Monthly Archives: October 2015

Our Fellowship Is With The Father

OUR FELLOWSHIP IS WITH THE FATHER

We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you may also have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete. (1 John 1: 3-4)

John makes it clear from the start that he was not propagating another religion in opposition to the religions that were already in the world. He was writing of something far deeper and more real than that. He testified to being an eyewitness of what had happened when God broke into history through the coming of His Son into the world. He had seen, heard and touched the one who had come from the Father. There was no denying the witness of someone who had been that close, especially when there were others to back up his story.

But what was the purpose of Jesus’ coming? Did He come from God to tell the people of the world how sinful they were and to bring judgment on them from an angry God? No way!

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. (John 3: 17)

What did He mean by “saved”? Salvation, in modern times has been pared down to mean “saved from hell so that we can go to heaven when we die.” Is that the best that Jesus could do; shed His blood so that we can have a passport to heaven? What about now? Do we just go on living as we have and hold on until we die?

Salvation from God’s perspective, is far bigger than that. When Adam and Eve plunged the world into darkness by their disobedience, it affected every part of creation. Every creature, every plant and tree was doomed to die. Animals turned on each other; humans turned on each other and, worst of all, we turned on God and became His enemies. The fellowship God so delighted in with His children went out the window and the people God created to be His beloved children were thrown out to make their own way in life, which was the choice they made.

But God didn’t leave it there. He went to enormous trouble to prepare a nation – one He painstakingly built from one childless couple whom He trained to trust Him, to obey Him and to raise their miracle-born son to do the same – to receive His Son when the time came. It took many centuries and much frustration on God’s part to bring them to the point where He could send His Son into the world, born among them into a human family as a helpless infant, raised by a godly couple to show His people what He was really like.

What was His intention? Just to rescue people from hell so that they could go to heaven? What a pathetic purpose if that was all He could do! No, Jesus came, first of all, to reveal the heart of the Father. Was He the demanding, disciplinarian God His representatives, the religious leaders made Him out to be? Far from it! He was a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness. The prophets of the Old Testament knew that and taught and wrote about it, but His people ignored what they said because they were bent on rebellion.

Jesus specifically came to show His people that God was a gracious and loving Father. He, Jesus, was the exact replica of His Father. But He did something even more wonderful than that. He lived a life of perfect obedience to the Father and then gave His life as though He were a sinner, so that sinners could be reconciled to their Father.

Why did He do it? Just to save sinners from hell? No, He did it so that sinners could be forgiven, washed clean of all their sin, given a new heart, a new start and restored to God’s family as His holy and beloved sons and daughters. But best of all, from the moment of their “new birth”, their new beginning, they are restored to fellowship with the Father. That was the problem. They were out of fellowship with Him. In spite of their rebellion against God, they were still in a relationship with Him as His children, although they were estranged from Him because of sin. This happens in families the world over all the time. Kids rebel, run away and dissociate themselves from the parents. This does not make them “unborn”. It cuts them off from fellowship with their families.

God’s desire, when Jesus did all this for us, was to bring us back into fellowship with Himself, not when we die, but here and now. And He did it! Jesus died to clear away all the barriers to fellowship and to restore everything that we lost through sin so that we can be one with the Father again. Fellowship with the Father has great benefits for us – the more time we spend with Him, the more we get to know Him and become like Him, shedding our old self-centred ways and learning to do what pleases Him.

But perhaps the greatest benefit of all is learning to do God’s will so that His purposes on earth are fulfilled through us. That’s what fellowship with the Father accomplished for Jesus. John’s gospel is full of assurances that Jesus lived in such harmony with the Father than they did everything in tandem. No one could accuse Jesus of sin because He only said and did what He heard the Father saying and doing. How did He learn these things from the Father? Through many hours of fellowship with Him.

With no more obstacles in the way, John assured his readers that they, and we, can also have fellowship with those who are one with the Father and with the Father and the Son. And how that delights the heart of God, fulfilling His desire from the beginning!

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3,                                                                              eBook 978-4828-0511-6

Available on www.amazon.com in paperback, e-book or kindle version, on www.takealot.com  or order directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com.

My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.

For more details, check my website:

http://luellaannettecampbell.com/

Have you read my blogs on www.learningtobeason.wordpress.com ?

 

No Thumb-suck

NO THUMB-SUCK

The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. (1 John 1: 2)

This was no thumb-suck. John was proclaiming to his readers what had actually happened. What if John were making it up as he went along? What if he were pulling off the greatest hoax in history?

But he wasn’t. There were many witnesses to the real Jesus who would ratify what John was proclaiming. If he were making it up, many would have stepped up to declare that he was talking nonsense and spinning lies. Although John wrote his letters years after the other New Testament writers, he was expanding on and recording the truths that had already been disseminated by them.

John equated Jesus with eternal life. No other figure in human history would dare to call himself that – eternal life. Jesus did not give those words to Himself as a title but as a function. He came from the Father to bring life to the world, not only endless life but a new quality of life that belonged to the realm of the eternal.

We humans equate the word “eternal” with “never ending” as though we will just keep on living the same sort of lives we are living now but with no death at the end of it. Our imagination does not stretch far enough to conjure up a real picture of the eternal realm. Eternal life is much more than never-ending. It has to do with a quality of life in a realm that is not ravaged by sin or time, or limited by the limitations of this present world.

What did Jesus mean by “eternal”? He also used the term, “the age to come”. This present age is the age in which we live now, an age of imperfection where everyone and everything in the world is influenced by Adam’s sin. Even the natural world was corrupted by sin and awaits an age when all corruption will be removed and the earth with its plants and creatures will be restored to its original perfection.

For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation is groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. (Rom. 8: 19-22)

It was sin that brought death to the world. Jesus’ death removed sin and restored the life which God intended for His children from the beginning. When we receive by faith the forgiveness of sin, God removes the penalty, death, and restores us to the realm where there is no death. Although we are still a part of this fallen world and subject to the death of our physical bodies, we are already the recipients of eternal life. When we shed these mortal bodies, we enter the eternal realm where there is no more death.

It is Jesus who brought us the gift of eternal live by removing the penalty of death from us; therefore we can say the Jesus is eternal life.

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5: 11-12)

The perpetrators of false religions can say what they like and teach what they like but they can never make or prove the claim that those who believe and follow what they teach have the indisputable promise of eternal life. How do we know that Jesus, and those who proclaimed what He taught, was telling the truth? The resurrection!

He claimed to have the authority to lay down His life and to take it up again.

The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father. (John. 10: 17-18)

These are either the words of a madman or the sober words of truth from the Son of God. He proved He was no madman by doing what He said He would do!  Eternal life in Jesus Christ if a free gift on offer to those who believe that He is the Son of God and that God raised Him from the dead and who confess that Jesus is Lord. It’s as simple as that.

If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Rom. 10: 9)

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3,                                                                              eBook 978-4828-0511-6

Available on www.amazon.com in paperback, e-book or kindle version, on www.takealot.com  or order directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com.

My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.

For more details, check my website:

http://luellaannettecampbell.com/

Have you read my blogs on www.learningtobeason.wordpress.com ?

 

 

Learning To Be A Son – Chapter Thirteen – Lest We Forget

LEARNING TO BE A SON

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

LEST WE FORGET

Fellowship with God as His sons and daughters can lead to problems if we forget who our Father is. We must beware that intimacy with God does not become familiarity which borders on disrespect for who He is and contempt for His word.

Moses had problems in the Israelite camp with two of Aaron’s sons who offered profane fire on God’s altar. God put them to death. Moses himself was refused entry into the Promised Land because he disobeyed God and struck the rock twice. The people in Malachi’s day were sliding back into sloppy worship and had to be warned.

David knew that God was inescapable, but it comforted him, not terrified him because he knew that God responded to those who fear Him. Jesus was the perfect model of one who feared the Lord. He honoured the Father by His submission and obedience to Him.

What is friendship with God? Abraham was known as the friend of God. How did he get a title like that? God put him to the test and he trusted God so implicitly that he obeyed Him immediately. Prompt and complete obedience is the acid test of true friendship with God.

Jesus called His disciples His friends but He qualified His statement with these words:

You are my friends if you obey what I command. (John 15:14)

The fear of the Lord opens the way to intimacy with Him (Psa. 25:14). The fear of the Lord is also the foundation of true wisdom. Everything we do in life in obedience to God’s word works and shows us that respect for God which issues in obedience is the foundation of success in life.

Our relationship with God stands firmly on two legs. He is our Father and He invites us into fellowship with Him. He is also our Creator, source and sustainer. He is sovereign over us and we honour Him and obey Him because He is the Almighty God.

We are to keep these two aspects of our relationship with Him in balance. He calls us to separate ourselves from the world and its evil desires and to be His holy temple in which He dwells by His Spirit.

 

 

A Word About The Word

A WORD ABOUT THE WORD

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. (1 John 1: 1-2)

There is no testimony more powerful than that of an eyewitness. He was there. He saw it happen and he relates the details of the event with a measure of accuracy as his eyes and ears took it in and his brain processed the information. Of course, not every eyewitness’s story is exactly the same. Each one saw if happen from a slightly different geographical position and each one interpreted the details through his grid of understanding.

Some eye witnesses are more observant than others. They will pick up details which others miss. Others think they saw this when they actually saw that. But when one puts all the pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle, a clear and credible story begins to emerge. Most of the details correspond and overlap, making the story realistic and credible and can be accepted as an accurate account of what happened.

Why did the Holy Spirit orchestrate four gospels to be written? Some of the details in their accounts of Jesus’ life overlap; other bits differ slightly or even contradict, but the overall story is accurate and believable. Each of the gospel writers had a different purpose for telling His story and therefore it is understandable that they would have had different emphases and that they would have arranged their material differently.

Matthew presented Jesus as the King of the Jews, the fulfilment of prophecy and God’s promised Messiah. Chronology and details were not as important as his overall purpose and were fitted into the bigger picture. He was careful to record those parts of his information which highlighted Jesus’ identity as the King of the Jews.

Mark’s message was that Jesus came as the Servant of Yahweh. He included nothing about His birth or early childhood. He told us much about Jesus’ actions and little about His teaching. A servant is busy doing the will of his master, rather than teaching others about him.

Luke, the doctor, focussed on Jesus’ humanity. He was very much the Son of Man. This aspect of Jesus was real but not the only meaning of His identity since Son of Man was also a Messianic title. The Holy Spirit featured prominently in Luke’s story because, as a human being, Jesus did nothing without the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was a real man, hungering, weary at times, eating and drinking and experiencing the whole range of human emotions.

When we get to John’s writings, which include his gospel, his letters and the book of Revelation, a much broader Jesus emerges, a man, yes, but much more than a man. John wrote in later years and had time to process the information he remembered about this Jesus. He could only reach one conclusion – He was indeed the Son of God.

He began his first letter to unknown recipients with words of affirmation and reassurance. What he had to say to them was based on eyewitness facts. He employed words which conveyed the activities of the senses – seen, heard, touched – sensory experiences which registered in his memory indelibly. Was it not John who leaned against Jesus at the supper table, hearing His hear beating in His chest, feeling the warmth of His body against his own?

Did he not see miracles happen,; deaf ears opened, blind eyes seeing, paralysed limbs functioning again and even the dead coming back to life? Did he not hear the resounding cries of his dying Lord from the cross? Did he not look with horror on the one who was pierced with a Roman spear until the last drops of His blood spilled on the ground? Did he not hear the words of the Roman centurion who pronounced that his Master was dead? Did he not gaze in wonder at the gaping wounds in the hands and feet of his risen Lord?

No one could deny what he had seen and heard and, on the solid foundation of eyewitness facts, he made his declaration to his readers. If Jesus said what He said, and did what He did, and then He fulfilled His predictions about His own death and resurrection, who could contradict what He taught about Himself and His mission?

No other human being in history who created a religion around himself or out of his own imagination could back up the ramblings of his mind with indisputable historical fact. Many skeptics have tried to disprove the resurrection of Jesus on legal grounds and have come away convinced of the truth of the Biblical record.

The bottom line is: Jesus was the Son of God. He came from the Father. He was God’s complete and final Word to humanity. Everything He said and did confirmed His identity. He brought us life through His death and resurrection. Those who believe in Him have eternal life and, though they die physically, they live eternally in the fullness of God’s presence and glory.

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3,                                                                              eBook 978-4828-0511-6

Available on www.amazon.com in paperback, e-book or kindle version, on www.takealot.com  or order directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com.

My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.

For more details, check my website:

http://luellaannettecampbell.com/

Have you read my blogs on www.learningtobeason.wordpress.com ?

 

Learning To Be A Son – Chapter Twelve – Complete In Christ

LEARNING TO BE A SON

CHAPTER TWELVE

COMPLETE IN CHRIST

If we are truly the sons and daughters of God, how can we ever attain the high standard Jesus set for us? Take heart! God views us from His perspective as already complete in Christ. God guarantees that what He began, He will finish.

What has He done?

  • He guaranteed the success of the venture because of the power of the cross. It is His will that we be made holy.
  • He cannot fail because of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that He would not only be with us – He would be in us to apply all the effects of the cross in our lives.

Both Paul and Peter confirmed this in their letters. They knew what they were talking about because both of them had started badly but, because of the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives, they experienced the transformation that the Holy Spirit brought about in them.

From God’s point of view, the work is complete but we must respond or nothing will change. Our response is to believe Jesus’ words and obey His teaching. This is the way to increasing freedom from the power of sin in our lives and increasing likeness to Jesus, our elder brother.

It is our responsibility to maintain the link, the spiritual “umbilical cord” with God through faith, submission and obedience to Him. As we trust Him, so He works in us to recreate us into the image of our Creator.

Now we must become what we are, sons and daughters of God.

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3,                                                                              eBook 978-4828-0511-6

Available on www.amazon.com in paperback, e-book or kindle version, on www.takealot.com  or order directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com.

My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.

For more details, check my website:

http://luellaannettecampbell.com/

Have you read my blogs on www.learningtobeason.wordpress.com ?