May 13, 2013
The title says it all
May 13, 2013
The title says it all
Everyone ought to examine themselves. 1 Corinthians 11:28
Long ago, before the invention of mirrors or polished surfaces, people rarely saw themselves. Puddles of water, streams, and rivers were one of the few ways they could see their own reflection. But mirrors changed that. And the invention of cameras took fascination with our looks to a whole new level. We now have lasting images of ourselves from any given time throughout our entire life. This is good for making scrapbooks and keeping family histories, but it can be detrimental to our spiritual well-being. The fun of seeing ourselves on camera can keep us focused on outward appearance and leave us with little interest in examining our inner selves.
Self-examination is crucial for a healthy spiritual life. God wants us to see ourselves so that we can be spared the consequences of sinful choices. This is so important that Scripture says we are not to participate in the Lord’s Supper without first examining ourselves (1 Cor. 11:28). The point of this self-examination is not only to make things right with God but also to make sure we are right with one another. The Lord’s Supper is a remembrance of Christ’s body, and we can’t celebrate it properly if we’re not living in harmony with other believers.
Confessing our sin promotes unity with others & a healthy relationship with God.
Seeing and confessing our sin promotes unity with others and a healthy relationship with God.
Dear Lord, help me to be more concerned with the reflection of my heart than with my physical reflection. Change me through the power of Your Spirit.
When we look into the mirror of God’s Word, we see ourselves more clearly.
…being justified freely by His grace… —Romans 3:24
The gospel of the grace of God awakens an intense longing in human souls and an equally intense resentment, because the truth that it reveals is not palatable or easy to swallow. There is a certain pride in people that causes them to give and give, but to come and accept a gift is another thing. I will give my life to martyrdom; I will dedicate my life to service— I will do anything. But do not humiliate me to the level of the most hell-deserving sinner and tell me that all I have to do is accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.
We have to realize that we cannot earn or win anything from God through our own efforts. We must either receive it as a gift or do without it. The greatest spiritual blessing we receive is when we come to the knowledge that we are destitute. Until we get there, our Lord is powerless. He can do nothing for us as long as we think we are sufficient in and of ourselves. We must enter into His kingdom through the door of destitution. As long as we are “rich,” particularly in the area of pride or independence, God can do nothing for us. It is only when we get hungry spiritually that we receive the Holy Spirit. The gift of the essential nature of God is placed and made effective in us by the Holy Spirit. He imparts to us the quickening life of Jesus, making us truly alive. He takes that which was “beyond” us and places it “within” us. And immediately, once “the beyond” has come “within,” it rises up to “the above,” and we are lifted into the kingdom where Jesus lives and reigns (see John 3:5).
It is perilously possible to make our conceptions of God like molten lead poured into a specially designed mould, and when it is cold and hard we fling it at the heads of the religious people who don’t agree with us. Disciples Indeed, 388 R
2 Peter 1:1-4
When we place our trust in God, we can be assured that He provides for all of our needs. Here are a few of our blessings we receive from the Lord:
Forgiveness. When you place your trust in Jesus Christ, your sin is washed away. This refers not only to all previous sin but also to the sin you have not yet committed (Eph. 1:7).
Freedom. Christianity is the only religion in the world that offers freedom from a works-based righteousness. This means that we do not have to earn the Lord’s favor. He loves us perfectly and has made provision for our complete salvation through His Son. All we have to do is accept this loving gift of grace (John 8:36).
Union with God. We don’t worship a distant deity; we praise a loving Father who knows every detail of our lives. Ephesians 1:13 reveals that we are “sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit.” This means we are forever joined to the Father. Read Ephesians 1:1-14 closely and count all the times that the apostle Paul uses the phrase “in Him”—you will see the great emphasis he placed on his relationship with Christ.
Eternal Life. If you have been sealed in God, then you are forever bound with Him. He has you in His grip, and nothing can pull you away (John 10:28-29).
Money is fleeting, yet it is the god to which many people bow. The Lord has riches of greater worth for you. Whether you are wealthy or not, do not let your material possessions keep you from accepting your riches in Christ. There is surely more value in what God has to offer.
“By the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” (Romans 5:18)
When Adam rebelled against God, he experienced many new things—things which have haunted mankind ever since. All of these things were experienced by Christ in an intense way as He redeemed fallen mankind and the cursed creation.
Adam had never seen or experienced death (Genesis 2:17) until he sinned (3:19, 22). God had ordained nakedness (2:25), but sin distorts everything (3:7, 21). Before sin, Adam and Eve had known only blessing (1:28), but the universal curse followed (3:14-19). They had known joy and fellowship, but now they knew sorrow (3:17) and separation (3:23). They had lived in a garden (2:8), but now the plants would bring forth thorns (3:18). Prior to sin they had been assigned work to do (2:15), but now they would sweat (3:19) as they toiled. The angel’s weapon kept them from returning to the Garden (3:24) and outside violence reigned (4:8, 23; 6:13). Childbearing originally was created to be easy and frequent, but now was to be accompanied by sorrow (1:28; 3:16).
Likewise, Christ experienced death on the cross (John 19:30), but by His resurrection He conquered death (1 Corinthians 15:54-57). He experienced nakedness (John 19:23; Psalm 22:18); the full thrust of the curse (Galatians 3:13); sorrow (Isaiah 53:3); and separation from God (Matthew 27:46). Cruel thorns were placed on His head (John 19:2), and He sweat great drops of blood (Luke 22:44). The soldier’s weapon pierced Him (John 19:34), finally ending a series of violent acts (Luke 22:63; Matthew 27:26, 29-30; Isaiah 52:14; etc.). But through His suffering He overcame the curse and redeemed His fallen creation. As a result, many children have been brought forth (Hebrews 2:9-10), reborn into a glorious state through His suffering. JDM
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. —1 Corinthians 6:11
I do not know all of the Savior’s reasons for choosing the woman at the well. I know that His revelation of Himself to her constituted an everlasting rebuke to human selfrighteousness.
I know that every smug woman who walks down the street in pride and status ought to be ashamed of herself. I know that every self-righteous man who looks into his mirror each morning to shave what he believes to be an honest face ought to be ashamed of himself….
Jesus was able to see potential in the woman at the well that we could never have sensed. What a gracious thing for us that Jesus Christ never thinks about what we have been! He always thinks about what we are going to be. You and I are slaves to time and space and records and reputations and publicity and the past—all that we call the case history. Jesus Christ cares absolutely nothing about anyone’s moral case history. He forgives it and starts from there as though the person had been born one minute before.
Again I worship You today, great God, for Your matchless grace. No matter what my past, thank You, thank You, thank You, that “Jesus Christ cares absolutely nothing about anyone’s moral case history.” Amen.
But why dost thou judge thy brother?… for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Romans 14:10
God in love and wisdom has given us in His Holy Spirit every gift and power and help that we need to serve Him. We do not have to look around for some other way!
The most solemn aspect of this is our individual responsibility. The Bible teaches that a day is coming when we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone faces a review of the things done in the body, whether good or bad.
In that day we will be fully exposed and the things that we have done in our own strength and for our own glory will be quickly blown away, like worthless straw and stubble, forever separated from the kind of deeds and ministries which were wrought by the Spirit and which are described as eternal treasures in the sight of God, gold and silver and precious stones that the fire cannot harm.
In that day, all that is related to the work of the flesh will perish and pass away, and only that which has been wrought by the Spirit of God will remain and stand.
Do you dare to accept the fact that the sovereign God has designed to do all of His work through spiritually gifted men and women? Therefore, He does all of His work on earth through humble and faithful believers who are given spiritual gifts and abilities beyond their own capacities.
It was the promise of Christ that “you shall receive power” through the ministry of the Holy Spirit—and along with power the bestowment of sweet graces and pleasant fruits of godliness when He is allowed to gain control of our persons!
Who… worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator… God gave them over to a reprobate mind. ROMANS 1:25, 28
Since the first fallen man got still long enough to think, fallen men have been asking these questions: “Whence came I? What am I? Why am I here? and Where am I going?”
The noblest minds of the race have struggled with these questions to no avail. Had the answer lay somewhere hidden like a jewel, it would surely have been uncovered, for the most penetrating minds of the race have searched for it everywhere in the region of human experience. Yet the answers remain as securely hidden as if they did not exist.
Why is man lost philosophically? Because he is lost morally and spiritually. He cannot answer the questions life presents to his intellect because the light of God has gone out in his soul. The fearful indictment the Holy Ghost brings against mankind is summed up count by count in the opening chapters of Romans, and the conduct of every man from earliest recorded history is evidence enough to sustain the indictment.
Apart from the Scriptures we have no sure philosophy; apart from Jesus Christ we have no true knowledge of God; apart from the in-living Spirit we have no ability to live lives morally pleasing to God!
Lord, I am grateful for the new life that I have through Jesus Christ. I pray that Your Spirit living in me will empower me to walk courageously and morally in this ungodly world. I don’t want to be a closet Christian.