Moses said, "The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your own people. Listen carefully to everything he tells you." Then Moses said, "Anyone who will not listen to that Prophet will be completely cut off from God’s people." Starting with Samuel, every prophet spoke about what is happening today. You are the children of those prophets, and you are included in the covenant God promised to your ancestors. For God said to Abraham, "Through your descendants all the families on earth will be blessed." When God raised up his servant, Jesus, he sent him first to you people of Israel, to bless you by turning each of you back from your sinful ways .... Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of our people, are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” Acts 3:22-26, 4:8-12
God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself .... So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit .... Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:20-21
For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. As the Scriptures say, "People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. But the word of the Lord remains forever.” And that word is the Good News that was preached to you." 1 Peter 1:23-25
Earlier in our Joshua series it was mentioned that Israel was referred to as, "A people for God's own possession." While they were in the wilderness, God showed Moses in great detail what it would take for this to become true of Israel. It is in the promised land that God sought to accomplish this great work in its fullness. The ultimate goal for Israel becoming "A people for God's own possession" was to demonstrate to all the other nations the difference it makes for a nation to be under God's authority and care and the necessity for all nations to be subject to God and his purposes. God's is calling his people to seek to live for him and to participate in his mission of reaching the world.
In the New Testament, the Church is also called, "A people for God's own possession." With Israel it is one nation under God to be used to reach all the other nations, but with the church God takes individual people from all nations and unites them together in Christ in order to reach the world one person at a time. God's is calling his people today to seek to live for him and to participate in his mission of reaching the world as well. The Acts passage above says, "God said to Abraham, 'Through your descendants all the families on earth will be blessed.' What God sought to do with Israel in the promised land and what he has been doing with the church all along, is a fulfillment of his promise to Abraham.
Life brings to us so many things for us to get caught up in. The competition for our time, energy, talents, focus, hearts, and lives is so great. God wants the central calling of our lives to be his mission of reaching the world. But we will not be devoted to his mission of reaching the world unless we can overcome the constant pull of the things this world has to offer that relentlessly compete to take over our lives. However, there is something more - something even more crucial - we will not be able to overcome everything that competes for our lives unless our love and devotion belong to God.
We have been talking about the "Fear of the Lord" and we know this refers to having a proper respect and reverence for God. This is the right kind of fear and this is what having our love and devotion belong to God is all about. Ones who truly respect and reverence God are ones who let God be in charge and who give themselves to the things that are important to him. Our passages above each have a main focus. The focus of the Acts passage is Christ. The focus of the Ephesians passage is the Church. And the focus of the 1 Peter passage is the Word of God. When we let God be in charge and give ourselves to the things that are important to him, we give to him the respect and reverence he so completely deserves. The more Christ, the church, and God's word become central in our lives the more that respect and reverence for God will be cultivated in our lives, in our families, and in others we seek to bless.
Lord, help me to let you be more fully in charge of my life than ever before. Show me, specifically, how Christ, the church, and the Word of God can become more central in my life. Lord, may others see more clearly in my life my love and devotion to you and that which is important to you. Use my life to help others grow in their respect and reverence for you as my life encourages them at making Christ, the church, and the Word of God, central in their lives as well.
Posted on Wed, June 24, 2015
by Alan Porter