‘As Jesus Is, So Are We’ / Grace Leadership Institute (GLI) February session
Facilitated by Pastor Joedy
The 3 Important Pillars of a Disciple: Prayer, The Word, and Worship
2nd Pillar: The Word
Jesus, The Word
We’ve come from recognizing the value of praying, seeing it from the perspective of God’s grace. Christ took His relationship with God the Father so seriously, and we’ve seen this through how He prayed. We didn’t look at how He prayed so we could copy what He did as an act of religion; we don’t pray like He prayed so we could get brownie points in heaven – No, the Truth is Christ already earned all the brownie points, so what’s left is for us to appreciate the relationship that we now have with God, established through Christ and His finished work. And there are few ways that are better to celebrate, than to pray.
In this Set, however, we’re led to recognize the value of the Word from the perspective of God’s grace… but contrary to seeing how Christ reads and shares the Word (although, that’s probably an article for another time), we’re led to see that Christ doesn’t just lead us to the Word… He IS the Word of God.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:1, 14
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
God is a speaking God, or, a God who speaks. He is a God of communication. We established that in prayer, we enjoy communing with God as our Father; However, we will now see that when we go to His word that He also enjoys communing with us. And we would also find out by the power of the Holy Spirit, that our God never stopped to reach out and speak to us in various ways, but it all comes from, and goes back to Christ.Yes, Christ. Christ, who is the Living Word. I keep saying that He is the Living Word that gives Life to the Words we read, and He is the Word of Life that connects the Word to our own personal Life, made secure by way of Christ and His finished work.
The Superiority of Christ as the Word – We understand that manifestations of the Word working in our lives and/or the lives of others can be seen in things from simple revelations to life-changing experiences, but this statement means that you need not look any further than Christ, for a Spirit-filled, extremely beneficial perspective of the Scripture.
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.Hebrews 1:1-3
4 Ways To Approach The Superiority of Christ
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:30-31
Here we see that we read what was written in scripture to come to the knowledge of the saving grace of God, through no other than Jesus Christ. And as it says, when we believe, we live.
Pastor Joedy says it this way: For God’s word to take effect in your life, you would do well to actually believe what is being said and what was written. The Word of God is meant to be believed, and in our believing, so the glory of God manifests – primarily by our having life in His name.
“The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”Romans 10:8-11
Around this time Pastor Joedy found it proper to talk about other ways of thinking and other perspectives that go contrary to what the Gospel proclaims, regarding the need to believe in Christ for us to be saved. Some of these folks would go as far as claiming and enforcing that the mere act of believing is counted as work, and work of self-righteousness.
We set the record straight here and now. We’ve seen in the Scripture that believing is not works – it’s not something we initiate, but something that overflows from us as we allow Christ and the Holy Spirit to work in us. Let’s not get it twisted here: We are not universalists who think everyone will be saved, nor are we ‘reformed’ and saying that we are saved whether we believe in Christ or not. But the Word says it clear as day in these verses, that we need to confess and believe; Are these works? No! Our faith has been established at the moment we came to Christ and His finished work, and by this we confess with our mouth, and believe in our heart.
These verses were flashed, and now that I’m seeing them again I’ll go ahead and respond to them according to how I think all this is flowing.
For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.
It’s in unity that we benefit from the Good News, or the Gospel that we read and discuss; however, it is by no other faith but the faith authored into us by Christ that this unity comes. We would do well to make haste and find our common ground in nothing else but Christ; the other things we find in common with ourselves will follow.
And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.
Pastor Joedy clarified that there’s a difference between unbelief and doubt. Unbelief is intentional rejection, while doubt is more of wavering. I think this is more than how some pieces of fantasy fiction portray fairies doing magnificent things because the kids believed in them so much – No, what this is telling me is that mighty works are done, and they involve unify in faith – not just between us in the body of Christ, but in recognition of our unity with Christ as well. I’m not sure I made any sense there but that’s what I think is implied here.
“He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”
Take note that He was talking to the Jews here, who already had hints of unbelief in them. Apparently, if we would just give a little consideration to the Truth of Christ being who He says He is, it’s the first step we take towards life, away from sin and death.
The main point here is that there is no way for us to see Christ apart from Scripture. When we read the Word, we see Christ; and when we see Christ, we shouldn’t be surprised if we are reminded of certain Scripture. And speaking of Scripture, here are trustworthy sayings from the Scripture: God’s word is final. God’s word is faithful. God’s word is foundation. God’s word is fully able. No wonder faith in God fully pleases Him: (6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6); Faith is solely based on Christ.
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
A loving reminder. God said: I Am (God’s nature), I Will (God’s promise), I can (God’s ability), I did (God’s power); The Word of God is to be read and believed!
(or, beholding the revealing work of the Holy Spirit)
The Holy Spirit serves to unveil or to reveal the Word of God, that we would discover the wonderful heritage we have in Christ Jesus. Always remember that: The Holy Spirit will always point to Jesus, or direct our sights towards Jesus. Now, if you don’t see Jesus, you won’t see who you are, and what you have in Him. Read Ephesians 1:16-17 : I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him.
But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.
1 Corinthians 2:9-12
For enlightenment, we’re advised to ask the Holy Spirit to help us discover and understand spiritual truth. We pray for it, as in Psalm 119:18 – Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
In our reading the Word, we should also freely ask questions. A questioning mind is truly fertile soil for learning, just as a famous teacher said.
Let’s go against traditional beliefs that would insist that children, or any other people who ask too many questions, should be quiet. I’m remembering Arrested Development, where Buster Bluth was in a school where children were neither to be seen nor heard. That’s a sure fire way to prevent people from learning. (And the system of the world, the anti-Christian mindset would want humanity stupid, and weak)
No, we don’t disrespect authority when we question what is given to us to read or to hear – The truth is, when we ask questions with love, and with the wholehearted intention of learning, we would actually respect them; and in the case of God, He is honored and glorified when we ask Him questions (from no-brainers to the hard-hitting queries), as He is willing to respond to us in love, and with His infinite wisdom.
It would help our efforts to enlightenment if we consider that when we read, we would do well to allow Scripture to interpret Scripture – that is, for verses to back up what verses speak to us. We need to go through each verse and take it in context. No one Scripture can represent the entire Word.
Pastor Oscar always reminds us that the Truth flies with two wings: “It is written”, and again, “It is written”; Find other references in the Bible to support what revelations you say to have seen from one verse. Personally, this is why I appreciate the ESV because it does have a bevy of related verses to point me to, for a good majority of statements I find in the Bible.
At around this point, Pastor Joedy seemed to have been rushing through the remaining points, but I will try to give my own insights as I comb through the Scriptures that were shared.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.2 Timothy 2:15
Rightly dividing keeps us from trouble, and reveals more of Christ. We divide/handle the Scripture in such a way that we see and present Jesus, doing the work the Holy Spirit does for us. I mean, I’m reminded of Pastor Joseph Prince’s revelations in his own discussions, particularly regarding Abraham’s servant: Just as this servant was not named in the Bible, so the Holy Spirit wants the name of Jesus Christ to be known more than His own.
If you’re asking at this point, how do we rightly divide the word of Truth? When our analysis and interpretation points to Christ and His finished work. And we could do this no matter our fingers land as we randomly flip through the Bible. By the power of the Holy Spirit we would agree with what was mentioned – Jesus Christ is concealed in the Old Testament, and revealed in the New Testament.
Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.Colossians 1:28
From this we would consider that if we want to sound wise in our teachings, and impactful in our warnings, we would do so by recognizing and consequently proclaiming how Christ has warned us and taught us first. Whenever we intentionally take time to go through the Word, we would divide it well by way of appreciating and eventually proclaim Christ as a result of our reading, and then sharing. And speaking of sharing, another way for us to approach the superiority of Christ is as follows:
4.Training In Righteousness
It’s important to train ourselves and train others, to equip ourselves and others for every good work, as it says here: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.2 Timothy 3:16-17
3 things you need to know for righteous living:
1.Know that in Jesus Christ, you are righteous.
And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to uswisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:30-31
I’m seeing from this verse that the righteousness that we receive from Christ is not apart from sanctification and redemption; And it’s in our realizing how we have been made righteous, sanctified, and redeemed, that we are exposed to and therefore infused with more of the wisdom of God. James writes in his epistle, that if anyone us desires to be wise, we should ask – and there’s nothing wrong with that. But don’t be surprised if in your asking for more wisdom, you are reminded of the righteousness, sanctification, and redemption you promptly received, the moment you first believed.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21
To know what comes with righteousness is big enough, but it’s also sobering because we’re also reminded of what comes with sin. We know that the wages of sin is death, but we see that the indications/perspectives of death are the absence of wisdom (not sure what the direct opposite of wisdom is), wickedness, defilement, and rejection.
Sobering, in the sense that (1) we see what we’ve been saved from, and (2) we see a little bit more about what Christ became, in order for us to be righteous.
2.Know that in Jesus Christ, you are equipped for righteous living.
This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”2 Peter 3:1-4
I thought I made a mistake in pulling up this set of verses, but it does give us an idea or picture of what it means to live in sin, versus the everlasting life in righteousness that we have today. We used to scoff as we were not only made sinners but scoffers – in fact, it’s looking as if it was our desire to scoff and sin.
We also see how, even when we were in sin, we couldn’t help but respond and therefore have some of our attention on the promises of God, and Christ. It’s as if to say that our living in sin and unbelief is not without an active emptiness, that could only be filled by righteousness – and righteousness that could only come from Christ.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.Titus 2:11-14
A life made righteous by Christ is one that produces self-control (just as self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit alive in us); it’s a life that is upright and godly. This life made righteous is one that is not overcome by unbelief…
…And there, right there; unbelief renders us devoid of wisdom, because we are too full of our own self-righteousness; And though we may say we are ‘full’, we aren’t necessarily as anchored – that is, we are so easily led to and fro, like a leaf easily blown from one place to another by the smallest of breezes. No, as we are righteous, we are not overcome by unbelief, but we are anchored by hope; and I dare to venture further by saying that it is by this hope that we move in wisdom – deliberate, decisive, and precise wisdom. Hope and wisdom apparently come together.
3.Know that in Jesus Christ, you are equipped for righteous/good works.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.Ephesians 2:10
When we say that we are His workmanship, we’re saying that He created us from scratch. He did not take parts of us from other places, but every part of us is original and new, and apparently, we’re assembled so lovingly, ‘for good works’. We aren’t to simply ‘do good’, but apparently, we’re to do what we do, not from mere goodness, but from a mind made new by the goodness of God.
And it looks like we weren’t just prepared to do good works, but these good works themselves were prepared. So we don’t just have a hope that serves as the basis of our wisdom, and as an anchor for our souls; we have direction – not paved with good intentions, as the saying goes, but established in good works, that have been set before us even before we had the concept of good and righteousness in our minds.
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;Colossians 1:9-10
What was involved in our being prepared to do good works? Taking one step back, we see that it is wisdom and understanding we are to be filled with before the good works overflow… and taking another step back, we see that this said wisdom and knowledge, and the consequent hope has its link with us knowing His will… And how could we know His will, beyond the involvement of wisdom, knowledge and hope? Well, if you take a third step back, you’ll see that someone, somewhere was praying for all this to happen in your mind, and in your life.
Again we’re reminded: Christ is not without His body. We pray for each other, and in the process, we are equipped – ‘to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him.’
Apparently that last part was a personal exercise for me to go through what the Word had to present, that I would see and appreciate Christ even further. But yeah… I guess what I can say about this portion for today is that we would do well to know as early as possible, that we couldn’t know and appreciate Christ without the help of Scripture, and we couldn’t know and appreciate Scripture without the help of Christ, who is not only with us as we are in Him, but has also poured out His Spirit upon us for the purpose of rightly dividing the word of Truth.
As a member of the body of Christ (or a disciple, sure) we would find pleasure in reading the Word, enjoying the Bible, and celebrating Scripture. It is my sincere prayer that we would intentionally go through the Word on our own, so there would be less people who need to be fed, and more people who are full of Christ – that when we congregate, there would be just as much testifying, as there would be teaching.
I guess it’s possible to feel so mentally drained, but so full at the same time. It’s a fullness beyond physical nourishment. We say ‘my heart is full’ as a response of a whole bunch of birthday greetings at one time, but in this case, all this writing and transcribing what was shared about grace manifested in prayer and in the word… well, it’s filled my heart, sure, but I feel full in more ways than one.
There’s still time in this day. Let me take a breather.
Until the next post, God bless you.
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