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Prayer warriors? you might be a nerve cell | BaptismForLife.wordpress.com

The NERVE!

I’m sure you’ve all heard this exclamation uttered in indignation by someone who was offended by the behavior of someone they expected to perform in a better manner … “The NERVE of some people!”

Well, I’d like to make today’s post a tribute to the nerve cells in the Body of Christ, as we continue this series of posts based on the book “In His Image” by Dr. Paul Brand. If you could be any type of cell in the Body of Christ, what type of cell would YOU be? If you consider yourself a “prayer warrior” in His Body, you might just be a nerve cell.

Messenger Cells

Nerve Cells

Nerve Cells!  Did you know that the longest single cell in the human body is about 4 feet long? It’s a nerve cell that runs up the entire length of the leg from the big toe, and it’s as thin as a human hair. When there’s a need in any of the cells down there in the foot, that nerve sends an instant message about what’s needed to the brain via other spinal nerves. In fact, when there is pain, or a need anywhere in the Body, it is the nerves that transmit impulses to let the brain know.

Just a quick look at Ephesians 1:22 and Colossians 1:18 should serve to inform us Who it is who serves as Head of the Body — “the brains of the outfit” so to speak — that directs all of the functions of the Body, voluntary or involuntary. Christ is all the brain the Body needs! None of us have a “better idea” how to run the Body. The job “brain cell” is not open in His Body. Some may look at all of the division and dysfunction in today’s church and think “the Head” doesn’t have a clue what’s going on in the Body. On the contrary, He knows ALL – and is using the suffering caused in the Body by such things to evaluate every cell.

And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. (Col. 1:18)

What happens with you and I when we receive new prayer requests each week? When we receive an emergency prayer request, as we often do, don’t we immediately send a message to the brain in the Body of Christ? “Our heavenly Father,” we pray, “please send your healing power from the Head of all things to the church to our brother or sister who is in trouble.”

Prayer Warriors

How good a job am I doing as a nerve cell in the Body of Christ? The Christ of compassion hears our heartfelt emotionally driven prayers on the behalf of His people.

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

We can also act as nerve cells on our own behalf. Let’s turn to the example of Hezekiah in and look at what moved God to answer his emotive prayer.

In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.’”

Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the Lord, and said, “Remember now, O Lord, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what is good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

And the word of the Lord came to Isaiah, saying, “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days fifteen years.” (Is. 38:1-5)

For one more example, let’s also look at the book of Daniel.

Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day—to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You. (Dan. 9:3-7)

Prayer warriors? you might be a nerve cell  | BaptismForLife.wordpress.comIt’s evident from the wording here that Daniel viewed himself as a small part of a larger Body. Here, he was acting as a nerve cell on behalf of both his nation and his Church! The nation of Israel was in ruins — divided, dysfunctional, in captivity in Babylon, failed by its leaders — and Daniel was grieved because of that. Look at the emotion he puts into this prayer.

Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord’s sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate. O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”

Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God, yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision (Dan. 9:17-23)

How’s that for an answer? Oh that we could be given the skill to fully understand what’s going on in our churches and our nation today and why both are so dysfunctional!

So, whad’ya say? Are YOU a nerve cell?

Do you see another cell or two (or three) in the Body that need you to send a compassionate message to the brain?

Do you see problems that are causing damage to the Body as a whole, and you feel the need to convey your alarm about that to the head?

If you’re a messenger, one who spends a lot of time in prayer, a “prayer warrior”, then you may just be a nerve cell in the Body of Christ.

In His Image

I’d like to do something in today’s blog post that I’ve never done before – to recommend a book entitled “In His Image” by Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey. As a Christian, I’m always seeking a better understanding of my God, His Christ, and the Body that they have called me to be a part of. In fact, discerning the “Body of Christ” is critical to our remaining a healthy part of that Body as we mature in the faith which was once delivered.

His Body

So let’s start out in the scriptures with 1 Cor 11:23-32. We always read this on the Passover, and if we’re not careful, we can stick it back up on the Passover shelf until next year and just forget about it …(read- vs. 29)

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. (1 Cor. 11:23-29)

Just what are we to be discerning about the Lord’s Body, and how are we to discern it? Is there a pattern that we can use to examine the Lord’s Body? Can we look at this as a daily, ongoing spiritual exam, like a doctor examining a patient as we look not only at the Body of Christ as a whole, but at our own contributions to the healthy operation of the Body. Why is this lack of RIGHT discernment cited as the cause of what we see in vs. 30?

For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. (1 Cor. 11:30-32)

In light of all the illness, heavy trials, and untimely deaths in all of the churches of God today, maybe we should take a long hard look at ourselves and how we regard the Lord’s Body, as it is presented in the scriptures. We ARE, after all, being created “in His image and in His likeness”, and though we are dwelling in these temporary physical bodies now, as called out ones, we are being re-created in His spiritual image and likeness. As a means to facilitate that re-creation, we have been placed in a spiritual BODY as well. There ARE many bodily processes and functions we can learn from as we go through this life-long transition.

For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. (1 Cor. 12:12-13)

Learning In The Body

How much of what we experience in life as members of His Body does He vicariously experience because He is the Head of His Body, and ‘lives in us’? Is His Body ‘still suffering’ in us? (in our flesh, so to speak), when we are going through our own baptisms of fire (fiery trials)? Could Jesus Christ still be doing, through His Body (the church) what He did in His own human body while He lived in it?

though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. (Heb. 5:8)

Is Christ still learning, as He lives in us while we learn obedience by the things which we suffer? This goes to the heart of what it means to become a part of the Body of Christ.

That there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. (1 Cor 12:25-26)

Remember we referred to vs. 13 earlier. Now, notice in vs. 25 and 26 how intimate a thing we share, not only with Christ, but with each other. The word for “suffer with” is the Greek word, sumpascho (G4841), which means to experience pain jointly.

 In His Image, baptismforlife.wordpress.comI now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church (Col. 1:2)

This attitude evidenced in Paul was one of a literal slave to his Master. He was willing to suffer anything for the sake of Jesus Christ’s body, “which is the church.” What does it mean here when it says ‘that which is “lacking”? how could there be anything ‘lacking’ in  in the afflictions of Christ?

Just let me ask this question: Did Christ’s experience in his human body teach Him about the full spectrum of human experience? Did He experience life as a paraplegic, as a blind man, as a couple raising an autistic child, as a single mother of 7, as a man stricken with cancer, or any of a host of ailments, trials, and maladies we see today in the church?

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. 1:22-23)

This speaks of Christ as the Head of the Body … a position and responsibility given to Him by God the Father. Why did the God of all wisdom place Christ in such a position? In the human body, nerve impulses travel from literally every part of the body to the brain, which regulates bodily functions to supply every need for every cell in the body.

The author of “In His Image” views himself as a single cell in the Body of Christ, and based on a lifetime of medical experience, shares some very valuable insights that we can profit from as fellow members of the Body. I’ll be sharing more details, based on the book, personal observation, and the scriptures in my next few blog posts. Thanks for reading.

I Am Among You As One Who Serves, part 4

It is interesting to me to observe the flow of the book of Hebrews. I’d like to spend most of my time here in this fourth and final part of the “I Am Among You As One Who Serves” series in an overview of the book of Hebrews with the focus on how Jesus, the Christ of God, is among us today as One who serves, primarily in the office of High Priest.

Words of Faith

Hebrews begins with a very basic, simple truth of a change in the way God has chosen to minister to mankind, and speak to mankind.

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds (Heb. 1:1-2)

Jude 1:3 calls these words spoken “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” We can see evidence of this delivery in Jesus’ prayer to the Father in John 17. Here, He says that He gave His Father’s words to disciples (John 17:8), and taught them how to preserve it for all generations to follow (John 17:17-20). And they did that job, sharing Christ’s words in person with everyone they could, and recording the New Testament writings for generations to come.

Jesus said, “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). Not long ago, we completed a series of posts entitled, “The Interactive Book.” The word of God is intended to be used as an interactive tool, and is written so that the meaning deepens with life experience, trials, maturity, and the exercise of living faith.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb. 4:12-16)

With Christ living inside of you, helping you, and serving your true needs, the whole Bible-package is interactive. He has power over all flesh, and lives in us, and we are linked together by common experience in the flesh, and by the daily advice that we glean from His Word.

High Priest

As we just read in Hebrews 4, Christ is intimately involved as One who serves among the called out ones … and most prominently here in Hebrews in the role of High Priest.

Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus. who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house. For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end. (Heb 3:1-6)

An apostle is one sent by God with a message, and we’ve already discussed Jesus Christ’s communication of the words of the Father to mankind. He is also called the High Priest of our confession. This great High Priest is the One who has been and continues to build His house, and we are that house, as it says here and in other places like Matthew 16:18 and 1 Peter 2:5. The house that He is building is His church, and His body, and the Father appointed Him over it as its Head and as One who serves (Eph. 1:22).

Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”[a] But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. (Heb. 8:1-6)

It is important that we remember who’s house we are a part of – “the true tabernacle which the Lord erected” (pitched, set up, built, fixed) – one that is not built by man but by Christ, the High Priest, and the minister, as it calls Him here, of the sanctuary. The word sanctuary – in the Greek hagion (G39) – as used here refers to the immediate presence of God and His throne where Christ conducts His ministry on our behalf, as one who serves.

Building His Church

And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” (Heb. 10:11-16)

See all that Christ is doing for us, ministering to our needs from “at the right hand of God,” in His Father’s presence for us? I said earlier that the word of God was an interactive tool for both He and us to use, and here in Hebrews 10 He says He will write His law in our hearts. Just a few verses later, it talks of Jesus consecrating “new and living way” for us “to enter the Holiest” (Heb. 10:19-20). As “the Mediator of the new covenant,” Jesus is among us as One who serves, and His words deserve our closest attention (Heb. 12:18-25).

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Heb. 13:20-21)

What is this work He is doing in us that is so pleasing in His sight? What will be the end of it for the elect and for the rest of mankind?

Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.”
Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. (1 Pet. 2:4-10)

We are called living stones, being built up by Jesus Christ into “a spiritual house” founded upon Himself. Just a few verses later, we are described as chosen to be a royal priesthood (see also Rev. 1:6; 5:10). As a “holy priesthood” in training, what kind of spiritual sacrifices are we to be offering up?

"I Am Among You As One Who Serves" baptismforlife.wordpress.com

In Matthew 25:34-40, Jesus says that serving “the least of these My brethren” is counted as service to Him. We are supposed to be among our brethren, and in the world as those who serve, emulating the example of Him that is among us as One who serves

I’d like to wrap up this blog series by quoting two sections of scripture from Isaiah 61. The first was used by Christ in Luke 4:17-21 to describe His 0wn ministry when He came among us as one who serves. The next set of verses describes, the people who have allowed Jesus Christ to build them into a ‘holy priesthood of the Lord’ – the ones who will be among the people in God’s kingdom as those who serve.

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” (Is. 61:1-3)

But you shall be named the priests of the Lord, they shall call you the servants of our God. You shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory you shall boast. Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, and instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; everlasting joy shall be theirs. “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery for burnt offering; I will direct their work in truth, and will make with them an everlasting covenant. Their descendants shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people. All who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the posterity whom the Lord has blessed.” (Is. 61:6-9)

 

 

I Am Among You As One Who Serves, part 3

Let’s start this post by looking at Joshua, an individual who was “strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Eph 6:10), as he makes a life choice.

“Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Josh. 24:14-15)

There was no group-think or corporate mentality within Joshua when he chose to follow the Lord – the member of the Godhead who had personal contact with His people, the same individual that we know today as Jesus. This Being, the Anointed of God, is the one sent by God to the church as a group and to each one as an individual as one who serves.

Dependence on Christ

At this point I’d like to insert a little disclaimer about what I am, and am not, saying in this series of blog posts about church groups. If you don’t make things crystal clear these days, some start making assumptions (and accusations) about what you really mean (like it’s some kind of conspiracy, or something). I am not advocating isolationism or independence! That is a hard road to follow, and we all need human warmth, support, and fellowship. What I am urging is a strong dependence on, and living, interactive faith in Jesus, the Christ of God. If you truly have that you are bullet-proof … no false minister can lead you astray.

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Heb. 10:19-25)

Fellowship is important, and if it’s available to you it is wise to partake, so you can support and strengthen others and so they can do the same for you. We always need to keep in mind that we are a part of a body. It is a sin to separate yourself from your brethren in the body of Christ and to forsake fellowship with others who hold fast to most of the same truths that you do.

It is wise to seek counsel, and listen to preaching from others who evidence the fruits of Godly character, and aren’t trying to take over lordship of your life from Jesus, the Christ of God. However, if things get so bad that fellowship with other believers is not available to you – and many of us have been through times when it wasn’t – the Christ of God is sufficient all by Himself to shore you up, and He will – with or without the help of anyone else – and in time, He will bring about fellowship opportunities as well.

Who Do You Trust?

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Heb. 13:5-6)

See what I mean? This kind of relationship with the One who is with us makes you bullet-proof! Indeed, what can man do to me with Him on my side? He is “Christ in you” as one who serves and is our “hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).

Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
(Jer. 17:5-9).

Where we put our trust and who we trust in tells God a lot about us. Consider  all the New Testament warnings about false ministers – wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matt. 7:15), Satan’s ministers disguising themselves as servants of light (2 Cor. 11:13-14). Who do you want to put your faith in? what arm of flesh can you rely on today not to turn to the dark side?

I’ve gone through the experience now of seeing people that I regarded as the strongest pillars of the churches of God standing up and preaching God’s holy truth one week, and then suddenly one week I arrive at church to find them advocating the violation of God’s holy laws and commandments. It makes no sense to rely on the arm of flesh … I don’t even trust me! We can’t afford to trust ourselves, and we can’t afford to trust in other men(Prov. 3:5-6). So, where does all of this leave us???"I Am Among You As One Who Serves" baptismforlife.wordpress.com

In Hebrews 11:1 we read, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” This isn’t talking about faith in what we can do – the work of our hands or the work we do for God – or about men that we can put our faith in. Jesus asks in Luke 18:8, “when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” and I ask, what kind of faith that He is looking for?

Reading the first nine verses of Ezekiel 34 gives us a picture of irresponsible shepherding, the kind that I’m sure most of us have been exposed to in the past. We should realize we need to pray for those who fell into that snare – we may have done the same were we in their shoes. An antidote to this kind of fallible, human shepherding is described in the next few verses.

‘For thus says the Lord God: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord God. “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.” (Ezk. 34:11-16)

This Christ is the the kind of Shepherd we must be following, listening to, and placing all our trust in. He is the One among us as a servant, who truly cares for us and is worthy of all our faith. Trust in the One who serves is the kind of faith He will be looking for when He returns to the earth.

I Am Among You As One Who Serves, part 2

In Ephesians 5, Paul reminds us of one of the great mysteries (as he calls it) of the Bible. We are all reminded to submit ourselves to a life-long washing, cleansing, and sanctifying purification by this great Being who was sent to earth to wash us all, and serve us all.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, That He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. (Eph. 5:22-27)

Thoughts about Christ

A while back, my wife was reading a book entitled The Law of the Offerings by Andrew Jukes that contained this quote: “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 you will understand the Bible.” As we look at the Bible, we could rightly claim that there are many things that are a bit vague and that are “hard to understand.” But if there is one issue that is crystal clear, it is how these two great Beings feel about each other.

God the Father must think very highly of His son because He gave Him many offices of authority and responsibility over the church. He made Him the Head over all things to the church, the Captain of our salvation, the Author and Finisher of our faith, the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, the Apostle and High Priest, our Savior, Mediator, and King. As Christ faithfully executes the duties of each of those offices on a very intimate, personal level in each of our lives, His appeal to us is the same as it was to Peter on the Passover, which we talked about last week – “let Me serve you … if I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”

We all want Christ more fully involved in our lives, and He is ever ready to serve us, work within us, cleanse us, and purify us. So, as we go through the rest of this material on how He is “with us” to lead us in this totally unique and unselfish way, let’s keep in mind the many functions that He is there to perform for His “sheep” every moment of every day of their lives.

I Know My Sheep

In Mattew 28:20, Jesus said “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” His being with and helping His followers didn’t end with his human life. He is still with us, still among us “as one who serves.”

I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (John 14:18-21)

The word “manifest,” emphanizo (G1718) in the Greek, means to exhibit someone or something to view, to show one’s self, to come to view, appear, indicate, disclose, or declare. Jesus makes Himself known to us, just as He tells us in John 10 when he says that He is known by His sheep (John 10:14).

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“But,” you might be thinking, “He’s speaking here to the church leaders … the apostles … the important people in the church. I’m not important enough to be included in this.” For a direct answer to this fear, we need look no farther than Matthew 18:20 where Christ says, “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Christ is personally present whenever His people gather, not matter how small the group. A small family, a couple, two or three brethren in fellowship, there He is in the midst of them “as one who serves.”

An Individual Call

But here again you might be thinking, “yea, but I’m alone. I’m a single person all by myself,” or “I’m living hours away from any group that I could fellowship with. What about me? Surely Christ doesn’t have time to spend on an unimportant little person like me … I’m not worthy of his attention.”

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. ( Rev. 3:20)

This is Christ’s message to an individual in your shoes – “open the door, and I’ll come in for you. Just for you, even if you’re the only one in there who wants Me! I will come in to you and dine with you “as one who serves.”

Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish. (Matt 18:10-14)

Yes even you , the lone individual isolated from other brethren or outcast from corporate groups, is important to Jesus, the Christ of God, if you want Him involved in your life. It’s up to each of us to make that choice, though. Will I answer the knock on the door? Will I let Him serve me as He was sent to do?

“I Am Among You As One Who Serves” series

Part 1