Monday, July 10, 2017

Responding To Christ

What is your relationship like with Christ? How do you truly view your Savior? It is one thing to say that you love the Lord Jesus, but how do you truly respond to Him? We live amongst an anemic Christianity. Worldliness abounds with many Christians! The world's allurements take precedence over church attendance and Christian fellowship. Many Christians think and live like the world; a system that is antagonistic to God's Word. Why are our churches and so many Christians so weak and ineffective for Christ? It all comes down to how we truly view our savior. 

Let us notice several responses to Christ from the Scriptures. We will notice several Old Testament responses to a preincarnate Christ, and then a few examples from the New Testament. I want you to pay particular attention to how these people responded to their encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Old Testament Encounters With The Preincarnate Christ:

Joshua 5:13-15

Joshua, while on a reconnaissance mission before the Battle of Jericho, was confronted with a man holding a sword in his hand.  Joshua asks if the man is for them or for their adversaries. And the mysterious man answers that he is none other than the "Captain of the host of the Lord." Joshua comes to realize that he is confronted with Deity. Notice carefully the two responses of Joshua. 1) he fell on his face! 2) He asks at the end of verse 14, "What saith my lord unto his servant?"  Joshua humbles himself and surrenders to the Lord's will. Joshua came to see that the preincarnate Lord would lead them to victory!

Isaiah 6

Isaiah had a vision where he saw the Lord high & lifted up in the Temple.  He saw a veiled yet glorious appearing of the preincarnate Jesus Christ. We know from John 12:37-43 that Isaiah saw Jesus. Notice that the hem or border of his royal garment filled the Temple (v.1). In v.4 "the house was filled with smoke." This smoke was the shekinah glory of God. We see this same image in heaven in Revelation 15:8, "And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from His power; and no man was able to enter into the Temple, till the seven plaques of the seven angels were fulfilled." Isaiah was overwhelmed by his vision.  Isaiah was reminded of who was the true King and Judge of Israel for King Uzziah has just died. And how did Isaiah respond to all of this? 

V.5, "Woe is me! for I am undone (ruined); because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." 

Do you think Isaiah just thought to himself; "How nice, wow!, What a vision," and just went on like nothing really happened? Of course not! This vision changed and challenged him. We are then told in v.8 that he answered God's call by exclaiming, "Here am I, send me." He was called to a difficult mission for God, but he was equipped by God and energized by his greater understanding of who was leading him!

Ezekiel 1:26-28
At Ezekiel's calling, he saw a vision of the glorious Christ in all His brightness and glory. He was a captive in Babylon. And as he was by the river Chebar God gave him a great vision. He heard a voice from the heavenly throne and saw an amazing sight. The description of the preincarnate Christ here reminds us of John's vision of Christ in Revelation chapter one. What an amazing sight!  And how did Ezekiel respond in v.28? "And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake."  Again we see, when confronted by the glory of Christ, Ezekiel humbles himself and surrenders to the Lord's will! 

New Testament Encounters With Christ:

Luke 5:1-9
Early in Christ’s ministry he returns to Galilee after His "time of temptation" in the wilderness and he extends a call to Peter, James, and John. Jesus was teaching at the sea of Galilee and a large crowd gathered to hear Him speak causing him to enter into Peter’s boat. There, He could better speak to the crowd. When he was done with His teaching, he instructed Peter to launch out further into the lake and to drop their nets. Peter tells Jesus that they fished all night with no success. They were experienced fisherman! Jesus was not an experienced fisherman by trade, Yet, Peter obeyed and dropped the nets. You remember the rest of the story. They caught an unbelievable amount of fish. So much so that the weight of the great catch almost caused to fishing boats to sink. How did Peter respond? Luke 5:8  "When Simon Peter saw this, he fell down at Jesus' knees and said, "Leave me, Lord! I am a sinful man!"

John 1:19-30
John the Baptist was the forerunner of Christ. His ministry was to prepare the way for Israel to accept Jesus as the Messiah. John the Baptist was a great man. This fact was proclaimed by Christ Himself. Yet, John understood his position under the greatness of Christ! Notice a few of his statements. V.27- "He it is (referring to Christ), who is coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose." V.29- "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."  John the Baptist clearly understood and regognized the greatness of Christ and responded appropriately!

Revelation 1:9-20
By this time, John is the only remaining Apostle. He is banished to the small Island of Patmos, a small barren Island found in the Aegean Sea. In v.10 Christ summons the aged Apostle with a great voice as of a trumpet! In v.12 John turns to see who is talking to him and what a sight he sees! He sees the Lord Jesus Christ walking in the midst of the churches. But he also sees the Lord Jesus in a most spectacular way! Remember that John is the man who was apart of Jesus' "inner circle" along with James and Peter. John was also the one to relax in the lap of Jesus. John knew Jesus well, but he never saw Jesus like this in all His Glory! Read the passage to see this glorious sight. And how did John respond? V.17- He fell at Jesus' feet as dead! 

Do you notice a pattern yet? When confronted with the greatness of Christ, these men all fell on their faces with great humility! The only exception above is John the Baptist, but it is clear that he too responded with great humility! 

Friends, we cannot take Christ lightly! You and I can now understand the glory and greatness of Christ through  a completed Bible, a privilege that our above characters did not have! The responses of these men is quite instructive. Are you willing to learn from them?

We must see our majestic Lord as He really is! In all His Beauty, Majesty, Holiness, Power, Authority, and Sovereignty!  How could we ever take Him lightly? Or ignore His Instructions, or some how think that we know more than Him or think that we can run our lives better than He can!  We must remember who has full authority and right to our lives, and to remember that we will stand before Him in that future day to give an account, and that we all need to keep looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our Faith in order to keep us in the perfect will of God so that we will truly glorify Him in all that we do!    

May we have the heart of John the Baptist when he stated that "He (Christ) must increase and I must decrease." How do you view Christ? Are you revering Him? Surrendering to Him and His will? Obeying His Word? The greatest medicine for the soul is Jesus Christ!

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