Saturday, September 22, 2018

The Death of Religion

The death of religion is good news for all! It was religion that killed Jesus. But God raised Jesus from the dead, and put an end to religion, and death. 

God took ancient Israel into the Promised Land despite their resistance. They refused to enter God's rest. Israel wanted to continue to labor and so does religion today. God has given us the good news of Jesus the Christ. Israel would have rather returned to Egypt (symbolic of religion ) and labor. They would have rather lived in bondage - in slavery. They died in the wilderness because they refused to rest.

God gave Israel the Sabbath. It was a shadow of what was to come in Christ. The lesson from the sabbath was rest. Israel was to rest in the provision of God. The days of their laboring, toiling, and being enslaved were over! They were to enter the Promised Land - a land flowing with milk and honey; a type of rest, or salvation, pointing us to Jesus and his finished work. Realizing that it is finished means that we can rest assured of our salvation because Jesus himself is our salvation, and "he ain't going no wheres."

He "sat down" (Heb. 1:3¹). He has "taken his seat" (Heb. 8:1). He "sat down at the right hand of God" (Heb. 10:12). [Jesus] "has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb. 12:2).

He's not "restless," he's "resting." Sitting is a metaphor for Jesus finishing the job (Heb.4:3,10). Even in unbelief we participate in his life, because his grace is much more than our resistance. Jesus is the meat, the solid food of the gospel. He is what the good news is all about.

Jesus has "put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" (Heb. 9:26). "He having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time" Heb. 10:12). "Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin" (Heb. 10:18)."I will remember their sins no more" (Heb. 8:12). "We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Heb. 10:10).  "For by one offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified" (Heb. 10:14).

We are truly free! Praise God! However, our freedom was costly; it cost Jesus his life, and it cost us our life (2 Cor. 5:14-15). That's right, we died together with Christ (Col. 3:3). But the good news is, we've been raised as new creations in Christ. Now here it comes. Are you ready? We're also seated with him in the heavenly realm (Eph.2:5-6). We along with Christ are resting from our toil and labor (Mat. 11:28-30). We are called to fix our eyes on Jesus. Even though the full manifestation of our glory isn't yet visible, the apostle Paul tells us, "When Christ who is our life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory" (Col. 3:4).

Religion died when God became man, and lived and died for us, and as us. We enter his rest when we trust in him, and what he has already accomplished. We deny him when we continue to labor, and toil for what he has given us by his grace, and kindness. God has raised us up with him, and now we are called to live in this reality.

Religion is dead because man's attempt to understand God apart from the revelation in Christ Jesus, is dead!

Religion is dead because man's attempt to to see himself apart from the revelation we have in Christ Jesus, is dead!

Religion is dead because man's attempt to draw closer to God apart from the oneness given to us in Christ Jesus, is dead!

Religion is dead because man's attempt to enter the heavenly realm apart from what Christ has already accomplished for us and as us, is dead!

Religion is dead because man's attempt to see and live in Reality apart from the revelation of the new creation  Reality in Christ Jesus, is dead!

Thank God religion is dead. But the good news of Jesus lives and has no end.



¹All scripture references are New American Standard Bible (NASB).


Friday, August 31, 2018

Free, Free, Free

The apostle Paul tells us, "It was for freedom that Christ has set us free" (Gal. 5:1). Are we free to sin? Absolutely not! How can we who died sin any longer? (Rom. 6:1-11). The body of sin, the old man in Adam, has been (past tense), crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20). The good news, or the gospel, is that we have been raised up with or in Christ, not after we figured it out, but while we were still sinners - still dead in our sins.

even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together in Christ [two early manuscripts have in Christ not with Christ] (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, (Eph. 2:5-6 NASB).

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses (Col. 2:13 ESV).


God didn't wait for you to say the sinners prayer!  God didn't wait for you to say the Hail Mary prayer! God didn't wait for you to have a born again experience!

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8 NIV). 

Sin no longer has any claim on us! We are free, free, free, hallelujah, amen! We have been freed from the body of sin, and therefore we are free from sin. However, we are not free to sin. How can we who died sin any longer? 

Oh sure, but you have to believe!

Did your believing have anything to do with Christ being born? Did your believing have anything to do with Christ going to the cross? Did your believing have anything to do with Christ being raised from the dead? We believe what has already happened. We believe what God has already done in Christ Jesus. We believe that what he has done, he has done for everyone.

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again (2 Corinthians 5:14-15 NIV).  

We are dead to sin, but alive in Christ Jesus! Therefore we live, and move, and exist in him (Acts 17:28-29). Our life, and our identity is in Christ Jesus who has been raised from the dead and is seated in the heavenly realm. The heavenly realm is the reality of the new creation that exists in Christ. We have been called to live in that reality. There is no other reality. What we see around us, in this world, is a facade, and will disappear when Christ returns to make reality visible.


But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness (2 Pet. 3:10-13 KJV).

For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now (Rom. 8:19-22 NASB). 

Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is (1 John 3:2 NASB).

When Christ, who is our life, is revealedthen you also will be revealed with Him in glory (Col.3:4 NASB).

The good news is we are (no one is excluded) new creations in Christ Jesus. It's already done! It's already finished, because God in Christ finished it for us, and as us! We have been raised up not to die in our sins again, but raised up to victory - a brand new life in Christ! This is reality! Now we are called to live in this new creation reality, and to forsake the facade of this world which is quickly fading away, and will soon be no more!





Saturday, July 7, 2018

Your Highest Calling

What is your highest calling? A calling is a  conviction that comes from God. We might have several calls throughout our lives, but there is only one highest calling.

Jesus said that we needed to become like children to enter the kingdom of God (Mat. 18:1-4). We're called to receive the kingdom of God like a child (Mark 10:15; Luke 18:16-17).

The Apostle Paul  preached Jesus, and the resurrection of the dead to non-believers in Athens; people that worshiped many gods, and even set up an altar that they dedicated to an "unknown god."  Paul called these non-believers, children of God (Acts 17:28-29). This is our highest calling; to live in the reality of what it means to be children of God.

Why does Jesus tell us to receive the kingdom of God as a child? Because we are children of God. We receive the kingdom of God in lowliness, or humility, like a child. Little children spend maybe ten to fifteen years of their lives looking up at adults. We're reminded from children to put others above ourselves - to receive the kingdom in lowliness.

In order to reach our highest calling, we must become lowly, live in humility and put others above ourselves. It's an oxymoron, and seems contradictory, because God's world is upside down to the natural mind. That's why in order for us to fulfill our highest calling, we must call upon Jesus to live his victorious, resurrected, ascended, and cruciform life within us.

Watch my latest video, "Your Highest Calling."






Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Great Commission Revisited

Jesus gave his apostles several mandates. The first was to be witnesses (martyrs) of Jesus life, death, resurrection, ascension, and sending of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8, 21-26, 2:32). The second, was for  Jesus' disciples to love one another, as Jesus loved them (John 13:34-35; 1 John 3:11, 14; 4:7-12). The third mandate, is for the apostles to make disciples of all nations (people) baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. The apostles were commanded to teach these new students of Jesus to obey whatsoever Jesus' commanded them (Mat 28:16-20). Therefore, we follow the apostle's teachings, and continue to teach others (Acts 2:42).  

Notice, Jesus rebuked those who did not believe; those who had seen him after he had risen from the dead (Mark 16:14; John 20:24-27). We are called to believe the gospel, or good news of Jesus' life, death, resurrection, ascension, and sending of the Spirit (Acts 2:22-39; 1 John 3:23; 4:2, 14-15; 5:1).  Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, and he has been raised from the dead! Secondly, we are called to be baptized (Mark 16:15-16). Additionally, believers are called to receive the Holy Spirit (John 20:22).  Remember, John baptized with water, but Jesus with the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:16: Acts 1:5, 11:16).

The apostle Paul taught that people should believe in the Lord Jesus (Acts 16:31; Rom. 1:16). To the Jews the apostle Paul proclaimed Jesus as the Christ (Acts 17:2-3). To Jews and Gentiles, Paul preached Jesus, and the resurrection of the dead (Acts 17:17-18). He told the people of Athens that God was the creator of the world, and Lord of heaven and earth. He said that God did not dwell in buildings. The God that Paul proclaimed doesn't need anything. He is the life-giver. In God we all live, move, and exist. All people are God's children. God has declared that all of his children should change their minds about him. For he is the one that will judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:19-31).   

The apostle Peter preached that we should believe in Jesus, who is the one appointed by God to be the judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42-43). The apostle Paul preached that Jesus will judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:31). The apostle John records a time for the dead to be judged (Rev. 11:18; 20:12-13). The Apostles' Creed and Nicene Creed also confirm that Jesus will come to judge the living and the dead. 

God loves us. In Christ Jesus, everyone is included in the love and grace of God. No one is without God, except in their own minds. We are called to believe that Jesus is the resurrected Christ. We are called to be baptized in water, and receive the Holy Spirit. We are called to love one another, and to share this good news with all people. 

Watch my latest video on, "The Great Commission Revisited."





Friday, June 15, 2018

Heaven Or Iowa?

In the movie, "Field of Dreams," Ray Kinsella builds a baseball field in the middle of his corn fields after hearing a voice that tells him, "If you build it, he will come." Soon deceased baseball players, raised from the dead as young men, come out of Ray's cornfields. One of the players is Ray's father, John Kinella. While Ray and John are renewing their relationship, John asks  Ray, "Is this heaven?" Ray replies, "It's Iowa," and then asks John, "Is there a heaven?"  John says, "Oh yeah, it's the place dreams come true."

The book of Genesis says that God called the "expanse," heaven (Gen. 1:8). The writer of Ecclesiastes tells us that God is in heaven (Eccl. 5:2). Jesus said, heaven is the throne of God (Mat. 5:34). God the Father is in heaven (Mark 11:25-26). The Holy Spirit descended from heaven as a dove, and rested upon Jesus (John 1:32).  Jesus said, no one has ascended to heaven, except the Son of Man, the Bread of God, who has descended from heaven (John 3:13; 6:33, 38, 41). Therefore, if we want to know about heaven, we have one source of information, and that's from the one who has descended from heaven, Jesus.

In the Gospel of John, chapter 3, Jesus was having a conversation with Nicodemus, who was a Pharisee. The Pharisees rejected Jesus, and his testimony.  He told Nicodemus that a person had to be born again, or born of the spirit,  to see, and enter into the kingdom of  God (or kingdom of heaven). He then went on to say that being born of the spirit, has to do with believing in the Son of God, Jesus (John 3:1-21).

We have placed so much emphasis on heaven being a place that we go to after we die, and little  emphasis on the relationship that we have with God in Christ Jesus. Heaven is a metaphor for salvation and eternal life. It is a present, and future reality. It's a relationship that we have with God. We have been brought into this relationship in Christ, because of who he is, and because of what he has done. Jesus said, "This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent" (John 17:3). It's necessary to believe in Jesus, to trust him, to "eat the bread of God," so that he lives within us, and so that we fully experience the life that he has already given us, for this is the will of the Father (John 6:40, 50-51). 

Jesus made these bold statements:

I am the Bread of Life (John 6:35). 

I am the Light of the World (John 8:12).

I am the Door (John 10:9). 

I am the Good Shepherd (John 10:11).

I am the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25). 

I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). 

I am the True Vine (John 15:1).

I am, the Alpha and the Omega, the First, and the Last, the Beginning, and the End (Rev. 22:13).

Jesus is our life! In him we experience heaven. Salvation is a person, Jesus. Just like Jesus said, "I am...". 

The apostle Paul said, "When Christ who is our life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory (Col. 3:4 my emphasis). When Christ is revealed, we will experience the fullness of heaven in our new, glorified bodies. We have borne the image of the man from earth [Adam], and we  will also bear the image of the heavenly man [Jesus] (1 Cor. 15:47-49). 

We are [already] seated with him in the heavenly realm (Eph. 2:5-6). We're seated with him, because we are one with him in his person.

The present heaven, and the present earth will both pass away (Luke 21:33).  But the good news is, Jesus is the pioneer of the new creation - the new earth, and new heaven (Isa. 65:17; Rev. 21:1-5).

Watch my latest video on heaven.













Saturday, May 19, 2018

Pentecost

Jesus directed his apostles to be witnesses of his life, death, resurrection, and ascension (Acts 1:8). These men ate, drank, slept, and lived with Jesus for three or so years. They experienced the miracles of Jesus. They witnessed his crucifixion. Most importantly, they were first hand witnesses of his resurrection from the dead (Acts 2:22-24, 32).

The word witness, is translated from the Greek word martys. Jesus said that the day will come when people will be deceived into believing that they are serving God by killing Jesus' disciples (John 16:2). 

"And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore witness to Jesus. When I saw her I was greatly astounded" (Rev. 17:6 MOUNCE). 

When Jesus was taken by the chief priests, what did his apostles do? They were fearful and ran (Mark 14:50)! Afterward, Peter denied Jesus three times (Mark 14:66-72). Jesus' apostles (those sent by Jesus with a mission) were timid, weak, and unbelieving (Luke 24:36-38, 41). But through the Holy Spirit, Jesus began to live his resurrected, ascended, and cruciform life within them. 

The sending of the Holy Spirit was promised by Jesus (Luke 24:49; John 16:5-11, 13-15; Acts 1:1-8). Jesus said that he would ask the Father, and the Father would send another (Comforter, Helper, Counselor, Teacher, Advocate, Holy Spirit,) to his apostles (John 14:16-17, 26). Jesus followed up on his promise (Acts 2:1-4, 14-18, 32-33). The apostles were witnesses, and enabled to speak with power through the Spirit (Luke 24:48; Acts 1:8; 2:4, 32, 36). 

The Holy Spirit was sent to "en-courage," or to supply courage for Jesus' martyrs! Tradition tells us that all of the apostles, aside from John, were murdered. They proclaimed the good news of Jesus to their death, and therefore we believe! 

What about for us today? 

The Holy Spirit is not a payment, it's a gift from God (Acts 2:38; 10:45; Rom. 6:23). The Spirit is referred to as the power of God, (note - “power from on high,”) and the fire of God (Luke 24:49; Acts 2:1-4). The writer of Hebrews tells us that "God is a consuming fire" (Heb. 12:29). 

The Holy Spirit was sent not only to the church but upon all flesh (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:16-17). The Apostle Peter preached: 

"but this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 'And it shall be in the last days,' God says, 'that I will pour forth my spirit on all mankind;" (Acts 2:16-17 first part, emphasis is mine). 

We're called to have a change of mind, turn to God, and receive the gospel (Acts 2:38, 41; 3:19; 26:19-20). We're not witnesses in the same way as Jesus' apostles. However, by the Holy Spirit we share in the life of God, and we can share our faith and experience of God with others. When Jesus lives his resurrected, ascended, and cruciform life within us (1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19-20; Gal. 2:20), he does so by the Holy Spirit. To non-believers in Athens, the Apostle Paul proclaimed what Stephen had also proclaimed - that God does not dwell in temples made by human hands (Acts 7:48; 17:24). We are the temple of the Consuming Fire God (Heb. 12:29). When we yield to the Spirit, we bear fruit to God (Gal. 5:22-23). 

Pentecost represents something incredibly wonderful - new creation, and new life! God didn't come to change us, or to help us live. He came in the person of Christ Jesus to give us new life (John 10:10; 2 Cor. 5:16-21). The gospel is a great mystery. Somehow we are united to God in Christ Jesus, and somehow we live out of his life (John 14:20). He is a life giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45).

Watch my video on Pentecost: 







Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Ascension of Jesus Christ


Happy Ascension Day, friends! 

Many people actually celebrate this day without fully realizing what the day means. The good news of Jesus is in his life, death, resurrection, ascension, and sending of the Spirit.

When Joshua took the children of Israel into the Promised Land in the fortieth year after the Exodus (Josh 4:19), he foreshadowed what Jesus was to do. In the forty days after his resurrection, he appeared to his disciples, then he entered bodily into the holy of holies, the Promised Land, and we too entered in him. Jesus himself is our Promised Land. He is our salvation! 

Jesus didn't just float up into the sky, he was raised bodily, and ascended bodily into heaven. Luke tells us that the resurrected Lord Jesus appeared to his disciples with many convincing proofs over a period of forty days. After blessing them, he was taken up into heaven (Acts 1:1-3, 9). In Luke 24 we read that his disciples: did not find the body of the Lord Jesus (vs. 3, 22-23); he had risen [from the dead, bodily] (vs. 6); Peter entered the tomb where Jesus was buried and saw only the burial clothing that was placed on Jesus’ body after he had died, but did not see Jesus (vs. 12, 24); [Jesus] entered into his glory [in a glorified human body] (vs. 26); he vanished from their sight (vs. 31); [Jesus said] see my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; touch me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have (vs. 39); he showed them his hands and his feet (vs. 40); he ate a piece of broiled fish [to convince his disciples that he was still the same Jesus - still human] (vs. 42-43). Jesus fulfilled (filled to the full) the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms and he opened their minds to understand the scriptures (vs. 44-45). Jesus appeared to the women, to Peter, to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and to five hundred believers at one time. He appeared to James, and lastly he appeared to the Apostle Paul. The Apostle Paul tells us that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Jesus entered another dimension in a transformed body (imperishable, glorified, in power, spiritual body, bearing the likeness of the man from heaven, immortal – yet still human) (1 Cor. 15:42-44, 49-54). 

Jesus entered into the holy of holies once for all, not with the blood of goats and calves but with his own precious blood, having obtained eternal redemption (see Hebrews 9:11-12, 26; 10:4, 10-12, 14). He is both the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29), and our High Priest (Heb. 7). He made purification of sins, and then sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high (Heb 1:1-3; 8:1). 

Jesus ascension pictures what is already reality. Jesus is the head over every power and authority - God is King over heaven and all the kingdoms of this world (Eph. 1:21-22; Col. 2:10). Ascension pictures Reality. Jesus is in his rightful position of authority in the heavenly realm, on his heavenly throne, above all power and authority as King of kings, and Lord of lords. 

The great theologian, Thomas F. Torrance says, the ascension means man has been exalted into the life of God, and onto the throne of God. 

The apostle Paul tells us that the Pioneer, Jesus Christ, has brought us with him into the heavenly realm. Even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together in Christ [two early manuscripts have in Christ, not with Christ] (by grace you have been saved),  and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:5-6 NASB). 

God has decided not to live without us. In the transformed and ascended Lord we are united with him forever. We share in his resurrected, ascended, and cruciform life. 

Watch my latest video on the ascension: