Inclusiveness of Jesus Christ

Matthew 6:9

“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…

Is it too bold to state all humanity is included in the relationship Christ has with HIS Father? Didn’t HE teach HIS disciples when they prayed to address God as “OUR Father”?

Is it safe to say God will judge all humans through Jesus Christ as those who belong to God through Him? If so then, are not all humans, in spite of themselves, loved, forgiven, and included in Jesus Christ, who is their Lord and Savior?

Isn’t it also true, God’s love will never cease or diminish even for those who, denying the reality of who they are in him, refuse his love and consign themselves to hell?

If they choose not to enjoy the fruit of his salvation, will they not experience his love as wrath?

Doesn’t God discipline those he loves so that they will return to him and live? Isn’t HE portrayed in the Book of Revelations as standing at the door and knocking, urging people to open the door to his everlasting love?

In the end, doesn’t God’s judgment in Christ mean the ultimate end of evil and the renewal of the earth and all creation?

As the prophesied Savior of humanity, did he not suffer and die for all human sin, was raised bodily from the dead, and ascended to heaven?

At the time, didn’t HE take on our broken and alienated humanity and included the entire human race in his right relationship with the Father?

At the time, didn’t his regeneration of our humanity allow us to share in his son-ship, being adopted as God’s own children in the Power of the Spirit?

Today as our representative and substitute, doesn’t HE stand in for all humanity before the Father, providing the perfect human response to God on our behalf and reconciling humanity to the Father?

Will HE not come again in glory as King of kings and Lord of lords over all nations?

When I read scripture, I read how inclusive Jesus Christ’s life and message pertains to all humanity. How we respond though is what separates us from HIM, not HIM from us. He died for all, but not all have accepted HIS reality. Have you?

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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What Does the Bible Mean By “In Christ?”

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…” Ephesians 1:3 ESV

christ in me 2

The concept “in Christ” is mentioned in scripture approximately 300 times. Yet many readers of the Bible pass over that phrase with a limited view of its meaning. Therefore, we shall provide a quick overview that will open our eyes to the riches we have in our relationship with Jesus Christ. In summary, the apostle Paul used that phrase to highlight four distinct views of our relationship with Jesus Christ.

In certain instances, Paul would simply use the word interchangeably with our position as a member of His physical body: the Church (Romans 12:5). Because of Jesus Christ, we are spiritually incorporated within the same membership one with another. Jesus is the center that keeps us together. He leads and directs us as He chooses.

Again at times Paul would use the phrase to emphasis our identity (2 Corinthians 5:17). That we are associated with Jesus Christ. We are his brothers and sisters. We are included within Jesus’ life. As we mature in the faith, we become more and more like him. Our identity is no longer found is our performance, our race, or sexual status, but found only in him. When the Father looks at us, He views us through the lenses of Jesus Christ.

Sometimes he would embellish on our shared participation with Christ (2 Corinthians 1:5). That we have been buried and resurrected with him. That like he suffered, we also may accept suffering. Not as a savior from sin, but as believers learning obedience through the trials and tests of life. Like many of the early apostles that died a martyrs death, we likewise may share in the experience. Our participation with Christ comes in walking and serving him through similar encounters with others in our daily life. Jesus said that through him we may even do mightier works than He.

At other times Paul would focus on our union with Christ (Ephesians 2:6, Galatians 3:26). Just as the Father and Son are one, we are also one with Jesus and the Father. In fact, we are one with the Triune God – Father, Son, and Spirit. As the Father-Son shared life’s experiences together and with us, we likewise now share our life’s experiences with Jesus.

Jesus is the Author and Sustainer of our salvation. He has given us the opportunity to be identified with him, incorporated with him, participate with him, and walk in union with him. This is the short, simply definition of what it means to be “in Christ.”

So how about starting the New Year living life knowing what all this truly means each day?

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Encourage your Friends…Share Today’s Message!

Tamed or Adventurous Visions?

 

“Play it safe.” “Don’t take any risks.” “Why rock the boat?” “It’s better to keep it dull and routine than expressive and unpredictable.” Or does it?

The older we become, don’t we deep inside generally seek a more predictable, dull, and routine way of life? Whatever changes we are typically confronted with only creates more work and effort on our part. So basically, our nature tilts towards laziness where we don’t want to make the effort. We would rather live life with contentment, peacefulness, and stability. But is that reality?

The scriptures teach us that a people without vision will perish. We need a mission to focus our life towards. Now our life’s mission could simply be to avoid all confrontation, to avoid being involved in other people’s lives, to live for ourselves without a care of the world around us. We simple live our life so that when we are gone no one will have missed us. We live as a world unto ourselves.

But is that the life of a Christ-Follower? Is that what the Kingdom of God is all about?  Didn’t Jesus forewarn his disciples that He came to bring division among families and people? Didn’t He predict that we would stand before courts and rulers as a witness to Him? Didn’t He compare our struggles with that of a pregnant woman in labor? Didn’t He threaten the status quo with His mission of preaching, teaching. and healing?  Didn’t the apostle Paul ·write that Christ-followers are turning the world upside down? Didn’t he cause riots in the streets with his message of One God? Didn’t his former religious partners seek to destroy him? Didn’t small armies pursue him with the purpose of killing him? How controversial was he in his time? Yet didn’t he preach a message of peace, contentment, and stability?

The Kingdom of God is not a tamed vision. It requires total surrender. It requires the death of selfish desires. It is not the path of least resistance. Instead, it’s a journey through battlefields. With the armor of God, we are proactive in our daily walk with Him. We do not know what to expect on any given day. All we know is that He is with us. Today may be a roller coaster of emotions, struggles with the self, darts from the evil one, or attacks from love ones. Through it all though we have an Advocate who is with us and we rely on. In prayer and with others we call for assistance. We move forward towards our heavenly call. Our mission is sure. Yes, we may desire the easy way out. But, as a disciple of His we have agreed to take whatever comes our way and handle it with His love. We may have initially desired tame visions, but in the pursuit of the Kingdom of God we take on more than we are capable of handling apart from Him. Yes, we like it dull, routine, and boring. But we gladly take whatever comes our way because it will make us stronger for the Kingdom, stronger for Him, and stronger for our love ones.

OUR PRAYER:

Dear Dad, glorify your name in all that we do. Let not our path be one of ease and comfort, but one of challenge and dependency on you. You are always with us. Help us always be with you. Make you the center of our life. Let nothing come between us. Help us capture your vision, to see your work, to accomplish your will in everything we do.

Help us be a living example of kingdom life in today’s world. Let your kingdom surround us and surround all the people we meet today. Let your glory shine through us and in us so that every person we meet today knows they have met you.  Amen.

Where Is The Beef?

 

beef 1Sometimes it just takes time.  It took this person over seventeen years of growing up under the ritual aspects of one faith and another twenty-five plus years living as a Jewish Christian to truly appreciate the power and awesomeness of God’s amazing grace. Now after being bathed in God’s sovereign grace, how can one go back to living a law motivated, self-righteous, shallow existence?

As the apostle Paul writes, the law is good. It gives us knowledge of what God is like and what constitutes sin; sin which blinds us from God. But law living cannot save us. Eternal life is a gift from God and cannot be earned. Keeping the entire law, crossing all the “T’s” and dotting all the “i’s” will not win us salvation. That is God’s gift to us through Jesus. He is the way, the life and the truth. He is our law.

When the law was our standard of measuring spiritual success, we were blind to self-righteousness. We along with the Pharisees of Jesus’ time period would have made great drinking buddies. We would probably gather together and laughed at the failures and weak­nesses of our brothers while esteeming ourselves in our ability to live up to God’s standards. We would probably tell jokes about incompetent people or people who were different than us. Because of our ability to self-manage ourselves, we would believe that God’s physical blessings showed us how well we were performing. The more we kept the law, the more God blessed us. And because God blessed us physically, we must be living up to God’s measurement of success. Oh, how ignorant and blind we were.  Thank goodness that God is also gracious to the stupid and ignorant.

When we made the law our daily objective, we probably eventually found ourselves confronted with questions that the majority of us have great difficulty in answering. Questions like how much physical work is appropriate to do on the Sabbath? How much of an offering is enough to please God? How much of a movie is enough to watch before it becomes vain and spiritually degrading? We find ourselves wanting to measure every area of our life to be sure we are not only meeting but, even exceeding the standards of God. Looking in hindsight, we were probably one pompous, self-centered, prideful, religious fanatic doing everything we could to be better than the law of God. And the more we lived God’s law apart from the Holy Spirit, the more important we became in the equation. Our spiritual salvation was more important than our neighbors. Our spiritual success was the most important activity of the day. Our life was the reason earth was created. Oh, how spiritually self-absorbed we became. We stunk up to high heaven but just didn’t realize it. Yet, through it all, God still loved us. He waited until the proper time to open our eyes to see his amazing grace in comparison to law living. Oh, how wonderful and awesome is God’s way when you begin to fully understand His plan of salvation and purpose for life today.

To compare law living with spirit living is like comparing grade school with graduate school. It’s like comparing eating at a fast food outlet versus a banquet at a gourmet five star restaurant; it’s little league versus professional sports; it’s sunshine compared to darkness. There is a place for both sides of the equation, but after you tasted the better side it’s hard to return to the former.

It’s like that old hamburger commercial where the mature lady looks at the meat between the buns and seeing how little there is between the bread exclaims, “Where is the beef?” When you compare the spirit-filled life with law-living, you likewise come out asking “where is the fruit of God’s Spirit?” There is no comparison. They are both in different leagues. And wouldn’t we rather play in the majors than the minors?

OUR PRAYER

PRAY 21

Oh Gracious Dad, thank you for showering your Grace upon us. Thank you for loving us even when we deserved less than nothing. Thank you for loving us even when we are in error with your doctrines and misunderstood you and your plan for us. Thank you for your mercy, understanding, patience, and deliverance.

Let your grace abound in our life. Help us live life in truth and in the spirit. Keep your laws in our heart and help us express them in love to others. Let nothing ever come between us. Let us not judge our brother or even ourselves. But let us place our life into your hands and trust you with its outcome. You know our heart, mind, and soul. You know what needs to be purified by your Spirit. You know what this life needs to excel in your kingdom. Help us keep focused on you. Do not let us down. Let us always glorify you in church, meetings, parties, family outings, public forums, and wherever you want us to speak up.

Be always gracious to us. Let your Graciousness always abound in us. Help us live a life truly glorifying you.  Thank you Jesus in whose name we ask these things. Amen.

Dr. Mike – Consultant, Coach, Author of

Great Business Emulates a Good God

WHAT ARE SOME MINISTRY ACTIVITIES THAT REFLECT A BELIEF IN THE APOSTLE’S CREED STATEMENT ABOUT “GOD, THE FATHER ALMIGHTY?”

There are a number of activities that turn belief in the Apostle’s Creed’s statement “God, the Father Almighty” into ministerial activities.  They include: 1):pro-life activities – from making decisions to keep ones baby to foster homes for the discarded child. 2) creation education – from Christian schools teaching creation to individual ministries emphasizing the factual account of creation rather than evolution. 3) exercising creativity – God is Creator and His creation reflects His artistic skills.  Ministries that emphasize the Arts in worship or the writing and development of music, books, film that glorifies God and His Life is an expression of creativity that focuses on God as Father and Creator. 4) Stewardship – God is a Steward of His creation.  He practices conservation and effective management of His creation.  Ministries that teach proper stewardship of ones resources is a prime example.  Also, ministries that focuses on the environment and conservation of our resources is another means of expressing these types of activities.  5) Restoring Father/Son relationships – Ministries that provide counseling or activities that improves the bond between Fathers and their children is another example of a ministry built on the belief of God as our Father.

father 1

All the above ministries are practiced by certain individuals in our local church.  Coming from a small church with very few formal church-wide ministries, most ministries are conducted by a few individuals motivated and led to fulfill their calling in life.  These ministries include all the above from one degree to another.

One approach to emphasis our God’s Authority is to conduct a series of sermons  about His relationship to us as a healthy Father.  Taking scriptures from Genesis, the Gospels, and Epistles, we can show His desire to have a close, intimate relationship with His children.

Isn’t it amazing the many activities we conduct only mimic our Heavenly Father God’s attributes?  What other ministry activities would you add to the list?

Dr. Mike