#DailyDevotion Jesus Of Nazareth IS Yahweh!

#DailyDevotion Jesus Of Nazareth Is Yahweh!

1Co 12:1-3  Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed.  (2)  You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led.  (3)  Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.

Now we might get ourselves into all sorts of problems with the word ‘gifts’ which isn’t there in the original Greek. It’s just ‘spiritual’ an adjective turned noun. But about such things Paul doesn’t want us to be uninformed as we were when we were pagans led astray to mute idols. We have received the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God. What is important here is no one can say ‘Jesus is accursed’ who has the Spirit and one can only say ‘Jesus is Lord’ by the Holy Spirit.

Now on that we should have ourselves a little discussion. What does it mean to say Jesus is Lord. Well there are a number of heretics out there who have fallen away from the faith who say Jesus is Lord but who do not have the Spirit. Lord here does not mean king or ruler or even the guiding star of my life. Many a false teacher can say those things. What does Paul mean when he says ‘Jesus is Lord’?

He mean this, if you go look in your Old Testament, there are a lot of places where you will see God called the LORD. It is Lord spelled with all capital letters or small capital letters (depending on the publisher). Why do they do that? Because some places in the Old Testament lord is spelled with lower case letters. Sometimes it is spelled with a capital L with lower case letters. But when it is all capital letters or small capital letters, that is telling us something. It is telling us the divine name the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had given the Israelites to call him, oftentimes called the Tetragrammaton (four letters) is what the Hebrew text has. That would be YHWH, Yahweh, Jehovah. The Jews after the exile from Babylon didn’t want to break the second commandment by saying the name of God so instead of using the name he had given them they used adonai which means Lord. You get Jehovah from using the consonants of YHWH and the vowels from adonai.

In any case, when Paul says no one says Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit he is confessing Jesus is YHWH, Yahweh, Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Heretics cannot and will not confess Jesus is the God who is the uncreated, Living God. They cannot confess he is the God of Israel become man. Only by the Holy Spirit can we confess Jesus is YHWH. That is what Paul is saying here. Jesus is not just some subordinate demi-god. He is God incarnate, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, one in being and substance with the Father through whom all things were made visible and invisible. Now if you can confess this and you believe this with your heart, then you have the Holy Spirit and faith that saves and is conforming you into his image and likeness. If you cannot say this, then you do not yet have the Spirit and do not have faith that saves yet. Turn to Jesus, confess your sins and believe he is your God, the God of the Old Testament in the flesh who has come to save you.

Heavenly Father, grant us faith and the Holy Spirit that we may always confess Jesus is Lord to your glory and to his that we may become participants in your glory at the end of the age. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion How The Lord Looks At Zion

#DailyDevotion How The Lord Looks At Zion

Isa 62:1-3  For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch.  (2)  The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give.  (3)  You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

Zion, Jerusalem, these names conjure up different things in people’s mind but perhaps chiefly a city in the Middle East in the country of Israel full of conflict and warring parties. But it should bring to our minds salvation and peace. The Zion and Israel the Lord calls to mind here is not the city built by men with human hands but the city that comes down from above made by the Holy Spirit.

Such a city the Lord cannot keep quiet about. For this city is the Church of the Living God, the Holy One of Israel. It is the Church of Jesus Christ. Though not always looking so bright now for her glory is concealed, yet her glory is the glory of Christ. In the darkness of the world the Church’s righteousness does go forth as brightness and her salvation as a burning torch for her righteousness and salvation are not her own but the Lord Jesus Christ’s. We proclaim Jesus’ righteousness and salvation to the nations. We proclaim the free gift of salvation and the forgiveness of sins to the nations and the kings of the earth. This good news of repentance and forgiveness of sins for Christ’s sake is being put before the nations and kings of the world for all to see. It is not always esteemed though by them.

But on the day of the revelation of Jesus Christ all nations shall indeed she her glory and the Lord shall give her a new name. As he speaks to us in Revelation, Rev 3:12 “The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.”

For now the Church may not always seem like much. In many places humble and despised. In some places because it is filled with sinners who act contrary to her Lord’s will it is hated. In other places she is hated because she does act and speak according to His will. But the Church has a bright future at the revelation of her Lord Jesus Christ. For He says, “You will be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.” We should remember this when the devil and the world try to get us down. Our destiny is not in their hands but the hands of the Living God. He says we will be a crown of beauty and a royal diadem. Yes, it may look bleak sometimes, but we should not judge ourselves on how big we are or how much influence we have in the world. We should judge ourselves on what our Lord Jesus Christ says about us and comfort ourselves and be emboldened by that. So Christian, these things spoken of by our Lord concerning Zion and Jerusalem he is speaking about you.

Heavenly Father, no mind can comprehend the glories you shall dress the Church of your Son Jesus Christ with at his revelation. May your words of promise grant us faith and strength to endure until that day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Jesus Becomes Our Substitute

#DailyDevotion Jesus Becomes Our Substitute

 Luk 3:21-22  Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened,  (22)  and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

When the Baptist was preaching and baptizing all the people into a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins who else shows up to receive this baptism? Jesus! Now that is quite strange. Jesus, conceived of the Holy Spirit, has no sin. He never sinned in word or thought or deed. From what does he need to be baptized? Of what sin need he be repentant of?  Of course we know the answer is no and none. So why does Jesus go and get baptized?

Well we know in our baptism we are joined with Jesus’ crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection. We become one with him. When Jesus is baptized he is baptized into our sin and death. Jesus becomes one with us and does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Jesus as our high priest repents of our sin, confesses it and takes on our death that we walk in daily. He sets himself apart to become our substitute.

Quickly after being baptized Jesus will be carried by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. In our stead and in the place of Adam who fell into temptation, Jesus trusts his Father in heaven and does not take the bait. He does not sin. This he does in our place and for us.

In baptism Jesus was set apart to be the sacrifice for our sins. No works of our could ever make up for the wrongs we have committed. Any good we do we’re supposed to do anyway. Nothing we did could ever take away the debt we have incurred by our iniquities. But Jesus as our substitute could. For Jesus is no ordinary man.

Now it is true, Jesus is true man. Everything necessary to be truly human Jesus is. But the Father also spoke these words after Jesus’ baptism, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” We see here Jesus is true God as well. He is God’s beloved Son. He is the Word of the Lord, the Dabar YHWH. He is the Angel of the Lord (YHWH), the second person of the Trinity. One with the Father and the Holy Spirit. As True God and True Man Jesus can do for us what we could not do for ourselves. While no man could atone for our sins, the one who is God and Man can.

Because Jesus willingly takes this upon himself, because he offers up himself in baptism to this course of action, to be the atoning sacrifice, the scapegoat, to make peace between God and man, the Father is pleased with him. In our stead he obeys the will of the Lord in all its ways and fashions. In our stead, on the mountain the Lord provides, he offers himself as our Passover Lamb that the angel of death will pass over us. As there is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood he sheds his blood for us upon the cross and takes away the sin of the world. For this the Father in heaven is well pleased with Jesus.

Jesus is the Father’s beloved Son. Now someone pointed out the other day that in Hebrew beloved is David. So when the Father says Jesus is my beloved Son he is affirming Jesus is David. Not David reincarnated, but David’s seed. He is the seed of David that takes the place of David. As the shoot and root of Jesse, Jesus takes David’s place. He is to sit on David’s throne forever. That throne is at the right hand of the Father where he sits today since his ascension into heaven and from whence he shall return with his reward with him. Now in Jesus, all this is yours too.

Heavenly Father you sent your beloved Son Jesus to become our substitute for sin and death that we might have righteousness and life. Give us faith to receive this and pour out your Holy Spirit upon us that we might live it. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion The Baptist Preaches The Good News

#DailyDevotion The Baptist Preaches The Good News

Luk 3:15-20  As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ,  (16)  John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  (17)  His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”  (18)  So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people.  (19)  But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done,  (20)  added this to them all, that he locked up John in prison.

The Lord God had been quiet to Judah for centuries now. There had not been a prophet. But the times were such, much like today, the people were expecting the Lord’s anointed to come on the scene. There had been a number of attempts of people claiming to be the messiah but those had failed. Now John was on the scene. He looked like a prophet. He certainly sounded like a prophet. Perhaps he was the anointed one, the messiah of God.

But John would have none of it. He would tell them that he is not the Christ. His message concerning himself and the Christ was, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  (17)  His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”  John did not see himself worthy to untie the Christ’s the Messiah’s sandal. But they were looking at the right time. John was proclaiming the time for the Messiah was near. He was coming to baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. And in prophetic fashion he said it again with a parallel saying, he would be gathering the wheat into the barn and burn the chaff with unquenchable fire. The Holy Spirit would be gathering those who belonged to the Messiah through baptism and the preaching of the good news. Through baptism he would be putting his name on those who would be saved and be giving them the Holy Spirit. Through the preaching of the good news the Holy Spirit would be gathering and bringing people to be baptized into his name. The good news up to this point was baptism for repentance and the forgiveness of sins and the Messiah was near. For us similarly, the Messiah has come and his name is Jesus of Nazareth. He has commanded baptism in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit for repentance and the forgiveness of sins. He has called and gathered you and he continues to call and gather his people into his kingdom. This is free gift of God.

But for those who will not believe the good news and for those who reject being baptized into Christ Jesus, on the Last Day, the Lord will send his angels to gather up all those wicked people and cast them into the Lake of Fire. Then he will send his angels to gather his people into his eternal kingdom. So be repentant. Cast away your former life of sin. Believe on Jesus Christ and be baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit and do the good the Lord our God and Father would have you to do.

Heavenly Father, give us ears that listen to your Word even as people listened to John and submitted to his baptism. Grant us faith and your Holy Spirit that we may live repentant lives turning away from sin and turning towards the light of Jesus. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Have You Been Raised To A New Life?

#DailyDevotion Have You Been Raised To A New Life?

Rom 6:4-11  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.  (5)  For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.  (6)  We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.  (7)  For one who has died has been set free from sin.  (8)  Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.  (9)  We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.  (10)  For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.  (11)  So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Baptism is not merely getting wet in water. It is not just getting submerged in water. Baptism is being joined to Christ. This being united with Christ is not just symbolic or parabolic, it is a true and mysterious union with Jesus Christ. When we are baptized at Christ’s command in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, a spiritual reality takes place. We are joined, body, soul and spirit with Jesus. In baptism we are joined with Jesus’ death. There we have the certainty that the death we deserve has been taken care of and we need not face that death ever again. You actually were and are joined with Jesus on the cross in baptism.”

You are also joined with Christ in his grave. He was buried in the tomb. You are buried in the water. His burial has now become your burial. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, you too are raised in newness of life. You are a new creation in Christ Jesus. His life now becomes your life. We have died to our old way of life and have been call to live a new life in Christ Jesus.

Not only have we been raised spiritually with Jesus in baptism, but just as Jesus was raise bodily from the tomb, you too have the promise that your physical body will also rise from the grave on the Last Day when Christ returns. You have been truly and really united with Jesus. What has happened to him will happen to you and where Jesus is so are you. You are one with Jesus in baptism.

Baptism frees us from sin. We don’t have to listen to the dictates of the devil anymore. We don’t have to listen to the impulses of our sinful flesh anymore. Your body, your flesh has been crucified with Jesus. Having died in baptism, you have been set free from sin. If you find yourself in sin, return to your baptism. I don’t be baptized again, but rather remember what Jesus has done for you in baptism, whose you are and who are you. Remember the name of the Christ Jesus is on you and you are his holy temple. Then do not listen to flesh which wants to dominate you again. Let the Holy Spirit, the forgiveness of sins, your baptism rule your life.

Now Jesus has died and risen from the dead, he will never die again. His death was once for all, for all people, for all sin. Being joined with Jesus in baptism you certainly will also rise from the dead to immortality and life. Jesus now lives for God. You too, St. Paul reminds us, consider yourselves as dead to sin, for you really died in baptism and it has lost its claim over you. Daily remember the good news of you baptism, daily or hourly or by the minute or second if necessary. In baptism, you belong to Jesus and to God now. So be alive to God in Christ Jesus. Live as if your sins are forgiven, you have been freed from the power of sin and death. Live as if you will live forever for in Christ Jesus, indeed you will. You need not fear death anymore. You’ve already died. Now you possess eternal life. This is your gift in being baptized into Jesus.

Gracious God and Father, grant us to remember our baptism into Christ Jesus that we may cast away our sinful inclinations and live the life of love you would have us live in the life of Jesus. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Have You Experienced Death Yet?

#DailyDevotion Have You Experienced Death Yet?

Rom 6:1-3  What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?  (2)  By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?  (3)  Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

Paul asks this rhetorical question several times in his letters. He is responding to those who have not yet been enlightened by the Holy Spirit who think the Gospel is a license to sin. If you never had someone say to you when you share the gospel with them, “You mean I can do whatever I want to do?” then you’ve probably never actually shared the good news of Jesus Christ with them.

But when we share that God has forgiven and even justified ungodly men freely by his grace, that there is nothing we have to do to be saved, that we are declared righteous simply for believing Jesus died for our sins, the old flesh rears its ugly head and thinks it can sin all it wants so that grace may abound. So Paul’s answer is no, of course not, we do not continue to sin just because we are forgiven, just so grace may abound all the more.

For having been baptized when we received the good news of salvation and believed it we died that day. On that day we died to sin. If you are dead you cannot go on sinning. What do dead men do? Nothing. When we were baptized we were baptized into Christ Jesus and we were baptized into his death. Death is the wages of sin. When we were baptized the wages of our sin were received because we were joined to Christ’s death upon the cross. His death became our own death. The penalty we deserve for our sins were receive by us in by being baptized into Jesus. So we have been freed from our slavery to sin through baptism and death.

When we came up out of baptism, we are no longer the same person anymore. It’s like we gone through the witness protection program. We have been given a new life, the life of Jesus. Eternal life has been poured out into our hearts. The Holy Spirit has come and taken up residence and given us his power to be different people.

So we who have died are not called to go on living in sin. We are called to go about living out the life of Christ Jesus in our bodies. We are no longer the property of the devil but of God the Father. We are not the devil’s children but God’s children. So it is no longer our desire to see what we can get away with in the world. It is our desire to avoid sin and act in love. The impulse of our renewed hearts is not to disobey God but to love the people around us. We seek the betterment of all we meet and not seek how we can put ourselves above them.

If this does not sound like you, then confess your sins and believe what God has told you about your baptism. You have died and you are not your own anymore (like you ever actually were, you belonged to Satan).  Now you belong to Jesus. No longer a slave to the fear of death, a slave of sin and Satan, you are a slave of righteousness. Now that you have been saved, what do you want to do? You want to please your Savior Jesus Christ whose death has freed you! You please him by trusting him and loving your neighbor as yourself.

Almighty God and Father, you put us to death in our baptism into Jesus and cancelled the debt of our sin. Give us faith and the Holy Spirit that we may now live lives of faith so we may please you in all we think, say and do. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion The Lord Will Gather His People

#DailyDevotion The Lord Will Gather His People

Isa 43:4-7  Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.  (5)  Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you.  (6)  I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth,  (7)  everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

For the sake of Abraham, Israel was precious in his eyes. He still loved them in the midst of their rebellion and sin. But that does not mean they had full reign to do whatever or be licentious. Indeed, even as Isaiah speaks the word of the Lord, the Assyrians are barreling down from the north with God’s wrath and destruction. They are going to carry the Israelites off to distant lands never to be seen again.

Yet God will not leave Abraham without children. God can raise up children for Abraham from the rocks if he needs to. And from the rocks the Lord does raise up children for Abraham. From hearts of stone in Gentiles throughout the world, the Lord converts the children of men and makes them children of Abraham. He circumcises their hearts with the good news of Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of sins in his name.

So to all of us children of Abraham, Israel’s adopted sons and those born Jews whom the Lord had placed the name of Jesus upon, he tells us to fear not for he is with us. He has given us his Holy Spirit to reside in our hearts. He has promised whenever we gather in his name he is with us. He has promised he will never leave us or forsake us. All of these promises are true.  We can be brave and face life and all it has to throw at us because the presence of the Lord is with us as we bear his holy name.

On the Last Day as he has promised here, Jesus will gather us from the east and the west, the north and the south. With great rejoicing he will gather everyone who is called by his name i.e. Christians, those who trusted in him even in name. We shall be gathered to inhabit the new heavens and the new earth. For we who have had the name of Christ placed upon our foreheads and our hearts and trust in him will receive the rewards promised to all who trust in him.

He had formed and made us. He has created us for his glory. Jesus is our God and we are his people. As his people he makes us holy, gives us his glory, his righteousness, his wisdom and knowledge and his dominion. Heavenly Father, continue to gather together your people throughout the world by the gospel of your Son Jesus Christ, that Abraham our father may have many descendents from all nations and the Christ Jesus may receive the glory due his name. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.