Posts tagged ‘Son of God’

It is Finished…making Jesus a Liar

John 19:30 – “So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.”

What was finished?  Certainly Jesus’ life here on earth, His life as a man.  Was that all?  No.  It is deeper than that.  What did Jesus come to earth in human form to do? He came to be the once-for-all sacrifice for the sins of the world.  He came as the sacrificial lamb to replace all other lambs and sacrifices previously required by God in the Torah (the Law of Moses) that were intended to be payment for sin.  Once Jesus died on the cross, His single purpose for being here was fulfilled…it was finished.  His sacrifice was over, and there was no need for anyone to sacrifice in anyway again in order to gain salvation from their sins.  Let me say that again because it is vital to faith and salvation.  Here it is, are you ready?  Paying attention?  Look!  Understand!  This is the salvation of the LORD!

THE moment Jesus died on the cross was THE VERY MOMENT that sacrifices on our part, in an effort to cover our own sins and save ourselves by our good works (that is, after all, what sacrifices are) STOPPED.  S.  T.  O.  P.  P.  E.  D.  Stopped.  Ended.  Fine`.  Kaput.  It was finished. 

To continue to sacrifice as a penalty for sin; to pay penance, for example, is to deny the finished work of Jesus on the cross.  It is to call Him a liar.  He said it was finished, but we do not trust what He said.  We do not believe Him.  If we do not believe what He said, that His death was the be-all-and-end-all of mankind’s sacrificial attempts to earn salvation, THEN WE DO NOT RECEIVE HIS SALVATION!  Because we demonstrate that we do not believe that He, Jesus, is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that NO ONE comes to the Father except THROUGH Jesus.  Jesus, the conduit…as the final sacrifice…the only sacrifice that provides the way to salvation and eternity with Him in glory.  To deny the finality and exclusivity of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is to deny His salvation through faith alone.

It is not just that we believe that Jesus is the Son of God.  That He was born of a virgin and was both fully God and fully man.  That He was completely sinless.  That He died on the cross and rose again from the dead.  We MUST accept that His sacrifice was the final payment for our debt.  To continue to pay penance, in whatever form that takes in our lives, is to say that Jesus’ death, His sacrifice, was not good enough.  For we must, obviously, make it better…complete it for Him…do what He, the Son of God, could not do…make a sacrifice of our own to finish what Jesus said was already finished. 

To not accept the sacrifice of Jesus is to mix pagan religious beliefs of ancient times with the true doctrine of Jesus Christ.  It is to say that OUR works, mixed with OUR faith, is what will truly save us.  This is NOT Biblical.  It is contrary to the absolute truth of God’s Word, which says, For it is by grace (extended from God the Father through Jesus the Son at the time of Jesus’ sacrifice, providing the only legitimate path to salvation, the only path accepted by God)…for it is by GRACE that we are save, NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.  Not one of us will get to Heaven and stand before the judgement seat and proudly proclaim how we did it our own way…and be given access to the Kingdom.  Anyone who stands before Jesus with that as their ticket will be told, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.”  It is faith, and faith alone that will save you.  Not a mix of faith and works.  Not a mix of faith and personal sacrifices for our sins…because in doing so, you have denied that Jesus is enough, that He paid it all.  And in the end, you have not had faith at all, for you have not fully trusted Jesus alone for your salvation…you have trusted Him only as far as your own works would take you.

Please.  Today.  I plead with you as the return of Jesus draws near, accept the once-and-for-all sacrifice of Jesus.  Repent from the sin of rejecting His plan of salvation and replacing it with your own.  Seek His forgiveness and rest in the promise that He has then saved you and you will enter into His rest.

WHO IS JESUS?

My Pastor raised this question in church today, and it got me thinking.  Who is Jesus?  I can give the encyclopedia answer.  The pat write-up that would go in Who’s Who.   Jesus Christ, Son of God Almighty.  Born to a virgin mother in a stable.  Grew up in Nazareth around the time that the Christian calendar began.  He was arrested, and died via crucifixion.  Three days later, he rose from the dead, and forty days after that he ascended to Heaven.  Statistics.  Just statistics…well, probably the most important statistics in the history of the world, but that is not my point.

What about these statistics would really drive a person to decide to give their life to following this Jesus person?  I can give similar statistics for any other leader in history.  Why is Jesus so special?  What is it about him that inspires such devotion?

Who is Jesus?

Jesus is everything I need.  Let me break it down further.

Jesus is my best friend, the one I turn to when anything worth talking about, and even not worth talking about, is going on.  He is always there for me.  Always.  I never, ever have to wonder if he will pick up the phone, answer my text, or return my email.  I can talk to him any time, anywhere.  In the dead of night.  In the bathroom.  Doesn’t matter.  I know he is there, and he is listening.

Jesus loves me absolutely unconditionally without the slightest reservation, and he will always do what is best for me.  I never need to feel unloved, or unaccepted.  He loves me always, and even though I will never be good enough for him, he accepts me for who I am.  No make-up, messy hair, pimple on my nose, bad tempered, impatient, selfish, etc., etc.  Doesn’t matter.  Jesus loves me.

Jesus comforts me.  He wraps his arms around me and just holds me.  He listens as I pour out my soul to him.  He fills my heart with a joy that lifts me up and out of the darkest times.  I am never alone.  He shares my sorrow, but he also heals me of it.  When I lost someone dear to me, and I was tormented by that loss, he held me closer than anyone else could, because he understood my pain and heartache.

Jesus is my strength.  I am never unable to do what he asks of me, because he gives me the strength and the courage to boldly do whatever I need to do.

Jesus is my guide.  Yes, I do listen for his voice, and do as he commands.  He has yet to steer me wrong.  And actually, I have no fear that he ever will, because he is honest and true, and, going back to my first point, he loves me.

Jesus is my light in the darkness.  When I don’t understand, he helps me to get it.  He clears up the mud in the mess that is my heart and mind.

Jesus is my Redeemer and my Savior.  I am sinful.  I do bad things, think bad things, say bad things.  It’s a fact of my life.  Jesus is my hero.  He was able to live in this world, in a human body, all the way through childhood, adolescence and well into adulthood without ever doing a single bad thing, thinking a single bad thought, or saying a single bad word.  He never sinned.  Not once.  Not half a sin.  Never had even a whoops-that-was-close-almost-lost-it-there close call.  He was perfect.  So without any sins of his own, he took the punishment I deserve.  He covered himself with the guilt and shame of my sin, and allowed himself to be crucified, tortured, brutally murdered.  Why?  So that when my body dies, my soul will still be able to live in Heaven with him.  Without his sacrifice, there is no way I could be perfect like him and make my way into Heaven.  I’m just not good enough.  No matter how hard I try.  And if I’m not good enough to get to Heaven, the other option is Hell.  Jesus saved me from Hell.  I am grateful beyond words!

Jesus is my hope.  Without Jesus, this life, in this world, would be worthless.  Absolutely, unequivocally worthless.  Because I have Jesus in my life, I know that my life has meaning.  It has purpose.  It is worth the life and death of the Son of God (Jesus), and it has a future, even after I am dead and gone…because only my body will die.  My soul will go to live forever, face-to-face, in the presence of this same Jesus who’s Spirit is with me every moment of every day right now.

Jesus is my Lord, my King, my God.  I bow to him.  I worship him.  I praise him.  I honor him.  I serve him.  And I love him as much as I am able.

As I have been writing this, I have occasionally looked back over the words.  I have realized that there is no way I can truly describe for you who Jesus is to me in a way that you can comprehend if you don’t have Jesus for yourself.  I know who he is, not just the statistics, but the meat of who he is, because his Holy Spirit has reached down into my soul and filled me to overflowing with his love.  I am complete because I have Jesus.  There is no emptiness to fill.  I don’t wonder who I am, or why I am here on this earth.  I never wave my hand at the sky and say, “I know there is a god out there somewhere, but I don’t know where he is or what he’s about.”  Because I know THE GOD.  I know JESUS, personally.  We are tight, he and I, like those proverbial intertwined fingers.  Where he leads, I follow, and where I am, he is.  He really, truly is everything to me, and I couldn’t live this life without him.  I need him.  He is my addiction, except I will never need to go through Jesus-withdrawal, because he will never leave me, ever.  In the words of an old hymn:  “My Jesus I love thee!  I know thou are mine.  For thee all the follies of sin I resign.  My gracious redeemer.  My Savior art thou.  If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now!”

If you don’t know Jesus, you can’t understand this.  I’m sorry, but you can’t.  But.  If you don’t know Jesus, this you do understand…you have a whole, an emptiness inside of you that you can’t fill no matter what you have tried.  You do wonder why you are here, and what the purpose is for your life.  You carry pain and sadness with no real way to be rid of it.  You may experience occasional happiness, but you do not have joy that fills your life.  You may have periods of calm and quiet, but you do not have the peace that passes all understanding.  You may know love, but you do not know absolute, unconditional love that lasts for eternity.  If you don’t know Jesus now, you can.  All it takes is a leap of faith.  One moment when you tell Jesus that you believe he is the Son of God, born to a virgin, and that he died so that the penalty for your sins could be paid, and you could be with him in Heaven one day.  One simple leap of faith that will fill your emptiness and make you the person you were designed to be.

Another great hymn:  “Jesus, name above all names.  Blessed redeemer, glorious Lord.  Emmanuel, God is with us.  Beautiful Savior.  Living Word.”

It’s Time for Day Lilies to be Sunflowers!

Recently I attended a conference that had absolutely nothing to do with sunflowers.  However, sunflowers were used as an example of something during the presentation.  I honestly can’t tell you how they linked to the topic, because when I heard the illustration, I grew a bunch of goosebumps and had a worship-my-God-the-amazing-creator-of-all-things moment.  Here is why.

The presenter at the conference told of an experiment that was done with sunflowers.  (Unfortunately, when I asked later, she could not tell me the name of the experiment, and I have not been able to find it.)  In the experiment, sunflowers were planted in a controlled environment, a room.  A bank of lights was put at one end of the room, and turned on at a certain time every day.  The scientist wanted to see if the sunflowers would remember which direction the light came from.  I’m not certain how they were going to measure this.  But what they discovered is that the sunflowers would actually turn toward the bank of light an hour before the lights would go on.  Amazing!!!!

Now, in my attempt to find this particular science experiment, I have sort of accidentally learned more about the sunflower.  Apparently they have an uncanny ability to turn towards the sun as it comes up in the East, and follow it through the day so that it is still facing the sun as it settles in the West.  In the morning, it has turned back and is ready to follow from East to West again the next day.  Amazing!!!!

I’m not a scientist.  In fact, science was always my worst subject in school.  I couldn’t make heads or tails of it then, and still can’t today.  So the next bit of information I share here is going to be the best that I can understand of why sunflowers do this fix and follow every day.  Apparently the “neck” of the flower, which I suppose is the stem, grows in a sort of rotation.  As the sun shines on the East side of the plant, that side of the stem begins to grow stronger and so the plant faces East.  Then the Northern side grows, followed by the Western side, with the flower turning according to its strongest stem-side.  During the night, the south side grows (in the dark? Don’t ask me why!) and so the flower returns back to the East for the morning light.  This could likely go down into the Guinness Book of World Records as the most pathetic science lesson in history!!!!

Of course you are wondering by now why in the world I am making such a weak attempt to share all of this information.  Hang in there, I’m getting to it.  Of course an illustration could be made that we, as Christians, should always be facing the Son of God, Jesus.  Keep your eyes focused on Him as you go throughout your day.  Makes perfect sense.  A great illustration.

I would like to go back to the sunflowers in the room that turned toward the bank of lights an hour before they turned on, however.  And I ask you, isn’t that what we should be doing?

There is another flower that I know of that opens up to the sun.  I am sure there are more, but I am not a florist, or a botanist…too closely related to scientist:-)  We have a patch of Day Lilies that grow every summer out behind our shed.  My boys love to pick them for me.  They are always so excited to offer me this beautiful orange flower, bloomed and open to the sun…and so disappointed at night, when the sun has gone down, and the flower in the vase in the window has closed up and sunk down into the vase.

There are far too many Christians who are like the Day Lily…asleep at the wheel; oblivious to what is happening.  Jesus told us to watch for His return.  Pay attention to the signs.  Matthew 25:42 – “So always be ready, because you don’t know the day your Lord will come.”

In 1 Thessalonians 5:2-6 Paul warns us to be alert.  “You know very well that the day the Lord comes again will be a surprise, like a thief that comes in the night.  While people are saying, ‘We have peace and we are safe,’ they will be destroyed quickly.  It is like pains that come quickly to a woman having a baby.  Those people will not escape.  But you, brothers and sisters, are not living in darkness, and so that day will not surprise you like a thief.  You are all people who belong to the light and to the day.  We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.  So we should not be like other people who are sleeping, but we should be alert and have self-control.”

How can a Christian be alert, and watch for the return of the Lord, if they are not awake and paying attention half the time…like a Day Lily that sleeps through the night?

The sunflower not only looks to the sun, and follows it all day long, it remains alert to it, even through the night, by turning to watch for its return each morning.  The sunflower is always ready, even turning it’s face before the sun returns.  Christians must wake up!  The end times are here.  The wars and rumors of wars.  The continual, rapid decline of mankind into greater and greater sin and depravity, turning further and further from God.  The increase in natural disasters.  Prophesy after prophesy are coming true, right now, in our lifetimes!  If you follow the events in the Middle East, it is nearly impossible to miss the signs!!!  The alarm clock is sounding!  We must wake up!!!  We must be ready!!!  God is calling us to a state of readiness, and we cannot afford to be Day Lilies.  It is time for Christians to be like the sunflower…to be SONflowers!  We must follow the Son all day, all night, and be turned, with our faces toward Him, ready for Jesus to make His appearance in the skies.  He is coming…soon, very soon.  Are you watching the skies?  Is your face turned to see Jesus coming through the clouds?

 

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