Saturday, June 1, 2019

This Is Eternal Life - Part 3

Not knowing the true God of John 17:3, and not knowing Jesus leads to a murderous spirit. Notice what Jesus said, "...the hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. These things they will do because they have not known the Father or me (John 16:2-3). 

Sometime later, Stephen was murdered. Stephen saw heaven opened, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. He said, Behold, I see the heavens opened up, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God" (Acts 7:56). This so upset the religious paradigms of their day, that the Jews, drove him out of the city, and stoned him to death. Saul had consented to his murder (Acts 7:58). 

Saul obtained approval from the religious elite to continue persecuting the church. He was on his way to Damascus with the mission of arresting believers in Jesus, and bringing them back to Jerusalem to have them put in prison, and or killed. Along the way, he saw a light from heaven, and heard someone say, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" (Acts 9:4). Saul replied, "Who are you Lord?" (Acts 9:5). He responded, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting" (Acts 9:5). Saul did not know the God revealed in Jesus; distinct from Jesus; and at one with Jesus; the true God of John 17:3. Saul was blind for three days, and during that time, he neither ate nor drank. He had a great awakening, and became the Apostle Paul. He was sent by the risen, and ascended Lord, to the Gentiles, Kings, and the sons of Israel (Acts 9:15). 

The Apostle Paul, being filled with the Holy Spirit, proclaimed the true God of John 17:3 to the men of Athens. He said to them, "Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, "To An Unknown God." Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you (Acts 17:22-23). The true God revealed in Jesus, distinct from Jesus, and at one with Jesus, was unknown to these people. Paul wanted them to know this God, that they may experience eternal life. Paul goes on to proclaim, "for in him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are his children.' Being then the children of God..." (Acts 17:28-29). Paul tells these people who did not know the only true God, that they lived and moved and existed in him. He then called on these people to have an awakening. To wake up to the reality of what is already true. We live move and exist in God. We are his children. Even though they did not yet know the only true God, he did not exclude them from being God's children. He called upon them to wake up.

God is the lover of humanity. He is the lover of the human race. We are his children. We are made in his image, after the God-kind. Human beings are made after the God-kind. We are being wooed by the lover of the human race, the Holy Spirit, the "other member" of the trinity, so that we would experience eternal life in him. The apostle John writes, "And we have known and believed the love that God has for us, God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him (1 John 4:16). "For God so loved the world [the entire human race] that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him (John 3:16-17). 

The prophet Jeremiah foretells about the awakening that was to come. He tells us, "They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the Lord, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more (Jer. 31:34). They will all know the true God of John 17:3. So they will all experience eternal life!

The writer of Hebrews reminds us of the Jeremiah's prophecy. He tells us, "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. "And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, and everyone his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for all will know me, from the least to the greatest of them. "For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more" (Heb. 8:10-12).

The Great Awakening is happening before our very eyes. Like the apostle Paul experienced on the road to Damascus, the scales are falling from our eyes. We have been anointed to see again, and to know...

"This is eternal life that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent (John 17:3).


Thursday, May 30, 2019

This Is Eternal Life - Part 2

At the Last Supper, before Jesus was crucified, he was gathered with the twelve disciples. Jesus told his disciples that one of them would betray him. After he had dipped the morsel, and given it to Judas, Satan entered Judas. Jesus said to him, "What you do, do quickly" (John 13:27).  After Judas departed, Jesus told the eleven disciples, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me (John 14:6). There it is again, life. Jesus is life. Remember John 17:3"This is eternal life." Jesus is real life. The bread of life (John 6:35). The resurrection, and the life (John 11:25). There's no substitute. He is the reality of everlasting life. Jesus is speaking about both, quality of life, and never-ending, everlasting life. Jesus goes on to say, "If you would have known me you would have known my Father also; from now on you know him and have seen him" (John 14:7). Philip confused by what Jesus said replies, "Lord show us the Father and it is sufficient for us" (John 14:8 NKJV).

In the last post we learned that the sheep know Jesus, and Jesus knows his sheep. The Father and Jesus are one (John 10:30).  The Father is in Jesus, and Jesus is in the Father (John 10:38). So where was Philip when Jesus spoke these words? Jesus responds, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know me Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father, how can you say show us the Father" (John 14:9). Knowing Jesus is knowing the Father. Seeing Jesus is seeing the Father. The Father is revealed in Jesus. Jesus reveals the Father in his person, and in his work. Jesus continues, "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me. Believe me, that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me (John 14:11).

Here we see that the eleven disciples also know Jesus, and Jesus said that they know the Father, and have seen him. Remember this is before Pentecost, and before Peter denies Jesus three times; and before the other disciples abandon Jesus. The eleven disciples know Jesus, and the Father. They have seen Jesus, and the Father. According to what Jesus told us in John 17:3, they have eternal life.

The disciples, Peter, James, and John, have a closer relationship to Jesus than the remaining eight. Jesus had  brought the three up into a mountain (Mat. 17:1-9). While they were there they saw a vision of Jesus in his resurrected body. His face shone like the sun, and his garments were as white as light. He appeared with Elijah, and Moses. Peter wanted to build tabernacles for Jesus, Elijah, and Moses. Evidently, Peter saw Jesus as an equal to these prophets. Then they heard the Father's voice from heaven declare, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear him! (Mat. 17:5). Peter, James, and John had fallen to the ground because they were terrified. When they looked up, they saw only Jesus. Moses, represents the Law, and Elijah the prophets. All the Law, and prophets point to Jesus, and are fulfilled in Jesus. Essentially, the Law and the Prophets tell us what Jesus and the Father tell us. Hear Jesus!

Before Jesus was crucified, he took his disciples with him to the Garden of Gethsemane. He went further on to pray, taking with him his closer friends, Peter, James, and John. Jesus was deeply distressed, and in this difficult time before he was betrayed, and arrested, he sought comfort. But all three of his disciples fell asleep while Jesus was praying (Mark 14:32-42).

John, the beloved disciple had a unique bond with Jesus. After Jesus told his disciples that one of them would betray him, it was John who leaned on Jesus' chest to ask Jesus who it was that he was referring to. Then, before Jesus died, he gave John the responsibility to care for Mary, Jesus' mother (John 19:25-27).

Mary of Bethany appears to be the only one that understood that Jesus was about to be murdered. Mary was the sister of Martha, and Lazarus. It was Lazarus that Jesus raised from the dead. Before Jesus was betrayed, and crucified, Mary anointed Jesus' feet with expensive oil, and then wiped his feet with her hair, preparing Jesus for his burial (John 12:1-8).

Mary the mother of Jesus, did not know a man, but by the Holy Spirit gave birth to the Savior of the world; God incarnate. Jesus was born not from her knowing a man, but from the intimate relationship that she shared with the Holy Spirit. In giving birth to Christ, the whole creation has been made new.  So it is written, "The first man, Adam, became a living soul." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy, the second man is from heaven (1 Cor. 15:45-47 ). 

Mary Magdalene was the first person that witnessed the resurrected Jesus. She came to the tomb early Sunday morning, and found that the stone that was at the entrance of the tomb, had been rolled away. When she entered the tomb. She saw two angels, one at the head, and one at the feet. She was weeping because she thought that someone had taken the body of Jesus. Instead she met the risen Lord. Jesus sent her to the brethren with this announcement: "I ascend to my Father, and your Father, and my God, and your God." So Mary went and proclaimed, "I have seen the Lord" (John 20:11-18).

Jesus has revealed some of the mysteries of God. Knowing the true God of John 17:3, is understanding these mysteries. In some mystical way:

                   1) Jesus and the Father are distinct from one another.
                   2) Jesus and the Father are at one.
                   3) Jesus and the Father mutually indwell one another.
                   4) Jesus is the perfect revelation of God the Father; revealing the Father in his person, and in his work.

The final post is next.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

This Is Eternal Life

When Jesus came down from heaven, and became a man, he turned religious paradigms upside down. Praying to the Father before he was crucified, he said, "This is eternal life that they may know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent (John 17:3¹ my emphasis²). Jesus was sent by the Father. But why? "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they might have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10 NKJV). The life that Jesus was sent to share with us, is the life of God. According to Jesus, knowing the only true God, and Jesus Christ, is eternal life. 

So we need to clarify two things. What does it mean to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ, and secondly, who is this true God that Jesus refers to? 

Let's look at those who know the only true God, and then we can decipher what "know" means. 

In the parable of the Good Shepherd, Jesus said, "I am the Good Shepherd, and I know my own, and my own know me, even as the Father knows me, and I know the Father; (John 10:14-15). Jesus, the Good Shepherd, knows his own, and his own know him. The Father knows Jesus, and Jesus knows the Father. We have a parallel relationship between Jesus, and those who know him, and Jesus and the Father. Jesus is distinct from the Father. Jesus goes on to say, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of my hand (John 10:27-28). Again, Jesus knows the sheep. In addition, the sheep follow Jesus. So knowing is more than a mind thing. Knowing is responding to Jesus. So we can conclude that the sheep know the true God of John 17:3, because eternal life is knowing the only true God, and Jesus Christ. 

The Jews are already confused, and frustrated with Jesus, and his teachings, when Jesus turns all their paradigms upside down by telling them, "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30). It's then that the Jews pick up stones to stone Jesus. They consider it blasphemy, that Jesus, being a man also makes himself out to be God (John 10:33).  So Jesus is distinct from the Father, but also one with the Father. So far this is what we know about the true God of John 17:3. Jesus goes on to say, "the Father is in me, and I in the Father" (John 10:38). Again the Jews were offended by what Jesus said, and  tried to capture him, but he eluded them. So Jesus and the Father mutually indwell one anther. Jesus and the Father are distinct from one another; at one with one another, and also mutually indwell one another. This is what we know thus far about the true God of John 17:3

In the next post I'll pick up where we left off. 

¹All scripture references are New American Standard Bible, (NASB), except where noted. 
² Bold print is my emphasis throughout.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Why Did Jesus Die?

The question of why Jesus died, has everything to do with who Jesus is. Jesus asked the question, "Who do you say that I am?" It was the demons that were the first to recognize Jesus. When Jesus went to the country of the Gerasenes to heal a man who was demon possessed, upon seeing Jesus, the wicked spirits that had possessed the man cried out, "What business do we have with each other, Jesus Son of the Most High God?" (Mark 5:7). 

When Jesus asked his disciples, "Who do men say that I am?" they responded, "John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets." People in Jesus day were confused about who Jesus was. But when Jesus asked his disciples, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter replied,"You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." Peter knew exactly who Jesus was, and Jesus said to him, "Blessed are you Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father who is in heaven" (Mat. 16: 13-17). However, after Jesus told his disciples that the Christ must suffer, be killed, and raised on the third day, Peter rebuked him, saying, "God forbid, Lord. This shall never happen to you." 

What Peter, and the disciples did not understand, is that Christ, Messiah, and Son of the Living God, includes suffering, death, and resurrection.  

But why did Jesus have to die? 

God in Christ entered into our rejection of him. He vetoed our no to him. He died our death to destroy sin, and its consequences: pain, suffering, sickness, and death. God united himself to humanity, in the incarnation, in the person of Jesus, and when he died, we died. When he was raised from the dead, we were raised with him. When he ascended to heaven, we ascended with him, and we are seated with him, in heavenly places (see Gal. 2:20; Eph. 2:5-6; Col. 3:3-4; 1 Cor. 15:3, 13-22, 26, 42-57). 

By his death, Jesus put an end to the Old Covenant, having fulfilled it completely. He established a  better covenant, based on the promise of a new life (Heb 8). Jesus is the pioneer of this new life. Being the Godman, Jesus has fulfilled both sides of the covenant for us, and as us. As God, he says yes to humanity, and as man, he says yes to God. 

The old life in Adam is null and void. We now live in the resurrected life of Christ, participating in the trinitarian life of God, by his grace. 

Watch my video, "Why Did Jesus Die?"

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."