Foreword:

Ever wonder what God might have to say to YOU today? Here are things to ponder, and things to receive into your heart. If you have a question, put it in the comments. I respond as much as I can.

A note for all my readers: I've been experimenting with YouTube videos for Bible teaching for a while, and I'm working through Revelation here. My YouTube videos are currently short studies in Matthew, and at present I'm posting videos on Revelation as well. Both appear on the blog, which is turning into a Vlog. I encourage you to subscribe to my YouTube channel for better coverage.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Hebrews 10:14: Perfected forever...

This verse tells us to have great confidence in the salvation of Jesus Christ.
"For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being made holy..."
These are strong words. They are stronger in the original language.

  1. ONE offering.  In contrast to the thousands of Jewish sacrifices, Jesus offered up Himself ONCE, and that brought salvation to all who call upon His name.  We all know this, if we're Christians, and we rely on that mighty gift for our salvation and our "ticket" into heaven with Him.
  2. But what we often do not consider is the immensity of this gift, because the writer of Hebrews uses the word "Perfected;" it's the same root word as Jesus used on the Cross when He said, "It is finished," meaning "nothing remains to be done." When he says "perfected," he is not kidding. we are as perfected as Jesus' sacrifice was complete.  It cannot be undone or diminished, and in the same way, our salvation cannot be diminished or undone. In fact, the writer is not even talking about "our salvation" in the general sense--its about YOU.  YOU are perfected.  In the original, this is what is known as a "perfect tense," meaning that there was a past event that has results in the present. The result of His offering is your perfection. Period. He doesn't have to do another thing to make you perfect.  ONE OFFERING.
  3. He says this is "forever." the word he uses here is very interesting, because it means "continually," "moving along in time."  So wherever you are in your life, "perfected" applies to you, even when you are really messing up. 
  4. He says this applies to those who are "sanctified." I took the liberty of paraphrasing this little clause, because it's important that you understand that your success is not in question.  You ARE being "made holy." It's very possibly going to take a while--probably your entire life, but it IS HAPPENING. You might not feel very "holy" today; in fact, you might be "stuck" in some major problems or sins, but you WILL be "made holy." Like Paul says in Romans, "Those whom He foreknew, He predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son..." Failure is not an option. Not because of you, but because of Him, and the ONE SACRIFICE He made.
"His One sacrifice has perfected YOU forever, and YOU are being made holy..."

Of course, this applies to those who have believed in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, but why wouldn't you do that, considering the wonderful opportunity He offers.  You can meet Him. You can be completely changed. You can live with Him forever. Who wouldn't want that?

Sunday, April 5, 2015

"He is not here...He is risen, as He said."

The first statement, "He is not here," everyone believes.  Nobody disputes that the tomb was empty on that first Sunday morning.
The second statement, only Christians believe, that He is risen.
You set yourself in one camp or another by whether you believe that Jesus Christ is risen, or just that the tomb is empty.
Matthew sets out the choice very clearly, when he says,
"Some of the tomb's guard came into the city, and told the chief priests what had happened.  When the chief priests heard this, they gave the soldiers a huge bribe, and told them to say, "His disciples came while we slept, and stole Him away from the tomb. the soldiers did as they were told, and this story is repeated among the Jews today."
On the other hand
Matthew says this:
"The angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and the soldiers shook and were paralyzed with fear at the sight of him.  When the two women, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary arrived at the tomb, the angel terrified them as well, but he said to them, "Don't be afraid; Jesus is not here.  He has risen, as He said.  Come see where the Lord laid. The women hurried off to tell everyone, and on the way, Jesus met them Himself, and said, "Hi, you two!"  They were shocked, and fell at his feet, holding on for dear life, and worshipped Him.  He said, " Don't be afraid. Go tell my brethren to go into Galilee; there they will see me.  So the women hurried off to tell everyone that He had risen from the dead."
Over the next week or so, Jesus personally appeared to most of the other apostles, and then appeared later to the others.

So here's the point:
You can believe the soldiers' story, and your world is the same as it was before you heard the story of Jesus.
Or you can believe the women's story, and your life is forever different.  
Which will it be?

The soldiers, paid to tell their story? Remember, if the story they told was true, they never would have told it.  Pilate would have had them executed for what they did--sleeping rather than keeping watch.
The women and the rest of the disciples, whose lives were not only changed by the reality of what they experienced, but endured incredible hardship and suffering just to keep telling it?
Why would they tell the story if it wasn't true?  You can't really say, "It was true only to them;" there were too many of them, spread across days and weeks, and then there were the occasional appearances afterward to individuals (see Saul, Acts 9), some of whom did not believe until after they processed His appearance to them.

If you believe the first, nothing happens.  You go back to living your life as it was before the story was told to you.
If you believe the second--that Jesus both died and rose from the dead, you have announced your belief in a plan so powerful, and a Lord so mighty, that He not only personally defeated death, but defeated it for you, and in so doing changed the course of the universe.
Why believe the second?
Because if you ask God, and sincerely do so, to speak to you personally about this, He will.  Maybe not right now, or even today, but if you seek Him with all your heart, He will respond to you, and show you.

Please don't tell me that believing is merely "subjective knowledge;" all you are doing if you say this is betraying your premises: that you believe in a God who does nothing--He doesn't invade space and time; or that you believe in no god at all.

If this really is your belief system, don't dress it up by calling it "objective." That's like putting a fine suit on a homeless man and calling him a successful businessman.
Your objectivity is nonexistent, since your "objectivity" comes from your premises--"these things do not, and could not, happen. Miracles, especially those conquering our universal enemy, death--those cannot be." And that makes your objectivity subjective.  It's based on a preconceived notion.
Knowledge is always subjective, because it's based on perception, whatever the science folks may say.

Still not convinced? I'm not surprised.  However, if you are willing to be convinced, then you can actually MEET this person in whom you don't yet believe.
Jesus said that He would send His Spirit to the world, and that the Spirit would convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment--then He gave a series of statements about what the Spirit would do.  Focus on the first statement, though. The Spirit is here to provide convincing reality to you about the presence of God, about His plan for you, about Jesus Christ.  He is willing to do that personally.  Ask God to show you His reality.  Ask Him about Jesus Christ.  Ask sincerely.  Read the New Testament, so you'll have some idea of what happened with Jesus and His disciples.  Let God, if He's there, speak to you. Seek an encounter with the living God.  You'll seek Him, and He will find you.