Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Accepting the proposal

February 5th, 2010

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I wrote a half-dozen “Love Month” posts before I figured out in my head how exactly I wanted to lay out this whole “Love Month” deal.

And I’m sure some of you are thinking “What the–”

It’s not the standard way to begin a discussion of love and dating and “relationships”.

But I am convinced that it’s the only way to do love, dating, and relationships right. We can’t understand love unless we know the love of God (“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” I John 3:16) We can’t find a mate without the express favor of the Lord (“He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the LORD.” Proverbs 18:22) And we certainly can’t figure out how to be married properly without knowing Christ’s love for His bride (“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her…” Ephesians 5:25)

I’ve begun the discussion of relationships with a discussion of the most important love relationship in ANY person’s life, whether single, married, or (as my mom put it in a comment a few days back) “somewhere in between”. Unless we are actively participating in THAT relationship, all of our other (human) relationships are merely play-acting, like little girls dressing up in high heels and pretending to be married, haranguing their imaginary husbands on the phone.

Beginning tomorrow, we’re going to shift gears a bit–but I don’t want us to shift focus. All of what we speak about in the upcoming month–in fact, all that we speak about for the rest of our lives–should be placed into perspective by placing it into the context of Christ and His great love for us.

Because this concept–no, not a concept. Because this relationship is so vital to our understanding of the next several weeks’ discussion, I want to make sure that you have an opportunity to become a part of this relationship.

The Bible makes it plain that all of us were born into slavery to sin.

“All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;”
Isaiah 53:6

“…they are all under sin.”
Romans 3:9

As slaves to sin, we deserved only death.

“For the wages of sin is death…”
Romans 6:23

We were cut off from relationship with God.

“But your iniquities have separated you from your God.”
Isaiah 59:2

In fact, we were practicing open rebellion against God.

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.”
Romans 8:7

Yet God loved us nonetheless and pursued a love relationship with us. He pursued us even to the point of laying down His life for us, dying in our place.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8

Having taken the punishment for our sins, He now offers us freedom from bondage to sin–and an invitation into a love relationship with Him. He has done all the work, has presented His proposal. We have only to accept His gift and enter into the love relationship with Him.

Will you accept His proposal?

Maybe you’ve already believed in Jesus Christ for salvation, but that’s as far as you’ve gone. You’ve seen salvation as “fire insurance”, but haven’t truly entered into a love relationship with Christ. He still desires that relationship–He paid the price for that relationship.

Will you accept His proposal?

I urge you to spend some time with God, tell Him that you accept His proposal. Enter into that relationship.

That relationship will change your life.

It has certainly changed mine.

Beyond the Fairy Tale

February 3rd, 2010

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So you get my point about the fairy tales. You can see the sin, fallen-ness, rescue thing. But you’re still skeptical about the whole “Prince and Princess fall in love” bit. You think I’m over-romanticizing the Bible, turning it into a fairy tale.

Sure, I’ve taken some creative liberties with the story of redemption–but the idea of God pursuing us as a man pursues a woman is not new. In fact, it’s found all over Scripture.

Both Jesus and John refer to Christ as being a bridegroom.

When some people came to John, telling him about how Jesus was baptizing people and how people were coming to Him, John responded without jealousy: “He who has the bride is the bridegroom, but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.” (John 3:29) John likens himself to the best man at a wedding where Jesus is the groom. John is ecstatic that the groom has arrived and the wedding approaches.

When others complained to Jesus that His disciples did not fast like the disciples of John did, Jesus answered, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days.” (Luke 5:34-35) Jesus asks, “Why would you make the groomsmen fast during the celebration leading up to the wedding? When the groom leaves, then the groomsmen will fast.” It is clear that Jesus is speaking of Himself as the bridegroom, and His disciples as the groomsmen.

Paul also picks up this theme in I Corinthians 11:2 “For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present as a chaste virgin to Christ.” Like a father, or perhaps a matchmaker, who has arranged a match between Christ and the Corinthian church, Paul is rooting for the relationship to work. He speaks of his fear that somehow the bride will call off the match, “falling in love” with another man.

Let’s put the pieces together. We have Jesus, arriving on the scene, announcing that He is a bridegroom. He has paid a great bride-price, laying down His own life. The church is now betrothed to Christ–and Jesus has ascended to heaven. “In My Father’s house are many mansions….I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2) Jesus is now in heaven, preparing the place for His bride–but He has promised that He will return. “I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:3)

The very end of Revelation tells the end of this glorious story. “‘Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.’ And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints….’Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'” (Revelation 19:7-9)

Someday, the home shall be prepared, the groom shall return, the bride and the marriage supper shall be ready, and the story will draw to a close. The happily ever after will begin. Until that day, we–the church, the bride of Christ–wait in eager expectation. “And the spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say ‘Come!’….Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:17, 20)

Only Human

February 1st, 2010

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A reminder for all the ladies out there: Even the most amazing man on earth is still only human. He can’t meet all your needs. He can’t fill all your holes. He can’t love you like you desire. It’s not necessarily that he doesn’t want to. It’s that he CAN’T. He’s only human.

And for the guys? Even the most amazing woman out there is still only human. She can’t supply what’s lacking in you. She can’t respect you like you desire. She can’t meet all your needs. It’s not necessarily that she doesn’t want to. It’s that she CAN’T. She’s only human.

It’s sad news for those of us who have bought into the romantic notion that satisfaction can be found in the perfect love relationship. We think that if only we had the right guy (or gal), we’d be content, we’d be happy, we’d be satisfied.

But contentment can’t be found in any man on earth. Happiness can’t be found in any man on earth. Satisfaction can’t be found in any man on earth. Because any man on earth is only human.

The good news is, there is a man who is more than just human. There is a man who can perfectly satisfy our every need and desire. There is a man who can fill your every longing. There is such a man, a man who is more than just human–but He can’t be found on this earth.

John 1 speaks of this man saying “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1,14)

Jesus Christ is fully human, but not only human. He is also fully God. (And the Word WAS God.)

While any man (or woman) on this earth will disappoint, Jesus Christ never will. He promises to “never leave you or forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) Nothing can separate you from His love (Romans 8:38-39). He will “supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) And, He “who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23)

Fully God and fully man, Jesus Christ is the only one who will never disappoint.

As we begin our discussion of relationships, I’d like to start with a discussion of the MOST important relationship we can have–the relationship that puts everything else in perspective. I’d like to ground our whole discussion in relationship with Christ.

Because if you are looking for satisfaction in any other human, you will be disappointed. Today, and throughout this “Love Month”, I encourage you to seek satisfaction in the only man who is NOT only human–seek and find your satisfaction in Christ. He will never disappoint.

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