Implications

how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? – Hebrews 2:3

Let’s go a bit deeper into this “so great salvation.

Friday, in my post “Bread” we talked about the truth of God dwelling in the believer. What implications can we draw from this concept of God on the inside?

It gets pretty interesting and will cause us to look at whether or not faith exists on any level in the life of the average pew-sitter. Remember I said that Hebrews will drive us to look at our concept of eternal security? Does a repeat-after-me prayer said at the altar of a church make you a child of God? (Please hear me, I have asked people to repeat after me bunches of times–I will never despise this practice.)

But honestly–repeat after me and “REALLY” mean it “IN YOUR HEART.” What does that even mean? How do we know if they “really” mean it?

The old Bill Bright method had you read a booklet, pray a prayer and then gave you scripture and verse assuring your salvation. They even had a follow up to their Four Spiritual Laws booklet which encouraged you to put Jesus on the throne in the center of your heart, now that you were a Christian. WHAT??!!

I’m sorry. It’s just not like that. If Jesus is not on that throne, there is no new birth.

The new birth may come via prayer. It can start at the altar of a church. It can happen as a result of reading the Four Spiritual Laws. But these do not define salvation.

This “so great salvation”, this new covenant, requires only one thing.

It’s not about the truths you agree to, though doctrine is important.

It’s not about the church you attend, though gathering with other saints is critical for your health and growth.

It’s not about how much you give to what ministry.

The only way for a man or woman to move from the kingdom of this world into the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ is for God to take up residence inside you–for your spirit to welcome the Spirit of God–for Jesus to be on that throne–in the center.

When Jesus told them you have to eat my flesh and drink My blood in John 6, when He instituted the Lord’s Supper, He demonstrated that He had to be in us.

Christianity that tries hard to be good, to pull itself up by its bootstraps, that toils to resist sin, may not have the God of all grace and comfort dwelling inside.

What would it look like for God to move in?

If you talk to some Christians, you get the impression that they used to sin and never have another thought, but now they sin and feel guilty. Charles Finney would have called this the alarmed or awakened sinner. He would not offer assurance until the breakthrough to life on the inside.

Jesus didn’t die to make us feel guilty. He bore our guilt so we would be free!

He lives inside each and every citizen of His kingdom. We are His dwelling place.

That has to look like something, doesn’t it? If it’s just words on the page, it’s worthless, and we should bag it all.

If there is no evidence in your heart of the presence of God, today is your day. Today is the day of salvation. God desires to take up residence in you, to partner with you in everything you step into. What He asks of you is surrender. Let Him know that you see your life is a mess. Confess your sin and need for a Savior. Then invite Him to take control. It’s God’s will and your only hope.

We who are in Christ need to press in until His presence in us becomes a reality. Confess it out loud. Believe it every day. Expect Him to show up in every circumstance. Don’t just let satan bludgeon you into thinking you’re on your own. God lives. Jesus lives. The Spirit of the living God, aka YHWH, dwells in you if you are a citizen of His Kingdom.

Here’s a declaration you can use today.

I am a dwelling place for God, my Creator, my Redeemer, my Husband, and my Friend. God is inside me. I am loved by the Father. I am filled with the Spirit of God. I am blessed with all spiritual blessings because I am in Christ and His Holy Spirit is in me. Nothing can separate me from His presence. I am His and He is mine. He walks with me in all of my circumstances.

cropped-BenHeadshotHey, thanks for sticking with me in this study.

Love you…

Ben

Have you missed some of these studies? You can catch up here.

Bread

how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? – Hebrews 2:3

A couple weeks back, in the post, Sitting Savior, we took a quick look at what Jesus accomplished before He sat down at the right hand of the Father.

Today, I want to press into one aspect of the New Covenant that always get’s my juices flowing. I don’t believe we talk about it enough.

We see it painted into the tableau of the Lord Supper–not the painting–the event. But Jesus talked about it frankly in John 6 and it made those who were following Him wonder if they were making a terrible mistake.

Let’s set the scene. Early in John 6, we see Jesus feeding the multitudes with fish and bread. Well, really the disciples fed them, but Jesus’ sets it up for the boys. This multitude is so impressed, they follow Him across the lake. Next, we find ourselves at the synagog in Capernaum, Jesus’ home base during most, if not all of His ministry years.

A dialog ensues in which Jesus drives His following off in droves. He begins by suggesting they only want to be near Him because He fed them. They bring up mana and how God fed their forefathers in the wilderness.

What happens next gets pretty bizarre…

He says in effect, “Yes, I know about that–that was Me.”

I am the bread that came down out of heaven.” – John 6:41

The crowd murmurs with an understated, “Wait, what?”

So He pressed in,

 “Do not grumble among yourselves…I AM the bread of life.” – John 6:43,48

A man in the congregation sees, from the corner of his eye, his wife rise up in the women’s chamber, collect her children and walk out the back. She catches his eye and gives him a look that says, “stay if you want, but I’m out of here. I’ll be waiting in the car.”

Then Jesus presses on,

if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” – John 6:51

Now the exodus begins in earnest. But rather than pull back and explain Himself, Jesus just goes all in.

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. “For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. “This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.” – John 6:53-58

This one might have even rocked His core crew, but they got it. They understood that they didn’t have to understand. His words held life, even when they didn’t have a clue what He was talking about.

In Matthew 13, when Jesus taught with parables, He actually told the boys it was so some would not understand. He intentionally put roadblocks in the way of people so they could not get to Him at a surface level. If they were not willing to trust Him alone, they would go away offended.

Here in John 6 He asks them in effect, “Does this offend you?”

So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” – John 6:67

Great question.

Jesus asks this question today, too. Does this gospel offend you?

Today, the world and its children question God at every turn.

Let’s jump right into the deep end.

For example, the world says, “How can God condemn a gay man for being gay? It’s genetic. He was born that way. If God didn’t want Him gay, God shouldn’t have made Him gay!

Hmmm…

So we back down. There’s something about this argument that gives us cause to be offended at God.

Jesus looks us in the eye–yes–us Christians–and says, “Does this offend you?”

Let me help you on this topic. God didn’t create me with an evil desire to be with other men. But I was born with a sin nature and completely bent toward sins of many flavors. I am by nature self-centered. Oh, how my flesh delights in pleasing myself, in promoting myself.

I came out of the womb (a good Christian womb at that) lying, cheating, stealing, swearing, fighting for my own way. I wanted to be my own Lord. That desire still wars against my spirit, and sometimes gets the upper hand.

If God didn’t want me to be a liar, why did He make me this way. If God wanted my sex life to be completely devoted to one woman and only in one context, why did He give me this sex drive? Why does God continue to allow the birth of people who are enslaved to sin? Why?

Does this offend you?

Jesus isn’t afraid of losing those who don’t hold on to Him as their only hope of life. Jesus is never looking for fringe followers. He’s looking for those who throw in their lot with Him. Only complete regime change works in this New Covenant.

Only those who are willing to take Him into their life at the expulsion of all other gods, all other priorities, all other lovers.

And so we come back to the flesh and blood.

He finally explains it all to His disciples at the last supper. He didn’t want them to gnaw on Him like a herd of zombies. He wanted to implant His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, within each of them, within each of us. He wanted us to become a dwelling place for the Spirit of God. The two become one flesh–me and God–you and God.

He’s not looking for a long-distance relationship here. He’s looking for intimacy. He doesn’t want to shout to us. He wants to be in our spirit so that His whisper bubbles up a spring of life from within us. His word flows from us because that daily life producing bread–that Word of God come from within.

The secret to this “so great salvation is God on the inside.

WOW

I again need to borrow my brother Larry’s word…Hallelujah!!

cropped-BenHeadshotThanks for coming by,

Blessings

Ben

You can catch up with our Hebrews musings here.

WALLS

Today, I want to talk to you from the back end of Ephesians 2.

Paul’s talking to the gentile believers in Ephesus about how God, by the blood of Jesus, has taken down the dividing walls that separated them from the Jews.

If you can believe this, there were divisions in the Church! 

I know, hard to grasp, right?

We all know our society is split up a dozen ways. In the US at least, there are fractures everywhere, and these breaks are growing day by day.

But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, – Ephesians 2:13-14 NASB

This dividing wall between Jew and Gentile is not the only wall the blood of Jesus can break down.

All the walls of hate that separate us are fodder for His blood.

Walls that devide the races.

Walls that devide denominations.

Walls that devide rich and poor.

Republican and democrat.

Educated and uneducated.

by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, – Ephesians 2:15 NASB

But to what end?

Why take this fractured mess and bring it together as One New Man?

What’s the point?

Frankly, it’s so He can build something new.

He had to tear down the walls we built between us so that He could erect walls around us. More precisely, He desires to use us as building materials for a new structure.

This is the part I really love!

having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, – Ephesians 2:20-21 NASB

He breaks the walls down that separate us, then, as a master builder, fits us together. 

But to what end? 

Jesus is not building a temple where we come to remember a distant God and His works from long ago.

He’s not making a museum or library.

in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. – Ephesians 2:22 NASB

He destroyed all that separates us and built a home for our Father. 

God didn’t send Jesus to build a memorial to a God of the past. He sent Jesus to prepare a place where He Himself could be at home with His family. A place where He could—well, I like the way Paul puts it, borrowing heavily from Jerimiah:

just as God said, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. – 2 Corinthians 6:16 NASB (check out Jeremiah 7:23 and Ezekiel 11:20

Frankly, daily relationship is all God wanted from the day He thought of Adam. God’s heart yearns to commune with you, with us. He longs for the day when He can walk with this One New Man in the garden in the cool of the day. When our conversations would include Him. When His voice would be heard in the congregation of the saints.

We tend to put off this level of relationship with the Father to the day we go to heaven, but that’s not God’s plan. His desire is to dwell among men. Emanuel—God with us.

That’s enough for today, but next time, I want to talk with you about Zion, the city of the great King. It’s a revelation that will change the way you read the Psalms.

Thanks for coming by.

Don’t miss it.

Love y’all.

Ben