Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Jesus Connection

The Jesus Connection gives us the Power to Turn the World Upside Down. When we examine the New Testament we find a world very much like our own. There was a mixture of cultures, values, religions and beliefs. The demonic spirits which had lied to each culture were at war to gain dominance as the peoples of the world mixed with each other. Demonic principalities and powers did all they could to stop the spread of the Good News. The demonic powers used fear, magic, politics and racial hatred to stop the Gospel and all who were apart of the Way.

(John 14:6) Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

When we study the NT we also find the wisdom of God and the Holy Spirit’s power allowed the believers in the Early Church to transform their world despite all of these elements which were aligned against them and the Good News they carried. It is obvious that the Gospel or Good News which Jesus brought engaged every level of society, culture and spirituality. Many see the message of Jesus as a weak and useless outdated philosophy; others see it as a threat to their chosen path, beliefs or culture. It is however God’s Good News to all people groups and has the power to transform lives, families, and nations!

Word Study Note: When you look up the word power in a concordance you will find that it occurs 250 times in NT

The Jesus Connection, Power and Life in the Kingdom of God (Transfer, adoption, death to self and training in the exercise of divine authority)

Col 1:13-14 Transfer
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Gal 3:26-29 Adoption
26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. NIV

Among oriental nations it was extended to slaves (as Moses) who thereby gained their freedom, but in Greece and Rome it was, with rare exceptions, limited to citizens.
(from International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright © 1996, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

1. New Testament Terms: John, who lays special emphasis on sonship by birth, uses teknon, while Paul, in emphasizing sonship from the legal side, as referring to adoption, which was current among the Romans but scarcely if at all known to, or if known, practiced by, the Jews, uses the word huios (John 1:12; Rom 8:14,16,19; Gal 4:6-7; 1 John 3:1-2).

2. New Testament Doctrine: Men are not by nature the sons of God, at least not in the sense in which believers in Christ are so called. By nature those outside of Jesus Christ are "children of wrath" (Eph 2:3), "of disobedience" (2:2), controlled not by the Spirit of God (Rom 8:14), but by the spirit of disobedience (Eph 2:2-4). Men become sons of God in the regenerative and adoptive sense by the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour (John 1:12 f; Gal 3:26).

The universal brotherhood which the New Testament teaches is that brotherhood which is based on faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the divine and only Saviour of the world. And the same is true of the universal Fatherhood of God. It is true that all men are "his offspring" (Acts 17:28 f) in the sense that they are God's created children; but that the New Testament makes a very clear and striking distinction between sonship by virtue of creation and sonship by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, there can be no reasonable doubt.

Sonship is the present possession of the believer in Christ (1 John 3:2). It will be completed at the second coming of our Lord (Rom 8:23), at which time the believer will throw off his incognito, by reason of which the world may not have recognized his sonship (1 John 3:1-2), and be fully and gloriously revealed as the son of God (2 Cor 5:10). It doth not yet appear, it hath not yet appeared, what we shall be; the revelation of the sons of God is reserved for a coming day of manifestation.

The blessings of sonship are too numerous to mention, save in the briefest way. His sons are objects of God's peculiar love (John 17:23), and His Fatherly care (Luke 12:27-33). They have the family name (Eph 3:14 f; 1 John 3:1); the family likeness (Rom 8:29); family love (John 13:35; 1 John 3:14); a filial spirit (Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6); a family service (John 14:23 f; 15:8). They receive fatherly chastisement (Heb 12:5-11); fatherly comfort (2 Cor 1:4), and an inheritance (Rom 8:17; 1 Peter 1:3-5).

Among the evidences of sonship are: being led by the Spirit (Rom 8:14; Gal 5:18); having a childlike confidence in God (Gal 4:5); having liberty of access (Eph 3:12); having love for the brethren (1 John 2:9-11; 5:1), and obedience (1 John 5:1-3).
(from International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright © 1996, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Col 1:13-22
13[The Father] has delivered and drawn us to Himself out of the control and the dominion of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 In Whom we have our redemption through His blood, [which means] the forgiveness of our sins. 15[Now] He is the exact likeness of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible]; He is the Firstborn of all creation. 16 For it was in Him that all things were created, in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen, whether thrones, dominions, rulers, or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him [by His service, intervention] and in and for Him.
17 And He Himself existed before all things, and in Him all things consist (cohere, are held together). [Prov 8:22-31.] 18 He also is the Head of [His] body, the church; seeing He is the Beginning, the Firstborn from among the dead, so that He alone in everything and in every respect might occupy the chief place [stand first and be preeminent]. 19 For it has pleased [the Father] that all the divine fullness (the sum total of the divine perfection, powers, and attributes) should dwell in Him permanently. 20 And God purposed that through ( by the service, the intervention of) Him [the Son] all things should be completely reconciled back to Himself, whether on earth or in heaven, as through Him, [the Father] made peace by means of the blood of His cross. 21 And although you at one time were estranged and alienated from Him and were of hostile attitude of mind in your wicked activities, 22 Yet now has [Christ, the Messiah] reconciled [you to God] in the body of His flesh through death, in order to present you holy and faultless and irreproachable in His [the Father's] presence. AMP


We can see the priority Jesus gave the receiving of the Holy Spirits power which would be necessary if the believers were to continue ‘to do and teach all that Jesus began to do and teach, Acts 1:1-8.’
To gain a good comprehension of the world into which the Gospel (Good News) came after the death and resurrection of Jesus we can read Romans 1:1-32.

We also see that for the Jew who rejected Jesus as the Messiah, Christians or the people of the Way, were seen as turning their world upside down, Acts 17:1-10.

The Gospel was Good news for all who would believe, but for those who made their living from the demonically inspired religions of the day it caused a great disturbance, Acts 19:1-20:1!
You Shall Receive Power Acts 1:1-8 There are two related and key truths in this passage.7 He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." NIV

Mankind takes a rebellious path from which the Gospel alone has the power to deliver.

The Path of Rebellion
Rom 1:1-32
16 I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith." NIV
Power to Turn the Way People Think Upside Down
Acts 17:1-10 6: These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; KJV

The Gospel (the Way of Christ) causes a great disturbance to the world’s way of thinking and doing things!

Power to Cause a Great Disturbance
Acts 19:1-20:1 23 About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. NIV

People who have connected with Jesus by recieving and believing in Him as God's only Son and Way to the father are people of the Way. In the New Testament as today these people of the Way or followers of Jesus are also called Christians and have the power to turn the world upside down and they did!

Let's humble ourselves before God and ask Him once again to turn the world upside down!
Artwork by Danny Hahlbohm

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Christian Art

" For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit,... ." Hebrews 4:12

A Great site for Christian art is http://www.majesticartworks.com/

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Fullness of God

Eph 3:14-21
14 For this reason [seeing the greatness of this plan by which you are built together in Christ], I bow my knees before the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 For Whom every family in heaven and on earth is named [that Father from Whom all fatherhood takes its title and derives its name].
16 May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality].
17 May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love,
18 That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God's devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it];
19[That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!
20 Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams] —
21 To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it). amp Bible

Head of God Art by Michelangelo Buonarroti