buildingbodies4christ

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Archive for the tag “God’s holiness”

Revelation Needed Today

For the last few weeks, I have just been feeling a bit flat. Have you experienced a time when you felt flat too? I don’t know what contributes to this feeling. Maybe the stress of everything going on in the world – the outer reaches and the inner relational world – can get to the best of us. Maybe it’s a safety precaution to guard the heart from all the emotional turmoil. I don’t know. But personally I feel it deep within my soul. It’s a struggle to remain focused on the tasks in front of me.

You may have noticed I didn’t post a blog last week. The words were just not flowing. The flatness I felt in that moment just wouldn’t allow a word to be formed coherently. It was a jumbled mess so I laid it aside hoping the season would pass quickly. I don’t think the season has ended, but the words are flowing a bit better today (hopefully – it will all make sense in the end).

One thing I read this morning in my quiet time gave me pause to reflect – from Mark 7:37 – people were overwhelmed with amazement. Last Sunday night, I listened to a video from Matt Chandler on the Apostles’ Creed. He spoke of God as infinitely powerful and yet intensely personal. He said we need symmetry between those two characteristics of God. Powerful and personal.

In a group discussion, we were asked if we saw God in both of these characteristics. I must confess – I see God more as personal rather than powerful. Oh, I know God is powerful. But when I think of God – it’s more about Him being my Father rather than the Creator God of the universe who spoke the world and everything in it into existence.

When I thought of the passage in Mark – everyone was amazed at Jesus. I can look back in the Old Testament and see a great fear (awe) of God. The people in the Old Testament had only one view of God – awe – they saw the things He could do – traveled by the cloud in the daytime and by fire at night. They saw the sea open up and they walked through on dry land. They witnessed armies being destroyed before them – walls tumbling down. Water gushed out of rocks. The earth shook at His voice. Who wouldn’t be in awe of God if we witnessed those things too?

The New Testament people witnessed Jesus’ healing abilities. They saw Him cast out demons. Lazarus was called out of the grave by Jesus’ command. Waves and wind were calmed at His word. Again, awe-inspiring. Who wouldn’t be in awe of Jesus too?

In the group discussion, I confessed of my lack of awe today. I believe it’s not only my problem but a problem in our church body today. I think we have missed witnessing God’s power and missed Jesus doing things around us. Jesus said many times throughout His ministry He couldn’t perform the miracles because of the people’s lack of faith. Could that be the problem today? Are we experiencing more unbelief today – I mean in the church body, not unbelievers but the believers? Have we relied on ourselves to bring the miracles instead of Jesus?

Another message I heard this past weekend was concerning worship. My worship leader brought the message missions flow from worship. He referred to the Isaiah 6 passage where Isaiah got a glimpse of God sitting on His throne. Isaiah saw God’s holiness – His infinite power and realized his own sinfulness. Once Isaiah was cleansed of his sinful condition, he was ready to be sent to be God’s chosen one to speak for Him. It was a natural progression – recognizing God’s holiness, our sinful condition, forgiveness for that condition and the mission to tell others the Good News.

Like Isaiah, the apostle Peter saw Jesus’ holiness too. After Jesus asked Peter to use his boat for a speaking engagement, Jesus told Peter to catch some fish. Peter had fished all night with no luck. Peter knew it was the wrong time of day to fish. But because Jesus asked him to throw his net into the water, he did so and caught so many fish he couldn’t haul them into the boat. Peter fell at Jesus’ feet and asked Jesus to leave him because Peter was unworthy to be in His presence. Peter was in awe of Jesus and was overwhelmed by His presence. When Jesus asked Peter to follow Him, Peter dropped his nets and followed.

How ever much we see Jesus and God work around us, we tend to forget what we’ve witnessed in the past. The Old Testament people forgot God and did what was wrong in His sight. Peter too had moments of forgetfulness. We all are prone to forget all God has done. Sometimes we need a reminder or two of who God is and what He can do. We need to be reminded of God’s infinite power. When we see it again, we are much more eager to worship and tell others of this amazing God.

Like the current song by Elevation Worship, we need to see God do it again. It’s time to be reminded about this one true God who can move the mountains, calm the storms and bring healing to the nations. It’s time to fan the flame of our small faith into a roaring fire of righteous belief. It’s the only way we will see Jesus do amazing things again. It’s the only way to worship Him with our whole hearts and be ready to be His messenger. Remind us Infinitely Powerful and Personal Father, do it again! Let us see Your glory! Amen!

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:5-8

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The Simple Message

After nine days of traveling about, Billy Graham was finally laid to rest yesterday. From his mountain home to Charlotte to Washington, DC and back, Billy was planted in the ground in Charlotte, NC. Like a seed planted in the ground, my prayer is that the message that was heard yesterday will reap lots of fruit. It was a simple message that was spoken by his son Franklin, which I hope and pray was clearly heard around the world.

You see, there is only one problem in this world today. It’s called sin. Everything wrong in our world today comes from this sin problem. We don’t talk much about sin anymore. But Billy’s message throughout his ministry pointed to the need in this world – a way out of our sin problem. Billy told young pastors and evangelists to keep the message simple – just preach Jesus. There is no other name that came move the masses to recognize their need of a Savior. It’s Jesus and Jesus only.

The trouble today is that we don’t recognize the problem. We see ourselves as “good enough.” We are better than the neighbor across the street – we don’t do “x” so we must be good enough to get to heaven. Our standards are wrong. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans that all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Our standard is God Himself. And it’s impossible for us to meet this standard. There is no “good enough” scale to match Him. There is a huge gap between us and Him.

We have an upside down view running rampant in this world. We have elevated ourselves and lowered God to our level. I was reminded this week through Pastor James MacDonald that God is holy. Not just holy, but holy, holy, holy. His majesty is so great no one who looks upon Him can live. When earth is replaced at the end of time, there will be no sun – God will be our light. We don’t fear Him like the ancients did in their time. They saw the great works and were terrified to be in His presence.

If we look at the passage in Isaiah 6, Isaiah’s response was “woe to me!” He saw God high and lifted up. He recognized his sinful condition and knew he couldn’t see what he saw and live. Peter had a similar reaction when Jesus talked Peter into fishing at the wrong time of the day. This was in the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. No one had caught on to who Jesus was at that point. He seemed to be a brilliant teacher. But on that particular day, everything changed. There was such a large catch that Peter knew Jesus was different. This miracle changed Peter’s perception of Jesus. The response from Peter was found in Luke 5:8 – “Go away from me, Lord: I am a sinful man!”

John had an experience that rivals Isaiah’s. John was on the island of Patmos in exile for preaching about this Jesus. When John heard a voice like a trumpet, he turned to find someone “like a son of man” who was described as one brilliantly glorified. John fell at his feet (Revelation 1:10-17).

We have lost sight of this “other world” quality of our Lord Jesus and God the Father. This holiness that cannot be explained in English but in Hebrew it was emphasized by the triple word. It was that significant. Isaiah and John heard the angels singing about this holiness. “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”

Once we change our perception of the holiness of God, we will recognize our own condition; we are all sinners. No one is righteous. The gap widens even further. We are born into this sinful condition. We all have to be taught what’s right from wrong, because our natural tendency is to do wrong. It’s not what feels right to us. That’s the wrong message because we all have different standards. We have to look beyond ourselves, beyond this world to find the truest measure of what’s right. God’s standard is the key to unlock this whole mystery.

We can’t get there from here, so the key to righteousness isn’t found in ourselves but through the testimony of Jesus. God sent Jesus so that we could have this righteousness through Him. Jesus bridged the gap through His death and resurrection. He exchanged our sinful condition and gave us His righteousness when He died in our place. Sins payment is death. We were told in the very beginning when sin entered the world through a bite of the forbidden fruit that death will be the consequence of sin (Genesis 2:17).

We are told by Jesus Himself that He didn’t come to condemn the world (John 3:17) – it was already condemned by sin. He came to save the world. There is no one else; there is no other way (John 14:6). It’s narrow-minded for sure. But the way is for ANYONE to believe and repent of their sin and be saved for eternal life.

It’s just a very simple message. Billy Graham preached it for sixty years. The simple message can still be preached today, but we will have to get a better view of ourselves than the one we carry now. We are sinners. Own it. Repent from it. And be saved by believing in this Jesus who died for you and for me.

But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:21-24

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