Saturday, September 27, 2008

The New Garment

To accept us we have to be appealing to God. Many wonder how to make themselves appealing to him. World Religions invent many devices and become Purpose Driven due to the fact that they believe it takes more than faith alone to please God.

Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;my soul shall exult in my God,for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praiseto sprout up before all the nations. ESV

The good news is that the Lord clothes us in the garments he desires to see. The active obedience of Jesus by living an holy life is credited to us and received by faith. Our own inventions will not do it. Isaiah seen this before even the time of Jesus. All the old testament saints were credited with this righteousness even without the vantage point of us who look back at the perfect life, innocent suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus.

Matthew 22:1 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2 The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3 and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other servants, saying, Tell those who are invited, See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast. 5 But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find. 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14 For many are called, but few are chosen. ESV

In there we see that the invitation to the Kingdom of Heaven is open to all. But only those who are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus will be able to stand in the day of judgment. Thanks be to God for his clothing us in perfect righteousness.

In the Name of Jesus. †

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Real Put On.

Most of the time when we hear someone is giving us a put on we think of something not to be admired. After all we want what is real and genuine. Aren't we to be genuine? Many will use being genuine as an excuse for harshness. However scripture is filled with put ons.

Here are some:

Colossians 3:12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 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. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ESV

So many times we wish to demonize those with which we disagree. How dare they think differently then we do? Now I’m not talking about denying the person of Christ nor his finished work. This demonizing can refer to a persons understanding of the order of salvation or thinking it is not an order at all, church government, church name or any number of issues. Each person is usually fully persuaded whatever he or she thinks is correct. If he or she sees something else is actually the truth plain thinking will cause them to change his or her mind. This comes by patient bible teaching not waging war.
How radical can you get to advise us to have compassionate hearts? Kindness? Humility? Meekness? Patience? Love?! Common brother Paul you have got to be kidding.

Oh, here we go:

Colossians 3:1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. ESV

We have died and become new creatures. We are to seek heavenly things where Jesus is seated. These things will not occur in glory. Wow that would be heaven wouldn’t it? However we are not to be so heavenly minded we are of no earthly good. V. 17 tells us to do everything in the name of our Lord Jesus and in thankfulness to our Father. Do? Oh perish the thought! These are real law not just polite suggestions. As law they accuse, inform and accuse some more. Our desire is to do these things but the more we try the more we see failure. This shows we can definitely not live apart from a crucified and resurrected Jesus. How wonderful we can repent, receive forgiveness each day and start again.

In the name of Jesus. Amen. †

Monday, September 8, 2008

When Jesus Comes.

Every time we gather together to hear the word of God preached and partake of Holy Communion we do so in the name of Jesus. Jesus promised to be present when we gather in his name. Since the holy scriptures are God’s word all the words therein are the words of Jesus. When you have the words of Jesus you also have Jesus.

Matthew 26:26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. ESV

That portion shows the strong promise that when we eat the bread of the Lord’s Supper we receive the body and blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins. This is the visible gospel and due to the fact it is a promise of our Lord we have great confidence that even though we don’t understand how or when the Lord is present we know he is.

12] With this Word you can strengthen your conscience and say: If a hundred thousand devils, together with all fanatics, should rush forward, crying, How can bread and wine be the body and blood of Christ? etc., I know that all spirits and scholars together are not as wise as is the Divine Majesty in His little finger. 13] Now here stands the Word of Christ: Take, eat; this is My body; Drink ye all of it; this is the new testament in My blood, etc. Here we abide, and would like to see those who will constitute themselves His masters, and make it different from what He has spoken. It is true, indeed, that if you take away the Word or regard it without the words, you have nothing but mere bread and wine. 14] But if the words remain with them, as they shall and must, then, in virtue of the same, it is truly the body and blood of Christ. For as the lips of Christ say and speak, so it is, as He can never lie or deceive. From Martin Luther’s Large Catechism.

The words of Jesus should never be doubted no matter how mysterious.

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Taking One on the Chin.

Worldly wisdom will tell us that we deserve our day in court. We need our pound of flesh. Even if not in civil or criminal court but in the court of public opinion as well. Someone wrongs you. Accusations are laid on you involving things of which you do not think you are guilty. The natural, and especially in this age, reaction is to counter attack. After all we need to defend ourselves. Don’t we?

Romans 12: 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. 20 To the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. ESV

In this section we see how a believer in Jesus is to react to unfair treatment. Wow. That is different then the wisdom of the world. However, the promise is in there that the Lord will recompense. He will repay the person who wronged you. Either in his mercy the vengeance was suffered by Jesus on the cross or some other way the Lord sees fit. The benefit for us in the long run is we do not have to burden ourselves with trying to exact justice.

Seldom will many people even notice the wrong he or she has done. If one were to confront the person the defenses will go up either way. That person will go to his or her friends for a verdict so a host of others will view the dirty business. The wronged will go to his or her friends for a verdict as well. If some of those who are asked to render said verdict knows both parties and is fond of them he or she is caught in the crossfire. The backlash against those parties can be severe for they are required by both parties in the conflict and thier associates to agree. What a mess!

Those are the consequences of not letting things drop. However, that is not the ultimate motivation for letting these go of those things.

Romans 12: 1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. 3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. ESV

In grateful response to the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross we depend on the promise of God to sort it out. It is so rare and quite possibly nonexistent that the injured party is totally innocent in the situation. Even if the party is innocent in that situation he or she has been guilty in another event or action for we are all by nature sinful and unclean. God grant us the willingness to think of ourselves soberly instead of being drunk with self pride and arrogance.

In the Name of Jesus. Amen. †