Sunday, November 30, 2014

Questions of Faith


Philippians 2 NKJV
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Jesus made the cross a noble way to suffer and a badge of honor or sacrifice to carry.

He "endured the cross, despising the shame," does not make the impression on our minds in regard to the nature of his sufferings, and the value of his example, which it should do.

The cross was an instrument of shame and punishment for the evils a wayward and tortured soul has committed.

Only Jesus could turn a cross into a crown.

We cannot understand the weight of a death on the cross and all it implies unless we completely divest ourselves of the images our modern day interpretation has created of everyone from the Emperor Constantine to King Richard to the Papal crown and staff which obscures its shame and reproach. Jesus despised the shame but endured the cross because of the confidence He placed in His Father.

Philippians 2 NKJV
9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

We often tout the 11th chapter of the Book of Hebrews as the “faith chapter”, and indeed that reflection has its merits. However, the real hero of faith comes after those heroes of Chapter 11 … Look with me in the next chapter:

Hebrews 12 NKJV
1 ¶ Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Note here that the word “our” is italicized. When you see a word italicized in the KJV or the NKJV, as well as some other translations, it indicates to the reader that this word was not in the original text but was added by the translators to shade the meaning in light of their personal reflections. The original better reads, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of faith …”

The concept of “author” here means originator while “finisher” denotes the one who completes and fully fulfills and therefore stands as an example in a class of their own.

Hebrews 12
3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.

  • Have you considered Him?
  • Him who endured such hostility … such contradiction …
  • Him who endured because He had such confidence in God …

Today I want to ask you Three Questions of Faith

  1. Have you been born again?
  2. Are you weary or discouraged?
  3. Will you place your trust in God?