Secure, Sure, And Serving In Love (As Jesus Is, So Are We – Set 8) – April 15, 2023 (111-114/365)

Jesus, Our Soul Winner

As Christ Is, So Are We In This World

Facilitated by Pastor Joedy

Pastor Joedy starts off by sharing that the Chinese character for ‘righteousness’ is the character of a lamb over a character expressing ‘me’; So in other words, righteousness can be seen as the lamb over us; Very nice, as we would see righteousness now as the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, over me. He is over us, and joined to us in one character.

Christ did not just come as a Teacher or a Preacher, but He came and encountered individuals. And in each encounter, we see a beautiful revelation of who He is and consequently, who God is.

As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.

Acts 10:36-38

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

Acts 20:24

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

Luke 19:10

Christ came for a specific purpose – that is, as mentioned in that last verse, He came to seek and to save the lost. It’s not about us looking for Christ as a treasure, but it’s US who Christ first of all treasured, and it’s US who Christ looked for; He was the One who sought after us.

Scientists have tried to value the human body, i.e. the minerals and the precious material our bodies comprise of, and it was circulated that the body we have is worth roughly 10 million dollars… But as we’re to find out, we’re actually priceless.

For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.

Colossians 2:9-10

I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.

Philemon 1:4-6

The early church was recognized as comprising of people who ‘turn the world upside down’, and they were called Christians because of their actions inspired by the living Christ.

And their actions were not without discipleship.

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

John 20:21

Funny, I’m quoting this same verse tomorrow. It is important for us to see the wordings in that verse. See, we look at the word ‘As’ – and it means ‘In the same way’; So as Christ was sent, so He sent us. Because of this, it is important for us to see how Christ operated, so we could understand how He was sent.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:5-8

The 3 S’s (and 3 underlying I’s) of a sent one, e.g. Christ:

He is Secure in who He is – Pastor Joedy relates how in the past, and even up until now, he feels insecure, based on how people treated him, or based on how we think people treat us. But we would help ourselves so much by understanding that our identity is not in how people treated us, but known through how God loves us.

Again, it has to do with identity. Christ was aware that He was God’s beloved, and He was assured by the Holy Spirit, anointed before the world; He is God’s beloved One, in whom He is well pleased. He was endorsed to the disciples; God told them, even in the presence of Moses and Elijah, that He was the One they were to listen to. He knew who He was.

He is Sure about His mission; And this has to do with His assignment, one that He committed to be important – that is, again, to seek and save the lost.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”Luke 4:18-19

He Served with love – That is, He served according to the Interest, and the best of others.

Thinking about this in the light of adding value (as I have established in my previous article), I feel as if we’re on the same page here. And here’s something that we shouldn’t forget – We add value to others by considering their interest, according to the best for them.

The Son of Man came to serve, for His name’s sake. Can you imagine the King of Kings washing your feet? If He is willing to communicate this and actually do it, you can surely be confident that He knows what’s best for you. As fathers serve their children with as much as they can, even if they are wicked in the eyes of man… So our God is not only our Creator, but through Christ we can call Him our Father, and boy, does He serve.

This here is a picture of Christ as a Soul Winner – This is how He won our soul. He was secure of His own identity, He was sure about His important assignment, and He ultimately served with love, considering the interest of others.

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

Galatians 4:4-6

The story of the Prodigal Son comes to mind – the son went off, taking everything he could from his father, essentially forsaking his relationship. When He came back, it’s interesting that the Father had this to say – not that his son was gone and now has returned… no, He said ‘My son was dead, but now He is alive!’

The Soul Winner’s Grace

Love in Action – Christ gave according to the specific need. To the Samaritan Woman, the outcast, Christ presented Himself as the thirst quencher.

Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.

A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

John 4:1-26

Long story short, the life of the Samaritan Woman could be summarized in Stephen Bishop’s ‘It Might Be You’ – SEVEN Times, Christ being the final Man, the Lover, the Thirst Quencher. And here’s the thing – Christ presented Himself and gave Himself according to His perception of what is best, not according to how the woman expected – and she was glad to acknowledge this!

It’s just so unique, how Christ works for us – my story is different from yours, but it’s all coming from and goes back to God’s everlasting love for us!

Consider the story of Zacchaeus, the hated, the rich, and the corrupt:

He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Luke 19:1-10

Jesus was secure and sure, and He served with love – telling this man who was evil and despised in the eyes of others, that He was not only going to have a conversation with Him, not only were they going to have a working lunch.. He wanted to stay in his house.

In the Jewish custom, this brought great honor to Zacchaeus. Here comes Christ, who was seen by the people around as one who was honored – and He honored this dishonorable man by asking him to stay in his house. And when He stayed in Zacchaeus’ house, He ate with them. The dining area is the most sacred place in the house, and it’s as if to say that Christ went to the deepest spot in this hated man’s heart.

‘I want to stay in your house’ = ‘I want to be your friend’

Christ offered honor and love. Christ offered real friendship to someone who did not have any real friends. And this goodness brought Zacchaeus to revolutionary repentance.

Consider a similar story – Jesus speaking to the rich man: Out of love He knew that the rich man needed rebuke… and sadly, the man did not get it, and just walked away.

The kindness of the Lord ultimately leads to repentance.

Consider Peter, the fisherman, who was struggling as a breadwinner:

On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.

Luke 5:1-11

Christ presented Himself as the kind provider for Peter, who ensures that we are able to catch a lot of fish, in line with my Dad’s favorite words: ‘Commit to the Lord all your works, and He will direct your path’; Peter was so concerned according to his thinking of provision and providing, but Christ provided way beyond His imagination.

Finally, consider the religious Pharisee Saul, the religious, zealous persecutor:

I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

1 Timothy 1:12-17

To Saul, who became Paul, Christ was the grace giver. He was the one who thought he was killing in the name of God, loathing these Christians who undermined his beliefs… and Christ personally encountered him as he was on his way to kill others, and from this encounter, it’s Paul who said with conviction – Where sin abounds, GRACE ABOUNDED MUCH MORE.

Pastor Joedy went from taking Christ’s words ‘Imitate me, as I imitate Christ’, to expressing Paul’s ‘I am who I am because of the grace of God’

In fact, let’s look at how Jesus discipled Paul:

Paul was made secure and he found his identity in Christ:

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Philippians 3:8-11

It was also Paul himself who said that we are God’s beloved:

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2

Paul found and became sure of his important mission. Paul’s conversion:

But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

Acts 9:1-9

Paul’s life mission:

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

Acts 20:24

Paul’s Passion:

He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.

Acts 28:30-31

Finally, Paul served for the interest of benefit of others.

Empowering – Adding Value (SOUND FAMILIAR, JB??)

But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.

Philippians 1:24-26

Investing – Believing and Imparting to Others

I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.

Romans 15:29

It’s not about imitating Paul, nor is it about imitating Christ, but focusing on Christ – We need to know the difference. We CANNOT imitate Christ’s actions, but we depend on His IDENTITY, and His RELATIONSHIP with His Father.

And here we see who’s trying to imitate Christ, and who’s still trying to prove their own identity, and who’s trying to work for a relationship they already have!

Paul also served by Leaving a Legacy, if only to ensure continuity, and not to build up honor.

You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also

2 Timothy 2:1-2

Reminder: We are here because of Christ Jesus, and from Him, who was secure, sure, and who served in love, so we are secure, sure, and serve in love.

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Matthew 3:16-17

After the message we gathered for lunch, and I couldn’t hold back in telling Pastor Joedy how ecstatic I felt as he pointed out the truth regarding when Paul said, ‘Imitate me, as I imitate Christ’; It’s not to say that we should imitate Paul’s letter writing, and going down his specific road into darkness, so as to experience the specific redemption which was for him specifically. It’s also not to say that we should imitate Christ – God forbid that we try in our limited power and wisdom, and within our limitations as created beings, to perform the same miracles and the same healings that Christ did.

No, Pastor Joedy points out that Paul imitates Christ this way: He moves and acts and performs, not to copy how Christ moved and acted and performed, but from the identity and the direction and/or vision that has given to Him by God, His Father – In other words, Christ lived and moved and had His being, fully dependent to God, whom He called His Father.

Simplifying even further – Paul imitated Christ. Christ was dependent on God as His Father. Paul was also dependent on God as His Father.

We can TRY to do the same things Christ did, respond the same way Christ responded, and there’s nothing wrong with that – but we should do so from the starting point, and that is, our identity and our vision engulfed and composed by Christ, who, by His finished work, proclaimed that we could also be dependent on God, as He is – Calling God OUR Father as well.

And I couldn’t help but share, that what Pastor Joedy said was in line with what I composed before attending all this. Here I was, slightly concerned that my words and his sharing would go in separate directions… but I just have to say, I was pleasantly surprised here – or rather, I probably shouldn’t be surprised our words and our meditations were going down the same path – In line with the same Way whom we trust.

What a good God we have! What a great, beautiful Savior we have! Let us keep on going without fear, knowing that we may not necessarily have the exact same words, or we have differences in our patterns, but it all comes from and leads to the same Rock, and the same Foundation – no other than Jesus Christ.

Amen, and amen.

Until the next post (which will come very soon), God bless you.

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