GrowingInLOVE

..Sharing with Fellow Christians..

Does Christ Know You? December 11, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — growinginlove @ 10:14 am
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Upon doing some reading in Matthew last night, I got to chapter 25, in which Jesus tells the parable of the ten virgins who were waiting from the bridegroom.  Five of the virgins were unprepared, as they had not brought any oil for their lamps, and while they left to go get some, the five prepared virgins were invited into the marriage.  When the five unprepared virgins returned, they said, “Lord, Lord, open to us”, but the response was “I know you not”.  (Matt 25:1-12)  These passages, of course, also brought to mind Matthew 7:21-23, which says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity”.  Jesus also explained it in Luke 13:25-28.  Many people will say they know Christ, and even claim to do great works in His name, but He will tell them that He never knew them and that they must depart from Him.

Now, last night, upon reading the parable of the virgins in Matthew 25, the passage in Matthew 16 came into my head, and I have no explanation why, other than I believe that God wanted me to see something.  The specific part of that chapter that came to mind was the portion in verses 13-18:

“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Right then, it was like a light went off in my head.  Peter knew who Jesus was; He knew that He was Christ, the Son of God.  Jesus then told Peter that he knew it, not after the flesh, because God had revealed it to him.  Then Jesus acknowledges Peter by name, showing that He knows who Peter is.  Peter knew Jesus, and Jesus knew Peter, then Jesus said that upon this rock will He build His church. Upon which rock? Peter?  I beg to differ.

I believe Jesus was establishing the rock, foundation, on which His church (or body of called out believers) would be built: the believer knowing Christ, as revealed by the Father, and Christ knowing the believer.  In Matthew 7:21, Jesus says that regardless of who claims to know Him, or says, “Lord, Lord”, only those who do the will of the Father will enter into the Kingdom.  Doing the will of the Father is what keeps Christ from telling you He doesn’t know you.  Doing the will of the Father is how Christ knows us!  This is how Christ’s church is built! I don’t believe the focus was to be on Peter himself, but on the fact that Peter knew and acknowledged Jesus as the Christ, Son of God, and Christ also knew and acknowledged Peter.  This relationship of us knowing Christ and Christ knowing us is the rock upon which Christ’s church is built.  We must do the will of the Father to enter into His Kingdom.

 

Thoughts of Concern December 10, 2009

Filed under: My Thoughts — growinginlove @ 1:42 pm
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I have a sincere concern for us who profess to be Christians.  Do we really want Christ, or do we just want the tangible things that we expect faith in Him to bring?  There are many well-meaning Christians ( and some ill-meaning wolves, goats, tares, masquerading as believers) who, I believe, have a distorted view of what following Christ is all about.  Self-esteem, self-help, and self-improvement is preached and promoted, but the life of following Christ requires self-denial.  The Holy Spirit working on the inside of us is what causes the real transformation within, not something of our own power.  Not too many of us, from what I see, even think about denying self.  We get so caught up in the lusts and desires of the flesh and this world, and then even try to claim that we want it to the glory of God, when in fact, the depths of our motives are selfish.  How much of what we pray for pertains to non-material things?  We know we pray for more money, cars, houses, etc, and we pray when we’ve run out of all other options. But how often do we pray that God increases within us the fruit of His Spirit? (Galatians 5:22)  How often do we pray for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom?  How often do we study the Word and ask the Father to teach us more about Him?  How often do we pray for the lost who don’t know Christ?  How often do we pray for other people out there who are suffering?  How often do we pray for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, even those which we may not even know personally?  

Many of our prayers are selfish and motivated by the wrong things. We seek physical, tangible evidence that God is working in our lives by what He gives us and how much He gives us, rather than the works that are wrought in and through us by His Holy Spirit.  Where’s the desire to learn to live holy, acknowledging and repenting of our sins, and asking God to guide our steps.  Where’s the desire to seek God’s will and let go of our own selfish wills?  We need to be making God absolutely first in our lives and remembering that friendship with the world is enmity with God.  We need to remember to take up our cross daily, crucifying our flesh, to follow Christ, and daily isn’t a one-time thing; it’s a lifestyle (Luke 9:23). We need to remember to share and stand firmly for the Gospel…the TRUE Gospel of our Lord and Savior.  We need to remember those in need and stretch forth our hands to help others in the name of Christ.  We need to stop worrying about what we want to get God to do for our own selves, and go humbly before our Heavenly Father seeking what He wants to do through us for His glory.  We must refuse to seek our own glory and the glory of men, and seek to honor and glorify God.  We are undeserving of any glory, and we are unfit to possess pride of ourselves, but we should be giving thanks, honor, and glory to our Father who is full of love, grace, and mercy in that He sent His Son to be the perfect sacrifice to pay the debt we owed and to keep us from the punishment we rightfully deserved.  If that isn’t humbling, I don’t know what is.  If that doesn’t inspire awe, reverence, and brokenness, I don’t know what does.

We as Christians must get our focus back on Christ.  We can’t let the cares of this world get us off course.  Would we continue to follow Christ if the stakes were as high as what the apostles and many, many others in Christ have faced, which was REAL persecution and martyrdom for Christ?  Do we really desire to forsake ALL to follow Christ?  If not, He Himself said that we are not worthy to be His disciples.  Does a man build a tower without first counting the cost, seeing if he has sufficient to finish it? Luke 14:26-35

 Let us pray without ceasing…

 

Dogs and Wolves December 7, 2009

Filed under: My Thoughts — growinginlove @ 12:26 pm
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I just wanted to do a quick blog on something that I just happened to notice while reading the book of Matthew just now.  In Matthew 7:6, Jesus says, “Give not that which is holy to the dogs, neither cast you your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”  I believe this means not to bother trying to teach holiness or wisdom to those who don’t want it because they won’t appreciate it, and they will attack you because of it.  Later on, in verse 15, He says, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”  False prophets come to you appearing to be fellow sheep, having an outward  appearance of godliness, but are actually dangerous wolves, in reality.  What is a wolf?  A type of dog.  They’re dogs who trample holiness, and they hate sound biblical doctrine and principles, and they’ll seek to destroy, discredit, and persecute any who would challenge them using the truth of God’s Word (give that which is holy).  They don’t live or teach true holiness, therefore they don’t desire to hear it or be corrected, and they’ll have feelings of contempt towards you for bringing it to their attention.

I’m not claiming this to be Christ’s true and intended correlation between these thoughts in these two verses of Scripture, or even that they’re related at all…I just happened to see an interesting way that the two could possibly be connected.