Friday, May 15, 2020

Seeing Jesus as our True Role Model

Today we continue our study on the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ and His revelation from a heavenly perspective found in chapter one of Revelation. If we look at our own lives, who do you look up to? A role model, family member, someone you want to become more like. For most believers, that should be Jesus over anyone else. He is our preeminent focus in life.

Proverbs 30:4 ~ "Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name and the name of his son? Tell me if you know!" (NIV).

It's Jesus, and we all need to know Him like that, intimately! We must know Him like that. Going back to Revelation 1:5, "and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood," (NIV).

We learned in our last study all about the faithfulness of God and Jesus being the witness of that faithfulness through His persistent and perfect obedience to God's will.

Looking at the specifics of what "firstborn from the dead" means, is that Jesus was the first one created before all others and died to be resurrected to never die again. He is the first one to die, be resurrected and will never die again. That is the very reason for Jesus being glorified or begotten meaning He will never see the grave again. People might ask you what proof do you have of this?

The answer is simple, an empty tomb in Jerusalem. The entire Roman empire was present, Jesus's disciples were witnesses of His resurrection again. The book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus died once and for all, never to die again. He is forever and forever faithful.

Romans 8:29 ~ "For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers." (NIV). 

The third thing we pick up in verse 5 is the dominion of Jesus. "ruler of the kings of the earth." (NIV). 

This means the Supreme One, the one who presides over the governments of the world. He is coming back and He will set up his rule and reign of a 1000 years or millennium on earth.

1 Timothy 6:14-15 ~ "to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time - God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, " (NIV).

We learn about King Nebuchadnezzar who was the king of Iraq who later instructs the entire people in the land to worship the God of Daniel, that he made a mistake on whom the people should worship. Imagine that today, of the leader of Iraq said, "Wait, I made a mistake, we shouldn't be worshiping Allah but Yahweh. He is the one true God." Well that is just what had happened in Daniel's day.

The other point to understand in Revelation 1:5 is the love of Jesus for us. "To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood." (NIV). 

Love is just words until it is put to the test. It's not what we here as Christians are, but what we do. It's not just saying we love someone, it's helping them when they are in need. They can then say, they have been loved. To say that someone loved us, means they did it when it counts. It's not just words. In the Greek, the word loves, is translated to "loved" not meaning that God didn't love us at one time, and now He doesn't. It simply means there was a significant event that shows us how much Jesus loved us, and that was when he went to the cross and died for us. Through His death, through the shedding of His blood, to make atonement and to restore a right relationship with us and the Father, through what He did.

When we often hear that Jesus loves us, we might brush it off as no big deal. I mean even some of our family members tell us they love us, but has any of them ever loved you so much that they died for you, in your place? Right when it counted the most in our life. When Jesus died on the cross, He had You in mind, everything you have gone through and will go through, He died for all of our sins. He didn't just talk about it, He did it. Don't let the death of Jesus on the cross become impersonal.

We are ungodly people. Every single one of us. We were all born into sin, the very day we were born. We don't even know we are sinning until we are told, through the law, or through someone telling us from right to wrong. No one had to be taught how to lie, we just knew how to do it. You might be prone to say that no one loves you in this world, because God quite clearly does.

The final point to take away from verse five is the forgiveness of God, "and has freed us from our sins by his blood." (NIV). 

Note the words "has freed us from our sins by his blood." There is no greater promise than this in our entire life. If you add any more to that, you insult the power and grace of God. It's not about being faithful in his commands, because if we break one of them, we break them all. The only way we can get to heaven, is through the forgiveness of our sins by Jesus' blood. It's not about what we do outside of asking Jesus into our life and accepting what He did in that moment. Jesus died for the sins of the whole world.

When you think about the two men on the cross on either side of Jesus, one went to heaven, the other went to hell and Jesus was what separated the two. Don't ever let anyone convince you that God sends people to hell. They make that personal choice on their own to either accept Jesus or to reject him. There is eternal consequences in both.

The final consideration is Jesus' reward, picking up in verse 6, "and has made us to be a kingdom of and priests to serve his God and Father" (NIV). 

Once again it is in the past tense, "he has made us a kingdom and priests" meaning we are in a kingdom of kings and priests, we will rule and reign with Him. We will be learning a lot of great things, we don't know how it will work but that is to come as God works out all the details. Now in regards to "priests" if we look at Revelation 5:9-10 ~ ", And they sang a new song" "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God and they will reign on the earth." (NIV).

The part of the priests is a mind blower. When it talks about priests, it means our witness to the world and people around us. We have the opportunity to take the peace, love and grace of God, wherever you go. Just like the priests carried the ARK wherever they went, it was taken by the feet of the priests, the judgment, the power, the glory, the mercy, but those who took the presence of God, the ARK into the world. How will people know the love of God outside of the church or the Bible? It is through the witness we have on the way we impact the people we come into contact with us. We are the witness, to carry with us, forgiveness, compassion, love, gratefulness, and thankful to those who need to see Jesus in our own lives.

They will only see Jesus, by us taking it to them, through how we live our lives. Can people watch us in our daily lives and see if we are different from those in the world? Is our life that black and white for God? Can people see our spiritual growth in our life or are we simply just being religious people? We want to make sure it's not about us, our doing, and instead let it be the glory of the Holy Spirit working in us.

Then John gives the ultimate acknowledgment of Jesus in his life, when we see " to him be the glory and power for ever and ever! Amen." John is super excited to know just who Jesus is through His revelation, John is simply exploding with praise for who He is.

Monday we will continue on in our study of Revelation picking up in Chapter 1, verse 7 when we learn about the second coming of Jesus Christ! You won't want to miss this one.

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