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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Speaking of Jesus - May 2009

Last time in everyone's favorite newsletter column, Speaking of Jesus, we discussed the importance of presenting who Christ is and what He has done for us in His life, death, and resurrection before we begin to proclaim the benefits of being a Christian.  Sticking with this theme, this month we will begin to lay out various ways to do this when we embrace our friends and loved ones with the Gospel of Jesus.  Over the next few months we will discuss who Jesus is by showing how He is the one who reveals God to us, what he reveals about God, and why that matters to and benefits us. 

People are very curious about God these days.  Bookstores are full of books which describe one person's or another's pursuit of God.  A broad spectrum of religions will be studied so that a well-rounded view of God can be arrived at.  "Seekers" will become disciples, so to speak, of the Dahli Lama or Joel Osteen or Oprah or some enlightened guru who knows the "secret" of the universe in order to better know God or know themselves.  ABC Nightly News even hosts debates among influential religious types so we can discern teachings more clearly and understand each other's views of God more fully. Indeed, people are incredibly curious about God these days. 

This is nothing new.  People have always gone to gurus, practiced rites, and worked hard to find God in the universe.  In response to such activity, St. Paul once said in a letter he wrote to the church in Rome, "But the righteousness that is by faith says: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Christ down) "or, 'Who will descend into the deep?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).  But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, " that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming..." (Romans 10:6-8).  In other words, Paul says, God is not someone we are to seek out by religiously climbing up to heaven or searching in the depths, no, God reveals himself to us in Jesus Christ, the very one Paul was proclaiming!

The only way we can know God is for God to reveal himself to us, and this is what He does in Jesus Christ.  Do you want to fully know God?  Read the Gospels.  There you will meet Jesus of Nazareth, God in human flesh.  When we go out to proclaim Jesus, to embrace others with the Gospel, we don't go out to wax philosophical on our religious opinions.  We go out to introduce others to this guy Jesus who is God for us and with us.  God reveals himself to us, He does not hide so that we must seek him out (Paul says there is no such thing as a seeker in Romans 3:11 anyhow).  God becomes flesh in Jesus Christ.  The Father sends the Son to reveal Himself to us.  We believe what we do about our salvation because, as Paul says, God is as near to us as the word that was proclaimed to us.  This is a fancy way of saying the Holy Spirit gives us Jesus when we hear the gospel.  AND, when you share the gospel, the Holy Spirit works through your words to introduce people to Jesus.

All of this is to say that, if you have people in your life who think they are "seeking" God, it is your calling as a Christian to introduce them to Jesus.  And when they hear about who Jesus is they will have met God.  And they will know that God loves them so much, that He sent His only Son to die for them, to suffer the greatest agony in the history of the world so that they would be saved, and that he conquered death so as to promise them eternal life.  They will meet God who loves them and gives Himself to them.  It is the Gospel, the good news of Jesus, that we proclaim which brings God near, for there He seeks and finds us and reveals Himself to us.     

Pastor Bob

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Faith Lutheran Church • 123 Park Lane • Moorpark, CA 93021 • (805) 532 1049 • Send Email