I was a little leery at first about putting my full trust in Jesus Christ. I thought that God was sadistic, and he was waiting to torture me after I started to follow him. I was afraid that I might be tested like Job was. Now after knowing God, I found out that he is not sadistic, but he sometimes does have his children go through things in life that are anything but pleasant. Following Christ can be scary and joyful at the same time. Being able to fellowship with the creator of the universe is awesome, but when God starts taking you out of your comfort zone, it can be scary. Especially when he takes you through situations that does not make sense (at least at the present time). He took me out of a good stable job to attend a Bible college, so I would be more equipped to work with teens. Throughout this process, I have had to give up a lot of extra luxuries that comes with a job with a big paycheck. The eye opener was when we had to sell our dream house that we restored in the country (1880’s Victorian farm house on five acres). Throughout all this, God has continued to take me out of my comfort zone as he is trying to make me more dependent upon him. We cannot do great things for God unless we are totally and completely dependent upon Him in all the areas of our lives.
In Joshua 7 it is seen how Israel was defeated at Ai because of one man’s sin of coveting. This one sin committed by Achan brought defeat and discouragement to Israel. This city was placed under a ban from God. That means that everything in that city belongs to God. God wanted all of the silver and gold to be placed in the treasury of the Lord. (Josh 6:19) Achan disobeyed and stole some of the booty that was the Lord’s. After Israel’s defeat, Joshua asked the Lord why they had lost. When the sin of Achan was revealed, he confessed that he seen it, coveted it, and then he took it. Achan knew that the booty was the Lord’s, but it seems that he continued to look at it and maybe ponder if he could get away with it. This is the first step in the road of sin. As he looked at it, he should have remembered that it was not his and that should have been the end of it. But instead, he began to want and covet it for himself. At this point sin began to give birth. Once he coveted it, his own evil desires began to take over and he acted on his desires. (James 1:14–15)
This one sin of coveting kept an entire nation from having victory in battle (v.21). Achan confessed that he seen the spoil, coveted it, then took it. They went into battle relying on the number of men they sent, instead of relying on God. Since Achan sinned privately it cost the lives of thirty-six men, the nation Israel could not stand before their enemies’ victorious, and Achan and his entire family was stoned to death.
It is easily seen how the progress of sin begins with the eyes. Like Achan, as he began to look around at the silver and gold that was not his. He began to covet and want it. Once desire and lust set in his heart, he acted on his own evil desires. Believers must be careful what they allow their eyes to see. The progress of sin begins with the eyes. If the believer continues to look at something with the desire to have it, this simple look could turn to a harmful sin that will affect him and/or her and their loved ones.
The virgin birth is foundational to the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. This is what makes it possible for him to be 100% God and 100 % man. Genesis chapter three is the first prophecy of the virgin birth of the Messiah (“her seed”). Isaiah 7:14 (NASB) says, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel (meaning, “God is with us”).” When Gabriel told Mary that she was pregnant with this promised child, she questioned him by asking, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34) Mary did not even understand how this would be possible. She knew that it takes a man and a woman to have a child. Gabriel answered and said, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
With the virgin birth, Jesus was able to have a sinless human nature that was tempted in all ways like other men, yet he did not give in. He was also able to overcome Satan, empathize with man as his high priest, and to be our unblemished lamb that was able to die on the cross for our sins.
In Mark chapter ten, parents were bringing their children to Jesus for a blessing. The disciples were rebuking the parents because they probably thought that the children would have been a distraction for them to do “real ministry”. Jesus was very displeased with the disciples’ response to the children. He said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me: do not hinder them: for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (v. 14 nasb). This was a contrast to a culture that usually looked down on children. Right before Jesus blesses the children, he tells His disciples, “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all” (v.15 nasb).
Immediately after this incident a rich man runs up to Jesus asking what he can do to inherit eternal life. The rich man came with the preconceived idea that he was a model citizen and this assured him eternal life. Yes, he had kept most of the Law (outwardly) since his youth. Jesus loved him and said, there is one thing that you are lacking, “Sell all of your possessions and follow me.” The rich man than realizes all of his shortcomings. His true God is his possessions. The rich man leaves without the eternal life that he so searched for. Jesus than speaks about riches. It is very hard for a rich man to enter into heaven. The disciples are amazed and figured there was no chance that any of them could have eternal life. Jesus reminds them of the incident with the children. He calls them “children”. With your own works it is impossible to obtain eternal life.
Man is powerless, helpless, and without ability, when it comes to saving himself. God alone has the ability and power to give the person eternal life. An individual must come to God like a child to receive the kingdom of God. He must realize that it is God who gives the free gift of eternal life. Those who try to obtain eternal life by man’s “good works” will never ever ever enter into the kingdom of God. It is Christ alone that saves.
Picture in your mind a fisherman. Who do you think of? Is it a few good ol’ boys sitting around a camp fire, frying their fish, telling fish stories, and saying, “It doesn’t get any better than this?” Is it toothless redneck named Bubba skimming across the lake in his Skeeter bass boat? What comes to mind with me is a burly man. One that has not shaved for a month. You can smell him before you see him. I can even see a scowl on his face, and when he opens his mouth, nothing but perverse filth comes out. A mouth so dirty you want to ask, “Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?” I can see this fisherman in a tavern swearing up a storm. The language and jokes get so bad that finally some truck drivers go up to him and ask, “Will you please watch you language? There are mechanics in the room.” We should not stereotype people and think that they are going to act a certain way because of their occupation or hobby. When it comes to the fisherman in the Bible it is hard for me not to do that.
“Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. (1 Peter 1:18-19 nasb)
When you hear the word “precious” used, it is usually spoken from a woman’s mouth talking about a baby. It does not seem right for Peter (a rough fisherman) to say the word “precious”. The word “precious” means valuable, costly, to have considerable value or worth. This valuable, costly blood of Christ is the detergent that cleanses us from our sins (Heb 9:14). We have redemption through His blood (rescued from sin, set free from the bondage of sin) (Eph. 1:7) He purchased us (paid the price) with His blood (Acts 20:28). Jesus was the perfect lamb without spot or blemish. He hung on a cross 2,000 years ago and spilt His precious blood for you. His blood can cleanse all of you sins. Have you let Jesus cleanse your sins?
“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool”. (Isaiah 1:18 nasb)
I like it when God told Moses, “I am who I am.” God didn’t need an introduction to the sons of Israel (Ex 3:14). He is the all-powerful creator who spoke the entire universe into existence with his powerful word; just “I am” was enough to describe everything that they need to know about God. His presence, power, and glory are seen throughout creation. It is obvious that he is pre-existent and is eternal. Jesus himself made this same claim (John 8:58) to show his equality with the Father and basically claiming to be God.
Christ showed his equality with God several times in the Bible. Many of the times that Jesus made these claims; the religious rulers understood what he was saying because they would pick up stones to try to kill him (John 8:59). People would bow down and worship Jesus and he would even receive worship from them (Matt 28:9). Even the angels worship Jesus in the book of Hebrews.
John chapter one shows Jesus’ eternality, showing how he was there at the beginning when everything was created. Colossians shows his omnipotent power in how he created everything and he is even the super glue that holds all the planets in their orbit. He also reflects the radiant glory of God and he is the exact representation of God himself. (Heb 1:3)
It is interesting to think about Jesus’ life, with the claims of deity that he made. You cannot just accept him as a good moral teacher, the claims that he made about himself were too outrageous. C. S. Lewis said it best when he said that Jesus would either have to be a liar, a lunatic, or God.