“For there is only one God and One Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity; the man Christ Jesus.”
1 Timothy 2:5
The man Christ Jesus, both fully God and fully man. A difficult truth to fully comprehend yet the most significant truth in the whole of Christianity. If Jesus was not fully God, He would not be worth worshipping. If Jesus was not fully man, then there is no way He could have understood our problems, no way He could have walked with us through hard times and no way He could have been our substitutional sacrifice. Yet Jesus was both fully man and fully God. And it is only by His sacrifice that man-kind and God could reconnect in a true and pure relationship. Jesus is our Mediator, our Ransom and the reason why we can commune with a Holy God and the Creator of the world. Our imperfections, our sinful lifestyles and bad habits are made clean and righteous before God because Jesus made us clean by taking our punishment for us and cleansing us by His blood.
Today we can rejoice that Jesus was fully God, came to live on this earth as a 100% human being, carried our sins and burdens to the cross and there left them, rose again victorious, so that we too can die to our old selves and be resurrected new creations. The past is gone. The new has come. Jesus our Mediator has reconciled us to God the Father. We are victorious in Him. He reigns victorious. That is why we worship Him. That is why we praise Him.
“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
Matt Redman: Never Once
Both Matt Redman, Moses and all the other heroes of faith in the Bible had this one thing in common: in times of need, they knew God would never forsake them. Why? Because God promised it in His word, both when it was written and forever more. God is faithful to His word. He will never leave us. This wonderful truth is so powerful that not only is it repeated twice in the same chapter (Deuteronomy 31:6,8) but even the writer of Hebrews re-quotes this verse when talking about trusting God instead of wealth (Hebrews 13:5). Even Jesus Himself spoke these same comforting words when departing the Earth in Matthew 28:20, ‘And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age’.
Friends, if God’s words seems to repeat this reoccurring message so strongly and frequently across the whole bible, then perhaps it is worth paying close attention to. Perhaps God knew that we would have times when we are afraid, when we don’t know how we are going to pay our next bill or how to overcome the trials we are facing. He knew we would need something to help us realign ourselves with the truth that He hasn’t left us. If that is you today, know that God IS with you. He promised to never leave you and promised to personally fight on your behalf. He is with you. He loves you. And He is fighting for you, even when perhaps you might not be able to see it!
“One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow Me, and I will show you how to fish for people.” And they left their nets at once and followed Him.”
Do you ever wonder what kind of relationship Peter (Simon) and Andrew had before this Jesus encounter. Were they God fearing Jews? Did they often pray? Did they even know a Messiah would come to save people from their sins? Perhaps your question is, why did Jesus call them in the first place? What’s so special about them? Yet whatever the answers are to these questions, one truth does remain. Jesus did call them and empowered them to be world changers. What Jesus said to Peter and Andrew truly did come to pass. They really did fish for men and Peter in particular later became one of the founders of God’s church. Who would have thought such an incredibly ministry would befit a humble fisherman.
What this passage and message shows us, is that your life in God’s hands is limitless. It doesn’t matter where you are from, what background you have or your B.C lifestyle, you too can be used in the same way Peter and Andrew were. Perhaps Jesus purposefully decided to choose simple men to reveal His glory and power, in taking broken and small things and making them new. Today Jesus calls out to us too… ‘Come, follow Me..’ God can use you in your sphere of influence, whatever that may be. Don’t limit what God can do through your life.
“John said to Jesus, “Master, we saw someone using Your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he isn’t in our group. But Jesus said, “Don’t stop him! Anyone who is not against you is for you.”
Church unity is at the heart of the New Testament writings. God’s word often encourages us to throw away our indifferences and disagreements for the sake of peace and unity among the church. We might have different opinions or interpretations of God’s word but ultimately we are the same family. Our families purpose is to usher in our Father’s presence, peace, love and salvation to all people.
In today’s passage, the apostle John, also seemed to struggle with the issue of divided unity. John and the other disciples saw someone casting out demons in Jesus’ Name, yet because they weren’t part of the ‘group’ he stopped them. Don’t we often do this in our churches today? Because you haven’t done this, taken this course, studied at this Bible school, you can’t serve in this or that ministry. Rather than encourage people’s gifting, we tend to quench them and put procedure in place of purpose. Yet Jesus’ words are the same today as they were to John, ‘anyone who is not against you is for you’. This is not to say that we shouldn’t be wise in electing leadership, and allowing people to serve in ministry. But rather it is an attitude of acceptance and openness to others who might be different from us. If we are the same family then we shouldn’t quench the fire inside each other. Instead nurture and encourage one other, so that Jesus may get the glory through our diversity.
“Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”
We are not saved to just be ‘Christians’ or to join a club of people who meet on Sundays. God has a perfect and great plan for each of us. He has gifted us with individual gifts and He has a plan for each of our lives. Yet this great plan is only recognised when we recognise who we are in Christ; when we get past our past, and live as a new creation. We are God’s masterpieces, a royal priesthood, a people who have been showered with grace. Paul says that ‘God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of His grace and kindness towards us.’ We are blessed incredibly with unlimited grace and mercy that comes from an unlimited storehouse. Our Salvation is not just so we can add to the population of Christians in this world but so that we can be used to add to the numbers of believers in Christ equipped and empowered by the gifts God has given us. It is only when we understand who we are and how much we have been saved, do we then realise the world changing power that lives within us.
“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.”
If you were going away for a long time or perhaps would not see your friends and family for along time, what would be your parting words to them? Paul’s final words to the church in Ephesus, were those of today’s key verse. Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Isn’t that so incredible. Paul is saying that we don’t need to make a stand in our own strength, nor do we need to pretend we are superheroes. Instead, all we need to do is lean on the mighty power of Jesus, who has already won our victory over every evil. It is then that our weaknesses are made strong because we live in and through HIM, not live in our strength. Paul doesn’t say be strong only…. He says be strong in the Lord. When we are in Christ, we are more than conquerors, empowered to change the world, to be a light that cannot be extinguished. Be strong in Him and in His mighty power. Not in your own skills or gifts but in HIM and HIS.
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing… . When you produce much fruit, you are My true disciples. This brings great glory to My Father.”
John 15:5, 8
The man who concentrates on the root system of his life is going to bear fruit upward, but if he concentrates on the eye-appealing foliage he may end up a rootless failure.
Robert D. Foster
Bearing fruit, being a believer with Christ-like attributes and characteristics, is not something we can conjure up in our own might and power. If we could, then why would we need God in the first place? Of course you can live as a moral person, with good intentions, but true Godly fruit, only comes from being connected to the source of Godly nutrients, the Vine of Christ. Jesus tells us that apart from Him, we ‘can do nothing’. Yes we can try to be a good person, try to look nice on the outside, and even try to fool ourselves that we do look good. Yet all this is not genuine, God-pleasing fruit, because it comes from us and not from the source of ‘good fruit’, Jesus Christ. In order to make sure we are producing ‘God’s’ fruit in our lives, we need to stay connected to the source, we need to stay plugged into the root of our faith. It is only then that we can be counted as true ‘fruit bearing’ disciples of God and bring glory to the Father. Stay plugged in! Stay true to Him!