Friday, August 3, 2012

Pastor's Desktop Article for August 2012

Which Jesus is your Jesus? “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, my making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1:15-20 NIV) Which Jesus is your Jesus? Is He the Jesus of Scripture, the only begotten Son of God, currently seated at the right hand of the Father, whose substitutionary death on the cross has rescued us from certain eternal spiritual damnation, or is he a Jesus of our own making, one who judges us less harshly, holds us to a lower standard, and requires less of us in following him? Either He is the Son of God, of the same substance and attributes as God the Father has, as is indicated in Scripture (“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory, and the exact representation of the His being, sustaining all things by his powerful Word…” Heb. 1:3a) , or he is something less; something of our own making, our own design, made to our specifications so that we can easily deal with him, and so that he makes less demands of us. Which Jesus is your Jesus? Churches all over the country, from possibly every denomination and those without denominational affiliation, are settling for a Jesus of their own making. And if there are churches going down this troublesome path, there are certainly many who call themselves “Christian” who are headed down the same troublesome path. This path requires no discipline, no active participation, no great sacrifice, and certainly no suffering for His sake. Why is it that anyone who names Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord thinks that this is what they have “signed up for” is in keeping with the Holy Scriptures? Folks, we can’t claim to be Christian, and have little or no commitment to actually allowing Him to change our lives, to call us to a life of holiness, and discipline, suffering or sacrifice. That’s not what the Bible tells us we can expect. We can expect the world to hate us when we take a stand for Biblical principles, as the world hated Him first. (John 15:18) That doesn’t mean we don’t take that stand, it just means that we shouldn’t expect the pagan world to applaud our decision. My prayer is that all of us will be willing to take a closer look at Scripture and be willing to live out and apply what we find to be the example Jesus has set for us, even if that means being wrongly accused, misunderstood, or mistreated. By His Grace Alone, Pastor Bruce Jacobsen