May 28, 2018
CHRIST’S JOY NOW AVAILABLE TO US
What is this joy that resides in Christ? Isn’t it the continual, irrepressible joy that He shares in fellowship with the Father? As Jesus prayed in anticipation for His return to the Father, He prayed that we might become one in this same fellowship. And by being one in fellowship with the Father, Son and Spirit, we might share in their mutual joy.
The apostle Paul wrote that believers are to “be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18), “walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16), and so bear the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-23). One of the chief attributes of this “fruit,” second only to love, is joy. This joy comes from being in union with the Spirit.
The apostle John also wrote about this fellowship of joy. In his first epistle, he wrote, “That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete” (1 John 1:3-4).
What is this joy? It is the joy of being in fellowship with the Father, Son and Spirit. It is being held in the embrace of the One who made us, died for us and now offers to live in us.
May 27, 2018
THE ABUNDANT JOY OF PRAYING IN JESUS’ NAME
Jesus has become our Mediator, opening up the way to the Father by giving Himself as a ransom for our sin (1 Tim. 2:5-6). The veil of separation has been torn, allowing our entrance into the Father’s presence in prayer. Asking and receiving from the Father in Jesus’ name, we “will have abundant joy.” This joy is not the request, nor the answer, but the real experience of praying in Jesus’ name. This joy is not only for the moment, but is abundant, overflowing into every area of our lives.
Do you know the abundant joy of praying in Jesus’ name?
May 26, 2018
THE THINGS OF CHRIST THAT GIVE US JOY!
The disciples were grieved to hear that Jesus would soon be leaving them. So Jesus shared with them the “things” that would belong to them because of His sacrifice. “These things” now belong to all those who abide in Christ, so that His “overflowing joy” abides in them.
What are “these things” of Christ that bring us joy?
1) HIS PLACE. Jesus told His disciples not to be troubled because He was preparing a place for them to live with Him forever (John 14:1-3).
2) HIS PATER. The place that Jesus would prepare would be with His Father (Greek: “Pater”) (John 14:1-6).
3) HIS PARACLETE. Jesus told His disciples that He would ask the Father to send them “another Advocate” (“parakletos”), which is the Holy Spirit to live in them (John 14:12-31).
4) HIS PRESENCE. Jesus told them the parable of the Vine and Branches, that He was the Vine and they the branches, and that they would only be able to bear spiritual fruit by abiding in Him. In this way, Christ would abide in them and they would abide in Him (John 15:1-11).
Happiness is based on favorable happenings. But joy, overflowing joy, is found in “these things” of Christ. His Place, His Pater, His Paraclete, and His Presence, these are the things of Christ that bring us overflowing joy!
May 25, 2018
THE SPIRIT IS ANOTHER OF THE SAME KIND
Jesus sought to comfort His disciples by explaining that although He must return to the Father, He would send “another Advocate” to be with them always. In the Greek, the word “Advocate” is “Paraklētos,” which literally means, “one called alongside.” It might also be translated, “Helper” or “Comforter.” This “Advocate” is the Holy Spirit.
If the Greek word “Paraklētos” is revealing, then the Greek word translated “another” is perhaps even more so. For there are two words translated “another” in the Greek. The first word is “eteros,” which has the meaning of “another” of different character. For example: “I’d rather have ‘another’ piece of fruit, like an apple instead of an orange.” But the Greek word used by Jesus was “allos,” which means “another” of the same kind. As in, “May I have ‘another’ apple?”
Why is this significant? Because Jesus was making the point that the Advocate is “another” of the same character as He. Jesus, the Son of God, was sent by the Father. Now, as He returned to the Father, He would ask the Father to send “another” of the same kind to be with His disciples. The Father, the Son and the Spirit are of the same kind. As the hymn declares, “God in three persons, blessed Trinity.”
This is why the apostle Paul referred to the Holy Spirit as both the “Spirit of God” and the “Spirit of Christ” in the same verse (Rom. 8:9). For if we have received Christ as our Lord and Savior, then we have received His Spirit, which is “another” of the same kind. So, we are able to say along with the apostle Paul, “Christ in us, the hope of glory!” (Col. 1:27). For in Christ, the “Paraklētos” lives in us!
May 24, 2018
STOP WORRYING. START TRUSTING.
The disciples were troubled in heart when Jesus talked about His impending departure from them. They were anxious and fearful about the future. But Jesus told them to replace their fear with faith.
Is your heart troubled today? You may not know what tomorrow holds, but you know who holds tomorrow. Stop worrying and start trusting in Jesus.
May 23, 2018
CHRIST’S FOLLOWERS ARE CHRIST’S MESSENGERS
On the night before Christ’s crucifixion, He reminded the disciples that whoever welcomed or rejected them were in reality welcoming or rejecting Him. In addition, the way people responded to them would also affect their relationship with the Father. For the one who welcomes Jesus, welcomes the Father, but the one who rejects Jesus, rejects the Father.
As believers, we are messengers of Christ. We must learn not to be overly concerned about whether someone welcomes or rejects us. We are not to live as people-pleasers, fearing the rejection of man. For if we live as messengers of Christ, some will welcome us and some will reject us, but all will in reality be responding to Christ. And how they respond will determine their eternity. So, let us boldly declare the message of Christ to all we meet!
May 22, 2018
WHO IS THE SON OF MAN?
Those who called out to Jesus from the crowd were correct to assume that Jesus’ preferred title, “Son of Man,” was in fact a Messianic title. Certainly, it was the title of the exalted figure that appeared before the throne of God in Daniel 7, so serious students of Scripture would recognize it. However, when Jesus spoke of the looming death of the Son of Man, the crowd questioned His use of the title. Was Jesus using “Son of Man” in some other context? Who is this Son of Man that would die?
The Jewish crowd was correct to recognize the Son of Man title as Messianic, but they were incorrect to forget the Scriptures that pointed to the Anointed One’s suffering. There are indeed two threads of Messianic prophecy in the Old Testament. One prophetic thread portrays Him as the Righteous King who sits on David’s throne forever, while the other thread describes Him as a Suffering Servant who is like a “man of sorrows” who is “wounded for our transgressions” (Isa. 53:3-5). The crowd looked for the first, but missed the second. For the second actually had to precede the first. Yet, the Suffering Servant they rejected will indeed come again as the Righteous King they anticipated. Their partial knowledge led them to a total error.
Who is this Son of Man? He is Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God and Son of Man. He is the fulfillment of every Messianic Scripture written. He is both Suffering Servant and Eternal King.
May 21, 2018
NO FURTHER NEED FOR RITUAL PURIFICATION
Over 100 purification pools or “mikvehs” have been discovered in the ruins surrounding the Temple Mount. The Jewish pilgrims who came from all over the Roman Empire for Passover would arrive early to bathe in one of these mikvehs, cleansing themselves and putting on clean clothes before entering the Temple. Yet, the Passover week that John wrote of would change everything. For by the end of that week, Jesus would offer His blood for the purification of sin to all those who would believe.
As we read in the book of Hebrews, “Dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water” (Heb. 10:19-22).
There is no further need of ritual cleansing. Jesus is our spiritual mikveh.
May 20, 2018
PUT OFF THE OLD GRAVECLOTHES!
When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He instructed his family and friends to help him out of his graveclothes. Surely the clothes must have smelled of death just as Martha had warned, for Lazarus had been dead four days. Yet, the man Lazarus was raised to life by the call of Jesus. A new man needs new clothes.
The apostle Paul wrote, “Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” (Eph. 4:21-22, 24).
When we are born again, we must put off the old graveclothes of our former lives and put on the new clothes of the new nature. This is an action taken in the power of the Holy Spirit. Yet, just as Lazarus needed help to get out of his graveclothes, so we need the community of believers to help us with ours. After all, isn’t it our family and friends that let us know when we stink?
So, get out of those stinky graveclothes and clothe yourselves in Christ’s clothes of righteousness.
May 19, 2018
THE DOUBLE-LOCKED GATE
Two of Christ’s seven “I AM” statements are found in John chapter 10: “I AM the Gate” and “I AM the Good Shepherd.” Jesus is both the shepherd who calls to His sheep and the gate by which they enter His fold and are kept safe. Those who belong to Jesus are eternally secure. He saves them and He keeps them. And His Father, who gives them to Him, keeps them safe too.
It’s like Jesus is the gate and the lock, and the Father is the deadbolt. Dear believer, be assured in this.