Biblegateway Verse of the Day

The Purpose of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

By Benjamin H. Liles

          Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. ~ Proverbs 27:5-6, New King James

          I have a huge problem with my weight. It does me no good. It pulls on my back causing me pain. Likewise, there is a story that illustrates this same thing. Two guys are really good friends. "Charles complained to his friend about lower back pain. He was seeking a sympathetic ear, but what he got was an honest assessment. His friend told him, 'I don't think your back pain is your problem; it's your stomach. Your stomach is so big it's pulling on your back.'" (Dec. 10 devotional from Our Daily Bread). At least I know why I have back pain and am doing something about it, just as Charles did. 

          Friend, how would you like not hearing the truth about life? Would you truly enjoy someone just giving you a sympathetic ear rather than hearing a word of truth? The sins you have in your life not only separate you from having fellowship with God. They are destroying you. Even then, when God judges all things, He will also have to judge you for remaining in those sins. What has been done against God will be revealed in the end. God's laws show how we have all fallen from Him. Let's see how.

1. I am the Lord your God, which has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall not have any other gods before me (ie. money, sex, rock n' roll, fame, etc.).
2. You shall not make for yourselves any graven image [idol worship].
3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain [ie. use His name as a curse, or even in swearing against othes].
4. Remember the sabbath [seventh, Saturday] day, to keep it holy.
5. Honor your father and your mother.
6. You shall not kill. Jesus the Messiah added on that hating another is the same as murder (see Matthew 5:21-23).
7. You shall not commit adultery. Jesus the Messiah also said of adultery that looking on another person in lust is adultery (see Matthew 5:27-28). Even being found in the act of sleeping with your neighbor's spouse was met with terrible consequences; both people were stoned to death for this offense. Today, it is grounds for divorce in the modern world, especially in the west.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not bear false witness against [tell a lie] your neighbor.
10. You shall not covet [envy] after the things that belong to your neighbor; not his wife, servant (male or female), ox or donkey. 

          James is recorded as saying, "But each one is tempted when by his own evil desires he is lured away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death" (James 1:14-15). It is also written, "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander" (Matthew 15:19).Telling lies about others, and this includes slander--both libel (written defamatory statement) and actual slander (spoken statements)--are often punishable in court (in the western world, where in other parts of the world they still practice stoning for the offense).

          We have all, including myself, broken God's commands. Where the first four commands are specifically designed to be about our relationship with God, the Father, the last six are designed to be about our relationship with others. There is a reason Jesus summarized the words of the Law and of the prophets: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 22:37-40). 

          There is a reason Jesus came when He did. Even though Jesus' history is the start of a new period in history, He actually lived at the end of the Old Testament period. This isn't earth-shattering, but it might as well be. Think on this a moment. Numerous prophets in the Old Testament not only told of a Messiah who would come and conquer the world but also told of a suffering servant who would die on our behalf (Isaiah quickly comes to mind). But look also at the Levitical laws, in the book of Leviticus. Passages that say, "And an unblemished lamb, without defect or spot, will be slaughtered for the sins of the people" (my paraphrase, Exodus 12:5). 

          It is this reason Jesus, before He was crucified, died, was buried and rose from the tomb, said, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them For I tell you truly, until heaven and earth pass away, not a single jot, not a stroke of a pen, will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished" (Matthew 5:17-18, Berean Study). In regards to the timeline of history, the life of the Church, Jesus the Messiah's Church, is the beginning point of the New Testament. 

          Remember the healing Jesus did on behalf of the people? He wasn't just taking their diseases, their afflictions from them. Those "sins" had to go somewhere. While Jesus was certainly without sin--blemish or spot--He took upon Himself our pains, our afflictions, our diseases, and all so we can boldly come before God the Father in mercy and grace. Jesus said this, "And whoever sees Me sees the One who sent Me" (John 12:45, Berean Study). It is why John later penned, "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate before the Father--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One" (1 John 2:1, Berean Study).

          What is the mark of the New Testament period then? When you read in Acts, "And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them" (Acts 2:2-3, New American Standard). Why is this so needed? How can the Spirit of God upon men be the evidence of Jesus' power among the world as evidence of His Church? 

          Jesus said two things: "When the Counselor comes, the One I will send to you from the Father--the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father--He will testify about Me" (John 15:26, Holman Christian Standard). The second is, "But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost has come upon you: and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8, American King James). Without the Spirit of God on us, working out our salvation from beginning to end, to encourage, empower, and edify (build up) the Church we are without Him and His help. The Spirit of God as well as Jesus' Church is a physical manifestation of Jesus' kingdom still being present in this world.

          If I only kept this blog up, without His grace and power, then I'd be the one to get the glory for your salvation. But I can't claim any of it. Why? I'm not Jesus. My name is Benjamin Liles. I'm a teacher of His grace and mercy. I still sin, but I can go boldly before Him, telling Him how I fall short. He forgives me because when I sin it's not done with intention to hurt or cause Him pain. Rather, I hate sin. I glorify and praise Him when His truth, when His mercy and grace are given, which He did at the cross are present. Jesus the Messiah is alive! He can and will take your sin, setting you free from sin and death, giving you access to Him, His love, and His presence. 

          I much rather explain to you the full reason why you hurt. It's not so much what you have done (in a way yes), but the lies this world and present world system want you to see and believe. Allow the gospel of love and truth set you free. Allow for the fact that is breaking your back to be cut off. Be free from sin and death. You don't want eternal separation from God, Jesus, or His Spirit. Stand with me and declare His goodness! Come before the throne of grace, the cross, and lay it all down. Allow Jesus to be King of your life. Allow Him the right to live within you. To love God. To love others as He has loved you. 

          Father, You are so holy and pure. I cannot stand before You without falling face down in Your presence and worship You for all You have done for me. Protect those in this world who are persecuted for Your name sake. Help those who so desperately need You. Be their ever present help in this time of need. We are like this planet, groaning and awaiting Your glorious return. Without You coming back, no flesh can be saved. Help us endure until You return. Help us to keep holding on until Your final word has been fulfilled. Thank You, Jesus, for dying on my behalf. Thank You for Your wondrous love for me. I pray and seek You in all things. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

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