Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Intimacy With Christ- Getting to know Jesus

Matthew 4:17

From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” 

Intimacy With Jesus Christ means ultimately getting with His program. And- getting with His program was ultimately getting with God’s program- 

1 Peter 1:21 

Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory. 

(Here Peter wants his Jewish friends to know that by putting their faith in Jesus Christ they had not strayed from a faith in God. Putting their faith in Jesus Christ was God’s program.) 

Being like Jesus means that in some sense the believer is “on the move”– in this verse Jesus– after having been baptized and having gone into the wilderness– he went immediately into motion regarding His calling in Life. Jesus didn’t find a nice big chair to sit on with servants fanning him because of the “great things/teaching” coming out of His mouth with multitudes coming just to hear His wisdom. No. He didn’t immediately come out of the wilderness to seek the top leaders in town to find some kind of position with their organization because He was so smart, knew the scriptures so well, and could string them together like a pearl necklace- giving the sense of “great authority.” He sought not his own comforts– rather God’s path.  

Jesus– basically headed on the move into the towns and villages as a servant-man. A preacher. Not a castle builder. A preacher. Not a- take advantage of the land deals. A preacher. Not an arm-chair theologian just picking people to pieces. No– a preacher for the people. You see– for us being on the move involves the left of us and the right of us– to be disciples, intimate with Jesus, and his true followers– we latch onto the plow of “faith working through love” and simply use what measure of light or talents God has given to us to move straight forward– just like Jesus. Elisha—after being told not to follow Elijah several times- had gotten rid of his farm equipment just to “follow.” He moved like Jesus– straight forward in God’s Kingdom work. 

It’s interesting– the Lord Jesus didn’t walk into town with politically correct words, with a smooth and easy way to be “spiritual” or having a “beautiful” religion that didn’t cut across anyone’s character. He used the word “Repent.” The same word John the Baptist had lost his head over on the chopping block. Jesus was not afraid. As He went straight forward in His mission to preach He didn’t seek to please or tickle his audience’s ears. To be Intimate With Jesus Christ we can’t find ourselves getting caught on a nail on the fence post. Rather, we too must be resolute in whatever we do to the glory of God if that’s what God has called us to or if that’s what “faith working through love” means to Him. We’re just not hear to please everybody and the minute we become “friends” with that kind of thinking we’re out of Sync with the Father, Son, and the Spirit of God. Jesus was ultimately- by starting his “negative” message of letting go of what God hates- letting them know that that comes prior to turning to God. To consciously sin and then to remain in that and “come to God” in some sense is not to have come to Him at all since God is light and in Him is no darkness. Jesus preaching was getting the folk in a “heart” attitude of cleaning things up and as part of that– turning their lives over to or back to God. You see— it had been some 400 or more years of Israel not having any prophetic book written since the last book– “Malachi.” So, things needed to be mopped up a bit and God had Jesus and before him John the Baptist do the mopping through the preaching. Here we see to be Intimate With Jesus Christ we must be willing to hold a mop. 

These days I hear the word “kingdom” off and on and off and on. To a lesser degree than a greater. But, here- Jesus was preaching sermons on the Kingdom of God which was now after several hundred years of kinda not hearing from God through prophets (God took that long to perfectly set the stage of the nations for Jesus Christ to come and be crucified and rise again.) You see folk—- it’s about a Kingdom– God’s. He’s not at this moment just snuffing out all things that have nothing to do with that Kingdom– rather—He’s using the foolishness of preaching to establish the Kingdom of Jesus Christ on earth. Though we may see pockets of His Kingdom here and there– it is actually universal– but, not brought to a head as it will be at what’s called the “Great Judgment.” So, finding out what it is to have Jesus over us as King, to be in Sync with God’s very own Kingdom coming down to earth— means that we must stay close to the Lord Jesus so that we can be about Kingdom work with and by Him in all we do whether it’s welding to God’s glory or as a blind person writing poems or songs to His glory- doing Kingdom work.

When Jesus is speaking about the Kingdom being near me thinx He has in mind several events that kinda really “kick-off” the Kingdom like His cross, resurrection, the Holy Spirit coming with Power onto His church/people, and His appearances to many as alive from the dead, and finally His ascension into Heaven so that once again there’s a relationship as it was between Heaven and earth and that is “Heaven coming down.” In the verse below it kinda summarizes something that the people Jesus was preaching to may have already known as many of them had scripture memorized. So, the concept of God being “near” meant moving into a place of humbly bowing- finding Him while He’s offering to be found. Intimacy With Jesus means that our life in some way emanates the urgency of the need for those around us to “draw near to Him” – even now.

Isaiah 55:6

Seek the Lord while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. 

Father God, I pray that we’d be more like Jesus in that we look not to the left nor to the right and take up whatever it is You have set before us whether in our eyes small or great. The Lord Jesus took up preaching and we have been given gifts, talents and abilities to take up the cause of “faith working through love.” So, Lord– help us to continue seeking “The Kingdom of God”/”Intimacy With Jesus” as Jesus sought You Father and taught You. Help us to show discernment of what our audience needs to see or hear as they needed to hear the words “Repent” in this passage (Change your heart about the direction it is going away from God perhaps in many ways.). They needed to hear that You had put Yourself in their path or way just as Jesus Christ has been put in our path or way that we might turn to Him. Father, help us every day to turn to You. Lord God, with You as King over man again through Jesus Christ– help us to understand what kind of King you are. You are a King of Mercy, Love, Compassion, Grace, Forgiveness, Hating anything that violates Love- for You- and Love for our fellowman, Beautiful, All everything in the sense of knowing, power, seeing, and being. Let us through reading this verse become a little more like Jesus and so, more Intimate With Christ. AMEN. 

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