Tag Archives: Jesus

Loving What Jesus Loves (Part One)

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

Eph. 5:25-28 ESV

If we are in love with Jesus, then we will love what Jesus loves. What does Jesus love? He loves his church. No matter how ugly she acts, how sinful she behaves, or how hurtful her attitude, Jesus still loves his church. The Bible gives us no other option, if we desire to grow in Christ, then we must attend, serve, and worship in his church.

We may want to leave out of disappointment, distance ourselves out of embarrassment, and retaliate out of anger. However, we are called to stay and walk in the Spirit no matter our frustration or disillusionment. In the 1920’s, a young German theologian discovered the church and learned to love Christ and his church.

During April of 1924, a young aspiring theologian visited Rome for the first time. With his brother, he visited the ancient ruins and toured the great cathedrals and parish churches. Unplanned, his visit fell during Holy Week and guided by a young knowledgeable Roman Catholic priest from Bologna, they attended the great Holy Week services of the Roman church. The depth, gravity, and beauty of the ancient rites affected his spirit drawing him into the beauty of ancient catholicity.

As a state church German Protestant, he had experienced very little of the Roman Catholic Church: its people, its ancient liturgy, and its spirituality. This young man was greatly impressed by the sincere devotion and heart-felt conviction of the laity as they stood in line to partake of the sacrament of reconciliation. After receiving the sin-cleansing absolution of the young priests, guilt and shame was noticeably removed from their faces as they walked away. This young theologian continued with his Protestant objections to Roman Catholic doctrine, but was forever affected by the Roman Catholic laity’s deep and abiding love for the Church.

Edwin Robertson, The Shame and Sacrifice: The Life and Martyrdom of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (New York. MacMillan, 1988), 41.

Kingdom of God Is . . .

jesus-teaching

Parables of Jesus

The Kingdom of God is like . . . (Matt. 13:31).

Last year at Lamb of God, we studied the parables of Jesus. Jesus continually used parables to explain the nature and purpose of his kingdom. In an earlier post, I defined the Kingdom of God as the presence of the future–a foretaste of heaven. The Kingdom is an advance sample of what heaven will be like when we sit and enjoy the unparalleled presence of God. The Kingdom of God advances as men and women’s hearts are conquered through the power and love of the Cross. The Kingdom rules internally, but does manifest itself outwardly through the healing of the sick, deliverance from demons, joy in forgiveness, and relief for the least, lost, and lonely.

In essence, the Kingdom of God is the royal rule and reign of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in our hearts now and this internal reign will be fully manifested to the world upon his Second Coming. Contrary to the notes in the Scofield Study Bible, the kingdom is present now in this life and then will be fully realized in heaven.

Signs of the Kingdom’s presence in the life of the believer . . .

1. Born from Above: A supernatural change of heart performed by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit (John 3:5).

2. Lordship of Christ: Jesus rules in our hearts leading and directing our lives by his most beneficent rule (1 Peter 3:15; Rev. 11:15).

3. Cross-Centered: The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ has transformed us. Our motivation is changed from self-centeredness jerks to Christ-centered servants (2 Cor. 5:15).

4. Presence of the Holy Spirit: A life lived in the realm where God is present. This abundant life is typified by righteousness, joy, and peace in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17).

5. Manifestations of the Spirit: Healing of sickness, deliverance from demonic oppression, and overcoming power from sin. The Kingdom advances as lives are taken out from under the domination of Satan and brought into the righteous rule of Christ (Luke 4:18-19).

Jesus answered, ‘My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.’

John 18:36 NLT


Did the Slaughter of the Innocents Happen?

Feast Day of the Holy Innocents

On December 28th of every year, the Church Calendar commemorates the Feast Day of the Holy Innocents. The commemoration of the Massacre of the Innocents recalls the events of Matthew 2:16-18. By Herod the Great’s direction, the slaughter of all males two years old and under was ordered in an attempt to kill the infant Messiah.

Liberal scholars question the veracity of this story because the event is only told in the Gospel of Matthew and not mentioned in the writings of Jewish historian, Josephus. Recently, National Geographic magazine reported:

But, gratutiously, and highlighted by a quotation box, they insert the claim that Herod almost certainly did not kill the babies two years old and under in Bethlehem at the time of Jesus’ birth.  The sole reason given is that the report of this massacre occurs only in the Gospel of Matthew.  Of course, very liberal scholars have said something similar for a long time, but without good reason.

Craig Blomberg, National Geographic Blows It Again”, PrimetimeJesus.com

Craig Blomberg, Professor of New Testament at Denver Theological Seminary in Colorado points out the inconsistency of the National Geographic argument:

What makes the National Geographic report’s statement all the more unfortunate is that it comes right in the context of fairly detailed recounting of Josephus’ reports of all the cruelty and executions Herod did manufacture.  Increasingly paranoid as he got older about supposed threats to his “throne,” he had several of his sons and wives put to death.  It would be one thing if Josephus gave one kind of portrait of Herod and Matthew a quite different one, but both sources agree entirely on Herod’s ruthlessness and the specific manner it most manifested itself–repeated murders of those even slightly perceived to be a threat to his power.  Reports that a boy had been born with the right ancestral credentials to reign over Israel would easily have threatened this megalomaniac from Idumea who wasn’t even a Jew by birth and would never have survived the installment of someone with the right lineage.

Why then is this murderous tragedy not retold in secular histories? Blomberg explains:

So why didn’t Josephus say anything about these babies?  Because, like all other historians of his day, he was concerned to recount the events related to the kings and queens, military generals, aristocracy, and institutionalized leaders of religion of his people–not the lives and times of ordinary peasants.  Bethlehem had at most 500 people and, even factoring in large families, one can scarcely imagine more than 20-25 babies affected by Herod’s soldiers’ raids, and perhaps less.  It was a blip on the horizon of Herod’s nefarious resume.  It may even have been little reported in circles outside of later Christian ones.

One more time, major press outlets cannot ask one Evangelical scholar for an opinion about a Bible story. The press acts as if Bible-believing scholars do not exist.

Christ Saturated People Skills

Wisdom is Christ Saturated People Skills

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Prov. 1:7

Wisdom is Jesus saturated life and people skills. Wisdom is the practical application of Jesus in the midst of life’s difficult choices,  complicated situations, and perplexing people. Wisdom makes right choices leading to right actions that assist people in doing the right thing. Wisdom is not more information, but insights from God about people, their motivations, and the choices they make.

Wisdom is Jesus gifted people skills: it is learning how to deal with people and the emotional baggage they carry. Wisdom understands what drives people and why they act the way they do. Wisdom is knowing what to say and even how to say it. Wisdom gives us insight into dealing with people’s problems: ours and theirs. Wisdom helps us and others make the right choices in the right way at the right time. Learning wisdom is developing Christ saturated people skills.

Wisdom is the skill of living. It is a practical knowledge that helps one know how to act and how to speak in different situations. Wisdom entails the ability to avoid problems, and the skill to handle them when they present themselves. Wisdom also includes the ability to interpret other people’s speech and writing in order to react correctly to what they are saying to us. Wisdom is not intelligence pure and simple. It does not necessarily exclude intelligence, but that is not the focus.

Tremper Longman, How to Read Proverbs (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity, 2002).