Saturday, March 31, 2018

What He Did!

What He Did!

In last week’s devotion ‘What More Should He Have Done?’, we saw how Jesus accepted the hopeful shouts of ‘Save us!’ from the crowd as He rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, all the while anticipating the hateful shouts of ‘Crucify Him!’ from the very same crowd that would be erupting just five days later when He would be standing before Pilate on Good Friday. Although completely sinless, He endured a criminal’s death by crucifixion to make a way for sinful man to be reconciled to God. The perfectly innocent died for the totally depraved!

But remember, last week we also saw that, prior to His death, Jesus clearly told His disciples that He would be killed and then rise again the third day (see also Matthew 16:21, 20:17-19). 
  • Matthew 17:22-23 Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, 23 and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up.” And they were exceedingly sorrowful. 

The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is a historical fact. Many people want to dispute this fact. However, an unprejudiced academic review of the historical evidence supporting this fact rejects all biased claims to the contrary. The Apostle Paul concisely presents his evidence to this fact in his first letter to the Corinthian church. As part of his case, he references the actual events, the prophesies about these events from the Old Testament ‘Scriptures’, and the eyewitness accounts regarding these events.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.

So powerful was Paul’s personal encounter with the risen Lord as he traveled to Damascus to continue his persecution of Christians (see Acts 9:1-9), that afterwards, Paul became the greatest evangelist for Christ during the early years of the church.

But why is the resurrection of Jesus so important to Christians? Why is Easter Sunday the most holy day of the year for the Church? After all, Jesus had already died as a once for all time sin offering to God for the sins of the world (propitiation – ‘appeasement’: Jesus’ death is the means by which Father God’s demand of payment for the sins of the world was satisfied).
  • 1 John 2:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
    • Important Note – God desires that every person in the world be reconciled to Him (see Ezekiel 33:11, 2 Peter 3:9). However, the payment Jesus made for your sins is only applied when you, through an act of your will, genuinely trust and respond to the good news about Jesus and surrender all of your life to the His Lordship (see John 14:6). This is salvation by grace through faith (see Ephesians 2:8-9).

Jesus’ resurrection from the dead proved that:

- He is who He claimed to be (God)!
- That all of His promises are true.
- That the ultimate enemy, death, has been defeated.
- That there is a bodily resurrection from the dead.
- That those who trust Him as Savior will experience eternal life in Heaven.
  • John 10:27-30 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”
  • 2 Timothy 1:9-10 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 10 but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,
  • 1 Timothy 1:14-16 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.
  • 1 Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Easter is a remembrance, acknowledgment and celebration of Jesus and what He did.
  • He humbled Himself and stepped out of eternity to come to earth, as fully man and fully God, to live a sinless life, and to fulfill God’s Law!
  • He subjected Himself to humiliation, torture and death to pay our sin debt to God!
  • He rose from the dead to leave no doubt of who He is and what He has done!
  • He appeared to many as the resurrected Lord to factually establish, for all time, that His Deity and the resurrection of the dead are real!

There is so much more He did!
There is so much more He is doing now!
There is so much more He will do in the future!

He does it all as God!
He does it all in love!
He does it all for you!

Have you responded to His love in saving faith? If yes, hallelujah! If no, what better time than right now?


Father, Your love and truth challenges us: for those who follow Jesus, to live a life that honors You; for those who have not received the gift of eternal life through faith in Christ, to make a decision about You. Please do what needs to be done for Your name to be lifted high and for the lost to be reconciled to You. I pray for Your will to be done in all things. I pray in the name of Christ Jesus my Lord. Amen.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

What More Should He Have Done?

What More Should He Have Done?

The end was near. Knowing His humiliating death by crucifixion was coming on Friday, Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem on Sunday.

On Palm Sunday, with their very words echoing the Messianic prophecy of Psalm 118 (vs 25-26), the multitudes lined the road to Jerusalem. They laid down palm branches and their coats on the road before Him as they cried out, begging Him to save them.
  • Matthew 21:9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:

“Hosanna to the Son of David!
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Hosanna in the highest!”

Then, on Good Friday, as pawns to the corrupt religious leaders, and as slaves to a distorted version of the Law given by Moses, the very same multitudes who acknowledged Jesus as Messiah just five days before, now chose to have a murderer released instead of Him. Now the cry was for Him to be nailed to a Roman cross.
  • Matthew 27:22 Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said to him,

“Let Him be crucified!”

But why the drastic change? Why would the cheering crowd turn into an angry mob so quickly?

The fact of the matter is, Jesus came to die. His death was, and is, the payment for the sins of the world. And that payment is made in full for any person who surrenders all that they are to Jesus and trust Him as Lord and Savior. And just as with so many other aspects of His life, the truth about Him was plainly declared for those who were (and are) listening.

Jesus’ Birth Declared by Angels
The time for Emmanuel (‘God with us’) had finally come. The long-awaited prophecy of the Hebrew Savior King was being fulfilled. Father God sent heavenly messengers to proclaim Jesus’ birth.
  • Luke 1:31 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.
  • Luke 2:10-11 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Jesus’ Father Declared His Pleasure in Him
The voice of God thundered His approval of Jesus’ humility and obedience. The perfect plan for the redemption of man was now unfolding.
  • Matthew 3:16-17 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
  • Matthew 17:4-5 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”

Jesus’ Identity Declared by His Words
Far from being illusive or vague, Jesus plainly stated who He was and why He had come. Using language every Jew would recognize, Jesus stated that He existed before Abraham and even called Himself Jehovah (‘I AM’, the most sacred name of the Sovereign LORD).
  • John 4:25-26 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”
  • John 8:57-58 Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

Jesus’ Deity Declared by His Miracles
Jesus’ genuine miracles drew gigantic crowds – many needed healing and many wanted to see the miracles. In private and in public He performed countless miracles. He did this out of love. He performed miracles to help the hurting and to openly profess who He was (the very human incarnation of the One and only eternal God).
  • Luke 6:17-19 And He came down with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases, 18 as well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed. 19 And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all.
  • John 20:30-31 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

Jesus’s Death Declared to His Disciples
Three times Jesus plainly told His disciples that He would be killed and then rise from the dead. His death was part of the plan – God’s plan from eternity past to make a way for sinful man to reconciled to Him. The very sins that led to Him being killed on a cross were among the countless sins of humanity that He gave His life for.
  • Matthew 16:21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.
  • Matthew 17:22-23 Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, 23 and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up.” And they were exceedingly sorrowful.
  • Matthew 20:17-19 Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them, 18 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, 19 and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.”

Jesus’ Humility and Love Declared by His Crucifixion
Jesus willingly went to the cross for you and for me.
  • Philippians 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
  • Hebrews 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

What more should He have done? Nothing. Jesus gave it all! And He gave it all to pay for our sins.

Palm Sunday – Triumphal Entry 

Good Friday – Redeeming Death 

Silent Saturday – Desperate Disciples

But hold on, Easter Sunday is coming. And He did do more!! Much more!!


Father God, thank You for Jesus. Thank You for loving us all so much that You sent Your Son to die for our sins. I pray that Your love and truth will change hearts and save souls. I pray this in Christ’s holy name. Amen.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Now That We Are Forgiven

Now That We Are Forgiven

Last week’s devotion, entitled ‘While We Were Still Sinners’, considered three different responses to a genuine encounter with God. We also marveled at the amazing love that God has for mankind. This week we look at three realities in the life of someone who has been reconciled to God through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. I recommend reading/reviewing last week’s devotion before proceeding with this one.

When a person genuinely responds to God’s good news about the forgiveness, hope and love found only through faith in Jesus, several immediate, remarkable and lifechanging realities change that person’s life for all eternity. Three important examples of these changes include being:

Adopted into God’s Family
All people are part of God’s creation (a very special part – made in His image (Genesis 1:27)). However, only those having been justified before God through faith in Jesus are adopted into God’s family. To be a child of God is to be fully reconciled to Him.
  • Galatians 3:26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
Indwelled with God’s Holy Spirit
Another critical truth that separates those who have surrendered their lives to Jesus from the rest of the world is that the Holy Spirit of God lives in them. The presence of the Holy Spirit not only guarantees that we belong to God forever, but He also guides, teaches, convicts and empowers us.
  • John 14:16-17 I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
Commissioned to Live a God-honoring Life
As a child of God, with the truth of God’s Word, and with His Holy Spirit living in us, we are called to live a life that brings glory to God. We honor Him out of love, appreciation, respect and obedience, not to earn a righteous standing before Him (Christ did that for us). One of our greatest responsibilities and privileges is to share the love and truth about Jesus with others.
  • Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The reality of these (and other) changes in a person’s life as they surrender to and walk with Jesus are undeniable. These changes are one of the powerful ways we witness to the world about who we are in Christ. There are three broad categories of change that proclaim to the watching world the wonderful and ongoing transformation of a child of God.

Part of living a life that brings glory to God is to reject the ungodly ways of our flesh (our depraved human nature), the world (the global systems, powers, people and approaches that actively reject God and His truth), and Satan (the ‘adversary’, a powerful angel that rebelled against God and seeks the eternal damnation of all people in a real place called Hell). The role of the Church through Christians is not to change the world through condemnation or conflict, but to act as ambassadors for God by sharing His love and His truth.
  • Galatians 5:19-25 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Christians represent Jesus to all those who don’t know Him. But we can’t do this by living as hypocrites. Even though we stumble, we fall, and we fail along the way, God never lets us go. He is continually transforming our lives so that we become more and more like Jesus. The life of a faithful and obedient Christians is revolutionized by the power of God’s Word and the presence of God’s Spirit. The reality of this renovation is most clearly expressed in the sincere expression of love for God, for other Christians, and for everyone else (even those who hate us).
  • 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
We could literally spend eternity talking about the things believers receive from Father God (specifically those things that begin at our spiritual rebirth in this life and continuing for all time in Heaven). So, rather than attempting to be comprehensive, I have chosen to point out just a few examples of the promises He keeps to us, the passions He births in us, and the persecutions He predicts for us. We receive from Him as children. We share Him with others as servants.

Promises - Eternal Life, The Holy Spirit, Spiritual Gifts, etc.
  • 2 Peter 1:2-4 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Passions - To Know God, To Honor God, To Share the Truth About God, etc.
  • Psalm 42:1-2 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
Persecutions - For Believing in Jesus, For Following Jesus, For Sharing Jesus, etc.
  • 2 Timothy 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

The Word of God, The Holy Bible, has a very clear message for all Christians:

Faith in Jesus dramatically and permanently changes
the way a person thinks, talks and lives!

  • Romans 6:20-22 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
  • Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
  • 1 Peter 4:1-2 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.

As Christians, we are Rejecters, Renovators and Receivers, and there is something we need to know about Father God. If we are truly His children, He will never let us go. We can’t lose the very special gift of salvation in Christ. Righteousness before God through Jesus is an eternal reality known as the assurance of the believer.
  • John 10:27-29 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.
  • Ephesians 1:13-14 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
  • Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
  • Jude 1:24-25 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.

The Sovereign Lord of the universe has declared you righteous, indwelled you, empowered you, and so much more. He didn’t do this because of any good works, sacrifice, learning, or anything else you could do to earn his favor. He did this because He loves you and because you trusted Christ as your Savior. Let your life show that you love Him! Live as Christ did – loving, ministering (serving), forgiving, sacrificing. Do all things for God’s glory.
  • 1 Peter 4:7-11 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. 8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” 9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.


Father, may Your Word and Spirit guide, instruct, change, empower and convict those who have believed on Jesus. I pray that Your children represent You well in this world by loving and serving others well. Help us to show and share the truth about Jesus and what He has done for us. Draw many new believers to Yourself. I pray that what You desire in all things will be accomplished. I praise You and pray to You in the name above every name, Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

While We Were Still Sinners

While We Were Still Sinners

When a genuine encounter with God opens the heart and mind of a person to the realities of who He is, that person begins to see themselves for who they really are – a sinner in need of a Savior. This revelation from the Holy Spirit of God can lead to several responses.

Fear, doubt, selfishness, greed, ego, perversion, hardheartedness, etc. (all based in pride) lead to the rejection of the truth about God. Rejecting God is the natural response of depraved man and leaves him in an unreconciled relationship with God. If not dealt with, rejection of God ultimately leads to eternal separation from Him in Hell.
  • Romans 1:18-19 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.
When the truth about God is misunderstood or misapplied, and someone believes that they can earn God’s favor and forgiveness, they begin to renovate their lives. Many people, many religions, literally work themselves to death for something that can only be obtained by grace (which is unmerited favor). The forgiveness and favor of God is only found through faith in Christ.
  • Romans 4:4-5 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. 5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,
When the truth about God is received in humility, and the good news about salvation in Jesus Christ is believed, God performs a supernatural work of reconciliation that results in eternal life for those who surrender all they are to Jesus. Those reconciled with Father God in and through Jesus spend eternity in Heaven with God.
  • Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

The Word of God, The Holy Bible, has a very clear message for all of humanity:

Faith in Jesus is the only way
to peace with Father God!

  • Isaiah 53:5-6 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
  • John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
  • John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
  • Acts 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
  • 1 John 5:11-12 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Whether you are a Rejecter, Renovator or a Receiver, there is something you need to know about Father God. He does not want anyone to perish – He desires for all people to be reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ!
  • Ezekiel 33:11 Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’
  • 1 Timothy 2:3-4 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
  • 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

The fact of the matter is, He loves us so much, that while we were still sinners, He sent Jesus Christ (the human incarnation of God) to die for us.
  • Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

The Sovereign Lord of the universe does not require you to clean yourself up, learn the entire Bible, perform just the right number of good works, or anything else that could be equated to you earning a right standing with Him. All that He asks, the one thing He demands, is that you believe with a life-changing faith that Jesus Christ died on a Roman cross to pay the debt for your sins.
  • John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.


Father God, not much else really matters until we understand that because You love us so much, and because we desperately need a Savior, You came to earth as the fully God fully man, Jesus, lived a sinless life, died to pay our sin debt, rose from the grave, and ascended back to Heaven. Once we understand this, and you give us the faith to believe, we must decide to receive this truth. When we do, all of our sins are forgiven and you send Your Holy Spirit to live in us – we become a new creation and begin a new life as Your children. Our new lives are meant to honor You as we share Your truth and love with others and seek to obey You in all things. Father, bring these truths into many lives by the truth and power of Your Word and Your Spirit. I pray all these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Solidarity in Our Savior

Solidarity in Our Savior

While the life and experiences of every follower of Jesus are unique, there are some basic elements of a Christian’s walk with Christ that are meant to be common to all. Although far from a complete list, the ten items included below celebrate the magnificent journey believers take from darkness to light, from lies to truth, from eternal death to everlasting life. Living out our faith according to the truth of the Word of God, the power and presence of His indwelling Holy Spirit, and our dynamic relationship with a risen Savior declare that we are truly children of the sovereign Lord of the universe.
  • John 10:27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

As Christians, no matter how distinctive our individual testimonies and situations may be, the commonalities in our faith, salvation, calling, experiences and ultimate eternal destination bring us together as the body of Christ – His Church.

Every follower of Jesus should recognize the following elements of the Christian experience as something they are, have been, are called to be, ought to be, or in due course will become.

The existence and power of God are demonstrated in creation. We become conscious of God by the work of His hands (Psalm 19:1-6).
  • Romans 1:19-20 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.
    • We have all become aware of the self-evident truth that there is a God.
The good news of salvation in Jesus Christ is proclaimed in the Word of God. Many nations, tribes, peoples and tongues are exposed to the truth of the Bible (Revelation 7:9-10).
  • John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
    • We have all heard the good news about Jesus.
Only those moved by the Holy Spirit of God can be saved by the truth about our need for a Savior. Apart from the work of God’s Spirit, we can’t understand the depths of God’s truth (1 Corinthians 2:11-16).
  • John 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
    • We have all been drawn to Christ by God for salvation.
The lost sinner is redeemed from slavery to sin, delivered from eternal punishment in Hell, and is adopted as a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only way to a reconciled relationship with God (John 14:6).
  • Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
    • We have all believed, received and professed Christ as our risen Savior.
A child of God submits to the will of God – the will of God is revealed in the Word of God. After Paul’s conversion on the Road to Damascus, he humbly and immediately asked Christ what to do (Acts 9:6).
  • Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
    • We have all been called to submit to the desires, guidance, plans, and purposes of our God.
A follower of Jesus has a deep longing for the things of God. Christians hunger and thirst for God’s truth, God’s love, God’s direction, God’s righteousness. (Matthew 5:5-7).
  • Psalm 42:1 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God.
    • We have all experienced the deep yearning to know Christ better and to be more like Him.
Christians talk about Jesus – He is the most important part of our lives and we want to share the good news about Him with others. Jesus commands us to share the gospel (Matthew 28:19-20).
  • Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
    • We have all been commanded to share the good new about Jesus with others.
We know who we serve by who we obey (Do your serve God or someone/something else?). To love Jesus is to serve Him (Matthew 4:10).
  • Colossians 3:23-24 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
    • We have all been freed from slavery to our sinful nature so we can obediently serve Christ.
The closer we get to Jesus, the less we need and want from this world. For the totally committed Christian, there is nowhere else to go but Jesus (John 6:66-69).
  • Philippians 3:7-8 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
    • We have all accepted the call to put Christ above everything and everyone else in our lives.
Although our salvation is a present reality, the fullness of it will not be realized until we are in Heaven. God has prepared for us an eternal future with Him that is beyond our imagination or understanding (1 Corinthians 2:9).
  • Revelation 21:3-4 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
    • We have all embraced the truth of our promised eternal home in Heaven.

Yet even with the many commonalities of our Christian experiences and beliefs, there is tremendous diversity in the universal Church. Differences in geography, culture, resources, congregational size, spiritual gifts, maturity levels, teaching/preaching styles, musical preferences, order of service, etc. could lead to division in the body of Christ. One of the greatest challenges for the Church is to be unified despite our differences.

Paul’s writings in the New Testament make clear that the Church is called to Solidarity in our Savior.
  • Romans 15:5-6 Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, 6 that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 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. 13 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.
  • Ephesians 4:1-6 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Paul tells us clearly, ‘If salvation in Jesus Christ has made a difference in your life, there should be unity in the Church!’
  • Philippians 2:1-2 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
We are to find unity in our love for Christ and our love for one another.
  • Colossians 3:12-14 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.

Embrace the common experiences
that bring us together
as followers of Christ.

Rejoice in the shared beliefs
that bind us together
as brothers and sisters in Christ!

Display the realities of salvation
that bond us together
as the universal Church of Christ.


Savior King, thank You for all You do to bless, encourage, challenge, correct and grow Your Church. Help us to be unified in all we do. But also help us to recognize and appreciate diversity in the church, and to recognize and apply the individual gifts and abilities You have given us (as individuals and as distinct churches). Thank You for the variety of gifts, callings and opportunities you have given us to better honor and obey You. Help us to show humility and love in all things. In the name of Jesus Christ my Savior I pray. Amen.