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.

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].

Die Well to Live Well

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At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.” One man ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said. With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.  The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”  (Mark 15:33–39, NIV 1984).

My Musings – We do not know much about this Roman soldier.  He was a centurion, which means he had a command.  He was, at least ultimately, accountable to Pilate, who was accountable to the Emperor in Rome.  Publicly proclaiming that “surely this man was the Son of God,” could have possibly put his position, perhaps even his life, at risk as he should have had “no god but Caesar.” Certainly no rivaling allegiance.  Because of his position he was likely well-disciplined and not given to unguarded displays of sentimentality.   So what was it that made such an impression on this soldier?

He obviously had witnessed (actually oversaw) the nailing of Jesus to the cross.  He stood at the feet of a condemned man hanging between two criminals convicted of capital offenses.  He could hear the insults of the Jewish religious leaders being hurled at a man that they should have welcomed as Messiah, but that they refused to worship as their God.  Perhaps he was present at the trial, and saw the crowds turn against Jesus, refusing to follow Him as their King.  Preferring instead to have another capital criminal released instead of Jesus.  Was he also present at the scourging?  This man being flogged bled like a mere mortal.  Cried out in agony like beaten animal.  Displayed no intrinsic power to resist his torturers that one might expect of a powerful god.

But something profound happened on that hill that softened this hardened career warrior.  And not just him.  Remember, initially both of the criminals crucified with Jesus also hurled insults at Him (Mark 15:32).  Before the end, however, one of those hardened criminals saw in Jesus what the Roman centurion saw (Luke 23:40).  Jesus died (“when the centurion…saw how he died”) liked He lived.  Displaying unmistakable divinity through His unblemished humanity.  His living well (sinless and without defect), would have gone for naught if He had not died well (submissive to His Father’s will).  Yes indeed, “surely this man was the Son of God!

My Advice – Hardened criminal and hardened soldiers are able to recognize and respond to Christ.  Perhaps, for whatever reason, your heart has become hardened.  It is possible for it to become so hardened that it is no longer capable of responding to Christ.  Do not let that happen to you.  “For [our Heavenly] Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and [Christ] will raise him up at the last day.”  (John 6:40, NIV 1984). You will need to die to self (die well) and receive new life (live well) in Christ.  My “Born Again Experience” musings will show you how.

Worthy of Disgrace

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They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.”  (Acts 5:40–42, NIV 1984).

My Musings – Imagine being flogged and ordered not to speak in the name of Jesus.  Many people around the world today, and throughout history, have not had to imagine this (and even worse things).  For people like me, who have yet to face this, it is humbling.  At least it should be.  For what we face is mere inconvenience (ridicule, rejection, disrespect) in comparison.

Next, imagine not only continuing to teach and proclaim the good news that Jesus is the Christ but also rejoicing (feeling or showing  great joy or delight) for being counted worthy (important enough) to suffer such disgrace (strongly and generally disapproved of) for the name.  All the while knowing that even more (or worse) is to come.  Also humbling, as all too often we grumble over our “inconveniences.”

My Advice – Be worthy of disgrace for His name.  Because it is the name before all other names.

And It Was Night

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Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.  “What you are about to do, do quickly,” Jesus told him, but no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the Feast, or to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.  (John 13:26–30, NIV 1984).

My Musings – “And it was night.”  Deeds or darkness, prefer the cover of darkness.  Light reveals, darkness conceals.  Light illuminates, darkness obfuscates.  That is the true nature of light and darkness.  If only it were that simple.  Unfortunately, Satan masquerades as an angel of light.  He quotes (misquotes, takes out of context) scripture.  So while we are to be as “innocent as doves” we must also be as “sly as a fox.”  “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”  (2 Timothy 4:2–4, NIV 1984).

My Advice – Do not let anyone deceive you.  That time is here.  Darkness cannot extinguish light, but it can scatter it, diffuse it and dilute it.  “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”  (2 Timothy 4:5, NIV 1984).  Keep your “lamps” filled with oil and their “wicks” neatly trimmed.

Cross-Examination

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Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”  (Acts 17:11, NIV 1984).

My Musings – I do my very best to make sure that the things I blog are sound in doctrine and consistent with the word.  But my writings are not inspired in the same sense that the Scriptures are inspired (“God-breathed“), nor do they carry the authority of the Word.

My Advice – So whether it is my blog or someone else’s, you owe it to yourself to examine the Scriptures yourself to make sure they contain the truth.

He Has Set A Day

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Since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man’s design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:29–31, NIV 1984).

My Musings – Of course we are much too enlightened to believe in graven images (or at least much of the world is) these days.  Our idols, the things we “worhsip” and run after, are much more sophisticated.  Power.  Prestige.  Possessions.  Pleasure. Professions.  We should not think the divine life can be found in any of these things.  We are God’s offspring, yet we search for and chase after these things rather than a relationship with Him.  In fact there are many who regard belief in God, and belief in the death and resurrection of His Son, are just as ignorant as believing in images made out of gold, silver or stone.

My Advice – “When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, ‘We want to hear you again on this subject.’ At that, Paul left the Council. A few men became followers of Paul and believed.” (Acts 17:32–34, NIV 1984).

Just like in Paul’s day, there are three ways people respond to the message of Christ’s resurrection from the dead.  We can reject it (“some of them sneered“).  We can postpone consideration (“we want to hear you again“).  We can accept it (“a few became followers…and believed“).  How about you.  This really is not something we can remain neutral about (postpone) forever.  Eventually, we will choose one of the other two.  Either we will accept the Him or reject Him.  But we must remember, “he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed.”  We will be judged by the One that we either accept or reject.  How about you?  How will you be judged?  With justice, for sure.  But about who you are, or what He has done?

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Today’s musing was inspired by Lead Teaching Pastor Kevin Rutledge’s sermon on February 2, 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.