The Old Testament circumcision was of the flesh as an outward symbol of a covenant relationship with God. Our circumcision is of the spirit removing our sinful nature and replacing it with God’s Holy Spirit. Our hearts and desires were changed and God wrote His Name upon our hearts. Our baptism is the outward symbol of being buried with Christ and raised again to a new life.
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”-2 Cor. 5:17” Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” – Eph. 4:24
We were spiritually dead in our sinful nature but now all things are made new. We are new creatures:
“Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”-Romans 6:4
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Because of His great love and mercy, Jesus gives one more invitation to the crowd to believe in what He has said and who He is. He is telling them since you have seen and heard me, you have heard and seen the Father. Every word Jesus said and every act He committed came directly from the Father. On judgment day, the unbelievers will be judged by the words that Jesus was teaching. After all, Jesus was the Word Incarnate, the Living Word, the Word that was established in the beginning. In Jesus, there was life and that life was the light for all the people. 1 In the beginning there was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were made by him, and nothing was made without him. 4 In him there was life, and that life was the light of all people. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overpowered it.—John 1:1-5 NCV)
Jesus is God, God is Jesus, Jesus is the Word and the Word is Jesus and in Him is life and light. God and Jesus are in perfect agreement and have been since the beginning. The Word that Jesus spoke was commanded by the Father and contained Life. It is the same Word that has saved us and will keep us until the day Jesus returns. The world needs to hear that Word today, so they can ask the Lord for help. 14 But before people can ask the Lord for help, they must believe in him; and before they can believe in him, they must hear about him; and for them to hear about the Lord, someone must tell them; 15 and before someone can go and tell them, that person must be sent. It is written, “How beautiful is the person who comes to bring good news.”–Romans 10″14,15 (NCV)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
2 For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you.
On the day of salvation, I helped you.”
Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.
— 2 Corinthians 6:2
Why God chooses to use ordinary people to spread His Word is one of the mysteries of Christianity. Throughout the Bible, we find God choosing shepherds and other common folk to deliver His message to the people. He takes those people and puts them through His training program and makes great leaders of them. Moses was born to an Israelite woman, raised in an Egyptian culture as a prince but had to become nothing before God could use Him. He learned to trust God in the wilderness. Joseph spent years in prison being trained for his position as the second most powerful man in the world. David was the youngest in the family of Jesse. He was not even allowed to go to war with his brothers. God used the years that David spent as a shepherd for His training. Each of these men and many more spent time in God’s training program preparing for the “one day” when they would lead Israel back to God’s protection again. For that “day of salvation”. He raised up women as well, there is Deborah, Esther, Ruth and Mary. Each just common ordinary folk until God touched them and prepared them for that “one day of salvation”. Which one of us ordinary folk has God chosen to be the next messenger of salvation? Which of us is in training at this very moment to lead our nation back to God to experience that “day of salvation”? Are you that person and is today that day? Every Christian is that person and today is the day.
Maybe because His name is Holy Spirit we tend not to think of Him as a person. But the third person of the Trinity is just as much a person and just as much God as Jesus, the second person and God the first person. Each has a different office and duty but they are One and the Same. When we ignore God or reject Jesus, we are doing the same thing to the Holy Spirit. When we grieve God, we cause sadness in the whole Godhead. When we are obedient and faithful, we bring joy to the Trinity. There is a person living inside of every Christian who feels grief, sadness, pain and joy just as we feel those things. None of us like to be ignored, neither does He. How long would a friendship last if we walked with a human friend 24/7 and never acknowledged his/her presence or spoke to them? What if we never invited them to join in our conversations and our mealtimes? What if, for all practical purposes, our words and actions denied that we had a friend with us? Yet, hour after hour, we treat the Holy Spirit exactly this way. We deny that He is within us by our actions but more often by our lack of actions. How many times and places do we have an opportunity to introduce our Friend but we don’t? How many times does He asks us to introduce Him by that little nudge we feel but we won’t? If we say that we have never felt that nudge, what does that say about our relationship with our Friend? Let us all pray that the next time we feel that nudge, we will have the boldness to introduce Him to our other friends and acquaintances.
God sent John the Baptist as a forerunner of Jesus. The purpose and plan for John’s life was to tell the world about the Light that was coming. John understood and accepted his mission wholeheartedly. John spent his life in the wilderness living on locusts and honey, witnessing to those who came out to hear him. He was not the Light but was a witness that the Light was coming. John was so effective in his work that Jesus called him “the greatest man who ever lived”.
Yet, Jesus said “even the least person in the Kingdom of God is greater than he is”. How can this be that we could be greater than John the Baptist who lived his life for and utltimately gave his life for Jesus? The word “greater” here is used in the same sense that the word “greater” is used when Jesus said that we would do even “greater” works than Jesus did when He walked here on the earth. It is not meant to demean or lessen the value of the work that John and Jesus did, but to emphasize the greatness of the Kingdom of God itself. It is not written to give us illusions of grandeur or self-importance, but to encourage us to work for the Kingdom of God. It is not as individual Christains that we are greater or can do greater works but it is our inclusion in the Kingodm of God that is emphasized as being of utmost importance. So, the work we do for the expansion of the Kingdom of God is greater in importance than anything that we do that the world considers great or important. If we are to be “greater” then we must finish the work that John started. John was the forerunner, Jesus was the reason and we are the witnesses for this and future generations. We are here as Light and Life to a dark and dying world. So, let your Light shine and speak the words of Life to those around you wherever you are and whenever you can. There is no “greater” work to be done.
22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. 24 Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began! 25 “O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. 26 I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.”—John 17:22-26 (NLT)
Jesus is our example of perfection. Perfect in His lifestyle because He was tempted but never sinned. Perfect in His love for us even unto death on the cross. Perfect in His unity with the Father and the Spirit. God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation.-Hebrews 2:10
When we talk about perfection, we are really talking about maturing spiritually. Jesus was, is and always will be the only perfect person. When God talks about perfection, He is looking at us through the perfect blood of Jesus. 20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.–Hebrews 13:20,21 (KJV)
Again, we see that “we” can’t do it, “we” can’t save ourselves, “we” can’t sanctify ourselves. “we” can’t make ourselves holy and “we” can’t perfect ourselves.. But with one act of perfect sacrifice, Jesus did all that for us. 14 With one sacrifice Christ made his people perfect forever. They are the ones who are being made holy.–Hebrews 10:14 (ERV)
God in us is perfecting us daily, so that we will be prepared for the glory that is heaven.
11 This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another.12 We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous. 13 So don’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. 14 If we love our brothers and sisters who are believers, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. 15 Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them. 16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?—1 John 3:11-17 (NLT)
As Christians, most of us, at sometime or other, have met other people and we sensed immediately that they were Christians. There was a kindred Spirit that we could easily identify. This Spirit is God’s Holy Spirit indwelling us and we can feel the love of the other person almost immediately. We must never feel hatred for those around us, whether they be Christian brothers and sisters or not. We must always reflect the love of Jesus by loving others. First, to our own household, then our church, and then those around us. We should never have the attitude of the expert in religious law that Jesus encountered in Luke 10. He asked Jesus, “who is my neighbor”? This was an effort on his part to get Jesus to identify specific people that he should help. This would limit his responsibilities to others. We are to help all those that Jesus puts in our path. It is not God’s will that any should perish. Therefore, it becomes our responsibility to lead as many as possible to Christ by showing them the love of Christ. Our lifestyles should show others that Christianity is not a bunch of “don’ts” and negativism, but that it is a positive relationship with a living Lord.