The Humility of Jesus

This past Sunday Brian Ketter spoke on humility.  As happens, when you sit under the teaching of God’s Word you are putting yourself in a good position to both hear about God and hear from Him. And I, like you, need both.

This week I’ve done a lot of thinking about the humility that God calls us to as well as the example Jesus sets for us.  This is so obvious, it may seem simplistic to write the words. But, if you are getting wound up pretty tight on all the Christmas season expectations and busyness, or even if you’re not… perhaps this simple message will remind you of the One who loves you so much He humbled himself.

Who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  Phil 2:6-7

Jesus. Fully God, became fully man.  That’s humility.

He humbled Himself. He wasn’t humbled by another. He stepped out of eternity and entered our time, our space, to be with us, to be one of us.

Ready for this?

So that we could become one of His.

And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Phil 2:8-11

Of course I love Jesus.

This past Sunday in our series “Q&A with Jesus” we looked at the passage where Jesus asks Peter if he loved him. You can find the audio and sermon notes here.

Who wouldn’t answer that question right, especially right to Jesus’ face? Yes, I love you. Sure do.  “Then”, Jesus says, “here’s what I want you to do.”

For most that are familiar with the passage, we have taken a safe kind of liberty in our interpretations to read into the passage that Jesus may in fact be affirming his forgiveness towards Peter for the gaff on the eve of his crucifixion.  Peter denied knowing Jesus three times, just as Jesus warned. And here in John 21, Jesus asks Peter of his love followed by a ‘here’s what you do then’ three times.  Whether this is an affirmation of forgiveness or a sense of “let’s deal with this and get on with it” either way, Jesus is saying to Peter, it’s time and I do in fact have something I need you to be a part of.

One of the applications that comes from this study is this: Is there something in your past that’s keeping you from accepting the forgiveness of Christ and moving forward with a life that centers on Him?

Jesus knows that Peter is forgiven. He’s never been about holding a grudge, he’s always about the present tense relationship. Consider even His name, “I AM”.  Not, “I will be, as soon as you make up for your mess or prove to me that you’ll not drop the ball again”, but “I AM”.

Relationships take time. They take understanding and even effort. But mostly, they take grace. Jesus knew he’d have an amazing relationship with Peter, through the Holy Spirit, but Peter probably didn’t know that!

I wonder what Peter’s ministry in Acts would have looked like had Jesus not had this chat with him.  I wonder how many of us need to have a similar chat with the Lord.  He loves you, has completely forgiven you, and He needs you to accept His forgiveness, get over your past and move forward in the relationship that He came to establish.

Knowing God

One of the key themes in 2 Peter is going to be the knowledge of God. In the few weeks we’ll be studying this passage we’ll see how the knowledge of God is more than head-knowledge.  Though our knowledge starts with the data of God, who he is, how we can know he is real, and what he has revealed to us about himself, the real knowledge of God comes when we go from knowing ‘about’ God to actually knowing Him. To know him means to be in a relationship with him that is based on him and what he has done for us, through Jesus!  Peter’s use of the word knowledge is not just the data of God. It’s knowing God intimately.  Before you think this is just a ‘touchy-feely’ kind of sentiment, listen to the hard words that Paul gives us in Philippians 3:8-10

“I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith – that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death”

What does this passage say about how to know God?  There is nothing easy about this. What this means is that Paul would know Christ as he shared in the sufferings of Jesus.  You and I will suffer. Life involves brokenness and hurt, unfair treatment, disasters of nature and sin-induced trauma.  It can and will get difficult. But it’s through this difficult times that a follower of Jesus gets to know God in a whole new way.  A way that brings glory to God!

If you or someone you know is going through a difficult time of suffering right now, pray that God would make himself ‘known’ during this hard time.  In his grace, God reaches out to us in our sufferings and we know his peace and presence in a whole new intimate way.

A few more days

Today I got to spend a few hours painting.  I’m not a painter by trade, so for me, I can enjoy it and not touch it again for several years.  One of the things I like about painting alone is it’s easy to think and process, even as I listen to some good music.

As I was thinking of Zac on this day he would have turned 35, I heard two songs that seemed very appropriate. I tend to like most everything Third Day has done, but one of my all time faves is Cry Out To Jesus.  “To everyone who’s lost someone they love long before it was their time, you feel like the days you had were not enough when you said goodbye… there is hope for the helpless, rest for the weary and love for the broken heart and there is grace and forgiveness mercy and healing, he’ll meet you where ever you are, cry out to Jesus!”

Matthew West came on a few minutes later “So I wait for the moment when you come for me…and I can’t stop thinking, just a few more days I’ll be going home, just a few more hours and I’ll be flying, it could be any minute now that you take me away, or maybe just a few more days. To You a day is like a thousand years, and only you know when the clouds will clear. So let me not forget.

I miss Zac. But his life and death remind me how short our time on planet earth is until Jesus either takes us home or comes to get us.  Really, just a few days. What we do each and everyday matters as we follow the Lord and bring honor to Him by telling others of His great and amazing love and grace.

I was encouraged.

Thank you dear God, for Zac and for today and for the joy of living a life that is granted by You.

Now I’ll go have some French Silk pie, for Zac.

A Growing Faith

If you missed Grace yesterday, you can hear the sermon here.

A few thoughts to think about during this week:

  • God is both incomprehensible and knowable, yes, He’s THAT big!
  • It all started with God: first 4 words Gen 1:1
  • God, in His goodness revealed Himself to us through general revelation Ps 19:1-6
  • God, in His grace has revealed Himself to us through special revelation; His Word and His Son!  Ps 19:7-14; Jn 14:6-7
  • My faith will grow as I exercise it
  • My faith is built on an everlasting GREAT God who loves me and gave Himself for me
And to apply it all:
  • Am I believing God for what I’m about to do?
  • By faith, what do I believe God is asking me to do?

Mother

We called her Mother. Not mom. I don’t know why, nor do I know if it matters. It wasn’t about the title.

Mother was amazing.  She wasn’t perfect, she was a mom. I’ll bet $100 she never read a parenting book.  When would she have time?  A Parenting magazine, would have been too expensive.  It wasn’t about the technique.

She loving stayed by her husbands side until they were parted by death.  Her death.  She graciously brought up 10 children.  I wonder how many times she thought, “Never in my wildest dreams” or “did I leave anyone behind?”  I don’t remember what we ate. Isn’t that odd?. I love food.  I remember a few basic meals, like tamale pie, tacos on Saturday nights and waffles or pancakes on Sunday morning. Seems like we had a lot of hot cereal in the mornings.  It wasn’t about the food, or the amount of food!

My clearest memory of my mother from my childhood was me walking down what seemed like a really long hallway (which of course it’s not!) and seeing mother in those early hours of the morning sitting in a rocking chair by the front window reading from her Bible and her Daily Bread.  You see, what it was about was the relationship. Her relationship with Jesus is what made her mother. Not the bazillion kids, or the countless meals or all the laundry that could dwarf a mountain range.  It was WHO she was, not what she did or who she did it for. She was a real person. A human, numbered among the billions during her too-short a lifetime.  But she was God’s child, she was fully aware of who Jesus was and what He did for her. And she trained up her children to know Him and take Him seriously.  And so we do. That’s what it’s all about.

The Costs

Sin is expensive. It always costs more than it says. It always lets down the buyer. It’s never worth the cost. And the cost most always shows up later.  And the cost of sin is always spread out to others, not just the one making the decision.

Grace is free. It’s not cheap, but free. It cost God His only Son.  Jesus paid it all.

I hate sin and the obvious consequences.  Today I learned again of the tragic news of sin’s consequences. You can see it any day. Matter of fact, everyday. Sin is the hottest thing for the news outlets. And it’s as rotten and costly as ever.

Today is the day we remember Jesus died on the cross, once for all! Grace enters, sin exits. As we are daily reminded of the cost of sin, let’s remember to thank God for the high cost of paying for it, once for all.

Thank You, Jesus. For grace. For the cross. For paying my debt.

We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. Rom 6:9-10

For Christ also suffered  once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,  1 Pt 3:18

He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23  When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24  He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 1 Pt 2:22-24

Testimonies of Grace

This Sunday night is our first ever “Thanksgiving Service”.  We’ll meet at 5:30 for about an hour.  As we’re planning this, it’s hard to believe we’ve NOT been doing this before.  Mark it down- new tradition!

Would YOU like to participate?  During the service most will have an opportunity to express in small groups what they are thankful to God for during this season.  I also will have a limited number of testimonies given from the stage.  I’d like to have one of you that reads my blog give your testimony.  So here’s how this will go: If you’d like to give your testimony in 3 minutes, then send an email to pmarksblog@gmail.com with your story and I’ll prayerfully pick ONE.  And yes, I may introduce you as the Blog winner! But probably not.  Sorry I can’t have all of you share, but it’s a time thing!  That’s why you’ll probably have time during the service to share with one another.  Ok, go. Make it short and honoring to Jesus!

What a Day That Will Be.

On Monday, Karen Gandy Richardson got to see Jesus face to face. http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/karenlrichardson/journal

Death for the believer is a whole different ball game.  Sunday I shared from Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1:15-23 that we are the inheritance of Christ.  We’re His. We belong to Him.  And also, Paul prayed that as we realize what we already have because of Christ, that we’d realize the hope we have because He called us.  Because we are saved, we now have a hope. That hope is to see Jesus. That hope is to have eternal life with God.  That hope has now been realized for Karen.

There’s a lot about death we don’t like. I get that. But as followers of Jesus and worshipers of the Most High God, we have a hope that death gets us there.  Hope isn’t wishful thinking. Hope is factual assurance based on the character of God and on His loving, gracious history.  We trust Him because He can be trusted.  We have hope because it is in Him.

Let’s keep our eye on the prize.  Let’s keep our focus on Jesus no matter what curve balls have been tossed your way lately.  He’s got you. And yes, He too is looking forward to the day when we all get to be together.

Identity In Christ

Last Sunday I read a few verses that described who we are in Christ and I wanted to make the whole list available to you! I hope these words encourage you today. Don’t forget to keep Gal 2:20 on your mind this week.

Can’t wait to see you on Sunday as we take back our faith!

Have a great week!
Pastor Mark

I got this list from:  http://crossinglouisville.com/2009/05/03/our-identity-in-christ/

Who Am I?
Matt. 5:13 I am the salt of the earth.
Matt. 5:14 I am the light of the world.
John 1:12 I am a child of God (part of His family).  (see Rom. 8:16)
John 15:1, 5 I am part of the true vine, a branch of His (Jesus’) life.
John 15:15 I am Jesus’ friend.
John 15:16 I am chosen and appointed by Jesus to bear His fruit.
Acts 1:8 I am a personal witness of Christ for Christ.
Rom. 6:18 I am a slave of righteousness.
Rom. 6:22 I am enslaved to God.
Rom. 8:14, 15 I am a son of God.  (God is my “daddy” so to speak) (see Gal. 3:26, 4:6)
Rom. 8:17 I am a joint-heir with Christ sharing His inheritance with Him.
1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19 I am a temple (home) of God.  His Spirit dwells in me.
1 Cor. 6:17 I am joined to the Lord and am one spirit with Him.
1 Cor. 12:27 I am a member of Christ’s body.  (see Eph. 5:30)
2 Cor. 5:17 I am a new creation (new person).
2 Cor. 5:18, 19 I am reconciled to God and am a minister of reconciliation.
Gal. 3:26, 28 I am a son of God and one in Christ.
Gal. 4:6, 7 I am an heir of God since I am a son of God.
Eph. 1:1 I am a saint.  (see 1 Cor. 1:2; Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:2)
Eph. 2:10 I am God’s workmanship (handiwork) created in Christ to do the work He planned beforehand that I should do.
Eph. 2:19 I am a fellow citizen with the rest of God’s people in His family.
Eph. 3:1 / 4:1 I am a prisoner of Christ.
Eph. 4:24 I am righteous and holy.
Phil. 3:20 I am a citizen of heaven and seated in heaven right now (see Eph. 2:6)
Col. 3:3 I am hidden with Christ in God.
Col. 3:4 I am an expression of the life of Christ because He is my life.
Col. 3:12 I am chosen of God, holy, and dearly loved.
1 Thes. 1:4 I am chosen and dearly loved by God.
1 Thes. 5:5 I am son of light and not of darkness.
Heb. 3:1 I am a holy brother, partaker of a heavenly calling.
Heb. 3:14 I am a partaker of Christ … I share in His life.
1 Pet. 2:5 I am one of God’s living stones and am being built up (in Christ) as a spiritual house.
1 Pet. 2:9, 10 I am a part of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession to proclaim His excellencies.
1 Pet. 2:11 I am an alien and stranger to this world that I temporarily live in.
1 Pet. 5:8 I am an enemy of the devil.
1 John 3:1, 2 I am now a child of God.  I will resemble Christ when He returns.
1 John 5:18 I am born of God; the evil one (the devil) can’t touch me.
Psalm 23 & 100 I am a sheep of His pasture.  Therefore, I have everything I need.

What Happened to Me?
Rom. 5:1 I have been justified (completely forgiven and made righteous).
Rom. 6:1-6 I died with Christ and died to the power of sin’s rule on my life.
Rom. 8:1 I am free forever from condemnation.
1 Cor. 1:30 I have been put into Christ by God’s doing.
1 Cor. 2:12 I have received the Spirit of God into my life that I might know the things freely given to me by God.
1 Cor. 2:16 I have been given the mind of Christ.
1 Cor. 6:19, 20 I have been bought with a price.  I am not my own.  I belong to God.
2 Cor. 1:21 I have been established, anointed, and sealed by God in Christ.
2 Cor. 5:14, 15 Since I have died, I no longer live for myself, but for Him (Christ).
2 Cor. 5:21 I have been made righteous.
Gal. 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.  (The life I am living is Christ’s life.)
Eph. 1:3 I have been blessed with every spiritual blessing.
Eph. 1:4 I have been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blame before Him.
Eph. 1:5 I was predestined (determined by God) to be adopted as a son.
Eph. 1:7, 8 I have been redeemed, forgiven, and am a recipient of His lavish grace, Eph. 1:13, 14 and have been given the Holy Spirit as a pledge (a deposit/down payment) guaranteeing my inheritance to come.
Eph. 2:5 I have been made alive together with Christ.
Eph. 2:6 I have been raised up and seated with Christ in heaven.
Eph. 2:18 I have direct access to God through the Spirit.
Eph. 3:12 I may approach God with boldness, freedom, and confidence.
Col. 1:13 I have been delivered (rescued) from the domain of darkness (Satan’s rule) and transferred to the kingdom of Christ.
Col. 1:14 I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins (the debt against me has been cancelled).  (see Col. 2:13, 14)
Col. 1:27 Christ Himself is in me.
Col. 2:7 I have been firmly rooted in Christ and am now being built up in Him.
Col. 2:11 I have been spiritually circumcised (my old, unregenerate nature has been removed).
Col. 2:10 I have been made complete in Christ.
Col. 2:12, 13 I have been buried, raised, and made alive with Christ.
Col. 3:1-4 I have been raised up with Christ.  I died with Christ.  My life is now hidden with Christ in God.  Christ is now my life.
2 Tim. 1:7 I have been given a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline.
2 Tim. 1:9 I have been saved and called (set apart) according to God’s doing.
Heb. 2:11 Because I am sanctified and am one with the Sanctifier (Christ), He is not ashamed to call me brother.
Heb. 4:16 I have a right to come boldly before the throne of God (the throne of grace) to find mercy and find grace in time of need.
2 Pet. 1:4 I have been given exceedingly great and precious promises by God by which I am a partaker of the divine nature (God’s nature).