Jesus the Son of Man and the Son of God guide us through Your Word; Ephesians 2:8-10, Matthew 25:31-46.
This posting is very long yet I felt all four of these belonged together. They are worth the study. Enjoy.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them
As I write this, it is early afternoon the last day of the month. In my car is a postcard from the State Department of Motor Vehicles telling me I need to renew the license on my car. As of now, I have three hours to get it done. Just this morning I told my boss I would have to leave a couple hours early today to get to the DMV on time.
I've had plenty of time to license my car. With a little bit of planning, I might have been able to work ahead a bit and take a whole day off instead of just an hour or two. (I won't mention that the deadline for this Bible study is today!)
As much as my procrastination annoys and frustrates me (and others!), I'm thankful that God lets it bug me because there's a very important inflexible deadline coming up that I want to be ready for.
Matthew 25 describes this future "deadline": "'When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats'" (Matthew 25:31-32, ESV).
In verses 35-36, Jesus tells us the criteria He uses in separating the sheep from the goats. The sheep:
gave Him food when He was hungry
gave Him drink when He was thirsty
welcomed Him when He was a stranger
clothed Him when He had no clothes
visited Him when He was sick
came to Him when He was in prison.
The goats did none of these things (vv. 42-43). But here's the important part: Both groups were surprised at God's judgment!
What does the surprise of the sheep reveal about their hearts?
What does the surprise of the goats reveal about their hearts?
That Day of Judgment hasn't come yet, but it will. When it does, it will be too late to ask for any second chances. There will be no bargaining with God and no extensions given.
In light of this, why do you think God has chosen not to tell us when He will return?
Do you live each day as if it were your last? When many people ask that question, they're wondering if you're embracing every opportunity each day provides. For the Christian, that question carries an extra dimension. Are you embracing the opportunities to serve that God brings your way? What if God were to return today? What would He find you doing?
As you read about the sheep and the goats, be careful not to get the impression that salvation is based on works alone--it's not. Salvation is by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ--our works have nothing to do with it. See Ephesians 2:8-9 for Paul's emphatic statement about this. But while you're there, read the next verse too: "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10, ESV).
If you've accepted Christ into your life, congratulations, you've made the most important decision you'll ever make--you will be one of the sheep on the final day. But don't let it stop there. Seek out new ways each day to express your love and commitment to God.
Entry #2: Revelation 1:17/18, Psalm 90:2, Hebrews 13:8, John 1:3, Colossians 1:16, Romans 5:6-8, Peter 3:18, 1John 3:8, John 14:1-3, Hebrews 4:14-16, Romans 8:34, 1 Corinthians 15:51/52, Revelations 21:3/4, Matthew 1:23, John 17:24, Ephesians 2:5-7, John 14:23; Forever with You
A German proverb says, "Long is not forever." Diamonds may last long, but they are not forever. Political speeches can be unbearably long, but they only seem like they are forever.
Only God can promise something will last forever--because He is forever. Only God can speak of what was before creation because He alone was there even before the angels. Only God can give us life that is everlasting, because no other possesses eternal life to share.
And that is why the words of Christ in Revelation 1:17-18 (ESV) are so comforting to believers: "Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades."
One of God's attributes or characteristics is "eternality." In the same way that He is holy and everywhere present and all-powerful, He is also eternal. Moses says it beautifully in Psalm 90:2 (ESV)
"Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God."
You'll find that the writer of Hebrews says the same about Christ, the Son of God, in Hebrews 13:8 (ESV): "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."
Christ was there "yesterday" in eternity for you before you were ever born. Look at some Bible passages that speak of things Christ has done for you in the past. Write down what you discover.
John 1:3 & Colossians 1:16. What do you find in these two verses that Christ was doing in eternity past?
Romans 5:6-8. In the past, what did Christ do for you? What does that show about God's attitude toward you?
1 Peter 3:18. What did Christ's one-time suffering for sins accomplish for you personally?
1 John 3:8. In this verse, what additional reason is given for Christ's appearing?
Christ is here for you today. Consider some things He is doing for you in the present.
John 14:1-3. What does Jesus say He is preparing for believers right now? Why is He doing it?
Hebrews 4:14-16. What present work of Jesus is spoken of in this passage? What does that mean for you now? Compare Romans 8:34 to see one of His ministries for you.
Christ will be there for you forever. What do you discover in the following scriptures that He will be doing for you in the future?
1 Corinthians 15:51-52. What promise should Christ's followers be looking for in the future?
Revelation 21:3-4. In the eternal future, what relationship will you as a believer have with God?
God's eternal plan includes His gracious intent to be present forever with His redeemed creation. Christ will always be with you from the moment you trust Him as your Savior and on throughout eternity. Here are a few references confirming His desire to fellowship with you today and forever. Look them up and jot down your response to the questions.
In Matthew 1:23, what does the name "Immanuel" foretell about Jesus' future relationship to His people?
In Jesus' prayer (John 17:24) what does He ask the Father to grant for you?
Count the number of times the word "with" appears in Ephesians 2:5-7. What things does it say God has done for us "with" Christ?
Much has been said about "practicing the presence of Christ." Sure, if you are a Christian, you should know that you'll dwell with Him and He will be your God in the future, but are you consciously living in His presence today? He is there, whether you are recognizing Him or not, but today try to think deliberately about how He is with you in everything you do. Then live in a way that shows you know He is standing there beside you and wants to be with you.
Jesus told Judas (not Iscariot) in John 14:23 (ESV), "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him."
Abba please open hearts to Your eternal word and the Salvation offered by You through Your Son the Messiah, Jesus. Remove the scales from the eyes of he who needs to see and understand Your Word.
Fill them with Your understanding through the gift of Your Holy Spirit. Thank You Father for Your gifts. In Jesus we pray, Amen
Entry #3: Revelation 19:11-16, Revelation 6:15-17, John 3:16-18; Jesus is King of Kings
Are you familiar with these names/titles of Jesus? The Christ, the Messiah, the baby in the manger, Immanuel, the man of Galilee, the Lamb of God, Rabbi, Teacher, Savior, Lord. (Many other names/titles are recorded in Scripture.) These names help us better understand who Jesus is. But there is one description that is beyond our comprehension: King of kings and Lord of lords. Let's see how Scripture applies this title to Jesus.
"Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses. From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a wine-press. On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords" (Revelation 19:11-16, NLT).
In the preceding verses, who is riding the white horse?
What were His eyes like?
What was on His head?
How was He dressed?
What was coming from His mouth?
What title was written on His robe?
There is only one word that comes to my mind after reading those verses: awesome--well, maybe two words: absolutely awesome.
What words does this passage trigger in your mind?
Have you ever used those words in connection with Jesus?
Could those words apply to anyone else living or dead?
"Then everyone--the kings of the earth, the rulers, the generals, the wealthy, the powerful, and every slave and free person--all hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to survive?'" (Revelation 6:15-17, NLT).
Who is speaking in these verses?
Who will be able to stand in that great day of wrath? (Hint: Read "My Part").
What words does this passage bring to your mind?
Facing God and eternity without Jesus as Savior will be unbelievably terrifying. But Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords wants you to know that God loves you and has--at great cost--provided a way for you to be rescued from the terror of eternal judgment.
"For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
"There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God's one and only Son" (John 3:16-18, NLT).
The consequences are already fixed in eternity, but the choice is yours. Choose Jesus today.
Entry #4: Revelation 19:13, John 1:1-18, Genesis 1:3; Jesus the Word
Jesus has many names: Messiah, the Christ, Savior, Shepherd, Lamb, King, etc. You can find them scattered throughout the pages of the Bible. Some names tell us about His authority or what He does for His people. Others give us a glimpse of His character as faithful, holy or righteous. One name carries a unique distinction: it reflects something about Jesus and about God the Father. It's "the Word of God."
Usually, we talk about the Bible as the Word of God. Everything that God has to say to us is recorded in this collection of writings we call the Bible. It reveals His plan from eternity past to eternity future. But Jesus is also the Word of God. Revelation 19:13 describes a future vision of Jesus, "He is clothed in a robe dipped inÂ blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God" (ESV). He does in person what the Bible does in writing--reveal the truth of God to us. He is the Word--the whole communication--of God to man.
The Word is also used as a name or identifier for Jesus in John 1:1. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." As the Word, Jesus existed before time, before the beginning, with God and as God. This shows us that Jesus is not just connected to God, He is fully God. As the Word, we also learn that Jesus "was in the beginning with God" (John 1:2) and "All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:3). The Word is how the creation of the world happened. Remember Genesis 1 records the act of creation? "And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light" (Genesis 1:3, ESV).God said--He spoke the word--and it happened. No guesswork; God--Father and Son--spoke and the world was created. Genesis 1 includes at least eight "God said" statements that brought our world into being and established man in God's image. It all happened by the Word.
The Word is a powerful concept throughout Scripture, directly referring to Jesus and indirectly to the communication from God to man. God wants to speak to us; to communicate His great love, mercy, holiness and purpose. And Jesus came to earth to put a human form to that communication. He spoke to us as God for God.
In the Old Testament, you find many references to "the word of the Lord" or "God spoke to" followed by a message of instruction, judgment, guidance or prophecy. Use a concordance or an online "keyword search" such as the one at biblegateway.com to find some of these examples.
What were some of the messages God gave?
What does this tell you about God's desire to communicate with people?
What does it mean to know that Jesus is the Word? Read John 1:1-18 again and look for Jesus as the Word (and the light), keeping in mind that verses 6-8 refer to John the Baptist.
What does the Word do for those who believe?
What does He reveal about God the Father?
What do we receive from Him?
What does it mean for you personally to know Jesus as the Word?
Jesus communicates with us still--through the written word of Scripture and through the Spirit. It's good to see Scripture as the Word of God, revealing the mind of God, the heart of Christ and the power of the Spirit to us in a way we can understand and go back to again and again. In Revelation, John the apostle is told over and over to "write down" what he sees and hears so that others will know and anticipate what is to come. The whole Bible is put into your hands so that you can know the Word of God.
Picking up a study like this one is a great step; what else are you doing to get to know the Word of God? What do you do to listen to or read the message revealed by Jesus? What benefits have you seen in your life from connecting to the Word? How do you share it now with others?
My Comments: the Bible is full of the Word of God and full of the word of Jesus. He (Jesus) is contained everywhere in the Old and New Testament and one only need have eyes to see and ears to hear. God the Father of us all loved us so much He wanted to make it easy for those who sought after Him to find Him so He gave us His Word then He sent the Word and we know Jesus the God made man who came to save us. All we have to do is confess we are sinners and accept the gift of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross.
Abba we look to You to guide us out of darkness into the light of Salvation. Remove all barriers and open our hearts to the truth contained in Your Words and in the Word made flesh. Thank You Father for always being here for us even when we do not have eyes to see nor ears to hear. Bring Your Word alive in our hearts and give us Your peace as we rest in You. Amen