My heart melts at the love of Jesus, my brother, bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, married to me, dead for me, risen for me; He is mine and I am his, given to me as well as for me;
– from The Love of Jesus
The Valley of Vision
My heart melts at the love of Jesus, my brother, bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, married to me, dead for me, risen for me; He is mine and I am his, given to me as well as for me;
– from The Love of Jesus
The Valley of Vision
When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward you.
Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
We sit and yearn and pray for You to come back, Lord Jesus. Come back and take us home. We want for our hopes, wants, dreams and desires to be in You alone. This is what separates believers from the unbeliever: we hope and trust that You will make all things right-standing with You. We have read Your promises and we earnestly believe in them. The weight of sin and the weight of a broken universe are too much to bear. Our backs are broken from under the heavy load. Our eyes sting from the sweat of this intense labor. Our muscles twitch in a mere moment from collapsing, because we can bear it no more.
This momentary moment of affliction racks our souls with the sharpest and more torturous pain. This sufferings of this present time are simply too much.
Yet, You called us. And by Your Spirit, we cry out—through rivers of tears, streams of pain and mountains of our sin—have mercy on me, Lord Jesus.
You have chosen us so that You could reveal us to Your Father. You told us as You held out Your hand, “Come to me, those under the weight of back-breaking sin, and I will give You perfect peace and soothing rest. Here, take my holiness, my righteousness, my obedience, my perfection, my grace, my mercy, my faithfulness and my love upon You, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and You will find rest for Your souls. For my weight is easy, and my workload is light.” 1
In that tearful and joyful declaration, You made an exchange for us. You are Creator God as You have exchanged Yourself for our created, faulty, deadly, unholy, dying gods. Sinless and blameless Lamb exchanges Himself for sin-filled wicked people who are far from Him. You did this for us: for Your glory and our joy. You did this for our sake, let me repeat, our sake. In that our Father made You be our sin when You never had sinned so that in You we might be the righteousness of You 2.
O Father, Your creation cries out in bondage to corruption. All of the earth and the universe wait upon You to finish Your work in the adoption of Your sons. Because we have the firstfruits of Your Spirit, we cry and groan with all of creation 3.
Yet, you are holy, holy, holy. The earth is filled with Your glory! And because You are holy and You declare us to be Yours, we are now holy because of You. 4
Therefore, in light of what You have done for me, in me and through me, shall I consider the sufferings of this present time are worth comparing to the glory that You will reveal to me 5? No!
Yet, in the light of all that You are and what You have declared Yourself, is this momentary affliction preparing me for Your eternal weight of glory, which is beyond all comparison 6? Yes!
Now that I love You and You love me, can I ask a question? So no matter what happens to me, I do know that You will make all things work together for my good because you called me according to Your purpose? Yes! 7
Because You have foreknew me before the beginning of time and You have predestined me to be Yours, will you conform me to the image of Your Son so that He might be called the first of my many brothers and sisters? Yes! 8
Now, if you have predestined me, have you called me to life, joy and pleasures that can only be found in You forevermore? 9 Yes!
If you have called me to life, joy and pleasures in You, have you justified me in your sight by exchanging my sin for your righteousness? Yes!
If you have justified me in your sight, do I get to be with you, look upon your lovely face and dwell in your glory forever? Yes! 10
Then who can be against me when You are for me and when You have not spared Your own Son but instead gave Him up for me and graciously gave me all things? 11 No one!
Who can bring any charge against me when You have foreknew me, predestined me, elected me, called me and declared me “Justified” in You? 12 No one!
Who can condemn me when it is Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at Your right hand and who is interceding and praying for me at this very moment? 13 No one!
Who can separate me from the love of Your Son even when it was adamantly declared that we are being killed all the day long, for Your sake, and we are slaughtered like sheep by likes of tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger and sword of this world? No one! 14
So, is there anything in all of creation that can separate me from Your love, which is in Christ Jesus my Lord? No! 15
Then, my Lord and my God, let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
“Fear not, then the darkest cloud, nor the proudest waves, nor the deepest wants,—in these very things you shall, through Christ, prove triumphant. Nor shrink from the battle with “last enemy”. Death received a death-wound when Christ died. You face a conquered foe. He stands at your side a crownless king, and waving a broken spectre. Your death shall be another victory over the believer’s last foe. Planting your foot of faith upon his prostrate neck, you shall spring into glory, more than a conqueror, through him that loved you. Thus passing to glory in triumph, you shall go to swell the ranks of the “noble army of martyrs”—those Christian heroes of whom it is recorded, “THEY OVERCAME HIM BY THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB.” 16
Mark 10:46-52 And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.
Luke 18:9-14 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
My Lord, I am reminded of all of your sweet blessings. You are my inheritance. You are my portion. You are my lot. Because you are my Christ, the Son of God, in whom is my All-of-all. My God, you have called me into your family and I share my inheritance. But just as you drank from the cup, I gladly and with great joy drink from the cup. I am yours and your are my Beloved forever. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for being my everything.
Romans 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
All of the questions, pushbacks, and opposition that Paul was facing with teaching this one particular truth of God as a through but simple exposition of Christ’s own words when He said:
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” 1
Now you would think that people, especially devout Christians, would welcome this bold and declarative statement of our own Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with great affection upon our hearts and great peace for our souls. Sad to say, there are many Christians today who would vehemently contend that, yes, it is certainly possible for one person to lose their salvation.
Why would one teach such a thing when the Bible teaches something, not that. When I read the Bible, I don’t see that at all. In fact, in the face of great tribulation, distress or persecution, I see Christians who hold fast to Christ. I read about the martyrs of our faith, who have murdered for refusing to proclaim anyone else but Christ is Lord and that all started with the Apostles themselves who all (but John) died horrific deaths at the cost of the gospel.
The world calls that insanity or delusional.
Christians know this not as a truth that can be selected from a multiple choice test of truths but rather absolute truth. It is not a mere “what is true for you is only true for you” but rather Jesus Christ, who lived, died, rose again, and ascended to heaven, is in fact ruling and reigning over all of creation demand everyone and everything to repent from their sin and put all of their trust in Him alone.
Now, some of you who know Christian history know for every martyr burned at the stake, many did deny Jesus to save their own lives. What about them? Did you know that one of the discussions in the church were whether or not to allow these people back into the fellowship of believers? Now, what each individual church decided, I do not know. However, just as Christ said:
“And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. 2
and further prophecies that Peter himself would not just deny Christ once but three times 3, but it was the same Christ in John 21 who called and confirmed Peter not once but three times.
So what about now? We have so many people who grew up in churches who then decide to turn away and live their lives as their own.
And we would say, “I have seen them move in the power of the Spirit. How can they be not saved before?” To which I would state that the author of Hebrews already addressed this:
For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. 4
to explain what Christ said:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ 5
I say this never to say “once saved always saved.” I am not even going to try to explain it away by giving the excuse of “perhaps they were not saved, to begin with” as though I had the God-alone power that searches and knows the hearts and minds of every person in the world because I do not.
I would say with my own testimony that I know this to be true.
I was saved by God back in 2007. It was in a realization of God’s love he had for every person I have ever known including my mother who abandoned me, my father who sexually abused me, and my stepmother who aided in that abuse all up to and including this young woman I watch in a porn video not 15 minutes before God saved me. God at that moment gave me a new heart and his Spirit and among so many things, freed me from a crippling addiction to pornography.
But not ten years later, after going through additional emotional abuse that included manipulation, coercion, co-dependency, and attempts to control, I was prepared to spend the rest of my life as a lukewarm Christian. That is, doing what I want and barely participating in his work. Even when God had granted me sweet peace from this abuse, I simply was content to walk away and live the rest of my life not pursuing and even desiring God.
But you see, God is Father. And being that He is our Father, He alone is Perfect. The logical conclusion is that the perfect Father in heaven does not lose his kids. In that same vein, God sent three saints (I call them ‘prophets’) to come after my soul. I call them ‘prophets’ because God the Father send them out with the Holy Spirit within them called out three things in me. One, God has healed your mind, heart, and soul. Two, if you go in the direction you are going, you will head into despair. And three, God has called you to stay where you are at and continue the good work of healing and restoration that Christ has started in you.
When I heard my dear lovely friends’ sweet words contending for my soul, I repented. I repented of my sin, lust, foolishness, and destructive behavior and yet once again, I turned to Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith.
Now, I don’t necessarily need to hear any other testimonies and stories to know that all of us Christians are weak. Weak in faith, weak in the spirit, and weak in our flesh. We even sing this in little children’s song, to which I correctly sing, “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong, we are weak, but he is strong.”
But if that is being the case, the fact that we are weak, how on earth does Paul call us not only ‘conquerors’ but ‘more than conquerors.’ To add even further insult to injury, the term that Paul uses here ‘more than,’ he uses one other time in 2nd Corinthians 4:17-18 which some translations use the phrase “beyond all comparison” or if you grew up with the King James Version, those translators use the phrase, “far more and exceeding.” Yes, the Apostle Paul has the audacity to call us, little weak children, “far more and exceeding conquerors”! How can this be?
My friends, we do not wage war against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 6 This is not a battlefield that you or I have ever seen in wartime nor even in history books nor video games. It is a war that God started not with a warhorn blasting through the sky but with a simple righteous declaration of redemption and restoration:
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” 7
And when the saints of God, after going 400 years without hearing a prophet of God, heard the voice of John the Baptist crying out in the wilderness, “Make the straight the way of the Lord!”
And then the final battle cry that is the gospel of Jesus Christ, who commanded and marched toward the final decisive battle, to the place, Golgotha, the place of skulls, where the fate of the world rested on the outcome.
Jesus makes his intentions well-known:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 8
Jesus Christ, the Commander of the Most High, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, begins his perfect, unbeatable, unstoppable, conquering juggernaut not towards overthrowing some pitiful Greco-Roman empire but rather to His cross where he died for each of those whom he predestined, called, justified and glorified.
His path to the cross was paved with the mounds of defeated demons to his left and his right. It was at the foot of the cross where Satan was removed from power once and for all. More than that, it was at the borrowed tomb of Joseph of Arimathea where our sins were buried and Death itself received the fatal death-wound.
Jesus Christ is the Almighty Conquerer who loved us.
Jesus Christ did all of that but then audaciously declared that every one of his followers who would have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And therefore, we would go on to do greater works than the works of the Almighty Conqueror.
It is not because we are strong that makes us more than conquerors.
It is only because of God sovereignly and graciously calls us by the power of the Holy Spirit through the bloodshed body of Jesus Christ our Lord that we behold the title, “Far more and exceeding conquerors through Christ who loved us!”
That there is one God, infinitely great and good, the creator and sustainer of all things visible and invisible, the one true source of light and life, who has life in himself and lives eternally in glorious light and sovereign love in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14) – co-equal in nature, majesty, and glory. Everything God does in creating, sustaining, judging, and redeeming the world reflects who God is, the one whose perfections, including love, holiness, knowledge, wisdom, power, and righteousness, have been revealed in the history of salvation. God has freely purposed from before the foundation of the world to elect and form a people for himself to be his treasured possession (Deut. 7:6), to the praise of his glory (Eph. 1:3-14).
|Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,|
2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Deuteronomy 7:6 “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
Ephesians 1:3–14 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
That God has spoken and continues to speak in and through Scripture, the only infallible and sufficiently clear rule and authority for Christian faith, thought, and life (sola scriptura). Scripture is God’s inspired and illuminating Word in the words of his servants (Psa. 119:105), the prophets and apostles, a gracious self-communication of God’s own light and life, a means of grace for growing in knowledge and holiness. The Bible is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it commands, trusted in all that it promises, and revered in all that it reveals (2 Tim 3:16).
|Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.|
2 Timothy 3:16–17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
That God communicates his goodness to all creatures, but in particular to human beings, whom he has made in his own image, both male and female (Gen. 1:26-27), and accordingly that all men, women, and children have been graciously bestowed with inherent dignity (rights) and creaturely vocation (responsibilities).
|Genesis 1:26–27 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.|
That the original goodness of creation and the human creature has been corrupted by sin, namely, the self-defeating choice of the first human beings to deny the Creator and the created order by going their own way, breaking God’s law for life (Rom. 3:23). Through disobedience to the law-giver, Adam and Eve incurred disorder instead of order (Rom. 8:20-21), divine condemnation instead of approval, and death instead of life for themselves and their descendants (Psa. 51:5; Rom. 5:12-20).
|Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,|
Romans 8:20–21 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Romans 5:12–20 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,
That Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God become human for us and our salvation (John 3:17), the only Mediator (solus Christus) between God and humanity (1 Tim. 2:5), born of the virgin Mary, the Son of David and servant of the house of Israel (Rom. 1:3; 15:8), one person with two natures, truly God and truly man. He lived a fully human life, having entered into the disorder and brokenness of fallen existence, yet without sin, and in his words, deeds, attitude, and suffering embodied the free and loving communication of God’s own light (truth) and life (salvation).
|John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.|
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
Romans 1:3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh
Romans 15:8 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs,
|THE ATONING WORK OF CHRIST|
That God who is rich in mercy towards the undeserving has made gracious provision for human wrongdoing, corruption, and guilt, provisionally and typologically through Israel’s Temple and sin offerings, then definitively and gloriously in the gift of Jesus’ once-for-all sufficient and perfect sacrificial death on the cross (Rom. 6:10; 1 Pet. 3:18) in the temple of his human flesh (Heb. 10:11-12). By his death in our stead, he revealed God’s love and upheld God’s justice, removing our guilt, vanquishing the powers that held us captive, and reconciling us to God (Isa. 53:4-6; 2 Cor. 5:21; Col. 2:14-15). It is wholly by grace (sola gratia), not our own works or merits, that we have been forgiven; it is wholly by Jesus’ shed blood, not by our own sweat and tears, that we have been cleansed.
|Romans 6:10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.|
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,
Hebrews 10:11–12 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,
Isaiah 53:4–6 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Colossians 2:14–15 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
That the gospel is the good news that the triune God has poured out his grace in the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, so that through his work we might have peace with God (Rom. 5:1). Jesus lived in perfect obedience yet suffered everything sinners deserved so that sinners would not have to pursue a righteousness of their own, relying on their own works, but rather through trust in him as the fulfillment of God’s promises could be justified by faith alone (sola fide) in order to become fellow heirs with him. Christ died in the place of sinners, absorbing the wages of sin (Rom. 6:23), so that those who entrust themselves to him also die with him to the power, penalty, and (eventually) practice of sin. Christ was raised the firstborn of a renewed and restored creation, so that those whom the Spirit unites to him in faith are raised up and created a new humanity in him (Eph. 2:15). Renewed in God’s image, they are thereby enabled to live out his life in them. One with Christ and made alive in him who is the only ground of salvation, sinners are reconciled with God – justified, adopted, sanctified, and eventually glorified children of the promise.
|Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.|
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Ephesians 2:15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,
|THE PERSON AND WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT|
That the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, the unseen yet active personal presence of God in the world, who unites believers to Christ, regenerating and making them new creatures (Tit. 3:5) with hearts oriented to the light and life of the kingdom of God and to peace and justice on earth. The Spirit indwells those whom he makes alive with Christ, through faith incorporates them into the body of Christ, and conforms them to the image of Christ so that they may glorify him as they grow in knowledge, wisdom, and love into mature sainthood, the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13). The Spirit is the light of truth and fire of love who continues to sanctify the people of God, prompting them to repentance and faith, diversifying their gifts, directing their witness, and empowering their discipleship.
|Titus 3:5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,|
Ephesians 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
That the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church is God’s new society, the first fruit of the new creation, the whole company of the redeemed through the ages, of which Christ is Lord and head. The truth that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, is the church’s firm foundation (Matt. 16:16-18; 1 Cor. 3:11). The local church is both embassy and parable of the kingdom of heaven, an earthly place where his will is done and he is now present, existing visibly everywhere two or three gather in his name to proclaim and spread the gospel in word and works of love, and by obeying the Lord’s command to baptize disciples (Matt. 28:19) and celebrate the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:19).
|Matthew 16:16–18 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.|
1 Corinthians 3:11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Luke 22:19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
|BAPTISM AND LORD’S SUPPER|
That these two ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which some among us call “sacraments,” are bound to the Word by the Spirit as visible words proclaiming the promise of the gospel, and thus become places where recipients encounter the Word again. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper communicate life in Christ to the faithful, confirming them in their assurance that Christ, the gift of God for the people of God, is indeed “for us and our salvation” and nurturing them in their faith. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are physical focal points for key Reformation insights: the gifts of God (sola gratia) and the faith that grasps their promise (sola fide). They are tangible expressions of the gospel insofar as they vividly depict our dying, rising, and incorporation into Jesus’ body (“one bread … one body” – 1 Cor. 10:16-17), truly presenting Christ and the reconciliation he achieved on the cross. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper strengthen the faithful by visibly recalling, proclaiming, and sealing the gracious promise of forgiveness of sins and communion with God and one another through the peace-making blood of Christ (1 Cor. 11:26; Col. 1:20).
|1 Corinthians 10:16–17 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.|
1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
Colossians 1:20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
That through participating in baptism and the Lord’s Supper, as well as prayer, the ministry of the Word, and other forms of corporate worship, we grow into our new reality as God’s people, a holy nation (1 Pet. 2:9, 10), called to put on Christ through his indwelling Spirit. It is through the Spirit’s enlivening power that we live in imitation of Christ as his disciples, individually and corporately, a royal priesthood that proclaims his excellent deeds and offers our bodies as spiritual sacrifices in right worship of God and sacrificial service to the world through works of love, compassion for the poor, and justice for the oppressed, always, everywhere and to everyone bearing wise witness to the way, truth, and life of Jesus Christ.
|1 Peter 2:9–10 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.|
That in God’s own time and way, the bodily risen and ascended Christ will visibly return to consummate God’s purpose for the whole cosmos through his victory over death and the devil (1 Cor. 15:26). He will judge the world, consigning any who persist in unbelief to an everlasting fate apart from him, where his life and light are no more. Yet he will prepare his people as a bride for the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7-9), giving rest to restless hearts and life to glorified bodies (1 Cor. 15:42-44; Phil. 3:21) as they exult in joyful fellowship with their Lord and delight in the new heaven and the new earth (Rev. 21:1-2). There they shall reign with him (2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 22:5) and see him face to face (1 Cor. 13:12; Rev. 22:4), forever rapt in wonder, love, and praise.
|1 Corinthians 15:26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.|
Revelation 19:7–9 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
1 Corinthians 15:42–44 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
Philippians 3:21 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.
Revelation 21:1–2 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
His water and blood were not severed in their flow at the cross, may they never be separated in my creed and experiences;
– from Jesus My Glory
The Valley of Vision
Ephesians 1:11-14 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Your will be done
My Father, I am but a little kid. I see this, that Your will be done and my response is only what I want and concern for no one else. It is so easy for me to say, “I believe that the will of my Father will be done.” because I think I know your power and sovereignty.
Yet I am still on this earth and I know that I have needs and wants and desires and wishes. It is so easy to come to you and say, “Give me!”.
What if you said, “No.” Will I have the wisdom and maturity to trust in you even when I don’t know why I am being protected for my own good?
What if you said, “Wait.” Will I have the patience and peace, not worrying or anxious, and wait for you?
Now, I say, “Of course I would have the wisdom, maturity, patience, and peace to handle that situation.” But at this moment now, nothing troubles my heart so it easy to say that. But what about then?
Deep down inside, my faith will be tested and I have no guarantees that I would pass that test.
If Your will be done, then what can I really ask for? How shall I pray for my heart to respond?
The only thing I do know is this:
You are my Father in heaven.
You alone are good and you can only do good.
You alone are loving and you can only love me.
You alone chose me, saved me and adopted me. You are perfect, you cannot lose me because a Perfect Father does not lose His kids. You cannot go back on your promises for it is impossible for you to break your own promise. 1
You alone are in charge. You alone dictate. You alone command.
You alone rule. You alone reign. You alone are sovereign.
You alone are holy. You alone are righteous. You alone are faithful.
You alone have the power to execute every single bit of your will.
You alone will receive all the majesty, honor and glory.
Just you. No one else.
Dad, you know my needs. You know my wants. You know my thoughts and dreams and I think I need this or that, but you know perfectly how to provide for me so that you alone receive all the glory.
You know my heart and as long as I am here on earth, you are constantly conforming me to the image of your Son. 2
If those things be true, then help me trust in You.
But even if my trust gives way, Lord, have your Holy Spirit gently and boldly remind me to consider others before myself. For you have me. You got me. I cannot be lost. I am going to be taken care of. You will bless me and keep me and because of what your Son has done, you said you will shine your face upon me, be ever so gracious to me, smile upon me and give me peace. 3
Because you have me, I am free to think of others and pray for them.
So this is my prayer: I lift them up to you, my gracious God.
Provide for them. Care for them. Heal them. Save them.
So many things that we want and we think they are good. We even think those good things come from you. Those things might be good or might not be good but it really does not matter. Lord, give us whatever would turn our hearts and affections towards You. Do not give us over to the things of this world that would turn our backs towards You. Our hope is in you alone. I pray for Your will to be done and that You will be glorified.
If it is by Your will, then I ask this one thing:
Lord, may I see Your glory?
For I know that I have these desires and I want these things to be done so bad.
So I come to You, as Your child, asking my Father “Can I please?”
But let me repeat, what my Eldest Brother said before, “Not my will but Yours”
“Not mine but thine will be done.”
Don’t do this because I want to, do this because You want to.
Whatever Your will might be, let me be with you and rest in You alone.
Mark 10:32-34 And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”
How should we respond?
And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” 1
My God, Because of everything your Son has done for me, I now walk in the power of Your Spiirt. He leads me. He guides me. He teaches me. He reminds me of what You have said. He reminds me of my righteousness. He reminds me that I am your son. More so than that, He is the seal upon my heart and the promise of your strength. And because He dwells in me, I fear no death. Because he is the same Spirit that raised Christ Jesus from the dead. And because He is in me, I have the fullness of life. I am truly alive. I am holy, righteous, just; loved, and continuous under your grace and mercy. Because of your anointing on my life.