Sunday, February 12, 2012

Jesus' last instructions

As parents we want what is best for our kids. We will often share stories and teach them things in hopes that they will retain the lessons when making the tough decisions in life. I recently told my daughter, “if I am hit by a truck tomorrow and you forget everything I have ever taught you, please remember to seek Jesus Christ and His Truth that is found in His Word.”

Unfortunately many of us didn’t have Godly parents to teach us the things of God or even some of the most basic things that would have been helpful to navigate through life. But, fortunately, we have a Heavenly Father that has made all things known to those who diligently seek Him, those that are willing to listen to His Word.

The most important thing that needs to be known to all people is the last thing Jesus told His disciples concerning you…yes you! He had you and in mind when He gave instructions to His disciples.

Just days after He was brutally beaten, mocked, spit on, and crucified; Jesus rose from the dead and walked, talked and taught many people. He reminded His disciples of things He had already told them; He reminded them that the writings of Moses, the prophets and the Psalms pointed to Him and to this very period of history.

Luke 24:44 Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me."

Immediately after Luke records this statement from Jesus, He gives us this amazing bit of wisdom:

Luke 24:45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.

I have heard the difference between knowledge and wisdom explained this way; “knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put tomatoes on fruit salad.” To have knowledge of the Gospel, in other words, knowing what the Gospel says, is one thing; but to have the Godly wisdom and understanding of the Truth can only be given by God. To go from a head knowledge of the Gospel, to true saving faith needs only travel 12 inches (from your head to your heart); but only God can bring you that 12 inches. As we see in verse 45 of Luke 24, God opened their mind to understanding, and it is no different for us. If God doesn’t open our understanding, the Gospel remains foolishness. Some people will openly proclaim it to be foolish, while others will proclaim their faith, but foolishly remain disobedient to God.

Here’s the wisdom of God that Jesus told His disciples to bring to the whole world:

Luke 24:46-47 Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Verse 46  happened just like Jesus said it would, and just like the prophets said it would hundreds of years before; Christ suffered and rose from the dead on the third day. The disciples began verse 47 and it is continued to this day; repentance and remission of sins is being preached in His name.  Remission of sins means to get forgiveness and pardon from your sin; and repentance means to turn from your sin and turn to God and serve Him only. This same message is given all throughout God’s Word:

Acts 5:31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

If we do not believe we are sinful; or we do not believe we need to be forgiven and pardoned of our sin; why would we think we need to repent of our sin? Unless you are broken over your sin and see its depravity you will not seek the Savior. As we see in Acts 5:31, it is Jesus that gives us the ability to repent and if you do not see evidence to repentance in your life you should be concerned. Until you are broken and surrendered to Christ He will not grant repentance

2Timothy 2:24-25 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,

2Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

If you follow my blogs you know this has all been discussed before; but here is an added piece of the puzzle you must consider.

Jesus explains a parable in Luke 12 that speaks of disobedience; He is speaking of the disobedience of those that know better. In other words, He is speaking of those that know the Truth, they would even say they belong to the Master, yet do not do His will. He tells this group that they will be with the unbelievers. We know that unbelievers will be condemned forever for rejecting Jesus Christ; but did you know that Jesus said that the willfully disobedient will be among them in their condemnation?

Luke 12:42-47 And the Lord said, "Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44 Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. 45 But if that servant says in his heart, 'My master is delaying his coming,' and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. 47 And that servant who knew his master's will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

Do not be deceived by this world and false teachers who say we are all children of God and we will all go to Heaven when we die. If that were true, why would God speak of “becoming” children of God? Why would He speak of “adoption” if we are already His children?

John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:

Ephesians 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

Paul is talking to believers in Ephesians and he gives us amazing encouragement in speaking of our adoption and inheritance; however, within the same letter, he gives a very strong warning to the disobedient:

Ephesians 5:1-6 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. 3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

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