Friday, April 8, 2011

Extraordinary People Because Of An Extraordinary God

It is becoming more bothersome that so many who claim to follow Jesus have yet to learn that Jesus is more than a wise man. They would argue with me that they don't, that they confess him to be the Son of God, that they realize he has authority over all things but then they don't live that way. They live their lives like anyone else on this planet, dealing with things in the same manner as those who do not know Jesus. Self remains the focal point and they see everything from that focal point. They walk around defeated, moody, up one day and down the next, complaining, tossed about, weak, acting like a victim. However, Jesus lifted us up out of that because he was not an ordinary man.

If we continue to look at John the Baptist's discourse from yesterday we can see plainly who Jesus is and the contrast there is to those belonging to this world:

“The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all." (John 3:31)

That's two things right there that we must accept about Jesus if we want to follow him. First, he did not originate from this place but was sent to us from the Father. He is from above but became one of us here. It is opposite to what happens to us who follow Jesus. We were born here but because of the transformation through Jesus we belong to above. The transformation is important to understand because as John says, those who belong to the earth think and speak as one belonging to the earth. Jesus stood out because he did not think and speak like those belonging here and it is the same way for those who truly belong to him.

We don't get messed up by this place. We don't get attached to the things of this place. We can have much and we can have little and still possess the same great joy because none of it has value for us. Our focus is on Jesus and the will of the Father. People who live like that stand out because most of the people here are dictated to by the desires of their body, their emotions and their attachment to things. They believe in what they see and do not look for the impossible whereas we look to what we cannot see and serve the God of the impossible. We do not belong to this earth but we know that Jesus is above all these things and has authority over everything and he has given us authority too.

We cannot ignore the fact that Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit which makes all the difference in our day, every day. So many people who claim to follow Jesus have no clue about the Spirit. It is impossible to know God without the Spirit. It is impossible to serve Jesus without the Spirit. It is impossible to have fellowship without the Spirit. There are too many Christians to count who are walking around thinking they are there without having two clues what "there" is. They don't understand that Jesus also came to show us how to love and serve beyond the limitation of our flesh and he did it through the Spirit. Jesus was empowered by the Spirit in the same way we are. He showed us how it was possible to overcome this flesh by obedience to the Spirit. John said:

For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. (John 3:34)  

I really appreciate the wording of this, "for God gives the Spirit without limit". It speaks to the heart of the Father, lavishing such great gifts upon us. Other than the cross, there is no greater gift than the Spirit and he gives us the Spirit without limit. Does that sound like a defeated people controlled by the flesh and emotions? Not at all. Jesus has given us victory and we need to have a proper vision of who he is. Not some ordinary man but our extraordinary God. We may need to be reminded of his authority:

The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. (John 3:35)

Perfect love produces trust and that is what exists between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It's difficult for us to understand the Trinity but we can see the result of what love within the Godhead produces. The Father loves the Son so much that he placed everything under him and the Son loves the Father so much that he is obedient in all matters. Our Lord is the authority over all things and because we have the relationship we do we are able to speak to everything with that authority. That certainly is no defeated life. But of course it comes down to choice.

We cannot believe in part of Jesus and reject the rest. Jesus told us that we cannot have a foot in each world because we are either for him or against him. With Jesus it is all or nothing. So John the Baptist was clear on this matter:

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him. (John 3:36)

John provides us with a wonderful clear understanding of Jesus in this very brief testimony. It should also be clear to us that Jesus was no wise man but came from the Father with the purpose of reconciling us to him. We are not mere flesh but are a spiritual creation and, having been restored to the Father, we are a powerful creation because of the authority that we have in our relationship with Jesus. We are a people of faith, believing these things to be true with only the testimony of the Spirit within us as proof. But when we have the testimony of the Spirit what other proof do we need or want? It is time to shake off the last remaining fingers of this world's grip and rise up as the new creation that you are. You are beautifully powerful because of Jesus who is in you. You are no ordinary person because you worship and serve no ordinary God.

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