Jesus Contact 6

Author Finisher, Founder and Perfecter of your faith

No faith, no God. Oh, God is still there, but He doesn’t connect with the unfaithful. Faith is the bedrock of Christianity:

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Heb. 11:1 NASB

When Jesus began preaching, He lamented over the lack of faith in the Jews regarding His message:

Unless you see signs and miracles happen, you [people] will never believe (trust, have faith) at all. Jn 4:8 AMP

Jesus was approached by a nobleman who urged Him to come to his home and heal his dying son. That’s what prompted His aforementioned utterance. Yet, He pours His compassion forth and says:

“Go your way; your son lives.” So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. Jn. 4:50 NKJV

The son was healed before the man got home! Why? It’s because the nobleman had placed his faith in Jesus’ words.

Shortly thereafter, Jesus returned to Nazareth and began to preach in a synagogue. He starts by laying out His entire purpose for coming to this world by quoting Is. 61, 62:

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Lk. 4:18, 19. NKJV

The ‘acceptable year of the Lord’ is alluding to the ‘year of the Jubilee,’ which was a specified year when all debtors and slaves were set free in Israel. Jesus is saying that He came to set them free from spiritual darkness and the consequences it brings.

All eyes are on Jesus when He delivers the clincher:

“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Lk. 4:21 NKJV

How did the people of Nazareth respond? They scoffed at Him because they were blinded by their familiarity with Him due to the fact that He grew up in that town. They had no faith. Guess what? Neither did they receive any miracles.

Even Satan and his demons have faith in Jesus. When Jesus was preaching in another synagogue in Capernaum, the devil entered into a man who stood up and said:

Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!” Mk. 1:23, 24. NKJV

The people in that town had faith and brought all of their sick and demon-possessed to Jesus for miracle cures, and He healed them all!

While still in Galilee, Jesus was approached by a leper who entreated Him:

“If you are willing, You can make me clean.” Mk. 1:40 NKJV

He brought his faith. He got his miracle. Indeed, many times that Jesus performed miracles, He stated that His ability to do so was facilitated by the recipient’s faith. (Lk. 7:50, 18:42; Mt. 9:22; Mk. 2:5.)

Let’s look at one more. Jesus went into the apostle Peter’s house to preach. Because the house was crammed to capacity, friends of a paralyzed man took the roof off the house and lowered their paralyzed friend to Jesus:

And when He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” Lk. 5:16 NKJV

There were scribes and Pharisees in the audience who went apoplectic with rage over Jesus’ claim to be able to forgive sins. Jesus read their minds and rebuked them, saying that in order to prove He had that power, He was going to heal the paralytic as well – which He did.

Christ has the power to overcome sin. Notice that He cleansed the man of his sins before He healed him. Consider too that it was the faith of the man’s friends that provided the atmosphere for Jesus’ healing power to manifest.

Faith is at the center of everything:

“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Mt. 21:22 ESV

“All things are possible to him who believes.” Mk. 9:23 NASB

Faith bonds all of God’s children as one. (Eph. 4;4 – 6.) Having faith is the only way to please God. (Heb. 11:6) We are justified and sanctified by it. (Rm. 3:28) It brings us divine strength (Ps. 125:1) and protection. (Ps. 31:23, 56:4, 71:5, 6.) Faith even wards off the devil himself. (1 Pt. 5:8, 9; Eph. 6:16.) Our happiness is based upon faith, our revelation, (Jm. 1:5, 6.) healing, (Jm. 5:15) as well as all the rest of God’s blessings.(Pr. 28:20; Lk. 1:45.)

So, where do we get this faith?

…God has allotted to each a measure of faith. Rm. 12:3 NASB

But the fruit of the Spirit is…faithfulness. Gal. 5:22 ESV

It comes from God Himself! He’s helping you do the believing. In fact, we can’t even understand the gospel message until that faith is activated. (2 Cor. 4:3, 4.) We must have the gift of God’s grace to be able to know Christ and have Him reside within us.

We continue to strengthen that faith by continually immersing ourselves in the hearing of our newfound understanding:

So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips of Christ] (the Messiah Himself). Rm. 10;17 AMP

By faith you touch God, not by works. By faith you accept that Jesus has done everything – making us totally acceptable to God. In that faith, we act on the word of God, to live by it at all times. And what lies at the crux of that work? Your faith:

“This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” Jn. 6:29 NKJV

Your salvation in a nutshell…

So what’s left?

…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith… Heb. 12:1, 2. ESV

Looking to Jesus, making that contact…
Goodnight and God bless.

Jesus Is Our Hope: The Book of Hebrews – part 3

In the first two parts of this three-part series, the Holy Spirit-inspired author of the book of Hebrews has gone into great detail about who Jesus is, why we should place our hope in Him, what had to happen before Jesus could fulfill His purpose, and about the awe-inspiring power that He wields for us as both King and High Priest – in order to reveal just how much we are sealed in the salvation of Christ for our eternal reward.

The author then goes on to tell us why all of these revelations should build up our faith: Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our heart sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. Heb. 10:19 – 23. NKJV

Thus, we have a plethora of joyful reasons to place our faith in Christ. Moreover, God warns us in earnest of what awaits those who refuse to exercise that faith:

For if we sin willingly after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Heb. 10:26 NKJV

Jesus has already shed His blood for everyone who will ever live on this earth – whether or not they accept Him as their Savior. If, once you’ve heard the gospel, decide to reject it, there won’t be any room for you in God’s eternal love plan.

[It should be noted that it is those that rebel against God and behave as they see fit (‘sin willingly’) regardless of His statutes, who will be condemned. Followers of Christ are still human, and will sin due to the nature of the flesh, (unwilling slips) but only they have the option of confession > repentance > restoration.]

So, the Holy Spirit-inspired author is pleading with us, for the sake of our salvation, to cling doggedly to our faith: …do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what is promised. Heb. 10:35, 36. ESV

Furthermore, the author goes on to tell you exactly what faith is – so that you know when you have it:

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, for the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made of things that are visible. Heb. 11:1 – 3. ESV

Nothing existed before God spoke it into existence. There were no primordial building blocks. God transformed His own thoughts into things material.

Now, God tells us the most important reason to have faith: …without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Heb. 11:6 NKJV

If you don’t believe in God, there is nothing everlastingly good coming your way.

The author then cites some of the Old Testament characters of faith as examples. (Remember, the author is pleading God’s case to Jewish converts who are waffling in their faith in Christ.)

He begins by telling of the faith of Abel, which led him to worship God His way, as opposed to the rebellious Cain, who did not. He also holds up the faith of Abraham – both his faith that led him to follow God’s instructions and leave his family, and his unswerving faith in God’s promise of eternal life: …for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Heb. 11:10 NASB

The author then paints a picture of the common trait of all of the biblical paragons of faith:

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. Heb. 11:13 NKJV

They all had faith in their eternal destination. They knew that their earthly time was only the beginning of their journey. They looked forward to their ‘graduation’ with joy because they had faith in the fact that God Himself is faithful to His word:

But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. Heb. 11:16 NKJV

The author also includes the faith of Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, and others – again, holding them up for their acts of faith:

…through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions…Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Heb. 11:33 & 35. NKJV

And all of these, though they won divine approval by [means of] their faith, did not receive the fulfillment of what was promised, because God had something better and greater for us, so that they [these heroes and heroines of faith] should not come to perfection apart from us [before we could join them]. Heb. 11:39, 40. AMP

They stood up against all persecution – empowered by God, waiting for the day their spirits would join with Him. But the big party won’t start until the resurrection of every faith-filled follower’s glorified bodies.

We see then the tenacity of the faithful of old, and they didn’t have Jesus in person to inspire them. We do! So how can we be empowered by their examples?

…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God. Heb. 12:1, 2. NKJV

Jesus foresaw His joy in connecting with you for all of eternity and decided that it was worth paying the price of His crucifixion; and, the price that you pay for faithful endurance (setting aside earthly ways for those that are heavenly) will be more than worth it as well:

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? Heb. 12:7 ESV

…He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful, yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Heb. 12:10, 11. NASB

So, you have a choice. When you make the choice for Jesus, you are immediately placed at the doorstep of heaven:

…you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood sprinkling that speaks of better things than that of Abel. Heb. 12:22 – 24. NKJV

Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe. Heb. 12:28 NASB

You too can be a firstborn that is registered in heaven – not by accepting the blood of Abel that cried out to God for vengeance, but by the miraculous work of the blood of Jesus that completely transforms you, preparing you for your date with eternal Love…

Now at this point, like the apostle Paul, (and who knows, the author just might be Paul) the author leaves us with some godly behaviors to engage in, in order to remain in readiness for our heavenly call: Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some have unwittingly entertained angels.

Remember the prisoners as if chained with them… Heb. 13:1 – 3. NKJV

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

Keep your life free from the love of money and be content with what you have. Heb. 13:4, 5. ESV

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried away with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them. Heb. 13:8, 9. NKJV

For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come. Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. Heb. 13:14, 15. NASB

Amen. I think that the case for Jesus has been thoroughly made…

Good night and God bless.