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Joy From the Unseen Jesus

“…Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith–the salvation of your souls.” -1 Peter 1:8-9

Hey, who stole your joy? Millions of Christians are moping around in defeat and discouragement when they could be living a life filled with joy. How? By believing in Jesus Christ. There is an initial faith that completes our side of the salvation transaction, but there is also a living kind of faith that brings to us the fullness of joy that is available in Christ.

Notice Peter says that the joy which should accompany the Christian life is an inexpressible joy – it can’t be described in human terminology! The word “glory” is almost always used to refer to that which belongs to the eternal, heavenly realm. It describes the clothing of the holiness of God, the resurrected state of Jesus, of the saints some day, and of the new heaven and earth to come. Yet we may enjoy a perpetually growing chunk of that glory today!!

The product of our faith is the salvation of our souls. That is, our souls (the psyche, the personality) have been redeemed, changed forever, and secured for eternity because of what Jesus did on the cross and our belief in His payment for our sins.

Would you describe your life as full of joy? full of glory? What’s the antidote to a joyless life? Just believe in Jesus. This is not a mere emotional experience, rather it is a volitional placing of our trust in Jesus moment-by-moment. If your life has been robbed of joy, bow and pray right now, “Lord Jesus, I believe in You right now, and I want to live out my faith and experience the fullness of joy You offer and experience an increasing measure of Your glory here and now.”

Loving Without Seeing

“whom having not seen ye love…” -1 Peter 1:8

Isn’t this the epitome of living the Christian life? Most of the time, we define our Christian life in one of two ways. Either we define our faith by our rituals (worship, prayer, quiet time, etc.) or we define it by our restrictions (all of our many rules). Peter defines it as loving the One whom we have not yet seen.

Loving Jesus is always demonstrated by obedience regardless of our feelings, so the ultimate expression of love is a life of holiness. Loving without seeing is the primary expression of our faith, which is not only the medium of our salvation, but the principle by which we life life on a daily basis.

Do you love Jesus? The truth is, you only love Jesus when you are obedient to His will and His commandments. But the bigger question may be, do you define your life by your love for Jesus? You may say “no” to sin because it’s on your list of restrictions. You may say “yes” to religious rituals because they are part of your forte of faith. What if instead, we said “no” to sin because we love Jesus and “yes” to the practice of our faith because we love Jesus?

It’s very difficult to cross this bridge to living by the motivation of loving Jesus. Why? Because we can see our rituals, we can see the world around us and whether we are living a holy life or not. But we cannot see Jesus yet. However, we can love Him and experience Him on a daily basis. Have you experienced Him today? Why not begin by saying, “Jesus, though I can’t see you, I’m going to love you with all of my heart today…”

Run for Cover

“The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy?” -Amos 3:8

I was sitting out on my back deck recently working on a message late at night when I heard a strange noise from the woods that surround our home. It was the sound of the crunching of leaves under the heavy tromping of some kind of large animal. Then, I heard a huff of breath. I assume the animal was a deer, which would pose no particularly serious threat, but since the night was pitch black and I could not see my potential attacker’s identity, I closed the laptop and headed in for the night.

It’s natural for us to become a little alarmed when we hear animal noises around us. We take heed, we size up the situation, measure our danger, and take cover if necessary. Amos, the farmer, was a practical man. His message was one of simple wisdom: If you heard a lion roar, you’d react with alarm and fear right? Well, God has spoken, why don’t you react by fearing Him and repeating His warning to others?

It seems so simple. God has given us His instruction book for living life to the full. But in our day when discernment is dead, we live by shallow emotionalism more than by the meaty doctrine of the Word of God. God has spoken, have you taken heed? God has revealed everything you need to know about Himself and His will in the medium of His Word. Have you searched it out?

The MUST of Missions

“And the gospel must first be published among all nations.” -Mark 13:10

Did you know that eight out of every ten dollars held by Christians in the world is held by Christians in America? Did you also know that the average American gives less than two percent of his income to missions? A great fear of mine is that Jesus will come and we (American Christians in general) will be sitting on all of the money He intended to be used for missions.

The statement by Jesus referenced above was in connection with Jesus’ “Olivet Discourse” in which He was explaining the end of the world to the twelve. According to at least some good scholars, Jesus is saying that He won’t be returning until the gospel has been proclaimed everywhere that He wants it to be. His message must fill the earth. But don’t be mistaken. God is not binding Himself to a particular sign that requires technical fulfillment before He can come again. No, this sign seeks fulfillment before He will come again.

So the “must” of this verse was not meant for our superstitious predictive purposes as in, “Hey, I think the time will be soon because…” Instead it is meant to express the heart of God. Jesus proclaimed, “I’m not coming until the task is complete.” Do you know how I know our task of telling the gospel is not complete? Jesus isn’t here yet! So let’s keep telling. Let’s hasten the day of the Lord’s return.

Is there something you need to do to share the gospel today? Is there someone who needs to hear the message in your own circle of friends that you’re burdened for? Pray for them now. And if you’re sitting on something that the King has called for, let it go, sow your seed into the greatest cause of all – world missions!

His Cleansing Blood

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” -1 John 1:7

God rescues us from the slime and slop and mire of our sin and washes us with the blood of His very own Son, Jesus. But that’s not all. Our continued fellowship with the Father means for us that Jesus’ blood keeps on cleansing us over a lifetime. “If we walk in the light… the blood of Jesus continually cleanses us…” It’s a word that indicates an action repeated again and again.

We don’t have to worry that an unnoticed sin will strike our names from the Lamb’s Book of Life, we simply give ourselves to Him in daily fellowship and He handles the filth of our fallenness. He cleanses, washes, and purifies us through His continued fellowship in our lives. The grit and grime of the world is removed in the flow of His precious blood.

This wonderful truth is no excuse for continuing disobedience, but rather is the greatest motivation for a pure and holy life. If He has made us clean, and if He continually makes us clean through His blood, then we are free from filth. We can be clean forevermore! There’s no reason to return to the pig stye after finding ourselves wrapped in the Father’s forgiving arms. Now we can dwell in the ultimate cleanliness of our Father’s house for all eternity!