Lesson 6 -- third quarter 2008
July 6, 2008
© Copyright 2008
It came from His heart. The people were accustomed to teaching that came only from the head from teachers whose hearts too clearly were out of sync with the God whose message they pretended to bear. But Jesus believed and lived what He taught.
It went to their hearts. The people were accustomed to teaching that at most appealed to their intellects, coming from teachers whose primary (sole?) interest was external conformity. But Jesus spoke to and cared about the real heart needs of the hearers.
The teaching of Jesus wasn't show and showmanship. The teaching of Jesus was "as cold waters to a thirsty soul" because it was "good news from a far country" (Proverbs 25:25).
The scribes spoke unconvincingly of the will of God. When Jesus taught, though, people were astonished and amazed at the authority and power they saw. What made the difference? "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me" (John 4:34). "I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will" (John 6:38). "Father . . . not my will, but thine, be done" (Luke 22:42). Those who submit themselves to the message they present will present that message convincingly, with authority and power.
Jesus taught with authority because He believed and lived what He taught. And He taught with authority because He was under authority. Christians today can also teach with authority for the very same reasons!
How are you doing in these areas?
Surely most Christians would like to do something for God, preferably something of significance and worth. We want to produce good results for the kingdom and glory of God. We want to bear worthwhile fruit. Can you identify with such desires? Then here is some welcome news: God desires that for you as well! I must also tell you, though, that before God can use us effectively we need to accept His preparations in our lives.
One way He prepares us is through submission. God graciously gives us plenty of opportunities to submit to the authority and wishes of others. He does this because servants are no good if they can't or won't honor the desires and commands of those who are over them. Even the Lord Jesus spent the majority of His earthly life in apparent obscurity, learning submission and exercising Himself in it. So if you wish to be a useful servant of God, learn to respond properly to authority. Live a life of obedience, submission, and cooperation. Do your best to please those under whose authority you live: parents, teachers, ministers, employers, police, and other civil authorities.
Another way God prepares us to serve Him is through testing. He has numerous testing methods. He tests us to teach us, to strengthen us, to mature us, to prove us, and to encourage us. Again we should note that even Jesus Christ went through testings of various sorts. In accepting and passing the tests, Jesus proved that humans who rely on God can achieve victory in this life. So if you wish to be a useful servant of God, get ready for those tests! Know and live by the Scriptures. Resist the devil. Deny the sinful desires of your flesh. Learn from your own experiences as well as those of others.
Do you still want to do something for God, something of worth and significance? Good! So do I. Let's accept the preludes to and preparations for service that God has established for His servants.
People all around wish that the country's government would operate by Christian principles and accomplish Godly purposes. It seems that when they think of Christ's increasing government, they think of His increasing role in human government. If only they could grasp the fact that such principles and purposes are not meant for governmental departments and bureaucracies. If only they would quit their political and civic actions aimed at Christianizing government, and instead direct their considerable efforts and energies toward taking the Gospel to individuals. Christ came to save sinners, not governments. The Holy Spirit is given to the saints, not to government agencies. Why can't so many people see that?!
Indeed. And what about the rulership of my own heart? Jesus wishes to see "the increase of his government" (Isaiah 9:7) in my own life. He wants me more fully surrendered today than I was yesterday. Why do I so often fail to see that?!
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