What do you need? He is Able!

The Pope is very much in the news these days with the papal visit to the US. So since we are talking about the Pope, here's a bit of papal trivia: Did you know that the pope is referred to as Pontifex Maximus...the highest priest?  That's what a pope in the Dark Ages decided would be a good title for popes from then on.  He was borrowing from the title for the head priest in ancient Rome at that time.

But maybe this isn't trivia at all!  As you may or may not know, by definition a priest is a mediator.  According to Unger's Bible Dictionary, the term priest is

...used of one who may "draw near" to the divine presence (Exo 19:22; 30:20), while others remain afar off...

And there's nothing trivial about that!  In fact, it means life or death...and I'm talking ETERNAL life or ETERNAL death!

Jesus our high priest
Jesus our high priest

Why?  Because there is only ONE Mediator between God and man, and it's our Great High Priest, our Lord Jesus Christ! Human popes and priests and ministers only qualify as instruments of the One Mediator to point us toward HIMSELF!

And our Great High Priest is the All-Sufficient Christ...a glorious truth for all of us!  Do we really get that?  God wants us to get it...that it's all about His Son...He is All It, as I like to say!

But HOW, you ask, HOW is He All It?  In the early chapters of Hebrews, God the Father begins to tell us HOW.  He says that the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, is our Great High Priest Who Himself is ABLE...dynamically so at all times!  In fact, the word "is able" in the Greek is in a continuous tense and is the word from which we get "dynamite"  and "dynamic."

Let's look at three ways Jesus Himself, our Great High Priest, is ABLE on our behalf:

 

  • He is able to save forever (Hebrews 7:1-28). The word "save" is "sozo" meaning to deliver, make whole, preserve from destruction, rescue.  So our great High Priest saves us forever and completely, wholly and entirely...past, present and future.  Why can He do that?  Because His Priesthood is superior to that of any other kind of priest, before or since. It is based on His indestructible, indissoluable life (Hebrews 7:16).  As Spiro Zodiates says in his Word Studies in the NT:The life of Christ is declared as distinct from the life of someone else, life that was not acquired and that cannot be done away with.   It is inherent life (John 1:4 "in Him was life").  His life has no derivation and is interminable. So He always lives to intercede for us...He never stops, because He always lives...He's I AM! So what should we do, dear friend?Come boldly to the Throne of Grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need! Why?  Because we HAVE as our ever-present possession our Great High Priest Who... ...communicating even here and maintaining an everlasting, unchangeable life in us, that lifts our inner experience out of the region of effort and change and failure into the rest of God. Andrew Murray, Holiest of AllBEFORE THE THRONE OF GOD ABOVESelahBefore the throne of God aboveI have a strong and perfect pleaA great High Priest whose Name is LoveWho ever lives and pleads for meMy name is graven on His handsMy name is written on His heartI know that while in heaven He standsNo tongue can bid me thence departNo tongue can bid me thence departWhen Satan tempts me to despairAnd tells me of the guilt withinUpward I look and see Him thereWho made an end to all my sinBecause the sinless Savior diedMy sinful soul is counted freeFor God the Just is satisfiedTo look on Him and pardon meTo look on Him and pardon meBehold Him there the risen LambMy perfect spotless righteousnessThe great unchangeable I AMThe King of glory and of graceOne with Himself I cannot dieMy soul is purchased by His bloodMy life is hid with Him on highWith Christ my Savior and my God!With Christ my Savior and my God!

Hebrews 10:24-25 -- CONSIDER...One Another

Let us consider...one another!   Hebrews 10:24-25 When we come toward the middle of Hebrews, chapter 10, we have what I like to call "the Hinge" (10:19-25)...verses that tie the doctrinal and practical sections together.  And right there at the end of "the Hinge" is our second of three CONSIDER's.

As you may recall, the first time we encountered the word Consider, we talked about how the word means to focus intently like a star-gazer would do.  And of course, our primary focus is always to be on our great High Priest, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ -- our Great High Priest and Mighty God enthroned above.

When we look at our third Consider in chapter 12, it will be again our Lord Jesus Christ, who as the God-Man endured the Cross.  But now, sandwiched right in the middle, is our second Consider -- Consider...one another.  Why?  Because if we belong to our Lord, we belong to each other.  That's why I often sign my emails, One with you in HIM, when writing to my sisters and brothers in the Lord.

Last year a posted a fun blog about the interaction between two of my grandsons, Evan & Carter...brothers!  I'd like to share the Bible study section of that post, which I called Am I My Brother's Keeper? right here.  But if you would like to read the stories that go with it, just click on the link.

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Our Abba Father's desire for us His children is that we would be devoted to one another, no matter how much we may disagree and even dislike each other.  We are in the same blood line, the same family!

The way we know we've been transferred from death to life is that we love our brothers and sisters. Anyone who doesn't love is as good as dead. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know very well that eternal life and murder don't go together. This is how we've come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves! 1John 3:14-16 MESSAGE

We have a connection with each other that can't be broken, whether we like it or not!  It's a connection as deep as union with each other in the Triune God!  Just as in a human family, the primary connection a child has is with the parents (and thus with each other), so too in the family of God.  Listen to how Jesus prayed the night before He died:

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that THEY also may be IN US, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. John 17:20-23

As I've been meditating on my union with Christ and my brothers and sisters, I've revisited what are called the One another verses.  Maybe you would like to join me in revisiting them, or perhaps visiting them for the first time.  Then if you care to, pray with me:

Father, empower me through the indwelling Christ, Your Perfect Son, to love my brothers and sisters.  Love them through me.  Understand them through me.  Care about their spiritual, emotional, physical welfare through me, O God.  In Christ's Loving Name.  Amen!

John 13:14 "If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.

John 13:34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

John 13:35 " By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

John 15:12 "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.

John 15:17 "This I command you, that you love one another.

Acts 7:26 " On the following day he appeared to them as they were fighting together, and he tried to reconcile them in peace, saying, 'Men, you are brethren, why do you injure one another?'

Acts 15:39 And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus.

Romans 12:5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;

Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly Do not be wise in your own estimation.

Romans 13:8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.

Romans 14:5 One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.

Romans 14:13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this-- not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way.

Romans 14:19 So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.

Romans 15:5 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus,

Romans 15:7 Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.

Romans 15:14 And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.

Romans 16:16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

1 Corinthians 6:7 Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?

1 Corinthians 7:5 Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

1 Corinthians 11:33 So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.

1 Corinthians 12:25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

1 Corinthians 16:20 All the brethren greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

2 Corinthians 13:12 Greet one another with a holy kiss.

Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Galatians 5:15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.

Galatians 5:26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.

Galatians 6:1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:4 But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another.

Ephesians 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,

Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Ephesians 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;

Ephesians 5:21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;

Colossians 3:9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,

Colossians 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

1 Thessalonians 3:12 and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you;

1 Thessalonians 4:9 Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;

1 Thessalonians 4:18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:13 and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.

1 Thessalonians 5:15 See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.

2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater;

Titus 3:3 For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.

Hebrews 3:13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Hebrews 10:24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,

Hebrews 10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

James 4:11 Do not speak against one another, brethren He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.

James 5:9 Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.

James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

1 Peter 1:22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,

1 Peter 4:8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint.

1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

1 Peter 5:5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.

1 Peter 5:14 Greet one another with a kiss of love Peace be to you all who are in Christ.

1 John 1:7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

1 John 3:11 For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another;

1 John 3:23 This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.

2 John 1:5 Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.

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For an example of how NOT to "consider one another,"  read this post by Frank Viola on Rick Warren's tragic loss of his son to suicide.  It left me speechless! Beyond Evangelical

Class Notes:  THE HINGE

Homework: Read Hebrews 11 Answer questions in Hoping for Something Better, p. 200-201 Read chapter 8,  Hoping…

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Hebrews 8-10, Ray Stedman -- scroll down to read his treatment of the 4th warning...very good!

Hebrews: Cares and Confidence

Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. Hebrews 10:35 NKJV

Jesus carrying
Jesus carrying

It is God’s will that I should castOn Him my care each day;He also bids me not to castMy confidence away.

But oh, I am so foolishThat when taken unawares,I cast away my confidenceAnd carry all my cares. T. Baird*

...His concern here is...for the children of Abraham. He had to become as human as His sisters and brothers so that when the time came, He could become a merciful and faithful high priest of God, called to reconcile a sinful people. Since He has also been tested by suffering, He can help us when we are tested... ...For Jesus is not some high priest who has no sympathy for our weaknesses and flaws. He has already been tested in every way that we are tested; but He emerged victorious, without failing God. So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most. Hebrews 2:16-18; 4:15-16 The Voice

anchor for the soul
anchor for the soul

...we who come to God for refuge [are] encouraged to seize that hope that is set before us.  That hope is real and true, an ANCHOR to steady our restless souls, a hope that leads us back behind the curtain to where God is and back into the place where Jesus, who went ahead on our behalf, has entered since He has become a High Priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:18-20 The Voice

Jesus my anchor
Jesus my anchor

Sometimes Step by Step Rich Mullins

Sometimes the night was beautiful| Sometimes the sky was so far away Sometimes it seemed to stoop so close You could touch it but your heart would break Sometimes the morning came too soon Sometimes the day could be so hot There was so much work left to do But so much You'd already done

Oh God, You are my God And I will ever praise You Oh God, You are my God And I will ever praise You I will seek You in the morning And I will learn to walk in Your ways And step by step You'll lead me And I will follow You all of my days

Sometimes I think of Abraham How one star he saw had been lit for me (Gal 3:6-14) He was a stranger in this land And I am that, no less than he And on this road to righteousness Sometimes the climb can be so steep I may falter in my steps But never beyond Your reach

Oh God, You are my God And I will ever praise You Oh God, You are my God And I will ever praise You I will seek You in the morning And I will learn to walk in Your ways And step by step You'll lead me And I will follow You all of my days

And I will follow You all of my days And I will follow You all of my days And step by step You'll lead me And I will follow You all of my days And I will follow You all of my days

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Importance of the Warnings to Believers: [based on notes from a sermon by Rob Turner, Apex Community Church c2008]

  1. Believers should never be casual about God's grace.
  2. Believers should never separate works from God's grace [as the result/fruit of grace through faith, not the cause].  Ephesians 2:8-10; James 2:17
  3. Believers can never have any assurance in Christ if they are taking part in [willful] sin.  Hebrews 10:26-29
  4. Believers should see these warnings as a means toward final salvation: perseverance in Christ.

Links for further exploration of Hebrews 6:

Hebrew 6 Warning -- ESV Study Bible notes The Voice -- look at Hebrews 6 in this paraphrase Hebews 5-6, ray stedman -- Ray Stedman commentary When is Saving Repentance Impossible? -- John Piper...this is GOOD!

Class notes:MELCHISEDEK WHO? The Basics and Beyond, Hebrews 5:11-6:20

Homework: Read Hebrews 8:1-10:18 Answer questions in Hoping for Something Better, p. 197-198 Read chapter 6,  Hoping…

*My thanks to my friend Durinda, who slipped me this little treasure when we were studying the letter to the Hebrews…many years ago.

Hebrews: We have a Great High Priest Who is ABLE...

The Pope is very much in the news these days with the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.  And there's a lot of controversy surrounding the election of his successor. So since we are talking about popes, here's a bit of papal trivia:  did you know that the pope is referred to as Pontifex Maximus...the highest priest?  That's what a pope in the Dark Ages decided would be a good title for popes from then on.  He was borrowing from the title for the head priest in ancient Rome at that time.

But maybe this isn't trivia at all!  As you may or may not know, by definition a priest is a mediator.  According to Unger's Bible Dictionary, the term priest is

...used of one who may "draw near" to the divine presence (Exo 19:22; 30:20), while others remain afar off...

And there's nothing trivial about that!  In fact, it means life or death...and I'm talking ETERNAL life or ETERNAL death!

Why?  Because there is only ONE Mediator between God and man, and it's our Great High Priest, our Lord Jesus Christ!

And our Great High Priest is the All-Sufficient Christ...a glorious truth for all of us!  Do we really get that?  God wants us to get it...that it's all about His Son...He is All It, as I like to say!

But HOW, you ask, HOW is He All It?  In the early chapters of Hebrews, God the Father begins to tell us HOW.  He says that the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, is our Great High Priest Who Himself is ABLE...dynamically so at all times!  In fact, the word "is able" in the Greek is in a continuous tense and is the word from which we get "dynamite"  and "dynamic."

Let's look at three ways Jesus Himself, our Great High Priest, is ABLE on our behalf:

  1. He is able to help (Hebrews 2:14-18). He "takes hold of" us believers and "comes to our aid" ("runs to our cries for help"). HOW? with mercy toward us (because "He was made like His brethren in all things") and faithfulness toward God (as our Sin-bearer, making satisfaction before a holy God). Think of how Jesus was "made like us in all things."  Go to the Gospels and trace His human life from conception to death.  How can He run to your cry and help you because of all He went through merely as a human walking through a fallen world?  Thank Him!
  2. He is able to sympathize (Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:1-10). We have a risen, enthroned Christ who is sympathetic (compassionate) toward us at all times.  Why?  Because He was tempted, tried, and tested every day of His life, just as we are.  But there was one big difference...He didn't sin.  But He was truly tempted...He had soul fluctuations toward evil, as Dan Stone put it in The Rest of the Gospel.  The definition of temptation is a "solicitation to do evil."  So those negative feelings and struggles we have that we judge ourselves so mercilessly for may be temptation not sin.  Sin involves choice. It was very freeing and comforting for me to discover the passage in Hebrews 5:7-8 where we see our Savior struggling with the will of the Father.  The verses in Hebrews are referring to Christ's agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Take a look at Matthew 26:36-46 and Luke 22:39-46. Jesus didn't sin because of His fear and dread and agony.  He desperately didn't want the suffering in His humanness...and wasn't ashamed to express that.  In fact, He had been willing and actually wanted His disciples to be with Him in it!  But in the end of course, He chose to "drink the Father's cup."
  3. He is able to save forever (Hebrews 7:1-28). The word "save" is "sozo" meaning to deliver, make whole, preserve from destruction, rescue.  So our great High Priest saves us forever and completely, wholly and entirely...past, present and future.  Why can He do that?  Because His Priesthood is superior to that of any other kind of priest, before or since. It is based on His indestructible, indissoluable life (Hebrews 7:16).  As Spiro Zodiates says in his Word Studies in the NT: The life of Christ is declared as distinct from the life of someone else, life that was not acquired and that cannot be done away with.   It is inherent life (John 1:4 "in Him was life").  His life has no derivation and is interminable. So He always lives to intercede for us...He never stops, because He always lives...He's I AM! So what should we do, dear friend? Come boldly to the Throne of Grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need! Why?  Because we HAVE as our ever-present possession our Great High Priest Who... ...communicating even here and maintaining an everlasting, unchangeable life in us, that lifts our inner experience out of the region of effort and change and failure into the rest of God. Andrew Murray, Holiest of All

    BEFORE THE THRONE OF GOD ABOVE Selah

    Before the throne of God above

    I have a strong and perfect plea

    A great High Priest whose Name is Love

    Who ever lives and pleads for me

    My name is graven on His hands

    My name is written on His heart

    I know that while in heaven He stands

    No tongue can bid me thence depart

    No tongue can bid me thence depart

    When Satan tempts me to despair

    And tells me of the guilt within

    Upward I look and see Him there

    Who made an end to all my sin

    Because the sinless Savior died

    My sinful soul is counted free

    For God the Just is satisfied

    To look on Him and pardon me

    To look on Him and pardon me

    Behold Him there the risen Lamb

    My perfect spotless righteousness

    The great unchangeable I AM

    The King of glory and of grace

    One with Himself I cannot die

    My soul is purchased by His blood

    My life is hid with Him on high

    With Christ my Savior and my God!

    With Christ my Savior and my God!

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoPyLcY6Zv4[/youtube]

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    Homework --   Read Hebrews 5:11-6:20 Answer questions in Hoping for Something Better, p. 195-196 Read chapter 5,  Hoping... ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    OUR GREAT HIGH PRIEST  -- revised class notes PRIESTHOOD- chart for Hebrews 7:11ff Jesus' Priesthood acc to Melchizedek2 --  diagram of Jesus' priesthood/Melchizedek/Covenant

Hebrews: "The Rest of God" Quiz

Students of Hebrews, try your hand at this pop-quiz...open book (Bible, that is).  Search out the answers from the passage (chapter and verse).

Reflections (a.k.a. answers) down below...but try them on your own first :)

The Rest of God Hebrews 3:11-4:15

  1. What is God’s rest?
  2. When do we have this rest?
  3. How is it entered?
  4. How is it missed?
  5. Who can enter?
  6. Where is that rest?
  7. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Answers:

    1. A finished work, the rest of completion (Hebrews 4:3-4)
    2. "Today" (Hebrews 3:7,13,15; 4:7)
    3. By faith/obedience (Hebrews 4:2-3) By ceasing from own works--works that originate with us (a.k.a. self-effort), not God (Hebrews 4:10)
    4. By unbelief/disobedience (Hebrews 3:12,18-19; 4:2,6,11)
    5. Anyone who hears and believes/obeys (Hebrews 3:7-8,15; 4:2-3,7,10-11)
    6. In Jesus, our Sabbath (Hebrews 4:9-10)

Hebrews: "Lord, let Your Rest take hold deeper & deeper in my life!"

True Sabbath REST is not an external thing...I knew that, but I still need to KNOW that!  Thus my conversation with the Lord the other day...listen in if you'd like:

Lord, let Your Rest take hold deeper & deeper in my life!

You don't need it deeper...You already have it as deep as it can be.  I gave it to you, remember?

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

I gave you REST when I gave you MYSELF! 

What you need is to live from Me your Sabbath Rest.   I'm the One Who dwells deep in your spirit, in the eternal realm. 

Live from ME united to you deep in your spirit, so that My rest can permeate the outer levels of your being, in the temporal realm...your soul and your body....and then pour forth to others.

But how can I do that, Lord?

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

You will find rest as you take MY yoke upon yourself, moving as I move, stopping as I stop, speaking as I speak, doing as I do...

And learn from Me...by stopping and spending time with our Father...letting Him speak and refresh you, as He did Me.  He is the Revealer of mysteries...He leads you into restful service because My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

Thank you, Lord!  I receive Your mysteries revealed by You to my resting, learning heart because...

 The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us...that we may follow all [His] words. Deut 29:29 NIV

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His revealed mysteries for me this week...that I may live from His Sabbath Rest...my Lord Jesus Christ. Maybe for you too?

1. His rest is His adequacy:

Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Cor 3:5-6

2. His rest is His fullness:

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made full... Col 2:9-10

3. His rest is His grace:

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God [united]with me. 1Cor 15:10

4. His rest is His power:

And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. 1Cor 2:1-5

5. His rest is His life:

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Gal 2:20

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You may like to read these beautiful sermons by Ray Stedman:

 Jesus is our Sabbath Rest, Stedman

Living out of Rest, Stedman

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You might also like:  Jesus, I am Resting, Resting...(in previous Hebrews post)

Jesus, I am Working, Working...how to work but not work :)

Jesus, I am Coming, Coming...including some great excerpts from Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest

Hebrews 3 & 4: Consider Jesus...and Rest!

STAR-GAZE at JESUS!  That's what these words mean:  CONSIDER JESUS!

Why gaze at anyone or anything else?

  • He is God's final WORD!
  • SON of GOD
  • SON of MAN
  • BUILDER of God's House (us!)
  • Our SABBATH REST

Let us be diligent to enter HIM, our SABBATH-REST Let us enter day in and day out! Let us live in HIM and let HIM live in and through us!

Amen and amen!

Homework --   Read Hebrews 4:14-5:10; 7:1-28 Answer questions in Hoping for Something Better, p. 193-195 Read chapter 4, p. 55-72, Hoping…

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I've attached two posts that you may enjoy as you bask in Jesus our Sabbath:

Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting  (April 2012)

Ah! REST...what a glorious word!  I inhale and exhale deeply at just the sound of it!  And oh, how we humans need deep, glorious rest...

Moms especially need it...as do dads.  Single folk need it; workers need it; retirees do too...even kids need it (although they would protest most loudly...especially after no-sleep sleepovers!)

This is the time of the year that I begin to really drag, needing my rest!  I'm a teacher...among other things like wife, mother, grandmother, friend, sister, etc.    A year or so ago, I also became a blogger/amateur writer.  Right now, I'm hitting Blogger's Block/ Writer's Block -- that brain-draining fatigue that hits everyone (including students) who has put pen to paper regularly.

So let me say it again -- we humans ALL need deep, glorious rest...no matter what our role in life.  And we need rest, not just for our bodies, but for our souls most of all!

I don't know about you, but I am going to the only Place I know to go for the rest I need...and that place is my Lord Jesus Christ!  HE is Rest!  I'm responding to His gracious invitation, 

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30

We who are burdened and work to exhaustion can find anapausis (REST in Greek). But this is not just the "take a nap" kind of rest...it goes much deeper:

In Matthew 11:28-29, the Lord promises "anapausis" (inner tranquility) to the weary and heavy laden who come to HIM while they are engaged in necessary labor. Spiro Zodiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary, New Testament, p. 156

Isn't that good news, dear friend? Even when we cannot take a break from our duties, we can have inner tranquility because of our relationship with our Lord Christ.

And there's an interesting emphasis in that short phrase, Come to Me, in the original Greek.  Literally, Jesus says,

HERE (Hither, KJV)...to ME!

That's right, the word COME isn't found in the original!  It's just implied...and I think, for a reason.

I picture Jesus Himself beckoning to the battered and beleaguered crowd of ordinary people following Him.  He points to HIMSELF as the source of spiritual rest:  HERE...to ME...for rest!

The religious rulers, who hounded them, burdened them with duties above and beyond what God required.  Jesus, on the other hand, joins (yokes) Himself to His people to give them rest on every level.  So in a sense, He says,

Don't go to THEM! HERE...to ME!

And the same is true for you and me, dear friend.  What is hounding and harassing you?

Is it the pressures of mothering? ...the stress of financial needs? ...the guilt of not being spiritual enough: reading the Bible, praying enough? ...the confusion and grief of relational rifts? ...the concern for struggling/straying loved ones? ...the fatigue/uncertainties of your job? ...struggles with ill health? ______[fill in the blank]______?

In every situation and in every stage of life on this earth, He Himself is our Rest. Join me in responding to His invitation:   HERE...to ME!

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly. Matthew 11:28-30 MSG

Jesus! I am resting, resting In the joy of what Thou art; I am finding out the greatness Of Thy loving heart.

Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee, And Thy beauty fills my soul, For, by Thy transforming power, Thou hast made me whole.

Jesus! I am resting, resting In the joy of what Thou art; I am finding out the greatness Of Thy loving heart.

Oh, how great Thy loving kindness, Vaster, broader than the sea: Oh, how marvelous Thy goodness, Lavished all on me!

Yes, I rest in Thee, Beloved, Know what wealth of grace is Thine, Know Thy certainty of promise, And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus, I behold Thee as Thou art, And Thy love, so pure, so changeless, Satisfies my heart,

Satisfies its deepest longings, Meets, supplies its every need, Compasseth me round with blessings, Thine is love indeed.

Ever lift Thy face upon me, As I work and wait for Thee; Resting 'neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus, Earth's dark shadows flee.

Brightness of my Father's glory, Sunshine of my Father's face, Keep me ever trusting, resting, Fill me with Thy grace.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tm9_MHAbbIE[/youtube]

For the rest of the Resting in Jesus series, click here.

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Job Descriptions in the Father’s Vineyard (April 2011)

By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. John 15:8

Have you ever started a job with no job description?  I have, and it’s pretty confusing.

About 8 years ago, I was looking for a part-time teaching job.  A friend asked if I would like to apply to substitute teach in ESL & GED classes.  I told her that I didn’t have a clue about either one of those.  She assured me that it wasn’t difficult.  All I had to do was follow the teacher’s lesson plans.  So I naively applied.

Well, guess what?  As my application reached the supervisor’s desk, the beginning ESL teacher was in a very serious accident.  This was at the end of the first week of class.  By then, beginning ESL students don’t know much more English than the day they walked in.  There were no lesson plans and no curriculum, because the teacher was so experienced that she did her own “curriculum”.  Needless to say, I was terrified.  But God met me in my need (and that’s for another post!).

BUT that first year, I had no job description.  I just took the bull by the horns and prayed and taught and loved it.  And I think the students did too, by God’s grace!  (I’m still teaching that class 8 years later.)

However, without a job description, I made many mistakes and often got myself in trouble.  Most of the time, my mistakes were from my ignorance…or from my zeal to “do things right”.  As a result, in several instances, I unknowingly went over the head of my supervisor and assumed her role.  Not good!

That’s what happens for us believers with living the Christian life.  I don’t think we truly understand our “job description.”   We try to do in our own strength the things that only God can do.

John 15 is a perfect place to start to understand what it means to be a Christian (the branches) in relation to our Father (the Owner/Gardener) and His Son (the True Vine).  So let’s look at WHO does WHAT in a vineyard?

First there’s the Gardener or Vinedresser.  His job is to care for the vine and branches by watering, fertilizing, and above all… pruning. Without that almost “violent” pruning, a rich crop cannot come forth.

And after all, the vineyard owner’s reputation is at stake!  If someone sees a barren vineyard, no one shames the branches or even the vine, but rather the owner/vinedresser.  That’s because whoever does the work gets the credit or the blame!   So it’s his job to do whatever is necessary to ensure an abundant crop of grapes.  Even the good, new growth gets cut back so as to bring forth an abundance of fruit.

As we’ve seen in a previous post, that is what the Father does for us branches.   Sometimes we may feel like we’ve grown so much and have been “fruitful”…then all of a sudden, the desert! dryness! seeming barrenness!  But the process is not done yet!

Then there’s the Vine.  The Vine is the source of life for the branches, which then enables the fruit to come forth.  Without the life of the Vine flowing through healthy branches, nothing fruitful can happen!

Jesus is the Source of life for us His branches.  In another post we saw that Jesus, the I AM, is LIFE itself! In Him was life, and the life is the light of men…I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly. John 1:4; 10:10b

And that’s why the main job of the branches is to abide or stay connected to the vine.  The branches are the vehicles for the life of the vine to flow through so that fruit will come forth.

Jesus said,  Abide in Me and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  John 15:4

So what does it mean to abide in Christ?  It means to live in & from, remain in, sink down deep into, rest in, stay [experientially] connected to HIM!

Here’s a feeble, but hopefully helpful illustration of what I think it means to abide.  I have this wonderful couch in my living room.  It is hard to sit or lie on this couch without falling asleep.  When I come home from a full day of teaching, I look forward to sinking my weary body into that couch.  I’m often able to just put some instrumental music on and surrender to the comfort of my glorious couch. Later, I leave that place refreshed and energized!

However, sometimes I still have things I need to do before supper time.  So I abandon my tired self to my life-giving couch and make my phone calls or read my lessons or do whatever duty or desire dictates.  I still come away refreshed because I’m working from a position of rest.

That’s what I think abiding in Christ means.  I do what I do from my position of rest in my Glorious Vine.  I’m secure in Him and He in me.  His resurrection life flows through me, His branch, to bring forth the fruit designed by the Father for my unique life.

What about you?  Are you living the Branch-life?  Do you do what you do from the position of rest in your Glorious Lord Christ? Or are you trying to do what only God can do — give life and produce fruit?

I am the Vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me, you can do nothing.  John 15:5

For the rest of the Vine & Branches series, click here