The “Bourne Again” Supremacy

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It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices [the blood of goats and calves], but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices [the blood of Christ] than these. For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; He entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. Nor did He enter heaven to offer Himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”  (Hebrews 9:23–26, NIV 1984).

My Musings – The blood of goats and calves, were only temporary coverings of sin that had to be repeated time and time again.  They had no power to permanently remove the sin.  It took a better sacrifice.  It took the supreme (superior to all others) sacrifice.  The blood of God’s only Son. The “once for all” sacrifice “to do away with sin,” not just cover it. It must be offensive to God, for man to assert that there are other paths to salvation apart from His Son.  If there were, His Son’s sacrifice would not be supreme.  In fact, it would not have even been necessary.  But there is only one path.

My Advice – Don’t settle for solution other than the supreme solution — The “Bourne” Again Supremacy.

From Now On

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For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ.  (2 Corinthians 5:14–18, NIV 1984).

My Musings – As a wise former Pastor of mine once commented, whenever you see the word “therefore,” you need to look to see what it is there for.  The old (creation) has gone, the new (creation) has come.  But only if one is “in” Christ Jesus.  So we look to what came before to determine the therefore.  Being “in” Christ is only possible because “one [Christ] died for all.” That we should no longer live for ourselves (“the old has gone“), but for Him who died and was raised (“the new has come“).

My Advice – “The new has come.”  Available for all, but not automatic for all.  One has to be “in” Christ Jesus.  One must be “born again” as a new creation.

The Searcher

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“The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19:10, NIV 1984).

“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?”  (Matthew 18:12, NIV 1984).

My Musings – My all-time favorite actor? John Wayne.  His greatest movie?  Not the one he won the Oscar for (True Grit), but one that is consistently ranked among the top 100 movies of all time — The Searchers.  Presumably a favorite of Wayne’s as well, since he named one of his sons after the main character.

After a Comanche raiding party massacres a family, taking the youngest daughter prisoner, her uncle, Ethan Edwards (John Wayne), and adopted brother, Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter), begin a multi-year quest to find her. During the long search, the young girl grows into a young woman. Edwards, a deeply flawed and bigoted man, intends to kill her, as in his mind she has been “tainted’ by living with the Comanches. Pawley, a much weaker man, is driven by love for his sister and is determined to protect her from her uncle.  In the end, Pawley is not strong enough to intervene, but Edwards’ prejudice is overcome as his compassion and love for his niece surfaces.  This is probably not the most “politically correct” plot by today’s standards, but it made a strong statement about how inappropriate prejudice and bigotry is.  In that sense, the movie was, perhaps, ahead of its time.

There is no such flaw in our Savior.  First, He “came to seek and to save what was lost” in order to make them part of His flock. Then, if necessary, He will “go to look for the one that wandered off” in order to bring them back into the fold.

My Advice – He is searching for you.  Won’t you come on in to His flock?  Once there, remain in the fold. But rest assured, if you wander astray, He will come looking for you to bring you back.

If Only There Were Someone

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“He [God] is not a man like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court.  If only there were someone to arbitrate between us, to lay his hand upon us both, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more. Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot.”  (Job 9:32–35, NIV 1984).

My Musings – These words of Job’s could not have been more prophetic.

  • If only there were someone to arbitrate between us – Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding [arbitrating] for us.” (Romans 8:33–34, NIV 1984).
  • Someone to remove God’s rod from meThen the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff [rod] and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. (Matthew 27:27–31, NIV 1984).
  • Then I would speak up without fear of Him – “For we do not have a high priest [arbitrator] who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15–16, NIV 1984).

An arbitrator is someone to stands in between (intercedes) two parties to settle a dispute.  Who better to do so than Jesus, who knows the mind of the Father, while also being able to sympathize with us? “To lay his hand upon us both“?  In the end, the only way to settle the dispute was to take the penalty upon Himself, allowing us to receive mercy and find grace.

My Advice – Jesus is the only legitimate arbitrator between sinful man and a righteous God.  Accept the settlement.

 

For This Reason He Was Born

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Pilate replied. “It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?” Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” “What is truth?” Pilate asked.  (John 18:35–38, NIV 1984).

My Musings – “What is truth?”  Can you find it on social media?  Can you find it on the internet?  Can you find it in your favored political party?  Can you find it on the network news (you choose the network)?  If you are like me, you treat all of these with a healthy dose of skepticism.  Much that masquerades as the truth is really personal opinion or what the teller wants the truth the be.  Wouldn’t it be refreshing to have a place to go, where no matter what, you would find the truth?  For many people, apparently not.  But there really is such a place.  Jesus said He “came into the world to, to testify to the truth.”  But many want to change His Word to be something else than what it says.  For them, the truth that Jesus testified to is an “inconvenient truth.”

My Advice – Jesus asked His Father, “sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”  (John 7:17, NIV 1984).  Be sanctified (set apart to a sacred purpose) by the truth of the Scriptures.  Rather than trying to conform the truth to your lifestyle, conform your life to the truth. “Everyone on the side of truth listens to [Jesus].

From the Top

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And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.  At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.  (Matthew 27:50–51, NIV 1984).

My Musings – “He gave up His Spirit.”  A willing sacrifice.  His Spirit was not taken from Him, He released it.  “At that moment.”  The very moment that the ultimate sacrifice was made (“it is finished“).  “The curtain of the temple was torn in two.”  Access to God was made available through Christ’s death on the cross.  “From top to bottom.”  This is not an insignificant detail.  It was rent from the top, by the “hand” of God.

My Advice – We have access.  It was given to us as a free gift from God.  Why wouldn’t we enter in?  If we were waiting for God to make the first move to end the separation (even though we caused the separation), He already made it.  Big time.  The time is now. Huge cost.  The price is right – it’s free.

The Big Reveal

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As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”  (Matthew 3:16–17, NIV 1984).

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:  “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”  (Luke 4:14–21, NIV 1984).

My Advice – When my parents were expecting me, they had to wait the full nine months before learning whether they had a boy or a girl.  Then the announcements went out, “It’s a boy!”  When my boys were born we had ultrasound, but we chose to not to know their sex until they were born.  Today, prospective parents are revealing the sex of their unborn babies months before the birth in imaginative and creative ways.  One website proclaims:  “This is a moment that should be memorable.”  Indeed.  That is until later in life when the child reveals they are one of the currently estimated 112 genders (that’s sarcasm folks – and perhaps a subject for another blog).

The texts above are the greatest reveal in all of history.  The Jews had anticipated the coming of the Messiah for generations.  But there had been 400 years of silence since that last word form the Old Testament prophets.  When Christ was born, the parents knew, the shepherds knew, the Wise Men knew, that He was no ordinary child.  Then followed thirty years since Mary first “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”  (Luke 2:19, NIV 1984), and before it was revealed publicly.  First by the Father, “This is my Son.”  Then by Jesus Himself, “today this scripture is fulfilled.

The reveal continued to unfold throughout Christ’s brief ministry.  It revealed that He was more than the Son. He was King of kings.  But before He could assume His throne He had to be the suffering servant.  “Pilate…brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour. “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews. But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered. Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.  (John 19:13–16, NIV 1984).  That day, another scripture was fulfilled when Jesus said “it is finished!

My Advice – More than 2000 years have passed and men continue reject their King.  What about you?  What have you decided about the big reveal?

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Today’s musing was inspired by Teaching Pastor Kevin Rutledge’s sermon on March 1, 2020. Check it out at https://www.fbcsycamore.com/sermons. If you live in or are visiting the area, come and join us Sundays at 10:30 a.m. We’d love to be partners in the Gospel with you.