Lighthouse Blogs

21
Feb

Life With Jesus…Part 3

Greetings,

I am excited to continue this discussion on what a life with Jesus should look like. Like I have said, this is not an exhaustive study, but I think it will start us on a good road. With that thought I would like to take a side note in this introduction. I guess the question on my mind is: Is this the kind of life that we want to live? I was talking to someone the other day and through the conversation this question came up, “Do you really want Jesus to be number one in your life?” That is what we need to ask ourselves! I think many people want all the benefits of Jesus and His way of life but not the work and responsibility that comes with it. It is funny that even though all the benefits outweigh the work and the responsibilities, people still choose a life contrary to the way Jesus wants us to live. We want to pick and choose what we want in this relationship with Christ and what we like in the Bible. I want to challenge us to examine ourselves and ask ourselves, “Do I really want Jesus to be first in my life? Do I want Him to be my NUMBER ONE?”

Let’s continue looking at scripture about this life with Jesus.

“Some, to be sure, preach Christ out of envy and strife, but others out of good will. These do so out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the others proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely, seeking to cause me trouble in my imprisonment. What does it matter? Just that in every way, whether out of false motives or true, (1) Christ is proclaimed. (2) And in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice because I know this will lead to my deliverance through your prayers and help from the Spirit of Jesus Christ. (3) My eager expectation and hope is that I will not be ashamed about anything, but that now as always, with all boldness, Christ will be highly honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For me, living is Christ and dying is gain.“ (Philippians 1:15-21)

  1. Our life should proclaim Christ – Whether you want it to or not, living our life proclaims something. The way we respond to people and events in our life is going to proclaim something about what we believe or what we hold to be true. Are our lives proclaiming the things of Christ? When events happen in our life whether good or bad, can people see our love for Him or do they see the love of ourselves.
  2. Do we rejoice even in the negative – This is sometimes the hardest thing we have to do. I know that when a negative happens our first response in not to rejoice, I totally understand this. But the truth is that if we have chosen Christ we have promises like this, “In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. And He who searches the hearts knows the Spirit’s mind-set, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:26-28).” In the passage that we are studying Paul is speaking about a negative that is going on in his life. People are trying to attack him by using the Gospel of Christ. Paul is saying hey even thought this is happening I will rejoice because Christ will be heard about. Think about it, If we respond to a negative in our life the way Christ would is He not being proclaimed and will people not hear and see Christ through us? So, we should stop and rejoice because He took a negative and made something positive and beautiful out of it.
  3. Is our eager expectation and hope Christ working in me – I wonder if we really understand this? Do we have an eager expectation of Christ in our lives? Is our Hope based on Christ working through us? These are some pretty hard questions to answer and for many of us our gut response is to say, “Yes it is!” But if we are not proclaiming Christ with our life and we are not rejoicing in the negative then how can Christ be our expectation of deliverance or why should He will should up. Through all these things Christ is our hope; He is going to work through us in these situations because He promised to take this negative and make it positive and beautiful.

Just one thing:(1) live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. (2) Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, working side by side for the faith of the gospel, not being frightened in any way by your opponents. This is evidence of their destruction, but of your deliverance–and this is from God. (Philippians 1:27-28)

  1. A good question – “Are we living a life worthy the gospel (the good news) of Christ?” The good news is that we have redemption or restoration in relationship with God and others that ends in eternal life with Him in the age to come because of Christ’s death and resurrection even though we don’t deserve it (grace). To rephrase this question, are we living a life that reflects the sacrifice that He has made for us or are we living a life that treats His grace like something cheap and not worth anything?
  2. A life good character – The word character has been defined as, “How we live when no one is looking.” In other words, do we live like what we say we believe when no one is looking? It is so easy “to say” anything, but do we back it up with actions? I would say that the definition of character should start  with intimacy.  Let me try to explain. When we are by ourselves do we still live a life that reflects Christ? I believe that many “Christians” live a double life. We all love stories of spies and double agents but the said thing is that many of us are really living that kind of life and we are selling out to the enemy and we have no one to help us. We live in a society that tells us that we do not need intimate relationships in our lives and we are not doing very well. We need to let people know us so well that we can not live a double life because they could see it in our eye. They would be there to remind us that the Holy Spirit is ever present and that we are never really alone. They would stand up to us and with love tell us that we need to stop. It is my prayer that you allow people into your life this way and that you will see how God planned His people to be in intimate relationship with Him and others.

(1) For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to will and to act for His good purpose. Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world. (2) Hold firmly the message of life. Then I can boast in the day of Christ that I didn’t run in vain or labor for nothing. (Philippians 2:13-19)

  1. Are you shining like a star? –  So, we need to ask ourselves are we allowing God to work in us? We see here that He has enabled us to will and to act for Him. Lets break this down a little. The Phrase “to will” is our thinking and desiring process. So, He has enabled us or is in the process of enabling us (He is working in us) to think how He thinks (others before us) and to change that thought into a desire. So now we desire what He desires: deep intimate relationship with us and that His children would have deep intimate relationships with each other. This is seen by the fact that when we are developing these relationships, we are not complaining and grumbling about it because we desire these things. Have you noticed that we we truly desire something we are willing to do anything to get it. Maybe our prayers then should start with, “God, I want your desires for me and for others”. When we are doing this we will stand out in this society like a shining star because this goes against everything that this world is teaching us.
  2. A life of satisfaction – So I believe that a life with Jesus is a satisfied life. Not that we should be ever satisfied with where we are with Christ. We should strive for deeper relationships in all areas of our lives.  But that we are really content in the situations that we find ourselves. Maybe I should say it this way, We are living a life that allows Christ to be my source of satisfaction, not our things or job or anything else. It is Christ and Him alone that gives me purpose and satisfaction.

I am going to stop here for now. I think that there is a lot here to digest and to take in. I want you to really study these things out and dig deep in His word. I know many of you are thinking there is so much more in these passages of scripture. You are right but I am going to come back to some of these later in this blog study. I will show that some things in this life with Christ are hard and it takes guts and determination and the Holy Spirit to live it out. Living this life with Christ is not for the faint of heart, it is not for the weak kneed. It is a life of adventure, courage, and strength that can only come from Him. May this God take you deeper than you have ever been and may you see Him like never before!

In His Grip,
Pastor Jason

21
Feb

Life with Jesus…Part 2

Hello everyone,

Here is part  2 of “Life with Jesus…What Does that Look Like?” Last week we really set the ground work for the next several blog entries on what a life with Jesus really looks like. I want to say up front that this is not going to be an exhaustive study. We are going to hit the the high points. I know that we could spend a lot of time on each of these points but what would be the fun if I did all the work for you? My prayer is that this will drive you into the Word of God (Jesus – John 1). We finished last week with the statement that, “We must live like Christ”. I know that many of you are going to say that we can’t live like Him, He was was the Son of God and we are not. You are right and I am not saying that we are. Listen to what Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “And I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” I believe that because Christ lives in us, His power also is in us, that is why we strive to “live a Life worthy of the Gospel of Christ. (Philippians 1:37)”. Jesus talked many times in the New Testament about how we have seen God because we have see Him (Jesus). I believe that when people look at us they should see a reflection of Christ in our words, actions and responses to situation and life itself. So, I am going to list some scripture for us to look up and see what this life looks like. Just a short note, the scriptures that you will read are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB).

#1. Jesus spoke these things, looked up to heaven, and said: Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son so that the Son may glorify You, for You gave Him authority over all flesh; so He may give eternal life to all You have given Him. This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent–Jesus Christ. I have glorified You on the earth by completing the work You gave Me to do. Now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with that glory I had with You before the world existed. I have revealed Your name to the men You gave Me from the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. (John 17:1-6)

  1. Our life is eternal
  • Eternal life is the knowledge of God (So, if life is eternal and eternal life in knowing God then our life should be all about developing a deep intimate  relationship with God).
  • Jesus glorified God by completing His work; in the same way we glorify Christ by fulfilling our purpose – developing intimate relationships between God and man (last weeks blog)
  • We belong to Christ.
  • Note: Please take the time to read more of this passage. You will see greater detail in the power, authority and grace Christ has given us.

#2. But the gift is not like the trespass. For if by the one man’s trespass the many died, how much more have the grace of God and the gift overflowed to the many by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ. And the gift is not like the one man’s sin, because from one sin came the judgment, resulting in condemnation, but from many trespasses came the gift, resulting in justification. Since by the one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. So then, as through one trespass there is condemnation for everyone, so also through one righteous act there is life-giving justification for everyone. For just as through one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. The law came along to multiply the trespass. But where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness, resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Romans 5:15-21)

  1. We have Grace and Righteousness
  • Through Adam’s sin, we struggle in sin
  • We have been justified, thanks to the Gift of Christ – His life!
  • But Because of Christ then we have been given grace and righteousness that results in us knowing God through Christ.

#3. Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. What the law could not do since it was limited by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like ours under sin’s domain, and as a sin offering, in order that the law’s requirement would be accomplished in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-4)

  1. We have Freedom
  • Through Jesus we have been given freedom.
  • Through the Holy Spirit we have been given the ability to walk in this life like Christ. Notice I said the ability, God has also given us freewill and we must choose Him.

#4. For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Christ died and came to life for this: that He might rule over both the dead and the living. (Romans 14:7-9)

  1. We must live a life under authority.
  • This is something that in the last years people have had a hard time with. We want control, power and our own way. As a true disciple of Christ we learn to understand words like authority and submission. We find that these words are glorious and we learn to find peace in them. When man is left to his own authority it always ends up a mess! History is our proof. The more we take control the more we make things worse.
  • We also need to think about the control that God has. Many of us will give Him the control over the good stuff but we really don’t want to see God’s hand in the negative. I am not saying that God makes this stuff happen. I just mean that He makes the best out of the worst. If we are struggling in this area then we really need to ask ourselves do we trust Him? We will talk more about this in the last few scriptures in a couple of posts.

#5. So Jesus said again, “I assure you: I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  (John 10:7-11)

  1. Life in Abundance.
  • We have a Shepherd
  • Jesus is our shepherd (We are under His authority). He is watching out for us, He is protecting us and He laid down His life for us.
  • Our life is full of positives and negatives and if we trust God in all these then we have a chance for growth, peace and joy. Yes, even in the negatives! I believe that is when we do most of our changing for the better or when our spiritual growth happens. And this is where we need to practice contentment in our life. Instead of saying things like, “why me?”,  we learn to say, “why not me?”. Isn’t God in control?

Well, I am going to end here and I will continue this next post in a couple of days. I want to end with another scripture that I believe is a key for us in this study. It is found in Galatians 2.

But if, while seeking to be justified by Christ, we ourselves are also found to be sinners, is Christ then a promoter of sin? Absolutely not! If I rebuild those things that I tore down, I show myself to be a lawbreaker. For through the law I have died to the law, that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing. (Galatians 2:17-21)

I pray that you are beginning to see what this life looks like. For some of us this may seem basic and that there is nothing new here. For you, I pray that this will be a reminder of what Jesus has done for you, but I also pray that you will be teachable and willing to dig deeper and become even more intimate with your heavenly Father. But I know that there are many (even in the church) who have never looked at what life in Christ really looks like. It is Christ living in us and if He is, then many of us have a lot of work to do. I pray this becomes a catalyst for growth in your life. Be back in a couple of days!

In His Grip,
Pastor Jason

21
Feb

Life With Jesus…Part 1

Greetings all,

I have been wanting to write this blog for a while and have a few minutes and thought it was a good time. I have been in the ministry for a while now and was thinking about how many times have we been asked the questions about living this life with Christ. So, as I was getting ready for youth group the other day it hit me that I have never really heard someone talk about what life looks like with Christ. I mean we tell people that life is better and that there is hope and purpose but is that really what they want to know? I felt that God was leading me on a lesson on how this life looks when we are living it with Jesus. Now, understand that this is not an exhaustive study on this subject but it is my prayer that it will get you started on a pursuit to see if your life is one in which people see Jesus. I am going to post this in several parts over the next week. So be looking for more to come after this.

Let’s get a few things out of the way before we jump on into this.

#1 What is our purpose in life? I know that we have had people say that our purpose is to worship God and I think that is partly true but when Jesus was asked about what are the greatest commandments, He gave us two that deal with relationships. I am convinced that our purpose is to have a deep intimate relationship with God through Christ and deep intimate relationships with others based on the life of Christ.

He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.”
(Matthew 22:37-40 HCSB)

We cannot truly worship God if we do not have a relationship with him.

The LORD God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden to work it and watch over it.
(Genesis 2:15 HCSB)

The phrase, “to work” (abad (aw-bad’ )) can be translated, to work, to serve, labor and even to be a worshiper. Adam was told to work the garden and that was him being a worshiper. So, when we are fulfilling our purpose then we are worshiping God. The Bible teaches us that life is all about relationships and that our purpose is to develop these relationships, I believe into intimate relationships.

#2 Our biggest problem with living a life with Jesus is we have lost or have a perverted our identity. We feel that who we are is based on what we do or who our family is or, even worse, we place our identity in other people, like our significant others, spouses, kids or parents. This is not how God wants us to think of ourselves. I believe this is one reason that we have so much depression and low self-esteem in our culture.

For through the law I have died to the law, that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.
(Galatians 2:19-21 HCSB
)

See, Paul is teaching that it is not what we do, not what we have done, it is not who is in our family or who we belong to here on earth. It is not where we work or what we have that gives us life or our identity. It is in Jesus Christ alone that we find our identity. This is important to understand because where we find our identity is where we will put our time and effort. This also determines what we view as our purpose. If our identity is our job, then that becomes the over riding factor on where we will spend our time, our money and our energy and other resources. When this purpose and identity does not satisfy us, then we get depressed and we begin to think of ourselves as worthless. We are not worthless! Jesus knew that we were worth His very own life!

Now if we know our purpose is a relationship with God and we know that our identity is only found in Jesus, then I believe this should motivate us to develop a deep relationship with Christ (because this brings us to God – Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and The Life” ) and it is through Christ that we can have grace towards others which then enables us to have intimate relationships with others.

#3 We need to live like Christ.

Just one thing: live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, working side by side for the faith of the gospel, not being frightened in any way by your opponents. This is evidence of their destruction, but of your deliverance–and this is from God. For it has been given to you on Christ’s behalf not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him, having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear about me.
(Philippians 1:27-30 HCSB)

We see here that Paul is telling us that we need to live like Christ in the good and the negative because God is in control of all things. We also see here that people are watching us and our testimony is seen in our actions. I wonder if we took the time to compare our lives with these verses if we would see that we have the correct purpose, the correct identity and are truly living like Christ?

OK, I will post again on Tuesday Part 2 of what life with Jesus looks like. We will take some time in many verses and I pray that you just don’t read my words but that you study each of these as we gaze at just a top layer of what this life looks like.

In His Grip,
Pastor Jason

P.S.

Looking forward to worshiping with you this Sunday. I know many of us will be in different churches but we will be worshiping Jesus and that is all that matters.