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Posted on Dec 28, 2014 in Content |

Jesus Said Thank You

JesusThankYou

“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”
Luke 22:19-20

The night before His crucifixion, Jesus did something important that we don’t often think about. He said “thank you”. This statement of thankfulness came before He gave the disciples the bread and cup, symbols of His coming death.

Knowing that He was going to give His body and blood for us, that He was going to be hurt and tortured, that He would bleed and die, how could Jesus give thanks?

The Bread, His Body

Jesus had a body prepared for Him. This body was prepared because He had to come as a man to redeem men. He bore our sins in His body on the tree. That night, Jesus knew that He would give His body to be tortured, broken, and crucified for the world He had come to save.

The Cup, His Blood

Before the creation of the world, there was a plan for the blood of Christ. He would shed His blood so that we could be forgiven. Jesus knew that without His blood, we would never be free of sin and death. His blood would cleanse us. It would free us.

He was Thankful

Though He faced unbearable agony, Jesus Christ looked ahead to an indescribable joy. He looked forward to the joy that He would have in transforming lost, hopeless sinners into redeemed saints. His body would be broken, yes. And His blood would be shed. But it was all so that, one day, a redeemed people would live with Him.

With the anticipation of the painful hours to come, Jesus was thankful for His body and His blood, for they would be used to redeem all who would receive His free gift of grace. He was thankful that He could be the sacrifice for the sins of the world, bridging the impossible gap between God and sinners!

Jesus said thank you that night because He was thankful. How wonderful this is! We can be thankful that our Savior was thankful.

-Nathanael Pena

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Posted on Oct 27, 2014 in Content |

Christ is: Cleansing the Church

Cleansing
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“Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”
Ephesians 5:25-27

The love of Christ for the church is incredible. He loved her enough to die for her. And, as He waits for the day when His betrothed will become His bride, He is displaying that love by cleansing the church. His work in cleansing the church continues every day until she is presented as a “glorious” bride!

He Knows

We need to look no further than the letters to the churches in Revelations to see an example of Christ’s cleansing work. The churches have their own strengths & weaknesses. When Jesus begins talking to them, He starts with these two words, “I know”. He knows the good & the bad. He sees the triumphs of grace and the corruption of sin. He knows His betrothed, and He loves her still!

He Cares

When speaking to the churches, Christ praises them. He looks for what is good in His bride – whether it service, love, faith, or patience – and speaks of it. He is also unafraid to tell the church where there is sin, for He cares about that too. Sin in the church only does harm, and Christ does not want His bride to be hurt! He cares enough to both encourage the church and to call her out on her sin. But, even when pointing out sin, He does not leave her hopeless!

He Calls

The cleansing of Christ calls for change. He shows a way to triumph over sin, and (amazingly) even offers rewards for those who do! These overcomers get a glimpse of their future inheritance, one that is far better than the sin that is weighing them down. With this eternal perspective, Christ’s call for repentance can be answered without hesitation or regret.

He Continues

This cleansing work is not limited to the churches spoken of in Revelation. Our Lord is hard at work, cleansing your local church and mine. He knows what is happening in every gathering right now. He cares. He uses His word to call us to repentance. He shows His promises to spur the church on to further sanctification. In this way, He cleanses.

 

One day, all of the sin, backbiting, bitterness, & disunity in the church will be gone. On that day, Christ will present to Himself a bride dressed in fine linen. And that linen, the ‘wedding dress’ of the church, will be crafted from the righteous acts of the saints. Christ’s work of cleansing will be done, displayed for all to see. His bride, the church, will be spotless & beautiful. What a marvelous triumph of grace that will be!

“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” Revelation 19:7-8

-Jesharelah Pena

 

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Posted on Oct 23, 2014 in Content | 1 comment

Christ is: Building the Church

Building

“… I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” – Matthew 16:18 

Thanks be to Christ, who is the Guarantor of our inheritance in the Church and of the promise that He will build His Church. Truly, it is God’s massive construction project. He broke down the old covenant which stood as a wall of partition between His people, Israel, and the world, and He abolished the enmity of the law in order to make a new building: us! As an engineer, thinking about Christ’s work in the Church from a design or production point of view, I am reminded of four M’s that make a complete construction project: Man, Material, Method, and Machine.

Man

Every building project needs a leader, and who better than Jesus Christ? In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. The Stone which the builders rejected has been made the Head of the corner, and God gave Him to be over all things to the Church. We are complete in Him, rooted and built up in all things. No believer should ever doubt the capability of this Man to build His Church.

Material

Christ’s Church is a building like no other. It is built upon a strong foundation: the apostles and prophets, with Jesus Christ Himself being the first Stone to be laid, the chief cornerstone. This foundation is being garnished with living and precious stones. These stones are all believers; people brought out of the miry clay and changed into gold, silver, and precious gems! They are fashioned to fit perfectly together to make a spiritual house, a habitation of God.

Method

A potter, when he first sits down to work, does not simply see a shapeless lump of clay; he sees the final product in his mind and uses the best-known way to create the desired shape. The Master Craftsman of the Church is no different—He sees the final product in His mind and He has the best timing and the right tool for each job. Whether it is discipline, persecution, temptation, conviction, comfort, or anything else, His ways are perfectly crafting the Church. All believers can rest knowing that God has determined the best way to shape us from raw material into the perfect image of His Son.

Machine

Like a good foreman, Christ oversees the building up of His Church. There are differences of ministries in the church, and He places us exactly where we should be. Sometimes He expedites the process and exercises His sovereignty. He does this not as a bully that forces His will but simply and graciously overrules the imperfection and stupidity of man. Won’t it be great when the day arrives and Christ presents her to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing!

-Chase Boone

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Posted on Oct 21, 2014 in Content |

Jesus is: Our Advocate

Advocate
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My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 1 John 2:1

We see a powerful picture of Christ as our Advocate in Zechariah chapter three. Joshua, the high priest, is standing before the Angel of the Lord (the pre-incarnate Christ), and Satan standing ready to accuse. Joshua is wearing filthy garments, an illustration of the sin of God’s people. Things seem quite dismal as Satan makes his case against Joshua.

Though Joshua should have been guilty before God, there was an Advocate there to intercede on his behalf. Satan accuses, and rightly so, but Joshua’s filthy clothes (representing sin) are taken away. The Lord rejects Satan’s accusations. Instead, Joshua is clothed in white garments. In the Lord’s eyes, he is clean and holy. No accusation made against him can stand.

The same one who interceded on Joshua’s behalf is now our Advocate. Christ was made lower than the angels and died a shameful death to redeem us. Now He stands, risen and glorified, as our Advocate, having paid the highest price for our clean garments. It is His righteousness that makes it possible for us to live holy unto the Lord.

And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. 1 John 2:2

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.  Romans 8:1

-Sharon Sax

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Posted on Oct 18, 2014 in Content |

Jesus is: Waiting

Waiting
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Upon victoriously completing the entire work of salvation for the world, Jesus Christ ascended to heaven. One of the things that He has been doing ever since is waiting. God’s Word tells us at least two things that Christ is waiting for.

He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet.  (Heb 10:12-13)

Waiting for His Enemies

Christ has enemies. Though we were once His enemies, He has reconciled us to Himself by His death on the cross. Satan and his minions are still enemies of Christ. Someday an antichrist will appear as an enemy. When Jesus comes to Earth, He will face enormous armies of men, all His enemies. Yet in every battle, He will win!

Christ is not merely aware that someday He will crush His enemies beneath His feet. For thousands of years, Christ been waiting for the day when all of His enemies will be crushed underfoot. He will rule as King with no more enemies. Won’t that be a great day? No more enemies of Christ. No more opposition to what is good and right. What a day that will be!

What patience He has exhibited for these millennia, and even now, as He waits for the day when our world will be set right and when the opposition to Him will be no more. That will be a great day. I’m looking forward to it. And I have a Savior in Heaven who is looking forward to it.

But do not let this fact escape your notice beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:8-9)

Waiting for Repentance

Today, Christ is in heaven, not wishing for any to perish. He is waiting for each soul to believe on His finished work on the cross. Specifically, He is waiting for all to come to repentance (change their minds). The Bible teaches that each unbeliever must consciously change their mind from unbelief to belief, accepting the good news about the salvation that is made available in Christ alone.

Christ wants all to be saved. He died on the cross. He draws souls to Himself. He sent out the Holy Spirit to convict the world. He sent you and me into the world to tell the world. He has done everything possible to change the minds of every person. Each person is without excuse if they refuse to believe His gospel. Yet He is still kindly and patiently waiting.

We can only imagine the delight that Christ receives when a soul receives the gift that He suffered, bled, and died to impart. He has only ever shown kindness to each and every soul. He has given His life. And for two thousand years (and even today), He waits patiently for every soul to turn to Him.

There will be many who do not believe. But there are those who will believe. There will be a great multitude of the redeemed who will live forever with Christ! This is why our Savior waits. It is amazing to think that Christ is not in such a hurry to return, because He wishes for more souls to be saved and to take advantage of His finished work. He is patiently waiting for more to change their minds.

Until that day

In Heaven, our Savior is waiting. He waits for the great day of victory. He waits for more souls to repent. He looks forward to the day when His enemies will be silenced, and when every knee will bow. And He is waiting for the enemies who He died to reconcile to be won into friends. And when the time is right, Christ will come in glorious victory – a loving Savior to meet His bride, and a just King to crush His enemies.

As we look forward to that day, may we wonder at this truth: that our Savior is waiting.

-Nathanael Pena

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Posted on Oct 15, 2014 in Content |

Jesus is: Our High Priest

High Priest
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Consider the High Priest of our confession,­ Jesus Christ. He came as a man, yet never sinned. He was “like us”, but so different. It is this difference, the fact that “in Him there is no sin”, that allows Him to reach down and help us in our weaknesses. There is no one who offers more understanding and aid than He does!

Hebrews 2:17 “Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God.” (ESV)

Hebrews 4:15­-16 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (ESV)

As our High Priest, Jesus is able to understand our weaknesses. He experienced hunger, thirst, tiredness, and pain during His time as a man on this Earth. Yet it isn’t only the physical weakness that Christ can sympathize with. He sympathizes with those enduring emotional weaknesses as well.

You may ask, “Does Jesus Christ really know how I feel?” “Can He truly relate to the sadness in my heart?” Jesus experienced sadness (Luke 19:41), loneliness (Matt 27:46), frustration (Mark 3:5), and even anger towards loved ones (Mark 10:14). Jesus was despised and rejected, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He knows perfectly the feelings of being rejected and hated without cause.

Many of God’s children are pain and discomfort. When we are weak, physically or emotionally, we may feel like David when he wrote “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. Yes, I would wander far away? I would lodge in the wilderness.” But instead we should heed God’s instruction and with “confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need”. Go to God in prayer. He has provided access through His own Son. “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you? He will never permit the righteous to be moved.”

If you are in need, the Great High Priest is sympathetic and willing to supply abundant mercy and grace!

-Myles Tikle

 

 

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