conflict situation more accurately than you do? Will you give as much effort to identifying and meeting their interests as you do your own? What about the person who has deeply wronged you? Gossiped about you? Betrayed your trust? Failed to keep a commitment? Damaged your property or reputation? What price will you pay to encourage that person’s repentance and restore peace in your relationship? Will you let go of bitterness? Will you give up self-pity? Will you deny yourself of the desire to make that person suffer for the wrong he or she has done to you?
Dear brothers and sisters, Jesus paid a far greater price to secure your forgiveness from God! His love gladly overflowed in the supreme sacrifice. He now invites you to overflow with the same kind of love and glad sacrifice -- not as a way to repay a debt, but as a way of joyfully reflecting and celebrating the love of Christ in your life.
Real peace requires an Ally.
I’m sure all of us would love to overflow with this kind of love and ability to make peace. And yet the price of peace is often very expensive, isn’t it? When we have been deeply or repeatedly wronged, the cost of reconciliation exceeds our meager resources. We have too little love, humility, compassion and forgiveness to cover the damage caused by sin and conflict. This is why real peace requires an ally. We cannot, on our own, fully pay the high price of reconciliation. We cannot wash away another person’s sins. We cannot cleanse our own hearts from bitterness and self-righteousness. In our own strength we cannot forgive as God has forgiven us.
But there is One who can do all these things, and he is eager to come to our side to our back, to our front, to live within us, and bear the full cost of sin, and give us all the support and resources we need to restore peace with those around us. We are promised in
Colossians 1:19-20 19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
God would not be pleased to reconcile two people to himself, but leave them at odds with each other. His reconciliation is all-encompassing. Therefore, Jesus is eager to come alongside each of his children and become our ally in pursuing peace with others.
We are also promised in
Philippians 2:13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
Real peace is expensive and we have an ally who is eager to see us make peace with others. Jesus gives us the way to real peace:
Mark 8:34-35 34 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.
Matthew 11:28-30 28 Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light."
Jesus our ally is not distant nor passive. He is near you, and he is ready to place all of his resources at your disposal. Your ally is ready to come to your aid. Seek his counsel; bank on his limitless resources; trust that he will never leave your side as you seek peace with others.
Real peace refers to the inner tranquility and calm composure of the Christian whose trust is in God through Christ. The peace that Christ Jesus taught is a combination of hope, trust, and quiet in the mind and soul, brought about by reconciliation with God. We understand that Jesus brings peace into our lives. A peace that surpasses all understanding. The peace that is given to Jesus’ followers is to be used to help others come to the same saving knowledge of Christ Jesus that they have. This peace is a tool that can be used to bring reconciliation between people and God and between people.
15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
16 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can't see– such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So, he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ's blood on the cross.
In this passage, God provides a robust, promising, and exhilarating formula for real peace. His answer to humanities hunger for peace may be summarized in five key principles. Today we look at the first one.
The first principle is that real peace is a priority to God. (Colossians 1:19-20; Matthew 5:23-24)
Peace is such a high priority to God that he sent his only Son, the most exalted and powerful ambassador who has ever walked the face of the earth to bring peace. And this was no casual or last-minute assignment. The plan began way back as Peter tells us in
1 Peter 1:18-20 18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. 20 God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last days.
God’s priority for peace is emphasized by the fact that he planned for reconciliation even before the world and all our conflicts came into existence! Since God has made peace one of his highest priorities, he calls us to do the same. He does not want us to treat separation from him or others as an insignificant matter. He expects us to make more than a token effort to seek peace with others. Jesus teaches us never to delay going to someone who may have something against us. In fact, his priority for peace is so high that Jesus tells us to seek reconciliation with others even before we seek to worship God himself!
Matthew 5:23-24 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
What more could God say to indicate how high a priority he places on peace? He sent his most exalted ambassador to make peace on earth.
Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Consider why we are care
2 Corinthians 5:19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.
We have the message the world needs to hear; peace that they seek is found in reconciliation with the who gives them the very breath they breath. We care because it is God’s will for our lives to proclaim the wonderful message of reconciliation.
Consider the process to peacemaking in
Matthew 18:15-17 15 "If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. 16 But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. 17 If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won't accept the church's decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.
Notice that the process is restorative. Ever step in the process of discipline, that is what we are doing here, is bringing restoration to a relationship. We are to be restoring relationships in all our efforts as Followers of Jesus.
By his example and commands, God has placed peace at the top of his list of priorities. Let us do likewise!
Back in 2007 Garfield Christian Fellowship began a journey. We began to realize that there was little peace living within the family of GCF. We realized that our understanding of peace, as Jesus describes it, did not really exist in our midst.
John 14:27 "I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So, don't be troubled or afraid.
Looking for answers to “real peace” as Jesus describes we found the book by Ken Sande, “The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict.” © 2004, Baker Books. Everything that will be shared over the next 6 or so weeks can be found in this book and the small group study that is used with the book.
The purpose of this study is to inspire believers to see God’s priority and passion for peace, and to firmly establish the Gospel of Christ, the Rule and Reign of Jesus, as the foundation of real peace (Ken Sande, sermon notes 2004).
People are hungry for peace!
As I was preparing to review peacemaking in 2012 and again today 2020, I went to Google to see how many times the word “peace” is used to reference articles on the internet. To my surprise, Google reported 227,263,000 cites related to peace in 2012 and today there are 1,520,000,000 pages one could sift through to search out peace. I narrowed the search to “peace of heart” and found 899,000,000 results. People are hungry for peace!
In our fractured world today so much blame is cast on people groups for not bringing peace: the conservative is blamed because they have not conserved anything and the liberal is blamed because they haven’t liberated anything. When in fact there is no person or people group that could produce peace, at least not “real peace.” Peoples approaches to real peace are described all too well by God’s charge in
Jeremiah 6:14 They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, saying, 'Peace, peace!' When there is no peace.
Fortunately, we don’t need to sort through 1.5 billion pages on the internet to find the path to real peace. Through God’s Holy Scripture, He has graciously and repeatedly described the one and only path to genuine, lasting peace. Let’s define “real peace” from a biblical perspective, since what man has tried to do over the centuries has not worked. Peace is a word with several different meanings in the Old and New Testaments.
In the New Testament, peace often refers to the inner tranquility and calm composure of the Christian whose trust is in God through Christ. This understanding was originally expressed in the Old Testament writings about the coming Messiah (Isaiah 9:6-7). The peace that Christ Jesus spoke of was a combination of hope, trust, and quiet in the mind and soul, brought about by reconciliation with God.
(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
Real peace is brought about by reconciliation with God, through Christ Jesus. Real peace is inner transformation before it is an outward realization. Real peace is the work of Truth, Christ Jesus, in our lives.
Such peace was proclaimed by the host of angels at Christ's birth
Luke 2:14 "Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased."
Such peace was proclaimed by Jesus Himself in His Sermon on the Mount and during His ministry.
Matthew 5:9 God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.
Jesus also taught about this kind of peace at the Lord's Supper, shortly before His death
John 14:27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So, don't be troubled or afraid.”
The apostle Paul later wrote that such peace and spiritual blessedness was a direct result of faith in Christ
Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.
The pathway to real peace is beautifully described in our text for the next several weeks
15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, 16 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can't see– such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. 17 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. 18 Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So, he is first in everything. 19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ's blood on the cross.
In this passage, God provides a robust, promising, and exhilarating formula for real peace than do all the millions of articles, speeches, and books written by people since the world began. God’s answer to our insatiable hunger for peace may be summarized in five key principles.
Good morning, I pray you had an enjoyable Independence Day celebration yesterday. One of the the opportunities we have as followers of King Jesus is to know the Scriptures and be able to, through the power of the Holy Spirit remember and practice the wisdom God has given us through the Scriptures. In these crazy times here is one to commit to memory.
Philippians 4:8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Unity is the Body
15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, 16 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can't see – such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. 17 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. 18 Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So, he is first in everything. 19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ's blood on the cross.
4 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.
We in the West understand the "efforts" we make, in the body, to be an individualistic attempt to make thing work as a body. For instance, if I do my part and each person does his/her part things will work together. We will be unified as long as each person does his/her part. What we read in the Scriptures is that Jesus is the head, meaning He is the director, equipper, sustainer, of all things… Vs Col 1:18 So, he is first in everything. It is Jesus working in us individually so that unity is obtained and maintained. In Acts we find this in action! (Acts2:42-47-community, 4:32-36-sharing, 6:1-7-deacon).
When we read the forming of the church, the Body of Christ, in Acts; Ephesians 4 and Philippians 2 it is imperative that we keep them in context with Colossians 1, John 15, Jesus is the source of our faith, strength, and growth so that we are always humble, gentle, allowing for other’s faults, and that our efforts to keep united is a reality. When we think of the Kingdom of Heaven work God is doing, we remember we are grafted into the vine and apart from Jesus we can do nothing. Last week we spent time looking at what is means to work in the Kingdom of Heaven, it is about bearing good fruit (Fruit of the Holy Spirit) and about being co-workers (what God is doing in us) to join Him in what He is doing. Nothing to do with my individual might or strength. The individual development of someone is not so that “I” stand out, it is so that the Church, God’s people, function as one and we stand out. 1 Corinthians 12:12-21 gives us insight to the oneness.
1 Corinthians 12:12-21...One Body with Many Parts
12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So, it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.
14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, "I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand," that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, "I am not part of the body because I am not an eye," would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?
18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21 The eye can never say to the hand, "I don't need you." The head can't say to the feet, "I don't need you."
When each part of the body is “built together with peace,” the whole body will be one. It is Jesus who brings the peace and it is Jesus who, through the Holy Spirit, maintains the peace that is required for the body to be united. Even now as I am preparing to close for this time together, I find myself beginning to focus on my individual approach to the Kingdom life God has brought to me. When in all reality my focus should be on fulfilling that part of the body for which I have been called, the whole body is built up and full of Love (Ephesians 4:14-16).
Oh, Dear God, thank you for the Light you have brought to our lives. Thank you, that we can seek your heart and mind for the good we so desperately desire. Thank you, that through your Son, Christ Jesus, we have life that is full and complete. Oh, dear Heavenly Father, that you would permeate the life you have given, with such grace and love there is no room nor place for a self-centered view of life as a follower of Jesus our Prophet, Priest and King. Please Lord, empower your children, me included, to die to self, to take on your yoke, and be set free from the entanglements of living for selfish gain. Help us to know what the eye sees, what the ear hears, what the heart receives so that the hands and feet can join you in what you are doing. To you be the Glory for ever and ever, In the Name of Jesus we pray. AMEN
There are always opportunities for us to join God in what He is doing. The Holy Spirit reveals to us God’s work and as children of God, in the Kingdom of Heaven, we are invited to join Him. The work God is doing is about drawing people to Himself. God has drawn you to Himself, through His Son, Christ Jesus and God is drawing others to Himself as well.
Do you notice that God is at work (John 5:17)? What do you notice about what God is doing? What has God asked you to join Him in during these past weeks?
Let’s take some time and pray for your Community
All that we have is a free gift from God (Romans 4:15; 5:16; 6:23), His amazing grace! The great truths of Jesus our Prophet, Priest, and King is that He came fully God and fully man that all of humanity would have the same opportunity to spend eternity in heaven with Him. Also, a wonderful truth is that Jesus is also about life today.
John 10:10 The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
Jesus gives for us today, this very day, the fullest life possible, a rich and satisfying life through Himself.
Pause for a moment and reflect on the life God has given you, through Christ Jesus.
God is at work in you
Joining God is what He is doing is looking at where we can help others come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. God provides many wonderful opportunities for His Church to show His tangible love and grace to others. God has sent His Holy Spirit to fill us with Himself, so that we can join (do good deeds) Him in what He is doing. For instance, in James we read
James 2:14-22 17 So you see, faith by itself isn't enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. 18 Now someone may argue, "Some people have faith; others have good deeds." But I say, "How can you show me your faith if you don't have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds. … 26 Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.
The words “good deeds” from the original text is karpophoros (kar-pof-or'-os); and it means figuratively fruit bearing.
(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
Good deeds are about bearing good fruit… We bear/display good fruit because the Holy Spirit produces good fruit in us (Galatians 5:22-23). God, fills us with Himself that we might join Him in what He is doing that is bare good fruit. Our ability to do good deeds comes from God! All glory to Him for all He does! Another Scripture that we can consider is in Philippians.
Philippians 2:12-13 12 Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
Main Word for “show the results” or “working out” is katergazomai (kat-er-gad'-zom-ahee); do work fully, i.e. accomplish; by implication, to finish, fashion. This word is made from two words:
First word: kata (kat-ah'); a primary particle; (prepositionally) down (in place or time), in varied relations according to the case with which it is joined: genitive case, dative case or accusative case.
Second word: ergazomai (er-gad'-zom-ahee); middle voice from: to toil (as a task, occupation, etc.), (by implication) in effect, be engaged with, etc.
(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
To work out our salvation in the Scriptural way is to be engaged with and accomplish what God is doing today and all the tomorrows until Jesus comes again. Faith and good works and working hard to show the results of our salvation is completely reliant upon God doing His work in us that we would join Him is what He is doing for others.
This work that God is doing in you, so that you can do what pleases Him (Ephesians 2:13), is done so that others might come to know Jesus in real, personal, and practical ways. God is always at work and in His un-slumbering way, as the Psalms point out, God is always watching over you (Psalm 121:3-4). He is always at work in you changing your heart’s desires and equipping you (giving you power) to live out the results of your salvation. God’s takes great pleasure in you pouring into others what He has poured into you!
2 Corinthians 5:19-6:2
19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ's ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, "Come back to God!" 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
6:1 As God's partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God's kindness and then ignore it. 2 For God says, "At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you." Indeed, the "right time" is now. Today is the day of salvation.
The reconciling work Jesus did on the cross has been entrusted to us. God has made us partners in His great work of reconciling the world unto Himself. Each of us in the unique and wonderful ways are gifted and equipped by God to be used by God to bring His message of salvation to the world. We are disciple making disciples… Who are you making disciples for?
Numbers 6:24-26 'May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.'
Greetings friends, family, and brothers and sisters in the Lord. I am posting early this week, I just can't wait till Sunday. God is so good!
All that Jesus gives to us, is given through Grace (Ephesians 2:8-10). Jesus brings into our lives so many wonderful things, the most amazing is forgiveness through His Grace and Love. Grace is such a wonderful gift; God giving us what we do not deserve and the fact is – grace is something we cannot earn. The craziest thing to wrap my brain around is that I do nothing to earn God’s Grace. Everything that I have, in Christ, today, tomorrow and into eternity I did nothing to earn it. The healing both spiritually and physically, peace, comfort, love, joy, the ability to laugh in spite of circumstances, and so much more is all because Jesus fulfills all of life’s purposes.
During the isolation, because of Covid-19, I became aware of something that had changed in my body. I am sharing this with you in hopes of bringing encouragement to your life, not to make me look special, good or anything. I share this that God would be glorified and that you would somehow, some way, have your faith strengthened today.
Father in heaven, thank you for the glory you have brought to my life. Oh God, help this encounter with you glorify you in all ways. (John 17:1, Romans 8:17, Romans 8:30).
In 1987, 33 years ago this July, I had a life altering accident. After several surgeries, I found myself needing to start life over. September 19, 1993, I gave my life to God, and Jesus became Lord (Master, Shepherd) of my life. Many prayed for healing for my shoulder over the years and it never got any better. I never gave up, thank you friends, for never giving up as well!
Thank you for all who prayed for me over the years, God is Faithful and Just in all He does. Thank you for always standing beside me and never losing hope. During these years God’s grace became sufficient for all my needs, the shoulder stopped getting worse and never got better. I learned to live a life full of joy, peace, and was very content to be where God had me (still am for that matter). I was fully confident in where God had me physically, His grace is sufficient for all things.
For many years I thought if I just had enough faith (some people even told me my faith was too weak to be healed); if I would just live to God’s potential (I was certain that I missed something); or perhaps if I just loved Him more the shoulder would get better. The problem with these statements is “I.” What God does, does not depend on “me” or “I!” OK, it is time for me to proclaim to a watching world, my shoulder is pain free, it does not swell up when I use my chainsaw, the old hog of a rototiller, a shovel, or anything. There are no longer the sympathetic nerve reactions of electrical shock, cold then hot, or stabbing pain… God, by His marvelous most amazing grace has for some reason healed my shoulder. I noticed this about 5 weeks ago after spending time logging and working in my garden. Thank you, God, all praise and glory to YOU!
God’s wonderful gift of grace has nothing to do with what I have to do or offer. I must proclaim again: God healing my shoulder is not about the “I’s” in my life! it is completely about His purposes, His ways, His life, His will. I can take no credit for what He has done in and with the life He has given to me. I am healed in so many different ways; all glory and praise to God whose grace is sufficient for all our needs.
All that we have is a free gift from God (Romans 4:15; 5:16; 6:23), His amazing grace! The great truths of Jesus our Prophet, Priest, and King is that He came as God and as man that all of humanity would have the same opportunity to spend eternity in heaven with Him. Also, a wonderful truth is that Jesus is not just about eternity; He is also about life today. Given for us today, this very day, is the fullest life possible, a rich and satisfying life through Jesus (John 10:10). This rich and satisfying life given, through Jesus, is for God to purpose in us His plans; the plans He has since time began (Ephesians 2:10). The rich and satisfying life comes when the Holy Spirit fills us with Himself and produces in our lives those things that bring satisfaction and contentment in all of life’s situations.
Galatians 5:22-23 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
As these fruits are produced in us, the glory of the Lord shines through us, so that the world comes to know God in and through our lives. Holy Spirit, lead us, comfort us, fill us to over flowing that all these fruits are produced in us. Dear God, as you have poured your glory into our lives, help to glorify You!
Even now as I get ready to post this for all to read, I am second guessing whether I should post this. I wonder if I should have told anyone about this. I don’t want to hurt anyone who has sought healing and are still suffering. Why God, now after all these years? Brother and Sister, my heart hurts for you to be fully restored and healed. Most importantly, my heart is full of joy, peace, and love for you, that you would, through all of life’s circumstances, come to know God in the most personal, real, and practical ways. That you would experience the ripening of the fruits of the Holy Spirit an bring glory to God through your life and that you would open up, every day, God’s gift of Grace and be filled to overflowing with a content and meaningful life.
ALL PRAISE AND GLORY TO HIM WHO SITS ON THE THRONE; KING JESUS!
During the time of isolation God moved in some very powerful ways, the Church rose up and met their respective communities needs with the tangible love of Jesus. All around the world, the Church remained a light to their communities. There are many opportunities to join God is what He is doing. Joseph reminds us Genesis 50:20 that what man/Satan means for evil God can turn to good. The evil is so real in our world today, the “Good,” those things God is doing is far more important and needs to be our focus. Yes, acknowledge evil, give all glory and honor to God who is always at work in our world today (John 5:17).
Our prayer focus is for Pakistan: April 17…Distributed 25 packets of food to those at the brick making factory as it is shut down during the pandemic; May 10…Distributed 25 packets of food to others because of lock down; who lost jobs during the pandemic; May 15… 4 baptisms
From Pakistan: Two Pastors (Name removed for safety) had the privilege of leading these 4 new believers to Christ 4 months ago and were giving them Bible study regularly. Now the new believers were very excited to take the next step of faith in their spiritual journey. Sister (name removed for protection), one of the new believers said, "As I have come to know all about my savior Jesus Christ, why should I delay for more days to publicly declare my choice to follow Him"? Her passionate words of boldness touched our hearts and encouraged us to arrange the baptism ceremony even in the midst of covid-19. Her passion to get baptized reminds me the story of Ethiopian Eunuch when Christ was preached to him. He said," “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?”
Praise God!! All the Glory to our Lord and Savior!! Amen. After the Baptisms we gave them all Bibles copies as Free gifts for them and for their families to read and grow in personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Take a moment and pray Pakistan and Missions work around the world!
It is so good to take time to praise God for the wonderful works He is doing.
Hebrews 10:23-25 23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
One of the ways we can motivate one another to acts of love and good works is to share what God has revealed to us when we meet together. What is God doing in you? What is the Holy Spirit teaching you in the Scriptures? What Truth has Jesus taught that makes Him more real and personal in your life? God is doing in you so that you can be His witness to ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).
If you are up for it take a moment and share in the comment section an adventure God has you on. What has God asked you to join Him in?
PART 2... "Freedom is not free"
Time for a heart inspection/checkup.
The freedom we have to gather and worship the One True God, the God of all creation, was given to us through Jesus, God's one and only Son; His life, death, and resurrection. Jesus brings this freedom into our lives that we might love one another as we are loved by God the Father, God the son, and God the Holy Spirit, who first loved us (1 John 4:18-19). We love one another so that all of humanity might come to know Jesus as Lord, Savior, Prophet, Priest, King (John 13:32-35; Philippians 1:9-11; Ephesians 4:1-6).
1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 12 And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows. 13 May he, as a result, make your hearts strong, blameless, and holy as you stand before God our Father when our Lord Jesus comes again with all his holy people. Amen. NLT
Jesus’ love for us must be so real and practical that our love for one another, the Family of God, and for all people will grow and overflow. We know that Jesus’ action of love was costly; it cost Him His life. Our freedom to love as God loves us was not free. I pray that the words "freedom is not free" never becomes a cliché in the hearts of God’s children. All of the freedom we have is because the penalty for sin has been paid in full for all of humanity by Jesus' blood. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. (Revelation 5:9-10).
We have no room in our lives for hate of people, for causing discord or disunity in people’s lives. The Scriptures tell us: Proverbs 6:16-19
16 There are six things the Lord hates – no, seven things he detests: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, 18 a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, 19 a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family.
Christ Jesus has broken the bonds of these sinful chains in our lives. The love and grace of God should so fill our hearts that all the evils of our enemy, Satan, are squished out of our lives. The Scriptures tell us: James 4:7-10
7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. 9 Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
I have heard so many Christians say they are praying for revival, and that is so good, I pray continually for revival to come to my home town and this nation. I was convicted here recently about revival in my own heart. How have I come to God with a repentant heart and sought His prefect ways for my own life? Oh God, that I would humble myself before you and let you search my heart for hatred and squash it out of me!
It is time, brothers and sisters, to Pray/Confession/Repent and get right with God! It is time to have the revival start with you and me! Let us love one another and all people with an over flowing love.
As God’s holy priesthood “May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.” Numbers 6:24-26
The freedom we have to gather and worship the One True God, the God of all creation, was given to us through Jesus, God's one and only Son; His life, death, and resurrection. We are given this freedom that we might love one another as we are loved by God the Father, God the son, and God the Holy Spirit. We love one another so that all of humanity might come to know Jesus as Lord, Savior, Prophet, Priest, King (John 13:32-35; Philippians 1:9-11; Ephesians 4:1-6).
1 Thessalonians 3:12-13
12 And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows. 13 May he, as a result, make your hearts strong, blameless, and holy as you stand before God our Father when our Lord Jesus comes again with all his holy people. Amen. NLT
I pray that the words "freedom is not free" never becomes a cliché in our hearts. Our lives were bought by the blood of Jesus, all of the freedom we have is because the penalty for sin has been paid in full, for all of humanity by Jesus' blood. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. (Revelation 5:9-10).
As we gather to praise and worship, I wish we could all be together. I guess we really are together because Jesus told us that we are to worship God in Spirit and in Truth, so we gather from all over the world to worship our Heavenly Father in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:23-24). Let us bow our hearts before God and praise and worship Him.
Take a moment and go get some bread and a cup of juice(wine), let's share communion together today.
Hebrews 10:19-25 is a Scripture that came to mind as we spent the last 10 weeks in isolation.
Hebrews 10:19-22 19 And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven's Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. 20 By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. 21 And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God's house, 22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ's blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.
Come into the very presence of God, come with a sincere heart. Take a moment and allow the Holy Spirit reveal sins in your life and repent. Come repenting of those things God has shown you are sin, come forgiven and restored.
Because Jesus our High Priest, has made the way for us to go right into the presence of God we were never disconnected although isolated these past weeks. The connectedness we have is a Light to our community, of God Grace and Love. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of unity, kept our hearts united and full of grace and love for one another, so that the world might know that we are Jesus’ disciples (John 13:35). Jesus our High Priest has made a way for all to come into God’s presence, let us come together and worship God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, let us worship the One as He has made us one. Let us break bread and share in the cup together today.
Take a moment and pray and receive the elements of communion.
During the time of isolation God moved in some very powerful ways, the Church rose up and met their respective communities needs with the tangible love of God. All around the world, the Church remained a light to the community.
Hebrews 10:23-25 23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
One of the ways we can motivate one another to acts of love and good works is to share what God has revealed to us when we meet together. What is God doing in you? What is the Holy Spirit teaching you in the Scriptures? What Truth has Jesus taught that makes Him more real and personal in your life? God is doing in you so that you can be His witness to ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Take time to write down some of those things and praise God for the wonder and awe of His presence in your life. If you are willing respond to this post that others might be encouraged by your story.
'May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.'
Rescued by His amazing Grace!
Love you all
I pray the Holy Spirit comforts you as He brings the Truths Jesus taught to mind today. We have within us the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead, Romans 8:10-11, and He, the Holy Spirit, comforts us in all of life's celebrations and trials. Praise God! He has sent His Holy Spirit!
37 Peter's words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, "Brothers, what should we do?"
38 Peter replied, "Each of you must repent of your sins, turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ to show that you have received forgiveness for your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentiles—all who have been called by the Lord our God."
40 Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation!"
41 Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all. NLT
What Jesus does in our lives is so wonderful and awe inspiring, He brings so much to our lives. The wonderful, tangible, and definite things Jesus brings to our lives is all about the roles He has in our life. Jesus helps us to know and live out the Kingdom of Heaven life He offers to all who will accept Him as Lord. Christ Jesus, the Messiah, clearly indicates that He was anointed to His great redemptive work as Prophet, Priest and King for our lives. The following are some thoughts and ramblings of a guy who has been transformed by the redemptive work of Jesus. I pray The Holy Spirit brings encouragement, hope, peace, and joy to your life as you grow in your relationship with God.
Jesus our Prophet brings clarity to living out the truths of Scripture. Jesus makes the why and how of living out the scriptures real and practical.
Jesus our King rules wisely, justly, and righteously. He is the perfect representation of God. He leads with Mercy, Grace, and Love, showing us that leading others is about deeply caring, building up, and protecting.
Jesus our High Priest, offered once and for all times, for all people, His life to pay the price for all sin. The one who never sinned, although He walked as man, willing gave His life, that is He died, for all of humanity to have the opportunity to enter eternity with God.
Jesus sits in the place of power at the Father’s righthand, and when the Father looks at us, He sees His creation just like He made it, because Jesus has offered to God the final sacrifice to restore us and all of creation to Himself.
This is a good opportunity to remind ourselves of how Jesus becomes all three of these in our life. Each of us are born into a broken world of destruction and despair because of disobedience. The disobedience of one man, Adam, brought sin into the world. The life and death of Jesus, has brought restoration and life back into the world (Romans 5:12-21). Because of the sin of Adam, all have sinned and are in need of savior and because of the righteousness of one man, Jesus, we all have the opportunity to live as God intended. It is God who loved you first and through this love sent His son that you might have life now and into eternity (John 3:16-17; 1 John 3:16-17; 1 John 4:9-10; John 10:10; Romans 3:23-26; Romans 6:23). Simply put, humanity is full of sin and Jesus is the one who breaks the bondage of sin, and creates for us a place heaven.
Our relationship with God can be restored through Jesus. Knowing that living a life of sin separates us from God and that through Jesus we are made right with God brings us to set of cross roads. Do I believe I have a sin problem and have the need of a savior, or not? Many say “no” and some say “yes.” One very amazing thing is that you get to choose; God choose to give His one and only Son, so that you can choose life. The choice is yours to make. Believe in your heart God raised Jesus from the dead and confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and you are saved (Romans 10:9-13), really simple. We all have a sin problem, when we realize it repent (let God know you know) of your sins, ask God to forgive you and God will forgive (1 John 1:8-10 Psalm 103:10-13). Remember that repentance is not about a distance from God, is a about a direction; choosing God’s direction is confessing “I need Jesus as my Savior” and turning to follow Him for the rest of this life and the life to come.
To have Jesus be Prophet, King, and Priest of your life is really that simple, although very hard; making the right choice is most often difficult. It is by faith that we accept this truth, “I need Jesus,” and it is by faith and faith alone that we believe and confess that Jesus is the only way to true life today and into eternity (Romans 5:1-2). If you are reading this and have not confessed your need for Jesus, why not? If you are reading this and you have confessed your need for a Savior and yet aren’t living for Jesus, why? Why not take a moment and let God know your need, confess your sin, ask God to help you repent, and let His forgiveness fill your life full of Love and Grace? Why not? The desire to confess sin, the desire to follow Jesus, the faith needed to repent comes from Jesus, the one who imparts God’s Holy Truth into our lives; our Prophet, Priest and King.
Let’s get back to Jesus and what He brings into our lives. All that Jesus gives to us, is given through Grace (Ephesians 2:8-10). He brings into our lives so many wonderful things, the most amazing is forgiveness through His Grace and Love. Grace is God giving us what we do not deserve, that is we cannot earn it. The craziest thing to wrap my brain around is that I do nothing to earn God Grace. Everything that I have, in Christ, today, tomorrow and into eternity I did nothing to earn it. The healing both spiritually and physically, peace, comfort, love, joy, the ability to laugh in spite of circumstances, and so much more is all because Jesus fulfills all of life’s purposes. All that we have is a free gift from God (Romans 4:15; 5:16; 6:23), His amazing grace! Jesus, came as God and as man that all of humanity would have the same opportunity to spend eternity in heaven with Him. Jesus is not just about eternity He is also about life today. Given for us today, this very day, is the fullest life possible, a rich and satisfying life through Jesus (John 10:10).
The Scriptures point out that in Christ Jesus there is newness of life; the old life is gone and a new heart, mind, and purpose are born within us (Romans 5:18, Romans 6:13, Colossians 2:11-12). All the good that is produced in this new life is because Jesus is in this new life. Jesus dwells within us (Truth fills our life, born again), we dwell in Him (The penalty of sin is paid for, once and for all time), and Jesus dwells within the Father (Mercy, Grace, and Love are fulfilled); we are surrounded inside and out with what God has for us (Holy Trinity). We begin to fulfill those things God has for us because we become more and more like Jesus as He fills us and surrounds us with Himself.
Look carefully at the illustration above; where are you in this picture?
Jesus in you, you in Jesus, Jesus in the Father... (John 15:1-17; John 10:38)
Jesus our Prophet, Priest, and King is all we need to be the Church. He demonstrated for us the Way, the Truth, and the Life we are to live, then He died and rose from the dead demonstrating His complete full authority over all of creation. Jesus the “Anointed One” brought to our lives complete and full restoration to God the Father; nothing is left undone. Jesus then sent from heaven, to us, the Holy Spirit; who now fills us with comfort and Truth as He teaches us the very things God wants us to join Him in. As an individual we are complete in Christ, as a Church we are complete in Christ. As an individual we are given gifts, as a Church we are given gifts.
One very important aspect of living the Kingdom Life, God has designed for us, is to remember that what we are given as gifts and talents is for the benefit of each other and the world around us. All we are given, in Christ, is to be given away for the benefit of others (1 Corinthians 12:7). This brings us to the conclusion of our time exploring who the person of Jesus is: Prophet, Priest, and King. Living in the Kingdom of Heaven, in the New Testament era has aspects of the Old Testament life woven into it. We function today as God’s people with a complete fulfilled Law, a complete fulfilled relationship with God and each other, a complete fulfilled life to come. All because God first loved us!
Jesus our Prophet, establishes in the New Testament church the prophetic office. There is a distinct order of prophets (1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 2:20, 3:5, 4:11-13) outlined for us. They are different from the "teacher," whose primary purpose was/is to impart truths already revealed.
As Jesus fills us with His truth, we begin to understand how the newness of Life changes us. We are no longer defined by our past, we are defined by our future. Our identity becomes Kingdom centered and we live out the Way of Jesus, because He has made Truth real.
Jesus our High Priest fulfills all the requirement of God’s priestly order so that we can offer up to God our sacrifices of praise and worship without a mediator. The priestly order is carried out in the church today; not in the same way as the Old Testament, but carried out non the less. Through the mediation of Christ Jesus, we, as a holy priesthood, offer spiritual sacrifices to God (1 Peter 2:4-12; Hebrew 13:15-16). Our sacrifices are the praises we give to God and the very way we live out our lives serving others. Jesus brings to our lives purpose, He defines our destiny, that is to worship and praise our Heavenly Father and pour into others what God has poured into us.
Jesus our King lived out for us and explains the very nature of leadership for the New Testament Church (Matthew 23:5-12; John 13:12-17). Through the life and teaching of Jesus, the Kingdom of Heaven has come. Given to us is the way we lead and guide others into Kingdom living. We, as Jesus expands our capacity, live out the Kingdom life where He brings to our lives ruling authority in the Kingdom. The people of God are called kings in the Scriptures (Daniel 7:22,27; Matthew 19:28; Revelation 1:6). Jesus the head of the Church leads and guides all authority for all time.
I pray you are encouraged as we have been on this journey together. I understand that there is so much more to learn and grow in my understanding of Jesus as Prophet, Priest, and King. I pray that more questions are formed and more searching begins as we continue to walk the Way of Jesus our Lord and Savior. I am very excited to continue to learn what the Kingdom of Heaven living has for us in the generation. May you experience God the Father, Christ Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit in real, personal, and practical ways more and more.
Now may the God of peace – who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood – may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Electronic Database Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.
Easton's Bible Dictionary, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.
Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers
Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.
Meet the Rabbis: Rabbinic Thought and Teachings of Jesus, Brad H. Young ©2007, Baker Publishing Company.
A Primer on the Empowering Works of the Holy Spirit, Philip J. Noordmans © 2018, Kindle Direct Publishing.