For many early Christians, the idea that Jesus came in the flesh was a hard pill to swallow. Many in the Roman world believed that everything physical or material was bad, that the goal of salvation was to escape this world. They thought the goal was to escape the physical and become a spirit. John took on the challenge of confronting that ungodly thought of his day. He writes,
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete. 1 John 1:1-4
John the evangelist wrote both the Gospel of John and the 3 Epistles of John known as 1, 2, and 3 John. You will see a similarity in the first part of the Gospel of John as he talks about the incarnate Jesus which means that He came in the flesh.
In one sense, if the physical world’s only foundation comes from itself, then the early Christians would be right in the fact that it was not so good. But when the spiritual is in control of the physical then it can be controlled by the mystery of God. John wants to bring fellowship with man and God to the forefront. We are to constantly be growing closer to God and with others. The Christian message can be summed up with the greatest commandment, Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, then to love your neighbor as yourself. This will truly bring your joy to completeness. It is through the physical that Jesus impacts this lost world.
May God remind you that He loves you with a love so much that He came down to this earth and became a part of the physical world to show us how to love Him more and save us from sin. What a God we serve.
Thinking on this makes for a great day…
Joy in Jesus!
We have been looking at God’s revelation to man as He speaks in the skies, as He speaks Scriptures, and now as He speaks in the soul.
He Speaks in the Soul (19:12-14)
12 But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. 13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. 14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Jeremiah 17:9 says, The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
Basically it is saying that we can’t even understand our own heart. We need the mirror of the Word to reveal it to us. The Psalmist goes as far as to ask the Lord to reveal his secret sins (Psalm 139:23-24).
As I have been reading through the Old Testament, I thought it was interesting that the Old Testament law provided for sins of ignorance but for sins of open rebellion and defiance there was no sacrifice (Numbers 15). Here David asks not only to be cleansed of secret faults but to be restrained from running into deliberate sin. David knew how deliberate sin could shackle his every thought of walking in freedom from fear and debilitating sin. In Romans 6, the Apostle Paul says that sin should have no dominion over us.
Could it be that David is telling us that it is an accumulation over time of the small hidden faults that are unbridled that could potentially lead to a willful, deliberate sin against God? It is so good to humble ourselves before God and give Him my all.
I think that verse 14 ought to be our prayer before our feet hit the ground in the morning. “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” Psalm 19:14. The word “meditation” here has the image of a musician plucking the strings of a harp. Who controls the music of your heart, God or Satan? Meditation is to the heart what digestion is to the body; it is the taking in of the Word of God and making it a part of the inner being. As the heart and mind think on the Word all day long, the Spirit guides the life. That is why I always talk about saturating in the Word of God. It is what we dwell on that will begin to permeate in our heart and mind.
I think of the Parable found in Mark 7 where Jesus says it is not the outside that makes a man unclean, it is what is coming from the inside.
This Sunday I will finish up the series, “Decluttering Our Past.” Many have been running from things of their past and the Lord is calling us to embrace them and fully commit it to Him. If we don’t thoroughly give it to Jesus then we take a chance of repeating something that God wanted to grow us through.
Make Psalm 19:14 your prayer each day as you strive to be more like Jesus…
“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” Psalm 19:14.
Joy in Jesus!
Last week we looked at God’s revelation to man as He speaks in the skies. This week we focus on God speaking in the Scriptures.
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene