Raised to walk in newness of life [‘Abrahams kid’ conclusion]
Today let’s finish our study ‘ABRAHAMS KID’.
This last month we held about 5-6 home group meetings in various cities.
I have been trying to teach along the same lines of our weekly posts.
So for those who are in our groups- when this post is done I will post the entire study [which covers all the meetings].
I’ll post it as a page to the web site.
One more note;
Over the last few years since we have been on-line.
I find it interesting to see the various nations that log on to the site.
I used to make a list-but over time we have had so many that I stopped keeping track.
The other day I saw one that surprised me.
It said HOLY SEE [VATICAN CITY].
Either the Pope- or someone from inside the Vatican logged on.
Truly an honor.
Ok- the last few weeks we have discussed the main theme of the bible.
God promising man that someday he would send a deliverer- a Messiah.
We follow this promise thru the story of Father Abraham- and down thru the Son of King David.
We read in the New Testament that Jesus Christ is indeed the promised one that was to come.
As I started this study- it was right during Christmas.
I usually try and do a chapter about the Christmas story.
In Matthew 2 we read that when the wise men came from the east looking for the King of the Jews.
They showed up in Judea and it was King Herod who asked the priests and scribes where Christ should be born.
The wise men followed the star from the east- but it was the Jewish religious leaders who looked in the scriptures [Micah 5] and gave the directions to the wise men.
‘In Bethlehem of Judea’.
The point is- all Israel was waiting for Jesus- for this promise.
They were in expectation of a Savior to come.
Even though we started this study with the story of Abraham- yet the promise in seed form goes all the way back to the garden.
In Genesis we read the first prophecy- sometimes called the First Gospel [Protoevangelion- in scholarly terms].
In Genesis chapter 3 we read of the fall of man.
God says to Eve ‘the serpent will bruise his heel- and he will bruise the serpents head’.
It was the original prophecy that someday a son born from woman would engage in battle with the Devil- and yes- this battle would leave a permanent mark/scar on this Son [wounds of the Cross].
But thru these wounds the Son would finally bind ‘the dragon’.
When the angel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that she would give birth to Jesus- this was Gods sovereign choice to pick Mary as the one who would give birth to ‘the hope of Israel’.
The people of Jesus day- including his disciples- initially thought that Jesus would be a sort of political deliverer.
That he would lead the Jewish nation in a revolt against her oppressors- Rome- sort of like the 5 sons of Maccabees did a few hundred years before- when they rose up against the wicked Seleucid empire and threw off their rule [we read about this in the Catholic book of Maccabees. The Jewish people till this very day celebrate this victory when they observe the feast of Hanukah]
But Jesus showed the people that his kingdom was not a violent in- in which he would lead a literal rebellion in which people would be killed.
No- he would instead go to the Cross- and thru his death- burial and resurrection- he would finally ‘bruise the serpents head’.
Yes- Jesus would become the new king of this new kingdom of God.
He would be raised from the dead- and as the promise made to king David said-
‘This Son would rule from David’s throne- world without end’
2- HOW DOES GOD BLESS THE WORLD THRU THE PROMISED SON?
This week I have been concluding this study in our house churches.
I want to end by making the Promise clear.
Remember- we started this study with the promise that God made to Abraham [Genesis 12- 15] that if Abraham obeyed God and went on this tremendous journey.
Then God would make him into a multitude of people [initially applied to the nation of Israel- but in the writings of the apostle Paul- Galatians/Romans- Paul teaches that this promise is made to ‘all the seed’ [people] not just to natural Jews].
Ultimately the promise- that we can all be blessed [Jews- Christians- Muslims- etc] is achieved thru simply believing God- about his Son [that he was crucified- buried- and on the 3rd day rose again from the dead].
All who believe are saved.
In Genesis 15- when God told Abraham to go outside and look at the stars.
The bible says ‘Abraham believed God and it was accounted unto him for righteousness’.
The apostle Paul uses this singular statement in his letters found in the New Testament to teach that all peoples of the earth can too receive the blessing of Abraham- thru faith.
Yes- just like ‘father Abraham’ believed God.
We too can believe God about his Son- and be declared righteous [be saved].
In the letters of the New Testament Paul says ‘when did God justify [declare forgiven- saved] Abraham- before or after he was circumcised’?
The rite of circumcision in the bible means a lot more than a simple medical procedure.
It was a sign that people entered into the old covenant with God- called the law.
So- Paul says ‘see- Abraham was declared just BEFORE he was circumcised’.
Showing that Abraham is truly the father of all nations- not to the Jew only- but all- even those who were never circumcised [meaning even those who were outside of the Jewish covenant of law].
Ok- I don’t want to make this study too hard to get.
The purpose was to show- in a simple way- the main story of the bible.
And one of the main themes in the New Testament is the reality that all the nations of the earth have this blessing thru the ‘Son of Abraham- the seed of David’.
Yes- that’s the blessing- the promise made to these ancient people who lived thousands of years ago.
This message was liberating to the Jewish people at the time of Jesus.
The apostle Paul himself was a strict religious teacher- a Pharisee.
But we read about the struggle with sin he had [Romans 7] even though he knew- and tried very hard- to obey the law [to not sin].
But he shows us that no matter how hard he tried to keep the law- he [and all men] could never keep it.
Paul teaches us ‘thru the law is the knowledge of sin’.
But man- in his sinful nature- could never keep it.
Jesus instead died in our place- paying the penalty for sin [all the acts of man breaking the law from the start].
And thru faith [see how important this initial promise is- the way we can be saved is only thru faith- Paul also says ‘thru the deeds of the law no flesh can be justified in Gods eyes’].
Paul says ‘if we could be saved by obeying the law- then Christ died in vain’ [Galatians].
Think about that for a moment.
If we could achieve salvation thru any other way- then Christ would have died in vain.
But the historical reality of the Crucifixion of Christ is in itself a testimony that we can only be saved thru Christ- thru faith in him.
Ok- a few simple words from the New Testament-
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son- that whosoever believes in him should not perish- but have everlasting life’ [Jesus himself].
‘For by grace are we saved thru faith- not of ourselves’ Paul
‘Whosoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God’ John
These promises were never meant to give a license to sin.
They simply show us that men could never justify themselves before God.
Paul says ‘do we continue in sin that grace may abound? GOD FORBID- how shall we that are dead to sin live any longer in it’?
‘Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin’ John
‘He that says he is in him- ought himself also to walk as Jesus walked [lived]’ John
‘Abstain from fleshly lusts that war against the soul’ Peter.
‘Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son upon the altar’ James.
These are just a mix of verses from the various writers of the New Testament.
They show us that when we do receive the free gift of God- with that gift comes a lifestyle change.
‘For this purpose was the Son of God manifest- that he might destroy the works of the devil’ John
I want to end our study this week.
Just last night we had another house church meeting- at a beautiful beach front home- a few blocks from where I live.
We sat on a great pier overlooking the intercostal waterway here where I live.
A friend of mine owns it- and we are going to do another home group here as well.
When I first got back from New Jersey- I didn’t plan on starting them so fast.
But we now have them all over the region.
In our meeting yesterday- I had some good friend with me who I have known for years.
He [I won’t mention his name] is really an outstanding Christian- yet homeless.
He has been a good friend for many years.
When I got back from N.J. others told me ‘John- have you seen …. He looks bad’.
I just recently started taking him with me to our meetings.
He has talked with me- and is struggling with sin- but he is so knowledgeable of the scriptures that it seems like the devil has brought upon him tremendous condemnation.
I spent lots of time counseling him- gave him some printed copies of my web posts that I felt might be helpful.
But because my friend confided in me- I know that the thing that is effecting him is simply sin- and the overwhelming feeling of hopelessness that comes with addiction.
He has convinced himself he has committed the sin unto death- and I have assured him he has not.
But that’s the destructive nature of sin.
In this study I wanted to emphasize the reality that freedom comes thru faith in Christ.
But that does not mean we can continue to go out and practice sin.
The apostle Paul said ‘if we build again the things that are destroyed [meaning the sin that Christ died for] we become transgressors’.
So- as we end- I want to encourage all of you.
Sin is destructive- it destroys the soul of man.
The death of Christ- the promised Son who was to come.
This enables us to die also- to our old ways.
‘Mortify therefore the deeds of the flesh’
‘Buried with him by baptism into death- we are raised to walk in newness of life’
‘Set your mind on things above- not on the things of the earth- for we are dead and our life is hid with Christ in God’
His resurrection allows us to be ‘raised together with him- seated together in heavenly places in Christ’.
Yes- we can all have this promise.
God bless you all.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBoook] - I have posted lots.