Articles

Living Through the Relationship

Most of us have heard the phrase before that “Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship”. It has become a somewhat cliché catch-phrase, or something clever and witty to say. Many people say it, many people hear it, and nod in agreement,, but their relationship is really empty on the inside of them; and I am speaking of believers when I say that. And please understand that I am not saying that in a judgmental way and certainly not in a condemning way. I am going to be completely open and honest right up-front that my intention today in this study is to encourage you in your personal relationship with Jesus and how to live every day through that relationship, because really that’s the only way to live.

I have encountered a vast number of people in my time, who will readily claim to have a personal relationship with Jesus because it is expected of them to say that. It’s the “proper Christian response” but inside they are desperately hurting and empty and their spirit is starving because they honestly don’t know how to have a personal relationship with Jesus. So, these people walk around empty, but too afraid of the ridicule of those around them to actually admit that they don’t understand, and suffer in ignorance. In many churches today, Jesus has been reduced to nothing more than a Fire Net that saves you from going to hell when you die and that is it. Yet He is so very much more, and He came to give you much more as well. He’s didn’t come to just be merely a Fire Net, He came to give you Himself, and to enable you to live through Him, and this personal relationship is what we will be studying today.

Remember the Love of God Always

When you hear the word “God” spoken, what is the first thing that comes to mind? For many, it is terms like “all powerful”, “ruler”, “judge”, “creator” and it is certainly true that God is indeed all of these things. Yet He is so much more. One of the more popular cliché statements used in our current culture is that Christianity is not about religion, but about relationship… and while that is absolutely true, for many of us, the truth of that statement is lost in our daily lives.

For many people the relationship with God does not progress beyond the basic “Christian behaviors” and rituals that most people perform because it is what they think a good Christian is supposed to do. I’ve spoken with people time and time again who are not actually living out of a true relationship with Jesus, but out of rituals and traditions that are empty and unfulfilling. And they flounder around – many of them their entire life, searching for something that they don’t even know exactly what, because they can sense something is missing but they have not made the connection, that what is missing is the foundation of a real relationship with Jesus Christ. This is what we will be studying today.

Jesus Is Your Answer

It’s considered cliché these days to say Jesus is the answer. People upon hearing the phrase will typically react with an eye-roll, or say “Yeah, I know, but…” – as if to admit that they do not really believe that He is the answer at all. Believers continue to search for new truths, new ideas, new philosophies and theologies every day because they are still searching for answers. They are searching for something more, as if Jesus was not enough, and in the eyes of many, He secretly isn’t enough.

Now it’s okay to admit feeling that way. It’s okay to admit thinking that… because the honest admission that sometimes we feel or think that Jesus isn’t enough is a starting-point upon which to build the true Gospel foundation of Jesus Christ. I’ve watched many professing believers over the years, who were too afraid to make that admission, live their entire lives searching for answers, going from this thing to that thing, attending every conference they come across, reading every book, laboring in all kinds of works – so busy, yet still not finding their answer, because in all of their busy-ness, they have missed Jesus… never even truly realizing that He is the One and Only Answer that they need. Today, we will be taking a look at how Jesus is our true answer, and saying that will no longer be an empty cliché.

Being Secure in Christ

Many times in scripture God has said to not be afraid (it’s not actually 365 times, closer to 110), but really once should be enough for anyone who takes the word of God seriously. However, we still find it difficult to not be afraid in certain circumstances. Often we think that being afraid of certain things is normal. Just a part of being human. However we still have the very words of God that tell us to “fear not”, “do not be afraid”. Was He just saying it for the sake of saying it… or is there something for us to learn and see in His words?

It might be interesting to note that whenever God said to not be afraid, it always accompanied a revelation of Himself… who He is and His nature, character and power. This is key when considering His words. God never tells us to not be afraid, without telling the reason why we do not have to fear. It’s one thing to simply say “aww, don’t be afraid!” – but it’s quite another thing to say “Don’t be afraid, because I am here!” and when God is the one saying it, you now have a very solid foundation upon which to securely stand. What we will be studying today is the security that we have in Christ, and how His words of fear not, are not just empty suggestions, but a reality for us to live in – all because of Jesus.

Jesus: The Perfect Will of God For You

As believers, I think it is safe to say that all of us want to know the will of God. We all want to know what His desire and His intentions are in every area and in every situation. Many times we cry out to God asking Him to reveal His will to us, and we preface our prayers with “Lord, if it’s your will…”, and we pray this way because we do not know His will… we are unsure of what His will is. However it is very difficult; some would even say impossible, to act with boldness and confidence if we are not sure that God is backing us up. It’s very difficult to step out in faith if we are uncertain whether God’s will is for us to do that.

The good news is that He knows that we want to know – and He has not left us wondering what His will is. God has given us the perfect image and example of His will. And as we look at the living image of God – Jesus – we will know what the will of God is, and not be in doubt or uncertainty any longer. This is what we will be studying today.

Don’t Settle For Mediocrity

Take a moment right now and assess your life. Evaluate your needs. Go ahead… I’ll wait…

Now whatever your current needs are, whatever seems to be lacking, I want to tell you that the supply is already there. Whether it is a physical need in your body, such as healing, or whether it is a financial need, a mental need such as peace of mind, or even a spiritual need; the supply is there. The supply was paid for and done long before you ever had the need; long before you have even existed on the earth, your need has been covered.

Many times, we settle for mediocrity. We may receive one or two things from God, but then we think it is enough, we think that we have imposed upon Him too much already, or we simply accept things into our lives that are not needed… we tolerate things that need not be tolerated. There are many things that Jesus has paid to free us from that we have accepted as facts of life in our modern culture. I want to encourage you today that you don’t have to put up with these things any longer – there is a better way, made possible by Jesus Christ.

You Are the Manifestation of Jesus Today

In our continuing study of who we are in Christ, one thing that tends to receive a lot of push-back from the traditionalists in the world today, is the truth that in Christ Jesus today, we are the manifestation of Him on the earth. We are the manifestation of Jesus to all of the people of the world today. This idea irritates those who believe that it is insolence to in any way liken ourselves to Jesus They believe that because He is so much greater than us, that it is an insult to even make any kind of comparison which connects Him with us. It may seem right to our human thinking, however, God Himself has a different idea than this traditionalist view.

That’s why as we study today, we are going to be taking a look at precisely what Jesus has to say about Himself and us, and what our relationship to Him actually is. And by seeing this truth, we will no longer have this perceived distance between us and God any longer. We will be able to embrace our true nature in Him; and live in the truth that He wants us to live in.

Jesus is the Perfect Sacrifice

God is great. God is mighty. God is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He is the Creator and Ruler of all. Naturally for anyone who believes, it is easy to proclaim that God is all of these things, and just as naturally we want to give Him all honor and praise which is rightfully His. The question then must be asked, how exactly do we honor God? What is the measuring line by which an offering is measured? By what standards do we judge what is offered to Almighty God?

I have found in my time that many people who like to tout the perfect holiness and awesomeness of God, really don’t give much thought to what they offer Him. It’s an amazing double-standard that a perfect holy God seems to have no trouble accepting flawed offerings. They say “Oh well, just do your best, that’s all God requires.” Really?? Is that what the Bible truly says? In reality my friends, (and if you have glanced up at the title), there is only one truly acceptable offering to God – only one which meets His perfect standard; Jesus. This is what we will be studying today.

Your Reality in Christ, and Why Some Never See It

God’s will for you is nothing short of perfection. That fact must be completely understood right from the very start. His will for you is perfect and that is exactly what He has given to you as a gift. Perfection. He has given you Himself. He has given you Jesus, and through Jesus, you are madeperfectly justified, perfectly righteous, perfectly redeemed, perfectly holy, perfectly whole and perfectly healed. He paid for these things to be yours in Christ, and for all of those that have received Jesus, this is actually your reality today, as amazing as that sounds.

Why is it then that some never see this reality for themselves? Why is it that for some this reality seems to be nothing more than a fleeting wish. Why do some shrug it off as a fantasy. These are questions that many believers struggle with, these questions have even shipwrecked the faith of some people. And so we will be examining these questions today, and see what God’s Word says about them, in the light of the finished work of Jesus Christ, so that these questions will not stumble people any longer.

The Real Meaning of Humble Yourself

You’ve probably heard it before that we are supposed to “humble ourselves”. This is a favorite saying of many preachers, especially those who like to use the Bible as a blunt-force object. Whenever they see someone doing something wrong, the go-to phrase for many of them is “You need to humble yourself before a holy God!” – I’ve had this phrase lobbed at me many times, in many different places, yet I was never told what it actually meant. I used to assume that it meant to berate yourself, because after all, the legalistic and condemning preachers just spent an entire sermon telling me all the things that I need to do to get right with God, and how displeasing I am to Him, so that must be a form of humbling, right?

That was my thought process all those years ago, and I have found that many believers today still think along the same lines. Many people are still very confused about the idea of humbling themselves. So that’s why today in this study, we will be examining what it really means to humble ourselves; and by seeing the truth presented in scripture, we will not be in confusion regarding this phrase any longer.