How the Elections should increase your passion for Jesus

7 11 2006

One of the great pictures that God draws for his children by way of stark contrast is that of the kings in the Old Testament. Whether we are talking about a ‘good’ king like Josiah or a ‘bad’ king like Ahaz we know that at the end of the day all kings fall short of God’s ultimate standard for ruling.

So too likewise for us today on a National Election day, with the news agency spinning, the poll numbers cranking, and the candidates sweating, we know that all of the candidates for whatever office, all fall miserably short of God’s design. This is not to say that candidates and elected officials are worthless, for I understand Romans 13 that the government and the respective officials are servants of God and being used in his providence to even accomplish his will. For us today with the election blitz we are reminded of the intended and optimal form of government: Theocratic Monarchy.

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Diligent Christianity

12 10 2006

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I remember being in Basic Training for the Air Force and upon hearing the Training Instructor (TI) bark out the infamous “Attention!” everyone snapped to the position of attention, with their eyes peeled, head forward and just waiting to get busy zealously doing whatever it was the TI was about to command. Upon giving his instructions he would always tell us to work diligently and pay attention to detail.

In our Bibles we find the word ‘diligent’ attached to important commands as well. God is concerned with his children’s spiritual work ethic as well as what is accomplished. The word translated ‘diligent’ is the Greek word spoudazo (another Gk. word that is fun to say). It has the basic meaning of earnest and eager exertion.

God calls his children to be diligent in many areas. I want to highlight three here.

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Meditations on Christ’s Humiliation

6 10 2006

Isaiah 50:6 I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.

It is an interesting and ironic thing this cross of Jesus. For in it we see the humiliation of a prestigious King and the exaltation of rebellious traders.

Jesus is no doubt suffering the most shameful and dishonoring treatment imaginable for one of his stature. Never before and never again will one so prestigious as the King of heaven suffer such violent mistreatment at the hands of humanity. It would be socially appalling if someone who does relative good in society suffered mistreatment by a government or a religious group. But consider the infinite exponent attached to the unfettered hatred unloaded upon the face, brow and back of the sinless one Jesus the Christ. Isaiah prophesying some 800 years prior tells us that Jesus was “marred more than any man” (Is. 52.14).

So it is here in the ironic and shameful humiliation of Jesus that we find our exaltation.

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Knowing Liberty

5 10 2006

The perfect law the law of liberty…::James 1.25a

I am struck by this phrase in the midst of the divine assault through James upon the pretentious religion of hypocrites. The law spoken of here is not the Mosaic Law for this law enslaved and was imperfect. Instead we have the life giving and transforming word of God as applied through the Holy Spirit and embodied in the person of Jesus Christ. The Scriptures were all pointing forward to their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus and the imperfect Mosaic law was no different.

While personal bondage to sin prevented all from the perfect fulfillment of the Mosaic Law we have here the law of liberty that is given through Christ to those who have been redeemed from such bondage.

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Becoming more impressed with Jesus

4 10 2006

Mark 14:65 Some began to spit at Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him with their fists, and to say to Him, “Prophesy!” And the officers received Him with slaps in the face.

This scene is emotional gripping. You just need to let the reality of these words sink in through your mind and into your heart and let it break it.

For consider the dramatic irony here:

-The one who has all of the honor of heaven is served with the most dishonoring contempt by his own creation.

-The cheeks that were kissed by his virgin mother, touched by those he healed, later kissed in betrayal by one of his closest friends is now dripping with the venomous spit and of his accusers.

-The one who is omnipotent and omniscient has now submitted himself to be blindfolded.

-The one who is without sin is beaten like a vilified rebel.

-The one who has all power receives crushing blows.

-The one who is all knowing is now being quizzed and mocked by rebels.

Jesus is enduring such mocking and abuse at the hands of sinful men. His face is littered with flem, slaps, and punches. His eyes are covered and his glory mocked even further with the taunting “Prophesy!” Knowing also that Isaiah tells us that he was “marred more than any man” (Is. 52.14).

We read back into the text and are thankful and rightly so.

But are you broken?

See because if you were somehow able to transport yourself to the scene described above and able to come up next to Jesus and lift up the blindfold a bit and have the punches stop for a moment so that he could hear you, and if you could ask him, “Jesus, why? Why are you doing this? Why are you putting yourself through such torture? Just tell them what they want to hear? Please stop!! This is not right!!”

You know what the Savior would say?

Based upon a passage like 1 Peter 3 we have a pretty good idea of what was going on in his mind. Jesus was bringing sinners like us to God (1 Pet. 3.18).

So to the question of why…Jesus would say…it is for you my sinful child. I am submitting myself to this display for you that you may be rescued from yourself and your sin.

With every blow across the sinless brow of Jesus we have the indictment of our sin and the amplification of his gloriously resolute love.

This scene, like every other scene in the earthly ministry of Jesus, he did he did not take any shortcuts. He did not cut around the devilish temptations and he did not pander to the abusers here, nether do we see him short circuiting God’s plan on the cross as the sinless Savior gives up his own life after completely guzzling the eternal wrath of God while shamefully hanging upon the blood stained wood of Calvary.

So if Christ is yours today, please know that it is because you are Christ’s! Christ had his sheep on his mind as he was battered, mocked and shamed.

So marvel at the infinite love, grace, mercy and resolve of The Savior today.

Be more impressed with Jesus; for he is infinitely valuable and we grossly undervalue him. Indeed he is beautiful.

 

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Desiring God Audio Available (free)

3 10 2006

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I am back from the Desiring God conference in MN and before I am able to post something the audio has been realeased…free.

So go here and check it out…

The conference was a great time of refreshment and encouragement. The highlight for me personally was D.A. Carson’s message on The Love of God. Grab your Bible and headphones and prepare to be encouraged to love Jesus Christ more!! It is awesome. The Driscoll stuff is great also. Anyway, grab the audio and did I mention it is free!

::EJR::





How LOST encourages me to be more impressed with Jesus

7 09 2006

lost.jpgMy wife and I have recently been enjoying the television show LOST. We finished up season one last week and are now working our way through season two. One of the more compelling themes that the writers are continually emphasizing is the selfless personal sacrifice that is not motivated by greed but rather love and friendship.

The castaways are not related and are in reality strangers until the plane goes down. This common experience has bonded the group together into what is now resembling a fairly functional family (at least as far as I am in the viewing).

There is a bit of an unwritten expectation on the show that the castaways are going to have one another’s back, even being willing to suffer and die for them.

This theme has caused me to better appreciate and esteem my Savior.

With Jesus there is no expectation or obligation to intervene, protect or rescue sinners from their peril. In fact, the picture that the gospel portrays for us is not one of family but of enemies. Being unregenerate I am not on Jesus’ team but against him, I am his opponent. To use the LOST terminology as an unbeliever I am one of the “others”.

Jesus did not come to save friends and family but rebels and enemies. As Ephesians 2 tells us we were “children of wrath”. My family tree goes back to the garden and I am an offspring of sin sitting under the stern and justified anger of holy omnipotence. We were actively seeking to steal God’s glory, defame his character and userp his will. Sinners are not lovely but ugly. But note this Christian, your ugliness magnifies your Savior’s beauty. Listen to Romans 5.6:

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Jesus is a better Savior than we believe him to be. He does not sacrifice for and save friends but enemies. Our Father’s love is demonstrated and amplified by our own sinfulness.

When I watch LOST I am caught up in the drama that surrounds castaways and their subsequent sacrifice for one another in the name of brotherly fidelity and survival. But when I listen to the words of the gospel I am confronted with my sin and rebellion along with the justice, holiness, grace, mercy and love of my Savior. It is this truth that is to captivate the heart of those born of heaven more than any story on television.

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