IS IT I LORD?
Trust ♔ Jesus!
What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness,have not attained their goal. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. As it is written:
“See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall,
and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.”
Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: “The person who does these things will live by them.” But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
This week(end), people all over the world are gathering together to celebrate the birth, death, and triumphant resurrection of a king! Albeit, a king of a very different order than all the kingdoms of this world.
One who serves rather than is served, and who taught His followers, or disciples, to do the same.
And this is only the first of many paradoxes of His kingdom.
Sometimes, as I reflect on the scenery of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and I carefully consider the army arriving to take him,
I think about all that he suffered as he was betrayed, abused, ridiculed, mocked, unjustly punished, forced to face these trials (both literally and figuratively,) only to then undergo the crowning horrendous climax of crucifixion.
And then I think of how Satan and the demonic world must’ve looked on with such delight.
“Aha!” they must’ve exclaimed, “we’ve got him now!” “crush him!” “kill him!”
And as it turns out, in the paradoxical wisdom of divine redemption, the very thing these demonic forces have been inspiring humanity to do in rebellion against God since the ‘first’ garden, was the very necessary act that God intended to use to inaugurate the Kingdom of His blessed Son, Jesus the Christ!
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
Yet, if we’re not careful, we may begin to observe this celebration again and again as the Jewish nation observed the Passover feast continually each year, all the while completely oblivious to the significance of all that it represents for us in Christ…
The paradox wisdom of Divine redemption for hopeless sinners!
God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.
1 Corinthians 1:30
Let that thought rest over your minds this week as we celebrate our victorious King who conquered death by *raising from the grave,* and allow that resurrection power that now lives in us to give us great assurance of victory over sin, and a restored hope for a glorious future with Him that indeed has already begun!
Trust ♔ Jesus!
Under the guise of tolerance, we have entered into an age where it’s no longer acceptable to tell someone that their beliefs about God are wrong.
But I write to you to carefully consider the facts before you decide to jump on the ‘tolerance’ bandwagon:
To be told that ‘you cannot tell another person that their beliefs about God are wrong’, is itself, an idea that is being imposed.
Saying ‘you can’t tell people that their beliefs about God are wrong’ – IS a belief about the nature of God. It assumes an objective truth about God, and then forces others to submit to it’s professed ‘truth’, all the while denouncing those who do the same – just from the opposing side of the very same coin.
It’s a ‘belief’ that nothing can truly be known about God, and therefore truth is relative.
When this false ideology is confronted with objective truth and refuses to budge, while using objective truth statements to defend its position, it should be exposed for what it truly is…
Hypocrisy? Yes. But on what basis?
And at that, an idolatry of the worst kind – Idolatry of one’s own illogical self opinions.
The Apostle Paul recognized that this deceitful idol of the heart lay at the root of all denials of objective truth when he penned the letter to the church in Rome saying:
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being (including self) and birds and animals* and *reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. *They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things (including their own opinions) rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
Because human beings were created to worship, by choosing not to worship the One true God, we inevitably end up worshipping something else by default.
Which means that no ‘gray area’ exists.
People who place their highest importance upon, or get their value from, let’s say, – their children – have made them their idols.
The same applies to money, sex, knowledge, our spouses, our jobs, our possessions, and of course, *our opinions.*
If the only reason why we refrain from truthful considerations of contrary beliefs, is because ‘we choose to’, then we make it absolutely clear – we hold our own opinions in highest esteem.
But the reason our loving God commanded us “not to make any idols or ‘gods’ for ourselves,” (Exodus 20:3-4) was not to deprive us of anything of value. Rather, it is because He knows that our idols will eventually let us down, and He loves us too much to leave us to find that out the hard way.
It is only the truth that sets us free and allows us to function in the way we were created to function, preserving our peace, sustaining our joy, and teaching us the wisdom to love God and each other, well.
Which is why I continually implore you,
Trust ♔ Jesus!
Then the Lord said to him (Moses), “What is that in your hand?”
“A staff,” he replied.
The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”
Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. “This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob – has appeared to you.”
Then the Lord said, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous – it had become as white as snow.
“Now put it back into your cloak,” he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh.
Then the Lord said, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first sign, they may believe the second. But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground.”
Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths?
Often whenever we hear stories of famous evangelists who boldly proclaimed the Gospel in a place where it had never been before, and the awesome success they had at bringing others to the Lord, we hear this sentiment spoken like “I wish I could do what they did but I don’t think I could ever speak like that!”
But the truth is, we absolutely can do it, we just desire ‘not’ to do it.
The same speech we use every day to voice our interests, our fears, our hopes, and our joys, is the very same speech that we require to proclaim the testimony of the risen Christ.
So why don’t we do it then?
I guess it might be for the same reasons why Moses undermined his own abilities to God: He simply didn’t want to do it.
Now you might be thinking “wait, how do you know that Moses was doing that?”
Well in addition to the numerous excuses that he tried to use to get out of going, it’s actually the testimony of Steven the first martyr that told me for certain:
Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.
You see, God, already foreseeing that He would use Moses to deliver His people before the foundations of the earth, was careful to ensure that Moses was brought up in Pharaoh’s courts with the best education available at the time – the Egyptians – so that he would be eloquent and powerful in speech which is important if you’re going to be communicating with two and half million people later on in life.
God also made provision to direct Moses to Midian where he would then enter into the school of brokenness for the next 40 years of his life.
In all this, Moses was now prepared for the job!… Umm… Except…
He didn’t care to go.
It was not that he wasn’t trained, nor that he wasn’t qualified, nor that he wasn’t chosen. Alas, freewill does play a part in God’s divine choosing in that we still have the ability to choose whether or not we will go.
Now, we know that he eventually ‘does’ go, and also that despite God knowing that all of Moses’ apprehensions to go were merely based in his lack of desire ‘to’ go, but have you ever considered how different history would be today if he never ‘did’ go?
It shows us how the decisions of one person’s life can make such a difference to the deliverance of many people if we are willing to be obedient, and also God’s great patience with us in view of the hope for the greater good of mankind.
But it also helps us to understand the depth of disobedience in the sin of complacency due to fear or any other reason that we will one day answer for, in never attending to the call of God in ‘going’ for the sake of others.
Jesus has already instructed us:
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
You and I have been chosen, called, washed, redeemed and entrusted with the only Gospel of reconciliation between a Holy Loving God and a fallen world.
The value of what that truly means to you and I will be demonstrated and seen by the value we now place in seeing others come to know the sweet salvation found in no other name, but Christ!
So I encourage you,
Trust ♔ Jesus!