What will deliver us will not be our self-constructed god but the Almighty God from the Bible

This will determine whether we will overcome problems, hardships in life. This is what Ligon Duncan in his preaching called we need theology when we face problems, challenges, hardships in life. What an amazing strong statement indeed that we need to have in life.

When Moses faced problems and pushback from Pharoah in his first attempt to deliver Israel from the bondage of Egypt, he was so discouraged and even questioned God. And this is Moses!

Exodus 5:22–6:5 (NIV)

22 Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? 23 Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.”

Moses asked Gid “Why have you brought trouble on this people?” That’s a bold question to the Lord! And that’s Moses. God responded to him, and He needed to, as Pharoah just hardened his heart and increased more load for Israelites in picking their own straw to make bricks. So, what Moses did in his attempt to deliver Israel in his debut showing with Pharoah the most powerful person on earth that time, has backfired!

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.”

God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty,  but by my name the Lord  I did not make myself fully known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they resided as foreigners. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.

God revealed to Moses his covenantal Name, ‘the LORD”. Not just God, which is his function. But His name is “the LORD”. Yahweh. His personal Name. Now we come to the juicy part—God reveals to Moses the way out of this mess! The answer is His Name, the Covenantal Name of God with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob , now to Moses, and in fact, eventually, now to us in our 21st century churches!

Why is this important?

This is what theology all about. I have a huge passion to bridge Theology & Church, as opposed to using contemporary culture primarily and using the gospel superimposed, or juxtaposition, to be presented to the secular world. That may be cool for the non-believing world. In this article, I will focus on the believing world. What do we do when we face problems? Like Moses came back to God discouraged, angry an upset with God?

The solution is theology. Do you know God’s personal covenantal name? God told Moses He will deliver Israel out of Egypt because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and hence to Moses. God re-assured Moses. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.

You see this is what God answered Moses: I have heard their groaning. The Lord cares. And He remembered his covenant. That’s a big word, that’s the promises of God that’s unbreakable.

The problem we have today as Christians is that many times we somehow, have this tendency to construct our self-image of who God is , due to distractions, in life and being tossed back and forth. The problem with our imagery of God is this: it crumbles in the face of temptations, in the face of darkness, doubts, doubts, negative influence, bad company, hardship, sickness, loneliness, etc. it crumbles because it’s fake. It’s idolatry our self made gods. But only the covenant God who said to Abraham I am the Lord your great reward, will stand tall and deliver you!

Thomas Goodwin of Oxford University says it’s because of our because of our barren knowledge of God. Because of our barren knowledge of God! Our hearts are scarce of Christ. The amount of Christ in our hearts is dependent of our knowledge, personal knowledge of Christ.

Like Moses and Israel, they may know the God of Israel, but not much on the covenantal God, the Lord, Yahweh.

We must have more theology in our minds, so that they may have a chance to even get it to our hearts, so that we can face problems in life in confidence because we know personally the covenant God in Christ. Christ is our prophet, priest, and King now in our lives.

Our mentally constructed god in our minds are not God at all. They are what we want to be our God who provides and helps us as we wanted him to be, but not wanting any God who can confront us, challenge us, and hence transformed to Christ. Our self-constructed god is idolatry, and they will never transform our hearts, our lives.

Eph 3 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Paul’s praying that the Lord may strengthen us with power through his Spirit in our inner being. Every change must begin with our minds, then our inner being. Minds alone won’t cut it. It must come down to our inner being. Pray!  We want Christ to dwell in our hearts through faith. So that we may have power to grasp how wide, long, high and deep is the love of Christ. Did you notice, just to grasp, not just to understand, the love of Christ, we need supernatural power from the Holy Spirit? Because you are not dealing with some human passion love, but this is the divine love of Christ! We need that power. To grasp, not just to understand. It means like a light bulb just gone off! You said “Aha!” We need the covenantal Name of God understanding in our hearts and minds as God revealed to and corrected Moses.

The Genuine Humanity of Jesus

Luke 22: 39-46

39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.[c]

45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

Did Jesus doubt as some explains his humanity on the way to the cross? This is especially revealing when he was struggling in the Garden of Gethsemane.

This the whole question of Jesus Humanity–does that include doubt? I read an article by a theologian on the question of doubt and genuine humanity of Christ. I was stirred to write this as my perspective. I chose to use Luke 22 to illustrate my point, because I believe this is definitely the most potent point that Jesus was tempted to the closest by the devil. I believe this temptation of Jesus by the devil far exceeded the previous temptation at the launch of Jesus ministry after his water baptism. Its interesting to note that this second big temptation, or bigger, happened at almost the tail end of Jesus ministry or even his life on earth.

I think the whole big issue here as Jesus emphasized twice to his disciples to pray so that they won’t fall into temptations. By him saying that, it means, if they don’t pray, they will fall into temptations. This is definitely a valid point that we have to take note of ourselves, lest we fall. If that were for the closest disciples of Jesus, that will definitely be for us.

In fact Jesus went into a time of deep anguished prayers. He knelt down to pray to the Father, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” –He said Father if you are willing…. What doe that mean? Jesus was asking for permission from the Father for not going to the cross! That’s precisely His mission for coming into this world, to go to the cross and die for humanity, and be resurrected thereafter. That’s how revealing the humanity of Christ.

Some theologians called it doubt in Jesus’ life. But I disagreed. I call it struggles. Jesus struggled immensely between his flesh and his spirit, until the point of sweating blood droplets.

43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

So right after Jesus prayed that prayer for permission to take away the cup of his death, God sent an angel to him to strengthen him. You understand dhow crucial this point of time is? The destiny of billions of mankind lies in the balance depending on the outcome of that decision of Jesus, one way or the other. If Jesus ever doubted, he wouldn’t not have struggled that much. He would have quitted if he doubted. Let me say this, that’s the humanity of Jesus that struggled and that is not his divinity, because God doesn’t struggle.

I would conclude that because he struggled in such intense manner, the like of which is never found in any human history, (have you ever seen anyone in prayer or anguish until he or she sweated droplets of blood?), and yet overcame, I believe he just ministered to millions of us that we can trust him, and he will be with us to the end. He is our prophet, priest, King, and he will deliver us from all temptations, as :

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)

13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

 Jesus will deliver us.

Hebrews 4:15 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,[f] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

This is an incredibly important verse explaining what Jesus went through. Notice in v15 b, Hebrews says Jesus has been tempted in every way, just as we—yet he did not sin. That’s incredibly important and significant. First, he has been tempted in every way! Not in some ways, and then his divinity protects him from certain temptations. No! Every day! Secondly, it says “…..tempted in every way, just as we are”—you see those words, “just as we are”? NO exemption. He went through the same temptations just as we are. Not somewhat like us, but just as, or exactly like us! He was tempted in every way!! Everything you have gone through temptation, he has been tempted, in other worse. Lust? Greed, safety? Easy way out? Cop out? Yet he did NOT sin.

Praise be to the Lord who not only gone through everything we could possibly go through, he overcame them all, and he did not doubt! He is completely in sync with the Father. He and the Father are one! He completely trusted in the Father.

We too have to be in sync with Jesus, for He lives in us, as out body ids the temple of the holy Spirit!

If anyone says he doubted just as we did, that’s missing the point. He didn’t doubt, and that’s why he overcame! To try to put Jesus under that category is stretching the proper exegesis and hermeneutics of the context of the scriptures!

Jesus won!

Amen!

See article:

My Response to: Is Charismatic Leadership Sustainable? The Rise and Fall of a Famous Thai Christian Leader

Great article by Sarah Ngu –well researched, and well done for a very significant part of my life and family’s and God’s calling upon me, and above all, a God ordained anointed moment for his gospel in Thailand, then Asia, and the world, albeit the sadness along the way, but we marched on for the fight God has given us. Glory to God. I have learnt much from reformed theology, and folks like Tim Keller, and my seminary RTS and giants like Augustine, Calvin etc. My debt is to Jesus. My Savior and Lord and our hope in this easter and forever!

Her article:

https://therevealer.org/is-charismatic-leadership-sustainable-the-rise-and-fall-of-a-famous-thai-christian-leader/

Here are my comments on the salient points part from a well researched, personal article:

If charisma was the key to Dr. Kriengsak’s success, it was also the reason for his controversial exit from the Hope movement and its splintering in the mid-2000s.—

Charisma here you termed it is a human charisma. But in biblical theology, what he had is the anointing from God, a God empowerment to carry out his calling. Not to be confused as a charismatic church which means, spiritual gifts church. And definitely not a worldly charisma type you allude to which is really speaking appealing, engaging, compelling personality, and that could all be done without God. Person may be worldly famous but without God personalities. That’s common grace.

Sociologists of religion have observed that charismatic leadership is inherently unstable because it “lacks both institutional restraints and institutional supports.” In particular, the lack of accountability is one of the defining traits of a charismatic leader. The deep cracks in Dr. Kriengsak’s leadership were clearly present in retrospect.—

Correct

Dr. Kriengsak’s behavior might reflect genuinely held syncretic beliefs. But it could also imply a renunciation of faith or “shrewd political calculation” given the majority Buddhist population, professor Joel Selway, an expert on identity in modern Thai politics, wrote to me in an email interview.

–That’s really a political move. Nothing of the spiritual sort. His heart remained loyal to God, and he explained it away, controversially, while his actions seemed to bow to idol.

In 2010, a Thai graduate student, Narumol Plodtong, published her dissertation, “A Case Study of Charismatic Leadership at Hope of Bangkok Church, Thailand.” Drawing upon Weber, she argued that the hardest challenge for a charismatic leader is succession. The leader must transition the organization to a bureaucratic or rational administration that is governed by rules. To ensure sustainable success, charismatic leaders must do the opposite of what they had been doing all along – they have to learn to follow the rules.

—I agree. That’s why the best church structure should be in an established denomination with structured accountability and oversight, caring and support.

Perhaps what really draws people to charismatic leaders is not just a grand vision of a changed world or a great nation. What also draws them is a subtler promise of self-transformation, that they too, with all their flaws and insecurities, could some day be great.

–That is partially true, just because even though he is truly an inspiration man who is truly after God’s heart, he fumbled and fell on the way eventually. The whole structure of charismatic movement independently run, is a vulnerable structure when it is run from a top down leadership with no one above him, as opposed to a denomination with different presbytery speaking into the lives of the leaders/pastors of another presbytery church, in the case of Presbyterian. But also for Baptist, Anglican etc as well.

I would argue that our flaws and insecurities will be transformed, not by self-transformation, but by coming from realizing and experiencing the grace of God in Christ, who was willing to pick us up from mud and mire, from total depravity, to transform us to be spotless because of his substitutional death on the cross, and his eventual resurrection. This will transform a Christian, not a charismatic figure.

What went through God’s Mind when He saw his beloved Son’s dead body carried out for burial?

Can you Imagine this man who carried the dead body of the God Man in his hands from the cross?

John 19:38–42 (NIV)

38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. 40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

I wonder what this man Joseph of Arimathea would feel when he finally stand before Jesus seated at his great throne of glory at the end time when Jesus judges all men? I mean he carried Jesus’ dead body together with Nicodemus and wrapped him up and applied myrrh and aloes to bury Jesus. That’s the narrative between the cross and the tomb, the most heart tearing story, and yet the most powerful world changing story that has brought healing and eternal hope for all of mankind whoever put their faith in him.

Welcome to Easter

Then Jesus rose the dead, and appeared to his disciples for 40 days teaching and exhorting them and assuring them before his final ascension to heaven.

I have lots of questions:

What does God the Father think looking down from heaven at his beloved Son been killed and now being carried out to be buried by this secret disciple? It is not just what went through Arimathea only, but what went through the mind of God at that time? To imagine the omnipotent almighty God allows his Son seemingly defeated and being killed in a murderous torturous humiliating way before the eyes of the whole world? What went through the mind of God?

Jesus’s death and humiliation on the Cross is exactly the Plan of God

But that’s exactly what God planned and written about his Son Jesus Christ from ancient prophecies of Isaiah etc. It’s just beyond human comprehension that this could happen to the God Man himself. No religion can fathom this, and for Christians today to pass through another Easter like life a usual, will be absolutely criminal!

Why did God allow that? The answer is God actually planned for it; God predestined it before he created the world. The Triune God Father Son and Holy Spirit had all thought through this carefully and decided to do this. My argument is that it was not an accident that Adam and Eve fell into the temptation of Satan. Going a step further, it’s also not an accident the fall of Lucifer the archangel to become Satan. The origination of evil is Satan. And Satan is also predestined by God in the eternity past before the angels were created. 

God did it to Show the Depth & Glory of His Love for Mankind

I can only imagine that God predestined it that way to show the depth of his love for humanity and that’s who He is. The only way to show such intense depth is in God’s eternal wisdom, is to have the second person of Godhead , the Son, to die on the cross to redeem humanity. It was not an accident we have Easter! It’s all written in the scripts of God in the Old Testament. 

That’s what Paul wrote in Romans the doxology of God! 

Romans 11:33–36 (NIV). Doxology

33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! 

How unsearchable his judgments, 

and his paths beyond tracing out! 

34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? 

Or who has been his counselor?”  

35 “Who has ever given to God, 

that God should repay them?”  

36 For from him and through him and for him are all things. 

To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Our Response to Such Intense Love

Ephesians 3 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Our response is to pray that we may have power to grasp how wide, long, high and deep is the love of Christ for us all!!

And to know this love that surpasses knowledge, that we may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. We can never reach the fullness of God without realizing the depth of the love of Christ!! Let this Easter melt your heart one more time, on a yearly basis every time at this time of the year. Let God’s Holy Spirit dwell in us to richly that he may strengthen us with power in our inner being to understand, to grasp his deep, wide long high love of Christ! Amen

Moral Exhortations or the Gospel of Grace

Gresham Machen in facing the liberal theologians and Christian attack to the point that he left Princeton theological seminary and started Westminster theological seminary in the 1900s.

When facing all these he started a radio broadcast like in the 1930, and he knew the mocking by the liberals and he went personal to said that “I am a flawed sinful man, I need no moral exhortations to be right with God and be accepted by him, because I can’t do it! I am a flawed sinful man. I need the gospel of what God has done for me. Do you have any good news for me?”

He is exactly right . People need the Lord to repent and come back to God. We can’t repent without God first moved our heart. Jesus said no one can come to me unless my Father draws him to me.

We can either preach moralism like a religion or we preach the gospel of grace of Jesus Christ the Son of God. Humans can never be right before God on their own because as in Eph:

Ephesians 2:As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh  and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.

We were dead in our sons. We were after all the works of disobedience, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and flowing its desires and thoughts, we were by nature deserving wrath, or children of wrath. You see we were dead in our sins, and dead people can’t respond to the call of God, the love of God, dead people can’t decide to accept Christ. We were children of wrath facing the judgement of God in the end time, but God in his mercy showered us with his grace and mercy through the dying of his Son Jesus Christ. That gift of love from the cross would not be possibly be received by dead people. There is no chance by our own will conscience, we will choose Christ while dead spiritually, by nature children of wrath.  We were gratifying our flesh cravings like everyone else; we were not longing for God. We only respond when we see with our spiritual eyes how beautiful the love of God in Jesus, and that requires an opening of our spiritual eyes, and that’s a sovereign act of God.

Folks, we don’t need moralism argument exhortations, what we need is the grace of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Amen.

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Easter & When Jesus Revealed the glory of his Divinity to Peter, James & John

Matthew 17:1–9 (NIV)

17 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. 4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

His Face shone like the sun

No one can ever look into the sun, as the billions of light rays can blind your eyes immediately in a second! And Jesus’s face shone like the sun, and I can just see Peter, James and John had to raise their hands to cover their eyes while talking to Jesus for that moment. I am sure it lasted may be for a few minutes. Then Moses and Elijah appeared to him talking to him. This is so angelic, so heavenly to be seen by mere mortals humans Peter, James and John.

For a moment, Jesus flashed his eternal glory in front of the eyes of Peter, James & John! Jesus revealed his glory and it was a blazing sun rays on his face. I thought they would have fallen to the ground and worshipped him, but they didn’t.

A Voice from the Cloud spoke to them about Jesus

The voice came from the cloud said “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”Then, and only then, they fell face down to the ground, terrified. We need to see some supernatural happenings to have that awe and fear. But apparently the sun blasting from Jesus face wasn’t enough. Though that voice form the cloud shook them.

The thing that really got me is that on the way down form the mountain Jesus told them not to tell anyone what they have seen, until he has been raised from the dead,

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Jesus calmly told them to keep it secret his transfiguration

While walking down form the mountain, Jesus instructed them not to tell anyone what they have seen, until he has been raised from the dead. He said it as a matter of fact manner, and guess what the response of the disciples? This: 10 The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?”11 Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.

I was kind of shocked. After seeing the most spectacular transfiguration of a man into God, they asked question about Elijah?? What’s wrong with them? They saw with their eyes, this man, Jesus, whom they had been following, actually transformed into divine glory like a sun blazing into their eyes. Theological term is transfiguration. How did they not bow down to worship and be empowered with such encounter physically with the living God? Jesus, walking as a man, though having performed miracles like walking on water, raised the dead, was nothing like this one, because his entire body transfigured into the glory of God.

Again what really shook me is that Jesus instructed them not to tell anyone, until he has been raised form the dead. He is talking like his death and resurrection is a foregone conclusion, foregone reality that will happen and must happen. And of course it exactly happened like he said. Isn’t he God?

Why did Jesus want it to be kept a secret until his resurrection?

The revelation of Jesus as God for a moment, should have shaken the world. But it was kept secret, until the gospels were published. But why did Jesus keep it as a secret? Better still, won’t it be cool if he transfigured before the 5000? Or even better, transfigured before Pontius’s Pilate and the legions of Roman soldiers and the Pharisees who couldn’t wait for his death? Wouldn’t that have shaken the Roman world and the pharisee world, if Jesus transfigured before them, and displayed his divine glory like a sun blazing into the eyes of Pilate and the Romans and Pharisees and his own twelve disciples and the women Mary? Wonder if history would have been re-written? But what will that achieve, the Romans began to flee for their lives? The Pharisees fuming and fleeing in fear? The disciples rising up and clapping their hands and worshipped the Lord Jesus? And then what? Jesus must be crucified and died for our sins, and that must happen. Of course the transfiguration won’t happen at the trial of Jesus. That doesn’t serve God’s purpose. What served God’s purpose is that short moment displayed for Peter James and John the three top disciples of Christ and be recorded in Bible for us to read and worship. I love it. The self-control displayed by Jesus is astonishingly impressive, while having all the power in the world to strike Pilate and the Pharisees, he held his peace while being slapped by the soldier, spit at by the Romans, whipped till bloody by the romans soldiers. He endured! Hebrews 12: For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

That is Good Friday. Three days later, He became legend. Jesus was resurrected from the dead by His Father, and he walked through the stone. Yes, the legend has risen. The God Man has finally returned to his God divinity. Seated on his throne in heaven now, still praying for us, his beloved people.

Our Easter.  

Why Jesus deserves to be the Lord of all?

Matthew 5:17 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

Jesus lived a perfect life, completely obedient life to God, and then died as a perfect man to justify us. I call it almost like a double justification, because most times Christians think Jesus redeemed us by his death on the cross, which is true, but hardly mentioned the perfect life he lived before the cross. Seriously without the perfect life he lived , there wouldn’t be any meaning on the cross! First Jesus proved himself himself to be the qualified person to go to the cross as a perfect sacrifice redemption for us, then, and only then, he could proceed to suffer the death on the cross.

So Jesus lived the prefect life to comply with the laws of God, the 10 commandments of God, and then he died as a substitute for us.

That’s what Jesus meant when he said I came not to remove the laws but to fulfill the laws. And he did. How? He obeyed every commandment of God the Father! And not only that, he proceeded as a completely obedient man, to be condemned on our behalf on the cross, so that whoever put their faith in him, is justified and therefore comply with the laws of God. That’s why we are justified and saved by God for eternal life as if we had lived a perfectly obedient life who never broke the commandments of God. Because we take on the righteousness of Jesus!! Hallelujah!! What a blessing and what a debt we owe to Jesus, that’s why at the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess Jesus is Lord! Because he is truest worthy!!

Implications:

1. We are so in debt of Jesus and there is no way to live our lives as our own boss any more. He Jesus deserves everything from me and worthy is the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world.

2. Therefore we should never look down on others no matter what economic ethnic or educational background they come from, because we ourselves were never justified by God but already doomed eternal condemnation looming, until we met Jesus who showered his love into our hearts and called us brothers and sisters and brought us into his family with God the Father. Glory and glory Jesus Christ the Lord of all and all. Amen.

We cannot love God for who he is, until He hears our prayers and blesses us, and its biblical

I have heard sermon that says, don’t love the Lord for what he can bless you, but love him for who is he. That sounds pious, but it doesn’t make sense. How can you know who God is, until he answers your prayers? Until he blesses you? Disciplines you? Until he pursues you.

How do you fall in love with your wife or husband when you were dating him or her? Do you just love him for who he is, and hence married him? Yes and no. You only loved him for what kind of person he is, after he has done things for you, how he treats you, and what he says, his attitude, and how he clicks with you. Correct? My point is you can never fall in love with a person without knowing him personally. But knowing a personally, is only possible through his actions, and love, compassion, commitment, etc. as you observe him.

Same thing with God, to say to love God for who is only, is superficial. You would need to know him personally through your experience of him. That’s why Jesus appeared to Paul and struck him blind, and revealed his great love and calling to him. That’s why Jesus called Peter from the boat, and ion fact for an entire year or more, the twelve apostles couldn’t fully believe in Jesus even after Jesus walked on water, raised the dead, opened the eyes of the blind, and so forth, so much so, it came to a point, Jesus asked them who do you say I am? Only one person got it, Peter ! He said you are the Son of God. So how did peter get there? He has observed listened to every miracle Jesus did, and his powerful anointed teachings. Peter didn’t love Jesus for who he is only, but that is only possible after what Jesus has done for him, and for others, and what Jesus has taught. That’s the reality. And of course the Spirit of God revealed to Peter ultimately. We love Jesus for who he is, but that means what he can do for us as well, that’s all part of the package.

Psalm 116: 1-2 I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
    he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
    I will call on him as long as I live.

Psalm 116 says I love the Lord for he heard my voice, he heard my cry for mercy, because he turned his ear to me I will call on him as long as I live.

Did you see the word “for”, that is “because”. Psalm 116 is saying I love the Lord , for or because he (the Lord) heard my voice. There you go, only then you know what kind of God he is. Only then you can love the Lord. Then its true you love the Lord for what he can do for us too!

Some sermons says this says that you got to love the Lord not for what he can do for you but for who he is. But I would dispute that because who God is, is only reflected in what he does for us and for the world. Without that how do we know who he is? Therefore to teach the word of God that says to love the Lord for who he is but not for what he can do or bless you is not according to the Bible, it’s not biblical. Because he says clearly that I love the Lord for he heard my voice , in other words I would not love the Lord if he did not hear my voice.

Doesn’t sound fair?  It is very fair because if God doesn’t hear my voice, I don’t even know he exists. In verse 2 because he turns his ear to me I will call on him as long as I live. That is precisely why I called upon God because he turned his ear to me. If he didn’t turn his ear to me, I would not know that he loves me and therefore I cannot love him.

You know Westminster’s confession also says that we love and not in fact Jesus said in the in the scripture, we love because he first loved us. That’s very important.

Amen.

The Almighty God who created the Universe and the Personal God who Loves us

The testimony of David Block (David Block has been a visiting research astronomer at Harvard University and the Australian National University) who writes: How I learned that the same God who numbered the stars knew and loved me personally.[1]

The idea of the universe being designed by a Master Artist continued to resonate with me, but I struggled to find evidence that this artist had any interest in knowing me personally. I shared further doubts: “Are we,” as Shakespeare said in Macbeth, “just a fleeting shadow that appears and then disappears? What is our reason for living? What is the purpose of life? Is it possible to have a personal encounter with the creator of the cosmos?” [2]

Did you see that? The God who numbered the stars knows me and loves me personally? Do you know how big is the universe? There are millions or billions of stars in the cosmos, and many of them are like thousands of times larger than the earth we live in, and God numbers them, God puts them there. He is such a big God, and yet intimate enough to stoop down to care for each an everyone of us. That’s the breaking good news! That’s what every human being longs for.

That is a beautiful experience and testimony of David Block. The tension between the almighty God who created the universe and the personal God is what every Jewish and every one indeed needs to know that it’s all resolved and fulfilled in the God Man Jesus Christ.

Between the Universe Transcendent God and a Personal God, which would you choose? I would choose personal God anytime. However, merely being personal God is not good enough, because we do need a transcendent universal God who is mighty and awesome. So we need a transcendent Almighty God first and foremost, before we delve into the personal God. Just being transcendent and universal may sound awesome, and great, however, what’s that got to do with me? Many may ask. The most important part of it, is the personal God.

If we just have a very personal God, but not the cosmos power of holding the universe together and putting them in place, we will not be bothered with such a god. In Jesus we have both! He sustains and create the whole world and then he also lived among us, and became like one of us!!

Hebrews 1: The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. The Son of God sustains all things in this universe, and who is that Son? He is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being. Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory, and he is the exact representation of God’s being. In other words He is God.

John 1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

All things in this universe were made through him. The Word was God. He is God! And what happened to this Word?

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

v14 says the Word became flesh and dwelled among us. Who can that be? Jesus Christ! The Word became flesh, and flesh means human. And he lived among us. We know that Jesus the Son of God, incarnated into this world 2000 years ago and became flesh and lived in Nazareth. So that’s how God becomes intimate with us, cares about us, by him becoming like one of us, and yet maintained his divinity as God. So he was both God and man. He was the transcendent God, but not intimately close to us before the incarnation. And after that happened 2000 years ago, Jesus truly became intimate with us, walked with us, eaten with us, and he performed loads of miracles like changing water into wine at a wedding, raised the death, Lazarus from the tomb after 3 days, raised the crippled, cleansed the leper, opened the eyes of the blind, cast out many demons, fed 5000 men from 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread, the miracles that he did, goes on and on, and the bible says in Acts that if they were to record everything Jesus did, there is not enough room in this world to write that!

So by doing that, Jesus becomes the God who is able to love us personally. No god in this world can do that, because he is not like one of us.

Hebrews 4 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.—

Jesus is able to empathize with our weaknesses, because he has been tempted in every way (as a man) just as we are, yet he did not sin. That’s the power, he has been tempted in every way like us in the world. Which god in this world did that? No god of any religion actually walk the earth and lived among us, and being tempted like we are and yet without sin, therefore they cannot love us personally. But Jesus can, because he empathizes with us fully and lived a perfect life to save us. He qualifies to be sacrificed as a perfect lamb of God as an atonement for the sins of mankind to redeem us, to bring salvation for us for an eternal life that awaits all of us who puts our faith in him. Amen.


[1] David Block, What the Heavens Declared to a Young Astronomer, Christianity Today, Feb 2021

[2] Ibid

The Transcendent God and Immanent God

When we say God is transcendent, that means he is above the universe, independent of the universe, not bound by the universal laws, example gravity, needing sunshine or clouds to shied from excessive UV, and all the sicknesses and evil of this humanity.

Immanent means he is in the world with us, pervading our universe. The idea is that for a God that is transcendent to incarnate into this world, and became a man, so as to become a part of the race of Adam, to volunteer himself to be sacrificed and condemned on the cross to pay for the sins of the world, he became immanent in this world. And I will unpack that from Psalm 112 for what these 2 terms means to us. First let’s see some definitions and background:

What is Transcendence & Immanence?

The doctrine or theory of immanence holds that the divine encompasses or is manifested in the material world. Immanence is usually applied in monotheisticpantheisticpandeistic, or panentheistic faiths to suggest that the spiritual world permeates the mundane. It is often contrasted with theories of transcendence, in which the divine is seen to be outside the material world.[1] Immanence means God is pervasive in our universe, manifested in our material world.

Major Faiths in the World on this Subject

Major faiths commonly devote significant philosophical efforts to explaining the relationship between immanence and transcendence but do so in different ways, such as: casting immanence as a characteristic of a transcendent God (common in Abrahamic religions),subsuming immanent personal gods in a greater transcendent being (such as with Brahman in Hinduism), or approaching the question of transcendence as something which can only be answered through an appraisal of immanence.[2]

Catholicism, Protestantism, and Eastern Christianity

According to Christian theology, the transcendent God, who cannot be approached or seen in essence or being, becomes immanent primarily in the God-man Jesus the Christ, who is the incarnate Second Person of the Trinity. In Catholic theology, Christ and the Holy Spirit immanently reveal themselves; God the Father only reveals himself immanently vicariously through the Son and Spirit, and the divine nature, the Godhead is wholly transcendent and unable to be comprehended.[3]

Transcendent God

Psalm 113: The Lord is exalted over all the nations,   his glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high,

This is the meaning of a transcendent God here. Did you see the Lord is exalted over all the nations. He is above, over all the universe. Psalmist is saying who is like the Lord our God, who is sits enthrone on high, and yet stoops down to look on the earth. That is the caring God. He is not so high and lofty that he is aloof from his creations, his subjects. The idea that our God is far and aloof, is foreign to the scriptures. Our God cares deeply. There are enough verses to show how intimately involved he is with this world. From Moses, Abraham, how God came down and entered into a covenant with Abraham in the trailing flame :

Genesis 15:1 After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield,  your very great reward. ” God appeared to Abraham.

Immanent God

who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?He raises the poor from the dust   and lifts the needy from the ash heap;he seats them with princes, with the princes of his people.He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord.

This is how beautify it is with our God. He stoops down onto the earth and he raises the poor from the dust, he lifts the needy from the ash heap. He is helping the poor, lifting up those of us needy. That’s why we need to help the poor financially. God not only lifts up the needy, but he also seats them with princes, a metaphoric .

That’s why we need a transcendent God to become an immanent God. In other words, we need a savior who is himself sinless, perfect, and that will be divine, supernatural, and therefore transcendent, but if he’s only a transcendent God, divine and perfect, he can’t save us because he is not one of us. He needs to be come flesh and blood like us, like Adam. First Adam failed, the second Adam triumphed, and that’s why we need the incarnation of God himself into this world to become flesh or man, and live among us to totally be one of us, to save us. God cannot save humans, God needs a human to save human, and human cannot save humans, the chasm is bridged by God Man, Jesus Christ, the transcendent and immanent God finally solved the problem, and God will bring the huma race back to himself! Glory to the highest! Amen!

Transcendent God take on Immanence

  1. The Lord Intervenes in Creation to Accomplish a great Reversal in the Life of the lowliest and most Humble

Intervene is a good work. It means break the normal and create a new thing that was impossible before. Like Jesus opened the eyes of the blind, that’s divine intervention. Jesus raised the dead, cleansed the leper, opened the eyes of the blind, cast out demons, and Paul and Peter also healed the crippled, and cast out demons by Paul, all these are divine intervention, all these are supernatural intervention by a transcendent God into an immanent action. SO how did that happen?

2. Christ the Son of God took the form of human

John 1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind…..14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

That’s how it happened. In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God! And what happens to that Word?

V14—The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. Who can that be? Only one person in all humanity history ever done that, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Word, in John 1. And He was with God the Father, and He is God. And Jesus became flesh, means He became a man, and dwelled among us, and that happened 2000 years ago in Bethlehem, Judea, and finally Jerusalem. In AD 33 , he the Word, was crucified by the Roman soldiers and the Jewish Pharisees, God was crucified, and He fulfilled the prophecies about the Son of God became the lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.

So now we have the immanent God with us, through the Holy Spirit. I want you to know that nothing can separate us from the love of God.

Results of Transcendence & Immanence

  1. We are in the realm of the Spirit because Holy Spirit lives in us. He lives in us.

We are especial, the only creation in this world who has the Spirit of God living in us. I hope this will really encourage us and strengthen us.

Romans 8:  You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.

2. We are led by the Spirit of God because we are children of God

We call out Abba Father because the Spirit we received brought our adoption into sonship

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 

3. Finally, we are  heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ if we share in his sufferings so we may share in his glory

The fruit of heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ is that we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

4. No Sufferings No Glory

This is clear I hope. All people of faith in Christ, must understand that, God has called us into this world to live godly lives, and living that we will be persecuted by the world, and the devil. No big deal at all, because that plays into God’s path for us to eventually also share in Christ’s glory, as Christ has suffered, and now glorified.

16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

5. We will Never be separated from the love of God in Christ Jesus

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


[1]Wikipedia,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immanence , Immanence


[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid