Archives for March 2015

Why Jesus?

Jesus Christ Our Passover LambIn my quest to discover God’s will for my life, I studied Eastern and Western philosophies and read books on spiritualism and the New Age. As a result of my readings, I once believed that everyone had a “divine spark” and through a process of “self purification” and the negation of self, one could eventually achieve nirvana or perfect enlightenment. Clearly, the process could take a lifetime or many lifetimes, as Eastern philosophy would have us believe. It wasn’t until I enrolled in a Bible class in 1984, that I discovered the truth and came to experientially realize God’s grace and redemption that was made available by confessing Jesus as Lord in my life and believe that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9-10). But why Jesus?

Historical Context

In order to understand the importance of Jesus Christ in God’s timetable, we need to understand the historical context of why we needed a savior and why Jesus Christ was our perfect Passover lamb. As a result of Adam’s sin that occurred in Genesis 3, Romans 3:23 declares that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Communion is an important event in a Christian’s life because it reminds us of what God accomplished for us through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. In order to understand the significance of Communion, we need to understand the historical context of this important event.

The Story of Joseph

Let’s begin with the story of Joseph, the eleventh son of Jacob who was sold into slavery by his brothers (Genesis 37:28). Joseph ended up in Egypt and was eventually thrown in jail. However, God’s hand of grace was upon Joseph’s life. Joseph was summoned by Pharoah to interpret a dream. Joseph correctly interpreted Pharoah’s dream and predicted seven years of abundance throughout the land followed by seven years of famine. Joseph then recommended that one fifth of the food obtained during the seven years of abundance be stored to sustain the people during the seven years of famine. Impressed by Joseph’s wisdom, Pharoah promoted Joseph to be second in command and made him ruler over all the land of Egypt (Genesis 41:14-44).

Just as Joseph predicted, a famine took place after seven years of abundance. Joseph’s father and his brothers and their families fled to Egypt from Canaan. At the time, Pharoah welcomed Joseph’s family in Egypt. Eventually, the king died as did Joseph and his brothers. The Israelites grew in number and the native Egyptians were threatened by them and made them slaves. The Israelites resided in Egypt for 430 years (Exodus 12:40-41).

Let My People Go

God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of the bondage of Egypt to the promise land. However, there was one problem. Pharoah would not let the Israelites go. Egypt was afflicted with ten plagues. The tenth and final plague took place where “the destroyer” passed through the entire land of Egypt and killed the firstborn of every household. To protect the children of Israel, God instructed Moses to have the Israelites sprinkle the blood of an unblemished lamb on the two side doorposts of the house and on the upper doorpost called a lintel (Exodus 12: 1-13). The destroyer had to “pass over” the house with the blood on the doorposts and the lintel and could not destroy the family’s firstborn. This was called the “Lord’s passover”. God also instructed the Israelites to roast the lamb whole and eat unleavened bread with bitter herbs. Anything that remained, they were to burn. The shedding of the lamb’s blood represented the atonement or covering for sins and eating the lamb’s flesh was for physical health to themselves.

In Exodus 12:14, God gave Moses and the Israelites specific instructions that this observance of the Passover was to take place every year as a memorial to remember what God did for them forever. To this day, the Jewish people still observe Passover in remembrance of what God did for them when the Israelites were protected from the destroyer and were brought out of the land of Egypt.

Exodus 12:25-27

And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you
What mean ye by this service?
That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover, which
passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he
smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people
bowed the head and worshipped. 

When the Israelites were released from the bondage of slavery, there were 600,000 men traveling on foot in addition to women and children (Exodus 12:31). It is estimated that there were approximately one to two and a half million people that Moses led out of the land of Egypt. Psalm 105:37 states that “there was not one feeble person among their tribes.” Feeble comes from the Hebrew word kashal and it means decayed, fallen, weak, stumbling. In other words, all the Israelites who left Egypt were strong, healthy individuals regardless of their age. 

Jesus Christ Our Passover Lamb 

Today, Jesus Christ represents our perfect Passover lamb. He came to fulfill the Old Testament law. As God’s only begotten Son, whom He raised from the dead, Jesus was without spot or blemish.

 John 3:16-17

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have
everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world;
but that the world through him might be saved.

Romans 5:6 says that “in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” According to the law in the Old Testament, every year a priest had to make intercession for the people with the sacrifice of an unblemished lamb. However, through the sacrifice of one sinless man, Jesus Christ, intercession was made once, when he died for the sins of all who believed.

Hebrews 9:11-15

But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by
a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that
is to say, not of this building;
Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he
entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal
redemption for us.
For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer
sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal
Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience
from dead works to serve the living God?
And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by
means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were
under the first testament, they which are called might receive the
promise of eternal inheritance. 

As John the Baptist proclaimed when he saw Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Communion

When the Apostle Paul wrote his two epistles (letters) to the Corinthian Church, he was trying to correct the practical error that crept into the church because the believers failed to adhere to the revelation in the book of Romans. When they participated in Communion, the believers were “not discerning the Lord’s body” which caused many to be “weak and sickly” and die prematurely (1 Corinthians 11:29-30).

1 Corinthians 11:23-25

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto
you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed
took bread:
And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat:
this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance
of me.
After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped,
saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as
oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 

The same admonition could be said today. God’s will is that we prosper and be in health even as our soul prospers (3 John 2). God desires that we have wholeness in every category of our lives. Physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual wholeness puts us in a favorable position to receive His Word, to live His Word, and to serve it to others. As we participate in Communion, it is important to remember that the bread represents the body of Christ and what he accomplished for us by giving us physical wholeness. The wine represents the blood of Christ for the remission or forgiveness of sins. “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Peter 2:24). Note the past tense of healing. We can claim total healing right now, this very moment, because of what Christ accomplished for us!

The freedom that comes in recognizing what Jesus Christ accomplished for us is extraordinary. The veil that separated the people from God was torn in half when Jesus took his last breath (Luke 23:44-46). As a result of Jesus Christ’s life, death, resurrection, and ascension, we are no longer bound by the law of the Old Testament. We have been given freedom and are “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17).

Galatians 3:22-29

But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by
faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the
faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ,
that we might be justified by faith [believing].
But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
There is neither Jew [Judean] nor Greek, there is neither bond nor
free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according
to the promise.

All scriptures are quoted from the King James Version unless otherwise noted. Explanatory insertions within a scripture are enclosed in brackets.

 Copyright © 2015 Aleta You. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Great Expectations from God

Great Expectations from GodAll scriptures are quoted from the King James Version unless otherwise noted. Explanatory insertions within a scripture are enclosed in brackets.

In a recent issue of Time magazine (February 23-March 2, 2015), there is an adorable picture of a baby with the following headline: “This Baby Could Live to be 142 Years Old.” Due to advances in science and medicine, there is a reasonable expectation that babies born today could live to be 142 years old! Expectations. We all have different expectations in life.

I am reminded of a phrase that I learned in my education classes a number of years ago called the self fulfilling prophecy. This term was developed by Robert K. Merton, a twentieth century sociologist. The term refers to a belief or expectation which may influence the outcome of a situation or an individual’s behavior. In some cases, a teacher may have low expectations if the student comes from a disadvantaged minority background. Hopefully, the brilliant career of Dr. Ben Carson (Gifted Hands, America the Beautiful, One Nation, You Have a Brain) puts all of that nonsense to rest. Dr. Carson’s life proves that low socioeconomic status and race does not condemn one to a dead-end life of poverty or incarceration.

God’s Expectations

What about God’s expectations for His people? Do you know that there are over 900 promises in God’s Word that He wants to bless His children with? However, if you don’t know what those promises are, how will you be able to claim at least one of them? Let’s look at health, prosperity, and peace. Do you know of anyone who wants to be sick, poor, or agitated? People spend millions of dollars just to have health and peace in their lives. Not to mention the purchase of lottery tickets for people seeking to find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

John 10:10

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:
I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it
more abundantly.

3 John 2

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be
in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

Isaiah 26:3-4

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed of
thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Trust ye in the Lord forever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting
strength.

It is important to note that we have an enemy, the Devil, who steals, kills, and destroys. He is the thief that is described in John 10:10a. His purpose is that of mass destruction to those who worship the one true God and to anyone or anything that stands in his way. When I refer to the one true God, I am referring to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  The Bible refers to other false gods whom the one true God condemns (Genesis 35:2, Exodus 20:3-5).

Mathew 6:33 states, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” When we seek God’s will through His written Word, God is going to make sure that all of our needs are met. His blessings of health, prosperity, and peace will be added to our lives.

Proverbs 3:5-8

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own
understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct
thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes; fear [respect] the Lord, and
depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

Rising Up to God’s Expectations

God doesn’t expect us to be perfect. He only asks that we be faithful to His Word. “A faithful man shall abound with blessings” Proverbs 28:20 declares. When a man or a woman accepts Jesus as Lord and believes that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9-10), the individual becomes born again of God’s gift of holy spirit. The individual is now comprised of body, soul, and spirit. Learning to walk by the spirit of God takes time, faithfulness, and commitment. Ephesians 4:15 says, “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”

Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God had to grow in wisdom and stature. Jesus wasn’t born with an enlightened mind. He had to study the Scriptures and learned to obey his heavenly Father and always did his Father’s will. “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon him” (Luke 2:40). “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52).

Just as a newborn baby is incapable of immediately eating solid food, we need to grow in God’s Word to become spiritual men and women of God.

Hebrews 5:13-14

For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness:
for he is a babe.
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who
by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

We need to be weaned from milk and desire the strong meat of the Word of God so that we can become mature in Christ Jesus. As mature men and women of God, we are called to do the works of Jesus Christ.

John 14:12

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that
I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because
I go unto my Father.

Let us rise up to God’s expectations of what He has called us to do. God has called us to a high and noble calling. As spiritual men and women, we are called to grow in God’s Word, to manifest His power and glory, to speak His Word, to reconcile men and women back to God, and to destroy the works of the devil.

1 John 3:8

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the
beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he
might destroy the works of the devil.

Copyright © 2015 Aleta You. All Rights Reserved.

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