Fear of judgment

Fear

Galatians 1:10  For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Worrying what people may think of us can be paralyzing.  We know what we ought to do, but the knots in our stomach, the fear that’s so strong it makes us sick, can be powerful and cause us to remain inactive.  Sometimes this is even the case when we’re called to do something by God.  Instead of following His path, we do what will win us the approval of other people.  We’ve ALL been there.

But the Bible gives us a principle to live by, all throughout the story.  Time and time again we see that God may call His people to do something that isn’t popular among others.  Look at Noah!  Not a single person outside his own family respected him as he followed God’s instructions.  He built the ark, and the neighbors laughed and mocked.  In the end though, it was God that Noah pleased.  There was no judgment on him from the Lord.  Nehemiah could have stopped trying to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem when he faced opposition, and there was a good deal of it.  But it pleased God to keep building, and build he did.

Here’s a fact you don’t want to hear, but it’s nonetheless true:  If you’re following Christ, you WILL face judgment from people who aren’t.  It’s a reality that needs to be accepted.  But the comforting part is that the approval of man means nothing compared to the approval of the Lord.  If we keep doing what He calls us to do, it won’t matter what people think, because He’ll be pleased.

Jesus, the provider

Who is Jesus?

Philippians 4:19  And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

There is only one who is capable of providing for your every need.  No matter what you lack, He’s got it in stock.  You see, everything is His.  He owns all things.  As the Psalmist put it, the “cattle on a thousand hills” are His (Psalm 50:10).  Since He owns everything, He’s capable of providing anything you could ever need.  He lacks nothing.

“This is God!” you say, and yes it is.  God the Father does provide our every need but notice that He gives “according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  God’s riches, all of His treasure, is in the glory of Jesus!  When Jesus was sent to this earth to die for our sins, heaven was literally bankrupted of all its riches.  God put it all on the line, every chip was on the table.

Jesus is our Great Provider.  Just as He supplied endless food from just a small amount of bread and fish, He can give us all we need.  Do we trust in Him to do just that?

Infallible

God’s Word

Numbers 23:19  God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

Not only is God’s Word without error, but it’s incapable of error.  Because the Scriptures are inspired by God Himself and since He is without error or fault, so too is His holy Word.  Because He is perfect and makes no mistakes, the Bible cannot contain mistakes.

Now is when you ask, “But what about all of the different translations we have today?”  Yes, there are many translations and interpretations of the Bible some with particular agendas.  So how can they all be without error if they do not say the same thing?  This is where faith comes into play.

God’s inspired Word was given to the authors of the original text and therefore this is completely inerrant Scripture.  Throughout the years, we’ve translated the text in all different manners and changed the way His Word is presented.  The truth is that the Word of God is living and active (Hebrews 4:12).  We’re naked and exposed before God on account of His Word.  No matter who translated it, God’s Word does not return void.  It will accomplish whatever purpose the Lord has for it (Isaiah 55:11).  We need to worry less about what man is doing and rely more on what God is doing.

He’s working in the hearts of people through His Word, regardless of what version they pick up to read.  What may seem like corrupted versions of the Bible can still be redeemed by the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who read it.  He will have His way.  No translator is going to thwart that.

Jesus, the healer

Who is Jesus?

Acts 3:6  But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”

Many accounts are given in the New Testament of Jesus healing people.  From the blind, to the lame, to the dead, Jesus is the ultimate physician. When He heals, God Himself has made someone well.  Of course it’s fascinating to watch events unfold as the Son of God lays hands on the sick and brings them to health.  But it’s also noteworthy that the very power of His name caused some to be healed.

Those who had walked the earth with Jesus knew His power.  Peter, who had walked on water and seen his Lord calm the storms, knew what Christ was capable of.  He had confidence that it was not he who would heal the sick, but Christ’s power through Him.  He claimed that power and gave it  and he used it in ministry.

The power of Christ in us can do more than heal physical ailments.  He can heal broken hearts, mend broken relationships, reconcile sinners to God, and regenerate hearts and lives.  If there’s anything that can be broken, He can fix it.  If there’s anything that can deteriorate, He can heal it.  There’s nothing outside His ability as the great Healer.

Inerrant

God’s Word

 Numbers 23:19 God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

Once one has established that the Bible is divinely inspired, breathed out by God, the next logical conclusion is to consider it to be without any errors.  This can only be the case if God is Himself without error and if He is the author of Scripture.  As previously stated, it can be argued that God spoke the words verbatim for biblical authors, that He gave them inspiration as to concepts, or that He gave them the words to summarize in their own way.  In any event, the human author is capable of error, but God is not.

One of God’s attributes is perfection.  His holiness, the quality of being “set apart” and transcendent, gives Him the right to set the standard of what truth is.  God is incapable of lying because truth is based on what and whom He is.  Because He is also omniscient, He is not able to make mistakes.  He knows all things, even events that have not yet happened.  Because of this, He is the only one capable of authoring a text free from errors.

God’s Word is trustworthy because it contains no errors, as it comes right from the mouth of the Lord.  He is incapable of error, infallible.  And His Word is infallible as well.

Jesus, the sacrificial lamb

Who is Jesus?

John 1:29  The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

The entire Bible is the story of Jesus.  Long before He came to earth as a baby in a manger, God showed His people pictures of the future.  When Abraham was set to sacrifice Isaac, a scapegoat was provided in his place (Genesis 22:1-19).  When the Israelites in Egypt were preparing to flee with Moses, God had them shed the blood of a spotless lamb so that death would pass over them.  Then, the perfect Lamb of God entered the scene.

All along, God had been telling the story of Jesus through the lives of His people.  Then He sent His own sacrificial Lamb.  But this sacrifice was good enough to cover all sins – once, and for all.  Only Jesus, who lived among His creation, facing the same temptations as you and I, but without sinning, could take all of the sins of the world onto Himself.  Only He could provide that sacrifice for redemption.  Only He could bring justification.

John the Baptist saw it right away when he declared Jesus “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”.  Paul understood the symbolism when he spoke of Jesus as “our passover lamb” (1 Corinthians 5:7).  Do you see Him for what He is?  He bought your freedom with His life.

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?

Equipping believers to follow Christ and make Him known