Monthly Archives: April 2014

The Interactive Book: A Personal Call

"The Interactive Book: A Personal Call"

The main points of the last “Interactive Book” posts have been located in Isaiah 55:11 and 1 John 1:1-4. The first point regards seeing to it that God’s word accomplishes what He sent it into this world to do in each of our lives, and giving Him a good return on His investment in us. The second point concerns how our hands handle the word of life, including our fellowship with the Father and the One Sent. Moving on, let’s look at a familiar verse in John 4.

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:23-24)

Notice this is spirit-influenced worship … not production-line, corporate, cookie-cutter, micro-managed worshippers. I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but we aren’t all alike, and while men may try to make us all to conform to their standards and become the proverbial yellow pencil, and stuffed into an easy-to-control box, God wants us all to remain unique in our relationships with Him through His son.

If we look at the letters to the seven churches of God in Revelation 2 and 3, we see that God is not looking for “yellow pencils,” but for individuals that respond to His word and alter their lives. Each of these letters begins by addressing the group as a whole, citing strengths and weaknesses of each church, but each one ends with an appeal to the individual human heart – “he who has an ear to hear, let him hear” – and a promise “to him who overcomes.” God is addressing each of our unique minds and hearts that respond to the ways and thoughts of God in spirit and truth.

On Our Behalf

In 2 Chronicles 16:9, the Hanani the seer tells King Asa of Judah that “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” This tells us that God is constantly scanning humanity, observing and watching to see what kind of response He’s getting on the word that He has sent into the world – to see how our hands handle the word of life. It also tells us that His scanner is tuned to certain character traits in human hearts.

The word translated “loyal” here and “perfect” in the KJV is the Hebrew word shalem (H8003). According to Strong’s dictionary, it means “especially friendly, or peaceable … full, complete, safe, whole.” Since we’re talking about our hearts, we could use the word “whole-hearted.” That’s the kind of people God is looking for and, lest anyone should be discouraged, I would add that this is a process. It takes time to become this committed, and on top of that we’re still human and we all stumble at times.

The other phrase in this verse I’d like to take a long look at is “to show Himself strong.” It’s from one word, the Hebrew chazaq (H2388). Strong’s paints this word picture for us: “to fasten upon or seize, to strengthen, confirm or fortify … to cleave, to be urgent, to behave Himself valiantly.” It’s somewhat similar to the phrase “to latch onto.”
And with all that in mind, we have to look at the next phrase, “on behalf of.” The Hebrew here is im (H5973), and it is a preposition, used to indicate something done together, or in common with, such as to eat with, talk with, travel with, have companionship with. It is used to show a closeness of spirit, as God said He would be with His people (Ex. 3:12).

So God is saying to us, “My eyes have roamed the whole earth, and I’ve found you, I’ve called you. You are my kind of guy or gal because of what I see in your heart, and if you keep responding to My word in this way, I’ll continue to strengthen and confirm you.”

My Beloved

Before diving into my next scripture, Philippians 2:12, I want to take a moment to notice that it begins with the word “therefore.” In other words, what follows is a result and consequence of what has already been said in verses 1-11 about Jesus Christ. Seeing His example of humility, studying what He did and the way He did it, then seeing the reward He received from the Father should inspire us to make the effort to follow His example.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Phil. 2:12-13)

Here we find Paul, the former authoritarian pharisee now a changed, and humble man, addresses the beloved brethren. This word “beloved” is from the Greek agapetos (G27). It is a form of the familiar word for godly love, agape, which Zodhiates defines as “beloved, dear … spoken only of Christians as united with God or with each other in the bonds of holy love … co-joined in the bonds of faith and love … beloved of God, or chosen by Him for salvation.”
Paul tells these people who have been chosen by God that they are doing just great when he is present with them, and then he counsels them to do even better without him. Paul knew that their salvation did not depend on their reliance on him. He did not try to make them dependent upon him (as some modern ministers do). In fact, he urged the exact opposite, as Matthew Henry’s commentary on Philippians 2:12-13 points out.

He [Paul] urges this from the consideration of their readiness always to obey the gospel: “As you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, Phi_2:12. You have been always willing to comply with every discovery of the will of God; and that in my absence as well as presence. You make it to appear that regard to Christ, and care of your souls, sway more with you than any mode of showing respect whatsoever.” They were not merely awed by the apostle’s presence, but did it even much more in his absence.

In 2 Corinthians 1:24, Paul said to another group of called out brethren, “Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy; for by faith you stand.” Paul was very careful not to even appear to be dominating or controlling of their faith. He did not want them to be dependent on him, but rather to be dependent on the One who called them into a personal relationship with Him and who counts us among His beloved ones.

“The Interactive Book” series:

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: Key To Scripture

Part 3: Fellowship With The Word Of Life

Part 4: Judgment and Friendship

Part 5: A Personal Call

Part 6: Working Out Your Own Salvation


The Interactive Book: Judgment and Friendship

In last week’s post, we saw how “the twelve” were confronted with a choice in John 6:67 in the form of a question, “Do you also want to go away?”   Many other disciples had heard some hard to understand truths from the mouth of Jesus Christ, and “walked with Him no more” (vs.66).   Peter’s answer revealed a Spirit-led recognition of the One source of real spiritual truth.    Peter recognized that Christ was the One who had “the words of eternal life”.   In this post, we will see how our response to these “words of eternal life” establishes us as true followers of Jesus Christ by setting the standard by which we are judged.

In Acts, we find Paul and Barnabas preaching these words of life in Antioch. The Jews here were being shown favor by God. His word was offered to them, free for the taking, and they rejected it.

Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’” Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:46-48)

Notice how important it is to seize every opportunity to embrace the word of God, and take it in. Also, note how this is worded – the Jews judged themselves unworthy of eternal life. During this Feast of Unleavened Bread, I asked myself a question. How am I judging myself in the way I view and respond to God’s Holy Word – to His son, the One Sent, personified in print?

Judging Ourselves

I’m sure we all spent some time in 1 Corinthians 11 prior to the passover. Let’s look at verse 31 in light of what we just read about the Jews in Acts 13.

For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. (1 Cor. 11.31)

The word “judge” here is diakrino (G1252). It means “to separate thoroughly,” to distinguish ourselves (by self correction in the light of God’s word) to give evidence in the way we respond to God’s words, His loving correction, and to His teachings that we are “worthy of life.”

He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.” (John 12:48-50)

Christ told us here in John what the judgment of mankind is based on. In one sense, when we all come up before the throne, there isn’t really going to be anything for Him to do because we judge ourselves by the way we respond to His words. That can sound scary, but the thing to really keep in mind is that every word of God is given for our benefit.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

God wants this for all of us. His words are freely given in the Bible to do us good, and also to equip us for doing good. The words Christ spoke are “are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). This is an incredible opportunity if we listen to Him, but there is also a great danger in ignoring His words.

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. …

Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:39-40, 47)

Here is what Moses wrote about Christ, as He recorded the Lord’s words about the coming Prophet: I “will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him” (Deut 18:18-19).

In the end, we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, and be judged by the word of God as delivered to us through Jesus Christ. We are judged by His words, His character, His personality, His worldview, and nothing else. And that judgment is taking place right now, as we interact with the words of the Bible. In effect, we are bringing our own judgment upon us day by day … good or bad.

For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17)

Brethren, there’s a whole world full of people out there who reject and despise this One who is called “the word of God,” but there are only a few that He calls “My own” and “My friends,” to whom He reveals a little bit of His true greatness and character.

Friends of God

Abraham, the “father of the faithful” was called “the friend of God” (James 2:23). Can we, the called out ones, be that as well? Are we called out of this world to have an “arm’s length” relationship with the Father and the “One Sent,” or will our response to the Word of life lead to a true friendship, just like Abraham had? His life wasn’t easy … we can’t expect to get through this thing trial free.

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. (1 John 1:1-4)

These words were spoken that we might have joy. And we can go on from this Feast of Unleavened Bread knowing that the door stands wide open for us to true fellowship with God the Father and the Word of Life. I can think of no better example of embracing the Word of Life than David.

Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. … This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life. … Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. … Your word is very pure; therefore Your servant loves it. … The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever. Princes persecute me without a cause, but my heart stands in awe of Your word. I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure. (Ps. 119:1, 50, 105, 140, 160-162)

Nowhere in the scriptures do you get a more personal view of God than in the psalms of David. What made David a man after God’s own heart?

Concerning the works of men, by the word of Your lips, I have kept away from the paths of the destroyer. Uphold my steps in Your paths, that my footsteps may not slip. … As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness. (Ps. 17:4-5, 15)

David was not living for this physical life, but for real life. We’ve always taught that what made David “a man after God’s own heart” was his readiness to repent of sin … but why was he so willing to repent of sin? Because he valued his relationship with the Godhead more than anything else!

We can see more parallels between David’s life and our relationship with God when we look at the battles David had to fight. In these physical wars, David said,

It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places. He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great. You enlarged my path under me, so my feet did not slip. (Ps. 18:32-36)

In much the same way, God arms us to fight battles, not against physical enemies, “but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). Like David, when we find ourselves in a tight spot, we should be looking to God and saying, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Ps. 23:1; see also 1 Peter 2:25). This is why David was called a man after God’s own heart – because of thoughts like this toward God and His son.

The same door stands wide open for us right now today. Each of us can say “the Lord is my shepherd.” We have the words of the Word of God in greater fullness than David ever had, and with that a chance to learn about Christ as our shepherd from the Shepherd Himself. Reading John chapter 10, we see that Christ wants an intimate relationship with His sheep, and offers that chance to each one who hears His words.

“The Interactive Book” series:

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: Key To Scripture

Part 3: Fellowship With The Word Of Life

Part 4: Judgment and Friendship

Part 5: A Personal Call

Part 6: Working Out Your Own Salvation

The Interactive Book: Fellowship With The Word Of Life

As we head into the Days of Unleavened Bread, having kept the Passover last night and looking forward to a fine fellowship meal this evening celebrating our coming out of sin, we can all echo the words of Paul.

Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Cor. 5:7-8)

The goal is to become unleavened with sincerity and truth. We sincerely want to be taught of God, and and we want His truth to dictate the course of our lives. One of these precious truths is the revelation of God’s plan of salvation for mankind in the Holy Days.

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts. ‘Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.

‘These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times. On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; seven days you must eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it. But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord for seven days. The seventh day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it.’” (Lev. 23:1-8)

The word “feasts” can also be understood to mean “divine appointments.” It’s like a VIP invitation from God to assemble for fellowship with Him. In verse 6, the phrase “you must eat unleavened bread” carried the ideas of to burn up, consume, and devour – indicating that there is to be a zeal about what we are doing.

Unleavened Teachings

In the introduction to this series, we began in Isa 55:6. Before we go back there, I’d like for you to think about this question, “What’s wrong with us, as we begin to celebrate the days of Unleavened Bread?”

We’re leavened, brethren! We can’t even avoid being leavened. It’s all around us in this world (there is even physical leaven in the air we breathe). But spiritually, the prince of the power of the air – the god of this world, who influences everything that goes on down here – has control of entertainment and media … the perfect forum for him to promote his anti-God agenda. And we can see, and drink in any and every form of violence, immorality, and other forms of aberrant, ungodly behavior … and made all the more attractive by the “beautiful people” who perform, and by clever writers, who insert humor at just the right times.

In this country, we even legislate immorality today. The more anti-Christ and anti-God it is, the more protected by law it is. You can be thrown into jail for preaching what the Bible says about morality, marriage and family values today – for teaching your kids healthy, Godly, Biblical principles of life. We are immersed in leaven, and the more we try to “fit in” with the society around us, the more leavened we become.

Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (Is. 55:6-11)

So the question for us, at least one of the questions, during this Feast of Unleavened Bread is, “What kind of return on His investment am I giving to God?” Between now and the next Feast, how interactive am I going to be with this Book, the only really unleavened teaching on this planet? These days of Unleavened Bread are about coming out of this world, renewing our baptismal commitment to God, and turning our backs on the old man, the past, our Egypt.

Fellowshipping With Christ

In last week’s post, we ended with 1 Cor 1:9: “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” Did you catch that, brethren? We are called by God the Father into His son’s “fellowship,” literally partnership, social intercourse, or benefaction. This last word, “benefaction,” means the act of conferring a benefit. God and Christ actually offer us the benefit of interacting with Them in true fellowship by Their divine invitation.

The apostle John seemed to have a special relationship with Jesus Christ, and a unique way of expressing that in writing. We usually go to the gospel of John when we speak of this, but today, I’d like to go to his first general epistle.

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life (1 John 1:1)

I’ve spent a great deal of time studying this word play between “the Word” – Jesus Christ – and “the word” – the Bible – that our hands handle right now. How do we “handle” the word of life? Do I keep it way out at arm’s length? Do I hold it sceptically? Or is it just as an academic exercise or a piece of“classic literature?” Or do I give it more serious study, and think, “Boy, it’d be nice if I could do that” … and then give up when I run into “love your enemies.”

Or do I hold the Word of life close to my heart? Could this day be another turning point in my life, and in my relationship with God the Father through Jesus, the Christ? Am I going to give Him that return on His investment?

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. …
From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:63, 66-69)

Judging by his reply here, Peter apparently got the point of Jesus’ statement, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me,” and that His words are words of life (John 14:6). Jesus Christ, the Word of God “became flesh and dwelt among us” with the mission to give us eternal life (John 1:14; 10:10).

“The Interactive Book” series:

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: Key To Scripture

Part 3: Fellowship With The Word Of Life

Part 4: Judgment and Friendship

Part 5: A Personal Call

Part 6: Working Out Your Own Salvation

The Interactive Book: Key To Scripture

We talked in last week’s introductory post about how meticulous Christ was about fulfilling every jot and tittle of scripture concerning Him, that He did all this to please the Father, and that there was real personal interaction between them.

Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. … I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. (John 5:19-24, 30)

Christ is the Key

How many of you know who Andrew Jukes is? He wrote several books that have made the rounds in the Church of God groups, The Names of God being probably the best known of them. About a month ago, my wife started reading another called The Law of the Offerings, and she ran across a quote that she knew would hit me right where I’ve been living for the past 20 years or so. At the bottom of pg 12, Jukes writes, “Christ is throughout [the Bible] the key to scripture. He is the one great idea of the Bible. Know Christ, understand God’s thoughts about Him, and then you will understand the Bible. We are in the dark because we know so little of Him.”

Because of my early Church of God teaching, I would have called this man, who wrote books about the Bible in the late 1800s, “unconverted” 25 years ago. Today, his comments seem very spiritual: know Christ, understand God’s thoughts about Him, and then you will understand the Bible. You see, it’s not just a study of Christ … not just “give yer heart to Jeeesus!” It’s a study of God the Father’s view of Jesus Christ – how They relate to one another, Their history, Their mutual sacrifice, and the rewards Their faith have produced for the church today.

It’s interesting that what Jukes emphasizes is “God’s thoughts about Him.” That’s scripture, brethren. Not just a man’s, or a church’s opinion – not Roman Catholic or Protestant thoughts about Jesus, but His own Father’s thoughts about Him. Brethren, what are God’s thoughts about His son today … right now today, nearly 2,000 years after His human life ended in crucifixion? What does God, the Father want us to be doing “in fellowship” with His beloved Son?

Great Gifts

I’ve used Matt. 28:18 a lot to show the regard God has for His son, and I don’t see any good reason to change that. “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” This is as true today as it was when Christ spoke these words, and if a great gift like this was given it was given by a great Giver.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:5-11)

Here is another passage showing the high regard God the Father has for His Son, and another gift given by the great Giver. And like every gift that this Being gives to His Son, there is an incredible extension to mankind through His Son’s name.

In Acts 4:7 we find Peter and John in a familiar fix. They had used the Name of Jesus Christ to heal a lame man, and they had told the people “His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all” (Acts 3:16). And that violated the code of the human bureaucracy of the day.

And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?” (Acts 4:5-7)

It’s amazing to see the similarities in the way human societies develop their systems of controlling the people. The U.S. Government is getting more and more like this every day under the rule of similarly-minded control freaks. Anyway, the Department of Miraculous Healings in the Name of Jesus Christ determined that Peter and John had violated the code, and they threw them in the slammer overnight to cool their heels, then the next day, they convened a hasty trial.

And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, saying, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.” So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. (Acts 4:7-18)

Gift of Fellowship

Something else that the Father gave Christ was “the promise of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:29-33). So from the point of this giving onward to the end of the age, anyone who receives the gift of the spirit receives it through Christ. This sort of makes the words of John the baptist take on new life for us. “He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matt. 3:11).

“Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has shed forth this which you now see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’ “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:33-36)

The Holy Spirit isn’t all the Father gave. The Greek word for “Lord” here is kurios (G2962). It means, owner, master, ruler. Christ, or Christos (G5547) means anointed … and this Christ was anointed to perform many more offices and functions for our benefit. To the extent that we buy into His authority in these offices, we can interact with Him as He serves us by performing them.

In Ephesians 1, we find yet another great gift given to Christ by the great Giver which benefits us.

Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Eph. 1:15-23)

Do we really believe this? God’s gift here was to make Jesus Christ my Head, and your Head. This is indeed a gift, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg as far as the gifts God has given to His son to benefit us. It’s truly amazing when you understand how much love and regard the Father has for us that He actually blesses His son with all of this … and it’s all there so He can serve us and care for us.

Makes you wonder why anyone would resist or reject this, but I’ve run into some angry resistance to the idea. For some reason, people think they can somehow get to the Father without going through the Son.

Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. (1 John 2:22-23)

We are called by God the Father “into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor. 1:9). “Fellowship” is from the Greek koinonia (G2482), and means “partnership, participation, communion, according to strong’s, it literally means “social intercourse, or benefaction.” That sounds a whole lot more personal than “pray, stay, pay, and obey.” God wants to take us into His confidence, “to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ” (Eph. 3:9). He wants to give us good gifts, to interact with us as He reveals deeper and deeper truths.

“The Interactive Book” series:

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: Key To Scripture

Part 3: Fellowship With The Word Of Life

Part 4: Judgment and Friendship

Part 5: A Personal Call

Part 6: Working Out Your Own Salvation