November 18th, 2015

The Bible is not a collection of outdated, unreliable writings. It has been miraculously preserved and transmitted through centuries to reach us as a reliable and relevant guide to life. it’s still on the cutting edge and always will be.

 

Click on this link to see.

How we Got our BIble

 

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November 11th, 2015

Hi Friend,

Here’s a resource to take you further in hearing God’s voice more clearly. Let me know how it goes.

Click on the link below:

sound of His voice booklet2

Thanks & God bless.

Ed

 

 

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September 16th, 2015

Two useful things to know about God before praying

  1. He is so much bigger than we are. Consider this scripture that reveals the heat of God towards us:

Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,

So, asking for a ‘little’ does not prove to God that we are humble, and the more we receive from God, the more He appreciates it. Remember ‘great faith’ receives a lot, ‘little faith’ just a little. Wow! God is a big thinker, so let’s not ‘limit’ Him with our small thinking.

  1. He is also so much better than we are:

Matthew 7:11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

No sane father on earth will do damage to his kid (for example, break a leg) to keep them in line or teach them a lesson. If they do, we usually lock them up if we catch them. Yet some folk, bless their hearts and stupid heads, accuse God of doing such to His children.

God is so much better than we make Him out to be. A simple look into the life and ministry of Jesus proves that.

So, we are to ask our good Father for good things: He loves it when we do.

 

 

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September 8th, 2015

If it is Finished What is There Left to Do?

 

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. John 19:30

 

When Jesus uttered these climatic words on the cross at the hinge point of history, little did His onlookers appreciate the impact they would have on your life and mine. He had just achieved all that you and I need to walk free from sin and its consequences. He had lived the sinless life, and had been the perfect sacrifice to satisfy God’s demands. His work was finished! Today, as far as pleasing God is concerned, there is nothing left to do except trust Him in faith. So your Christian life begins with a big “Done”, not a long “To Do” list of religious observances. Jesus has done it all, and when we trust in Him we are completely acceptable to God.

Put it this way: does your behavior qualify you to believe, or does your belief impact your behavior? God positions you in Christ, then your Christian practice flows out of this new place of favor and blessing. Your heart has to be changed, then your hand will do what God wants. Your conduct depends on your calling, not the other way round. In learning to walk free, don’t get the cart before the horse! The Bible way is to work things from the inside out, not from the outside in. Receive into your heart all that Jesus has already done, then act out what is on the inside. This is the heart of what is described in the Bible as the ‘new creation’.

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August 17th, 2015

Jesus Manifested His Father’s Name

John 17:6
6 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world.

When Jesus prayed to His Father He talked about His mission to manifest God’s name to those the Father had given Him. His disciples had asked that He show them the ‘Father’ (John 14:8-9). His answer to them was: ‘He who has seen me has seen the Father’. Jesus and the Father were and still are one.

In the ancient record there is a progressive revelation of God’s name from the time of Adam through Noah to Abraham and Moses to David and finally to Jesus.

God was introduced as ‘Elohim’ the great creator and supreme God or deity. Then as the mighty protector and provider ‘El Shaddai’ – the God who is more than enough for any need. Then with Moses God reveals Himself as Jehovah / Yahweh – the covenant making and keeping redeemer of His people. Finally, Jesus revealed God in a fresh new way with great significance for us today. He revealed His name as ‘Abba Father’ showing us that God is undoubtedly relational and personal. He wants us to see Him as our Father, up close and personal and not as some deity who is aloof and distant.

Most religious people I have come across have just a little understanding of who God is, and tend to think of God as somewhat old aged, harsh and someone to be scared of, not knowing quite what He is going to do next. Yet Jesus came to clearly manifest (reveal) His name to us. Jesus was God in the flesh – altogether alive in our midst for all to see for themselves.

John 14:9
9 He who has seen Me has seen the Father…

For the believer today God has sent forth His Spirit into our hearts crying out ‘Abba, Father’. This is the Spirit Jesus Himself had, which He now imparts to us.

Galatians 4:6-7
6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

We even enjoy the huge benefit of being heirs of God through Christ. This means that we inherit along with Christ as ‘joint heirs’ (Romans 8:17) all that the Father has intended for His children: first, His favor here on earth, and second the wonderful enjoyment of His presence for eternity in the hereafter.

In God’s eyes at least (until we see His relationship with us in family terms) we are fully accepted into His family on the basis of birth and not our efforts, large or small, to prove to Him that we are worthy of acceptance.

Jesus began introducing God as our Father when He taught the disciples to address God as their ‘Father’ in what some call the Lord’s Prayer.

Matthew 6:9
9 In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.

Notice that Jesus teaches that God is ‘our’ Father, collectively binding us together in a shared family environment. In our modern and often fractured society this truth is largely lost as many struggle to survive without the support of a loving extended family. Thankfully in these prophetic end times (Malachi 4:5-6) God is turning the hearts of the ‘fathers’ towards their ‘sons’ and vice versa, and the church is beginning more and more to function as the ‘family of God’. More and more we are becoming properly ordered, governed and connected to one another in loving respect and honor.

In Christ we have found a place of secure ‘belonging’ and identity. No longer do we have to lean on the frail natural human heritage that we have: our natural family name, position in society, education etc. We now know God in a personally relevant way. In fact the ‘eternal’ life that Jesus came to give us (John 10:10) is defined in terms of knowing God.

John 17:1-3
17:1 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (Emphasis added).

Eternal life is therefore not defined as a very long stretched out period of time where believers spend eons of time waving some proverbial ‘palm frond’. Rather eternity is a quality of life where we enjoy eternal security in the personal and intimate knowledge of God as ‘Father’. That is the cry of the Spirit we should listen for in our hearts. Our faith is intensely relational. Jesus made that clear when he manifested God’s name to us.

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July 6th, 2015

 

Communion: The Intended Blessing

God’s heart or delight is to bless man so much with His goodness that we all turn to Him (repent) with a heart of thankfulness for having forgiven us of all our sins and begin to adore Him in worship for His holiness.

The first thing to recognize is that He is full of goodness to give! Unfortunately, many have a warped understanding of God: that He is looking down on us, waiting for us to slip up so that He can punish us in some way. This cannot be further from the truth.

The wonderful truth in the record shows that the punishment for our sin has already fallen on Jesus at the cross. He has already suffered in our place and paid the price for our salvation. The just claims of God have already met!

The way is now open for all mankind to receive God’s abundant forgiveness and blessing as His free gift to us…this is the good news that we spread.

‘With Fervent Desire’

Jesus made this remarkable statement when He celebrated what has been called the ‘Last Supper’ or Passover on earth with His disciples:

Luke 22:14-15
14 When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. 15 Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; …

He had celebrated at least two other Passover meals with them before, but His focus and fervent desire had all along been on this one. He knew He was about to suffer for them and us at the cross, and knew that His substitutionary sacrifice would open the way into the Father’s presence in a brand new way never experienced before.

He was fulfilling prophecy before their eyes, and was totally committed to establishing a permanent relationship with His disciples. His death would lead to their life for eternity and His desire for this was rooted in all consuming love. He ‘burned’ to consummate His life’s work with the greatest act of love ever, and so He sat with them and shared these moments of intimacy just before His betrayal.
The disciples had only to receive what He was to about to do. At this point none of them comprehended the magnitude of God’s love about to be poured out on them, yet He pursued them nevertheless. This is the heart of God: He pursues, we eventually respond.

God’s goodness must be received, for He will not force His will on anyone. The following scriptures highlight God’s goodness towards us.

Psalm 86:15
15 But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious,
Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.

John 1:12
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:

Romans 2:3-4
4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

Romans 5:16-17
17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 3:9
9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

1 John 4:9
9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.

Each scripture describes some benefit that we enjoy because of God’s love for us.
God’s nature and will are perfectly made manifest to us in the person and work of Jesus. Jesus said that if you have seen Him, you have seen the Father (John 14:9). At the Last Supper When He blessed the bread, broke it and then gave it to His disciples, He was in essence giving Himself to them. His heart’s intent was to bless them through this covenant meal.

This was not the time for discipline or even self-examination. He had just washed their feet in an act of supreme self sacrifice. They were cleansed by what He had done for them, and not by what they had done or even were later to do for Him. Grace (God’s unmerited favor) was abounding towards them, and all they had to do was to sit and receive it.

A Celebration Of Blessing

Celebrate : ‘To move in a circle, reel to and fro, dance’

The Lord’s Supper has always been and ought still to be a celebration of His goodness and mercy, where the focus is on His grace and not on self introspection. When Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians the correction he brought was in response to gross error and selfishness in that church at that time. To rightly divide the Word today his words of correction, as they apply to the Lord’s Supper, ought not to be the standard for the church today every time it is celebrated. I will share more on this matter in a later chapter.

God has created us for close fellowship with Him, and thankfully His blood alone has paid the price for this. No amount of human effort, repentance or even self examination brings us closer than we already are through His blood.

Ephesians 1:7-8
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,

The redemption and forgiveness we enjoy is according to the ‘riches of His grace’ and not according to the depth of our repentance, our sorrow or even our religious efforts to in some way prove to God we are worthy to receive His blessing. An ‘unnatural and religious’ fear of God may seem appropriate to some, but is rooted in self effort (works) and not in the completed work or grace of Christ.
Neither is our intimacy with God guaranteed simply because we are familiar with a particular way of celebrating The Lord’s Supper. In fact familiarity and ritual can sometimes stand in the way of intimacy. Expectant faith is always the essential ingredient of a vital relationship with God through Jesus (Hebrews 11:6).

God’s intended blessing through the Lord’s Supper is freely given and must be freely received with thanksgiving. His kingdom rule is marked by righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17), where joy is that deep sense of well being that is the fruit of an abiding trust in what the Lord has already done for us. Kingdom joy is represented by the wine of the Lord’s Supper.
God is a joyful happy God who enjoys celebrating! Sadly many have a picture of God as still angry with mankind despite the fact that His just anger was poured out and exhausted on Christ at the cross!
In addition God has often put a celebratory stamp on His dealings with us. For example, the Day of Pentecost in the New Testament speaks of an outbreak of joyful abandon as the Holy Spirit was poured out on receptive and yielded disciples. This was no somber religious moment; rather a time where so much blessing flowed into and through their hearts that the onlookers thought the disciples were ‘drunk’ (Acts 2:12-21)! It was in fact totally different to the first Pentecost at Mt Sinai, fifty days after the first Passover in the Wilderness when the Israelites received the Law. That fateful day three thousand died, whereas Pentecost in the New Testament saw three thousand come to the Lord in joyful salvation! Whereas the letter (of the Law) kills, the Spirit now gives life!

This ought to be the focus of our celebration.

The ‘new wine’ of God’s freedom in Christ still perplexes many. Even Jesus’ first miracle where He turned water into wine at a wedding feast shows that God is in fact pro joyful celebrations. He is not sour but sweet. Who are we to turn The Lord’s Supper into a time where we focus on our shortcomings instead of His majesty and perfection? When we focus on our imperfections we take the focus off the very one who is willing and able to change us from glory to glory.

Moreover, the ‘cup’ of communion is described as the ‘cup of blessing’ (1 Corinthians 10:16). It is not a cup of cursing, but a cup that signifies an overflowing, ‘more than enough’ blessing. Let us therefore purpose to open our hearts to God’s intended blessing through The Lord’s Supper, something that can be enjoyed both at home and ‘in church’.

 

For a free download of a fuller treatment on The Lord’s Supper see my book below:

Latest – Celebrate The Lord’s Supper – draft 2

 

 

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June 16th, 2015

Things happen: trouble, sickness, job loss and even untimely death. Sorry to start this way but it’s an all too common reality for many. Storm winds are sure unsettling, and there seems to be so much shaking going on right now in the world and even in the Body of Christ, the church.

Of course we would like to always feel God’s wind at our backs all the time – but when we don’t, will our house stand?

The Word shows us the kind of person who will ‘stand it’ and make it through all the shaking. The wise one who hears the sayings of Jesus, and does them is he whose house is built of the rock. Otherwise a life built on the shifting sands of relativity (no absolute truth) will fall ( Check out Matthew 7: 24-27).

To me enlightenment to the true meaning of scripture is vital. This revelation comes ultimately  from God who has provided a sure fire way of getting it. The apostle Paul shows us how to pray for a ‘spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him ‘(Jesus) in an incredible passage found in Ephesians 1:15-21. Later on He prays another apostolic prayer in Ephesians 3:16-19 asking God for the saints under his charge to be ‘strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man’.

Then he caps it all off in Chapter 6:13-19 with an appeal for prayer that he and all Christians stand their ground against an adversary that always seeks to take back territory from the believer whose victory Christ has so lovingly won on our behalf at the cross.

Here’s more on praying fruitfully: check out this link to a free PDF download
on prayer entitled ” Where Heaven and Earth Meet”:

Where Heaven and Earth Meet – latest

Check it out and also a variety of other resources at www.edhorak.com – free articles, video blogs and a full book: “What does your future hold?”

Philippians 4:6-7

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with jthanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”. (NKJV)

Peace is not merely the absence of trouble – it is a gift from God in the midst of trouble.

PS I’d appreciate your prayers for Sue and me as we take steps to ‘start’ a fresh work at this time. Praying for you… Ed & Sue.

 

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April 17th, 2014

Jesus – The Passover Lamb Of God

Exodus 12:3-4
‘On the tenth day of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household.

John 1:29
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

1 Corinthians 5:7
For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.

1 Peter 1:18-20
18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

When God does something, He always does it well. This is magnificently illustrated in the glorious fulfillment in Christ of the Passover Lamb.

Moses had been given clear instructions about the sacrificial lamb to be slain at that historical first Passover meal. This memorial Feast was powerfully instituted at the time of the Israelites miraculous deliverance from Egyptian bondage after four hundred and thirty years of slavery.

Animal sacrifice may not be your ‘cup of tea’. In fact it was never God’s either (Isaiah 1:11)! Yet, because of His consuming love for us, He sent His only Son to be the fulfillment of Passover sacrificial lamb offered up for our sakes as a fulfillment of the covenant requirements. He went to these lengths to ensure that we got the message.

Consider the following comparisons between the lamb of sacrifice in Moses time as recorded in Exodus 12:1-51 and the dramatic fulfillment of this covenant meal in Jesus Christ the ‘lamb of God’.

Vs 3 – It was to be a lamb, and Christ is the Lamb of God (John 1:29).
Vs 5 – The lamb was to be a male of the first year, mature and in its prime. Christ was mature at age thirty (Numbers 4:3) and was offered up as the supreme sacrifice in His prime (Luke 3:23).
Vs 5 – The lamb was to be without blemish which speaks of Jesus’ purity – a lamb without spot (1 Peter 1:19).
Vs 3, 6 – The lamb was ‘set apart’ for four days. Jesus entered Jerusalem four days before The Passover Feast (Matthew 21:1-10) and was set apart or examined by both the people and the authorities.
Vs 6-9 – The lamb was to be slain at twilight. Jesus died at three in the afternoon or twilight according to Jewish time (Matthew 27:46).
Vs 21 – The elders picked out the lambs for themselves. Jesus was put up for trial by the elders of the day – the Sanhedrin (John 18:3).
Vs 46 – No bones of the lamb were to be broken. Jesus did not have His bones broken when He was crucified (John 19:33-36).

There is no doubt that Jesus was the sacrificial Lamb of God slain for us at the cross for the salvation or wholeness of our whole spirit, soul and body (3 John 2).

God’s choice of a lamb as the animal for sacrifice speaks of Christ’s meekness and innocence. This was something that the farmers and animal herders of the day would understand. Jesus laid down His life for us on purpose. He was dependent on and fully submitted to His Heavenly Father’s leadership and chose to drink of the cup of suffering without trying to defend His position.

Isaiah 53:7
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.

Victimized on our behalf


He was victimized so that we might become victors. God has eternally confounded the wisdom of man with the seeming ‘foolishness’ of a lamb (Jesus dying on the cross) being slain. Through this situation of apparent helplessness and defeat, great victory has come for all who will humble themselves to receive Him (John 1:12). Through death, Jesus conquered him who had the power of death.

Hebrews 2:14-15
14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

The Spotless Lamb

For the Passover sacrifice to satisfy God’s demands it had to be perfect. That is why Jesus was intensively inspected by all in His life and ministry.

First, he was inspected (tempted) by satan at the start of His three and half year ministry. Then time and again the religious people of His day tried to find fault with Him and His mission. Then third, Jesus was subjected to six or seven distinct inspections depending on whether you count Pilate’s dealings with Jesus as one or two events.

Consider the following inspections that Jesus ‘passed’ in His last hours before the crucifixion in more detail.

1. King Herod admitted that Jesus was without blame (Luke 23:13-15).

2. Annas, the father-in-law of the high priest (Caiaphas) obviously found no fault with Jesus as he passed Him on to son-in-law (John 18:12-14, 24).

3. Caiaphas, the high priest, then inspected Jesus and no fault was found in the spotless lamb (John 18).

4. Pilate, a gentile, examined Jesus also and on two occasions declared that he could find “no fault” in Jesus (John 18:28-38 and John 19:4).

5. The centurion assigned to Jesus’ crucifixion scrutinized Jesus and concluded that He was truly the “Son of God” (Matthew 27:54).

6. Even the thief on the cross had the sense in the end to conclude that Jesus had done nothing wrong (Luke 23:40-42).

Every single inspection resulted in a confession of Jesus’ innocence as the spotless Lamb of God. God made Jesus who knew no sin to be made sin for us in a great spiritual exchange.

We were guilty of sin and deserving of judgment, whereas Jesus was perfectly righteous and undeserving of any judgment. Yet it was God’s plan to satisfy the claims of justice in the eternal courts of heaven by sending Him to the cross on our behalf. We (the guilty) are now saved by Jesus (the innocent) in the greatest act of love ever. It is this amazing grace which we celebrate at The Lord’s Supper.

2 Corinthians 5:21
21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Dramatic Two Way Transfer

On the cross, Jesus supreme act of sacrifice accomplished both the removal of our sins and the impartation of His righteousness to us. It was dramatic two way transfer.

With this one act Jesus also fulfilled all the five offerings required under the Levitical law, which historically were ‘shadows’ pointing to His perfect offering made ‘once and for all’ (Hebrews 9:12). Here we focus on only two of the sacrifices: the ‘sin’ and ‘burnt’ offering (Leviticus 1-4).

First, the sinner was to bring his ‘sin offering’ to the priest to be inspected for any blemish. Then, the sinner was to lay his hands on the animal (a bull if the whole nation sinned, a male kid / lamb if a ruler sinned, and a female kid / lamb or two turtle doves if a commoner sinned) and the animal was sacrificed and the sinner’s sin was transferred ‘away’ from the sinner into the animal.

Identification And Access

This act of identification meant that the sin of the offerer was transferred to the lamb and the innocence (or righteousness) of the lamb was transferred to the offerer. At the conclusion of the sacrifice, the focus was to be on the fact that sin had now been atoned for, and that all that remained was the imputed or transferred righteousness. The ‘price for sin’ had been paid and God’s justice fully satisfied.

Second, the other main offering called the ‘burnt offering’ (Leviticus 1:9) also involved a sacrifice of an unblemished animal that resulted in the transfer of God’s favor by means of the sacrifice on the altar. Here the emphasis was on the righteousness being transferred towards the person in question. This offering was like a ‘sweet aroma’ to the Lord, and signified acceptance into His presence. The sin offering, you might say, took away the negative or minus, while the burnt offering brought the plus to the recipient.

A lot of people struggle to accept how large God’s heart is towards us. They focus on the shortcomings they still see in their own lives instead of looking at the one who has paid the price to set us free from the things that hold us back from walking with God in the abundant life Jesus so freely offers all who repent.

It is important to see both sides to what Jesus has done. Not only do we have forgiveness of sin, but also righteousness or right standing with God at His right hand in Christ. We have access to the Lord’s presence through Jesus’ perfect sacrifice alone, and not through our efforts or ‘self righteousness’. We are encouraged to freely receive all that has blessed us with in Christ, and not hold back. ‘Oh ye of little faith’ is not a compliment. God wants us to enjoy all that He has paid such a high price for.

Celebrate His Grace

As you celebrate the Lord’s Supper / Passover / Easter, remember that whatever God does, He does well. The good work He has started in you, He will bring to completion as you open up to the greatness of His grace and favor in Christ.

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March 17th, 2014

Jesus in the Spotlight

The story of the Mount of Transfiguration involves Jesus, and His three closest disciples: Peter, James and John. They accompanied Him up the mountain, leaving the rest of the disciples behind in what was to be a life-changing encounter.

It was six days after Peter had received a profound revelation of Jesus’ divine identity from God in heaven that the group of four ascended the mountain. Peter had gloriously discovered that Jesus was no ordinary man, but that he was indeed the Christ or Messiah – the anointed one (Matthew 16:13-20). This revelation has been the foundation upon which Jesus has built His church throughout modern history.

On the Mount Jesus was transfigured or ‘transformed into another form’ before their very eyes. The glory of God was so strong upon Him that everything was different.

This amazing manifestation of God’s glory on Jesus along with the miraculous appearance of Moses and Elijah so impressed Peter that he felt obliged to say something. He was not asked to contribute at this point, yet he did so anyway. Perhaps he was nervous, and it just came out. Whatever the case, what he said and did was completely inappropriate. Perhaps we can learn a lesson: to keep silent when God is moving is a good thing. No need to fill up space!

In effect Peter placed Jesus on the same level as Moses, who represents the Law, and Elijah who represents the Prophets of the Old Testament. So significant was Peter’s presumption that God the Father had to rebuke (correct in love) him and focus his attention on the preeminence of Jesus over these undoubtedly venerable Old Testament characters. He repeated the powerful fact that He was ‘well pleased’ with Jesus His Son, and that they (Peter, James and John) were to ‘hear Him’! They were not to lose their focus on Jesus, the one that God had chosen to speak to man in these last days (Hebrews 1:1-2 – our opening scripture in this chapter).

We know that Moses and Elijah both pointed the way to Jesus through their lives and ministries as well as their prophecies. This was good and always God’s intent. Peter’s ill-considered suggestion effectively detracted from Jesus’ supremacy and this got God’s attention in a dramatic way.

Jesus had invited them to follow Him (and Him alone), so the disciples were to keep their eyes on His glory, not the lesser and faded glory of these Old Testament representatives.

Matthew 17:4-9
4 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” 6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. 7 But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” 8 When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

Notably, Jesus came to the now fearful disciples lying flat on their faces, touched and encouraged them to arise and not be fearful. When they arose they saw Jesus only. This is significant. Moses and Elijah had retreated leaving Jesus in His rightful place of preeminence. They had just learned a great life-changing lesson.

I believe this still holds true for us today. When we read the Bible or listen to any sermon or teaching on TV or study a book we should be looking for the centrality of Jesus’ person and work. God has spoken in these times through His Son and if we are taken up with so called revelations that detract from Jesus in any way either by design or default, we are missing God’s emphasis.

Only in Jesus are found all the treasures of divine wisdom (Colossians 1:3) – why would you want to look anywhere else?

In my experience much so called ‘Gospel’ preaching and writing is significantly devoid of the centrality of Jesus. It appears to have degenerated into mostly ‘principled centered’ motivational talks about the good life. I understand and appreciate that Jesus came to bring us ‘abundant life’ (John 10:10) but when we neglect to keep our eyes on the author of this good life, we are in danger of perpetuating a ‘Christian version’ of self-centeredness. The emphasis in this preaching is more on what we have to do, than on what Jesus has already done. It is ‘performance’ based and not ‘grace’ focused.

This is not to say that the Old Testament does not have many enlightening stories to help us today, (1 Corinthians 10:11) but they only serve their purpose when they point to Jesus in all His glory. The ‘spirit’ or essence of any Old Testament account is that it points to Christ and His finished work. Jesus is the center and pinnacle of all things.

The following scripture repeats the words ‘all things’ no less than five times (five is God’s number of grace).

Colossians 1:16-18
16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. (Emphasis added).

When God began to refocus my attention on Jesus, I had to go over my teaching and preaching material to see how much I had drifted from the centrality of a vital relationship with Christ into a religious set ‘Christian’ do’s and don’ts, principles and strategies.

Incidentally, there is an interesting insight gained from the meaning of the three disciples’ names who accompanied Jesus up the mountain that day. In the original languages and usage it was understood that John means ‘grace’, James means ‘he who supplants’ and Peter means ‘rock’ or stone. Put together we see that God’s grace in Jesus (John) supplants (James) the stony or rock like (Peter), unbending and ultimately condemning requirements of the Law (the law was engraved on stone on Mt Sinai). Hidden in the choice of the three disciples that day is God’s plan to ‘exalt’ Jesus above the Law, which the Jews were so preoccupied with.

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March 5th, 2014

How The Unseen God Has Revealed Himself To Mankind

Many people struggle to believe in a God they cannot see. I did too, once. Growing up, I was conditioned to relate to the world through my 5 physical senses and my world was interpreted through a grid of ‘natural reason’ given to me by other people conditioned the same way (school teachers, university professors etc.). Only later was I introduced in a meaningful way to the ‘realm of the spirit’ through people who had ‘tasted of it’. I found that a knowledge of God has to be revealed, He is not to be apprehended by ‘reason’ alone but by ‘revelation’ which involves the ‘uncovering or unveiling of something hidden’.

Historically God has initiated revelation of His person, nature, ways and deeds through various means. The first three are general and common to all mankind:

1.Nature.

Creation points to God, the creator. An unbiased examination of nature all around us points to the creator Himself and not some random process of chance and circumstance.

Psalm 19:1

The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.

2. Inner conscience or self-awareness: even if it is flawed.                      

Romans 2:14-15               

… for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things In the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them …

3. History.

Nations (people groups) were created to seek and find Him. They each have a destiny that God intended from the time of their creation.

Acts 17:26-30

And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’

Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.

Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,

The next five are first specifically revealed to persons and / or groups, and then by extension through the Biblical record to all mankind as God’s people serve them as witness to His person and power:

4. Miracles.

For example, Moses’ miracles: plagues in Egypt / splitting the Red Sea; Jesus miracles, the apostles miracles…

John 20:30-31

And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

5. Prophecy.

The New Testament records the prophecy of the Coming of Christ as foretold in Isaiah 7:14 by the prophet Isaiah.

Matthew 1:20-21

But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, ” which is translated, “God with us.”

6. In Christ.

Jesus perfectly reveals the Father to us (better than any other person in the Bible – the prophets included).

Hebrews 1:1-3

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person …

7. Scripture.

Jesus used Scripture to reveal Himself to two disciples. He thus highlights the validity and importance of scripture as a foundation for faith.

Luke 24:25-27

Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!

Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?”

And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

8. Personal experience and testimony.

For example, Enoch, Noah, Paul and many others personally knew and ‘walked’ with God.

Genesis 5:22

Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters.

Today, when someone claims to have a personal experience with God we can test the validity of such claims against scriptural precedent. This is necessary, not because we are skeptical about anything new or different, but because there are unfortunately deceivers in the world who can and do take advantage of the unsuspecting.

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