Archive for April, 2021

NOTHING LACKING

“For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete” (Colossians 2:9-10a).

The same provision of God the Father to Jesus the Son has been provided to us as disciples. The same power that brought forth the resurrection 2000 years ago brings salvation and resurrection to our lives today. As believers, we lack for nothing that is necessary to accomplish the purposes of God in our world. Whether it is played out in our daily lives is determined by our willingness to crucify our will for his.

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DONE IN LOVE

“Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Corinthians 16:14).

As much as we proclaim faith in Christ as the basis for salvation, scripture places no less emphasis on our “doing” (fruit-bearing) as the proving ground of a genuine faith. When his inquisitor rightly acknowledged the Samaritan as the merciful one, in the parable of the good Samaritan, Jesus issued the charge, “Go and do the same.” James even goes as far to say that to know the right thing to do and to fail to do it is sin. All we do, is to be done in love. Love is the catalyst that heals all sickness, conquers all strongholds, opens any door, spans any chasm, and knocks down all walls.

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YOU CAN BEAR IT

“Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Corinthians 15:49).

This life has a way of leaving scars. Grief, disappointment, pain, frailty, and the decline of our mental and physical capacities serve as constant reminders of the temporal status of the body; the fleeting nature of this life, culminating in a physical death. Just as this broken state is borne out in this earthy body, the eternal nature of our resurrection body will bear the heavenly upon the return of Christ. Just hang in there a bit longer. He’s coming!

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A FOUNDATIONAL HOPE

“But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’” (1 Corinthians 15:54).

In the context of death, and what is to come, the hope that we hold forth rests upon the belief in a bodily resurrection of the dead. As the church, this is the doctrinal truth we hold forth, rooted in scripture; not the musings of mysticism and fairy tales that offer forth sentimental platitudes, such as, “God must have needed another angel in heaven.” The reality of a bodily resurrection, alone, enables us to shout triumphantly, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? (v.55).

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BOTANICAL PROMISES

“and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else” (Matthew 15:37).

Borrowing from God’s created order, Paul utilizes examples from biology, cosmology, and, now botany to emphasize that the resurrection body to be received upon Christ’s return, is vastly different in form than any understanding we might currently have of a body; that it will not be a reanimation of what was but, rather, of a form fit for eternity; one not subject to decay, death, and the limitations of this present life. In this we should find an encouragement to be organ donors and, also, a comforting reassurance when family members choose cremation as the final disposition of their body.

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SURPLUS OR SACRIFICE

“A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent” (Mark 12:42).

Jesus’ commendation of this woman’s giving was based not upon how much she gave, but out of what she gave. While the wealthy contributed out of their surplus (v.44), this widow gave sacrificially out of her poverty. In a world impressed with quantity, Jesus utilizes a different kind of math. Knowing the totality of resources his Father has entrusted to every person, Jesus observes the stewardship of our giving and then makes judgments regarding the quality of our faith and trust in him. No one can ever afford to give if they are trying to purchase what the world is trying to sell. No one can afford not to give if they are concerned for the well-being of their soul.

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A HOLISTIC LIFE

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

“Entirely” and “complete” indicate a holistic view of life accomplished by God through our spirit, soul and, finally, the body. This is a reversal of the priorities evidenced in a culture that has come to worship the human form, to the point of worshipping the creature over the Creator.  More and more is being spent on maintaining the physical appearances of days gone by with little regard for the forthcoming days of eternity. A resurrected life was never intended to be a recapturing of this life, but a transformational pursuit of what lies ahead.

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TRAINING REGIMEN

“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, rejoice (Philippians 4:4)!

Ever wonder how a quarterback can so successfully time an “out pattern” before the receiver has even made his cut? Or how Michael Jordan, in the middle of a game, could make a free throw with his eyes closed? Repetition is the key—doing something over and over until it becomes second nature. It is no less true in our spiritual life. We are to rejoice not in our ever-changing circumstances but in the never-changing Lord. We condition ourselves to rejoice always only as it is done repetitiously.

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NAILED IT

“Having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14).

It was a day of death, yet, even in dying, Jesus actively accomplished deeds of eternal significance. Upon the cross, an instrument of capital punishment, he canceled out, took it out, and nailed it; he put to death the encumbrances—sin, legalism, institutionalized religion, etc.—that seek to destroy the living dynamic desired by God between himself and humanity. It was, and is, a Good Friday only as these things are remembered gratefully and our lives lived out in faithful obedience.

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AN EMPOWERING PRESENCE

“…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

His promise is an assurance of his personal presence—“I, myself.” With the coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, Jesus confirms his presence among us will be no less than those disciples to whom he spoke these words. Belief in these words is life-changing; how you live, act, behave, treat others. To believe he is with you now is to be emboldened, courageous, secure, no longer fearful; driven only by a desire to please the One who is by your side (John 14:16).

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