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Posts Tagged ‘Calvary’

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I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys. – Song of Solomon 2:1 (NIV)

Rare beauty can emerge under unlikely conditions.  Picture the beauty of a flower growing to full bloom in the midst of the lifelessness of the desert.  Let the image of a blossom come forth out of the den of death like a desert.

The death of Jesus stands out as a similar image.  He stood out as a jewel of what God had to offer the entire world as the worldliness of many people led Him to court, then the cross at Calvary.  He is the rose which gave His own life so that others might have eternal life.

This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge;

and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross

– Acts 2:23

 

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Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.” – Exodus 24:8 (NIV)

This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. – Matthew 26:28 (NIV)

When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people.  He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.” – Hebrews 9:19-20 (NIV)

Blood dripped down from the cross.  Droplets of shed blood hit the soil.  Many had bled there before.  Countless slain criminals had hung above the earth and died there, soaking the ground with blood.  However, something appeared different that day. 

The man hanging among the thieves was innocent.  He had been tried in a religious court that had refused to accept His message.  He had put up little defense against their accusations.  Even when they handed Him over to the Romans, He stood in silence as He faced His inevitable death sentence.  He said little as He endured the cruel beatings from the Roman soldiers.  He had offered no resistance when they forced Him to march with His cross through the streets.  Even as He hung upon the cross, the few words that He offered were mumbled as he neared death.

He had been called Rabbi.  John the Baptist had called Him the Lamb of God.  Some had said that He was the Christ (the Anointed One).  He was even called the Messiah by others.  Yet, some mistook Him for one of the prophets like Elijah or Jeremiah.

No matter what He was called.  He hung high above the ground and shed His blood for the salvation of the world.  Nothing would ever be the same once His blood was shed.  No one who called on His name and believed His message would not have the new covenant presented through His shed blood and slain body.

And that day was the preparation,
and the sabbath drew on.
– Luke 23:54 (KJV)

What Moses had offered in the wilderness was hardly anything close to what Jesus offered on Calvary’s cross.  Jesus bore all of our grief and sorrow for our sake.  Jesus offered a covenant that Moses could only imitate at that point.  Moses could only offer a ceremonial sprinkling of the blood for the covenant.  Jesus offered a prophetic and redemptive covenant that showed the power of God through His shed blood.  Souls are saved continually through what Jesus offered as a supreme sacrifice on that day.

Do not believe the naysayers.  Do not accept the lies and the misunderstandings.  The blood of Jesus still saves.  The blood of the Lord paid the price for our sins for our salvation.  He stood in and paid the penalty for our wrongdoing, for our transgressions and infirmities.

Let the covering of the blood continue to work on you.  Let the blood remind you of His sacrificial love.  Never forget that the blood of the slain Savior who suffered for sakes soak into your soul like it once soaked into the soil of Golgotha.  Let the image of that blood settle into your spirit and keep you close to Him in this new covenant.  Hold dear to Him as your Lord and savior, for His blood still has power.

For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer
sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh:
how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit
offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead
works to serve the living God?
– Hebrews 9:13 (NASB)

But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins,
he sat down at the right hand of God.
– Hebrews 10:12 (NIV)

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 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I  have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. – Genesis 9:12-13 (NIV)

So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.” – Genesis 9:17 (NIV)

God has a way of showing us things.  We might have taken them for granted, but they have real meaning beyond the surface.  There is more to them than what we might think or imagine with our natural minds and our natural eyes.  We have to see that our very own nature can cloud our spiritual discernment at times.  God has meanings that appear as mysteries to us.  He wants us to come into a certain level of understanding, especially when it comes to our covenant with Him.

What does that have to do with coffee? I was talking about covenants with God, right?

We can have coffee and a covenant.  We can sit down and have fellowship.  We can bond over the very things that seem so normal and mundane.  We can have fellowship in His Spirit and through His Spirit.  Since we have His Spirit, we can share such fellowship together.  It is by His Spirit that we have such a bond of peace and unity

We can sit down and have a cup of coffee, entering into a covenant of communion with other believers.  We can enter into a covenant of friendship and spiritual unity.  We can take normal things like a simple cup of coffee and make it into more than just a cup of Joe.  We can truly engage in fellowship under the blood covenant that we have with each other through Christ’s shed blood.

You can have a covenant with a brother or sister in Christ.  That’s real.  In fact, that is necessary.  Yet, our covenant starts with a spiritual sign.  It is no longer flesh cut away.  He has cut away at our hearts.  He seeks a spiritual sign among us nowadays.  Our covenant with Him through His blood allows us to have a binding covenant with other brothers and sisters in Him.

1Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV)

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For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him (v. 64)

“Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” (v. 70)

He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him (v. 71)

 

Jesus knew who it was “from the beginning,” according to verse 64.  He chose the twelve and knew well that one of them was “a devil.” He spoke of Judas Iscariot, “who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.”

 

Jesus knew it and had dealt it with it a while.  We see in John 12 that the objection of the anointing of Jesus at Bethany is limited to Judas in John’s version.  Unlike other gospels, Judas is the singular objector here and John is quick to point out his character here, saying: He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. (John 12:6, NIV).” John even denotes him, in verse 5, as “Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him.”

The Bible is full of bits and pieces about betrayal, especially by those who are said to be close to us.  David says that he could have handled a stranger betraying him, but it was a friend, a “man my equal.” The prophecy of Zechariah points out that Jesus was betrayed for thirty pieces of silverIsaiah presents the “man of sorrows” to the believer as the suffering and sacrificial Savior.  James simply said for us to submit to the Lord and that the devil would flee from us. 

We have to understand that these show us that we can withstand the devil’s attacks.  Just as Jesus withstood him during the temptation presented in the wilderness, we can withstand the fiery darts of the devil as he attacks us from all sides.  We can put on the whole armor of God, as it is written in Ephesians chapter 6, and have our defenses girded up against the enemy.

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For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.- Romans 5:19 (NIV)

For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.
Hebrews 10:10 (NLT)

So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. – Hebrews 13:12 (ESV)

The debt of sin paid by His death.  I love how Isaiah 53 puts it in such poetic and picturesque terms, especially in the old English.

4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Isaiah calls Him a “man of sorrows.”  How else would you describe a man mocked for offering Himself as a sacrifice to for the world? What other label would you place upon a man sent to His own and they received Him not? Think of how hard it has been to love and forgive those who have hurt you or slandered you.  Imagine if you had the power to wipe them out with your very words.

Thank God for Jesus being the God-man.  He was fully God and He was fully human.  He had enough God in Him to refrain from unleashing armies of angels on Jerusalem that day.  He was human enough that He bled, though.   He was so godly that He asked the father to forgive the people who persecuted and ridiculed Him out of their ignorance, “for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). 

He wasn’t hung in the midst of the marketplace.  He wasn’t stretched before the other zealots  and insurrectionists for seditious acts of rebellion against the emperor and his constituents.  Pilate may have ordered it, but the Lord orchestrated it to happen.  He was taken to the outskirts of town and hung amidst the outcasts.  The King James Version used the phrase: and he was numbered with the transgressors.

Jesus died at Calvary.

Jesus died on the cross.

Jesus died as a cure for our condition.

… and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.– Isaiah 53: 12 (KJV)

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Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven– Luke 6:37 (NIV)

People who have been forgiven should be forgiving people.  Grace, mercy, love and patience should all intertwine in order to offer forgiveness to others.  Since God has forgiven us through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, we should forgive others just as He has forgiven us.

Take into account the wrongs that you have done against God.  We call them sins.  They are the little and the big things that separate us from our constant and consistent fellowship with God.  We need to see how our interactions with others are in alignment with our professed faith and belief in God.  Sadly, we may find ourselves more out of alignment with God’s ways and His Word than we would like to think.  How we treat others may not be as glaring to us until we weigh it all in proper perspective with how God wants us to treat others.

 The dialogue between Peter and Jesus about forgiveness has been utilized out of context many times, but it opens the believer’s eyes to a new dynamic about forgiveness.   Jesus assures Peter that what may be viewed as acceptable by human standards is not what is acceptable by the standard set for God’s people.  Even if it is our own people who offend us, we should be able to forgive them countless times.  That’s not easy.

We have to understand that we have been forgiven of all  of our sins by the work of Jesus on the cross.  Therefore, since we have been forgiven, we have an understanding of having a debt that we could not pay for ourselves.  We should see that our brother or sister’s trespasses should be forgiven without our convicting or condemning them for what they have done.  We should, as forgiven people, forgive them because of what has been forgiven of us by Him.

Take your forgiveness up a notch.  If you find that hard, take it to God in solemn and sincere prayer.  drop the grudge and bury the hatchet.  There’s no sense in taking someone else through hell for what they have done against you when your Holy Father has refused to send you to the depths of hell for all that you have done against Him.

God forgives.  Be like God.  Forgive more and more.

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Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.- Colossians 1:28 (ESV)

Preaching has a basic point.  Lead people to Christ.  We do that by word and deed.  Our preaching should be made up of what we say and do in His name. 

The whole point is to point people to Christ.

Christ should be the main character discussed in what we say.  He should be imitated by what we do.  People should come to know Christ as they are getting to know us.

 Paul spoke of being “made a minister” and sharing the Good News with the Gentiles in Colossians 1:25-27.  Yet, he also claims that preaching the message should include two things: warning and teaching.  In essence, we should preach so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.  Preach in such a way that the people may be presented “mature” in Christ.  It should grow your people.

We need to preach Christ.  Paul simplified it down so much that it would seem that we know nothing but Christ and Him crucified.   The point of our preaching should be Christ and Christ’s work in our salvation.  Let your preaching speak profoundly about Christ. Let your preaching serve as a means for others learning about and living like Christ. 

The point of our preaching is to share Christ as Lord and Savior, a means for one obtaining eternal life.

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…I am not of this world– John 8:23 (NASB)

…My kingdom is not of this world.- Joh 18:36 (NASB)

Let’s just settle this from the onset, the get-go or simply the start.  Jesus spoke of Himself and His kingdom not being of this world.  I know that many in Christian circles have expressed such views through bumper stickers and t-shirts as well as anything it can possibly be printed upon nowadays.  (That’s just part of our ways that we don’t seem ready to part with any time soon.)  What we learn is that the Lord shared this is some specific situations so we can be clear about what we are expressing.

And He was saying to them, ” You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.- John 8:23 (NASB).  This is not easy to understand out of its context.  in verse 21,it is stated: Then He said again to them, “I go away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come.” Some of the Jews talked among themselves, assuming to understand what He meant.  He simply clarified things for their own understanding.  Their earthly ways could not comprehend His eternal means and methods.  He is from above.  They could not possibly understand such matters, being concerned with the things below and not above.

Jesus answered,My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”- John 18:36(NASB).  Again, I say, the context helps us to understand this.  Jesus is answering Pilate’s inquiry of Him.  The Jews sought him to be punished by Pilate.  Pilate wanted to hear from Jesus.  Jesus simply shared the truth.  He did not plead for mercy or fight to prove His own innocence.  he addressed Pilate by sharing that He indeed had a kingdom that was not of this world. 

What may not have been understood stands out for us today.  We catch on.  We see it.  The kingdom is not of this world because our King is not of this world.  We must be in this world because we live on earth, but our kingdom citizenry should prevail within us as we seek to influence and inspire the world around us.  Being unworldly is not an option.  We are not to become worldly, but we are to serve as the catalyst for change.

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The megachurch

movement did

not start with

Martin Luther

nailing the 96

theses to the

door of the

church.  It did

not start with

William Tyndale

translating the

Bible into

English.  It did not start with Jonathan Edwards preaching “Sinners

In the Hands of an Angry God.” It did not start with John Wesley

preaching on the Methodist circuit.  It did not start with Absalom

Jones and Richard Allen walking out of a Methodist church in protest.

It did not start

with the Pilgrims

at Plymouth Rock.

It did not start with

Slaves singing songs

of freedom on a

Southern plantation.

It did not start with

Billy Graham’s Re-

vival or Oral Roberts’

vision of a healing

ministry of miracles

and Holy Ghost power.

It did not start with Robert

Schuller and an empty

drive-in theater and a dream.

It did not start when King had a

dream.  No, it didn’t start with

denominations and districts.  It did

not start with Peter, James, John, and

 Andrew fishing by the Sea of Galilee.  It did not

 start in the upper room where the Spirit fell upon them and

every man heard it in his own tongue.  No the megachurch movement

started with Jesus Christ the Son of God dying for our sins with a crown

of thorns upon His head and His side pierced as His blood came streaming

down to save us in the world by the love and grace of God the Father as He

gave up His life for us at a place called Calvary hanging on and nailed to a cross.

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“For the word of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God.” – 1 Cor. 1:18 ASV

God uses whatever He chooses.  That’s a simple truth.  You may not agree with how He does it, but you must accept that whatever He does is up to His choosing.  As Paul states in verse 27 of this same chapter, God uses the “foolish things of the world” and the “weak things which are strong.” He notes that the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing since they are spirituallu blind.  He also notes that the power of the word of the cross is shown to those who are saved because they have spiritual insight to recognize it.

Keep the cross in mind.  Be mindful of what it symbolizes and says about the Savior.  Christ suffered on the cross for our sins, becoming sin for us and paying the penalty for the debt that we owed.  Give God glory for the sacrifice made for you at Calvary.  Remember that He paid it all for us all.

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