Which god? God or god?
“Thou shalt have no other god before me.” (Exodus 20:3 KJV)
December 31, 2010
For me -
There's a few things I considered for this last article of 2010 -
It's not an easy topic.
It can be scary at times.
But it's certainly important enough that it should matter.
And it definitely fits in with the theme of this site.
The man brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was flowing from the south side.
As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-
This is from Ezekiel 47:1-
In my case, it was also quoted in a book I'm currently reading -
he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins. Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over.
Not enough of a difference to matter really. I just like to include the whole segment.
In any case -
Pastor Vick them described the apostate condition of the Israelites in a way that left no doubt as to the parallel for the present. That part of his sermon was always easy to hear. But then he turned his attention to the people sitting in the pews. Rhetorical questions were his most deadly bullets.
This could get interesting.
The Christian way is different: harder, and easier. Christ says ‘Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked—the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.’
So anyway -
"That was their abominable condition, but what about you? Are you satisfied with dipping your toe into the river of God's glory and pretending you've sold out to the gospel? Do you believe you're righteous because the water laps around your waist?" Pastor Vick let his eyes scan the entire congregation. "Are any of you willing to cast yourself into the river of God where only Jesus can hold you up? Who will go into deeper water?"
C. S. Lewis is pretty direct -
But jumping into the river of God -
But then -
We can't get through life without Jesus either -
Interestingly enough, I have also just read another book that quotes this same paragraph from Mere Christianity. This one is Finding the Real Jesus: A Guide for Curious Christians and Skeptical Seekers, by Lee Strobel. He writes -
That kind of surrender can sound scary. But if Jesus really is God -
This is what Jesus has done. He is without a doubt one of a kind. “Jesus,” said author Don Everts, “was entirely different and new and stunning.”
There was just something so clear and beautiful and true and unique and powerful about Jesus that old rabbis would marvel at his teaching, young children would run and sit in his lap. ashamed prostitutes would find themselves weeping at his feet, whole villages would gather to hear him speak, experts in the law would find themselves speechless, and people from the poor to the rugged working class to the unbelievably wealthy would leave everything... . to follow him.
This is the real Jesus, who all along has been alive and well — and fully available to “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord.”
Maybe it's money. Maybe it's work. Maybe it's drugs. Maybe it's alcohol. Maybe it's science. Maybe it's some other religion.
Almost certainly -
If nothing else -
That's why I really like Lee Strobel's question -
But if Jesus really is God -
And that's the real issue -
Is Jesus really God?
And if we believe that -
I'm not going to answer either of those questions tonight.
Questions like that are what this site is all about.
Questions like that are part of what life is all about.
For tonight -
If you're looking for a new year's resolution that really matters and is worth keeping -
If you're not sure that Jesus really is God -
If you are sure that Jesus is God -
I don't like swimming in real water.
But swimming in God's water -
It is scary at first. But then it's not. And then it actually starts to be enjoyable. And then you just want more.
It would be nice to end here -
From yet another book (I've been doing a lot of research for this class I'm doing), Has Christianity Failed You?, by Ravi Zacharias -
The seduction of the lie that God makes everything comfortable for us is precisely the reason many have been unable to face the tensions they experience in living the Christian life. Further, because the church has not always lived out the truths it claims to believe, doubt has been cast on the unchanging character of God. It is interesting that Jesus does not challenge the assumption of the appeal that many would have been drawn to him if he had promised to provide for their short-
The Great Commission
Mt 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
He said He would always be with us.
And should we think that's no big deal -
Paul’s Vision and His Thorn
2Co 12:1 I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say.
2Co 12:7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Jesus told Paul that His grace was enough for Paul -
But beyond that -
Not that we can even begin to understand this -
My resolution is to keep working on this.
My prayer is that you will do the same.
So now I can end on a happy note. Knowing that Jesus said -
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Happy New Year