Who is Jesus Pt 2 Second Person of the Trinity

Who is Jesus Christ? Why is the question over Jesus’ true identity so important?

Jesus was and is God

Why is it so important that we get the deity of Christ correct? Why is it so important that we understand who Jesus is? Because Jesus said 

John 8:24(HCSB)24 Therefore I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.

If we get the deity of Christ wrong everything else is null and void.
If you’re believing in a false Jesus, you’re damned. You preach any other Christ than the true Christ, you’re damned, that’s Galatians 1:6-10(HCSB)6 I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from Him who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are troubling you and want to change the good news[c] about the Messiah. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel other than what we have preached to you, a curse be on him! 9 As we have said before, I now say again: If anyone preaches to you a gospel contrary to what you received, a curse be on him! 10 For am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ.
If you fail to love the true Lord Jesus Christ, you’re cursed. 1 Corinthians 16:22(HCSB)22 If anyone does not love the Lord, a curse be on him. Marana tha that is, Lord, come! We have to be loving and believing in the true Christ, not a false Christ, not a Christ of our own imagination, not some sentimental Jesus, not the Jesus of liberalism, not the Jesus of false theology, not the Jesus of Mormonism, not the Jesus of Islam, not the Jesus of Oneness Pentecostalism.

Now, all false religions—listen–all false religions reject the true Jesus Christ of the Bible. They all do. That’s what constitutes them as false religions to start with. From Oneness Pentecostals to Islam to Mormonism, if you want to go from something that is non-Christian to something that calls itself Christian, they all reject the true Christ. But, they all honor a false Christ.

By contrast this is what I mean. We tell the truth about false teachers. We say Muhammad was a demon-possessed man, an agent of hell to unleash lies, perversion, and slaughter on the world. We give no credibility, no honor to Muhammad. But, the Muslims honor Jesus. They call Him a prophet, a true prophet.

Why is that? Because that’s the subtlety of Satan, to go against Christ by misrepresentation. For example, the Christ of Mormonism, the Jesus of Mormonism, is a created being who is the spirit brother of Adam and Lucifer. Created by a god who was created by another god. Jesus of Mormonism is not the true Jesus, he is a false Jesus, while Mormons affirm that they believe in the Jesus that we believe in. It has always been Satan’s antichrist strategy to affirm the wrong Jesus and to subtly deceive people by redefining Jesus and it has been very effective.

Jews say Jesus was not a prophet, he was a false messiah, modern rabbi’s say he was a failed messiah. Jesus is viewed as having been the most influential, and consequently the most damaging, of all false messiahs. So yes Jews fall into the same camp as false religions.
Oneness Pentecostals say it is all about Jesus and totally deny the trinity. Oneness theology teaches that God is a single person who was “manifested as Father in creation and as the Father of the Son, in the Son for our redemption, and as the Holy Spirit in our regeneration.” We(Christians) believe that only faith in Jesus Christ and repentance from sin are essential elements for salvation, while Oneness Pentecostalism defines salvation as repentance, baptism (in Jesus’ name) and receipt of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. They teach Jesus Christ is the manifestation, human personification, or incarnation of the one God. Oneness Pentecostals generally argue that the Godhead is in Jesus, yet Jesus is not in the Godhead. In the person of Jesus, one sees the last, best, and complete manifestation of God.

Ninety percent of the charismatic/pentecostal people in the world, ninety percent of them are part of the Word/Faith Movement. That’s not my statistics; that’s their own. Ninety percent of them are part of the Word/Faith Movement. That’s the health, wealth, prosperity, word, faith, name-it-and-claim-it movement. This is what their leaders say.

One is a man named Creflo Dollar, He says this, quote: “If Jesus came as God, then why did God have to anoint Him? Jesus came as man; that’s why it’s legal to anoint Him. God doesn’t need anointing; He is anointing. Jesus came as man and at age thirty God gave us an example of what a man with the anointing could do.”
Creflo Dollar in gross irreverence questions the deity of our Lord, quote: “Jesus didn’t show up perfect; He grew into His perfection. You know Jesus in one Scripture in the Bible, He went on a journey and He was tired. You better hope God don’t get tired, but Jesus did. If He came as God and He got tired. He says He sat down by the well because He was tired. Boy, we’re in trouble. And somebody said, ‘Well Jesus came as God.’ Well, how many of you know the Bible? Says God never sleeps or slumbers. And yet in the book of Mark we see Jesus asleep in the back of the boat,”.
So, the fact that He was tired and went to sleep meant He wasn’t God. That kind of attack on the deity of Christ comes right from antichrist sources. They go beyond this. They diminish Jesus and then they elevate themselves. And what happened to Jesus in the words of these false teachers, that He was a man who became God is what happens to them and can happen to you. You are a man who can also become God. Kenneth Copeland pretends to speak for Jesus in the first person, and he says this, quote: “Don’t be disturbed when people accuse You of thinking You’re God. They crucified Me for claiming I was God and I didn’t even claim I was God. I just claimed that I walked with Him and that He was in Me. Hallelujah.”

So He’s a man until He’s thirty, and because He’s a good man, He’s made a god. Kenneth Copeland, another wolf of TBN and Christian media, says this, “Why didn’t Jesus openly proclaim Himself as God during His 33 years on earth? For one single reason, He hadn’t come to earth as God. He had come as a man.”

“The righteousness of God was made to be sin. He accepted the sin nature of Satan in His own spirit. You don’t know what happened at the cross. Why do you think Moses upon instruction of God raised the serpent upon that pole instead of a lamb? That used to bug me. I said, ‘Why in the world would you want to put a snake up there, the sign of Satan, why didn’t you put a lamb on the pole?’ And the Lord said, ‘Because it was a sign of Satan that was hanging on the cross.’”

“Jesus said, ‘I accept it in My own spirit, spiritual death, and the light was turned off.’ The light of deity turned off, He becomes the nature of Satan on the cross.”

Staggering blasphemies against the nature of Christ. Staggering misunderstandings of who He is. A man who became God and took on the nature of Satan. Kenneth Copeland again exhibits the blasphemous and dangerous way in which the Lord Jesus is treated in Word of Faith circles. Quoting Copeland, “How did Jesus then on the cross say, ‘My God,’ Because God was not His Father anymore. He took upon Himself the nature of Satan and I’m telling you, Jesus is in the middle of that pit, meaning hell. He’s suffering all that there is to suffer. His emaciated little wormy spirit is down in the bottom of that thing and the devil thinks he’s got Him destroyed.” He is referring to the nature of Christ as that emaciated little wormy spirit down in the bottom of the pit.

We must get it right about Christ. Salvation comes by believing in Christ.

The true Christ of Scripture deserves more than our admiration. He is God and man in one person and deserves worship as the only mediator between God and human beings. Because He is God,
Hebrews 7:25(HCSB)25 Therefore, He is always able to save those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them.

John MacArthur  says “Every preacher and every teacher who is faithful, every church, every ministry that is faithful presents the full and accurate truth concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. That is a benchmark; that is a litmus test of integrity in a preacher and in a ministry. That is the validation. I would say it this way, devotion to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ is the benchmark of legitimacy in any preacher and in any ministry. If there is any diminishing of Christ, or deviation from the true Christ, there is a serious violation of the purpose of God in revealing Scripture, Old Testament and New Testament.

Any and every legitimate preacher, legitimate church, legitimate ministry must be committed to the truth about Christ, to the glory and exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ, being relentlessly biblical to understand the full revelation concerning Christ. The single source of the truth about Christ is the Bible. And if the theme of the Bible is Christ, and the purpose of revealing Christ is so that we may see the fullness of His glory, then legitimacy is tied inextricably to a consuming pre-occupation with knowing all that has been revealed about Christ, to understand His full glory with a view to worshiping Him, honoring Him, and loving Him.”

An understanding of the way the Greek word mystery was used in the New Testament may help us here. It is the Greek word musterion and refers to what was previously hidden, but is now revealed to us through the revelation of the Word.Sometimes it is used simply of that which God makes known through His revelation to man which man could not know on his own 1 Corinthians 2:6-7(HCSB)6 However, we do speak a wisdom among the mature, but not a wisdom of this age, or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 On the contrary, we speak God’s hidden wisdom in a mystery, a wisdom God predestined before the ages for our glory.. But there is a sense in which some of God’s truth, though clearly revealed in the Bible, remains a mystery. Though it is a truth revealed in Scripture, like the doctrine of the incarnation of the Son of God or the divine/human nature of Jesus Christ, the Trinity is a kind of mystery in that it goes beyond the boundaries of human comprehension. God hasn’t explained all the mysteries of His revelation to us undoubtedly because we simply cannot yet grasp them.

Isaiah 55:8-9(HCSB)“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration. 9  “For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

Does this mean a doctrine cannot be true simply because it defies our human imagination or ability to comprehend it? The answer is, of course not. It would be nothing short of human arrogance to say it was. The truth is, we must recognize our need to simply trust in God’s special revelation to us, the Bible, and submit our minds to that teaching which is truly expressed in its pages. It would be the height of self-centeredness for a person to say that because an idea in the Bible does not make sense or does not conform to his or her reasoning, it cannot be true and the Bible must be in error on this point.The doctrine of the trinity is part of God’s revelation of One who is infinite to those who are finite. So again we must ask, doesn’t it seem logical that in our study about God we are going to find things that are incomprehensible, mysterious, and super-rational to finite man’s rational thinking? So, let’s understand from the beginning of this study, “God in His existence as the Three-in-One is beyond the limits of human comprehension.” The doctrine of the Trinity is the distinctive mark of the Christian religion, setting it apart from all the other religions of the world.

The name Elohim, translated God, is the plural form of El. Which is the Old Testament Word for pointing to the power and majesty of God, it certainly allows for the New Testament revelation of the Triunity of God.
Genesis 1:26(HCSB)Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.”

Genesis 3:22(HCSB)The Lord God said, “Since man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil, he must not reach out, take from the tree of life, eat, and live forever.” 

Genesis 11:5-7(HCSB)5 Then the Lord came down to look over the city and the tower that the men were building. 6 The Lord said, “If they have begun to do this as one people all having the same language, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let Us go down there and confuse their language so that they will not understand one another’s speech.”

Jesus is the second person of the Trinity.
The word “trinity” is a term used to denote the Christian doctrine that God exists as a unity of three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each of the persons is distinct from the other yet identical in essence. In other words, each is fully divine in nature, but each is not the totality of the other persons of the Trinity. Each has a will, loves, and says, “I” and “You” when speaking. The Father is not the same person as the Son, who is not the same person as the Holy Spirit, and who is not the same person as the Father. Each is divine, yet there are not three gods but one God. There are three individual subsistences or persons. The word “subsistence” means something that has a real existence. The word “person” denotes individuality and self-awareness. The Trinity is three of these though the latter term has become the dominant one used to describe the individual aspects of God known as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each of the three persons is completely divine in nature though each is not the totality of the Godhead. Each of the three persons is not the other two persons. Each of the three persons is related to the other two but are distinct from them.

Jesus the Son can be different from the Father. And, yet the same.

The Bible clearly speaks of: God the Son, God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit. But emphasizes that there is only ONE God.

“Tri” meaning three, and “Unity” meaning one, Tri+Unity = Trinity. It is a way of acknowledging what the Bible reveals to us about God, that God is yet three “Persons” who have the same essence of deity.

1 Corinthians 8:4-6(HCSB)4 About eating food offered to idols, then, we know that “an idol is nothing in the world,” and that “there is no God but one.” 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth—as there are many “gods” and many “lords”— 6  yet for us there is one God, the Father. All things are from Him, and we exist for Him. And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ. All things are through Him, and we exist through Him.

Ephesians 4:4-6(HCSB)4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope at your calling— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

We can see that the Father is first, the Son is second, and the Holy Spirit is third. The Father is not begotten, but the Son is John 3:16(HCSB)16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.

The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father John 15:26(HCSB)26 “When the Counselor comes, the One I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father—He will testify about Me.

The Father sent the Son 1 John 4:10(HCSB)10 Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

The Son and the Father send the Holy Spirit
John 14:26(HCSB)26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit—the Father will send Him in My name—will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.
John 15:26(HCSB)26 “When the Counselor comes, the One I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father—He will testify about Me
.

In the baptism of Jesus, we see the Father speaking from heaven and the Holy Spirit descending from heaven in the form of a dove as Jesus comes out of the water. (Mark 1:10–11(HCSB)10 As soon as He came up out of the water, He saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending to Him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: You are My beloved Son; I take delight in You!

The father creates, the Son redeems and the Holy Spirit sanctifies.

The Father creates Isaiah 44:24(HCSB)24 This is what the Lord, your Redeemer who formed you from the womb, says: I am Yahweh, who made everything; who stretched out the heavens by Myself; who alone spread out the earth;,

The Son redeems Romans 3:23-24(HCSB)23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 24 They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 1:13-14(HCSB) He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves. 14 We have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, in Him.
The Holy Spirit sanctifies 1 Peter 1:2(ESV)2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

2 Thessalonians 2:13(HCSB)13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.

The mystery of the triune God is difficult to understand yet is one of the doctrines revealed in Scripture.
Christ is the exact representation of God the Father, having the same nature Hebrews 1:3(HCSB)3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of His nature, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. 

There is some sense in which everything the Father does, the Son and Spirit also do, and vice versa. They are always in perfect agreement at every moment, and all three equal only One God. Knowing that Christ is God and has all the attributes of God aids our understanding of Jesus as the second person of the Trinity. Another important point about the Trinity is that it can be a difficult concept to grasp, but this does not necessitate an argument against its validity. On the contrary, the fact that it is difficult is an argument for its truth. The Bible is the self-revelation of an infinite God. Therefore, we are bound to encounter concepts which are difficult to understand–especially when dealing with an incomprehensible God who exists in all places at all times.The Trinity is, to a large extent, a mystery. After all, we are dealing with God Himself.
He is the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us.

John 1:1-2(HCSB)In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.

We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Because the Word was with God and was God and became flesh, we then state that Jesus has two natures: divine and human. Therefore, Christianity teaches that Jesus is both God and man at the same time. Jesus is fully God and fully man. There is no mixture or intermingling of the nature of God and man, although the two natures are one person.The reason that He is God in flesh is that only God can atone for our sins. We can’t do it on our own because we are finite, sinful beings, and we cannot please an infinitely holy God. Jesus had to be a man to be able to die for humanity. This means that Jesus took our place on the cross, that is, He took our place and suffered the wrath of God the Father. If you trust in what Christ has done, then you will be saved from the righteous judgment of God.

Why does it matter whether or not Jesus is God? The most important reason that Jesus has to be God is that if He is not God, His death would not have been sufficient to pay the penalty for the sins of the whole world 1 John 2:2(HCSB)2 He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world. Only God could pay such an infinite penalty.

Romans 5:8(HCSB)8 But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!

2 Corinthians 5:21(HCSB)21 He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Jesus had to be God so that He could pay our debt. Jesus had to be man so He could die. Salvation is available only through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus’ deity is why He is the only way of salvation. Jesus’ deity is why He proclaimed,
John 14:6(HCSB)6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

There is no more important biblical truth for the life and health of the church than the deity of Christ. Christianity stands if Christ’s deity is true. If Jesus is divine, then His claims are true.Acts 4:12(HCSB) 12 There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people, and we must be saved by it.”

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Time Talents and Treasures

Where are you spending your time, talent and treasures on?

Time –  Are we valuing the things of God with our time? or for selfish pleasure? Ephesians 5:15-16(HCSB)15 Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil.

There is no doubt that the responsibilities and pressures of this world scream for our attention. The myriad of things pulling us in different directions makes it all too easy for our time to get swallowed up in mundane, lesser matters. Those endeavors which have eternal value, then, often get relegated to the back burner. To avoid losing focus, we need to prioritize and set goals.

We need to place our focus on that which is eternal as opposed to the fleeting pleasures of this passing world. Accordingly, we should move forward with diligence and divine purpose as the courses of our lives progress toward God’s ultimate goal. We are to accomplish as much as we can with the time He has given us. We will be eternally rewarded for investing our time in good works. We should live as if each minute counts – because it really does.

If we want to honor God with our time, we have to realize that our time is not our own, it is God’s time. Unfortunately, we too often think that our time is ours to do whatever we wish with it. If we want to work, we can do that, if we want to watch television, we can do that, if we want to waste it doing nothing, we can do that. If we want to go do things we know are wrong we can do that. If we feel like coming to church, we can do that too. Certainly God has given us this freedom of choice, but God teaches us through the Bible tells us that nothing we have is our own, it is God’s.
Psalm 24:1(HCSB)The earth and everything in it, the world and its inhabitants, belong to the Lord;

Talents – are we using our talents for advancing the Kingdom or for pleasure and selfish gain? The gifts we have received are not ours alone. God gave them to us for the purpose of serving Him and serving other people. Romans 12:4-8(HCSB)4 Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, 5 in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. 6 According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts.If prophecy,use it according to the standard of one’s faith;7 if service, in service; if teaching, in teaching; 8  if exhorting, in exhortation; giving, with generosity;leading, with diligence;showing mercy, with cheerfulness.

In His Parable of the Talents, Jesus taught that we must use our gifts wisely. A talent was a very large sum of money, about 80 pounds (36 kg) of silver. Before leaving on a journey, a wealthy man entrusted his fortune to his servants for the time he would be away. Two of the servants used the money wisely to earn income for their master. However, the third servant did not put the money to good use, and the master was very displeased. Here is the parable:

Matthew 25:14-(HCSB)14 “For it is just like a man going on a journey. He called his own slaves and turned over his possessions to them. 15 To one he gave five talents;[c] to another, two; and to another, one—to each according to his own ability. Then he went on a journey. Immediately 16 the man who had received five talents went, put them to work, and earned five more. 17 In the same way the man with two earned two more. 18 But the man who had received one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground, and hid his master’s money.

19 “After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five talents approached, presented five more talents, and said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. Look, I’ve earned five more talents.’

21 “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy!’

22 “Then the man with two talents also approached. He said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. Look, I’ve earned two more talents.’

23 “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy!’

24 “Then the man who had received one talent also approached and said, ‘Master, I know you. You’re a difficult man, reaping where you haven’t sown and gathering where you haven’t scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went off and hid your talent in the ground. Look, you have what is yours.’

26 “But his master replied to him, ‘You evil, lazy slave! If you knew that I reap where I haven’t sown and gather where I haven’t scattered, 27 then you should have deposited my money with the bankers. And when I returned I would have received my money back with interest.

28 “‘So take the talent from him and give it to the one who has 10 talents. 29 For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have more than enough. But from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 30 And throw this good-for-nothing slave into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

The master represents God in this parable, and the servants represent us. The English word talent, meaning our natural abilities, is derived from this parable. That is fitting because the lesson of the parable is that we must use our talents and abilities, as well as our wealth, in God’s service. If we do not use our gifts wisely, God will consider us to be wicked and lazy like the third man in the parable.

It would seem that the more we give to others, the poorer we become, but just the opposite is true! Service to others brings meaning and fulfillment to our lives in a way that wealth, power, possessions and self-centered pursuits can never match. As Jesus said,Luke 6:38(HCSB)38 Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over—will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”

Treasure – are putting our treasure in advancing the kingdom of God or our own Kingdom?
Matthew 6:21(HCSB)21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 25:31-46(HCSB)31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35
For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 

I was naked and you clothed Me;

I was sick and you took care of Me;

I was in prison and you visited Me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or without clothes and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and visit You?’

40 “And the King will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’ 41 Then He will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels!

42 

For I was hungry

and you gave Me nothing to eat;

I was thirsty

and you gave Me nothing to drink;

43 

I was a stranger

and you didn’t take Me in;

I was naked

and you didn’t clothe Me,

sick and in prison

and you didn’t take care of Me.’

44 “Then they too will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or without clothes, or sick, or in prison, and not help You?’

45 “Then He will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me either.’

46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Proverbs 3:9(HCSB)Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest; 10  then your barns will be completely filled,and your vats will overflow with new wine.

God does not condemn anyone for having riches. Riches come to people from many sources, but He gives grave warnings to those who seek after them more than they seek after God and trust in them more than in God. His greatest desire is for us to set our hearts on things above and not on things on this earth.

Luke 12:42-48(HCSB)42 The Lord said: “Who then is the faithful and sensible manager his master will put in charge of his household servants to give them their allotted food at the proper time? 43 That slave whose master finds him working when he comes will be rewarded. 44 I tell you the truth: He will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But if that slave says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and starts to beat the male and female slaves, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46 that slave’s master will come on a day he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. 47 And that slave who knew his master’s will and didn’t prepare himself or do it will be severely beaten. 48 But the one who did not know and did things deserving of blows will be beaten lightly. Much will be required of everyone who has been given much. And even more will be expected of the one who has been entrusted with more.

Trials in the Wilderness

Why  did  God  make wilderness  places  anyway? Certainly, without them it would be difficult for us to appreciate trees and green pastures. God also knew that the wilderness is an ideal place to test his people and to help them learn  faith and endurance.

We don’t do a good job as Christian believers telling unbelievers that sometimes, even with Jesus, life is hard. We like to tell them, “Life is hard. Give your life to Jesus. Everything will be better, then you go to heaven.” We forget to tell them about the middle called life. Life is hard. You meet Jesus and it gets harder, and then it gets better when you see Him after death or when He comes back which ever comes first. The Christian life is the best life, but it’s not the easiest life, and sometimes the closer you are to Jesus, the more opposition you receive, just as Jesus received opposition.

Since the wilderness is a common experience of our faith, we need to learn about it and especially we need to learn the rules of spiritual survival in this wilderness. We might ask the question, when are we most likely to  experience the wilderness? Strangely, these experiences often come on the heels of great spiritual breakthroughs.The children of Israel were just miraculously delivered through the sea as they escaped from Pharaoh and Egypt. They had also just received the law and had experienced the very presence of the Living God in smoke and fire. Very soon after their mountain-top experience they had to wander in the wilderness. Many centuries later, after Jesus was baptized and after He heard the voice of God speaking to Him from  heaven He was led into the desert to be tempted by the devil forty days and forty nights. Mark 1:9-12(HCSB)In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. 10 As soon as He came up out of the water, He saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending to Him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: You are My beloved Son; I take delight in You! 12 Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness 40 days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and the angels began to serve Him.

What can the wilderness do for us?  It can make us rugged, tough, and strong in faith. It can cause us to develop endurance and to acquire maturity.

James 1:2-4(HCSB)2 Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. Joshua and Caleb were survivors  of  the forty-year wilderness journey. In Joshua 14, Joshua had the strength and maturity to lead Israel into the land and to gain victory over a numerous and well-armed nation of people. Caleb, at age 85, was able to take the mountain of Hebron and drive out the giants who had lived there for centuries. There were many other examples in Israel’s history of wilderness experiences.  David was a man that spent many years in the wilderness in caves and hide-outs. Much of the Book of Psalms was written as a result of his sufferings in the wilderness. Elijah was another person who spent time in the wilderness right after the epic showdown between himself and the prophets of Baal,

1 Kings 19:1-5(HCSB)Ahab told Jezebel everything that Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “May the gods punish me and do so severely if I don’t make your life like the life of one of them by this time tomorrow!”

3 Then Elijah became afraid and immediately ran for his life. When he came to Beer-sheba that belonged to Judah, he left his servant there, 4 but he went on a day’s journey into the wilderness. He sat down under a broom tree and prayed that he might die. He said, “I have had enough! Lord, take my life, for I’m no better than my fathers.”, and so was  John  the Baptist who was referred to as “…a voice of one calling in the wilderness…
 Matthew 3:3(HCSB)3 For he is the one spoken of through the prophet Isaiah, who said: A voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord; make His paths straight!

Then there was Jesus, coming  directly out of the wilderness to begin his ministry in Galilee.  Not only does the wilderness breed character; it also breeds humility.  When Moses lived in Egypt the was a man mighty in word and deed. Acts 7:22(HCSB)22 So Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in his speech and actions.

However, when God finished with him with many years in the wilderness, Moses was unable to talk and had to have Aaron go along as his spokesman.
Exodus 4:13-16(HCSB)13 Moses said, “Please, Lord, send someone else.” 14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses, and He said, “Isn’t Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, he is on his way now to meet you. He will rejoice when he sees you. 15 You will speak with him and tell him what to say. I will help[g] both you and him to speak and will teach you both what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you. He will be your spokesman, and you will serve as God to him.

God humbled him and he became the meekest man on earth.

Numbers 12:3(HCSB)3 Moses was a very humble man, more so than any man on the face of the earth. Therefore, God  was able to do mighty things through him. God desires to break down our self-indulged life in exactly this way so that He can get the glory.

The  wilderness can be a lonely place. Many of us try to escape the wilderness and God’s plan of testing for our lives. The challenge of the wilderness is that we don’t control it. We can throw a hissy fit and it will not go away. In fact, the wilderness feels like it will last forever… as though God really has forsaken us. The reality of the wilderness from Job to Joseph to Jesus to Paul is that it does not last forever. It is a season, quite often a short one. The healthiest response is to receive the wilderness as part of our assignment from Jesus and allow it to have its effect on our character and faith. The wilderness deepens our hearts in maturity in a way that success cannot.

The wilderness can feel like it will last forever. The greatest danger of going through a season in the wilderness is building a thought process that suggests it’s normal, permanent and hopeless. The wilderness is a season, not a way of life. It produces a fruit and serves a purpose and then comes to an end. It is only the devil who would like to convince us that the wilderness is permanent.

The wilderness with all its testing is precious 1 Peter 1:6-7(HCSB)6 You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials 7 so that the genuineness of your faith—more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. When we think back over all those trials, it often brings  tears to our eyes. It softens our hearts. It is such a vital part  of the salvation experience, and it deeply affects the way we relate to and minister to others.

3 THINGS GOD DOES SAY ABOUT TRIALS

James 1:2-4(HCSB)2 Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. What he does say is that life is sometimes hard. “Consider it all joy.” “Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you experience various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”

1. YOU ARE GOING TO GET TRIALS

Three things he says. “Whenever you experience various trials” He doesn’t say “if.” You’re going to get trials. A hundred percent. New Christians, don’t be shocked by this. “Oh my gosh, a trial came. Christianity isn’t working.” No, it’s working. James starts there. Welcome to Christianity 101. It’s going to hurt when trials come.

So, point number one, when trials come, don’t say, “God, how come, where, why? I don’t understand. What? I had no idea. Had I known this, I would have—what, what?” God says, “No, I told you they’re coming.” Some of you are in them right now. Some of you see the clouds on the horizon.

2. KNOW THIS: IT’S A TEST AND AN OPPORTUNITY

“When the trials come, know this.” It’s very strong. “Know this.” Don’t forget this. Hold this truth in your hand. Cling to it. Here’s your life vest, right? Like, keep it close. Know this: when a trial comes, it’s a test. A test can be a good or a bad thing. It depends on how good you are at taking the test. If you pass the test, it’s actually really encouraging. How many of you have taken a test, maybe even in school? You’re like, “I took the test. It was a little stressful. I got a good grade. That was pretty awesome.” Life is filled with tests, spiritual tests. A trial is a test.

Here’s what it means: it’s an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to prove who you are in Christ, to see who you’re becoming in Christ. When it first hits, a trial feels like an attack. And he says, “I want you to know this. It’s a test.” and whether you fail the test or pass the test you will learn something from it. Sometimes we learn when we pass it and sometimes we learn after we fail it to never do that again.

3. YOU WILL GET TRIALS OF VARIOUS KINDS

The trials are of various kinds. Financial, emotional, physical, spiritual, mental, relational, marital, vocational. Various. He says, “experience various trials.” You know what this means? You don’t know where it’s coming from next. It could be coming from anywhere. Any aspect of your whole life, a trial could come from there. And they don’t always come one at a time.

How many of you have noticed that? Ouch, ouch, ouch, hey! various trials. And sometimes what happens is, you get through a trial in one area of your life, you’re like, “Glad that’s over,” and then there’s a trial in another area of life. I got my finances in order, and then my relationship fell apart. Now I’m in another trial.

The thing about trials is that it is supposed to produce, pain. Many of us do not like pain,I say that because some may and y’all are freaks. Pain is God’s way of telling us there is something wrong that needs to be fixed. But we humans do not like pain so we try to numb the pain instead of fixing it and thats where addictions come into play.

DON’T COMPARE TRIALS

Do not compare your trials with other people’s. See, some of you, you have great wisdom and experience in some areas and other people have other wisdom and experience in other areas. So, some of you, let’s say, financially, you’ve got a lot of experience and wisdom. If a financial trial comes into your life, you have some wisdom on what to do with that.

Some of you are like, “I don’t know, finances So, when it comes to balancing a budget and setting my finances, I feel very overwhelmed very quickly.” Well, it’s not fair for this person to say, “That’s not a big deal. That’s just a little trial.” It’s a very big deal to them.

On the other hand, this person might have an enormous emotional capacity and a large capacity for relationships, trauma, and drama, and this other person might have a spoonful. Well, it’s not fair for this person to say, “Well, hey, come on, just roll with it. You need to be, you know, more emotionally present and compassionate.” They’re like, I like numbers, not people.”

We’re all different. We get various kinds of trials. And God doesn’t cause evil to come upon us, but he’ll use evil for our good and his glory. And sometimes God allows a trial to come in in our area of weakness. And so what’s hard for you is easy for someone else, and the same is true on the other hand.

STEADFASTNESS & MATURITY

So, he’s telling us that trials will come. We need to know that they are a test and that we shouldn’t compare our trials to others. And ultimately if we’ll avail ourselves to them, it could produce two things: steadfastness and maturity.

Steadfastness is this perseverance, this fortitude. The Bible uses the language elsewhere of, “Stand firm.” It’s like a command to a soldier, “Hold your post.” Steadfastness. You endure, you persevere, you weather the storm, you make it through, you don’t give up, you don’t give in. And he says, “If you will receive it as a trial, a test, and an opportunity, and produce steadfastness, then it’ll result in maturity.”

What this means is you’ll become more godly, you’ll become more like Jesus. The trial will be used to transform you. OK, how many of you want to be more like Jesus? How many of you want a trial? OK? Just so you know, they’re the same question. Right, it’s like, “I want to be buff without working out. I want to learn a lot without reading books.” It doesn’t work that way. Cause, effect; reap, sow. Steadfastness produces maturity.

The reason why some of you are immature is because you have no steadfast.

But if you have a hard relationship and quit, and have another hard relationship and quit, and have a hard job and quit, and have another hard job and quit, and go to a church and have a conflict and quit, and go to another church and have a conflict and quit, you know what you don’t do? Mature, because you don’t have endurance. Paul says it this way: “Endurance produces”—what? Character. Romans 5:2-4(HCSB)2 We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, 4 endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope.
James is saying the same thing. Endurance produces maturity. What that means is your godliness is not in spite of your problem or around your problem, it’s what God will do in and through you through your problem. And he says, “I need you to know this so that when you’re in the middle of it, you receive it as an opportunity from God and not an obstacle.”

Maybe what’s happening to you isn’t good, but God is. That’s James’ next point. So, his first point is that life is sometimes hard. And then he says, “But God is always good.” And this is foundational. James 1:5-8(HCSB)5 Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 An indecisive man is unstable in all his ways., “If any of you lacks wisdom.” OK, let’s just stop right there. Raise your hand if you lack wisdom, OK? Anyone who didn’t raise their hand really lacks wisdom.

God’s asking, “Does anybody need help?” “Ask God, who gives generously to all.” That includes you and me. It doesn’t matter what we’ve done. “Without reproach, and it will be given to him.” There’s a promise. Tie your joy to that.

But let him ask in faith, without doubting, for the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord; An indecisive man is unstable in all his ways.” He says, “When a trial comes, it’s like a storm.”

So all of a sudden, he wants our imagination to set sail out on the sea. He says, “Now think of a storm, like the one that Jesus and his disciples were in out on the lake.” What happens in a storm is the clouds roll in, it gets dark, you can’t see land. You don’t know where safety is because it’s not near. All of a sudden, everything becomes very unpredictable and violent, things become unstable and uncertain, and you feel unsafe. And now it feels like forces that are far beyond your control are in control of you, which means you feel out of control. It’s anxious; it’s stressful.

He says, “When those storms come”—how many of you are in a storm? Not just normal life storm. How many of you came through one not too long ago? How many of you are fearful because you see one on the horizon? He says, “When that happens, you need wisdom.”

There’s a difference between wisdom and knowledge. Knowledge is not bad, but knowledge is not enough. Knowledge is knowing the truth, wisdom is knowing what to do with it. Knowledge is theoretical; wisdom is practical. Knowledge fills your mind; wisdom guides your life. Knowledge is truthful; wisdom is useful. Knowledge provides information, wisdom provides transformation. Knowledge tells you what to believe, and wisdom tells you how to behave. You can have knowledge without wisdom, but you can’t have wisdom without knowledge. That’s why wisdom has very little to do with your IQ. There are smart people who make dumb decisions.

Don’t make a dumb decision today, use wisdom today and repent. There is salvation for you, there is the complete forgiveness of sin, but you need to make a pathway through the wilderness of your heart, a pathway of true repentance and embrace Jesus Christ as Savior. Salvation can’t come from man.  If we’re ever to be delivered from sin, if there’s ever to be comfort for anybody, any sinner, the Lord has to bring it Isaiah said, the Lord is coming.  But tell them this before He comes, there will be a voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.”  Before the Lord comes there’ll come a prophet pointing to Him and that’s John.  John’s the fulfillment of Isaiah 40:3-4(HCSB)3 A voice of one crying out: Prepare the way of the Lord in the wilderness; make a straight highway for our God in the desert. 4  Every valley will be lifted up, and every mountain and hill will be leveled; the uneven ground will become smooth and the rough places, a plain.

 

And what did John say?  He came along and preached forgiveness of sin. According to Matthew 3:1-3(HCSB)In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!” 3 For he is the one spoken of through the prophet Isaiah, who said: A voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord; make His paths straight!, he said there’s forgiveness. Your sins can be forgiven. Your sins have been paid for. Your warfare is over.  I’m telling you there is forgiveness.  But if you want that forgiveness it calls for repentance, it calls for repentance that’s deep. You say, “What’s that all about?”  Well look back at verse 3. It was written in the words of Isaiah in Isaiah 40, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness,” we know that’s John, he’s telling people make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight, get His path ready.  And Isaiah and here, of course, in John’s case and Luke, they’re using an analogy.  If a king is going to come to a town or a village, he would send a herald or a forerunner ahead a few months and say you’ve got to get ready, the king is coming, you’ve got to make the road ready so he can come with ease and dignity into your city.  That’s what John did.  He said the King is coming, Messiah’s coming, you’ve got to get ready and ready means you can…you need to have your sins forgiven and that calls for repentance and a deep repentance that even acknowledges you’re outside the covenant. But John is saying to them, look, if you want to be ready to receive the King as a nation, it starts with individual repentance..  And repentance is described in the analogy.

 

How do you make ready the way of the Lord?  How do you make His paths straight so He has access?  How do you do that?  Well, you take the low places, the ravines, you bring them up.  You take the high places, you bring them down.  You take the crooked places, you just straighten them out.  You take the rough places, you smooth them over.

 

What’s he talking about?  Well let’s just make it simple.  The wilderness here is your heart. The voice is crying in the wilderness, “Get the pathway through the wilderness ready.”  The wilderness is really the heart.  It’s the sinful heart, the sinful mind through which a path must be made.  And that path is the path of repentance.  And this is a magnificent analogy of what repentance is like.  Here’s where it starts.  Every ravine shall be filled up.  What’s that?  Low places, comparable to the low, dark, hidden things of the heart.

 

See, repentance involves an honest dealing with the depths of wickedness in your heart and mine.  You’ve got to go down deep into the ugly muck of your sinful life and bring it up.  And then he says, “Every mountain and hill shall be brought low.”  You know, we are not only good at hiding the filth down low, but we are really good at elevating themselves in self-righteous ways.  You’ve got to… You’ve got to knock down the proud, haughty, self-righteous attitudes.

And then you’ve got to take the crooked places and straighten them out.  That’s the word skolios, from which we get scoliosis, which is a curvature, the devious, the deceitful, the lying, the perverse.

 

So you’ve got to dig deep into the filth of the hidden things.  You’ve got to go high and pull down your pride and self-righteousness.  Then you’ve got to deal with all the perverse, devious, deceptions of the heart.The wilderness shows us where  the low and the highs are.

And then he says, “And the rough roads smooth.” What’s that?  I’ll tell you. Anything that…anything that’s laying out there on the road of repentance.  Could be self-love, could be love of money, could be love of the world, could be lust of the flesh, could be indifference, could be apathy, could be unbelief, any of that.

 

You want to get the path ready through the wilderness of your heart?  Then repent and that means deal with the deep, base, hidden, secret, dark, low things.  That means deal with the pride of your life; bring it all down to where it needs to be.  Deal with the deception, the perversity, the wickedness, the devious elements and everything else, all the junk laying out there in your life that needs to be wiped clean.

Who is Jesus? Pt1

Who is Jesus Christ? Is Yeshua (Hebrew for “Jesus”) really the promised Messiah of Israel (Hebrew for “Christ”) of the Old Testament?” Is Jesus Christ truly the Son of God … literally God Himself, the Divine living within human flesh? Were Jesus Christ’s claims that of a Liar or Lunatic … or is He really Lord of the universe?

Knowledgeable people will agree that Jesus Christ has made quite an impact on the world.One of the most important questions you will ever ask and answer in your life is: “Who is Jesus?”

Is Jesus just a teacher, a good man, a prophet? Or is he the “divine Christ” inside of all of us? Is he someone who just came to this earth to enact some moral laws and to make the world a better place, or is he the person the Bible claims that he is and who he himself claimed to be?

Do you question whether Jesus is, in fact, God, the second person of the Holy Trinity and the savior of the world? And did his death on the cross actually pay for the sins of all people for all time? Did he really say before everyone, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except by me”?

Many people have made the observation that Jesus’ teaching was so radical and His life so supernatural that he either was a liar, a lunatic, or exactly the person that he said he was.

So who do you think Jesus is?

Jesus’ distinct claims of being God eliminate the popular ploy of skeptics who regard Him as just a good moral man or a prophet who said a lot of profound things.

Jesus said, John 14:6(HCSB)6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. Also, Jesus claimed to be God in flesh. If you compare what God said to Moses in Exodus 3:14(HCSB)14 God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.” with what Jesus said in John 8:58(HCSB)58 Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Before Abraham was, I am.”, then you quickly see that Jesus was claiming to be God. In fact, others testified that He was divine as well:

John 20:28(HCSB)28 Thomas responded to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

Colossians 2:9, (HCSB)For the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ,

What do Jews believe about Jesus?

The short answer: Judaism does not consider Jesus to be a prophet, the messiah, or the son of God.

The belief that Jesus is God, the Son of God, or a person of the Trinity, is incompatible with Jewish theology. Jews believe Jesus did not fulfill messianic prophecies that establish the criteria for the coming of the messiah. Authoritative texts of Judaism reject Jesus as God, Divine Being, intermediary between humans and God, messiah or saint. Belief in the Trinity is also held to be incompatible with Judaism, as are a number of other tenets of Christianity.

Judaism generally views Jesus as one of a number of Jewish Messiah claimants who have appeared throughout history. Jesus is viewed as having been the most influential, and consequently the most damaging, of all false messiahs. However, since the mainstream Jewish belief is that the messiah has not yet come and the Messianic Age is not yet present, the total rejection of Jesus as either messiah or deity has never been a central issue for Judaism.

Judaism has never accepted any of the claimed fulfillments of prophecy that Christianity attributes to Jesus. Judaism also forbids the worship of a person as a form of idolatry, since the central belief of Judaism is the absolute unity and singularity of God. Jewish eschatology holds that the coming of the Messiah will be associated with a specific series of events that have not yet occurred, including the return of Jews to their homeland and the rebuilding of The Temple, a Messianic Age of peace and understanding during which “the knowledge of God” fills the earth, and since Jews believe that none of these events occurred during the lifetime of Jesus (nor have they occurred afterwards), he is not a candidate for messiah.

But the exact way Jews have spoken about Jesus has, throughout history, had a lot to do with the social and political contexts where they were living. Jews have often been subjects of Christian monarchies and governments, and the tenor of that experience often colored the way particular communities responded to the church as a whole and Jesus in particular.

In the Middle Ages, when many Jews in Europe were experiencing rampant persecution, Toledot Yeshu, a series of derogatory and inflammatory legends about Jesus’ life, became popular within some Jewish communities. Today, as Jews and Christians live in relative harmony, the attitude among most Jews towards Jesus is one of respect, but not religious reverence.

This attitude is reflected in Rabbi Irving Greenberg’s book, For The Sake Of Heaven And Earth: The New Encounter Between Judaism And Christianity , where he refers to Jesus as a “failed messiah,” instead of the usual term “false messiah.”

He explains, “A failed messiah is one who has the right values and upholds the covenant, but does not attain the final goal.” According to Rabbi Greenberg, the message Jesus brought was a good one, but he could not be the Jewish messiah because he did not shepherd in the redemption of the world that Judaism expects will occur in the messianic era.

Emily Soloff, the Midwest area director of the American Jewish Committee, for her thoughts about Jesus, she responded: “Jesus was definitely a historical figure…a charismatic community leader who was deeply troubled by what he saw as the failures of his society and spoke eloquently about those failures in the hope of change.”

A lot of interfaith work likes to emphasize what we all have in common, and certainly there are many things that the world’s major faiths do share. But where Jews draw the line is at calling Jesus a prophet or messiah. That’s the point of departure.

What do Oneness Pentecostals believe about Jesus?

From http://www.upci.org

An Appreciation of God’s Identity

The beautiful message of Scripture is that our Creator became our Savior. The God against whom we sinned is the One who forgives us. God loved us so much that He came in flesh to save us. He gave of Himself; He did not send someone else. Moreover, our Creator-Savior is also the indwelling Spirit who is ever-present to help us. God told us how to live and then came to live among us. He showed us how to live in the flesh and laid down His human life to purchase our salvation. Now He abides within us and enables us to live according to His will.

 

Jesus Christ is the one God incarnate, and in Him we have everything we need: healing, deliverance, victory, and salvation. By recognizing the almighty God in Jesus Christ, we restore correct biblical belief and experience apostolic power.

Oneness Pentecostal theology affirms that there exists only one God in all the universe. It affirms the deity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. However, Oneness theology denies the Trinity. The Trinity is the doctrine that there is one God who exists as three distinct, simultaneous persons. The Trinity does not assert that there are three gods but only one. This is important because many groups who oppose orthodoxy will accuse Trinitarians of believing in three gods. But this is not so. The doctrine of the Trinity is that there is one God in three persons.

Oneness theology denies the Trinity and teaches that God is a single person who was “manifested as Father in creation and as the Father of the Son, in the Son for our redemption, and as the Holy Spirit in our regeneration.”1 Another way of looking at it is that God revealed Himself as Father in the Old Testament and as the Son in Jesus during Christ’s ministry on earth and now as the Holy Spirit after Christ’s ascension.

Oneness Pentecostals declare that the Godhead consists of only one Person and deny the traditional doctrine of the Trinity. They maintain that the only real “person” in the Godhead is Jesus. Thus, they are often referred to as the “Jesus Only” Movement. They maintain that God exists in two modes, as the Father in heaven, and as Jesus the Son on earth. Nevertheless, they are the same person, not two separate persons. The Holy Spirit is not regarded as a person at all, merely a manifestation of Jesus’ power or a synonym for Him. Several verses are quoted to establish this view, such as Colossians 2:9 (NKJV), “For in Him (Jesus) dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Oneness theologians would argue that if the Father and the Son were separate, then the Godhead could not fully dwell in Christ. Matthew 28:19 also affirms their views that Jesus commanded His disciples to baptize in the “name” (singular) of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is said to have two natures: human and divine. Thus, when He died, only His human nature died. Also, when Jesus prayed, it was His human nature praying to His divine nature-not to a separate Father in heaven.

This teaching of the Jesus Only / Oneness Pentecostals has been around for centuries, in one form or another, as modalism. Modalism teaches that God operated in different forms or modes at different times—sometimes as the Father, sometimes as the Son, and sometimes as the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 3:16-17(HCSB)16 After Jesus was baptized, He went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on Him. 17 And there came a voice from heaven: This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him!, But passages like where all three Persons of the Godhead are present, contradict the modalistic view. Modalism was condemned as heretical as early as the second century A.D. The early church strongly contended against the view that God is strictly a singular person who acted in different forms at different times. They argued from Scripture that the tri-unity of God is evident in that more than one Person of the Godhead is often seen simultaneously, and they often interact with one another.

Genesis 1:26(HCSB)26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.Matthew 28:19(HCSB)19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
John 14:16(HCSB)16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.
Conclusion is that the Oneness Pentecostalism / Jesus Only doctrine is unbiblical because it has a distorted view of who Jesus is..

What Do Muslims Believe about Jesus?
Muslims respect and revere Jesus (peace be upon him).  They consider him one of the greatest of God’s messengers to mankind.  The Quran confirms his virgin birth, and a chapter of the Quran is entitled ‘Maryam’ (Mary).  The Quran describes the birth of Jesus as follows:

(Remember) when the angels said, “O Mary, God gives you good news of a word from Him (God), whose name is the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, revered in this world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near (to God).  He will speak to the people from his cradle and as a man, and he is of the righteous.” She said, “My Lord, how can I have a child when no mortal has touched me?” He said, “So (it will be).  God creates what He wills.  If He decrees a thing, He says to it only, ‘Be!’ and it is.”  (Quran, 3:45-47
Jesus was born miraculously by the command of God, the same command that had brought Adam into being with neither a father nor a mother.  God has said:

The case of Jesus with God is like the case of Adam.  He created him from dust, and then He said to him, “Be!” and he came into being.  (Quran, 3:59)
During his prophetic mission, Jesus performed many miracles.  God tells us that Jesus said:

“I have come to you with a sign from your Lord.  I make for you the shape of a bird out of clay, I breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by God’s permission.  I heal the blind from birth and the leper.  And I bring the dead to life by God’s permission.  And I tell you what you eat and what you store in your houses….”  (Quran, 3:49)
Muslims believe that Jesus was not crucified.  It was the plan of Jesus’ enemies to crucify him, but God saved him and raised him up to Him.  And the likeness of Jesus was put over another man.  Jesus’ enemies took this man and crucified him, thinking that he was Jesus.  God has said:

…They said, “We killed the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of God.” They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but the likeness of him was put on another man (and they killed that man)…  (Quran, 4:157)
Neither Muhammad nor Jesus came to change the basic doctrine of the belief in one God, brought by earlier prophets, but rather to confirm and renew it.

What do Mormons believe about Jesus?
Mormon leaders have taught that Jesus’ incarnation was the result of a physical relationship between God the Father and Mary (Journal of Discourses, vol. 8, p. 115; Mormon Doctrine, p. 547). Mormons believe Jesus is a god, but that any human can also become a god (Doctrine and Covenants 132:20; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345–354). Mormonism teaches that salvation can be earned by a combination of faith and good works (LDS Bible Dictionary, p. 697).

Mormon prophets have taught that Jesus was conceived by sexual intercourse (physical union) between God the Father and Mary:

Brigham Young taught: “The birth of the Savior was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood—was begotten of his Father as we were of our fathers” (Journal of Discourses vol.8, p.115); and “when the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness [flesh and blood]. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost” (Journal of Discourses, vol.1, p.50).

Brigham Young insisted: “I will say that I was naturally begotten; so was my father, and also my Savior Jesus Christ…he is the first begotten of his father in the flesh, and there was nothing unnatural about it” (Journal of Discourses vol.8, p.211); “Now remember from this time forth, and for ever, that Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost” (Journal of Discourses, vol.1, p.51).

Orson Pratt (LDS apostle) taught: “the Father and Mother of Jesus, according to the flesh, must have been associated together in the capacity of Husband and Wife…as God was the first husband to her, it may be that He only gave her to be the wife of Joseph while in this mortal state, and that He intended after the resurrection to again take her as one of his own wives to raise up immortal spirits in eternity” (The Seer. p.158, 1853).

Joseph Fielding Smith wrote: “The birth of the Savior was a natural occurrence unattended by any degree of mysticism, and the Father God was the literal parent of Jesus in the flesh as well as in the spirit” (Religious Truths Defined, p.44)

Mormons believe that Jesus Christ was the first “spirit child” born to God the Heavenly Father with one of his many wives. Instead of acknowledging Jesus as the one true God, they believe He became God, just as they will one day become gods. According to Mormon doctrine, as the first of the “spirit children” of God, Jesus had preeminence over Satan or Lucifer, who was the second “son of God” and the “spirit brother” of Jesus. It is ironic that they will use Colossians 1:15(HCSB)He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. as one of their “proof texts,” because it says that “[Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” Yet they ignore
Colossians 1:16(HCSB)For everything was created by Him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities— all things have been created through Him and for Him., where we see that “By [Christ] all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth. Visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. ALL THINGS were created through Him and for Him.” All things—thrones, dominions, principalities, or powers—includes Satan and his demons.

In order to believe that Satan and Jesus are “spiritual brothers,” one must deny the clear teaching of Scripture. Scripture says that it was Jesus Christ who created all things and that, as the second Person of the triune Godhead, Christ is fully and uniquely God. Jesus claimed to be God in many passages of Scripture. In Jesus said, John 10:30(HCSB)“I and the Father are one.” Jesus was not claiming to be another, lesser god. He was declaring that He was fully God. In John 1:1–5(HCSB)In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3  All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created. 4 Life was in Him, and that life was the light of men. 5  That light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it. it is clear that Jesus was not a created being and that He Himself created all things. “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:3). How much clearer can it get? “All things” means what it says, and it includes Satan, who as an angel was himself a created being just like the other angels and demons are. Scripture reveals Satan to be a fallen angel who rebelled against God and Jesus to be God. The only relationship that exists between Satan and Jesus is that of creation and Creator; of the sinful created being, Satan, and the righteous Judge, Jesus Christ.

Mormons believe that, not only were Jesus and Lucifer “spirit children of Elohim,” but that humans are spiritual children, as well. In other words, they believe that “God, angels, and men are all of the same species, one race, one great family.” This is why they believe that they themselves will one day become as much of a god as Jesus or even God the Father. Rather than seeing the clear distinction in Scripture between God and His creation, they believe that one day they will be a gods themselves. Of course, this is the same old lie Satan has been telling us since the Garden of Eden. Apparently, the desire to usurp the throne of God is embedded in the hearts of men.

What do Jehovah’s Witnesses think about Jesus?

Taken from http://www.jw.org

We follow the teachings and example of Jesus Christ and honor him as our Savior and as the Son of God. (Matthew 20:28; Acts 5:31) Thus, we are Christians. (Acts 11:26) However, we have learned from the Bible that Jesus is not Almighty God and that there is no Scriptural basis for the Trinity doctrine.—John 14:28.

Jesus’ Prehuman Existence

The Watchtower Society teaches that Jesus Christ was the first created being of Jehovah God. Jehovah God created Jesus as a divine-like spirit at some point in ancient, pre-creation time. “This means that he was created before all the other spirit sons of God, and that he is the only one who was directly created by God” (You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth [Live] [Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, 1982], p. 58).

In His preexistence, Jesus was known as “the Word” (John 1:3,10,14) because He was God’s spokesman, according to the Watchtower Society. He is also identified by Jehovah’s Witnesses with Michael the archangel. “Reasonably, then, the archangel Michael is Jesus Christ. So the evidence indicates that the Son of God (Jesus) was known as Michael before he came to earth” (Reasoning from the Scriptures [Reasoning] [Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, 1985], p. 218).

The Watchtower teaches that through the agency of the prehuman Christ, Jehovah created all other things in the universe. “He is also God’s ‘only-begotten’ Son in that he is the only one directly created by Jehovah God; all other things came into existence through him as God’s Chief Agent” (The Truth that Leads to Eternal Life [Truth] [Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract society of New York, 1968], p. 47).

This Agent, however, is not to be confused as being a Co-creator with God. “The Son’s share in the creative works, however, did not make him a Co-creator with the Father. Rather than a Co-creator, then, the Son was the Agent or instrumentality through whom Jehovah, the Creator worked” (Aid to Bible Understanding, [Aid] [Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, 1971, p. 918).

Jesus’ Divinity

The Watchtower Society denies the deity and eternal preexistence of Jesus Christ. This contrasts sharply with historic Christian beliefs that Jesus was God the Son, the second member of the eternal Trinity.

The Watchtower Society’s position is similar to the fourth century Arian heresy, universally rejected by Christian churches at the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325. The Watchtower Society has made a number of interpretative errors and translation changes to conform Scripture to their presuppositions. For example, the Watchtower Society’s Bible, The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (NWT), translates John 1:1: “In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.”

The Watchtower Society asserts that since the Greek language has no indefinite articles (a or an), the article can be used where needed in translating; thus they insert “a” before god to emphasize the Word’s (Christ’s) inferiority to God. This biased rendering cannot be justified grammatically and has been rejected by every reputable Greek scholar.

Jesus’ Birth

The Watchtower Society teaches that Michael the archangel disappeared from heaven and was conceived miraculously by (the Virgin) Mary. “Since actual conception took place, it appears that Jehovah God caused an ovum or egg cell in Mary’s womb to become fertile, accomplishing this by the transferal of the life of his firstborn Son from the spirit realm to the earth” (Aid, p. 920).

“Marvelously, Jehovah transferred the life-force and the personality pattern of his first-born heavenly Son to the womb of Mary. God’s own active force, his holy spirit, safeguarded the development of the child in Mary’s womb so that what was born was a perfect human” (Reasoning, p. 255).

Jesus’ Life and Death
The Watchtower Society teaches that after His birth Jesus became a perfect man who came to earth to bear witness to the truth of Jehovah God and to defeat Satan. Jesus received His messiahship at age 30, on the day of His baptism. “By pouring out his holy spirit on Jesus, Jehovah was anointing him or appointing him to be the King of his coming kingdom. Being thus anointed with the spirit, Jesus became the ‘Messiah,’ or the ‘Christ,’ which words in the Hebrew and Greek languages mean, ‘Anointed.’ Therefore, he became, in fact, Jesus Christ, or Jesus the Anointed” (Live, p. 60).

The Watchtower Society says that, since Adam was also a perfect man who sinned, only a perfect sacrifice of another perfect man could bring salvation. “By his disobedience the perfect man Adam lost perfect life on a paradise earth for himself and all his children. Jesus Christ gave his own perfect life to buy back what Adam lost. Yes, Jesus ‘gave himself a corresponding ransom for all'” (Live, p. 62).

Thus, the Watchtower Society teaches that Jesus’ ransom death at age 33 balanced the scales of justice between Adam’s sin and God’s perfect requirements. “Even now Jesus’ ransom sacrifice can benefit us. How? By exercising faith in it we can enjoy a clean standing before God and come under his loving and tender care. But we can freely seek forgiveness from God on the basis of the ransom, with confidence that he will hear us” (Live, p. 63).

The Watchtower Society teaches that Jesus was crucified on a “torture stake” instead of a cross (Matt. 27:32, NWT). The Watchtower Society specifically dates Jesus’ death: “On Nisan 14 of the year 33 C.E. Jesus’ enemies put him to death on a torture stake” (Truth, p. 51).

Jesus’ Resurrection

Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the physical resurrection of Jesus from the dead. This is another radical departure from historic Christian teaching. The Watchtower Society maintains that the Lord’s resurrection was purely spiritual and only appeared as physical.

“Jehovah God did not leave his Son dead in the grave, but raised him to life on the third day. He was not given human life again, because that would have meant that he was taking back the ransom price. But he was ‘made alive in the spirit’ (1 Pet. 3:18, NWT). During a period of forty days after his resurrection he appeared visibly to his disciples a number of times, in materialized bodies, to prove that he really had been raised from the dead” (Truth, p. 52).

Wilderness brings repentance

The wilderness produces fruit, some call it the valley, some call it the dry place, but God’s Word indicates it a place or preparing for something greater!

While the old path leads back to the world, the new path leads into the wilderness, a place where change is sure to occur. In the wilderness, everything we know about God and ourselves will be redefined. Everything we thought true will be revealed for what it is. Nothing held sacred in the old life will survive in the wilderness.

This was true of Israel when set free from slavery (Exodus). Before entering the Promised Land, they had to endure the wilderness, the test of faith. It took them 40 years to get their old way of thinking out of them so that they can enter into the promised land.

Many think that when they go through the wilderness they did something wrong, they are out of God’s will, or God is punishing them. Although it may feel that way at times nothing is further from the truth.

Mark 1:9-11(HCSB)9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. 10 As soon as He came up out of the water, He saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending to Him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: You are My beloved Son; I take delight in You!

God was well please with His son He took delight in Him and then…

Mark 1:12-13(HCSB)12 Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness 40 days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and the angels began to serve Him.

When you are going through the wilderness remember God is well pleased with you and the Holy Spirit will guide you through the process.

When you’re in the wilderness you will be tempted. 1 John 2:16(HCSB)16 For everything that belongs to the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle—is not from the Father, but is from the world.

The lust of the flesh, the pride of life and the lust of the eyes. Jesus’ temptations follow three patterns that are common to all men. The first temptation concerns the lust of the flesh.

Matthew 4:1-4(HCSB)Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. 2 After He had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, He was hungry. 3 Then the tempter approached Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”But He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Our Lord is hungry, and the devil tempts Him to convert stones into bread, but He replies with Scripture, quoting Deuteronomy 8:3(HCSB)3 He humbled you by letting you go hungry; then He gave you manna to eat, which you and your fathers had not known, so that you might learn that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

The second temptation concerns the pride of life Matthew 4:5-7(HCSB)5 Then the Devil took Him to the holy city, had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: He will give His angels orders concerning you, and they will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” 7 Jesus told him, “It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God.”)

and look at this here the devil uses a verse of Scripture Psalm 91:11–12(HCSB)For He will give His angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways. 12  They will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

but the Lord replies again with Scripture to the contrary, stating that it is wrong for Him to abuse His own powers. Deuteronomy 6:16(HCSB)16 Do not test the Lord your God as you tested Him at Massah.

The third temptation concerns the lust of the eyes Matthew 4:8-10(HCSB)8 Again, the Devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 And he said to Him, “I will give You all these things if You will fall down and worship me.”10 Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.”, and if any quick route to the Messiahship could be attained, bypassing the passion and crucifixion for which He had originally come, this was the way. The devil already had control over the kingdoms of the world but was now ready to give everything to Christ in return for His allegiance. Ephesians 2:1-2(HCSB)And you were dead in your trespasses and sins 2 in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient. But the mere thought almost causes the Lord’s divine nature to shudder at such a concept and He replies sharply, Deuteronomy 6:13(HCSB)13 Fear Yahweh your God, worship Him, and take your oaths in His name.

There are many temptations that we sadly fall into because our flesh is naturally weak, but we have a God who will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear; He will provide a way out 1 Corinthians 10:13(HCSB)13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it..

We can therefore be victorious and then will thank the Lord for deliverance from temptation. Jesus’ experience in the desert helps us to see these common temptations that keep us from serving God effectively. Furthermore, we learn from Jesus’ response to the temptations exactly how we are to respond—with Scripture. The forces of evil come to us with a bunch of temptations, but all have the same three things at their core: lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. We can only recognize and combat these temptations by saturating our hearts and minds with the Truth.

The wilderness will bring you to a place that you couldn’t have gotten to under your own strength.

Matthew 4:11(HCSB)11 Then the Devil left Him, and immediately angels came and began to serve Him.

In a “wilderness experience,” a believer may struggle simply to survive from day to day. Financial, material, physical, or emotional burdens may press on him. The flesh cries out for relief. The believer is forced to wait on the Lord, find God’s peace and joy in the midst of trouble, and through it all mature in his walk with Christ.The wilderness is an unpleasant place, fleshly speaking. We naturally want prosperity, health, and easy going. But the same God who created the garden also created the wilderness. There will be times of trial and pressure. Our faith will be tested. But the God of grace will meet us even in the wilderness.

John the Baptist spent time in the wilderness to detach himself from the world. For John, it was a serious commitment. It was the only place he could be. But more importantly, his time and purpose in the wilderness was to prepare the way of the Lord. John preached repentance to show the need for change that is part of the wilderness experience.

Mark 1:4-8 (HCSB)4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were flocking to him, and they were baptized by him in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins. 6 John wore a camel-hair garment with a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. 7 He was preaching: “Someone more powerful than I will come after me. I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the strap of His sandals. 8 I have baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Between Malachi and Matthew you’ve got Four hundred years of blackness without any prophetic light.Four hundred years of stillness without any prophetic voice. And then suddenly, dramatically, unexpectedly this strange man, John the Baptist, came streaking across a sky that was totally black. The Word says he was a “burning and a shining light.” Jesus, the greatest character in history, says, “There was no man comparable to John Baptist.” Not Isaiah not Jeremiah not any of those towering saints. He is a very, very remarkable character.

John the Baptist appears in the wilderness. It was not only

a wilderness geographically,

it was a wilderness morally,

it was a wilderness politically,

it was a wilderness religiously.

John Baptist steps on the stage. A remarkable character.

You see, today we try to organize. We try to get a bunch of people together. God never did that. God takes individual men. He takes Moses to the backside of the desert. John the Baptist was in the wilderness until the day of his showing.

Jesus, the Son of God who had left the Glory, spent thirty years in training

to minister!

John Baptist thirty years in training.

The apostle Paul at least thirty years.

Moses at least forty years;

and we want to go to Bible School six months and come out like a super prophet! Its the time factor that kills most of us. Tell me how much time you spend alone with God and I will tell you how spiritual you are.

Not how many services or meetings you go to.

Not how much “christianese” you can speak.

Not how many scriptures you share on Facebook.

Not how many sermons you preach.

Not how many salvation notches you’ve made.

Tell me what time you spend alone with God, and I will tell you how spiritual you are.

Mark 1:14-15(HCSB)14 After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee, preaching the good news of God:15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe in the good news!”

You can be a light in the wilderness, you can still preach a message of repentance even though you are in the wilderness by your thoughts, actions, Words, and work. Your life in the wilderness must bring honor to the Lord!

John’s ministry is described as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness.” To all who would listen, his thundering words reiterated one simple message: “Repent!” Matthew 3:2(HCSB)In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!” For he is the one spoken of through the prophet Isaiah, who said: A voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord; make His paths straight!

The Greek word for repent entails more than mere sorrow or regret. It means “to change the mind and will”. Repentance does not refer to just any change, but to a change from sin to righteousness. It involves sorrow over sin, but goes beyond that to produce both changed thinking and the desire for a changed life 2 Corinthians 7:10(HCSB)10 For godly grief produces a repentance not to be regretted and leading to salvation, but worldly grief produces death. John declared that if the people would turn from their rebellious pride and embrace a life of wholehearted obedience, they would be ready for the Messiah.

Guys what was Jesus’ first message He preached after the wilderness??

REPENT!

Mark 1:14(HCSB) After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee, preaching the good news of God: 15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe in the good news!”

He took after His cousin John, and preached repentance, because the life of the believer is that of Repentance.

Martin Luther wrote “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said “Repent,” he intended that the entire life of believers should be repentance.”

All of the Christian life is repentance. Turning from sin and trusting in the good news that Jesus saves sinners aren’t merely a one-time inaugural experience but the daily substance of Christianity. The gospel is for every day and every moment. Repentance is to be the Christian’s continual posture.

Dealing with Changes and Transistions

Can’t bring your old ways into a new day,It is a proven scientific fact that change is one of the most feared things that human beings encounter. We resist it with every fiber of our being. We love stability. We love for things to remain as they are. But the inevitable aspect of life is that it always changes. One person said: the only thing constant is change. God loves changes, God doesn’t let you become comfortable. because when we get comfortable we become complacent.

Yet, it is impossible to get from where we are to where we are going without making a transition. I feel that a greater part of our success as a Christian, and as a Church is how we manage transition. We need to learn how to function and ultimately be successful in the season of transition.

First of all, we need to understand the nature of transition. A transition is not a change just for the sake of change, a transition is moving from one point to another point. It is essentially moving forward. When we as Christians begin to encounter transition, when things begin to get shaky and unfamiliar, we need to realize that God is taking us somewhere. He is repositioning us. There are things you cannot get where you are at. God wants to strategically position you so that you will be able to access things that you could never get in the place you are at.

Luke 5:36-39(HCSB)36 He also told them a parable: “No one tears a patch from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. Otherwise, not only will he tear the new, but also the piece from the new garment will not match the old. 37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins, it will spill, and the skins will be ruined. 38 But new wine should be put into fresh wineskins.39 And no one, after drinking old wine, wants new, because he says, ‘The old is better.’”

Jesus gives us this parable to show that old and new do not mix; he says that sewing a new piece of cloth on an old garment would only make it worst. Same concept with this Christian walk, we cannot make a transition with an old mind set.

These past month I have been dealing with a number of things that became broken. Have you ever had a week or a day like that? For me it involved things that were intentionally broken and things that were accidentally broken.

When we are led by God into situations that we cannot handle, we can be sure that he is going to show up and show out. If God presents us with a challenge bigger than we are, you can be sure he is prepared to invest in us the resources necessary to meet that challenge. This trial did not come to master you it came to mature you. You see where we many times miss it is in the transition. We know where we need to go, and we know what will happen when we arrive, but somehow we loose sight of all of this while making the transition. We forget who we are, who is on board and what he has said. We forget what God has said about us. We lose our identity.

We must not forget in the darkness, what God had promised us in the light. He never said there would be no storms. He never said there would be no challenges. He never said that it wouldn’t be scary some times – but he did say we would make it. Our destiny is greater than our storm or the transition.

Theses next few scriptures reminds us how something beautiful can be exposed when we allow it to be broken for God. God has a plan for your life. Your heavenly Father has drawn up the course of your life to become something beautiful. He put you in this time period in this place for a specific reason. All it requires is for you to allow God to break you. He can’t use you until He breaks you and then molds you into what He wants you to be.
Psalm 34:18(HCSB)The Lord is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit.

Psalm 51:17(HCSB)The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart. 

God never gives up on us until we are broken. Consistently He works with us.

 

And He uses all kinds of methods. Either He will break our outward man gradually, like one steadily chips away at a large stone, or He will break us suddenly, through some major crisis. Sometimes there is a sudden breaking, followed by gradual. For others, the Lord arranges daily trials, difficulties, difficult people, hard circumstances, physical problems and all sorts of things—you can write your own list—to bring us to the place of brokenness. When God takes you and breaks you, he will then bless you and use you for his purpose.

 

God works with each one of us in His way. The way He breaks you may be different from the way He breaks me. And the timing of it all is in His hands. However, we can certainly prolong the process.

Jesus came through a virgin but ministered to whores, he came for the Jews but built a church out of mostly Gentiles.

Luke 7:36(HCSB)36 Then one of the Pharisees invited Him to eat with him. He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 And a woman in the town who was a sinner found out that Jesus was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house. She brought an alabaster jar of fragrant oil 38 and stood behind Him at His feet, weeping, and began to wash His feet with her tears. She wiped His feet with the hair of her head, kissing them and anointing them with the fragrant oil

This is a story of worship and repentance. When you get so sick of your sin you don’t care who’s house your in. She came to Jesus when he was in a Pharisees’ house. A Pharisees’ house would be the last place a sinner would want to be. When you get so sick of Your sin you don’t care who is around all you want to do is be at the feet of Jesus.

Scholars believe she came in through the back door, the back door is where the servants came in. Worship is more than a song its about servanthood. The contrast of servanthood and foot washing. When we truly repent we fall into love with Jesus and became His servant. when we serve Jesus everything else is a secondary consequence to serving Him. It is more than singing songs,there are people who sing songs and never serve Him. You can go to a concert and never have a heart change. Most people worship too casually. God created worship to be inconvenient .Worship that doesn’t cost you anything isn’t worship.

Malachi 1:7-10(HCSB)7 “By presenting defiled food on My altar.”

You ask: “How have we defiled You?”

When you say: “The Lord’s table is contemptible.”

8 “When you present a blind animal for sacrifice, is it not wrong? And when you present a lame or sick animal, is it not wrong? Bring it to your governor! Would he be pleased with you or show you favor?” asks the Lord of Hosts. 9 “And now ask for God’s favor. Will He be gracious to us? Since this has come from your hands, will He show any of you favor?” asks the Lord of Hosts. 10 “I wish one of you would shut the temple doors, so you would no longer kindle a useless fire on My altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the Lord of Hosts, “and I will accept no offering from your hands.
Malachi 2:2-3(NLT)3 Listen to me and make up your minds to honor my name,” says the lord of Heaven’s Armies, “or I will bring a terrible curse against you. I will curse even the blessings you receive. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you have not taken my warning to heart. I will punish your descendants and splatter your faces with the manure from your festival sacrifices, and I will throw you on the manure pile.

In the Old Testament when people wanted to worship God they built an altar and had to sacrifice something that cost them something.

1 Chronicles 21:24(HCSB) King David answered Ornan, “No, I insist on paying the full price, for I will not take for the Lord what belongs to you or offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” 

When you build an altar something you care about has to die.We have turned worship into a concert. Music is a great facilitator of worship but music in itself is not worship. we have to approach worship like its expensive, like its a big deal.

We shouldn’t have to have an altar call, before we attempt worship we should so hate the compromise in our heart that the fear of the Lord should drive us to an altar of repentance. Real worship will make us get judged,it will make us get talked about. But we shouldn’t care because He is what matters. When real Worship shows up it drives us to repentance, giving, sacrifice,changed lives and hearts. The very essence of the concept of worship is that there is worth involved and where there is worth involved there is giving.

There is no repentance without contrition. You can’t repeat a prayer and be saved. If that’s all you did your not saved. Your heart has to be broken for your sins. Repentance is a change of mind which produces a change of heart which produces a change of direction.

Luke 7:39-48(HCSB) 39 When the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what kind of woman this is who is touching Him—she’s a sinner!”

40 Jesus replied to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”

“Teacher,” he said, “say it.”

41 “A creditor had two debtors. One owed 500 denarii, and the other 50. 42 Since they could not pay it back, he graciously forgave them both. So, which of them will love him more?”

43 Simon answered, “I suppose the one he forgave more.”

“You have judged correctly,” He told him. 44 Turning to the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she, with her tears, has washed My feet and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave Me no kiss, but she hasn’t stopped kissing My feet since I came in. 46 You didn’t anoint My head with olive oil, but she has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47 Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; that’s why she loved much. But the one who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

She had not been forgiven of her sins, she did not repent,she didn’t have a change of lifestyle, BUT first she came to WORSHIP. She didn’t say forgive me of my sins then I will pour this perfume on you and wipe your feet with my tears. Her worship was repentance

Our lives are supposed to be worship,How??? By serving Him. No one expects worship to come in through the door of service. She was the worshipper, real worship is gonna come through the door of service. Worship is not just singing its serving God. She didn’t come through the door with a guitar,

1.her tears – her eyes will be on Jesus

2.Her hair – covering Jesus will be her covering

3. alabaster box – everything she had of worth, she gave Him everything she had.

Just like the beautiful perfume in the scripture you need to allow God to break the parts of your life that you are using to cover up the beauty that is deep inside you.

It does not matter what part of your life is broken. Maybe it is a past relationship or friendship,Jesus can mend it and your heart. Maybe your life is full of broken dreams Jesus can help you dream again with hope of a better life. Maybe the compass of your life has become broken and you have lost your sense of direction? Jesus can put you on the path to salvation.

It will not be easy or comfortable and you will have to make changes.

For some of us it is like that when we come to God. We do not know what we are in for or how it will all turn out. We find we no longer see things the way we used to and we find we need to look at the blueprint or sketch to see how things might look when they are finished. For the Christian that blueprint is the bible. It is there we learn how our lives should be measured and fitted together so that we can become new again.

Psalm 51:17(HCSB)17 The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit.God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart.

Well you get the picture, just like rebuilding a room or a house God wants to rebuild us if we will only be broken and pour ourselves on Him.

That is the intentional way be can become broken but I also mentioned that from time to time things get broken unintentionally. When we started this project on the new building we had to sit down and do the math. We had to determine if we could afford the costs of the renovation. Jesus wants you to do the same thing. Jesus wants you to weigh the costs. Is your life just fine the way it is with no major changes? Or could you like me use a little work here and there?

Luke 14:28(HCSB)28 “For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?

The great news about this building project is that Jesus has paid the full price of construction. Jesus wants to take your life and remake it into the beautiful experience you had always hoped it would be.

lets me adjust the mirrors of my life so I can see what is coming up behind me and God gives me the help I need when I think I’m in trouble. I was reminded that when I give my life over to Jesus and trust Him as the Master mechanic of my life there is no problem I can face that is irreparable. Jesus puts everything back together again even if we accidentally break a part of our life while trying to adjust another.

The transition is not just an unfortunate side effect. It is a part of the process. Before we can get from where we are to where we need to be, we will have to be convinced the what God has said about us is true. As long as we see ourselves as Egyptian slaves – we will stay in bondage to our past. The Israelites had left Egypt, but Egypt had not left them. When we realize that what we posses is greater than the challenges we face, then we will be ready to possess our promise. You are not what you used to be. You are better than the mistakes that held you back before. You are growing – BECAUSE – of the transition.

We can trust Jesus to love us and restore us when we allow ourselves to be broken and poured out on Him. We can also trust Him after we have given ourselves to Him even when we make mistakes along the way. With our lives in His hands broken is beautiful.