Tuesday, November 30, 2010

                                  MY TEACHING IS NOT MINE
     Not even the brothers of Jesus believed in Him being the Son of God. (Jn. 7:5)  Yet Jesus did not spend His time in endless discussions with them but simply kept letting His words and works reveal His true identity.  In the midst of the Jews, who questioned His knowledge and its origin, Jesus simply said, "My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me."  (Jn. 7:16)
     There is something significant in these words.  As I think about Jesus and the many things He taught, I could easily put aside where He came from and the origin of His teaching.  The Jews were not giving any thought to the words of Jesus that spoke of the divine authority of His teaching.  Regardless of whether or not these Jews wanted to accept Jesus as the Messiah was not the point.  The main point that went unheeded by the Jews is that the teachings of Jesus came from the very one whom they were trying to please.
     Jesus continually tried to get man to look beyond Himself to the glory and the authority of the heavenly Father, but many times people could not look beyond their own bias to actually allow what Jesus said to sink into their hearts and minds.  The Jews are no different than people of today.
     Most people have no problem with God's word until it begins to touch something very close to them, or actually begins to expose something about them.  When sins or errors in teaching begin to be addressed, we lose sight of the fact that the teachings we're dealing with came from God.  Jesus tried to get those of His day to see it, and still today, it is the faithful of God who are attacked when error is exposed.
     While it is true that Jesus is at the right hand of God and not walking the earth, it is also true that He gave to His apostles what they were to teach (Mt. 28:20), and those teachings began to be proclaimed on the Day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:42)  From that time forward the Lord has called upon faithful men to uphold the authority of the word, helping the lost or erring to realize that the teachings we set forth are not from the minds of  men but from God.  Paul also affirmed this in his ministry. (Gal. 1:11,12)
     While it is true we are not apostles, we are to be faithful men, and the church is to be faithful in its service to God as well by upholding the authority of God's word.  If we are to be the mirror image of Christ, let us as Jesus, seek not our own glory, but truly seek to glorify our heavenly Father by boldly proclaiming His teachings.  Rodger

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Great Example and Pattern For Me

     I always like singing the song, "Where He Leads I'll Follow," for it reveals to us who is the true example for us to pattern our lives after.  Many like to talk about Paul, and what he meant to the early church, and the sufferings he endured for the cause of Christ.  But Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "Be ye imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ." (1 Cor. 11:1)  Paul was not bringing attention to himself with these words but to the supreme example of Jesus. 
     Peter also looks to the example of Christ as he exhorts the brethren to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.  Three times Peter looked back to the example of Jesus as He suffered in the flesh, and suffered unjustly.  As Peter speaks of the suffering endured by Jesus, he does so to impress upon his brothers and sisters in Christ the purpose of their calling is to suffer for doing what is right, and not merely suffering for deserved punishment if caught doing something wrong. (1 Pet. 2:19-25)
      Peter also uses the example of Christ to show to us where our source of strength is to be found.  While many may look to their own strengths, Christ always entrusted Himself to the Father. (1 Pet. 2:23)  If we are truly looking to Jesus as our example, we also should  entrust ourselves to a faithful Creator, our heavenly Father. (1 Pet. 4:19)
     Suffering is never joyful and we certainly don't want to suffer painful events, but there are times when we are called upon to do the right thing, we will suffer persecution in many ways.  The right we stand for is not according to worldly things but heavenly, and Peter told the brethren in so doing they will be maligned, as will we. (1 Pet. 4:4) 
     When we think of following the example of Christ it is usually in the way He loved and served people, and showed how much He cared for them.  This too, we should do, but always remember the suffering Jesus endured for us.  Shall we not as the mirror image of Christ be willing to do the same for Him?  Rodger