Inspired

 

God’s Word

 

2 Timothy 3:16  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

 Our understanding of God and our view of His Word, the Bible, are closely related.  When we view the Bible as anything less than the divinely inspired Word of God, we tend to get our theology, what we know about God, from other sources.  Sometimes this leads to false ideas in our heads about who God is and how He works.  Taking a closer look at the Bible as one of the core necessities to Christian belief, we have to start with inspiration.

Scripture is “breathed out” by God.  There are many theories as to exactly how the Holy Spirit inspired the writers of the 66 books contained within the Bible, ranging from actual verbal inspiration to the writers getting an idea of what concepts to write rather than the exact words.  No matter the view you hold on this part, what’s important is that you believe the Bible came from God rather than just from man.  Yes, He used people to write the Scriptures, but that makes it even more amazing that this book contains so much of God’s revelation of Himself to man.

In order to believe many of the other essential doctrines of Christianity, you must start with believing that God chose to reveal Himself to man through His Word.  The entire Bible is God’s message to us.  Though there are parts that are harder to understand than others, the Bible is the way God chose to speak to us and we have to make it a point to learn what He wants us to know.

Jesus, the messiah

Who is Jesus?

John 4:25-26  The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

For many years, God’s people waited for a promised Messiah, the Chosen One who God would send to save them and redeem them.  They waited eagerly, expectantly.  But when the Messiah arrived, when He was right in front of them – they didn’t recognize Him.

For the Jews, the Messiah was going to be a powerful conqueror who would crash the scene and free them from their oppressors.  Then he would establish his kingdom and they’d all live happily ever after.  But things didn’t happen that way.  Jesus didn’t come riding on a stallion, shooting fireballs at the Romans.  No, He first came as a baby born in a stable, then He was a carpenter, then a travelling rabbi with no place to call home – a servant to those around Him.

He didn’t come to be served, but to serve (Mark 10:45).  No wonder they couldn’t recognize Him as the Messiah!  But He did come to free His people – not only them but also any who would follow after Him, Jews or otherwise.  He didn’t just free them from their earthly oppressors but from spiritual strongholds, from sin, from condemnation.

Whether they saw it or not, Jesus was the Messiah God had promised long ago.  He conquered sin and death and His kingdom knows no end.

Fear of failure

Fear

Romans 8:37  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

How many of us fail to act because we fear that there’s a chance we might fail?  Sometimes this can even be a failure to follow through with something God has called us to do.  But if He called us to it, how can we fear that we won’t succeed?  How can we believe that the God who wanted us to do something will allow us to fall on our face as though He left us all alone to finish the job and didn’t offer any help?

The fact is that God equips those He calls to serve Him.  If we hear a specific calling on our lives, we can be sure that the Lord will complete what He started (Philippians 1:6).  He doesn’t nudge us off to go do something on our own, He’s with us all the way.  And in Him we have victory.

Because Jesus already won, we don’t have to fear losing.  Because He already succeeded, we don’t have to fear failure.  Because it’s Him who qualifies us and commissions us to go, we can know that we will succeed.  We’re not alone.  We have the Lord’s guidance and gifts.  Most importantly, we have His love.

Jesus, the King

Who is Jesus?

Ephesians 1:20-21 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

Long ago, God’s people asked Him for a king to rule over them (I Samuel 8).  Though they were warned against such a thing, they still demanded to be ruled by a king.  God granted their request, but the history of Israel is full of men who let them down, kings who couldn’t live up to the expectations placed on them.  Many of these men did not even follow God.  But that was under the old covenant.

Today, God’s people live under the new covenant of Christ.  Jesus was appointed our King and His reign will never end.  He will never disappoint because He is fully God.  He will never lead us astray because He knows all things and He is good.  He will never fail because all things have been placed under His dominion.  His kingdom will know no end.  At the very name of Jesus, every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11).

He came to this earth, not to establish an earthly kingdom (though He could have), but to grant access to His heavenly kingdom – where nothing can destroy what He has created.  To what king do you pledge your allegiance?

Sufficient

God’s Word

 2 Timothy 3:15-17  and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

If God’s Word is inspired, contains no error, is incapable of error, and has authority over all matters pertaining to God, is it then not also sufficient for all things?  What more do we need to add to the very breath of God, His self-revelation to man?  But we do it anyway.  Though God has already spoken to us in His Word, we try to desperately to find other sources of authority to put our faith in.  We seek answers from anywhere and everywhere, sometimes passing right over the one place where we can find them.

The Bible is one story, not a series of disconnected events that w’re supposed to make sense of.  There is a purpose behind exactly which writings made it into the final book.  There is no more to be added to it.  No more needs to be added to it.  It’s a finished work.

The book is closed.  God has spoken.  Everything we need to know about Him has been revealed.  Everything we need for salvation is written on paper that it might be written in our hearts.  The Lord said what needed to be said and now it’s up to us to listen.

Jesus, the Creator

Who is Jesus?

John 1:3  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Jesus, the Savior of the world, the One who was sent to redeem mankind, is the Creator of mankind.  How so?  If there is only one God and He exists as three persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) and He has existed from eternity…then how is Jesus not the Creator?

The apostle John comes right out of the gates with his theology.   No lineages, no birth story in a manger in Bethlehem – right to the point – Jesus is God.  “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus, the logos), and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” (emphasis and parenthetical point mine) Wait, it gets even more clear:  “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” Don’t believe John?  How about Paul?  “For by Him (Jesus), all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…” (Colossians 1:15).

How does it change your view of God to think about how the God who created us is the very same God who came to save us?  Our Creator is our Redeemer.  The One who holds all things together is the One who gave His life that we might be with Him.  How’s that for love?  Does it change how you see Jesus?  He’s not just some baby we celebrate on Christmas or just some guy with a beard who taught good moral lessons.  It all began with Him.  And it all ends with Him.

Authoritative

God’s Word

 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

Though God may use any way He pleases to speak to His creation, He chose one main method.  In the Bible we find God’s self-revelation to man, His letter addressed to us that we might know Him.  If we want to know what God thinks about something, here it is before us in His Word.  If we want to know more of who He is, what His character is like, we have answers.

We can have a tendency, though, to ignore this very important method of communication.  We go around searching for God’s will or “feeling” what He’s telling us without any regard for what He’s already said on the matter.  When we think or feel something about God or His will, we should consult His Word to see if we’re in line with it.  If we feel something contradictory to what God revealed of His character, we’re wrong.  Because the Bible is inspired by God Himself it has the authority on all matters.  We can’t say that we think our feelings or thoughts are correct if they’re not in line with Scripture because this is God’s primary means of communicating to us.

The neglect searching the Word in favor of trusting in ourselves is bad enough, but to read it and then disregard it because we think we know better is even worse.  The Bible stands the test of time as the authority above all others in regards to God and His ways.  It should not only guide our moral standards, but lead us loving others and worshiping our Lord.

Jesus, the Son

Who is Jesus?

Galatians 4:4-7 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,  to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”  So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

God exists eternally in the form of three equal, but distinct persons: The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit.  Often when we talk about “God” we’re referring to God the Father.  But how can God, who is spirit, and exists outside of time, be a father?  And how can three be one?  The answer to these types of questions are not easy to explain, but the Bible does help us understand.

All three persons of the Trinity have existed since before time (John 1).  No one gave birth to the Son, He’s always existed.  Not until He came to dwell on the earth as a man was He birthed of a woman, and even then by choice.  Jesus, the Father, and the Spirit are all equal, of the same substance (John 10:30).  His place as Son is not lesser than the Father, so verses like John 14:28 speak to purpose and not to rank.  Jesus’ purpose is to glorify the Father, just as the Spirit is to bring glory to Jesus.

Further, His place as Son gives us a picture of just how God wants us to be.  God sent His only Son with the purpose that we also might become His sons, and if sons then heirs to everything Christ is entitled to.  This word sons isn’t gender related and doesn’t exclude women, it does the opposite.  There’s power in using the word sons because traditionally sons have received a greater inheritance.  By including females as His “sons”, God has granted all the same rights to His riches.  By accepting Christ, we became sons of God.  And Jesus is the “firstborn” among us.

Jesus following God’s will

God’s will

Luke 22:41  And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

All throughout the earthly ministry of Jesus we see Him obeying the Father’s will.  Not once did Jesus ever go against the master plan set out by the One who sent Him.  Though it would cost Him His life, He followed through to the end, carrying out every single step that had been ordained.  He took His obedience to the cross, dying for the sins of man.  And He’s our example.

We can never be perfect, never get it all right.  We’ll never be sinless like Christ, following the Lord’s will in every single thing He calls us to do.  But that’s the point.  We can’t do it, so Jesus did.  We were never going to be able to live perfectly within God’s will, but Christ has enabled us to seek after God’s will in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Everything Jesus did, all that’s recorded in Scripture and all that’s not, was for the greater plans of God.  He knew that even though it was painful to bear, the will of the Father was for the good of all mankind.  He gave up His will for the Father’s.  And aren’t you glad He did?

Giving everything

Passage: Mark 14:3-9

Key verse: Mark 14:3  And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head.

In the days leading up to Jesus’ death on the cross, He taught some of the greatest lessons of His earthly ministry.  At Bethany, days before His crucifixion, Jesus was annointed for burial by a woman willing to give all she had.  Here we can all learn about sacrifice.

While some plotted to kill Jesus, His disciples remained in denial about His certain death, despite many warnings.  The woman at Bethany, however, stood apart from everyone else.  Her concern was not with who would be the greatest, or how much money she could get for selling her oil.  Her mind was set on full devotion to Jesus.  Sitting at the feet of the Lord, she annointed Him with the costly oil.  It’s a picture of how much more He meant to her than her earthly possessions did.

Are you willing to give it all in full devotion to Jesus Christ?  Can you say that you’ve given your whole life to Him?  Is following Him more important than anything else?  Jesus gave Himself, suffering on a cross, willing to be considered cursed, for the sake of our reconciliation with God.  Heaven was bankrupted of its most precious treasure all for us.  Now what are we willing to give up?

Equipping believers to follow Christ and make Him known