Monday, December 26, 2011

Let's Celebrate Communion

Romans 6:13 (NKJV) 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 

Just like Passover is a celebration for the Jews, communion is a celebration for Christians. For many years, I had a wrong understanding of this wonderful celebration. I misunderstood what it means to be right with God before partaking. I believed that I had to come to the communion table confessing my sin and humbly condemning myself as a loser. Wow, that is so wrong!

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 11:29 (NKJV), "For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body." The Bible clearly says in Romans 3:10 (NKJV), "As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one;" So it is impossible for us to present ourselves righteous --except having received HIS righteousness.

Jesus gave Himself so that we could become His righteousness. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 1:30 (NKJV), "But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God--and righteousness and sanctification and redemption--."

Since God paid a huge price for us to be worthy, we need to come to the table having already received this expensive gift. We need to come to the table in a worthy manner. Come to the communion table in HIS worthiness. It is the only true worthiness that there is. The Bible tells us, "And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. Romans 6:13 (NKJV)

Let's look at these Words of Jesus in 1 Corinthians 11:24 (NKJV), "...and when He (Jesus) had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." This says that we come to the table remembering what HE has done, not what we have done. This is even repeated in the next verse (verse 25).

The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 11:28 (NKJV), "But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup." This word examine, comes from a Greek word that can also be translated as approve. Approve yourself, remembering what Jesus has done. Without the sacrifice on the cross, we could never be right before God. Thank God, He gave us Jesus.

Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV) says, "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross..." This was His Joy; that we could be worthy. So while we are on the topic of celebrations, don't forget to celebrate one to one with our Savior. The celebration of communion.


Be Blessed!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Wave your offering!

Exodus 29:26 (NKJV) 26 Then you shall take the breast of the ram of Aaron's consecration and wave it as a wave offering before the Lord; and it shall be your portion.

In the Old Testament, under the law covenant, a priest was required to go through a purification process before he could enter into the presence of God. He was anointed with special oil, dressed in priestly garments, and had to sacrifice 3 animals. (Exodus 29)

The oil is the Holy Spirit, the priestly garments are the righteousness of God, and Jesus became our sacrifice on the cross. Perhaps we will look at the oil and priestly garments on a future post but today I want to look at the 3 sacrificial offerings.

The first offering was a sin offering. The priest would lay hands on the offering thus transferring his sin onto the innocent animal and then destroy it on the altar.

The second offering was called the burnt offering. This time when the priest laid hands on the offering, the innocence of the animal was transferred onto the priest and then the animal was sacrificed.

The third offering was a consecration offering. The original Hebrew word that is translated into the English word consecration, means, fulfilling or to be set. The priest would lay hands on this animal indicating a fulfillment of requirements, and then wave the breast and the thigh of this offering up in the air.

According to Revelation 1:6, Jesus has made us to be priests (and kings). The Scripture tells us that Jesus hung on the cross for six hours. The Bible says in Mark 15:25, "Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him. Mark goes on to say, "Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour (Mark 16:33). This means that the first three hours were daylight and the last three hours were dark. According to Exodus chapter 29, offerings were to take place at morning and evening. The day and night periods on the cross indicate a morning and an evening sacrifice.

The Bible says in John 19:30, "So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit." This would be likened to the priest laying his hands on the third sacrifice, the consecration offering. The one final requirement was to wave this offering in the air.

In John 20:17 the Bible says, "Jesus said to her (Mary), "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.' " It wasn't until Jesus was raised from the dead and ascended up into heaven that this final offering was waved. This is why it is so important for us to believe that God raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 10:9).

If you ever doubt that you are good before God, remind yourself that Jesus was all the sacrifice you needed. Remind yourself often that because of it, you are always good in Gods eyes. When the Bible says, "For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight; but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that he may give to him who is good before God... (Ecclesiastes 2:26), that means wisdom, knowledge, and prosperity are yours because you are good in His sight.

So the next time you lift your hands up and praise Jesus as Lord, realize that it's not only praise and worship, it is your wave offering!
 


Be Blessed!





Monday, December 12, 2011

Celebrate!

Exodus 13:8 (NKJV) 8 And you shall tell your son in that day, saying, 'This is done because of what the Lord did for me..."

It is amazing the parallelism between Passover Celebration and Christmas. For Christmas dinner we have traditional turkey or ham and mashed potatoes, we may even complement it with wine, The Passover meal is lamb and unleavened bread that the Jews typically complement with wine. The Bible tells us in Exodus 12:3-4 (NLT), "...one animal for each household. If a family is too small to eat a whole animal, let them share with another family in the neighborhood..." We too bring together family and close friends for our Christmas meal.

Even the time of the celebration is similar. Both events are annual. The Israelis were instructed to have Passover from the 14th to the evening of the 21st. The Jewish day begins in the evening (6:00pm), so this means that it concludes at the beginning of the 8th day. Christmas season begins on the 25th and ends on New Years eve just after midnight, the beginning of the 8th day.

During the Christmas season, churches appreciate a higher than normal attendance and people are more giving than any other time of year. I suspect that Passover prompts more people to give and also brings a higher number people into the temples to worship. The whole reason to celebrate Passover was to remember how God freed the people from bondage and slavery. The reason for Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Jesus provided freedom from the bondage of sin.

Does any of this have any biblical significance? Perhaps not, but it may get you thinking about the desire God has to free His people from bondage. Once a year we have an opportunity celebrate the wonderful Gift of freedom that God has given us.

Not unlike the Passover celebration, celebrating Christmas has its advantages too. The Bible tells us in 2 Chronicles 20:22 (NKJV), "Now when they (Judah) began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir (their enemies), who had come against Judah; and they were defeated." So praise God in this wonderful season. You may even be going through a difficult time right now but take advantage of this reason to praise Jesus. Your enemies will be defeated before you (Deuteronomy 28:7).

I desire so much that you all have a wonderful Christmas,


Be blessed!


Monday, December 05, 2011

I Keep Asking...

Ephesians 1:16-17 (NLT), "...I pray for you constantly, 17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God."

Paul continuously prayed for the church to have wisdom and knowledge. These are gifts that were provided by God when you received salvation. In fact every believer that is born of the Spirit, (born again) receives wisdom, knowledge and faith from God.

Jesus was born of the Spirit, the Bible says in Matthew 1:18 (NKJV), "...she (Mary) was found with child of the Holy Spirit." When Jesus was 12 years old, long before He began His ministry, He displayed wisdom and knowledge. The Bible has this account in Luke 2:46-47 (NKJV), "Now so it was that after three days they found Him (Jesus) in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers." Down a few verses, the Bible tells us in Luke 2:52 (NKJV), "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men."

The Bible also says in Ecclesiastes 2:26 (NKJV), "For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight..." If you are born again, then you are good in His sight. That was the whole purpose of the cross. The Bible goes on to say in Romans 12:3 (NKJV), "...God has dealt to each one a measure of faith."

But if you don't know how to take advantage of it, you will not benefit from it. If somebody gives you five million dollars and puts it in a bank account, it doesn't do you any good until you spend it. To spend it, you need to know how to get it first.

The Bible says in James 1:5 (NKJV), "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him." One way to take advantage of these gifts is to ask for them. If you want powerful wisdom, knowledge and faith, pray for it, read the Word of God and expect it. James said to ask for it expecting it (James 1:6). There is also another way to get it. After discussing the Scriptures with the religious teachers of the time, Jesus increased in Wisdom. One more way of taking advantage of these gifts is to spend time in the Word of  God.

In Exodus 27:20 (NKJV) we read, "And you (the priests) shall command the children of Israel that they bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to cause the lamp to burn continually." The priests of the Old Testament were to collect oil continually. We know that the lamps were only lit between evening and morning so there should be a comma after the word burn (Exodus 27:21, Leviticus 24:3). When Jesus was crucified, we became priests and kings (Revelation 1:5,6). As a priest, you need to collect oil continually. The oil is the power of God. The Bible reveals this in Isaiah 10:27 (NKJV), "...the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil."

So it doesn't matter what challenge you face, God has given you the tools to overcome it. Pray for wisdom, knowledge and faith; study the Word of God and collect your oil - continually.

Be Blessed!