The Center of It All, Part 2

What the New Testament says about Him

The first four New Testament books announce: The Messiah has come! His name is Jesus!

Then Acts declares: Jesus is risen and working through His people, the church!

The next 21 books proclaim: Christ is in you, and you in Him!

And finally, Revelation: He who defeats Satan is coming again! “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (22:20).

What is He to you?

Jesus is the theme of the New Testament.

But is He the theme of your life?

Is He central to your thinking, planning, and use of time and money?

May we say with Paul: “. . . it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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The Center of It All, Part 1

Question

What one word best sums up the New Testament?

Perhaps you said “love” or “grace” or “salvation.”

Great answers! But let’s explore further.

Consider the very first verse in the New Testament: “The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1).

Now look at the last verse: “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen” (Revelation 22:21).

The emphasis

He is referred to in all but a handful of the 260 chapters of the New Testament.

He is called Jesus about 975 times, and Christ about 569 times.

He is also called Son of Man, Son of God, Lord, the Lamb, the Word, Teacher, the Nazarene, etc.

Unquestionably, He is the Centerpiece of God’s great plan.

(Continued tomorrow)

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Putting Anger in Parentheses

Caution!

Anger, like gasoline, is volatile, explosive, and dangerous. It must be handled with utmost care.

The Scriptures offer at least two guidelines for managing anger.

First, be “slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).

Second, “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity” (Ephesians 4:26-27).

Applying the brakes

While anger is not sinful in itself, it is highly likely to lead to sin.

James teaches us to have a long fuse. Paul teaches us to extinguish our anger by day’s end.

Putting these “parentheses” around anger is the effective way to control one of the most dANGERous emotions known to man.

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Old and New

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What does not last

From our backyard we can watch the demolition of a 1962 university residence hall.

Nearby is a residence hall under construction.

Someday this new facility may well be considered outdated and be replaced.

Such is life.

What does last

As a boy I heard a song on the radio called “This Ole House”—comparing the aging process to a house falling into disrepair–soon to be abandoned for something far better.

Paul wrote, “For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1).

This promise is for those who submit in obedient faith to “Jesus Christ . . . the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Is this your hope?

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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The Question

Jesus’ challenge

On several occasions in interacting with the hostile chief priests, scribes, elders, Pharisees, or Sadducees, Jesus countered them with this question: “Have you not read…?” or “Have you never read…?” (Matthew 12:3, 5; 19:4; 21:16, 42; 22:31).

In each case He referred them to a specific teaching in their Scriptures (the Old Testament).

From this we may conclude….

Jesus placed tremendous importance on the Scriptures as the authoritative word of God.

Jesus expected people to be familiar with the Scriptures.

He demonstrated that religious error should be challenged by the Scriptures.

Why would it be any different today?

“Have you not read…?”

Good question!

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Not Far

Closer than I thought

Many years ago we were at an airport to see some friends off on their trip.

It dawned on me I hadn’t seen our four-year-old Andy lately. I looked in every direction, only to realize he was standing right beside me—and I had been unconsciously patting his head all along!

Ever near

God wants people to “seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27).

“Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet” (Tennyson).

“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13-14).

He truly wants to be found.

But we must seek Him.

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Christianity is Not Natural!

Which is more natural:

To resent someone who’s hurt me, or to pray for my enemy, returning good for evil?

To love those who love me, or to love even those who are different from me or hostile toward me?

To be interested primarily in my own affairs, or to be genuinely concerned about the needs of others?

To spend my waking hours totally involved in the things of this world, or to invest considerable attention in a world beyond time and space that I cannot detect with any of my five senses?

The two choices

Christianity is not natural. It is supernatural in its origin and its orientation.

Doing what comes naturally or living by faith? Which shall we choose?

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