Are You Really Living?

 

Hey everyone! How are you? I hope all is well!

Today’s blog post is a little longer than usual.

Here is the audio for the message I preached on Sunday @ New Hope Community Church in West Covina. I wasn’t able to get the video but here is the audio you can listen to and my sermon transcript. I hope you are blessed by it!

My preaching went well, thanks for the prayers everyone! Glory to God always. I definitely enjoy preparing a sermon and preaching! Hoping to do it more often. 😀

Listen to it online here: Are You Really Living?

ARE YOU REALLY LIVING?

This is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

The High Priestly Prayer

17 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

John 17:1-3 (ESV)

INTRODUCTION

I would like to begin today by asking you a question. Are you living or existing? You see there is a difference. The vast majority of people on earth today are existing. They are waking up in the morning, going to work or school, keeping house, whatever the case may be. They are going about their business but they have no real sense of purpose in their lives. Their happiness and fulfillment in life depends largely on their circumstances or their achievements. If they were completely honest with themselves they would have to admit that inside they are empty. That is existing.

“There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus”

Blaise Pascal (French Mathematician, Philosopher and Physicist, 1623-1662)

Saint Augustine in his Confessions states “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”

Christ came however that we might have life and have it more abundant (John 10:10). If we are going to experience this kind of real life we must look to Jesus the source of life.

Jesus said in John 14:6, ““I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

In John 17 Jesus is at the end of his life. He is facing the cross. He uttered these words either on his way to Gethsemene or in the upper room. This chapter is known as the High Priestly prayer of Jesus. In this first verse Jesus begins to look to God as he faces his hour of darkness. Jesus is about to suffer. Jesus is the suffering servant of Isa. 53, don’t read it now but make a note and take a look at it later.

In this text we see how Jesus lived.

READ v1

I asked the question, “are you living or just existing?” The answer to that question can be determined by three questions based on our text.

I. ARE YOU LIVING WITH A DEPENDENCE ON THE FATHER

As Jesus entered his hour of trial the bible says, “He lifted up his eyes to Heaven and said, “Father”. Jesus didn’t look at his outward circumstances and try to figure a way out. He didn’t even look inward for answers, even though he was the Son of God. He looked upward to Heaven, to the one He knew as His Father.

Jesus lived with complete dependence, not on his own person, or his own humanity, but complete trust and dependence on the Father.

One of the most eye opening verses I have ever read is John 5:30. There Jesus says, “I can of myself do nothing”. Every person Jesus ever healed when he was on the earth, every sermon he ever preached, every temptation he ever overcame, he did it not by trusting in who he was as the Son of God, but by depending on the Fathers strength and guidance.

If Jesus who is God’s Son could “Of himself do nothing” how much more can we of ourselves do nothing. Think about that. The problem with many Christians (including myself) today and churches is that we are depending primarily on our own natural abilities, our reasoning abilities, our talents, our education, our financial resources to accomplish God’s work. And we of ourselves are doing nothing. We are existing by and large completely in the natural. But when we live with this dependence upon God that Jesus lived with, the natural begins to give way to the supernatural and God begins to work.

I read all of the texts where the bible says Jesus “lifted up his eyes”. One time he lifted up his eyes to God and he stuck his fingers in a deaf mans ears and the man received his hearing. On another occasion he lifted up his eyes in dependence upon God and thanked God and called Lazarus forth from the grave. On another occasion he lifted up his eyes to God and took two small fishes and five loaves and fed thousands of people.

The life that is lived in dependence upon God experiences the supernatural power of God. Can you say this about your life. I’m not asking if you have healed anyone lately or turned water into wine. I am asking if you can look at your life and say God gave me victory over this temptation, Only God could have done it, God had his hand upon me and touched the lives of others and I know it was God that did it. Can we say this about our church.

We forfeit God’s power when we substitute dependence upon Him with dependence upon ourselves, other people, or other resources. One of the Popes invited a theologian to the Vatican. Sitting amongst all the treasures of the church the Pope said, “the church can no longer say silver and gold have I none”. To that the theologian replied sadly, “yes but neither can she say in the name of Jesus of Nazereth rise and walk.”

We must take our eyes off of the natural, off of that which can be seen, and lift our eyes in faith to Heaven.

Jesus lived with a dependence upon the Father. The second question we might ask to ascertain whether or not we are Living is:

II. DO YOU LIVE WITH A SENSE OF DIVINE DESTINY

Jesus said, “the hour has come”. This is an interesting phrase that Jesus uses in this gospel. At the beginning of his ministry at a wedding feast his mother wanted him to show himself as the Messiah and he said,”my hour has not yet come”. On another occasion his brothers urged him to go to the feast of tabernacles if he was really who he thought he was and show himself as messiah. He said then, “my time is not yet come.” What was Jesus’ time, his hour? It was his hour to be glorified and to glorify God. What Mary and Jesus’ brothers didn’t know was that Jesus would be glorified and would glorify God through a bloody cross and the resurrection. But Jesus knew. He knew that he had come for the purpose of dying for the sins of the world. He had a sense of purpose of destiny, and everything that he did and said led to that moment, that hour. And now the hour had come. Jesus’ life was one of direction, and purpose, and divine destiny.

One of the most miserable ways to live is to live aimlessly without real ultimate purpose, not really knowing ultimately why we are here. One of the greatest things that happened to me when God really began to move in my life was when I was 14 and all of a sudden I began to have purpose in my life. God brought salvation to my life. I started experiencing what it means to have eternal life and know the One True God. Life is more than just getting a good job, trying to achieve, to feel good about yourself, just existing, drifting. 

God wants all of us to live with a sense of divine destiny. Why are you here? Why are you a member of this Church? Because you like the children’s program, good. Because your family belongs here, great. But God has a greater purpose for you in the body of Christ. He wants to use you. He has a nitch for you in His body. He has given you a gift, a divine ability to carry out the purpose that He has for your life.

Some people don’t believe they have a spiritual gift, but thats not what the bible says. “Each one has been given a manifestation of the Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:7). I believe that if a person will honestly ask God to show him or her what His purpose is for him or her in the body of Christ, and how He’s gifted them, He will be faithful to reveal that to them. It may require you to step out in faith and try something you’ve never done before. It may stretch you, it may cause you to risk failure. But God will be faithful. He will show you. The truth is, He is more interested in revealing your purpose in His body than you and I are in knowing it.

Jesus lived with a sense of divine destiny. Do you? The third and final question we might ask to determine whether or not we are really living is:

III. ARE YOU LIVING WITH A DESIRE TO GLORIFY GOD

As he faced the cross Jesus prayed, “glorify Your Son that Your Son also may glorify You.” Jesus’ overarching desire in life and in death was to glorify the Father. To “glorify” God means to give glory to Him. The word glory as related to God in the Old Testament bears with it the idea of greatness of splendor. In the New Testament, the word translated “glory” means “dignity, honor, praise and worship.” Putting the two together, we find that glorifying God means to acknowledge His greatness and give Him honor by praising and worshiping Him, primarily because He, and He alone, deserves to be praised, honored and worshipped. God’s glory is the essence of His nature, and we give glory to Him by recognizing that essence. To glorify God is to extol His attributes—His holiness, faithfulness, mercy, grace, love, majesty, sovereignty, power, and omniscience, to name a few—rehearsing them over and over in our minds and telling others about the singular nature of the salvation only He offers. Jesus experienced both. In his life he revealed the presence of God. He was the image of the unseen God. When people saw him they saw the Father. But his desire was that through the glory the Father gave to Him, He might use it to bring praise and honor to the Father. Even in death he sought the glory of the Father, or shall I say especially through death.

I heard a story of a missionary family in China during the Boxer rebellion in 1900. In the Boxer rebellion a group of native Chineese began to murder Christians. This women wrote a letter telling about how terrifying her families life had become. They never knew when the banging on the door would come and they would be taken out and murdered. She prayed that they would only take her daughter first so she wouldn’t have to witness the killing of her parents. At the end of the letter she wrote. I only ask that God’s will be done and no matter what happens that he be glorified.

The desire to glorify God can be costly but it is very liberating. The opposite of the desire to glorify God is selfishness. The selfish life is a miserable life. Things wont always go our way, circumstances of life will assuredly change, people don’t always treat us as we think we should be treated and this make us miserable if we are primarily living for self.

But when we can honestly say,“Lord no matter what happens to me, whether I live or die, whether I am treated fairly or unfairly, whether I endure affliction or comfort, Lord you be glorified in it”, when this is our desire we are free of the misery of selfishness.

This is what Jesus means when he says, “Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Are you living or existing? Are you living with a dependence on the Father? Are you Living with a Sense of destiny? Are you living with a desire to glorify the Lord?

Conclusion.

In light of the questions above, let’s summarize by looking at the finished work of Jesus–the gospel, in this passage, called “the hour for which he came”, his dying on the cross.  My question for you is where do we find the power and motivation to live in dependence on the Father, for his purposes, and with the desire for his glory?

Jesus, he would die to give eternal life, and eternal life means knowing “you the only true God”.  Jesus himself demonstrates what it means to know God the father in this way–he addresses God as Father, or “Abba” in the Aramaic, which is, as you know, the intimate term of a child uses to address their father.  It means intimacy, trust, acceptance, and love.  The Jews never used this term to address God, but Jesus shows us a new way to enjoy the Fatherhood of God, through his work on the cross.

“know and enjoy God this way, and you will delight to live in dependence on him.  You will be eager to embrace his purpose for you, which is to make the possibility of this relationship with God known to others.  You will increasingly desire his glory to be seen through your life…”

Amen! Let’s pray!

Always, for God’s glory and our joy in Him!

Kevin Nunez

Speak, O Lord

 

Hey everyone! How are you? I hope all is well!

Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

Psalm 25:4-5 ESV

I’m excited! 😀 I will be preaching this morning at my church, New Hope Community Church of West Covina. I will try to record video of it but if not the audio will be up on my church’s website and I’ll forward it on here.

This is my prayer in song as I prepare to preach this morning.

“Speak, O Lord” is written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend and simply asks God to speak through his Word. Here is the video and the lyrics to it:

Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes for Your glory.

Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility;
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of pow’r that can never fail—
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us—
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we’ll stand on Your promises,
And by faith we’ll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory.

In this video  you will also hear the songwriters speak a little bit about it.

Always, for God’s glory and our joy in Him!

Kevin Nunez

INCARNATION: GOD SENT HIS SON, TO SAVE US

 

Hey everyone! How are you? I hope all is well!

Here we are continuing our discussion on J.I. Packer’s Concise Theology.

Understanding basic theological truths is important in the life of the believer. Again I reiterate what J.I Packer says,

theology is for doxology and devotion—that is, the praise of God and the practice of godliness. “

INCARNATION

GOD SENT HIS SON, TO SAVE US

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

JOHN 1:14

Trinity and Incarnation belong together. The doctrine of the Trinity declares that the man Jesus is truly divine; that of the Incarnation declares that the divine Jesus is truly human. Together they proclaim the full reality of the Savior whom the New Testament sets forth, the Son who came from the Father’s side at the Father’s will to become the sinner’s substitute on the cross (Matt. 20:28; 26:36-46; John 1:29; 3:13-17; Rom. 5:8; 8:32; 2 Cor. 5:19-21; 8:9; Phil. 2:5-8).

The moment of truth regarding the doctrine of the Trinity came at the Council of Nicaea (a.d. 325), when the church countered the Arian idea that Jesus was God’s first and noblest creature by affirming that he was of the same “substance” or “essence” (i.e., the same existing entity) as the Father. Thus there is one God, not two; the distinction between Father and Son is within the divine unity, and the Son is God in the same sense as the Father is. In saying that Son and Father are “of one substance,” and that the Son is “begotten” (echoing “only-begotten,” John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18, and niv text notes) but “not made,” the Nicene Creed unequivocally recognized the deity of the man from Galilee.

A crucial event for the church’s confession of the doctrine of the Incarnation came at the Council of Chalcedon (a.d. 451), when the church countered both the Nestorian idea that Jesus was two personalities—the Son of God and a man—under one skin, and the Eutychian idea that Jesus’ divinity had swallowed up his humanity. Rejecting both, the council affirmed that Jesus is one divine-human person in two natures (i.e., with two sets of capacities for experience, expression, reaction, and action); and that the two natures are united in his personal being without mixture, confusion, separation, or division; and that each nature retained its own attributes. In other words, all the qualities and powers that are in us, as well as all the qualities and powers that are in God, were, are, and ever will be really and distinguishably present in the one person of the man from Galilee. Thus the Chalcedonian formula affirms the full humanity of the Lord from heaven in categorical terms.

The Incarnation, this mysterious miracle at the heart of historic Christianity, is central in the New Testament witness. That Jews should ever have come to such a belief is amazing. Eight of the nine New Testament writers, like Jesus’ original disciples, were Jews, drilled in the Jewish axiom that there is only one God and that no human is divine. They all teach, however, that Jesus is God’s Messiah, the Spirit-annointed son of David promised in the Old Testament (e.g., Isa. 11:1-5; Christos, “Christ,” is Greek for Messiah). They all present him in a threefold role as teacher, sin-bearer, and ruler—prophet, priest, and king. And in other words, they all insist that Jesus the Messiah should be personally worshiped and trusted—which is to say that he is God no less than he is man. Observe how the four most masterful New Testament theologians (John, Paul, the writer of Hebrews, and Peter) speak to this.

John’s Gospel frames its eyewitness narratives (John 1:14; 19:35; 21:24) with the declarations of its prologue (1:1-18): that Jesus is the eternal divine Logos (Word), agent of Creation and source of all life and light (vv. 1-5, 9), who through becoming “flesh” was revealed as Son of God and source of grace and truth, indeed as “God the only begotten” (vv. 14, 18; niv text notes). The Gospel is punctuated with “I am” statements that have special significance because I am (Greek: ego eimi) was used to render God’s name in the Greek translation of Exodus 3:14; whenever John reports Jesus as saying ego eimi, a claim to deity is implicit. Examples of this are John 8:28, 58, and the seven declarations of his grace as (a) the Bread of Life, giving spiritual food (6:35, 48, 51); (b) the Light of the World, banishing darkness (8:12; 9:5); (c) the gate for the sheep, giving access to God (10:7, 9); (d) the Good Shepherd, protecting from peril (10:11, 14); (e) the Resurrection and Life, overcoming our death (11:25); (f) the Way, Truth, and Life, guiding to fellowship with the Father (14:6); (g) the true Vine, nurturing for fruitfulness (15:1, 5). Climactically, Thomas worships Jesus as “my Lord and my God” (20:28). Jesus then pronounces a blessing on all who share Thomas’s faith and John urges his readers to join their number (20:29-31).

Paul quotes from what seems to be a hymn that declares Jesus’ personal deity (Phil. 2:6); states that “in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Col. 2:9; cf. 1:19); hails Jesus the Son as the Father’s image and as his agent in creating and upholding everything (Col. 1:15-17); declares him to be “Lord” (a title of kingship, with divine overtones), to whom one must pray for salvation according to the injunction to call on Yahweh in Joel 2:32 (Rom. 10:9-13); calls him “God over all” (Rom. 9:5) and “God and Savior” (Titus 2:13); and prays to him personally (2 Cor. 12:8-9), looking to him as a source of divine grace (2 Cor. 13:14). The testimony is explicit: faith in Jesus’ deity is basic to Paul’s theology and religion.

The writer to the Hebrews, purporting to expound the perfection of Christ’s high priesthood, starts by declaring the full deity and consequent unique dignity of the Son of God (Heb. 1:3, 6, 8-12), whose full humanity he then celebrates in chapter 2. The perfection, and indeed the very possibility, of the high priesthood that he describes Christ as fulfilling depends on the conjunction of an endless, unfailing divine life with a full human experience of temptation, pressure, and pain (Heb. 2:14-17; 4:14–5:2; 7:13-28; 12:2-3).

Not less significant is Peter’s use of Isaiah 8:12-13 (1 Pet. 3:14). He cites the Greek (Septuagint) version, urging the churches not to fear what others fear but to set apart the Lord as holy. But where the Septuagint text of Isaiah says, “Set apart the Lord himself,” Peter writes, “Set apart Christ as Lord” (1 Pet. 3:15). Peter would give the adoring fear due to the Almighty to Jesus of Nazareth, his Master and Lord.

The New Testament forbids worship of angels (Col. 2:18; Rev. 22:8-9) but commands worship of Jesus and focuses consistently on the divine-human Savior and Lord as the proper object of faith, hope, and love here and now. Religion that lacks these emphases is not Christianity. Let there be no mistake about that!

Source: Packer, J. I. Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1993.

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Always, for God’s glory and our joy in Him!

Kevin Nunez

PROPHETS: GOD SENT MESSENGERS TO DECLARE HIS WILL

 

Hey everyone! How are you? I hope all is well!

Here we are continuing our discussion on J.I. Packer’s Concise Theology.

Understanding basic theological truths is important in the life of the believer. Again I reiterate what J.I Packer says,

theology is for doxology and devotion—that is, the praise of God and the practice of godliness. “

PROPHETS

GOD SENT MESSENGERS TO DECLARE HIS WILL

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.

DEUTERONOMY 18:18

The canonical prophets, whose books make up over a quarter of the Old Testament, were called by God to be organs and channels of revelation. They were men of God who stood in his council (Jer. 23:22), knew his mind, and were enabled to declare it. God the Holy Spirit spoke in and through them (2 Pet. 1:19-21; Isa. 61:1; Mic. 3:8; Acts 28:25-27; 1 Pet. 1:10-12). They knew he was doing so; hence they dared to start messages with “this is what the Lord says” or “an oracle of the Lord,” and to present Yahweh himself as the speaker of what they were saying.

Prophecy involved prediction (foretelling), but usually this was done in a context of declaring God’s warnings and exhortations to his covenant people here and now (forth-telling). The predictions had to do with the coming of God’s king and kingdom after purging judgments; the prophets’ chief concern was to exhort to repentance, in hope that for the present the judgments might be averted. They were primarily reformers, enforcing God’s law and recalling God’s people to the covenant faithfulness from which they should never have lapsed.

With their preaching to the nation went prayer for the nation: they talked to God about people just as earnestly as they talked to people about God, and they fulfilled a unique ministry as intercessors (Exod. 32:30-32 [Moses]; 1 Sam. 7:5-9; 12:19-23 [Samuel]; 2 Kings 19:4 [Isaiah]; cf. Jer. 7:16; 11:14; 14:11).

False prophets were a bane to Israel. Professionally linked with Israel’s organized worship, they said what people wanted to hear and spoke their own dreams and opinions rather than words of God (1 Kings 22:1-28; Jer. 23:9-40; Ezek. 13).

In the New Testament, one book, Revelation, announces itself as a true and trustworthy prophecy, received directly from God (actually, from God the Father through Jesus Christ: Rev. 1:1-3; 22:12-20). The ministry of the apostles brought instruction directly from God to his people, just as the Old Testament prophetic ministry had done, though the form of presentation was different. Prophets of the New Testament period were linked with the apostles in the foundation of the church (Eph. 2:20; 3:5) as expositors of the fulfillment in Christ of Old Testament hopes (Rom. 16:25-27). The book of Hebrews may well be an example of this kind of prophetic ministry.

Source: Packer, J. I. Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1993.

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Always, for God’s glory and our joy in Him!

Kevin Nunez

Jesus Died For Me

 

Hey everyone! How are you? I hope all is well!

My entire theology can be condensed into four words: “Jesus died for me.”

-Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892), pastor, New Park Street Chapel, London

.

Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you–unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place. I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said.

1 Corinthians 15:3 NLT

The word here means the “glad announcement,” or the “good news” about the coming of the Messiah, his life, and sufferings, and death, and especially his resurrection. The main subject to which Paul refers in this chapter is the resurrection, but he includes in the word gospel. Here, the doctrine that he died for sins, and was buried, as well as the doctrine of his resurrection.

The doctrine of Christ’s death and resurrection, is the foundation of Christianity. Remove this, and all our hopes for eternity sink at once. And it is by holding this truth firm, that Christians stand in the day of trial, and are kept faithful to God. We believe in vain, unless we keep in the faith of the gospel. All true Christians believe that Jesus Christ, and him crucified, and then risen from the dead, is the sun and substance of Christianity.

The Messiah, The Lord Jesus, died as an expiatory offering on account of our sins. They caused his death; for them he shed his blood; to make expiation for them, and to wipe them away, he died on the cross. This passage is full proof that Christ did not die merely as a martyr, but that his death was to make atonement for sin. That he died as an atoning sacrifice, or as a vicarious offering.

Keeping the main thing the main thing is really important! Let’s be gospel-centered!

If there’s anything in life that we should be passionate about, it’s the gospel. And I don’t mean passionate only about sharing it with others. I mean passionate in thinking about it, dwelling on it, rejoicing in it, allowing it to color the way we look at the world.

C.J. Mahaney The Cross Centered Life (2002)

Always, for God’s glory and our joy in Him!

Kevin Nunez