February 27th, 2011

ruth 2

He is Faithful

Today in church, the pastor asked, "Do you fear that you will fail in following Jesus? Do you feel weak, discouraged, and fearful?"

My answer was, "yes!"

My weakness often discourages me. I look to my own power more often than I look to the power of my Father.

Raised to life
God has already worked a mighty power in me. He has raised me from the dead. Jesus says that "he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me...has passed out of death into life" (John 5:24). In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul says that "even when we were dead in our transgressions, [God] made us alive together with Christ" (Ephesians 2:5). And what does God demand of me as my Creator and Savior? What kind of life does He raise me to? Priest Zechariah speaks about this. He praises God for visiting and redeeming His people in order to grant that we "being rescued from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days." Luke 1:68-75

Empowered for life
How could one live up to such a calling? "...if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you." Romans 8:11 It's by the power of the Holy Spirit - God's Spirit who dwells in those whom God has called and justified. The fruit of the Christian life is not the fruit of my own efforts, but the fruit of "the Spirit" (Galatians 5:22) and the true "Vine" (John 15:5). In order to allow the Spirit to accomplish His work in me, I need to "not grieve the Holy Spirit of God" (Ephesians 4:29-31). I can align my life to the Spirit of God through worshiping God (at church and privately in prayer), sitting at the feet of Jesus to learn (reading the Bible, attending church and Bible studies), and following Jesus through deeds of love toward others (service, intercessory prayer, friendship, giving, etc).

Forgiven in life
As long as I'm in the flesh, there are times when I stumble and offend God, my Savior. At such times, I do not have to fear God's wrath. Instead, I need to do what Paul did. He looked to Christ and gave thanks to God. "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:25) John reminds believers that "we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1). When I'm tempted to look at my sin, I need to go back to the cross and the tomb. I need to look upon the empty cross, peek inside the empty tomb, and allow these to draw my eyes up to the throne of heaven where my risen Lord sits at the right hand of God. "Living He loved me. Dying He saved me. Buried He carried my sins far away. [Hallelujah!] Rising He justified, freely forever. One day He's coming - oh glorious day [Come, Lord Jesus!]" Glorious Day by Casting Crowns

So rather than looking so much at weak Jehoshabeath - 'Sheba who is full of sin and 'Sheba who is often discouraged - I need to look at God's sheba (שבע). I need to remember His faithfulness to Abraham and to David. I need to trust Him now as my righteousness and the source and power of my sanctification. He is both God and Savior - there is no other (Isaiah 45:21, Hosea 13:4, Luke 1:47). He is a trustworthy God and I need to trust Him as I walk with Him.

"Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass." 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Today's sermon: "Called, Loved, and Kept" (Jude 1:1-2)