Luke 21: 5 As they were talking about the temple complex, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, He said, 6 “These things you see- the days will come when not one stone will be left on another that will not be thrown down (HCSB)
Everything about the Roman Empire was/is an outward expression of power and wealth; their jewelry, loricae (armor), garments and architecture, everything. These temple complex stones Herod marveled over were huge (40 ft.), and inlaid with gold, and served as a reminder of Rome’s prosperity, power and might. IT WOULD NOT ENOUGH As the empire grew, more and more resources were needed to feed the beast. Out of necessity, There was a constant campaign to invade, seize and occupy more land,to make certain there was an abundant food supply, and of course, as much material wealth they could amass.
(Matthew 6:21) 6 For where your treasure is, there will be your heart
By contrast, Jesus taught his disciples that material wealth and our spirituality will always be at war with each other and prove to be a major stumbling block for anyone wanting to follow him-A teaching that rings true today. Why? Because For where your treasure is, there will be your heart Matthew 6:21
DENY YOURSELVES, PURGE YOURSELF OF CARNAL CRAVINGS Mark 10:21 Then, looking at him, Jesus loved him and said to him, ”You lack one thing: Go sell all you have and give it to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me. Give away all your possessions, all you hold dear, then, you can follow me…
YOU WILL HAVE MORE THAN YOU NEED Psalm 2:8 Ask Me and I will make nations your inheritance and the ends of the earth your possession
When I think of my first crush, I’m reminded of the anxiety of waiting for and excitement of receiving that phone call- I couldn’t wait for our date that weekend. I’d catch myself drifting off in class, and in conversations, but that’s okay- I was on love. This is the same passion we must for Christ. Now, He’s on the line and wants us to know just how excited He is about seeing us.
Look; Now is the acceptable time; Now is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2 (HCSB)
The way has been paved for our reconciliation back to the Lord. There is a certain sadness associated with the loss of Jesus, and yet an excitement that our redemption is near- Salvation is ours for the taking. Paul tells us, ”Now is the acceptable time”, do not wait, this is what we’ve been waiting for. “Come!” accept this gift, “Taste and see the Lord is good”(Psalm 34:8).
[5:16-17] From now on then, we do not know anyone in a purely human way. Even if we have known Christ in a purely human way, yet now we no longer know him in this way. Therefore, is anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; Old things have passed away and look new things have come. “New things have come” We’ve been cleansed of our sins and now walk in the spirit of the living God.
We are new creatures therefore, we must be certain the virtues you keep are edifying and Christ-like in all manners that we may be acceptable workers in every way [6:3] We gave no opportunity for stumbling in anyone so the ministry will not be blamed 4 But as God’s ministers, we command ourselves in everything.
“Come, Come now!” 8 This is what the Lord says: I will answer you in time of favor, and I will help you in the day of salvation. I will keep you and I will appoint you to be a covenant for the people, I will restore the land, to make them possess the desolate inheritances, Isaiah 49:8
Colossians 3:12 Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience,..(HCSB)
It’s a battle out there-spiritual persecution, racial unrest, political protests, even battling for one’s equal rights; Day in, and day out we find ourselves dealing with any one of these for this is the fabric of today’s society. These were the same challenges Paul and his workers faced when the Gospel was brought into Colossae. There was no sugar coating it, they were marching into the lion’s den and it’s going to be ugly. “What do you mean by bringing your teachings here, and confusing these people, You most certainly may not worship here without first joining our club.
The normal response would be to give them a piece of your mind, perhaps an expletive or two for good measure. While it felt good in the moment, the mission was a total wash. For this reason, we are cautioned to guard our hearts and submit to a constant renewing of our minds that we may remain mentally and spiritually fit in times of persecution. Paul cannot over-emphasize how important it is to maintain the spirit of Christ in all we do for the sake of the gospel.
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.27 I will place my spirit within you and cause you to follow my statutes and carefully observe my ordinances ( Ezekiel 36:26-27) We will face challenges and suffer setbacks, that’s a given; Though we can choose to embrace the genuine character of Christ, or suffer defeat at the hands of an enemy.
Exodus 33 :11 The Lord spoke with Moses face to face; just as a man speaks to his friend (HCSB)
God’s character is immovable, and unchanging; the same yesterday, as it is today, and will be tomorrow. Slow to anger, and capable of much more love this world could ever imagine. And It is the basis of this love that drives God’s desire to have a relationship with us. From the beginning of creation, He wanted nothing more than our reconciled back to Himself, that we would be able to commune with Him. Though, because of our state, a chasm exists because God cannot be in the presence of sin. As a result, there is am inherent danger for those who encounter Him Exodus 22:20 But He answered, “You cannot see my face and live. 21 The Lord said, ”Here is a place near me, come stand on this rock. God made provisions to draw Moses close enough to reveal His covenants and allow him to experience His glory.
ONE UNSELFISH ACT WOULD CHANGE OUR WORSHIP AND SET CHRISTIANITY APART FROM ALL RELIGIONS
Because of our wayward hearts, provisions were needed to draw us closer to Himself without suffering the damnation of our sin. John 3:16 His one and only son was offered up as a sin offering on our behalf; by the blood of the perfect lamb, our standing was guaranteed and a way for our reconciliation was made.
Suddenly, the curtain of the sanctuary was split in two from top to bottom; the earth quaked and the rocks were split. Matthew 27:51 Direct access was granted to those who believe and receive Him 7 If you know me, you will know my Father. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him (John 14:7)
Ephesians 3:14-17 14 For this reason, I kneel before the Father 5 from whom every family on heaven and on earth is named.16 I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power in the inner man through His spirit,17 and that the Messiah mat dwell in your hearts through faith. (HCSB)
Self-reliance is futile and a huge detriment to our faith. We know this because, we are part of a culture that demands us to be goal oriented and success driven because our existence depends on it. How will I make next month’s obligations- my mortgage, my utilities, what about food? All that distracts from God and His promise of provisions . Even the slightest set backs in our plans could mean catastrophe. Without a sound spiritual foundation, our recourse is to give up; to throw in the towel, or claw even harder.
Don the entire Armor of God so that we may stand firm against the schemes of Satan! What if we missed a piece of armor? Satan targets these areas of weakness and we are further away from God Ephesians 2:3 We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts… And the cycle continues.
In my prayer time, I always ask that the Lord take from me all distractions, my cares and worries that keep me from seeing Him and experiencing His greatness. Though after awhile, my shoulders begin to hurt again because I went back and reclaimed my cross, I took back the reigns.
16 I pray that “He” may grant you, according to the riches of “His” glory..…And I submit that relinquishing control; to come into complete surrender is not my strongest siot. Our turnaround must begin with us. Letting go of things that isn’t rightfully mine, stop trying to drove a square peg onto a round hole God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference. (Reinhold Nieber 1930). Be strengthened in His power and remain in His providence.
2 Corinthians 6:2 Look; Now is the acceptable time; Now is the day of salvation . Holman Christian Study Bible (HCSB)
The path has been cut for our reconciliation back to the Lord and salvation is ours for the taking. The new church has begun to take root, and workers are needed. Paul tells us, ”Now is the acceptable time”, do not wait, Jesus has been resurrected and will be returning soon. “Come!” accept this gift and be made without the blemish of a sinful past and be made new in Christ, no longer identified by fleshly features, but by the Spirit that lives within and vicariously through us [5:16-17] From now on then, we do not know anyone in a purely human way. Even if we have known Christ in a purely human way, yet now we no longer know him in this way. Therefore, is anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; Old things have passed away and look new things have come.
“New things have come”, be transformed from within, personify Christ in every way that the gospel will be held blameless against attacks of the flesh. And as His elect, we must preserve it’s truths by virtues we keep [6:3] We gave no opportunity for stumbling in anyone so the ministry will not be blamed 4 But as God’s ministers, we command ourselves in everything.