Posted in body, glory, God, holy, resurrection

Jesus: O, What a Savior!

Lubec, Maine. EPrata photo

I was asked recently for my testimony. Here are the thoughts of a pagan, graciously drawn to our Blessed Savior

I was not saved by the Lord’s grace until I was 43 years old. Before that, I lived in New England and lived a very liberal life. I’m grateful to my patient and loving Savior who elected me, drew me, and lifted me from the pit of sin in which I was living.

Until that time, during my adult life, I could not understand the phenomenon of Jesus. Oh, I understood it to be a phenomenon, all right. No one can dismiss Him, least of all the unsaved. He is a pervasive presence that simply does not go away. I used to actively wonder about His staying power. Buddha comes and goes as a fad, Allah wasn’t even around until 600 AD and wasn’t popular for a long time after that. Pele the volcano goddess waned and Ra the sun god is passe. And whatever happened to Aphrodite and Mars? But Jesus never waned and He is worshiped in every culture throughout every era.

Continue reading “Jesus: O, What a Savior!”
Posted in body, charles spurgeon, church life, encouragement

Seeking the perfect church

EPrata photo

The quote is a little longer than the video. Read the quote then watch the clip. It’s only a few seconds.

Give yourself to the Church. You that are members of the Church have not found it perfect and I hope that you feel almost glad that you have not. If I had never joined a Church till I had found one that was perfect, I would never have joined one at all!

And the moment I did join it, if I had found one, I should have spoiled it, for it would not have been a perfect Church after I had become a member of it. Still, imperfect as it is, it is the dearest place on earth to us…

All who have first given themselves to the Lord, should, as speedily as possible, also give themselves to the Lord’s people. How else is there to be a Church on the earth? If it is right for anyone to refrain from membership in the Church, it is right for everyone, and then the testimony for God would be lost to the world!

As I have already said, the Church is faulty, but that is no excuse for your not joining it, if you are the Lord’s. Nor need your own faults keep you back, for the Church is not an institution for perfect people, but a sanctuary for sinners saved by Grace, who, though they are saved, are still sinners and need all the help they can derive from the sympathy and guidance of their fellow Believers.

The Church is the nursery for God’s weak children where they are nourished and grow strong. It is the fold for Christ’s sheep—the home for Christ’s family.”

Charles Spurgeon, “The Best Donation,” (No. 2234) an exposition of 2 Corinthians 8:5 delivered on April 5, 1891 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, England.

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Further reading

Essay: Pew-Hoppers: How to Shepherd Church Shoppers – Part 1
Essay: Pew-Hoppers: How to Shepherd Church Shoppers – Part 2

Sermon: Personal commitment to the church – Part 1

Posted in body, encouragement, eternity, glorified, victory

What will it be like to be glorified?

I’m 54 years old. When I was young I said I’d never prattle on about my ailments, like a great-aunt Jane or a Grandpa Joe.

But now the doctor said I have bad arthritis in my knees, my feet swell, my eyes get so dry, my digestion is ahem explosively sensitive, and I get these headaches…

Ack. And my bodily griefs are piddling compared to some who endure disease, chronic pain, and trauma by fire or accident. Anyway, I think so often about seeing Jesus. My daily prayer usually ends with asking, “Is this the day? Will today be the Day I see you?”

After the promise and excitement and joy of seeing Jesus, the next part I’m looking forward to is the new body.

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:52)

OK, that’s a great start. We shall be changed. Hmmm. Changed how?

When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:53).

Ok, we will be immortal. That’s a fact that a lot of unsaved people do not know and a lot of saved people do not ponder enough. All peoples who have ever lived will be immortal. The unsaved dead will be raised for eternal punishment and the saved dead will be raised for eternal joy and communion with the Savior. In new bodies!

Matthew Henry Commentary says,

He assigns the reason of this change (v. 53): For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. How otherwise could the man be a fit inhabitant of the incorruptible regions, or be fitted to possess the eternal inheritance? How can that which is corruptible and mortal enjoy what is incorruptible, permanent, and immortal? This corruptible body must be made incorruptible, this mortal body must be changed into immortal, that the man may be capable of enjoying the happiness designed for him.

Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 2276). Peabody: Hendrickson.

Further, the verse says we will be imperishable. This means we will not only be eternal but we will not even have to worry about our bodies. They cannot perish. Imagine living without worrying about the end of our lives?! Take death off the table and just imagine how much of a relief it will be.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

Our bodies and our hearts and our minds will no longer feel any kind of pain. Not even the memory of it.

In 2 Corinthians 5:8, Paul said, “We … would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” When we die, we’re home. Imagine a small boy who falls asleep in the back seat of the car. When the family gets home, his father picks him up and carries him into the house. When he wakes up, he’s home. That’s what will happen for God’s children.

Death is glory. It is paradise, as Jesus said. In Philippians 1:21, Paul wrote that “to die is gain.” When we die, we will gain imperishable, glorified, spiritual bodies (1 Cor 15:42–44) and be like Jesus in this way (1 Cor 15:49). We will know God and each other as we are known (1 Cor 13:12). And we will eat of the tree of life and live forever (Rev 22).

Barry, J. D., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Mangum, D., & Whitehead, M. M. (2012). Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Posted in body, glory, God, holy, resurrection

Jesus: The permanent God-man

I am going to speak plainly, not theologically.

I was not saved by the Lord’s grace until I was 43 years old. Before that, I lived in New England and lived a very liberal life. I’m grateful to my patient and loving Savior who elected me, drew me, and lifted me from the pit of sin in which I was living.

Until that time, during my adult life, I could not understand the phenomenon of Jesus. Oh, I understood it to be a phenomenon, all right. No one can dismiss Him, least of all the unsaved. He is a pervasive presence that simply does not go away. I used to actively wonder about His staying power. Buddha comes and goes as a fad, Allah wasn’t even around until 600 AD and wasn’t popular for a long time after that. Pele the volcano goddess waned and Ra the sun god is passe. And whatever happened to Aphrodite and Mars? But Jesus never waned and He is worshiped in every culture throughout every era.

So anyone with a brain would wonder, why Jesus?

When I thought more deeply about it, which was rare, I’d think that God wasn’t all that much to talk about, either. I mean, He sent the two humans to the Garden, supposedly, and then kicked them out of the garden

for one little mistake. He messed up again by allowing things to get out of hand and had to do an etch-a-sketch erase by sending the Flood. And He messed up again by picking the Jews, who continually messed things up throughout the Old Testament, and God had to send Jesus to do a do-over. And if the Christians were to be believed (not that I actually knew any), things would deteriorate once again and God would have to wipe out the earth and start again. I thought God was an ineffective bumbler, didn’t know what He was doing, and Jesus was just some spaghetti thrown on the wall to see if God’s latest band-aid approach would work.

Of course I was completely wrong. The depraved mind cannot even think straight. The unsanctified mind cannot know the things of God. I was a classic example of 1 Corinthians 2:14-

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

And of Ephesians 4:18-

They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.

One of the things I glory in knowing now, on the other side of the veil, is that Jesus wasn’t a piece of spaghetti God threw against the wall to see if it would stick. It is of enormous comfort to know that God ordained His plan since the foundation of the world. (Rev 13:8). That Jesus was with God since the beginning, and that Jesus IS God (John 1:1-5).

Jesus willingly gave up His life. Let that sink in. He did it out of love, and volunteered for the cross.

It is written, “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” (John 10:18)

As John 10:15 says, “he lays down His life for the sheep. Luke 23:46 says in the KJV, where the Holy Spirit used to be called the Holy Ghost,

And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

It doesn’t say “the Ghost departed from Him.” It doesn’t say “He died and the Ghost left Him”. HE GAVE IT UP. He was in total control of His life until the moment of His death and beyond.

What a beautiful moment. He knew when scripture was fulfilled and when the moment came, He gave up His life for us, in obedience to the Father.

Now next, if that wasn’t enough, think of His sacrificial death. It was monumental, even as the God-man.

The Incredulity of Thomas, by Caravaggio, 1602

But wait, there’s more. After He was resurrected, He remained in His body He had taken on as a flesh-born babe. He showed Thomas the nail holes in His hand and His pierced side. (John 20:27). He ate with the disciples on the beach. (John 21:13). He walked and was visible to people. There is no reason to think He is not in His glorified body.

Philippians 3:20-21 says,

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

It staggers the mind tho think He descended from pure, holy glory to live in the pigpen that is earth, just because He loves us. It is stupefying to know He dwelled in human form and in obedience to the Father for 33 years. Think on this: He poured Himself into the form of a man, lived and died. Wow. He is still in that form and will be forever!!

When He was resurrected, He remained in the form of a man, in flesh. Glorified flesh, but flesh! THAT is a sacrifice. To dwell for all eternity in the likeness of the Last Adam, as a permanent reminder to the Father of His obedience and bringing many sons to His glory. He is glorious not just in taking on our human nature but in remaining our brother (Hebrews 2:10-11, 17) and continuing as the visible “image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15).

Jesus was resurrected bodily and He is still in that body

He voluntarily poured Himself into flesh, lived a sinless life to fulfill the scriptures, died an agonizing death – in our place – so as to exhaust God’s wrath, and was resurrected bodily forever to be in body as our brother, friend, and Lord.

My heart melts within me at this love! I faint from its strength! I bend my knee to its holiness! Praise our precious, loving Lord! Worship Him as He richly deserves!

Posted in body, worry

A quick quote about worry and the body

“Jesus is saying not to worry about such things is especially powerful in the context of His day. Certainly that is an indictment of our own worry about life’s basics. Jesus then asks rhetorically, “Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing?” (v. 25). Of course it is, but you wouldn’t know it judging by what’s advertised today and what people seem to feel they need to be pursuing.”

“So many people in our society are totally consumed with the body—they decorate it, build it up, extravagantly clothe it, put it in a nice car, send it off to a nice house, stuff it full of food, sit it in a comfortable chair, hang a bunch of jewelry all over it, take it out on a boat, let it swim, teach it to ski, take it on a cruise, and so on. But life is not contained in those things; it transcends all the externals. Life comes from God—and the fullness of life from Jesus Christ.”  ~ John MacArthur

It is all about Jesus Christ. And not just on Sunday, but every day. Have a blessed worship, wherever you are.