Last week, I used John 10:28:
"We're in the palm of God's Hands and NOTHING can pluck us out!"
This week, I came across this old song, 'I Know Who Holds My Hand'...and it got me to thinking that we are Complete in Christ and how great friendship/fellowship with Him is.
I don't know about tomorrow
I just live from day to day.
And I don't borrow from the sunshine,
'Cause the skies might turn to grey.
And I don't worry about the future,
'Cause I know what Jesus said,
And today, I'll walk beside Him
'Cause He knows what lies ahead.
There are things about tomorrow
That I don't seem to understand...
But I know Who holds tomorrow
And I know Who holds my hand.
(Words and Music by Ira Stanphill)
In John 20-21, the resurrected Christ appears to the Disciples and finds them downcast. But after He spends time with them, they are ready to follow Him in a Love Ministry. He fellowships with them and asks them to follow Him in this ministry. John 20:31 is the key verse of John's gospel: "These are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that believing, you might have Life....through His Name."
His main concern with them was, 'Do you love me as much as you say you do?' and this is a great question for all of us Christians.
Please notice that following Jesus came AFTER fellowship with Him.
1) WE MUST FELLOWSHIP WITH JESUS IN HIS SALVATION:
This salvation is provided by His grace. You cannot earn it...you just receive it as a gift. Open it fully and enjoy it forever! Providing salvation for us was not easy. It is spellled CROSS....."He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (II Corin. 5:21)
Also, II Corin. 8:9: "For we know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that though He was rich, yet for our sakes, He became poor that we through His poverty might be rich."
He presents this salvation to us by way of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. (John 16:7-16)
To me, salvation is an inner experience that will be expressed outwardly as we become His workmanship (His poem).
This salvation is permanent, taking care of our past, our present and our future.
The world may hold your past against you, but God does not!!
See Psalm 103:10-12 and Isaiah 43:25 and also, Micah 7:19:
"God will turn again and will have compassion upon us. He will forgive our sins and cast ALL of them into the depths of the sea and remember them against us no more!"
And I would like to add that He puts a sign in our hearts/minds, 'NO FISHING' as He does NOT want us going back to that sea!
He has already forgiven and forgotten our confessed sins!!!
By the way, if WE can not forgive, WE had better not sin!!
(See The Lord's Prayer in Matt. 6 and esp. verses 14-15)
Many people seem to make salvation only a PAST experience and miss the glories of the present and future completion of this salvation.
Please enjoy not only free salvation, but full salvation.
2) WE MUST ALSO FELLOWSHIP WITH JESUS IN HIS SUFFERINGS:
Philippians 3:10: "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death."
When we tell people that we have served 5 Interim pastorates in Hawaii, some people on the Mainland have said, "Oh sure...you're really suffering for Jesus...in Hawaii?"
As with many places in the world, when Jesus is absent from the hearts and lives of people, there is no 'vacation'. But....there are tremendous opportunities!
However, suffering for Jesus is a privilege!
The Bible is full of this emphasis on 'Suffering for God'.
For example, Abraham and his willingness to offer his son, if that was necessary in order to serve God!
Paul is another great example of suffering for Jesus.
Joseph M. Stowell (Pres. of Moody Bible Institute since 1987) writes in his excellent little book, 'Simply Jesus':
"Paul knew that in suffering, he had the opportunity to gain a deeper, more experiential knowledge of Jesus. We discover the same thing in that closer, sweeter walk when we CONNECT with Him in our Seasons of Suffering. As Paul puts it, there is a special encounter with God when we share in the fellowship of His sufferings. Be sure and remember the sufferings of Christ are far more extensive, more identifiable, than only the injustice of Golgotha.
The question is not, 'Are you willing to suffer?'....we have little choice about that.
The real question is:
'Are you willing to meet Jesus there..right in the middle of your pain? Are you willing to make that choice?'
To meet Him in the midst of your pain, requires that we stop whining about our trials or blaming God for what is happening.
Stay with God, refuse to let satan draw you back into bitterness and self-pity and you will find Jesus a meaningful companion in the midst of trouble."
Philippians is my favorite book of Paul's Prison Epistles because from prison, he writes about the JOY we can experience....even in the midst of suffering!
3) FELLOWSHIP WITH JESUS AND SERVING HIM IN HIS SUFFICIENCY:
Jesus is our example and the Holy Spirit is our power and Prayer is our lifeline.
As you know, I love the use of the word 'sufficiency' in II Corin.3:4-5....8:9....9:8 and 12:10.
A good question is: 'Did Jesus live, die, rise for a FEW things? Or for EVERY thing?"
We limit ourselves when we limit Christ and His Word involvement in our lives. We really are talking about His immensity and our intimacy. More on this later, but victory in all of our lives, must have these 2 entities.
In the devotional book, 'Streams in the Desert', on July 27th the Scripture was from Malachi 3:10:
'Prove me now. What is God saying here, but this: My child, I still have windows in Heaven. They are yet in service. The bolts slide as easily as of old. The hinges have not grown rusty. I would rather fling them open, and pour forth, than to keep them shut, and hold back.
The lack is not on MY side, it is on YOUR's....I am waiting. Prove me now!'
4) FELLOWSHIP WITH JESUS IN AND WITH THE SCRIPTURES:
One time I prepared a paper on the use of the little word 'all' in the New Testament. I was amazed how often it is used and how important it is. Here are just a few, along with fullness and completion in Christ.
a) Colossians 2:9-10:
"For in Him, all the fullness of the Diety dwells in bodily form and in Him, you have been made complete".
Jesus doesn't give peace....He IS our peace (Eph. 2:14).
Jesus does not give knowledge...He IS our knowledge. (Colossians 2:3)
If we are hungry, He is the Bread of Life;
If we are thirsty, He is the Fountain of Living Water;
If we are lost, He is The Way.
If we are blind, He is The Light of the World
If we are lonely, He is the friend Who sticks closer than a brother.
If we are dying, He is the Resurrection and the Life.
An unknown author wrote:
"He is The Way that we find at the end of the way.
He is The Door and what we find on the other side of that door.
He is The Fountain and the Living Water that flows from it.
He is the Cause of His Own Effect and the effect of His own cause.
He is The Means and The End and.......
He is God's EVERYTHING to the Believer!"
b) Romans 11:36 (Amplified version):
"For FROM Him....and THROUGH Him....and TO Him are all things.
For all things originate with Him and come from Him.
All things live through Him.....
and all things center in....
and tend to consumate....
and end in Him.
To Him be glory forever, Amen!"
A group of children were singing 'My Best Friend is Jesus':
'Love Him, Praise Him, Serve Him'. When they finished,
a little girl said, "You left one out....Crown Him!"
Amen Travis, He is our all in all. And as unpleasant as suffering is, it sure teaches us compassion and brings us closer to perfection, which is love, which is God! Your article's always brings us closer to God. Blessings, Sharon