What does it mean to be rescued, restored, and repurposed?

Each week we have picked up the book of John and looked at each verse pretty intensely….

I never imagined that John sat down and wrote this gospel all at once… it must have taken weeks and months maybe even years to think deeply about the Truths that Jesus had taught him and was still teaching him…

Maybe John set his manuscript aside after he stated the purpose for his gospel… “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

Remember how John began… “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

You can #WalkinVictory because #LifeisinHisSon…  How have you been changed because you have personally encountered the risen Savior? You see #JesusChangesEverything!

John finishes his gospel not with his purpose, but with testimony to all the proofs that He is the Messiah, the Son of God, who inaugurates the Kingdom of God.

Believers are repurposed for Jesus’ purpose… Read John 21

His purpose for your life is that you depend on Him for everything, that you love and care for His sheep, and that you focus on following Jesus.

John ends and closes his account of the greatest story ever told… but it is just the beginning of the story of the church… From that shore in Galilee, where Peter and John and the other disciples share one last meal with their Master, these men will go out and change the world…Fishermen become shepherds, and evangelists… a handful of believers will become a church.. The story that begins in John 1:1 with the words “In the beginning…” does not really end here… It is continuing on in my life and in your life… Jesus empowers us and he propels us to go out into a dark lost world and proclaim that He is the answer to all our needs…

“And this is the testimony:God has given us eternal life, and this #LifeisinHisSon. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” I John 5:11-12 

What is it that I am not entrusting to my Sovereign and All-Powerful God?

God’s sovereignty provides a secure resting place in the midst of life’s chaos.

Sovereign means to be supreme in power and above all others.  God is sovereign which means that God is in control of the universe and determines the outcome of all things according to His own wise purposes.  Noah Webster describes sovereign in this way, ” God is the sovereign good of all who love and obey Him.”  Here we see that out of my love for God, I obey. In John 2, Jesus reveals that He has the right and the authority to give commands and make demands on my life.

Jesus is omnipotent.  He demonstrated this while following His Father’s timing.  Mary understood.  She was confident of Jesus’ absolute authority and power when she told the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.”  Jesus instructed the servants and turned water into wine… Jesus established His authority by linking Himself to the temple and predicting His resurrection… Jesus is God, and He demonstrated His sovereignty over time, people, nature, worship, hearts, life and death….

If you believe God is sovereign, you will view every life event as subject to God’s good, pleasing and perfect will, and you will confidently persevere and rejoice in your circumstances.

What challenges are you facing that you need to look to God for answers? If you do not believe God is sovereign, anger, fear, chance and failed attempts to control will govern your life and circumstances. What are you not entrusting to God? What is keeping you from entrusting your greatest fear over to God?

Where do you need to embrace God’s sovereignty so that He strips your fears away while enabling you to find a deep trust in a good and wise God?

Will you like Mary, be willing to ask Jesus anything, yielding everything to Him?

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…in another’s place…

What does is mean that Jesus is “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world…?” Early in John’s gospel we see John the Baptist pointing in the direction of Jesus to help his followers understand that Jesus was in their midst and that He had been sent by the Father so that the world would be reconciled to Him. As soon as man fell into sin in the garden of eden, God’s plan was put into action. He began with one lamb for one person (Genesis 3:21; 4:4), then one lamb for one family (Exodus 12:3), then one lamb for one nation (Leviticus 16:15-16, and now in the person of Jesus, the Messiah one lamb for the world (John 1:29). God’s redemptive purposes culminate when He stood and took my place on the Cross. A substitute takes another’s place.

I am saved because Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world… that means God the Father sent God the Son to take the wrath for my personal sin. Jesus bore the full force of the wrath of God because of me. The result is that now I can stand before God because Christ’s right-ness covers me.

Jesus says… Come and see… follow me… spend time with me…

In your weariness, come.
In your confusion, come.
In your joy, come…

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The Names of Jesus in the Gospel of John

Individuals are transformed by knowing the real Jesus and following Him.  The purpose of John’s Gospel is to present Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God by providing his readers with real stories and eyewitness testimony that gives evidence so that you will believe and receive life… As you learn about the real Jesus in John’s Gospel this year, will you follow Him?

“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” John 20:31

THE WORD (1:1)

THE TRUE LIGHT (1:9)

THE ONE AND ONLY, FULL OF GRACE AND TRUTH (1:14)

THE LAMB OF GOD WHO TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD (1:29)

THE SON OF GOD (1:34)

RABBI (WHICH MEANS TEACHER) (1:38)

MESSIAH (THAT IS, THE CHRIST) (1:41)

JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE SON OF JOSEPH (1:45)

SON OF MAN (1:51)

GOD’S ONE AND ONLY SON (3:16)

THE BRIDEGROOM (3:29)

THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD (4:42)

THE JUST JUDGE (5:30)

THE BREAD OF LIFE (6:35)

THE LIVING BREAD (6:51)

THE HOLY ONE OF GOD (6:69)

THE LIVING WATER (7:38)

THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD (8:12)

I AM (JOHN 8:58)

LORD (9:38)

THE GATE FOR THE SHEEP (10:7)

THE GOOD SHEPHERD (10:11)

GOD’S SON (10:36)

THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE (11:25)

THE CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD (11:27)

TEACHER AND LORD (13:13)

THE WAY AND THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE (14:6)

THE TRUE VINE (15:1)

JESUS CHRIST (17:3)

JESUS OF NAZARETH, KING OF THE JEWS (19:19)

RABBONI (TEACHER) 20:16

MY LORD AND MY GOD (20:28)

JESUS IS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD (20:31)

 

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The Bible is a Divine Library

God’s Word transforms lives!  If this is true, then what should my life look like today?  How would my world be different if I truly embraced the words of the Bible?

I would be teachable…

I would learn to love God more… I would obey His Truth out of love…

My thoughts and my ideas would become His thoughts and His ideas…

I would become more like Jesus!

Scripture tells me God’s story and it also tells me about myself.  It is a divine library, a collection of 66 writings by more than 40 authors.  Miraculously it tells one story, the story of Jesus Christ.  He is the central message.  Redemption is the story!

The gospel of John begins, “In the beginning was the Word,?and the Word was with God,?and the Word was God.??He was with God in the beginning.??Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.?In him was life,?and that life was the light?of all mankind.?The light shines in the darkness,?and the darkness has not overcome?it.” (Read John Chapter 1:1-18)

John identifies Jesus as the Word and he reminds us that Jesus is Eternal, the Creator, and real Life can be found in Him.  Jesus, as the Word, takes on a human body and dwells in the midst of His people, His creation.

The reason John writes this good news is so that,” you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31)  Believing Jesus is life.  John’s gospel shows us the Father through the Son so that we can know #LifeinHisSon.

What does life look like when I believe the Bible? I will understand who I am, why I am here, and where I am going.  I may experience struggles and face challenges but ultimately I find rest in His plan.  When I don’t believe the Bible, I construct a fragile reality to attempt to make sense of the ever-shifting world around me—my anxiety increases and I have no stability.  I have learned that I cannot face struggles and challenges without the Word.

God transforms believers who devote time and attention to study, while applying the truths found in His Word.  I learn to engage the truth purposefully and passionately so that I might grow one step of faith at a time.  Then the question arises, what do I need to surrender so that God is made larger in my life?

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Infinite Worship

Heavenly worship is constant worship, so how can my worship be true and result in devoted God-directed daily living?

 The apostle John describes four living creatures that worship God day and night in Revelation Chapter Four.  These creatures are similar to the angelic beings that we see elsewhere in Scripture, especially of the cherubim in Ezekiel Chapter One and Ten.  They also resemble the seraphim in Isaiah Chapter Six.  These creatures stand closest to God’s presence.  They are so close to God they seem to carry facets of godly characteristics such as: His omniscience, His omnipotence, and His omnipresence.

God’s omniscience is His supreme knowledge of all things.  These creatures are covered with eyes on the front and back which impresses us with the idea of God as all-knowing, as well as the understanding that he sees all eternity.  God is surprised by nothing.  He is the God of what was, is, and is to come.  He knows all that was, is, and is to come. He knows everything.

God is omnipotent, He has supreme power.  We are reminded of this since each creature mentioned is the chief of its species… a powerful representation of God’s creation.  The lion is the king of the jungle.  The ox is the powerful beast of burden.  The eagle is the most majestic of birds.  Man is the apex of God’s creation and in Genesis man is given dominion over all living things.

God is omnipresent. In His all-presence, we see that these creatures have six wings, suggesting unlimited mobility.  These creatures also seem to represent the span of God’s created order– the wild represented by the lion, the tame represented by the ox, the sky represented by the eagle, and then mankind who was created in God’s image. God is everywhere.  He is in heaven and on earth.  Nothing escapes his attention or notice.  He is above His creation yet His very presence sustains the Universe.

These creatures see God as He really is, and they worship Him. They say “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”  God is Holy and He is Eternal.  This three-fold holy, holy, holy draws our attention to the infinite, eternal, endless, perfect holiness of God.  He is Lord. As Lord, He is ruler over everything. He is God. As God, He is Creator of everything.  He is Almighty. As Almighty, He has ultimate supreme power over everything. Behold your Holy and Eternal God.

How should God be reflected my daily world?  How is true worship that is constant in heaven be constant in my world?

 True worship brings you closer to God, which results in God-directed daily living.

 Maybe I need to make some changes in my daily world so that I will learn to recognize God and then demonstrate God’s holiness to others?  If I lived as if in the presence of God wouldn’t I reflect His presence to those around me?

My daily activity can be God-directed when I let every opportunity move me closer to God.

-Do you love Him, do you love Jesus?

-Do you love His Word?

-Do you have a passion to dig into His word and bring others with you?

That’s how you worship God in your daily life.  You echo back to Him His greatness through your bible study, your prayers, your service, and your daily activity.

How does knowing God as Sovereign and Majestic shape the way you look at Him and the world?

Heaven has opened and God has spoken.  God’s voice is not soft or meek, His voice blasts as the sound of a trumpet!  God is Sovereign, Majestic, Holy, Eternal, Creator, and Our Father.  From God’s perspective, He is surrounded by the sights and sounds of heavenly worship, still His eye is on His creation.  Day and night heaven sings, ” ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.”    The twenty-four elders fall down and lay their crowns at His feet.  Do you see the reality of God as your Creator and your Father?

The apostle John is imprisoned on the island of Patmos, invited by the Lord Jesus Christ to come and see the throne room of heaven.  John describes what he sees because Jesus told him to write it down!  John draws a picture of God’s glory for us to contemplate.  We can see that Heaven is a place of continual worship involving all of creation.

What is worship?  And how does that relate to my daily world and eternity? True worship is discovered when God is at its center.  Our worship echoes God’s greatness back to Him.  True worship means serving God alone, in Christ alone.

Read: We can find a picture of God’s throne room in Revelation Chapter Four.  Right away we see God is Sovereign and Majestic as John describes God at the center of His throne room.  John enters the throne room as Jesus opens the door.  What a wonderful invitation!  We can be very grateful for our glimpse as well, into Heaven’s Central Command Center.  God’s perspective is always eternal and timeless because He controls the past, present, and future.  God is not bound by time, still we can get a glimpse as we read and ponder John’s words.  The result of God’s majesty reminds us that true worship is found when we keep God at its  center.

Reflect: Think about it! Worship expresses the worth of someone or something. Worship is a noun and a verb.  Worship is a title of honor and respect, yet we give worship.

Respond: What or Who are you worshipping?  How valuable is God in your life?  Have you developed His perspective, His eyes?  If not, why not? If you believe God is Sovereign and Majestic, then why do you worry? Are you imprisoned by depression, fear, or sickness? Then… look into Heaven’s Throne Room and worship your Sovereign and Majestic God.

How will you linger in God’s presence today?

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Reflecting the Fullness of Christ

How do we learn to see Jesus in all His fullness? Over the last few weeks of the study of the Churches of Revelation we have seen our picture of the deity and humanity of Jesus developed before our very eyes. John’s vision of the Risen Christ as He walked among the seven lampstands reveal Jesus in all His fullness. What does it mean to see Jesus in all His fullness?  For that we can turn to Revelation Chapters Two and Three and see how Jesus revealed Himself to each church, and see what He promised to those who would follow Him through persecution, suffering, as well as victory and triumph.  Jesus loves and molds His church while shaping her for fruitful service in the midst of spiritual trials and victories.

To the Ephesians Jesus revealed Himself with the” words of Him who holds the seven stars in His right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands.”  Clearly, Jesus is present in the lives of His people and His church.  As believers in Him we are victorious because Jesus promises not only His presence, but He has promised the restoration of everything .  All His creation will be restored and here He has offered the right to eat again from the tree of life, which remains in the paradise of God.  Our daily strength comes from His presence today and forever.  Jesus knows and shapes his people to know and teach Truth and to live it out in love.

In Smyrna, Jesus reminded these persecuted and suffering believers of the promise of eternal life, they would not experience the second death.  He revealed His words as being from “him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.”  Jesus has given the promise of resurrection, even though His followers may experience physical death they will live eternally in His presence, because He is alive.  Jesus knows the sufferings of His people and encourages faithfulness and perseverance.

The church at Pergamum was experiencing division through false teacher and practicing sexual immorality.  Jesus’ words reminded the believers that His words are sharp and double-edged.  He is a Warrior and His Words are His weapon. Yet those who will be victorious are fed supernaturally through their trial, they are nourished spiritually and are declared “not guilty” because they have repented and believed God.  They live with a new character, one they cannot generate in themselves.  A character that comes to them through the power of the Holy Spirit. Believers must remain faithful to the words of Truth.

To the church at Thyatira Jesus revealed Himself as the “words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze.”  Jesus is pure and holy His gaze purifies all who see Him and His judgment is swift and sure.  This church had allowed false teaching and sexual immortality to infiltrate its people.  Jesus is patient and waits for repentance yet He does not tolerate sin.  To those who believe and repent Jesus promises true discernment with an awareness of Truth so that they can stand faithful to Him.  His Truth is Authority.  His Word is Truth.  His promise to the one who obeys to the end is authority over the nations.  These who are victorious find comfort in the Truth of God’s Word. Believers must be able to discern, recognize, and obey God’s Truth.

The church in Sardis, only 35 miles from Thyatira, had great wealth.  This was part of their complacency and their sleepiness.  Jesus revealed Himself, as the “words of Him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.”  This church needed the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit, even so Jesus rebuked the church and offered them a life-changing command to Wake Up and Repent!  He reminded the few people that had “not soiled their clothes” and had continued to walk with Him the promise of eternity.  They would be dressed in white and never have their names removed from the book of life, God’s book for His people.  The victorious believers would be acknowledged before the Father by Jesus Himself. Believers must recognize they are accepted and approved by God to receive eternity.

The church of Philadelphia had little strength, but Jesus reminded them who He was and told them to align their thinking with His.  The church needed to persevere through the struggle.  Jesus revealed Himself as the “words of him who is holy, and true, who holds the key of David.  Because Jesus is holy, He is pure; because Jesus is true, He is authentic; and because He holds the key of David, Jesus unlocks eternity for those who would “hold on to what they have.”  What they have is Jesus, and He alone holds the keys to eternity.  To the ones that find their strength in Him, they will be victorious.  Jesus will give His people  the strength and stability that they must have to endure.  He promises that they will be left standing as a “pillar in the temple of my God,” and that He would write on them God’s name, God’s city and His new name.  With this strength they would be able to stand for Him in a broken world.  Jesus does not delete the struggle, but he empowers the endurance.

The Laodiceans were also a wealthy church and had come to depend on their wealth, and as a result they had become lukewarm and superficial.  Jesus revealed Himself as the Amen, which means “let if be so” and to ‘agree” with the truth.  Jesus is the Amen because He fulfills every promise of God.  He is the faithful and true witness.  He is Truth.  Jesus faithfully lived for His Father.  He does rightly every time and speaks rightly every time.  He is ruler of God’s creation.  He made everything.  All of creation was for Him and He rules over it.  He is in sovereign control of all He has made. Even though the church repulsed Jesus, he loved them.  They thought they had everything, but they didn’t have Jesus.  They left Him out of their church.  Even so, after discipline, Jesus comforted them and promised the victorious believers the right to sacrificially serve and rule with Him. Jesus calls His people out of being superficial into being like Him, sacrificial.

Jesus has the right to rule in the world.  Those who are victorious will rule and reign with Him.  The way to belong to Him is to believe Him.  God’s people have always been people of faith, united by the Truth of who Jesus is and what He had done.  Jesus lived and taught, He died on the Cross and was buried with my sin, then He came to life and offered me the promise of life.  He lives in heaven now and rules his kingdom.  He is coming back for the victorious.

Are you willing to look at the fullness of  Jesus Christ as He walks into your life and into the life of your church?  How will you find yourself being shaped and molded by Him?  Will you rid your life of immoral behavior through repentance and turn your focus to Him out of your love for Him?  Will you discover Truth as you read the Bible each day and as you ponder through its application to your life?  Then will you learn to stand on the Truths so that you can engage the culture with the goal of transforming it?  How will you look at discipline in your life?  Will you ask God to show you Himself so that you can endure pain?  Who will you serve in a broken world today?  How will you  align or realign your thinking with God’s thinking?

 

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A Fresh Encounter

The blessing of studying the Bible is found in a satisfying and personal relationship in Christ alone.  He is the center of all Truth.

In the Revelation given to the Apostle John, we see John’s first encounter with the Risen Christ as He walks among the Lampstands.  Jesus is revealed or “unveiled” as completely unique yet we find the words and descriptions deeply rooted in the Bible, both the Old and the New Testaments.  The results of the revelation are seen in the four visions found in the book, as well as in John’s written testimony.  Opening the book, reading and obeying it, promises a blessing.  The blessing is found when the believer hears with spiritual ears and takes the Words to heart in obedience. So how is one to read and study the Revelation of Jesus Christ?

Our study should reflect that a fresh encounter is in every word, every sentence, every verse, every paragraph, and every chapter. Each word is powerful in its meaning and its life-changing power.  The message  found is that God has a blessing and purpose for all who would believe.  That purpose is presented with literary fascination as a letter, as prophecy, as poetry, as hymnody, and as prayer.  John draws the believer into his thoughts with powerful imagery based on the Old Testament.  This God-Centered book teaches us from the very beginning that God is, was, and is to come.  He is triune, He is majestic, and He is holy.  God can be trusted because of who He is.  He gives us His perspective so that we will see with His eyes and have an eternal perspective in the midst of a temporary world.  We are saved for God’s glory. Our life can be found deeply satisfying and personal in a relationship with God in Christ alone.  How does that look in your life?

John brings us into the very presence of Jesus Christ as we face this fresh encounter with the living Christ.  John describes Jesus as someone like a son of man with a powerful voice dressed in white, clothed in majesty and glory.  John is borrowing from Daniel so that he can put into words what he sees, and even so, in His majesty.  The Bible keeps us on track by unveiling, disclosing, revealing the true Jesus, who He really is.  He is nothing like me, nothing like you.  Yet in all His stunning, radiant holiness, Jesus reaches out to touch John to speak to him, to comfort him, and to reassure him.  The lives of believers must be saturated in the divine presence of Jesus Christ.  In this way we maintain an eternal perspective with fresh encounters each time we study the Bible.

Ask God for a fresh perspective, a deeper revelation for your mind and heart as you study His word..

Fostering an Eternal Perspective

How can we foster an eternal perspective in our broken world?

John gives us a beautiful picture of the centrality of God throughout the book of Revelation, here is where we see the wonder of an eternal God.  The Triune God communicates with one voice and one purpose.  We see in Revelation all the themes of the Bible converge and display the glory of God, as well as His plans and purposes for #HIStory.  His plan to redeem people who faithfully reflect and live with Him is woven throughout Revelation. The redemption and return of Jesus is our hope. The wonder of God’s Word gives us an eternal perspective, so along with hope, we find stability for life’s journey along with a renewed worldview while we wait for His return.

How will you be encouraged as you long for Christ’s return and at the same time wait for it with an eternal perspective?  An eternal perspective keeps #Jesusatthecenter and believes #GodWins.

As we #WalkinVictory, we see the goodness and greatness of God and find hope and stability for our life’s journey.

When we open the book of Revelation we look at a world that is broken.  The early church faced persecution from the political, social, and economic realms of their culture.  Emperor worship was required, neighbors rejected “the Way,” and financial hardships were faced by believers.  Soon they would have to compromise, or would they?  Followers of Jesus had a choice to make, would they stand for the Truth that Jesus spoke or would they abandon it?  The gospels had been written and letters from the apostles had been circulated what else did they need?  God wanted to comfort His people and give them a message about hope so He put John on an island in the Aegean Sea in a prison.  Comfort and Hope found in a prison?

God spoke to John in a series of visions.  Right away He revealed Himself:

Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne,  and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.” (Revelation 1:4b-5a)

We don’t completely understand the centrality of God but He greets us as we open the pages of His Word.  The Bible helps us understand God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit as we try to relate the three persons of one Godhead without misinterpretations or misrepresentations.  We see right away that God is Great and Personal.  His perfect essence is displayed in the revelation of Himself to His Creation.  We sometimes express God the Father as the planner of all of #HIStory, God the Son realized God’s plan of Redemption at the Cross and consummates it when He returns, and God the Holy Spirit revealing Truth to God’s Creation and especially to those who belong to Him.

So we learn to #WatchtheLamb, and when we see Jesus, we see the vision coming together of our own eternal destiny.  It is here that we find hope and renewal while we wait for Him to return as a Conquering King.

As we #WatchtheLamb what will we see?  We will see a wounded Lamb worshipped and glorified as the Creator, as the Sovereign King, and the Judge of the Universe.  We will understand and see the deepest holiness and mercy of God revealed as a Lamb.  The Lamb is Redeemer, and Judge, and Conquering King.  The Lamb is the Lord Jesus Christ who “takes away the sin of the world.”  The Lamb is the heart of God.  Revelation unveils the beauty of the Lamb.  So how will you “take to heart” what the Bible says as you learn to watch the Lamb?  Will you see your destiny come into focus?  If so, what side do you find yourself on?  Will you find hope and transformation as you wait?

Revelation focuses our minds and our hearts on the Wounded Lamb and Conquering King..