Christ as God Series: The Gospel of John

To absorb God’s Spirit, one must without reservations accept Christ as His Savior. This holds true throughout each of the four Gospels. And the Gospel of John he identifies Christ as one inseparable from God (John 10:30).

John engages us with Christ’s unbreakable link to the Holy Trinity. Throughout his Gospel, he records the details of how God made Christ the way into His kingdom (John 14:6).

John shows us Christ as God.

Over the next several weeks we will walk through John’s Gospel.

John opens his gospel by showing us God’s plan for Christ’s deity (John 1:1-5). In those five verses, everything one needs to know of God’s truth of Jesus Christ emerges. It’s in these scriptures our Father discloses the knowledge of salvation.

In the Gospels, we find similar events outlining Jesus’s ministry. For example, they uncover the power of Christ through His miracles. In fact, Christ’s first miracle shows up in John’s Gospel and not the others. (John 2:1-12)

The overall view from John is the relationship between Christ and God.  Most of his accounts capture the way Christ places us in God’s hands. It’s here we discover Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1:29-34). This leaves no doubt the Lord’s plan to sacrifice His Son and open the door to eternal life.

Another key point in John’s Gospel is the way Jesus illuminates the Holy Spirit. This is best depicted in Chapter 14. Here, God unveiled the power of Holy Spirit. And through Christ, He unleashes the courage to live on the narrow way (Matthew 7:13-14).

John displays the Messiah strength over sin (John 8:1-12), the significant of proclaiming Him as Savior (John 4:39) and the meaning behind rebirth (John 3:1-21). Given these points, it’s crucial for us to pick up our cross and walk in His Light.

This Gospel ends with a fascinating truth concerning Christ’s Sovereignty.

“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” John 21:25

John’s Gospel gives a most compelling evidence to the God’s plans for an eternal existence. I invite you to join me and share your experience, strength, and hope from your faith in Christ.

Unleashing the Power of Prayer

One of the most common stumbling block in unleashing the power of prayer is avoiding alone time with God. It’s easy allowing the demands of family, careers and social events to override my prayer life.

When I become too busy for God, it opens the door for unnecessary troubles. I know this from experience because when I’m not active in embracing Christ, my problems become overwhelming and I take the wrong actions in finding a resolution.

But the moment I show God my undivided attention then He takes my life and eliminates my obstacles. This doesn’t mean it takes place right away. A point often overlooked is God uses a timetable, unlike mine. The emphasis is without Christ as my top priority my prayers stay unanswered.

The Lifeline of Prayer

Think of it this way. When a child’s conception happens, the umbilical cord is its lifeline. And without this essential physical bond between mother and child life doesn’t exist.

Likewise, the same holds true in prayer because failing to speak with the Lord cuts me off from the Light of Christ. And living in spiritual darkness is eternal death.

As we continue looking at the Gospel of Matthew Christ shows how confused the believers are in knowing God’s truths. One problem they experienced is understanding the way God wants a believer to pray.

With this in mind, Jesus delivered them the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13).

Many of us approach prayer with good intentions but lose focus on the way God wants us to speak to Him. No one is perfect in their walk with the Lord (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

In Matthew sixth chapter verses five through fifteen we find Christ’s exceptional lesson for praying. It’s not by accident Jesus first shared on preparing the proper mindset for rightful praying (Matthew 6:5-7).

Our Messiah pointed out two unfavorable approaches for praying and one worthy of receiving God’s grace.

Improper Prayer

Jesus started with a stern message on humility. It’s important to realize God disapproves prideful actions. Here Jesus tells us not to pray intending to show others (Matthew 6:5). And Christ warns us a prayer anchored in self-centeredness is unprofitable in God’s eyes.

Remember the Lord doesn’t find it amusing to live as a hypocrite.

The second key in Christ prayer lesson is avoiding repetitive words. Our Messiah identified prays with long and duplicate words are worthless to God.

Christ said this:

“And when you pray do not use vain repetitions as the heathens do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.” (Matthew 6:7)

No, the Lord prefers a simple and sincere language.

Christ’s Vision of Proper Praying

God is faithful to those who follow His commands and Christ reminds us this truth. Jesus left no doubt the greatest approach in praying is private. Nothing pleases God more than facing Him alone. Here Jesus promises if we do this then God will answer our prayer, and our reward becomes noticeable (Matthew 6:6).

Christ’s Prayer Command

Once I get Christ’s recipe for acceptable praying, then the wisdom behind the Lord’s Prayer is at my disposal. It’s in this prayer I find the three ingredients needed in unleashing the power of prayer.

The first action to take is glorifying God (Matthew 6:9). Christ made it known God responds to those who glorify Him. And when we obey our Messiah God steps in and protects from His enemy. Nothing draws us closer to our Creator than honoring His presence. And nothing matches God’s indisputable grace.

Selfless service to God (Matthew 6:10) is a key to finding the full might of prayer and brings us to Jesus’s second point in the Lord’s Prayer. Each of us understands the essence of serving God’s purpose brings us incredible spiritual balance in every circumstance of living. Nothing is more impactful or profound than working for God!

The last three verses of Christ’s lesson on proper praying is asking God for guidance (Matthew 6:11-13). In those scriptures, Jesus commands us to ask God for spiritual food (our daily bread), forgiveness of sin (others included), and removal from temptation and deliverance from evil. Each of those requests is straightforward petitions keeping us focused on fulfilling His will.

Now with Christ’s knowledge of praying and our willingness to apply it then we can unleash its full potential. Every one of us has bear witness to the miracle of prayer both in personal experience and observing others victory. Remember with God everything is possible!

Have you unleashed the power of prayer?

The Undeniable Key of Righteousness

In Christ’s sermon on the mountain (Matthew Chapters 5-7) He shows the conduct God expects a member of His kingdom to manifest to their neighbors. When we take an honest view of the Bible, our understanding of how God opposes mistreating others emerges. And Christ spoke on the key of righteousness.

Jesus held nothing back when speaking of God’s truth. In His homily, He set right every misinterpretation on anger (Matthew 5:21-26), adultery (Matthew 5:27-30), and marriage (Matthew 5:31-32; Matthew 19:1-10).

Likewise, Christ illuminates the way to selflessness (Matthew 5:38-42), unconditional love (Matthew 5:43-48), and humility (Matthew 7:1-6).

It’s in this part of Christ’s teachings He lays out the Christian actions necessary in living a God-centered life. The first thing to remember is Jesus highlights love (Matthew 5:43-48) as God’s favorable interaction with those who cause us trouble. So finding spiritual love comes from reliance on Christ.

Righteousness is out of reach on willpower alone. We understand this truth when we revisit Adam and Eve’s great fall from God’s grace (Genesis 3: 1-19). The second they disobeyed God, sin sprouted and corrupted the human soul. Their penalty for disobedience cost them God’s affection, but the Lord loved them and provided them the key to a pure heart (Genesis 3:22).

 

 

Remember, Christ defeated sin (1 Peter 2:24) and without His intervention, in the way, I react to being mistreated is sinful. Think of it this way. When someone belittles me and I react in the same way, then sin controls my response. But the more I grow in Christ when those circumstances arise my ability to forgive increases. And when I fall short in love, then repentance is my way back to righteousness.

It’s important to realize the key to righteousness as set forth through Christ’s firm teaching is love and humility. Both a loving and humble existence lead to a life of glorifying and serving God, Christ, the Holy Spirit and helping others. God is pleased when we live a modest life and express His love to others.

For example, when Christ talked about murder, He made it known anger is its taproot. In, our generation the world reminds us the devastation anger causes in society. Nowadays, murder is a headline broadcast to the masses.

Jesus understood anger is dangerous and the way to stop it from infesting the heart is reconciling our indifferences and making amends for wrong doings (Matthew 5:24). Making right wrongdoing is an act of love and an example of humility.

Love coupled with humility removes resentment and brings serenity in angry circumstances. And when we show those around us God’s love our lives become rich in righteousness.

Another excellent illustration of pure at heart is understanding other’s sinful ways (Matthew 7:1-6). It’s easy to forget my sinful actions. At birth, sin is present (Romans 5:12). So passing judgment on others is senseless because God knows everyone falls short in living holy.

I am familiar with the unfruitfulness of pointing the finger at people’s shortcomings. Many times when I become self-righteous it’s an unpleasant experience. I never walk away from it feeling good. But the more willing I am to live in Christ the less I judge others. This revelation brings me peace and I can love people who cause me problems.

Our discussion on the key to righteousness comes to an end, and we touched on a few aspects to its reverence for God. Since righteousness doesn’t come easy then a more comprehensive understanding stems from building a personal relationship with Christ. And with Jesus as our guide finding a pure heart is God’s reward for adhering to His word.

Have you found the key to righteousness?

Christ’s Sermon on the Mountain

 

Part 1: Overview

I have heard many great sermons preached on God’s truth. Those pastors are pouring out their hearts to spread God’s words. They motivate, inspire and encourage me to live for God. But the most excellent sermon I’ve ever read is the Sermon on the Mountain and the one sharing is Christ Himself.

Understanding the Sermon on the Mountain (Matthew: Chapters 5-7) is of the utmost importance. In fact, this speech speaks volumes and describes the Christian qualities God’s expects from his faithful followers.

Those chapters are Christ’s blueprints for building a spiritual foundation anchored in God’s Spirit. Here Christ gives us the tools of righteousness and leaves no doubt of the will of God.

Contained within those three chapters are God’s real truths and corrects every wrong presentation of the Lord’s word. In the Old Testament, the stubborn attitudes from God’s chosen ones continued to place distant between them and God. They became misled, and their spiritual leaders taught them an incorrect understanding of God’s word.

They practiced Jewish traditions giving little or no focus on God’s law. And when the time came for God to deliver Christ to them they were unprepared for the Lord’s truth.

As soon as Christ taught His Disciples the wisdom behind the Father’s words everything they knew changed. The scriptures written in The Sermon on the Mountain comes directly from God’s voice and spoken by Christ.

Christ’s opens His sermon with the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) and ends it by telling the disciples His role as God’s Son (Matthew 7:24-27).

The Sermon on the Mountain shows the actions a member in Christ’s kingdom needs to take to find favor with God. In fact, the other three Gospels support its validity. Everything Jesus spoke of in this powerful sermon is in each Gospel. God is constant, never deviates from His words and we understand this from the way the Gospels tells the same truths.

In this sermon, Christ’s delivers God’s message of how a believer needs to respond to life’s terms. In other words, it spells out the solutions to the way we approach God (Matthew 6:5-15) and how to treat our neighbors (Matthew 5:43-48). Christ made sure He spoke on the actions God wants humans to take to live in His kingdom.

Christ shows God’s way of handling anger (Matthew 5:21-24), lust (Matthew 5:27-30), marriage (Matthew 5:31-32), and hatred (Matthew 5:43-48). Jesus explained the reason not live by oaths (Matthew 5:33-37) and how to avoid selfishness (Matthew 5:38-42).

In Chapter 6 the sermon identifies the proper way to please God (Matthew 6:1-4). Jesus spoke on how to pray (Matthew 6:5-15) and fasting (Matthew 6:16-18). The rest of this chapter places the focus on building a relationship with God (Matthew 6:19-20, 24) righteousness (Matthew 6:22-24), and trusting God (Matthew 6:25-34).

Chapter seven begins with Jesus sharing God’s command of taking a non-judgmental towards others. Then Christ points out going to God by asking, seeking and knocking on God’s door. The last sixteen verses of chapter seven cover the narrow way, false belief, and reliance on Christ himself.

Over the next few weeks, I will share a deeper look into The Sermon on the Mountain. I hope you will join me and share your experiences with Christ’s masterful display of God’s word.

Joyful Deliverance

In my past, a joyful existence was elusive. I lived apart from God and in total darkness. Life involved chasing after short-lived experiences grounded in personal pleasures. Sin dominated my soul causing nothing but trouble.  Self-searching motives a normal occurrence anchoring a life of selfishness. No matter what the world offered, it couldn’t fill the emptiness inside my spirit.

Living life on my willpower caused unrelenting suffering. I thought happiness came from a whisky bottle but the more I got drunk an unshakable despair unfolded. Sexual immorality brought the same results. Everything I used to fill the spiritual void in my life drove me deeper into the black hole of hopelessness. This reckless lifestyle brought me to my knees.

It brings me great joy to share God saved me. I no longer live in sin and Christ delivered me from evil. Freed from the bondage of self and into God’s grace. This connection with God is a joyous occasion. The Lord makes life a happy and enlightening experience.

Since hearing God’s calling and repenting for my sins, a new outlook on joy emerged. I can’t find a better enjoyment of life than the one I receive from devoting myself to Christ. His presence brings me the greatest satisfaction. This profound spiritual consciousness keeps me seeking God and continues making me joyful!

Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10)

Have you found joy in God?

Working for the Divine Craftsman

We are privileged. Chosen by God to work for Christ. This divine honor has eternal treasures. Christ paid our price and freed us from sin. Our labor (faith) allows us to experience God’s grace. And for as long as we stay faithful our inheritance in heaven is secure.

The joy of salvation is losing our lives for Christ (Matthew 16:25). It’s in Christ’s body we enjoy living in obedience to God. Christ is our Master Craftsman showing us the spiritual tools necessary to building our eternal foundation.

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In God’s toolbox, we find the tools needed in fixing our broken lives. God’s specialty is providing the precise Christian instruments in repairing the damage sin causes to humans. And the one handing us them is Christ. Without Christ, we can’t diagnose the problem.

In Apostle Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians we find an indispensable message for becoming Christ’s workers.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them,” (Ephesians 2:10).

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God united us with Christ making us acceptable in performing His work. God doesn’t force Himself on humans; He uses His chosen ones to make the world see His hands working for the good of humanity.

If I’m not willing to leave my comfort zone and do good for those I want to avoid; then I must examine if I’m working for Christ. I can’t be selective because everyone is God’s creation. Christ reminds me He came to save sinners. It’s tough doing right for selfish people, but the rewards from God are incredible.

God created good deeds to lead us away from sin. He planned for us to show the world His holiness by using righteousness as an attraction to the gracefulness of a spiritual life.

It’s the light of Christ that shines the spotlight on those we are to help. Often we fail to see them because we are too busy or look the other way so we won’t become bothered by the countless people begging for help. Christ, Himself tells us not to be blinded to anyone in need of aid (Matthew 25:35-40).

Working for Christ means making personal sacrifices that are tough but necessary. When God saved me, my life changed. He granted me apprenticeship into Christ’s kingdom and now Jesus is showing me the blueprints of discipleship.

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God leads me to a way of life where unconditional giving outweighs my concerns about how the recipient will use the help. I take the action and leave the results of Christ’s hands. I’m not perfect and fail but the moment I’m willing to act God is pleased.

Each day we awaken to a new opportunity to stay on God’s roll call and receive our daily bread. Christ knows we won’t have perfect attendance since God understands we become weak in faith. But the moment we become willing and report for work then Christ finds a spot on God’s roster. No matter how sinful we become working for Christ will always nurse us back to spiritual health.

Are you working for Christ?

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