Jesus is the one of whom the scripture says,
“The stone that you the builders despised turned out to be the most important of all.”
What has built your assurance the most? What doubts still linger?
God’s message to his children, his training plan has went through phases.
The first phase of the training plan was directed to providing us with the information that he is our God and Father; that we are his Children. As with any young children he needed to clarify the lines of authority (get our attention), and clearly state the rules the young child is to live and learn by. This phase was based on a reward and punishment basis.
As a young child grows into adolescent; he needs to be able to start to provide guidance to himself. At this time, with control being shared on his life. The child must have his mind and heart prepared. There must be more concentration on the mental and emotional aspects of his/her life. One of the important examples of moving on to maturity, is to learn patience.
Without the proper mental and emotional basis a child can not correctly share his control or properly participate in it.
We see this in Israel’s experience; that even with the best external guidance alone, the earthly nature leads them astray.
Phase 2 – God’s Son – is God’s method to help his children straighten our twisted nature. By having his Son become man, this makes it possible for all of us to use his example and guidance. He established an additional set of rules; which would not be based as much on external actions, but on mental and emotional aspects. These rules provide a measuring tool to compare any emotional or mental guidance we may believe we have. If the guidance does not match these rules, you can be fairly certain that it is of earth and evil.
In the Old Testament, when one of God’s creatures failed to fulfill the requirements imposed by the Old Covenant with Israel; he offered a sacrifice to God to signify his repentance. But since the items that were used were God’s already and that this repentance would not necessarily come from the heart of the individual; these acts of repentance were not satisfactory to God. It was much like a child who gets caught performing a serious wrongful act. And all he does to correct it, is to indicate a “I’m sorry” in passing, with no actual repentance. This does not satisfy the person who was wronged by the act, and will not encourage correct action in the future.
God provided us with his Son as the perfect Sacrifice for our sins. Jesus Christ is like the son of a shepherd who is sent out by the shepherd on a difficult search for a lost group of sheep. The son suffers much to save the sheep. When the son returns, he pleads for the sheep that they are not killed. The shepherd loving his son will not take serious action against the sheep. Instead he turns them over to his Son’s responsibility. But his Son still must control the sheep, so that they may serve their original purpose. If some of the sheep refuse to be part of that flock, and continue to stray; they will still be turned over to the “butcher.” Those that stay with the flock enjoy the companionship of the other sheep and a loving “shepherd.”
What am I doing to give “Praise and Worship?”
(1 Peter 2:19-25
“God will bless you for this, if you endure the pain of undeserved suffering because you are conscious of his will. For what credit is there if you endure the beatings you deserve for having done wrong? But if you endure suffering even when you have done right, God will bless you for it. It was to this that God called you, for Christ himself suffered for you and left you an example, so that you would follow in his steps. He committed no sin, and no one ever heard a lie comes from his lips. When he was insulted, he did not answer back with an insult; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but places his hopes in God, the righteous Judge. Christ himself carried our sins in his body to the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness. It is by his wounds that you have been healed. You were like sheep that had lost their way, but now you have been brought back to follow the Shepherd and Keeper of your souls.”
How could Jesus’ example help when you face hardships you can’t change?
Jesus Christ was “born of Virgin” through the Holy Spirit; because God desired to pass “His Word,” his message directly and accurately. He wished to create a Human model for all other humans to use as a standard, to strive for. But in all other ways Christ was Human as we are. He was a “Real,” Jewish, man who experienced, in some form, every human need and challenge. He was tempted to sin, just as every human is. But he conquered “Original Sin” (humanities predisposition to want to know “good or evil,” earth or God’s control, to be gods or to serve God). Christ was sinless because he reached perfect obedience to God, through his perfect Love for Him and the family of God. He overcame the improper relationship (original sin) between God and Man, and to help Man achieve a new step in his growth toward a more perfect relationship.
Jesus is the “Son of God” because God sent a part of himself down to earth. He sent a representation “image of God” of Himself through Christ’s humanity. God sent a representation of his “Love” to and for us, through Christ’s Love and Death. He sent us through Christ, his “Word” or plan for all humanity to join him. God sent us a representation of Himself, so that we could see the “Glory that awaits us” when we choose to join him and when we “graduate” to being “Sons and Daughters” of His in Heaven.
Through Christ, he provided clarification and a new understanding of His “Training Plan” for us, his children. This plan, helps us to make that decision, and to prepare ourselves for that “graduation” into God’s Kingdom (God’s Family). As a result of this preparation, we become better humans. We become better humans, as part of the training, because we are better able to live a fulfilled human life. We are able to accomplish this; because we are working and succeeding in reaching the purpose of humanity. We are free, from the enslavement of trying to reach goals we cannot achieve “The Godhead of Man here on Earth.” This Goal, and the striving to achieve it, is “Evil.” This Goal, and the striving to reach it, is Sin; because it rejects God as God. It is Evil, because it take’s our “Love” from being centered on God and centers itself on Man (ourselves).
God loves each one of us with immense love. Our vocation is to love God in return. We love God by trying to do his holy will.
God’s love for us is shown in his taking of Himself and sending that part of Himself as “His Son” down to earth. This representation of him became man, to bring his Love, and the Message of how we his Children should reach our eternal glory in heaven with him, “God so loved the world that he gave…” (John3:16). Christ ‘s life and sacrifice is not a way of atoning to God for our sins, to be on our side, but it is God’s way of winning us to his side. God satisfied his own just requirements by taking the sentence and punishment on himself. God initiates the reconciliation between himself and his Children. Action is necessary to prove that his love for us does not mean that we cannot hurt ourselves and God by our rejection of him, and not expect justice. And yet he will provide us a Father’s forgiveness. God can be angry because he loves; He cares, and punishes in order to help, to end humanities hurting itself by the way we act, and to set us on to the right and proper method of living, or in other words training for our future glory.
Just as any good “Father,” God wants to see a change in his children. But as any Father knows there must be penalties for incorrect action, there must be a correcting of the way and a satisfaction of the wrong (making up for the wrong). Christ suffered and died to make up for the wrongs we do. This is why God can forgive and not impose any action, that satisfies the wrong (make’s up for it); that was done to his Love, our progress and the relationship to his Family.
The fourth Gospel (John’s) provides us a good introduction to this concept. He does this through calling God the Son’s movement through time, God’s “Word” and “Light.”
“Before the world was created, the Word already existed; he was with God, and he was the same as God. Through him God made all things; not one thing in all creation was made without him. The Word was the source of life, and this life brought light to mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out.
“God sent his messenger, a man named John, who came to tell people about the light, so that all should hear the message and believe. He himself was not the light; he came to tell about the light. This was the real light – the light that comes into the world and shines on all mankind.
“The Word was in the world, and through god made the world through him, yet the world did not recognize him. He came to his own country, but his own people did not receive him. Some, however , did receive him and believed in him; so he gave them the right to become God’s children. They did not become God’s children by natural means, that is, by being born as the children of a human father;; God himself was their Father.
“The Word became a human being and, full of grace and truth, lived among us. We saw his glory, the glory which he received as the Father’s only Son.
“John spoke about him. He cried out, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘He comes after me, but he is greater than I am, because he existed before I was born.'”
“Out of the fullness of his grace he has blessed us all, giving us one blessing after another. God gave the Law through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is the same as God and is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”
What strikes you most about Jesus in this passage? Why?
One of the most important aspect’s of Christ’s death on the cross, and the imparting of the “Holy Spirit,” is that we receive God’s grace. Grace is one of the supports that the Father provides his children.
In (John 3:1-16) Christ’s encounter with Nicodemus, we see a presentation of the fundamental issue. Unless a man is prepared to sink his pride and acquire a childlike heart, there is no point in discussing the proper service of God, for there is no other way to salvation.
One common point of discussion between devoted Christians is how much emphasis should be placed on Christ the Son of God. Since God is a “Triune” God, where all three persons are equal and one. The above mentioned discussion is counter productive and does not impart Glory to our God. I choose to put the emphasis on “the Father” because that is where Christ the Sun put it. But they are all one.
So Jesus answered them, “I tell you the truth: the Son can do nothing on his own; he does only what he sees his Father doing. What the Father does, the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. He will show him even greater things to do than this, and you will all be amazed.”
In your spiritual journey, when did you come to understand this truth?
Believing in Christ or God or both is the same.
Jesus said in a loud voice, “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in him who sent me.
“Whoever sees me sees also him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that everyone who believe in me should not remain in the darkness. If anyone hears my message and does not obey it, I will not Judge him. I came, not to judge the world, but to save it. Whoever rejects me and does not accept my message has one who will judge him. The words I have spoken will be his judge on the last day! This is true because I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has commanded me what I must say and speak. And I know that his command brings eternal life. What I say is what the Father has told me to say.”
How is it that Jesus’ words can either judge a person or lead one to life?
Even the Son does the Father’s work!
“And eternal life means to know you, the only true God, and to know Jesus Christ, whom you sent. I have shown your glory on earth; I have finished the work you gave me to do.”
What two phrases sum up your goal for the past year? How does this relate to God’s purpose?
For Jesus Christ, the world was not warm, convenient or glorious. Christ stepped out to begin God’s plan for his children. And it cost Christ to do it.
Jesus Christ gave us a gift – a gift that cost Him dearly.
Think for a moment of what it meant for a all-powerful God to become a human with little power here on earth. To start in a baby’s body at that. What it meant for Him to relinquish His rights and privileges as God to be made “a little lower than the angels” and to arrive in a body of a baby with no control over anything. To have his “diaper changed” and his “bottom cleaned.”
And it was not just as a baby. He traded His Glory for the jeers and taunts of a religious leadership that was supposed to be representing Him. The called Him “criminal” instead of “Christ.” His gift would culminate with the agony of the cross.
He honored His Father by Committing His life to Him, can we not imitate the selfless and costly gift of Himself by committing to Him.
In effect he agreed to be as a little child and disciplined. He agreed to be raised as a adolescent, with the associated problems (dealing with rivalries) . A young man and running a carpenter shop (hitting his finger). And we cannot overlook his suffering at His crucifixion.
Would you say Jesus Christ was a therapist? How? What biblical evidence might there be for this conclusion?
Jesus gave glory to his Father when he was on earth. God the Father likes likes Praise and Worship. Don’t we all? Have you been giving him your share. Because if your not, it could mean that their is no real love. Real love demands respect of the individual you are imparting love on. If you have been involved in other areas and have not provided God with the praise and worship he deserves here on earth. What makes you think that he will think you are ready to do this in heaven. Since giving God his well deserved glory is our ultimate objective, we better be sure that we are proving to him that we can do it here on earth. Our religion anc church should be providing us the opportunity, and we should be making use of the opportunity. In any case it is our responsibility.
“I gave them your message, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I do not ask you to take them out of the world, but I do ask you to keep them safe from the evil one. Just as I do not belong to the world, they do not belong to the world. Dedicate them to yourself by means of the truth; your word is truth. I sent them into the world, just as you sent me into the world. And for their sake I dedicate myself to you in order that they, too, may be truly dedicated to you.
“I pray not only for them, but also for those who believe in me because of their message. I pray that they may all be one. Father! May they be in us, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they be one, so that the world will believe that you sent me. I gave them the same glory you cave me, so that they may be one, just as you and I are one: I in them and you in me, so that they may be completely one, in order that the world may know that you sent me and that you love them as you love me.”
This week, whom have you glorified by the way you lived? How so?
I guess that this really puts it on the line. If we choose to follow Christ or his Father, we must remove our orientation for this world and dedicate it to rejoining our Father in Heaven. It also restates the importance of sharing our faith by our actions and words. Next we see the restatement of God’s love for us in sending his Son, so he could guide us through obedience to our common Father.
(John 3: 16-21)
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to be it’s judge, but to be its savior.
“Whoever believes in the Son is not judged; but whoever does not believe has already been judged, because he has not believed in God’s only Son. This is how the judgment works: the light has come into the world, but people love the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil. Anyone who does evil things hates the light and will not come to the light, because he does not want his evil deeds to be shown up. But whoever does what is true comes to the light in order that the light may show that what he did was in obedience to God.
How will belief show itself in your world?
Repetition is one of the best ways to emphasize something and to teach it. We again see that we must believe in Christ, do as he did and obey his Father, and then we will be freed from the bondage of this world.
Who are you?” they asked him. Jesus answered, “What I have told you from the very beginning. I have much to say about you, much to condemn you for. The one who sent me however, is truthful, and I tell the world only what I have heard from Him.”
“They did not understand that Jesus was talking to them about the Father. So he said to them, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, you will know that ‘I am who I am;’ then you will know that I do nothing on my own authority, but I say only what the Father has instructed me to say. And he who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, because I always do what pleases him.”
Many who heard Jesus say these things believed in him.
So Jesus said to those who believed in him, “I you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Jesus said to them, “I am telling you the truth: everyone who sins is a slave of sin. A slave does not belong to a family permanently, but a son belongs there forever. If the Son sets you free, then you will be really free.”
How can you be a light bearer?
Again we see the emphasis on being submissive to the Father.
“I can do nothing on my own authority; I judge only as God tells me, so my judgment is right, because I am not trying to do what I want, but only what he who sent me wants.
“If I testify on my own behalf, what I say is not to be accepted as real proof.”
How does this effect your self image? Your life-style? Your life Goals?
I guess we better listen to what he has to say.
(John 5: 36-38)
“What I do, that is, the deeds my Father gave me to do, these speak on my behalf and show that the Father has sent me. And the Father, who sent me, also testifies on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his face, and you do not keep his message in your hearts for you do not believe in the one whom he sent.”
How can you use Scripture to cultivate the love of God in you?
He’s the boss. We better get “crackin” on the training plan.
“I have come with my Father’s authority, but you have not received me.”
The Triune God is coming to live within us, wee better become great hosts.
Jesus answered him, “Whoever loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and my Father and I will come to him and live with him. Whoever does not love me does not obey my teaching. And the teaching you have heard is not mine, but comes from the Father, who sent me.”
Are the Trinity, owners or temporary guest in your life?
Some of Christ last words, concentrated on obedience. That sure puts some more emphasis on that area.
“I cannot talk with you much longer, because the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me, but the world must know that I love the Father; that is why I do everything as he commands me.”
Where do you need Jesus’ peace? Where can you find hope in this passage?
We shall gain the life of the future rather than the death of not being with our father, if we have faith. But as we see in the next lesson, this word means more than just believing.
“For the gospel reveals how God puts people right with himself: it is through faith from beginning to end. As the scripture says, ‘The person who is put right with God through faith shall live.'”
Paul wrote this letter to teach the Christian faith to the first Believers in Rome. He taught that no one deserves God’s love. Sin paints an ugly picture in people and in a culture. Without God’s intervention, we have no way to deal with sin.
What does it mean to be righteous?….
Righteousness has nothing to do with doing good works, though good works, though good works are a byproduct of being righteous. Jesus spoke of God as the only one who is truly good. The word “good” is a synonym for righteous, so it follows that to be righteous is to be like God. But how can anyone be like God, who is holy and perfect?
… Righteousness, meaning to be right or just, begins with believing God. It sounds so simple, but how many times do we disbelieve God? God’s formulas are so simple that we ignore them because we think there must be more to it than that.
All sin is rooted in unbelief. All righteousness is rooted in belief. Believe God for all His promises and He will count it unto you as righteousness. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s ultimate standard and incarnation of righteousness, and be saved. Believe in Jesus Christ to deliver you in your day of trouble and learn what the righteousness of Christ can do in and through you.
(From Unto the Hills by Billy Graham)
How does the bleak side of life reflect your experience? Is that where you were? Is that where you are? If it is, switch sides – join God’s side. If you already have, than thank him throughout the day for his mercy.
What is wrong with your relationship to God?
Napoleon has been reported to say: “I know men and I tell you. Jesus is not a man. He commands us to believe, and gives no other reason than his awful words I AM GOD.” Philosophers try to solve the mysteries of the universe by their empty dissertations: fools: they are like the infant that cries to have the moon for a plaything. Christ never hesitates. He speaks with authority. His religion is a mystery; but it subsists by it’s own force. He seeks and absolutely requires, the love of men, the most difficult thing in the world to obtain.
“Alexander, Cesar, Hannibal conquered the world, but had no friends. I myself am perhaps the only person of my day who loves Alexander, Cesar, Hannibal. Alexander, Cesar, Charlemagne, and myself founded empires, but upon what? Force. Jesus founded his empire upon love; and at this hour millions would die for him. I myself have inspired multitudes with such affection that they would die for me. But my presence was necessary. Now that I am in St. Helena, where are my friends? I am forgotten, soon to return to earth, and become food for worms. When an abyss between my misery and the eternal Kingdom of Christ, who is proclaimed, loved, adored, and which is extending over all the earth. Is this death? I tell you, the death of Christ is not the death of God. I tell you, JESUS CHRIST IS GOD.”
And this was from an intelligent powerful non Christian.
Here we see an answer to those who might ask “where is your God?”
What is my plan of “Glory to God?”
“God’s anger is revealed from heaven against all the sin and evil of the people whose evil ways prevent the truth from being known. God punishes them, because what can be known about God is plain to them, for God himself made it plain. Ever since God created the world, his divine nature, have been clearly seen; they are received in the things that God has made. So those people have no excuse at all! They know God, but they do not give him the honor that belongs to him, nor do they thank him. Instead, their thoughts have become complete nonsense, and their empty minds are filled with darkness. They say they are wise, but they are fools.”
What attitudes do you have that lead to evil acts?
Christ has become our Principal” or “Coach” in the training plan our Father has provides us. Christ along with our Father in Heaven has provides us with the training plan. We have also been provided a “Teacher” or “Trainer” in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will provide us the day to day, hour to hour guidance we need, to reach our goals.
How am I going to be a better Host” to Good within me?
In Phase 3 – God’s Son turned over the program to the “Spirit.” We find this Phase being reflected by the New Testament, from Acts to Jude. This phase along with the 2nd Phase, brings his children more into harmony with the will of God the Father.
As example of this is when a shepherd adds a dog to help him watch over the sheep. The dog helps to watch; that the sheep do not wander and helps to provide the sheep with guidance. The Holy Spirit will provide that guidance to us; as lonng as we listen.
The Holy Spirit is a form of God which comes to Man in an inward way to enlighten, guide and strengthen him.
With the Holy Spirit we get to know God closer and make him a active part of our lives. We get to know him as our Father and ourselves as children of God (Romans 8: 12-17 and Galatians 4:6).
How will the Spirit” Help You?
God the Father through the history of the World presented in the Bible; provided many prophets; which acted as guides to help the people of Israel to serve Him. The prophets were frequently persecuted and ignored. Well God in his Love, would not give up, in his need to bring his Children to join him and his Son in Heaven. He in his deep Love sent His only Son who was with him in Heaven, down to His Children. This was done to provide an example and to correct many incorrect ideas of the training and preparation program that was provided to His Children. When the Son finished providing the guidance and correction His Children needed. God sent the third aspect of Himself (Triune God), the Holy Spirit. We have been seeing the Spirit’s guidance through the previous lessons. But let us take a more in-depth look at it.
How will I change my orientation?
Now that we have a better understanding of how Jesus Christ is important to us; let us take a look at the “Spirit” which also will provide support to us.
(John 14: 15-17)
“If you love me, you will obey my commandments. I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, who will stay with you forever. He is the Spirit, who reveals the truth about God. The world cannot receive him, because it cannot see him or know him. But you know him because he remains with you and is in you.”
“I have told you this while I am still with you. The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you.”
How are disciples to show love to each other?
Now that we have learned, that the Spirit” will teach us and reveal too us the proper paths; it puts on the action point – to listen and to act.
The leading quality Jesus stated, followed and provided guidance for was: Complete Obedience to God, so that we could glorify his and our Father.
What is human life about?
Christ, as we should, acknowledge total dependence on his Father in Heaven, with joy and thanks. By doing this, he freed himself from the responsibility of the results and only had to concentrate on “doing His best” to utilize God’s help (grace), guidance (Holy Spirit), to accomplish what his Father expected.
He created us (merged a human and spiritual form (image of God – soul)) so that we can make a choice, to become his Son or Daughter in Heaven, giving truly loving and committed Glory to Him and as a result of our joining with Him, to ourselves, “God’s Family.”
“I know what his will is by those who direct me; whatever they bid me do, if it is ever so small in itself, it is the will of God for me. Then do it in the manner he wills it, not sewing an old thing as if it were new or a new thing as if it were old; not fretting because the oven is too hot, or in a fuss because it is too cold. You understand – not flying and driving because you are too hurried, not creeping like a snail because no one pushes you. Our dear Savior was never in extremes. The third object is to do his will because he wills it, that is, to be ready to quit at any moment and do anything else to which you may be called.”
“Be above the vain fears of nature and efforts of your enemy. You are children of eternity. Your immortal crown awaits you, and the best of Fathers waits there to reward your duty and love. You may indeed sow in tears, but you may be sure to reap in Joy.” (Elizabeth Ann Seton).
God claims all of our lives, both spiritual and earthly as his own. How might this realization change common perceptions of worship, church, stewardship, and the like?
Who are humans? Who is Man? We are creatures of God, made in his image as Sons or Daughters to join Him in heaven. Why? “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). This means we live here on earth a life received from and lived for God in dependence and active obedience, so that we can make the decision to join Him and to prepare for that joining.
“Whoever does what my Father in heaven wants him to do is my brother, my sister, and my mother.”
From your life this week, would others see you as a “Brother or sister” of Jesus?
As we have seen above, God has trained his children to offer praise to him, and that when we do so we become Christ’s brother and sisters. And again as we are reminded in the following statement, We also are created in the image of God.
“God created man in his own image” (Gen. 1:27). Genesis goes on to assert that: “Man is privileged to run the world, but he/she is ultimately responsible and accountable to its Creator.
“Thou hast made us for thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in thee,” (St. Augustine)
The apostle Paul identifies leadership as something the Holy Spirit enables people tp do (Rom. 8:12). The truth is evident in God’s message to Zerubbabel, the governor over Jerusalem, who oversaw the rebuilding of the temple after the Jewish exiles’ return from Babylon. Zerubbabel was confronted with the doubly daunting task of governing a region decimated by war and exile, as well as rebuilding a massive temple that lay in ruins. At this critical juncture, he received this message from God: “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.” (Zech. 4:6). Zerubbabel may have thought his primary concerns were brick and mortar, finances, taxation, and the enemies surrounding him. But the deluged governor learned an invaluable lesson – Christian leaders require the Spirit to work in their lives even when they are performing what appears to be unspiritual tasks. Erecting buildings, administering people, and raising money are all spiritual jobs when the Spirit is involved.
Lord, God, no matter what I own, what I might possess, without you I have nothing. Turn my sight from this world, dear God, and help me to seek only you, body, mind, and soul. Amen.