Monday, December 19, 2005

The Life

Final part in a series on John 14:6

Someone has calculated how a typical lifespan of 70 years is spent. Here is the estimate:
Sleep................23 years...........32.9%
Work.................16 years...........22.8%
TV....................8 years...........11.4%
Eating................6 years............8.6%
Travel................6 years............8.6%
Leisure.............4.5 years............6.5%
Illness...............4 years............5.7%
Dressing..............2 years............2.8%
Religion............0.5 years............0.7%
Total................70 years............100%

We are defined as who we are by what we do. Jesus said that he is the Life in John 14:6, stating that he was the source of life as well as the way to a purposeful and meaningful life. Here are a few things that we have already learned about life.

We already know that Jesus is the way to life. I discussed that two weeks ago in the first part of this series. And we already know that Jesus wants to give us a full life, John 10:10, but what is life?

Now, let’s look at what life is.

Life is short, James 4:14. Think about all the things that we put off in life assuming that we may get to them at another time. Many people put off their relationship with God until they have settled down and are ready.

The problem with that way of thinking is that we are not guaranteed another today. We take tomorrow for granted but there is no guarantee that it will be there.

Living for Christ means living like there is no tomorrow, loving people and doing the right thing today. Understanding God’s love for you and living His desires for your life now, finding your purpose, meaning and value in Him at this very moment. That is understanding that life is short.

Life is sacrifice, Luke 9:24-25. Paul tells us that we should present our bodies as a living sacrifice. We allow ourselves to become selfish and indulge in our own desires before we ever think about how our actions affect our relationships with other people and God.

Living in Christ means not being selfish, it means doing the right thing, even if it requires giving up our desires.

Life is Christ, Philippians 1:21. I love this statement from Paul. He really got it! His life was a result of Christ and everything he became was a direct result of his relationship with Him.

Life is Eternal, John 3:16. Many people think that when their life ends on earth then that is all there is. This philosophy couldn’t be more wrong.

The bible is very clear about eternal life. We either spend it with God or separated from Him. The difference is what we do with Jesus, which brings me to the final point.

Life is your Choice, Joshua 24:15. During World War II, Winston Churchill was forced to make a painful choice. The British secret service had broken the Nazi code and informed Churchill that the Germans were going to bomb Coventry. He had two alternatives: (1) evacuate the citizens and save hundreds of lives at the expense of indicating to the Germans that the code was broken; or (2) take no action, which would kill hundreds but keep the information flowing and possibly save many more lives. Churchill had to choose and followed the second course.

Life is full of choices, some easy and some difficult. Joshua is pretty clear when it comes to serving God. It’s a choice you make but you have to live your choice.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Biblical Confession

A fellow blogger asked me what my thoughts were on confession of sin and I wanted to reply based on what the bible says about confession and more importantly forgiveness.

The first thing we should look at is sin. A basic definition of sin is anything we do outside the will of God. I shouldn’t need the bible to back me up on this but I’ll use it here just in case. Paul tells in Romans 3:23 that everyone has sinned and come short of what God desires for them. I actually had a conversation with a man a few months ago who actually said that he never sins. If that describes you then this post won’t really help you, but I encourage you to see my previous post on Truth.

The result of the sin in our lives leads us to separation from God. Again going back to what Paul writes in the book of Romans we learn that our sin results in death. This is speaking of spiritual death or eternal separation from God but God does offer the free gift of eternal life in that same verse.

So where does confession come into play here? We need forgiveness from our sins to gain the eternal life that God is offering. In order to begin a relationship with Christ we have to confess. The bible tells us that we believe in Christ and are justified with our hearts but we confess and are saved with our mouths.

Who do we confess to? Some people believe that we must confess our sins to others in order to receive forgiveness. That is not true! The bible does tell us that we should confess our sin to each other and be healed, but that is different than forgiveness. When our sin affects other people then we should go to them and confess and make it right. We should seek their forgiveness as well but God’s forgiveness comes only from God.

The Bible doesn’t teach receiving God’s forgiveness through man it teaches receiving His forgiveness through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. If you and I confess our sin to Him then He will be faithful to us and forgive us of that sin and restore us to righteousness.
How does confession work? You simply admit to God that you have sinned, done something outside of His will, and that you are truly sorry. To be truly sorry means to have a desire to no longer commit this act because you recognize that it is in violation of God’s desire for your life. That is called repentance; it literally means to turn around.

The key to all of this is your relationship to Christ. True confession only works if you have invited Him into your life as Savior. Recognizing Him as Lord of your life is what gives you the desire to repent from your sin.

I hope this helps answer your questions about confession. If I didn’t answer something or there is another question please feel free to e-mail me. My address is in my profile.

Monday, December 12, 2005


Part 2 in a 3 part series on John 14:6

In his book which provides a statistical analysis of religious beliefs in America, George Barna cites several fascinating statistics which are based on a national survey.

In chapter four he states, "The Devil, or Satan, is not a living being but is a symbol of evil." Then asking that segment of his survey respondents who have identified themselves at being Born Again, he states, "Do you agree strongly, agree somewhat, disagree somewhat, or disagree strongly with that statement?"

The Born Again population reply with 32 percent agreeing strongly, 11 percent agreeing somewhat and 5 percent did not know. Thus, of the total number responding, 48 percent either agreed that Satan is only symbolic or did not know!

His next question, "Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and others all pray to the same God, even though they use different names for that God." Again, the respondents were asked to agree strongly, agree somewhat, disagree somewhat or disagree strongly.

Of that population surveyed who identified themselves as Born Again, 30 percent agreed strongly, 18 percent agreed somewhat and 12 percent did not know. That is a total of 60 percent!

It’s amazing how many people profess to be born again believers and yet they do not know the truth about who Jesus really is and what a relationship with him can actually do in their lives.

Jesus said knowing truth would set us free, but free from what? Free from our sin. Knowing that Jesus is the source of truth and that a relationship with him will open our eyes to the condition of sin in our lives is a scary and sobering to understand. But that is what knowing truth is about.

The truth is that sin does capture and enslave us. That is why we call coming to know Jesus as Lord being saved. The truth is that you and I are powerless over our sin and our only hope to over come it and have redemption is to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.

So how do we know this truth? It’s actually pretty simple. We know the truth by knowing and living the word of God. Jesus is the truth and knowing truth means to know Him. In order to know him we must …

• Be honest about who we are. Sometimes we are not the person we say we are and we can even fool ourselves by pretending to be someone we are not. To know truth means to be honest about whom we really are in light of who God desires us to be.

• Be honest about who God is. Is He really Lord of your life or are you playing the God game? Do you serve Him wholeheartedly or do you make a public appearance in His house once a week?

• Be honest about our sin. We can’t hide our sin from God. We can hide it from other people and protect our little secrets but God knows and sees all. We have to be honest about our sin and let God have control.
• Be honest about our desires. Do we really want to serve Him as our Lord? Sometimes we mix the desire for a feel good spiritual moment and the desire to know the Lord. What is your true desire when it comes to God?

• Be honest about your relationship with God. Do you have a growing relationship with Him? Are you really as spiritually solid as you appear to be?

Sometimes the truth can hurt because it means seeing who we really are. We often come up way short when we see ourselves in the light of God’s truth. So the question is; what do we do then? Do we desire to change our lifestyles and habits to become the person that God desires us to be? Or do we continue to feed our selfishness?

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Way

Paul Harvey tells the story about a family on Christmas Eve. This family had a tradition where the Mother and children would go to the Christmas Eve service, and the Father would stay home and read the paper. When the family returns home from church, they would all gather to open up their presents.

The Father was not an evil man, but he just couldn’t believe in the childhood stories anymore of God coming as a baby in a manger. As the family left for church, he opened up the evening paper and began to read by the fireplace.

Suddenly, he heard tapping on the window. It was a bird flying against the glass of his window trying to get out of the snow into the warmth of his home. The man had compassion on the bird, and he went outside, hoping to bring it in.

As he approached the bird, the bird just flew against the window even harder. Pretty soon, the bird flew into the bushes below the window, half frozen, yet too afraid to be caught by this huge man. The more the man tried to reach for the bird, the more the bird flew frantically into the snow and thorns of the bushes.

After a few minutes in the cold and seeing the bird continue to injure itself, the man yelled out in frustration, "Stupid bird, can’t you understand that I’m trying to help?" The man paused and thought, "If only you understood you wouldn’t fly away ... if only ... if only I could become a bird, and get you to understand."

Just then, the church bells rang, as they always have on the hour. But when the man heard the bells this time, he fell to his knees and began to cry, saying, "Oh, God, I didn’t understand. Oh, God, I didn’t understand."

As we rush into the Holiday Season its important that we acknowledge who Jesus is. People all over the world will celebrate the birth of our Savior without realizing or acknowledging that he is God who became man to help you and I understand completely the depth of God’s love and provide a way for us to spend eternity with Him in heaven.

In John 14:6 Jesus makes an amazing revelation, in response to a question from Thomas, about who he is. By telling Thomas that he was the way, the truth and the life he was telling the world how they can better know Him and the Father.

What is Jesus the way to?

He is the way to fulfillment, John 10:10. He has a plan for our lives that lead us to a full and complete life. Many people live busy lives but guilt and doubt keep them from living a full life. Jesus wants you and I to experience life through him, a full life.

Jesus is the way to peace, John 14:27. We look so many different places for peace when all we need is to know Jesus Christ as Savior. He is the ultimate peace and you will never experience a deeper peace than knowing him.

Jesus is the way to unity, John 17:11. Jesus’ desire is that we be united with other believers and with Him in the same way that He was united with God. Why are churches failing to make an impact in their communities, because there is no unity?

Jesus is the way to meaning, John 11:41-44. We should find value in the fact that God has designed us and created us with a purpose. We should find value in the fact that Jesus died specifically for us.

When Jesus told them to remove the grave clothes from Lazarus he was telling Lazarus to go live. Before we came to know Christ we were spiritually dead he resurrected us, called us from the dead, when he called us to salvation. We need to take our spiritual grave clothes off and live for Christ. Live like we have value and meaning because he validated that for us on the cross.

Next week we’ll talk about truth.