Sept 6, 2009
A great old hymn performed by Casting Crowns
Sept 6, 2009
A great old hymn performed by Casting Crowns
[The union of husband and wife] is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:32
Counselors sometimes suggest that a sure way to avoid disappointment is to avoid expectations. Married couples are sometimes told if they expect nothing from a spouse, they will not be disappointed if they receive nothing.
Often, we confuse expectations with rights, especially in marriage—“It is my right to be loved and understood by my spouse.” Demanding rights can be problematic. But are expectations in marriage wrong? When we follow Paul’s lead, comparing marriage to Christ and His Church, it would seem not (Ephesians 5:22-33). Do we as the Bride of Christ have expectations of Christ? Yes, and He is always faithful. Does Christ have expectations of us, His Bride—expectations of love, loyalty, obedience, service, and more? Yes. And while we sometimes disappoint Him, expectations remain.
Spouses can have expectations of one another to parallel those of Christ and His Church with this addition: being kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving toward one another as Christ is toward us (Ephesians 4:32).
A Single Thought: Married or single, we should expect kindness and consideration from one another as the Bride of Christ.
Recommended Reading: Ephesians 5:22-23
Liberty and the Standards of Jesus
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free… —Galatians 5:1
A spiritually-minded person will never come to you with the demand— “Believe this and that”; a spiritually-minded person will demand that you align your life with the standards of Jesus. We are not asked to believe the Bible, but to believe the One whom the Bible reveals (see John 5:39-40). We are called to present liberty for the conscience of others, not to bring them liberty for their thoughts and opinions. And if we ourselves are free with the liberty of Christ, others will be brought into that same liberty— the liberty that comes from realizing the absolute control and authority of Jesus Christ.
Always measure your life solely by the standards of Jesus. Submit yourself to His yoke, and His alone; and always be careful never to place a yoke on others that is not of Jesus Christ. It takes God a long time to get us to stop thinking that unless everyone sees things exactly as we do, they must be wrong. That is never God’s view. There is only one true liberty— the liberty of Jesus at work in our conscience enabling us to do what is right.
Don’t get impatient with others. Remember how God dealt with you— with patience and with gentleness. But never water down the truth of God. Let it have its way and never apologize for it. Jesus said, “Go…and make disciples…” (Matthew 28:19), not, “Make converts to your own thoughts and opinions.”
An intellectual conception of God may be found in a bad vicious character. The knowledge and vision of God is dependent entirely on a pure heart. Character determines the revelation of God to the individual. The pure in heart see God. Biblical Ethics, 125 R
Every Sunday countless people all over the world sit in church buildings with a false sense of security. They assume that their morality, lifelong church membership, or baptism will earn them a place in heaven. While many of these folks have a sincere desire to please God, they are confused about what the Christian life is all about. They think in terms of doing rather than being. So they imitate the actions of good Christians: going to a weekly service, praying, reading the Bible, and trying to be decent people.
However, salvation is not the product of our good works. We come into the world with a corrupt nature, and our wrongdoing is born of a heart turned away from the Lord. Because we are all sinful people, we sin. It’s that simple. The good news is that in the salvation experience, we are given a brand-new nature (2 Cor. 5:17). Our sin is wiped away because Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself to pay the penalty we owed. From the moment we trust in Him, the Holy Spirit dwells in our heart so we can live righteously.
The world values action, but God prioritizes relationship—specifically a right relationship with Him. People who scurry about flaunting religiosity are missing out on the deeply satisfying and joyous intimacy between a believer and the heavenly Father.
We can help correct others’ tragic misunderstanding by being ready to explain the reason for our hope. (See 1 Peter 3:15.) Knowing Christ is what matters. So speak of the personal relationship with Him that’s possible when a person admits his or her need and trusts in the Savior.
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 28:19)
The foundational plank of Israel’s worship was Deuteronomy 6:4—“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.” Even the great apostle James acknowledged, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble” (James 2:19).
Some have suggested that the Old Testament does not teach the Trinity and that the New Testament is making a “god” out of Jesus to foster the new religion. Nothing could be further from the truth. Both sections present the triune God.
The Father is named in Malachi 2:10: “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?” Jesus Himself insisted that we pray to the Father. “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name” (Matthew 6:9).
The Son is clearly declared in both Testaments. “The LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee” (Psalm 2:7). Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30), and the apostle Paul insisted that the Lord Jesus was “all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9).
The Holy Spirit is hardly a stranger to both Testaments. King David knew that “the Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue” (2 Samuel 23:2). And as the Lord Jesus was preparing to go back to the Father, He promised that “the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26).
This much is clear: There is one God, who is manifested to us in three Persons. HMM III
Above it stood the seraphims… and one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. —Isaiah 6:2-3
Now, because we are dealing with worship, let us consider the joys and delights of the heavenly creatures, the seraphim, around the throne of God….
We know very little about these created beings, but I am impressed by their attitude of exalted worship. They are close to the throne and they burn with rapturous love for the Godhead. They were engrossed in their antiphonal chants, “Holy, holy, holy!”…
The key words then and the keynote still of our worship must be “Holy, holy, holy!”
I am finding that many Christians are really not comfortable with the holy attributes of God. In such cases I am forced to wonder about the quality of the worship they try to offer to Him.
The word “holy” is more than an adjective saying that God is a holy God—it is an ecstatic ascription of glory to the Triune God.
Lord, I come before You this day and cry with the seraphim, “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts.” May I always approach You with such an attitude of worship. Amen.
And ye shall be witnesses unto me. (Acts 1:8)
The teachings of Jesus belong to the Church, not to society, for in society is sin, and sin is hostility to God!
Christ did not teach that He would impose His teachings upon the fallen world. He called His disciples to Him and taught them, and everywhere throughout His teachings there is the overt or implied idea that His followers will constitute an unpopular minority group in an actively hostile world.
The divine procedure is to go into the world of fallen men, preach to them the necessity to repent and become disciples of Christ and, after making disciples, to teach them “the ethics of Jesus,” which Christ called “all things which I have commanded you.”
The ethics of Jesus cannot be obeyed or even understood until the life of God has come to the heart of a man or woman in the miracle of the new birth.
The righteousness of the law is fulfilled in those who walk in the Spirit. Christ lives again in His redeemed followers the life He lived in Judea, for righteousness can never be divorced from its source, which is Jesus Christ Himself!
The cross of Christ is Christ’s glory. Man seeks to win his glory by the sacrifice of others—Christ by the sacrifice of himself: men seek to get crowns of gold—he sought a crown of thorns: men think that glory lieth in being exalted over others—Christ thought that his glory did lie in becoming “a worm and no man,” a scoff and reproach amongst all that beheld him. He stooped when he conquered; and he counted that the glory Jay as much in the stooping as in the conquest.
Our God has made the day spring from on high to visit us. Our life is blight with these visits as the sky with stars.