How Do You See Easter?

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     Have you ever witnessed an historical event?  For example, wouldn’t it have been cool to be there when they signed the Declaration of Independence?  Or how about watching that “big game” you always read about? How about the discovery of America or the North Pole?

     A couple of weeks ago I saw my son graduate from college.  It was a very proud day for me.  There were many people in that room and we all saw the same thing, but did we?  What I saw was much different.  Everyone witnessed a graduation ceremony.  I saw a young man who beat all the odds!

     The Easter story…the story of the resurrection found in John 20 had 3 witnesses, but it also gives us 3 different Greek words that are a great illustration of 3 different ways people SEE Jesus and the resurrection.

     1. blepo = “the see the obvious” (vv 1,5)

          These folks merely see “what’s there”, but not knowing what’s really going on.  They see all the trimmings of Easter & know the story…but is clueless to its reality or power.  They just see with their eyes.

     2.  theoreo = “to be a spectator of” (6,12,14)

          These folks have been exposed to “religion”, but are merely spectators.  They’re looking on, checking things out.  When it comes to the resurrection they are like spectators at a game or in a museum.  They merely “look” on with amusement or curiosity but with no reality.

     3. horao = “seeing with discernment” (vv8,18)

          Horao gives prominence to the discerning mind. Horao denotes perception in general. To the Hebrew mind – to experience. These are the people who get it!  For them the requirements are completed! It…is finished!!!  Easter is reality! They can see clearly that Jesus died a cruel and horrible death for them personally; that He was buried and that He rose on the 3rd day to conquer sin & death!

     How do YOU see Easter-the resurrection?  Today, I pray that you like John are seeing AND believing.  Do you see clearly today?  Trust Him with your life now!!!

 

     In Acts 26:18 Jesus told Paul, “to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me

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Let’s Protect Our Freedom!

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Galatians 2:1-10

This week as we continue on our journey through Galatians, we see Paul once again defending his apostleship as well as the establishment of the standard for the True Gospel.

Is there something of value in your life that would upset you deeply if you lost it or had it stolen?  It might be a wedding ring or maybe family pictures.  We all have probably 2 or more items in our lives that we would consider as very valuable.

Like these valuables, the true Gospel & the freedom that comes with it must be equally prized and valued.  It is something that if “lost or damaged” would have dire consequences in our lives.  The true gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone is to be guarded & protected!

This I believe is the message throughout the book of Galatians.  It is a message of liberty, and our understanding of what the Gospel is will greatly effect how we live our lives – either in bondage or in freedom!

Here are the four messages found in this passage:

1. vv. 1-3 = It’s all about the message & having a clear understanding of it! The fact is that it is all about His work of grace!

2. vv. 4-5 = We must understand Satan’s two-fold strategy.

    a. To create confusion regarding our liberty

b. To bring us individually into bondage & then subsequently the whole body!

3. vv. 6-9 = There are no “big deals” in the Body of Christ.  The principle here is that it is the message & not the man that matters!!!

4. v. 10 = Someone who lives with a clear understanding of their salvation will like Paul did, be concerned for the Body & give!!!

Let me ask you this: why was this issue of circumcision (adding the law) such a huge issue in the infancy of the Church?  Why would Satan strategically target this message?  Why would Satan specifically & clandestinely seek to destroy this freedom we have?

The answer is simple: this is THE TRUTH that saves mankind & in turn truly sets them FREE…and Satan does not want YOU or anyone else FREE!!!

Are you unknowingly subjecting yourself to a yoke of slavery?  Are you demanding of yourself or of others the need to abide by a set of rules, standards or expectations?  If so, along with Paul, I plead & ask you: if we HAVE BEEN set free from the yoke of the slavery of religion, then why are you surrendering once again to that very same burden?

Our motive for radical living!

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“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! – Galatians 1:8

WOW!  To Paul the Gospel was THE Gospel was THE Gospel!!!  Paul was a fervent defender of the simplistic message.  He was very resolute and unwavering; so much so he said a person who tampers with the gospel should go to hell…ouch!

        Is our generation’s attitude about the gospel message like Paul’s?  As I meet believers while traveling, I am finding more and more people who are too worried feeling good; feeling comfortable.  I find people whose conversation and speech has very little kingdom value at all, and is frankly not worth listening to.  We have become a generation who is consumed with SELF!  We are becoming too self serving and self exalting.

        It’s no surprise then when you realize the false gospel of our day is a “me, my, mine” message.  It’s a “feel good” message where everyone goes to heaven if you’re just “tryin real good.”  They say, “We’re all on the same path.” (HUH?)  Sadly, the church is buying into these lies!!!

        Why is there such a difference from what we are hearing & what Paul said?  What was it about Paul that created such a stir in his heart to stand strongly for the truth?

        I’ll tell you what it was…Paul considered himself a BOND-SERVANT!  He spoke like a true servant – a slave if you will of the most high God!  Being a bond-servant of Jesus radically effects what we believe, say and do!

        Here is a definition of the Greek work “doulos” which is often translated as: bond-servant, bond-slave, servant and slave. 

 

a.     a slave totally possessed by the master {we were bought with a price}. They were bound by law to a master {we are bound by the law of love}.

b.     “one who gives himself wholly(completely) {absolute surrender to Jesus}to another’s will{an act of their will to surrender}

c.     devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests.” {it is truly ALL about Him & NOT me}

 

My heart was stirred when I reflected on this truth.  I hope like me, you would yearn for a life like this.  An obedient life born out of love (not obligation or compulsion; which is the legalism) for the master is sweet to our souls!  Then, we will do like Paul and stand strong & firm for the truth!

Passion for the Purity of the Gospel

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small-butterfly-flapping2    If something is pure, what does that mean?  We have purebred horses, purebred dogs, pure water, and so forth.  Even people are referred to as being “pure” or their ancestry is 100% Norwegian or Italian, etc.

    www.Encarta.msn.com gives us the following 3 definitions:

   1. not mixed: not mixed with any other substance

    2. free from contamination: clean and free from impurities

    3. complete: sheer or complete

    So, let’s say I had a purebred Arabian horse & bred it with another Arabian.  After the birth I found out that the other horse was actually ½ Appaloosa. Now, although the foal may look like an Arabian it is now considered an AraAppaloosa.  It CAN NOT now be considered an Arabian can it? No! Why? The bloodline have been mixed.  And how would you feel as a breeder? You’d probably feel cheated, be very, very upset and you’d probably want to do something about it.

    Well, let’s say I had 20 gallons of pure mountain spring water.  How many drops of grape juice would it take for it to be “unpure”? How many drops of a squeezed lemon would it take? Any tiny amount would cause it not to be purely mountain spring water….it was altered!

    Better yet, how many drops of arsenic would you allow me to put into the 20 gallons of water before drinking it? Exactly… none!!! Why, just a little would kill you.

    This is exactly Paul’s attitude in Galatians. The gospel is the gospel is the gospel! And here is the simplistic gospel: (1) Man has sinned & is therefore dead to the life of God (2) the FINALITY of the cross – He reconciled us while we were His enemies by taking our sins AWAY (3) the REALITY of the resurrection – He rose again to give us HIS life and(4) When saved we are given a NEW identity!

    So, as we learned, the good news is that salvation is being saved from the wages of sin which is death.  We have been made spiritually alive!  This is the simple gospel.

    So, like the horse and like the water any deviance from this simplistic message, ie any amount of the arsenic of legalism would make it no longer the pure gospel, but rather a whole different message. 

    We MUST exercise spiritual discernment & be vigilant to preserve the purity of the gospel.