A person's opinion of Jesus Christ tends to fall into one of three categories. 1) Some people don't believe He is God. So they ignore Him or assign Him to a place of little importance in their lives. They often mock His character and profane His name, letting His lifesaving work mean little or nothing to them at all. They simply will say that He was a "good person," if they'll give Him that much credit; or, 2) Others may come right out and intellectually say He is the Son of God but they have no personal relationship with Him. Or like His first-century followers, they 3) believe in their hearts that Christ is the true Savior of the world (Rom 10:9). People are made part of His true family as a result of their genuine faith in Him and in what He has done for them.
Ephesians 2:1-2 says that before salvation, we are all spiritually dead and living according to our sinful natures. Those people who don't have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ remain in that state. But if a person believes in Him and places their faith in Him they are spiritually reborn and made alive in Christ and they become new creations, no longer living according to the "flesh" and it's nature ( Jn 3:3; Eph 2:5; 2Cor 5:17). These "new creations" are moved into a different position (see Eph 1 & 2).
This new position in the Lord affects everything about us ... our attitudes, our conversations, our emotions, and our conduct. The ungodliness of our culture no longer fits us, like an ill-fitting pair of shoes, and we find ourselves no longer simply running with the crowd. As believers we are constantly growing in Christlikeness, embracing ideas and attitudes, thought patterns and activities which are pleasing to God, and rejecting all others. We no longer fit the same mold we once did. We are fully reborn. Jesus Christ, the perfect God-Man, willingly took our sins upon Himself and suffered God's wrath and died in our place so that we might live forever with Him in paradise. God accepted His death as the payment for our sins and He raised Him from the dead to a position of divine Glory (Eph 1:20). And in Him, with His Spirit now living in us, we are elevated to that position of glory with Him. It's imperative that we understand who Jesus Christ is and then let that knowledge solidify in our hearts and minds, thereby strengthening our resolve to our commitment to be like Him and only like Him.
We had our small group meeting this morning. John, Margaret, and Ray were absent for various reasons and we missed them. The problems I'm going to have with this small group idea is that I'm not going to want to stop meeting or let these new friendships just fall by the wayside. I get attached to people quickly especially if we've ever entered into prayer together. I'm not going to want to leave anyone behind. I think it would be a good idea for the congregation to pick out a good book and read a chapter a week and then get together to discuss what they've read, keeping their small groups going. I would really like that. The JWs had one night a week where they divided up into small groups and went over a chapter of the latest JW publication and I think that was my favorite meeting of the entire week! I enjoy meeting people in the casual occurrences and not so much the structured activities that go on at Church each week. Church isn't set up to handle the small groups in meaningful ways. These people in our small groups are going to be people that we are going to be spending eternal life with and we need to cultivate relationships. Maybe I'll start a Bible study along these lines. Just an opportunity for a few people to gather each week and cherish each other.
Well, this isn't much of a blog today but since I got to it so late I'm not going to spend anymore time here. I have things that need to be done. Tomorrow I will talk some more about the God-Man Jesus. Until tomorrow...