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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

John the Baptist -- Part 2

        The Apostle John has revealed that Jesus is the Word, Light and Life. Jesus “was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him.” John 1:11 The other Gospel writers focused on Jesus' birth in the flesh, but John reveals Jesus as the Preexistent One.   The Word-Jesus and God were always connected as One.  The world was made through Jesus as the Word in Genesis 1:3. Yet the world didn't recognize Him. His “own” is humanity—whether Jew or Gentile, male or female, young or old. Acts 17:26-27:  From one man (Adam) He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth, and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where the should live."  Jesus is the Lord and Savior of all. Through Jesus, all of mankind can be saved no matter what nation, tribe or tongue.  We are fearfully and wonderfully made by God.  He knew us before we were in our mother's womb.  God doesn't want a Gentile to become a Jew, or a Jew to become a Gentile.  What He does want is for all -- Jew and Gentile -- to come to His precious and chosen Son Jesus for salvation and eternal life.  Many Jews were so bound to Moses and the Law that they wouldn't receive Jesus and His Truth.  Jesus told them that He was the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets but they didn't believe Him.  
        Chapter 1 of the Gospel of John goes on to say, “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.” v12-13 The Pharisees thought that being born a Jew would get them eternal life. Notice that this scripture doesn't say just the Jews, but to all who received Him. His own was not just the Jews which is often taught, but all whether Jew or Gentile. Jesus taught the multitudes. 
         The Father, Word/Jesus and the Holy Spirit created Adam/Man in their image and likeness. Adam had no nationality. He was a holy man who was lovingly shaped and formed out of the clay of the earth by the Godhead. Though Jesus took on flesh through a Jewish woman, He is the Creator of all along with the Father and the Holy Spirit. We can't take away the fact that He is the Creator God just because He came in the flesh through a Jewish woman. All of mankind descend from Adam and Eve no matter what nationality they are. And, unfortunately, because of the original sin of Adam and the Woman, we all inherit their sinful nature. This scripture in John says that those who received Him and believed in His Name are spiritually born of God—born again—not of natural descent or human decision, but of God. All of humanity has a “natural” descent, but it is through Jesus that we have our “spiritual” ascent. Adam and Eve descended when they sinned. They had to be removed from God's presence because what is unholy cannot reside in the same place as the holy. But thanks be to God. He provided a way for sinful man to reside with God once again through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Because Jesus ascended, we who believe in Him will also ascend to the Father. Jesus wants to take us from the descent of our sinful nature into a higher, spiritual level in Him.
        All who believe in Jesus have the right to be adopted as children of God. This includes both Jews and Gentiles. All – both Jew and Gentile – must be grafted into the Tree of Life – Jesus. It was God's love for all of humanity that sent His Son so we could become children of God once again. Some Jews did not receive Jesus or understand His spiritual truth. They heard His words and saw His actions and miracles but still they did not receive Him and be saved. (John 12:37 quoting Isaiah 6:1-4; Isaiah 6:10) God knew that this was going to happen. Isaiah prophesied it. There are no surprises with God.

Word Became Flesh – John 1:14

        Jesus, the Word of God and the voice of God, became flesh and tabernacled among us. In other words, the Holy Spirit planted the Seed of God – the Word – into the womb of Mary. In that womb, the Word progressively grew and took on flesh until Jesus was birthed through her. The Word still does the same today in the hearts and minds of believers. The Word, if we are willing, will take on our flesh by removing its carnal ways until Jesus is birthed in us and then through us.
       A tabernacle (tent) is a temporary dwelling place on earth. Jesus left His eternal place with the Father in the heavenly sanctuary to come to earth to temporarily dwell with mankind so we could know and see God. Jesus returned to His place of glory after His death and resurrection. Now Jesus dwells in believers on earth, but His permanent home is in the heavenly throne room with the Father. We too will live with Him in His permanent home in the heavens. Jesus said, “I and the Father are One.” John 10:30 When Philip asked Jesus to show Him the Father, Jesus answered, “Don't you know me Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father.” John 14:9 The Father is in Jesus and Jesus is in the Father just as we are in Jesus and He is in us making us one. The Holy Spirit is in both the Father and the Son. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are dwelling in our temporary, earthly bodies until we are glorified and with Him in heaven. God's Divine presence that was foreshadowed in the shekinah glory in the tabernacles and temples is now dwelling in fullness in Jesus. Jesus' incarnate life was temporary, but His glory that He had in the beginning is eternal. His glory and light in us will join with His glory and light as One and light up the heavenly New Jerusalem. There will be no more darkness or sin, tears or sorrow or death. Our earthly journey is our training ground for our heavenly reality.

Full of Grace and Truth

        “We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of Grace and Truth.” John 1:14   As I stated previously, Jesus is the only One who came from the Father. Jesus is one of a kind -- unique. The Holy Spirit planted the Word – Seed of God – into the womb of Mary. Jesus is the Seed of God not man. No man had anything to do with Jesus' birth. It was the work of the Father, the Holy Spirit and the Word/Jesus.
        Grace is not only God's unmerited favor, it is also God's love. The Law came through a servant Moses, but grace and truth came through a Son. (John 1:17) It is a Son who is to inherit all that belongs to the Father, not a servant.

Grace is the Greek word charis which means:

           1.  that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech
    2. good will, loving-kindness, favor
      a. of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues
    3. what is due to grace
      a. the spiritual condition of one governed by the power of divine grace
      b. the token or proof of grace, benefit
        1. a gift of grace
        2. benefit, bounty
    4. thanks, (for benefits, services, favors), recompense, reward

    God bestows grace upon grace on believers. In other words, one grace merging into another continuously. God's grace and love never run out because it comes from God's initiative, not man's.  We are saved by grace but we are to also live by grace.  (see Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Corinthians 15:10)
    God's grace can be resisted. Hebrews 12:15: See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God.... God's grace can be abandoned by the believer. Galatians 5:4: “You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ, you have fallen away from grace.”
        Truth is Divine instruction – true doctrine. Jesus is the fullness of all Truth. In other words, the Word of God is all about Jesus from beginning to end, because He is the Word of God and Truth. God raised revelation knowledge to a new and greater level in His Son Jesus. This scripture in John 1:14 says that Jesus is “full” of grace and truth. He is the fullness of grace and truth. He is the fullness of the Father's love, His favor and loving-kindness and His Truth—the Word of God. To those under the Older Covenant, there was a measure of grace and the veiled truth regarding Jesus Christ, but in Jesus is the fullness of grace and truth. Once Jesus came to earth, His truth was no longer veiled. 
        God revealed Himself to the Israelites in the Older Testament not because they deserved it, but because He is faithful and true. God will be faithful to His covenant promises in the Older Testament. The Israelites were no more deserving of God's love and grace than Christians are today. The Law was “given,” but grace and truth “came” in Jesus. The Word of God came among us in a Person – Jesus Christ. The Apostle John also wrote in Revelation 1 that the voice that spoke to him was a Person – Jesus.
       In His grace and love for undeserving sinners, God sent His Son to save and restore us to relationship with God. His grace and power were multiplied when He sent the Holy Spirit. Grace and truth are available to the believer to the fullest extent because of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Through Christ and the Holy Spirit, the truth is no longer veiled through types and shadows. Revelation is the unveiling of Truth and the removal of that which stands in our way (i.e. sin, untruth). God removed the veil of the Law and the veil of the tabernacle and temple at the cross of Jesus. Jesus also removed the veil of His flesh body because His work in the flesh was finished. He now lives in the Spirit. He has no more blood because He shed it all. His life is no longer in the flesh but in the Spirit.
        The veil of our fleshly nature must also be removed so we can see and hear God and walk in His love. As we allow our fleshly ways to die, we become one with Him in Spirit. 1 John 2:-6: We know that we have come to know Him, if we obey His commands. The man who says, “I know Him, but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in Him. But if anyone obeys His Word, God's love is complete in Him. This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did. Jesus Himself said, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and don't do the things I say?” Luke 6:46 God wants to perfect His love in us. The only way this can happen is through obedience to God's Word.

        May the love of God live in us richly because we walk as Jesus walked. We thank you Lord for your undeserved favor. We also thank you for your Truth that will set us free of all that binds us and veils our eyes to your Truth. Please give us spiritual eyes to see and spiritual ears to hear your Truth, so we can share it with others. You are a gracious and marvelous God, dear Lord, and we praise and glorify you through our actions, words and deeds. In Christ's mighty name, we pray. Amen

                                               Blessings and love in Christ,


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