Is Your Focus on Jesus?

Why focus on Jesus? It’s because of what He does for you when you do:

…the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, is all speech and knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Cor. 1:4 – 9. NASB

When you accept Christ as your Savior, He fills you with the Holy Spirit, so that you will receive an enriched plethora of revelation with regards to who He is, what He did, and why He came. The Spirit then fills you with the spiritual gifts that you need to walk by faith, and to spread the gospel message, advancing the kingdom of God.

From this oneness that you were called into with the Father and the Son, you are cleansed of sins, so as to be prepared for your date with eternity.

As a child of God, you have all the tools to stand in unison with the body the church of Christ. The last thing in the world that God wants, is for His children to be divided in purpose:

Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 1 Cor. 1:10 NKJV

The church of Christ was supposed to be as one – required to have Jesus as its focus. Jesus can only be saddened by the advent of a Catholic, Protestant, Presbyterian, Calvinist, Lutheran, Unitarian, or Jehovah Witness church to name a few – churches focused on man’s interpretation of the scripture as well as the interpreter.

The church of Christ has unfortunately been fractionated almost since its inception:

What I mean is that each of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephus,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or where you baptized in the name of Paul? 1 Cor. 1:12, 13. ESV

‘Cephus’ was another name for the apostle Peter. Apollos was a highly skilled Christian orator. What the apostle Paul is trying to convey here, is that it is the message of salvation from God through Christ that is paramount, not the messenger.

When you have God in your heart, through Christ Jesus, (not by something man has done or thought), the Holy Spirit will open your eyes and the scriptures will come alive for you:

Where is the wise man (philosopher)? Where is the scribe (scholar)? Where is the debtor (logician, orator) of this age? Has God not exposed the foolishness of this world’s wisdom? 1 Cor. 1:20 AMP

…your faith should not be in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 1 Cor. 2:5. NKJV

…no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 1 Cor. 2:11, 12. ESV

So, it is by embracing our spirit, which is connected to God’s Spirit, that the revelation of His word is given to us. Unbelievers don’t get it, because they deny their spiritual side, and thus they cannot connect to the Spirit of God or to His Son.

We can and should appreciate our pastors, priests, etc., but we always want to have our focus on the Source:

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants no he who waters is anything, but only God gives the growth. 1 Cor. 3:5 – 7 ESV

For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. 3:10, 11. NKJV

So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death of things present or things to come; all things belong to you, and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God. 1 Cor. 3:21 – 23. NASB

I am not a big fan of church denominations, because I feel that they invite division, strife, judgment and one-upmanship. None of these things belong in the house of God. Yet, I do not bring fault upon anyone who chooses that route.

Just as long as you take what you hear and bring it under the scrutiny of the word of God, and most of all, keep Jesus your focus…

Goodnight and God bless.

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Jesus’ Parting Gifts

During the ‘Last Supper,’ after Judas Iscariot fled into the night, Jesus imparted a treasure trove of revelations to the remaining 11 apostles (and thus, to us). The first such treasure would be His ‘new commandment:’

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Jn. 13:34, 35. NKJV

This commandment takes the Mosaic Law of ‘loving your neighbor as yourself’ to a new level. Jesus is implying that love must be the primary drive behind all that we think and do, in addition to having an attitude of selflessness and servitude so that we may emulate Him.

Next, Jesus initiates the ritual of ‘communion:’

…He took the bread, gave thanks, and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Likewise, He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.” Lk. 22:19, 20. NKJV

“Drink from it all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Mt. 16:27, 28. NKJV

When we take ‘communion,’ we are performing a ritual whereby we take something physical (often referred to as a ‘sacrament’) to remind us of the offer of God’s grace through Jesus Christ. We visibly utilize the sacrament to act out Christ’s proclamation in faith, trusting in the power of the grace of the new covenant that replaces / transcends / enhances the Mosaic Law. We are not putting our faith in the physical sacrament itself (that would be a work or man). Rather, it is our faith in the forgiveness of our sins, which Christ has attached to His body and blood sacrament, that we receive. There is nothing else upon which we can rely.

After this, Jesus tells us that He’s building homes for all of us:

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am there you may be also.” Jn. 14:2, 3. NKJV

No guesswork. We have a heavenly appointment. Neither is any guessing involved as to how we get there:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Jn. 14:6 NKJV

Christ is the only door to the kingdom. There are no gray areas. Jesus then says that being in His presence is the same as being in His Father’s:

“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” Jn. 14:7 NKJV

Jesus is building the apostle’s faith. Next, He tells them how to return His love:

“If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Jn. 14:15 NKJV

“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and disclose Myself to him.” Jn. 14:21 NASB

“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.” Jn. 14:23 NKJV

Jesus has left us physically, (for now), but He always covers those who love Him on all sides. He continues to be with us spiritually – especially through another of His parting gifts – the Holy Spirit:

“…I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells within you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans…” Jn. 14:16 – 18. NKJV

“…He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” Jn. 14:26 NKJV

In a nutshell, Jesus said that because He taught them so much, they would not be able to recall it all. However, the Holy Spirit would bring it to light when they needed it. In addition, Jesus was only in a teaching mode for the last 3 years of His earthly incarnation. He didn’t have near the time to tell them all that He wanted to. The Holy Spirit will reveal those things, as well as any ongoing revelations regarding the full nature of Christ.

The peace of Jesus is yet another wonderful parting gift:

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Jn. 14:27 NKJV

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.” Jn. 16:33 NKJV

Finally, Jesus left us with the gift of knowing who we are in He and His Father:

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch that is in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” Jn. 15:1, 2. NKJV

Jesus is saying that it’s not enough to know God. We have to live as He would have us live. And like any loving parent, He will, from time to time, dole out a little divine discipline to nudge us to return to His path whenever we stray.

“Abide in Me, and I in you As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” Jn. 15:4, 5. NKJV

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give you.” Jn. 15:16 NKJV

You were chosen by Christ Himself for the kingdom of God and for helping Him to advance that kingdom, by inviting others into the love of God, through the love of His Son.

Having parted with these gifts, Jesus stood and faced His destiny…

Goodnight and God bless.