Christianity 201

April 12, 2021

Better *Was* One Day

Yesterday we looked an old hymn that tells the story of Jesus’ final week leading to the cross, and in part two of two, we’re reminded me of another hymn that is brilliant in its encapsulation of the entire narrative of the life of Christ.

  1. One day when heaven was filled with His praises,
    One day when sin was as black as could be,
    Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin—
    Dwelt among men, my example is He!

    • Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me;
      Buried, He carried my sins far away;
      Rising, He justified freely forever:
      One day He’s coming—O glorious day!
  2. One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain,
    One day they nailed Him to die on the tree;
    Suffering anguish, despised and rejected;
    Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He.
  3. One day they left Him alone in the garden,
    One day He rested, from suffering free;
    Angels came down o’er His tomb to keep vigil;
    Hope of the hopeless, my Savior is He.
  4. One day the grave could conceal Him no longer,
    One day the stone rolled away from the door;
    Then He arose, over death He had conquered;
    Now is ascended, my Lord evermore.
  5. One day the trumpet will sound for His coming,
    One day the skies with His glory will shine;
    Wonderful day, my beloved ones bringing;
    Glorious Savior, this Jesus is mine!
You can hear the melody of the original hymn at this site.

The first verse deals with Christ’s birth, the second, his death; the third his burial; the fourth his resurrection; and the fifth anticipates his return. It’s beautiful poetry…
…but the real richness of the song is found in the theology expressed in the chorus.

Living he loved me,
Dying he saved me,
Buried he carried my sin far away;
Rising he justified, freely forever;
One day he’s coming, O, glorious day.

Pause and say those out loud: Living, Dying, Buried, Rising, Coming.

Now I realize that as lined out above, each line in the chorus represents one of the verses; but it also, in a single sentence offers the core of the gospel:

He loved me — For God so loved the world…
He saved me
He removed my sins –
His work leaves me justified in God’s sight
He is returning.

Pause and say those out loud: Loved, Saved, Removed, Justified, Returning.

The song has also been recorded by Casting Crowns with a different tune; and we invite you to hear that version today…

 

Regular readers here will not there was no keynote scripture today, and you’re wondering, “Where is the text?” Well, you won’t be disappointed. This is just some of an article at the blog Teach Me The Bible, titled Why Did Christ Come?

Christ came to save sinners – this is the stress of the Bible.

He came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).

Acting on the principle that it is the sick who need a doctor and not the well, He came to call sinners to repentance (Matthew 9:12-13; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:32).

Because of His purpose to save sinners, He spent His time with them, much to the disgust of the self-righteous (Matthew 11:19).

He came to seek and to save the lost (Matthew 18:11; Luke 15:1-32; 19:10; John l0:16).

He came to be the Saviour of the world (John 12:47; 1 John 4:14)- to make it possible for God to save those in danger of perishing (John 3:16).

He came that we might believe on Him and be saved (John 3:16-17; John 6:29).

Christ came, therefore, to die.

He made it plain to His disciples that He had to go to Jerusalem, there to suffer much from the elders, chief priests and scribes, to be put to death, and to be raised again on the third day (Matthew 16:21; Mark 8:31; Luke 9:22) – all in accord with what was written of Him in the law of Moses, in the prophets and the Psalms (Isaiah 53:12; Luke 22:37; Luke 24:44-47).

He came into the world with the deliberate intention of dying upon the Cross (John 12:27; Acts 2:23).

He came to give His life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).

He came to be lifted up on the Cross just as the snake was lifted up by Moses in the desert (John 3:14; John 12:34).

He came to give His own flesh for the life of the world (John 6:51).

He was constantly aware of the terrible suffering that was ahead of Him in His crucifixion (Luke 12:50).

The whole program of His earthly life moved towards the Cross as its climax (John 7:6, John 7:8, John 7:30; John 8:20; John 12:23, John 12:27; John 13:1; John 17:1; Luke 24:6-7).

He came to be the propitiation – the atoning sacrifice – for our sins (1 John 4:10).

Christ came that through His death for sinners, we might have a right relationship with God, and eternal life.

He came that those who accept Him may receive a right relationship with the Father (Matthew 10:40; Luke 10:16; John 13:20).

He came that, by means of the Cross, He might be the way to God for us (John 14:6).

He came to proclaim the good news of peace through the reconciliation made possible by the Cross (Ephesians 2:16-17).

He came to bring us spiritual life (John 5:40; John 6:51, John 6:58; John 10:10; John 20:31; 1 John 4:9).

He came so that everyone who has faith in Him as the crucified and risen Messiah should possess eternal life (John 3:14-15; John 6:40, John 6:51, John 6:58; John 17:3).

September 11, 2017

Jesus: Opening Move

Jesus Commences His Ministry

Compare the four gospels and see how Jesus begins his public ministry. At the outset some of the narration involves activities that are somewhat passive on His part. He was visited by the Magi. He is presented to Simeon in the temple by His parents. He is baptized by John. He is tempted by Satan. But the change from passive to active ministry involves the following:

It takes Matthew four chapters to get to this:

Matthew 4:17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Then He calls The Twelve.

In Mark the story is similar:

Mark 1:14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

Luke also takes four chapters to get to the commencement of Jesus’ ministry:

Luke 4:16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

John’s perspective, ever unique, involves Jesus at the wedding at Cana:

John 2:6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew.

John follows this with Jesus clearing the temple courts.
After the calling of the disciples, Matthew follows with the healing of the sick.
Mark also follows with the choosing of The Twelve, followed by the healing of a man possessed by an unclean spirit.
Luke follows with the same story of the man with the demonic spirit who is healed.

So why does all this matter?

First of all, in the synoptic gospels Jesus begins with a proclamation of His purpose and then moves to action; mostly ministry to individuals. Being a minister of the Good News involves both proclaiming (preaching, teaching, speaking) and also dealing one-on-one with people.

Is John an exception? Not at all. In John’s gospel, Jesus begins with a sign, and then ministers to the needs of those who are being disenfranchised by the profiteering that is going on in the temple courts and also taking up space in the one part of the temple that was open to everyone, the court of the Gentiles. (This explains, “My house shall be a house of prayer for the nations.)

Secondly, we can’t say we don’t know why Jesus came. But neither can we expect to be able to answer this question with a single answer. We might say,

  • Jesus came to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins, and then to triumph over death.

But Jesus doesn’t start His ministry that way. He doesn’t say, “I’ve come to die;” even though John the Baptist foreshadows this with “Behold, the Lamb of God…”

Rather, in the above scripture texts, Jesus says of His ministry:

  • To preach “repent”
  • To announce “the Kingdom of Heaven is near” (or, “at hand”)
  • To proclaim good news to the poor
  • To proclaim freedom for the prisoners
  • To give sight to the blind
  • To set the oppressed free
  • To declare “the year of the Lord” *

* – “the day when salvation and the free favors of God profusely abound” (Amplified Bible)
– “the year the Lord has chosen” (CEV)
– to announce “This is God’s year to act!” (Message)
– “the year when he will set his people free.” (NIrV)
– “the jubilee season of the Eternal One’s grace.” (The Voice)

As Jesus makes His opening moves, he sets out his initial purpose and plan plainly.

December 11, 2016

The Incarnation of Christ…For Atonement and More

by Russell Young

The Christmas season is upon us and with it the celebration of God’s gift to humankind–the incarnation of the Son of God– the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  Unfortunately, the fullness of God’s gift is seldom recognized.  God became flesh and dwelt among us. The great gift that the Father gave the world was not merely an appropriate propitiation for sin, but a means of destroying “the works of the devil” (1 Jn 3:8 NIV) in all his practices and with all of his effect.

It is true that Christ came to reveal God to humankind, and that he came as a propitiation for sin, but he also came to return those who would accept his ministry back to the image in which humans had been created…into the likeness of God. (Gen 1:27; Rom 8:29)

Satan’s evil work is not brought to completion by a person’s redemption from his or her past sins, but will be destroyed when he is no longer able to exercise his power or influence in the lives of those who are believing. Redemption from sins committed while under the jurisdiction of the first covenant (Heb 9:15) did not accomplish a person’s deliverance into the kingdom of God; it did not destroy the work of the devil.  Paul wrote, “He redeemed us in order that the blessing given Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (Gal 3:14 NIV) The incarnation of our Lord allowed for his perfect sacrifice, redeemed believers from the curse of the law (Gal 3:13), and provided them with the Spirit so that they might gain victory over the practice of sin through his enlightenment, leading and power. The Spirit is the presence of the Lord in the believer (2Cor 3:17, 18; Col 1:27) and it is the Spirit who provides for the believer’s eternal salvation.  “[F]rom the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” (2 Thess 2:13 NIV; Titus 3: 5─6)

The Lord had to be incarnated so that he might truly know the human condition.  Knowing the temptations that afflict humankind allows him to mediate for them and to make them acceptable for the kingdom of God. (Rom 15:16)  “[H]e had to be made like his brothers in every way in order that he might become a faithful high priest…because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted. (Heb 2:17…18 NIV) He not only knew the human condition through experience, he also suffered through it and became victorious over it.  Now as Spirit he can use this understanding to provide victory for those who are undergoing suffering through temptations. This understanding should provide encouragement that each believer can overcome ungodly attractions but it also needs to cause the person undergoing temptation to be sober of thought and of heart knowing that his or her judge will be the very one who had already won victory over the temptations that plague them and he is in them. It is through the knowledge gained as the Lord walked this earth in the flesh that he is able to defeat the devil’s work in the believer. “Christ in you the hope of glory.” (Col 1:27 NIV)

A limited perspective of the need of Christ’s incarnation will result in failure to give him the glory, honour, and love that he deserves. Christ came into the world to end the first covenant and to allow access to the New Covenant (Heb 9:15), the covenant of the Spirit, so that God’s righteous, eternal kingdom could be established through his life in the believer.

The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.” (Mt 13:40 NIV) The knowledge that the Lord gained through his incarnated life is available to enable believers to refrain from causing sin and from doing evil by succumbing to temptation in their time of need. The Lord will hand over the righteous kingdom—the completed creation–to the Father when Satan’s influence has been removed.

The baby in the manger was not just a baby, but God come in the flesh to redeem a lost world and a helpless people for himself.  In the Christmas child lies all hope for humankind, and all hope for the completion of God’s creation plan.  In him is the source of righteousness, the end of strife and pain and death.  Through him a holy people will be found, made suitable for God’s presence. Through Christ the devil and his lies and deceit will be brought to nought for those who are in him and who are obedient to his calls upon their lives.

The believer should not be content to relish the thought of what Christ did for him or her, but should humbly kneel before him and glorify him for what he is doing each day that he or she draws breath.  Christ is not only the atonement for sin, he is the life that provides eternal hope. The trinkets of Christmas should not be allowed to displace the wonder of God’s mercy and of his priceless gift of the babe whose birth is the hope of the world and should be the true cause of celebration and the true celebration.


eternal-salvation-russell-youngCheck out Russell Young’s book now in print and eBook — Eternal Salvation: “I’m Okay! You’re Okay!” Really? available through Westbow Publishing, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble; and in Canada through Chapters/Indigo.  9781512757514 $17.99 US


April 22, 2014

The Gospel Story in a Single Song

 

A few weeks ago we looked at an old hymn that tells the story of Jesus’ final week leading to the cross, and it reminded me of another hymn that is brilliant in its encapsulation of the entire narrative of the life of Christ.

  1. One day when heaven was filled with His praises,
    One day when sin was as black as could be,
    Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin—
    Dwelt among men, my example is He!

    • Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me;
      Buried, He carried my sins far away;
      Rising, He justified freely forever:
      One day He’s coming—O glorious day!
  2. One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain,
    One day they nailed Him to die on the tree;
    Suffering anguish, despised and rejected;
    Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He.
  3. One day they left Him alone in the garden,
    One day He rested, from suffering free;
    Angels came down o’er His tomb to keep vigil;
    Hope of the hopeless, my Savior is He.
  4. One day the grave could conceal Him no longer,
    One day the stone rolled away from the door;
    Then He arose, over death He had conquered;
    Now is ascended, my Lord evermore.
  5. One day the trumpet will sound for His coming,
    One day the skies with His glory will shine;
    Wonderful day, my beloved ones bringing;
    Glorious Savior, this Jesus is mine!
You can hear the melody of the original hymn at this site.

The first verse deals with Christ’s birth, the second, his death; the third his burial; the fourth his resurrection; and the fifth anticipates his return. It’s beautiful poetry…
…but the real richness of the song is found in the theology expressed in the chorus.

Living he loved me,
Dying he saved me,
Buried he carried my sin far away;
Rising he justified, freely forever;
One day he’s coming, O, glorious day.

Now I realize that as lined out above, each line in the chorus represents one of the verses; but it also, in a single sentence offers the core of the gospel:

He loved me — For God so loved the world…
He saved me
He removed my sins –
His work leaves me justified in God’s sight
He is coming back.

The song has also been recorded by Casting Crowns with a different tune; and we leave you with that version today…

 

Regular readers here will not there was no keynote scripture today, and you’re wondering, “Where is the text?”  Well, you won’t be disappointed. This is just some of an article at the blog Teach Me The Bible, titled Why Did Christ Come?

Christ came to save sinners – this is the stress of the Bible.

He came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).

Acting on the principle that it is the sick who need a doctor and not the well, He came to call sinners to repentance (Matthew 9:12-13; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:32).

Because of His purpose to save sinners, He spent His time with them, much to the disgust of the self-righteous (Matthew 11:19).

He came to seek and to save the lost (Matthew 18:11; Luke 15:1-32; 19:10; John l0:16).

He came to be the Saviour of the world (John 12:47; 1 John 4:14)- to make it possible for God to save those in danger of perishing (John 3:16).

He came that we might believe on Him and be saved (John 3:16-17; John 6:29).

Christ came, therefore, to die.

He made it plain to His disciples that He had to go to Jerusalem, there to suffer much from the elders, chief priests and scribes, to be put to death, and to be raised again on the third day (Matthew 16:21; Mark 8:31; Luke 9:22) – all in accord with what was written of Him in the law of Moses, in the prophets and the Psalms (Isaiah 53:12; Luke 22:37; Luke 24:44-47).

He came into the world with the deliberate intention of dying upon the Cross (John 12:27; Acts 2:23).

He came to give His life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).

He came to be lifted up on the Cross just as the snake was lifted up by Moses in the desert (John 3:14; John 12:34).

He came to give His own flesh for the life of the world (John 6:51).

He was constantly aware of the terrible suffering that was ahead of Him in His crucifixion (Luke 12:50).

The whole programme of His earthly life moved towards the Cross as its climax (John 7:6, John 7:8, John 7:30; John 8:20; John 12:23, John 12:27; John 13:1; John 17:1; Luke 24:6-7).

He came to be the propitiation – the atoning sacrifice – for our sins (1 John 4:10).

Christ came that through His death for sinners, we might have a right relationship with God, and eternal life.

He came that those who accept Him may receive a right relationship with the Father (Matthew 10:40; Luke 10:16; John 13:20).

He came that, by means of the Cross, He might be the way to God for us (John 14:6).

He came to proclaim the good news of peace through the reconciliation made possible by the Cross (Ephesians 2:16-17).

He came to bring us spiritual life (John 5:40; John 6:51, John 6:58; John 10:10; John 20:31; 1 John 4:9).

He came so that everyone who has faith in Him as the crucified and risen Messiah should possess eternal life (John 3:14-15; John 6:40, John 6:51, John 6:58; John 17:3).

September 30, 2013

Opening Moves

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:20 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Jesus Commences His Ministry

It’s interesting to compare the four gospels and see how Jesus began his public ministry.  At the outset some of the narration involves activities that are somewhat passive on His part. He was visited by the Magi. He is presented to Simeon in the temple by His parents. He is baptized by John. He is tempted by Satan. But the change from passive to active ministry involves the following:

It takes Matthew four chapters to get to this:

Matthew 4:17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Then He calls The Twelve.

In Mark the story is similar:

Mark 1:14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

Luke also takes four chapters to get to the commencement of Jesus’ ministry:

Luke 4:16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19     to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 

20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

John’s perspective, ever unique, involves Jesus at the wedding at Cana:

John 2:6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. 

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew.

John follows this with Jesus clearing the temple courts.
After the calling of the disciples, Matthew follows with the healing of the sick.
Mark also follows with the choosing of The Twelve, followed by the healing of a man possessed by an unclean spirit.
Luke follows with the same story of the man with the demonic spirit who is healed.

So what does all this matter?

First of all, in the synoptic gospels Jesus begins with a proclamation of His purpose and then moves to ministry to individuals. Being a minister of the Good News involves both proclaiming (preaching, teaching, speaking) and also dealing one-on-one with people.

In John’s gospel, Jesus begins with a sign, and then ministers to the needs of those who are being disenfranchised by the profiteering that is going on in the temple courts.

Secondly, we can’t say we don’t know why Jesus came. But neither can we expect to be able to answer this question with a single answer. We might say,

  • Jesus came to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins, and then to triumph over death.

But Jesus doesn’t start His ministry that way. He doesn’t say, “I’ve come to die;” even though John the Baptist foreshadows this with “Behold, the Lamb of God…”

Rather, Jesus says of His ministry:

  • To preach “repent”
  • To announce “the Kingdom of Heaven is near” (or, “at hand”)
  • To proclaim good news to the poor
  • To proclaim freedom for the prisoners
  • To give sight to the blind
  • To set the oppressed free
  • To declare “the year of the Lord” *

* – “the day when salvation and the free favors of God profusely abound” (Amplified Bible)
– “the year the Lord has chosen” (CEV)
– to announce “This is God’s year to act!” (Message)
– “the year when he will set his people free.” (NIrV)
– “the jubilee season of the Eternal One’s grace.” (The Voice)

As Jesus makes His opening moves, he sets out his initial purpose and plan plainly.

April 6, 2012

Filled With The Spirit

Christ was not deserted in death and his body was never destroyed. ‘Christ is the man Jesus, whom God raised up—a fact of which all of us are eye-witnesses!’ He has been raised to the right hand of God; he has received from the Father and poured out upon us the promised Holy Spirit—that is what you now see and hear!

~Acts. 2:31-33, J. B. Phillips translation

This verse was one that I learned in a slightly different form from The Living Bible, in fact, it hung as part of poster on the walls of my bedroom:

The Father gave the authority to the Son to send the Holy Spirit, with the results you are seeing and hearing today.

I believe that’s more or less verbatim, as I don’t think anyone has The Living Bible text online.

Christ’s death and resurrection brought about a change in the relationship between The Holy Spirit and man.

  • In the first covenant, God’s Spirit occasionally rested on certain individuals, such as the prophets
  • In the time of Christ, the disciples experienced Emmanuel, God with us. The Spirit indwelt Jesus who in turn was physically present among mankind in ways unknown since the Garden of Eden, but limited by whatever physical location Jesus was present at any single time.
  • After the resurrection, God’s Spirit lived inside those who granted Him full authority, or Lordship over their lives.

Christ came to fulfill a sacrificial mandate, but also to usher us into a time when His Spirit would live through us; where instead of being centered on a single person (and therefore a single place) the Spirit of God would be present in people throughout the entire earth. Though omnipresent in both old covenant and new covenant times, the embodiment of His presence after Acts 2 was much more widespread.

Raised to new life, God pours out His Spirit on all those who believe and follow. 

That’s the progression…

…But we’re not there yet.

This is still Good Friday.  In between incarnation and ascension, we have the suffering and death of Jesus, we hear him cry out, “My God, My God, Why have You forsaken me?” 

But even in that anguish, is there hope?  Is there a hint of what is to come?  Just as Christ, in his life, foreshadows his death, does he in his death foreshadow his resurrection?

Today, I want to refer you to a somewhat longer  piece by Al Hsu from InterVaristy Press, posted at Christianity Today.  It’s one of the best I’ve read in a long time, in fact I read it out loud to my family.  It takes about 20 minutes to do it that way, so your reading time should be shorter.

But I promise you will never look at one particular cry from the cross the same way. I strongly encourage you to invest the time this reading takes.

Read all six screens of He’s Calling for Elijah: Why We Still Mishear Jesus (click here).