Spiritual Independency

Jesus centered His teaching on the Kingdom of God, His greatest gift given to man. “Seek first the kingdom of heaven and His righteousness and all these other things shall be added unto you.” To attain this, the work of Christ must be complete with the crucifixion, the resurrection, and now the greatest of events that brought forth the Kingdom of God, the Ascension of Christ. Jesus received back the glory that He once had with the Father from the beginning.

The great achievements of the Ascension began with His glory. Jesus prayed to the Father that He would receive back His glory that He relinquished upon stepping off the throne of God, and becoming Incarnate to the earth. With His earthly life complete, Pentecost would now be realized, that is upon His leaving this earth He would remain in the presence and person of the Holy Spirit. Thus, the empowerment for Christian ministry began for us, the Church of Jesus Christ.

Now the celebration and Coronation of Christ begins. We see even the gates of Heaven lifting up their heads so that the King of Glory might enter (Psa. 24:7-8). His return to the right hand of God the Father is the greatest of coronations the world or the cosmos would ever see. At His coro-nation, Jesus sat in the seat of authority, the session (a place of authority) at the right hand of the Father. He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. The seat of Christ is the highest seat in the universe. Finally, the Ascension of Jesus gives us a high priest, the chief priest who performs intercessions for those who call Him Lord. Jesus prays for those whom God has given Him, and He stands with us to intercede on our behalf.

Do you have yearning and longings for the Kingdom of God? The Kingdom of God is the very reason Christ came – that we would be redeemed as His own, to reign and rule with Christ in heavenly places. Now return quickly Lord Jesus, that upon our resurrection we might enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Praise be to the King of Glory and His Kingdom!

To Serve and Not Be Served

When I was a young teenager at family outings, my cousin Dan and I would separate ourselves from the younger cousins to show how cool we were because we were older than them. We eventually let them get closer as we got older, but I remember our rudeness to them even as they looked up to us. The Gospel of Matthew tells us of a biblical mother named Salome, who like many of you moms, could easily identify with her as a devoted wife, mother, and close friend to Jesus and His family, and who also wanted entitlements for her sons. She faced no difficulty in persuading her sons, James and John, to accompany her in obedience to the Master’s side. Salome was ambitious for her sons, and ambition is commendable when it is in full agreement with the mind and purpose of God. Ambition, when divinely directed, can lead to the heights of honor, but when selfishly pursued, can come to great embarrassment. Salome knew that Christ was the Messiah. Feeling that the kingdom would soon be established, she requested that her sons be placed one on Christ’s right hand and the other on His left when He inaugurated His kingdom. Although such a demand arose from maternal pride, it did not arise from true faith because she didn’t know what she asked when she requested seats of honor for her sons. Here is Jesus’ answer. “First,” Jesus said, “You don’t understand what you are asking, for this position must first come in suffering and not glory.” Secondly, Jesus asked if her sons were prepared to drink the cup of martyrdom, and implied that James and John would share His throne of suffering. Salome came to learn that the only way to this place of honor she requested would be through sacrificial service. “Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.”

Can you see the lesson here for your own life? Eventually, what Salome learned from walking with Jesus and her search for earthly crowns for her sons, was that losing their lives for Christ’s sake was the only way they gained greater honor in heaven. Jesus knew what was coming and that was the cup of God’s wrath for the sins of the world. “Can you drink My cup?”, He asked. They still thought they could and replied, “Yes, we can drink that cup”. Here Jesus is teaching us about the quality of our service. To serve and not be served. Not being too quick to seek entitlements or positions of authority, or visual placement for all to see. Jesus says, “I did not come to be served but to serve.”

No Compromise for the Truth

In the history of the Christian church the oldest creed that survived to summarize Christianity is the Apostles’ Creed. In the Apostles’ Creed, we find something a bit unusual—a reference to an historical person other than Jesus. That person is Pontius Pilate. We read the line, “suffered under Pontius Pilate”. Historians have often asked the question, why did the leaders of the Christian church in the first century want to make a statement about Pontius Pilate? The reason is the leaders considered Pontius Pilate to be an important person in terms of redemptive history—that he was used by God for a particular reason—namely, to bring about the death of Christ that was designed for our redemption.

Jesus gave a summary of the purpose of His life and His ministry when He said, “I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” He said, “For this reason have I come into this world, to bear witness to the truth.” To speak the truth, to do the truth, and to tell the truth. If ever the church needs to hear that afresh, it is today. We live in a time when the agenda of the church is focused on everything but the truth. Why? Because truth inevitably divides. Truth causes controversy. Martin Luther said, “There can never be the presence of the word of God in this world without there being an uproar in the midst of it.”

How important is truth to you? Are you a person of truth, or are you a person who compro-mises when faced with truth? As a church, New Covenant, we understand that the Truth is Jesus Christ. This understanding begins by confessing and realizing that Jesus is who He said He is, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me” (John 14:6).

 

A True Thirst Quencher

Jesus said to the woman at Jacob’s well, “Anyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again, giving them eternal life” (Jn. 4:13-14). Jesus said if you knew who it was that asks you for a drink, He would have given you living water. Notice the woman’s response. “Sir, you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?” She responded to Jesus as one oblivious to who He is and what He could do for her. She saw all of the obstacles. Jesus, you don’t have anything to draw water with and the well is too deep to dip a pail into. Do you see what she did? What she was focused on? No ladle to draw with and how impossible it would be for Him to draw water out of the well.

 

I consider this woman to be like a lot of folks who attend church and have no idea who Jesus really is or what He has come to do for us—church attenders and not truth absorbers. Also, there are folks who think God is some form of higher power, unrelated to us in general, but a nice thought to think there might be something up there that should be good for us. They are generally focused on all their problems rather than the solutions to the problems. This woman was like that. She said, “Living water? What do you mean by living water? You have nothing to draw with. How could you give me any kind of water?” She missed what Jesus was trying to say. Jesus says the water you drink here will satisfy your thirst for a moment, for a short period of time. It satisfies us for a moment, but in a very short time we become thirsty again.

 

Are you satisfied in your own ambitions and desires? Only Jesus can give you what you need, and that is “living water” that brings us life, a life that doesn’t need desires and wants to make us satisfied all the time. Don’t miss this opportunity to find lasting peace and happiness. Jesus is your Living Water.

 

Bridging the Gap

We often feel abandoned, alone in this vacuous universe, where there can be no sensation of the presence of God. We are an extremely empirically oriented people. If we can’t see it, touch it, or feel it, we don’t believe it’s real. We have lost any connection with the other dimension, a supra-natural realm. In Jacob’s dream, he saw a ladder between heaven and earth where the angels were ascending and descending. The ladder is the connecting link between the super-natural realm and the natural world, between earth and heaven. Jacob said, “This is the place of God, and I didn’t know it”. For there to be access between heaven and earth, between God and us, there has to be a bridge, there has to be a ladder. There must be a conversion experience with Jesus that bridges the gap and becomes the connecting link between these two realms.

We have lost touch with the holy, and we often live as if there is no God. We may say that we believe in God, but in practice we doubt His presence in our lives. That is, we live as if there is no God because we don’t know how to connect. We don’t know how to bridge the gap between this world and the heavenly places. That’s why Christ is so important, because He puts His feet and arms and a face to the invisible nature of God. In the Incarnation, the cross and the resurrection, this seemingly unbridgeable chasm is now bridged, and we have access through Him to go beyond this world and behind the veil to experience the presence of God.

Is your walk with Jesus occasional (like only when attending church), or is your relationship with Jesus a daily “ascending and descending Jacob’s ladder” that is your permanent connection to God in living your life? Has walking with Jesus bridged the gap between your world and His Kingdom?