What’s On Your T-Shirt?

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Matthew 28:18-20Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV 1984)

My Musings – My dad did not originate the saying, but he liked to quote it “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  I wonder what makes some think the mission statement in Matthew 28 is broken and needs our “fixin’?”

A disciple is someone who follows another person or another way of life and who submits himself to the discipline (teaching) of that leader or way.(1)  This begs the question: what would make someone want to follow and submit to Jesus?  And then, how do we make disciples?  How do we fulfil our co “mission” statement given to us by Jesus?

People need to hear from us the teaching of Jesus (what we say) and see in us the life of Jesus (what we do).  It takes more than a program, t-shirt, bumper sticker or coffee mug to communicate the Gospel.  It takes a life that is transformed.  If people do not hear and see the Master in what we consistently say and do, how can they possibly become a disciple of someone that we claim to be a disciple of?  If we are not faithful in our  representation of Kingdom living, how can we possibly expect others to want to be subject to its King?

My Advice – We cannot make disciples if we are not disciples ourselves.  What we say and what we do must be in agreement and must be a reflection of Christ.

  • John 10:27My sheep listen to my voice [what we say]; I know them, and they follow me [what we do]. (NIV 1984)
  • 1 John 3:18Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. (NLT 2013)

(1)Helm, P. (1988). Disciple. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1, p. 629). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

All Things Made New

ALL THINGS MADE NEWHe will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:4-5a)

Behold, I make all things new” is the first time since Revelation 1:8 that God is specifically referenced as speaking directly (who else would be sitting on His throne?), though voices have come from the throne (Revelation 21:3) and out of the sanctuary (Revelation 16:1, 17). While these too may be from God himself, they seem more likely to be coming from one of the angels in His Presence. The message here is not addressed to John (contrast Revelation 7:14; 17:7; 21:6; 22:6), but to the entire world of the blessed.(1)

The vision is so wonderful that the best way John found to describe it was by describing what it was not (i.e. “no more”). Ever since John first recorded this revelation, believers have rejoiced to know that, in Heaven, there will be no more pain, tears, sorrow, or death. This blessed hope of Heaven has encouraged God’s people in times of suffering.(2)

Little else is said here in Revelation about the future of mankind, aside from the implication that kings and nations still exist. Humans are still human (albeit with glorified bodies), not angels, and none who enjoy this new and endless existence are tainted by sin. To see more of what the future holds for us, we must look at other New Testament passages.

We Shall Be Like Him – We find that when we stand in God’s presence, we will be transformed into Jesus’ likeness. “We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). Paul said that God has predestined us “to be conformed to the likeness of His Son” (Romans 8:29).

Raised Imperishable – Paul told the Corinthians that the believer’s resurrection body will be imperishable in contrast to our present perishable body. It will be marked by power rather than weakness. It will be controlled by the spiritual, rather than subject to the physical. The dead “will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52, see also verses 35–54). When the mortal becomes immortal, then death itself will be swallowed up in our great victory. In these words of Scripture, we see a glorious promise. But the scene is so far removed from our present situation that it is difficult to fully comprehend. We can perhaps see a bit more in the Gospel’s description of Christ after His resurrection. He could eat with His disciples. He had flesh and bones (Luke 24; John 21). Yet He also could “appear” among them in a locked room (John 20:19). He was recognizable, the same individual, yet at the same time different. These post-resurrection capacities of Jesus will likely be ours as well in resurrection.

Free from Our Sin Nature – The greatest wonder of all is that we shall be like Him, freed from every stain of sin. To be perfected and yet retain our individual self—this is our glorious destiny. “He who overcomes,” God promises, “will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be My son” (Revelation 21:7).(3)

Up Next – It is Done.

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References

  1. Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Re 21:5). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.
  2. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 622). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  3. Richards, L., & Richards, L. O. (1987). The teacher’s commentary (pp. 1088–1089). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Essential to Our Faith

1 Corinthians 15:17If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – The resurrection is essential to the Christian faith. If Christ was not victorious over death, then we certainly cannot be either. But He was and we are.

My Advice – Many people will try to water down the Gospel by saying Jesus is not really God in the flesh, He is not the only means of salvation or that He really was not raised from the dead. Do not believe them. All these are essential to your faith and hope in life eternal.

Innocent Awareness

1 Corinthians 14:20In regard to evil, be infants, but in your thinking be adults. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Infants are innocent. Adults are aware.

My Advice – Evaluate situations and circumstances like an adult and be aware of the evil that they might entail. Keep your innocence. Do not get involved in the evil.

God Dwells With Man

GOD DWELLS WITH MANAnd I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” (Revelation 21:3)

Following John’s revelation of the New Jerusalem he wrote, “I heard a loud voice from the throne….” This is the last of twenty times that the expression “a loud voice” is used in Revelation (first used in Revelation 5:2). This final proclamation from the throne states that “God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them.” In eternity, saints will enjoy a new intimacy with God which has been impossible in the fallen world where sin and death are still present.(1)

The Bible gives an interesting record of God’s dwelling (literally tabernacling(2)) with man.
He Walked – At first, God walked with man in the Garden of Eden.
He Dwelt – Later, He dwelt with Israel in the tabernacle and then the temple. When Israel sinned God departed from those dwellings.
He Came – Jesus came to earth and “tabernacled” among us (John 1:14).
He Indwells – Today, God does not live in man-made temples (Acts 7:48–50), but in the hearts of His people (1 Corinthians 6:19–20) and in the church (Ephesians 2:21–22).

He Will Once Again Dwell – At the consummation of all things, God will once again dwell “among the people.”

In both the tabernacle and the temple, a veil stood between men and God. That veil was torn in two when Jesus died, thus opening a “new and living way” for God’s people (Hebrews 10:19). Even though God dwells in believers today by His Spirit, we still do not fully understand or fellowship with Him as we would like. But one day, we shall dwell in God’s presence and enjoy Him forever.(3)

Up Next – All things made new.

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References

  1. Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, pp. 984–985). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  2. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 601). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  3. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 622). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Love Is, Love Is Not

1 Corinthians 13:4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered it keeps no record of wrongs. Loves does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, it always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – It is clear to see that what many try to pass off as love is really selfishness.

My Advice – Keep this as the standard of love that you aspire to with a mate, a friend, family and fellow Christians.

Not Everything

1 Corinthians 10:23“Everything is permissible” – but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible” – but not everything is constructive.  (NIV 1978)

My Musings – It is true that we live by grace. But that does not give us a license to sin. There are still things that simply are neither beneficial nor constructive and we should avoid them.

My Advice – Do not buy into any claims that because of grace you should be allowed do anything you want. God’s moral laws are still His laws.