Posts Tagged With: Christianity

Who is Jesus? The Prophet… The Priest… and the King!

One of the biggest challenges that we as believers in Christ will face today is trying to answer what would seem to be an easy question. This question is, “Who is Jesus?” Unfortunately today, “There are many misconceptions concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. False religions have portrayed Jesus Christ as everything from a space alien to merely a myth. Many people believe that Jesus was only a prophet” (Stewart). So how does one combat these misconceptions? As grandiose as many people would like to believe, not everyone that enters ministry will be the senior pastor of a mega-church. Therefore, we as Christ followers should be more realistic and error on the side of personal interaction. This begins by having full knowledge of how we would answer the question of Christ’s identify to the unbeliever on the street. Therefore, for one to truly know who Jesus is, they must come to identify Him through the offices He held. As this article will show, to know Christ is to recognize what it means for Jesus to have held the offices of the prophet, the priest, and the king.

As God’s ultimate messenger, it should come as no surprise that Jesus was labeled as a prophet. Unfortunately, today the confusion begins when man redefines the meaning of prophets to correspond with their own inability to understand. In doing so, they weaken the meaning of the term. In scripture, biblical prophets were identified as individuals whom God conveyed His message through. When looking at Christ’s role, we see that as a prophet, His public ministry was profoundly impacted. Jesus was so determined to speak to the people that He would travel from synagogue to synagogue. He did this so that He could tell of the good news of the forthcoming Kingdom. Jesus not only declared the good news, “He also challenged the sinfulness of people and their hard-heartedness against God, especially pointing out the hypocrisy of religious leaders” (Thorsen 202). Clearly, Jesus had an encouraging prophetic ministry; so prophetic that He even told of a future day when He would return. “‘My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am’” (John 14:2-3).

The priestly office of Christ was dramatically different from that of a prophet messenger. In today’s culture a priest is known as an intercessor or bridge between God and humanity. While in early biblical times, the priest was responsible for offering sacrifices to God on the behalf of others. Although different time periods, these definitions of a priest seem fitting for the sacrifice that Christ provided to atone for humanities sins. Furthermore, prior to Christ’s death, part of the Jews religious beliefs centered upon sacrificing animals. When viewing Christ as High Priest, “He actually combines two institutions of the sacrificial system: He is the priest who offers the sacrifice and He is the sacrifice. He did not enter Heaven with the blood of animals but through His own blood, and as a result, we are sanctified once and for all” (Eckman). With Christ’s atonement for our sins, the need for Levitical sacrifices to compensate for man’s sins are no longer needed. In its place, comes a new covenant relationship between God and man provided by the priestly office of our Savior Jesus Christ.

The third office that Christ holds is that of King. Unlike earthly kings that establish their reign through force and intimidation, Jesus’ rule was not established by instilling fear in the hearts of men. “His kingdom is not physical in regard to His people, but one in which they choose to become a part of His kingdom by placing themselves under His Lordship, voluntarily; turning away from serving the god of this world, Lucifer” (Renz). The reason that Christ’s kingship is so widely accepted is because it is based upon four facets of His life; His reign was predicted, presented, proclaimed, and it is preeminent. From the very beginning, the Book of Genesis predicts Christ’s birth by a woman, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15). Next, Christ’s kingship is presented numerous times in the New Testament. In fact, “Matthew refers to Jesus as king 14 times, Mark refers to Him as king 6 times, Luke refers to Him as king 5 times, and John refers to Him as king 14 times” (Renz). Thirdly, Christ Himself makes the first proclamation of His kingship in the Gospel of Mark where He claims, “‘The time has come,’ He said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’” (Mark 1:15). Last, Christ can only be our King if one makes a choice. We must allow Him to reign over our hearts by allowing Him to sit on the throne of our lives. For as the scriptures confirm, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4).

In the confines of ministry, no matter if you are a theological major or saved for only one day, there is substantial biblical evidence to support and help all Christians convey who Jesus Christ is. Yet for some reason, many still feel that they do not have the communication skills needed to minister to others. However, what they fail to realize is that, “When the gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed, it does ‘not come by itself,’ that is ‘simply with words.’ Rather, when God’s Word is preached it is accompanied by work of the Holy Spirit” (Malone). Without the Holy Spirit working inside us, no extent of eloquent words will lead men and women to an act of repentance before the Lord. Therefore, one should place less emphasis on our words trying to bring forth personal transformation, and keep in mind that the weapon we bare to wage war in the spiritual battle is the Sword of the Spirit (The Bible).

In summary, Jesus Christ has come to be identified by many different titles. And at times, some have even referred to Him as just a good man. Yet for those of us who believe in Christ, we recognize that for one to truly know who Jesus is, one must come to identify Him through the offices that He held; the offices of the prophet, the priest, and the king. Two-thousand years has passed since Jesus Christ has left this earth, yet many still do not know the answer to one of life’s most important questions, “Who is Jesus?” It is a question that even Jesus Himself asked of His own disciples, “‘But who do you say that I am?’” And while we may not have a front row seat before Jesus today, rest assured as you walk out amongst the world you will have just as many chances to answer this question. It may come in the form of your next-door neighbor, your boss, your postman, or even the barista at your local coffee house. But it will be just as important as answering it directly before Christ. The only question that remains then, when faced with these opportunities, “Who will you say that He is?”

Building HIS Kingdom One Soul at a Time…

Pastor Steve

Works Cited:
Eckman, David. “Christ the High Priest.” Whatgodintended.com. 2011. Web. April 21, 2011.

Malone, Kelly. “Evangelism and Proclaiming The Gospel of Jesus Christ In A Fallen World.” Crosswalk.com. September 07, 2007. Web. April 21, 2011.

Renz, Art. “Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” Hissheep.org. 2011. Web. April 21, 2011.

Stewart, David J. “Misconceptions Concerning Christ.” Jesus-is-savior.com. 2011. Web. April 21, 2011.

Thorsen, Don. An Exploration of Christian Theology. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2010. Print.

Categories: Jesus Christ | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Taking Back America: One Chicken Sandwich at a Time…

On August 1, 2012, Christians and same-sex marriage opponents took the streets and made there way to the nearest Chick-fil-A restaurant. While going to a fast-food restaurant usually means that you are just simply hungry, this day was to become symbolic for the day Americans across the nation decided it was now time to start taking America back. Whether they waited in the drive-thru traffic jam or stood in snaking lines leading up to the counter, each person enthusiastically awaited their turn to show their support for a company not willing to cower to political correctness.

“Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” as it was dubbed, was the idea of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. The concept was simple. Since the CEO of Chick-fil-A Dan Cathy said in an interview that he was a firm backer of traditional marriage, gay rights activists condemned him and asked for their supporters to boycott the fast-food chain. To counter these boycotts, Huckabee wrote on his Facebook page, “Let’s affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick Fil-A on Wednesday, August 1.” The result, people flooded Chick-fil-A locations across the country and used their wallets to vote showing where they stood on the same-sex marriage debate; a move that Chick-fil-A representatives now claim to be their highest grossing sales day of all time.

In a day and age where it seems that social issues are now more valued than moralistic principles, the events of this day speaks volumes to where we really are as a country. From Internet media to print newspapers, polls have been construed in an effort to mislead the facts. Readers have been deceived by polls stating “65% of Americans support gay marriage,” or even more misleading are the onslaught of Hollywood media (television, movies, etc.) shoving the gay agenda down our throats. As they try to allude to, it seems like there is this big glass of “Gay Kool-Aid” being passed around and everyone is turning gay. But what are the facts? As GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) states on their own website, “The Williams Institute released new research this week, estimating that around three and a half percent of Americans identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.” Source: http://www.glaad.org/2011/04/08/ap-quotes-anti-gay-activist-in-lgbt-population-story. So through their own admission, GLADD affirms that only a little over 3% of Americans are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. But that’s not how the media tries to convey it… now is it?

So what’s my point? Before I continue, yes, there are many rabbit-holes that this topic can lead down. And let me also state that if you are gay, lesbian, or transgendered I love you as God calls me to. But, just like a murderer, thief, adulterer etc. I do not condone your sinning ways. And no matter how you want to twist scripture to try and condone your lifestyle, the Bible is infallible. God would never declare something specifically as an abomination to Him in one book, yet mislead you to believe that an unspecific scripture can be used to wipe out the other. And just as I would say to the aforementioned people, “Then neither do I condemn you,” as Jesus declared, “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11).

The reason I entitled this article, “Taking Back America: One Chicken Sandwich at a Time…” is because I think that many Americans have come to the point that they feel like the future of this country is bleak. But if you are reading this, I want to encourage you. In biblical history, there is a great story of hope. In the days of the prophet Jonah, a revival broke out when he began preaching in Nineveh. At first, the revival started small with only the people. When it was all said and done, the king himself was eventually affected and joined in. No matter where you are politically, electing a new president or passing a new law will not bring a sense of revival to our great nation. Revival needs to start with us, God’s people. And what occurred at Chick-fil-A restaurants all over America on August 1st was a wake up call to what it means to be real followers of Jesus Christ. And how America has the capability to harness a revival in these days ahead. Essentially, with just their delicious chicken sandwich, Chick-fil-A has led the way for the next chapter to begin in America. Where we take back the values that we have slowly forgotten over the years.

But let’s not get confused. We can’t make a revival “just happen.” Revival is a work of the Holy Spirit; that’s God’s responsibility. That’s why Christ called us to, “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). We are responsible for evangelism. And preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ is our responsibility. Therefore in these days ahead, we should be praying for an awakening in our country where America turns back to God. Not the “God loves me no matter what I do” type of God that man has created, but the true God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the true God that we find in the pages of the Bible.The God that cared so much for us that He was willing to send His Son Jesus Christ to die a horrible death, and rise again from the dead three days later.

America… it’s not too late to turn back to the Lord! As evidence of the “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” shows, Americans still care for the moral well being of this country. A country founded upon Christian values and the covering of a flag that proudly waves under the motto, “In God we trust.” It is time for a spiritual awakening, and this needs to continue to be our prayer. But we need to take action and be deliberate about the work that God has given to us to do. While we may not be able to make a revival happen, we can however light the fire of evangelism; igniting the flames in our lives, in our workplace, in our schools, and in our homes. We can start asking those door-opening questions and share the love of Christ; even with those that feel we are nothing but a bunch of bigots with an archaic mindset.

Many people where misled 4-years ago by slogans we heard like, “Yes We can” or “Change We Can Believe In.” But as time has proven, these have been nothing more than empty promises and an assault on the values that this great nation was founded upon. We as followers of Christ know that we serve “The” Commander and Chief, and His promises declare, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). So in the days ahead, let’s pick up our cross daily and follow Him. Begin to fervently pray for God to do a great work of revival in our great country. And take back this nation by turning away from the dishonoring spirit that America has adopted, and refocus our eyes upon the Lord. For with Him, we know that “Yes We Can” overcome, and He offers real “Change We Can Believe In.”

Building HIS Kingdom One Soul at a Time…

Pastor Steve

Categories: National Headlines | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Are You a Lukewarm Christian?

There are very few things in life that are good when it comes to being lukewarm. For instance, we don’t hear people say, “You’d feel better if you would go take a lukewarm shower.” Or what about going out to eat? If we get our food served to us lukewarm, what do we do? We send it back if it’s not hot, or cold if that’s the way it’s supposed to be prepared. By nature, society tells us things should be hot or cold.

But for some reason, in the area of Christianity, we make excuses and try and manipulate what the scriptures convey to us. I apologize if what I’m about to say upsets you. But as a pastor, our jobs are not always meant to build you up. Sometimes we are called to steer you in the right direction when you stray off course; hence why pastors care called God’s Shepherds. The Greek Word for Pastor: ‘poimaino’ = (herdsman, a shepherd… one who cares for, feeds, guides, and protects the sheep).

Let me cut right to the heart of the matter. The Bible makes it emphatically clear; being a lukewarm Christian is NOT considered good in the eyes of the Lord. What does lukewarm Christianity look like? It’s the place that is found somewhere between being hot (on fire and living your life for what God desires) and being cold (not believing in or having no desire to follow God). One of my favorite lines comes from Pastor Craig Groeschel, “Just because it doesn’t bother you… Doesn’t mean it shouldn’t bother you.” And that’s exactly what’s occurring in society and the church today. We have become a Christian society that spends more time debating scripture and twisting it, rather than doing what it says. Instead of following God’s Word, we follow it up with, “Well the Bible doesn’t really say…” Let’s be clear, the Bible does say! In fact, in the area of lukewarm Christianity, scripture proves that Christ Himself knew that the nature of our society would pull away from God just as it is today. In fact, Jesus was so concerned that He sent a clear message to those living a lukewarm walk with God. He actually states that He would rather you and I be “cold” rather than lukewarm; and that lukewarmness is so disgusting that it makes God want to vomit. “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16).

So with that in mind, here are 10 signs you might be a lukewarm Christian…

1. You only seek God when things seem to be crashing down around you.

2. You rarely share your faith, and would have a difficult time sharing your faith if asked.

3. The acceptance of people matters more than the acceptance that God provides.

4. You come to church and “Play Christian.” But as soon as you leave, your life is really no different than others in the world.

5. Your friends would be shocked if they found out that you were a “Christian.”

6. You spend more time on Facebook rather than in His Book.

7. The Bible that you have been carrying back and forth to church still looks like you just bought it.

8. You sometimes skip saying grace before a meal while out in public because you are afraid of what others are thinking.

9. Being a Christian to you means that you want to know Christ just enough to save you from going to hell, but not so much that it means having to change your lifestyle.

10. And my all time favorite… You are more concerned with “offending people” that you don’t share your faith.

The Word of God is clear and concise on this matter. Since God’s love for us is so unfathomable, shouldn’t our love for Him be so radical and thankful for Him sending His Son to pay the ultimate price? As I have had the displeasure of seeing this country fall to the wayside by trying to remove God from all of society, I’ll be very blunt; I have no patience for “lukewarm Christians.”

Let me end with two thoughts. Christianity is not simply living a lifestyle; it is living and dying for Jesus. “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mark 8:35). For Christianity is not a brief emotional experience, it is a lifetime commitment made with our Savior Jesus Christ. “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 10:22). In this life, God denounces lukewarmness. For Him, you are either a Christian… or you’re not! Which one are you?

Building HIS Kingdom One Soul at a Time…

Pastor Steve

Categories: Daily Living | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Live Like You Were Dying

An unexpected or sudden death holds the power to shatter our world as we know it. When these events occur, not only does the loss not make any sense to us, but also we come face to face with the knowledge that life truly is not fair; and bad things do happen to good people. This sudden loss places us into a tailspin of uncertainty and vulnerability because the loss is intensified by the fact that there was no opportunity to prepare, complete unfinished business, or just say our last good-byes. It’s no wonder that those left behind are overwhelmed with feelings of depression, shock, anger, hopelessness, and guilt. But what about you? How much time do you spend thinking about your own mortality?

If suddenly you realized your last day on this earth was today, would you regret how you have spent your time in the past? What about how you are spending it now? Sure, things like playing video games, surfing the Internet, or reading the latest celebrity gossip magazine can be fun. However, as your last hour approaches, how much comfort are you going to find in the knowledge of how you once wasted your time?

Most of us live our lives with the mindset that we will live to a ripe old age; but the reality is, we don’t know where we are in our own life’s cycle. Maybe we’re a young teen, or a sassy thirty-something. We could live to be 100; or we could go tomorrow. The reality is, we just don’t know. And some of us may be further along in our life story than we realize. Which brings us to ask ourselves, “Now that I am a follower of Christ, what purpose does God have in mind for me?” Better yet, when I do leave this earth, “How will God judge me?

No matter who you are, we all have a self-loving narcissist side to us. We gather our possessions, puff up our chest with our job and education accomplishments and live the lie that this is what life’s all about. *Pop*! Let me be the first to burst your bubble. If we consider ourselves to be devout followers of Jesus Christ then in life only one thing matters. We walk this earth for one thing and one thing only; to bring glory to God- “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31) – nothing more, nothing less.

Today, the human race has been led farther and father away from God’s perfect plan. We live in a culture that makes us feel obsolete if we don’t measure up or obtain those things that we “must have” to feel successful. Instead of living a life set apart for God, our media tells us to look at another person’s success and say, “I need that to feel better about myself.” This is not what God has called us to desire and seek for our own lives. Instead, God desires for us to turn away from the trappings of this world and say, “Lord, use me! How can I best glorify You with my life?”

There’s no question, nothing’s for sure in this life other than death and taxes. When God decides it’s time for our last curtain call, are you going to feel more pleased standing before God in judgment saying, “Look at all the things I’ve amassed while on this earth.” Or are you going to be more gratified to stand before our Father while giving a testimony for all the occasions of spirit filled living when you have obeyed Christ? Won’t you be more proud of those times in your life that you spent in prayer, reading the scriptures, evangelizing, worshipping, and serving our Father in Heaven? I’ll be the first to admit I like nice things. But at the end of the day, they mean nothing to me. What matters most to me is the rewards that God says I will receive in Heaven. And while hearing “Nice House or Nice Car” can stroke your ego. No words of affirmation are going to hold a candle to hearing God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:23).

Building HIS Kingdom One Soul at a Time,

Pastor Steve

Categories: Daily Living, Judgement | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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