A Portrait of the Christian Life

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What does a Christian look like?

When the gospel has taken effect in a person’s life, their life has been transformed. The old has become new () and the dead is now living (; ). For this reason there are clear and obvious changes in the life of believer. In this post I would like to refer to them as a portrait of the Christian Life.

In the opening verses to his letter to the Colossians, the apostle Paul praised God for the fact that the Colossian believers were an unmistakable portrait of the Christian life,

“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven” (a).

What does the Christian life look like? going beyond physical appearance and personal accomplishments, Paul makes mention of three essential marks of the genuine believer: faith, love and hope. These three terms are not limited to this passage, in-fact they appear to be an important triad in Paul’s letters (e.g. and ). Interestingly, the word “heard” is a present active verb indicating that Paul is constantly hearing this. That is an amazing report! Let us now consider each of these marks of the Christian life.

Faith
The first mark of the gospel life that Paul celebrates is their “faith in Christ Jesus.” The Colossians did not trust in or rely on their own achievements; instead, the object of all their trust and reliance was “in Christ Jesus.” Genuine saving faith is recognizing that we have nothing to offer God in-order to be forgiven of our sin and be saved. “Faith” is God’s appointed means in-order for us to receive salvation. “Faith” is coming to God on the grounds of grace – having nothing to offer – and trusting and adhering to Christ as Lord.

Without “faith in Christ Jesus” there is no hope of salvation, simply because Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth and the life” (). This is what made the Colossians “faith” special – it was genuine saving faith. Paul could thank the Lord because the Colossians had “faith in Christ Jesus.” That certainly was worthy of celebration! That is the first mark of the gospel life.

Love
The second mark of the gospel life is “love…for all the saints.” Anybody who has a genuine relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ will love His people. This is not referring to a sentimental or superficial kind of “love.” Instead, this love is deliberate and committed. It is not sourced in ourselves, but like faith, it is given to us by God (). For this reason every believer is commanded to love other believers (). So then, every true believer has the capacity to love the people of God.  The Holy Spirit is the One who produces it within the life of the believer (cf. ) and because God has shown such wonderful love toward us in Christ (cf. ), this then ought to motivate us to love others.

Hope
The third mark of the believer that makes up the portrait of the gospel life is hope. Many today over-emphasize our present life. Such an over-emphasis allows for unbiblical teachings that place all of our attention on the here and now. An example of this could be prosperity theology. But an overemphasis of our present life can also be seen in people’s possessions and what they do with their time. Many are consumed with worldly pleasures. These pleasures may not be sinful in and of themselves, but they become the focus of their life. It is essential that Christians live their life in response to “the hope laid up” for them “in heaven.” This “hope” that the Colossians possessed was not wishful thinking. Instead, it refers to a confident expectation. What were they confidently expecting? According to this verse it is laid up for them in heaven. So then, what is laid up for us in heaven? In addition to experiencing all the majesty and splendour, we will be with the Lord Jesus Christ forever in eternity. But there is something greater, we will not only be with Him, but we shall be like Him (cf. ). The “hope” that marks the believer is a reference to being made like Christ, because He is our hope (cf. 1:27; ). Christlikeness is the greatest reward the believer will ever receive!

The apostle Paul thanked God for the Colossian believers because they were a portrait of the Christian life. Residing in them were the qualities: faith, love and hope. If this is a picture of you, that is worthy of celebration and praise to God.

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—

13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel,

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,

Remember the Return of the King

Second Coming

As we approach a New Year, in the midst of many new year’s resolutions and commitments, as the people of God let us be resolved to remember the return of the King. The Bible promises on many occasions that the King, the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God is going to return one day. We don’t know when, but we do know He will. The Old Testament prophets prophesied of His future coming (; ; ).

In we read the following from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself,

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other”

Here we see that the Lord Jesus Christ is telling His disciples that they are to anticipate this future event. Of course, in order for Him to return He must first leave which He does at the end of the gospel accounts (; ; ). In Luke is recording the final days in which the Lord Jesus Christ was one earth with His disciples. As they had followed Him to the Mount of Olives and saw Him ascend to Heaven, we read these words,

“And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven'” ().

While they witnessed the ascension of Christ, the angels informed them that just as He ascended, so must He descend again one day.

In Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians in we read,

“and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” ().

The apostle Paul describes this revelation of Jesus Christ as an event that is accompanied with judgment. His saints will be released from hardship and the unbelieving will receive retribution.

Clearly, the anticipation of many portions of Scripture (so much more could be included in this post) is the anticipation of the future return of Jesus Christ. Old Testament prophets spoke of it, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself predicted this, angelic beings affirmed it, and apostles wrote of this as they prepared the church. It is a reality, promise and confident expectation – “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” ().

What does this mean for us as we approach yet another year? In the midst of a discussion on the events surrounding the Lord’s Second Coming, the apostle Peter writes, “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness” (). We are to remember His return by living lives that prove it. By the Lord’s help, let us be resolved in 2014 to remember the return of the King and walk in the pathway of holiness to the glory of God. Happy New Year.

13 before the Lord, for he comes,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
and the peoples in his faithfulness.

13 “I saw in the night visions,

and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
14 And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.

On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward.

29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.

51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.

And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.

1:1 In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

15 In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16 “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” 18 (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms,

“‘May his camp become desolate,
and let there be no one to dwell in it’;

and

“‘Let another take his office.’

21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

1:1 In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

15 In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16 “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” 18 (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms,

“‘May his camp become desolate,
and let there be no one to dwell in it’;

and

“‘Let another take his office.’

21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,

13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness,

Getting the Gospel Right

Gospel copy

Getting the gospel right is critical.  The word “gospel” comes from the Greek word euangelion, which literally means “good news”. It is good news because it contains the message of God’s salvation to sinful man. It contains the declaration of deliverance from sin. If we are going to get the gospel right, it is essential that we understand the necessary components of the gospel message.

A Right Understanding of God

Who is God? God is the creator of the “heavens and the earth” (), He makes everything in the universe work (), and He rules over the entire universe (). The Bible says that there is one God (Is. 44:6). Though there is only one God, He exists in three Persons – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (). God is holy in all His perfections () and all humanity owes Him their complete love and obedience.

A Right Understanding of Sin

Sin is any thought or act that does not conform to the Word of God. To sin is to miss the mark of God’s standard and it is the committing of an actual transgression. Every person is a sinner () and every person must be judged and punished by God ().

A Right Understanding of Man

All people are made in the likeness of God (), however this similitude has been marred by sin. All people are sinful () and dead in their trespasses and sins (). For this reason, we are estranged from God (; ) and in need of reconciliation. In our sinful condition we are unable in and of ourselves to earn or obtain salvation. We are in need of a righteousness outside of ourselves ().

A Right Understanding of Christ

Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God (; ). At the Divinely appointed time in history, He was sent into the world “born of woman, born under the law” () so as to save sinners (). Jesus Christ is without sin and was a substitute for sinners ().

A Right Understanding of the Cross

The cross has become a religious symbol for many. Sadly, this is only a symbol and a religious add-on to their lives. We need to know and remember that there is a deep and profound meaning when we think of the cross of Christ. In the first century the cross was the place where painful and gruesome public execution occurred. The horrific event of the Lord Jesus Christ being crucified on the cross was not an event that captured the Lord by surprise (Acts 2:23). At the cross the Lord Jesus Christ suffered for sins as a substitute for sinners (1 Pet. 3:18). This is how salvation for sinners was secured.

A Right Understanding of Grace

On what basis does God save sinners? The glorious gift of salvation comes to the sinner by grace (). Grace is the undeserved gift of God’s favour and goodness in providing salvation. Such grace is truly amazing.

A Right Understanding of Repentance

Repentance is something that is ignored or redefined by many when it comes to preaching the gospel. Despite such practices, the Word of God remains clear. Repentance was a part of Christ’s preaching (; ) and the apostolic preaching (). Repentance refers to the God given ability to recognise our sin, to detest it and turn from it as we embrace Christ in faith.

A Right Understanding of Faith

Saving faith does not trust in or rely on one’s own achievements; instead, the object of trust and reliance is the Lord Jesus Christ. Genuine saving faith is the recognition that we have nothing to offer God in-order to be forgiven of our sin and be saved. Faith is God’s appointed means in-order for us to receive salvation. Therefore, faith is coming to God on the grounds of grace – having nothing to offer – and trusting and adhering to Christ as Lord.

A Right Understanding of Works

We cannot be saved by means of our works. In fact, our best works in the sight of God are filthy rags (cf. Is. 64:6). The only works that save a sinner are the works of Jesus Christ. But once an individual embraces the gospel (by faith in Jesus Christ) their life will be followed by works (). These works are the natural outflow of the child of God. In the words of Martin Luther, “We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.”

1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

“You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.

Our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases.

14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

2:1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins

12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

Ephesians 4:18

18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.

21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,

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—

5:1  Now muster your troops, O daughter of troops;
siege is laid against us;
with a rod they strike the judge of Israel
on the cheek.
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days.

1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 8:58

58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,

15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.

19 Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out,

Acts 17:30

30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

The Three Tenses of Salvation

Salvation_Image

The thought of salvation ought to fill us with gratitude and praise!

What is salvation? In the New Testament, the word “salvation” or “saved” comes from the Greek word sozo, which refers to rescuing or delivering from danger. It is used of physical deliverance (; ), healing (; ), and release from demonic possession (). However, the use I want to look at in this post is in its spiritual sense – the deliverance from sin.

Continue reading The Three Tenses of Salvation

25 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.”

30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.”

21 for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” 22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well.

23 and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.”

36 And those who had seen it told them how the demon-possessed man had been healed.

Fighting the Flesh

walk-in-the-spirit

It is the believer’s duty and delight to love Christ by keeping His commands (). However, this is not always easy. The Christian lives with a conflict and struggle: they are simultaneously a saint and a sinner. Positionally, the Christian is justified and is a saint. Yet every believer knows the battle with indwelling sin. The cause of such a conflict is the flesh. The word flesh is used various ways in the Scriptures. It can refer to the physical human body (), human nature () and human sinfulness (). It is the third description that I have in view in this post.

Continue reading Fighting the Flesh

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

When Sorrows like Sea Billows Roll

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When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
 When sorrows like sea billows roll;
 Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, 
It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

 

Sorrow is that dark feeling of distress that comes after experiencing loss or tragedy. Such an experience can be consuming and cumbersome. As the people of God, our hearts ought to be filled with a genuine sense of compassion and care for our troubled brother or sister. We ought to love them (), cry with them () and pray for them (). In this post, it is my desire to provide encouragement to the troubled person by pointing them to the provisions found exclusively in the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

It is important to note that trouble does come in the lives of God’s people (). However, when trouble overwhelms the heart of the child of God, what are they to do? In we will note the cure to trouble. J. C. Ryle calls this passage “a precious remedy against an old disease”. The disease is trouble and the remedy is faith. Our Lord spoke these words,

 

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”

Continue reading When Sorrows like Sea Billows Roll

10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.

14:1 “Man who is born of a woman
is few of days and full of trouble.

14:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”

Preparing A Room For Us

Preparing A Room For Us

My wife, Hayley, was having a conversation with a friend about preparing a room for our baby’s impending arrival. It seems to be common practice that parents, particularly the mother, like to “nest”. They like to get the baby’s bedroom ready for its arrival home. They might replace the curtains, or put pictures up on the wall. Some people even paint the walls a new colour! Parents want the room to be just right before the arrival of the baby.

In recounting the conversation about this, Hayley stated that she drew a parallel with one of Jesus statements. And it is a striking one.

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may also be.

The quote is from . Jesus comforts his disciples with the knowledge that when he departs he will be preparing a place for them; a room will be made for them to dwell in. Not only that, but where that room is, Jesus will also be. He will take us to dwell with him.

I have often found this a comforting statement, but find it difficult to imagine what it all looks like. If the room is in Heaven, or in the New Creation, then will there be houses? One big house? Will we be sharing a room with other people? Will Jesus be in every room?

Have you ever wondered why we build dwellings? Sure, it’s practical and they help us avoid the elements. In many cultures, our dwelling is our home. It is the place we belong. We build homes, I believe, because we long to be exactly where we’re supposed to be. We long to belong somewhere. Because of this, we construct dwellings in places we wish to settle. They are our homes.

Jesus says that God the Father has a house; and in that house there are rooms for his children. Jesus died, resurrected from the grave, and ascended to heaven, and there he is preparing a room for you, and everyone else who belongs to him. Like the expectant mother who prepares the nursery for her new child, Jesus prepares a room for his children. The love and care which the mother might show in preparing a baby’s room in this earthly home is a glimpse, however faint, of the care that Jesus is taking in his preparation of our room, the room where we can finally be at rest in the eternal kingdom of God. It is there that we will finally be home.

Picture credit: DanJackson_UK, some rights reserved

14:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

The Resurrection Matters

jesusresurrection8

The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is an event of first importance. The apostle Paul said to the Corinthians,

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” ().

The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ refers to that event in which He was raised to life. It occurred three days after His crucifixion (; ; ) and it took place on the first day of the week (). The resurrection of Christ was an event foretold by the prophets () and prophesied by Christ Himself (; ; ) – it was a necessary event (). After His resurrection He appeared to Mary Magdaline and other women (; ; ). He also appeared to the disciples (), to a crowd of about 500 () and later on to Paul (). The resurrection was the power of the Triune God on display (The Father: ; ; ; ; the Son: and the Holy Spirit: ). Continue reading The Resurrection Matters

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,

40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear,

that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

[[Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons.

10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.

19 and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”

And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

Mark 14:28

28 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.”

19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,

And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.

[[Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons.

18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”

Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.

Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

Acts 3:15

15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.

11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,

13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,

19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

John 10:18

18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

18 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,

Finding Hope in the Midst of Grief

Grief-To-Be-Classified-as-Depression

Trials, testings, and suffering can be very painful. Such difficulties can come in various forms – one of which is loss. Losing a loved one is a horrible tragedy. The excruciating experience of loss will result in grief. Grief is that normal process in which an individual displays sorrow and anguish as a result of loss. It is a painful experience that tears someone apart emotionally.

Grief is not something the Christian ought to seek to escape, deny or hide. Rather, the believer must strive to get through it by means of embracing a biblical mindset that will grant understanding, comfort and hope. Of course, this does not suggest that getting through the grieving process eliminates all sadness and loss. It is wrong to ask someone who has experienced loss to simply get over it. Grief and sorrow create darkness around us. The only means that will shine light on our situation is the Word of God.

Is grief OK? Sure it is. As noted earlier, grief is a natural response to loss. The Lord Jesus Christ experienced this form of natural grief (). The important question I ask is, how can a grieving individual get through the grieving process? The individual needs hope. The psalmist asked himself a question and found the answer: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?
 Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God” (). Continue reading Finding Hope in the Midst of Grief

35 Jesus wept.

11 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.