Jesus Works Chapter One Jesus – A Man of Many Talents: Upper Echelon Jesus

Jesus Works Chapter One Jesus – A Man of Many Talents: Upper Echelon Jesus

Jesus the Son

JesustheSon

I understand how being a son might seem to be outside the bounds of work. But, it’s important to realize that not only was the position of son in the first century an occupation, it was an elevated position in society. Inheritance and the transfer of power and wealth in first century Jewish society was very similar to what we see throughout the Old Testament. The firstborn son basically inherited the greatest share of the father’s wealth and then carried on the family name. In Jesus’ time, He as a Son was doing this very same thing. He had all the inheritance, he was the firstborn, and He was expected to rule in His Father’s house and learn how to be just like Him. Not only was this a huge responsibility, it was very hard work and carried with it dominion over hundreds (or in Jesus’ case all of humanity for all time). This brings us to the upper levels of work in society. In a wealthy and powerful family of that day, the place Jesus occupied would have carried with it great wealth and influence. Not only did Jesus understand this extremely important position, He excelled at it! We’ll look at Jesus’ as the Son later, but keep in mind that as The Son, His work was and still is pivotal to our understanding Him and His Kingdom as well as our place in His Kingdom as heirs and sons.

Jesus the Prophet

JesustheProphet

While the position of Prophet in the Old Testament was definitely one of power and exaltation, it was also one fraught with danger and rejection. However, in the manner of highly favored prophets like Samuel and Nathan, Jesus was able to bring information from the Father to the world and make a difference that was immediate and eternal. In the God-centered governments of David and Solomon, prophets were seen as not only respected, but absolutely vital to doing God’s will. As God’s special Prophet, Jesus was placed in the highest position of being a prophet that any prophet ever had been placed.  We don’t have a modern day equivalent to that of the Old or New Testament prophet, but we do have those who are in today who advise those in positions of power. In His infinite wisdom, Jesus perfected the work of the Prophet to such a degree that no other prophet before or after Him could even touch His insight and power.

Jesus the Priest

JesusthePriest

Priests also were included in the higher levels of society in the first century as well as the Old Testament. They were very powerful, usually to their own spiritual detriment. But, those who humbly carried out God’s will were counted as those who were closest to God, not only in proximity, but in heart, soul, mind, and strength. Jesus’ position as our High Priest is absolutely singular in all of history. His place of importance as intercessor cannot be overstated. But, how does this position of priesthood apply to us and to our own work? When we look at Jesus the Priest, we see someone who doesn’t hide that power or keep it from those who follow Him. There’s a place of work and importance in the priesthood for us all and we need to know what that is.

Jesus the King

JesustheKing

The highest level of work anyone could think of if asked would have to be King. Even during this epoch of history when the office considered as the “most powerful in the world” is occupied by one man, it’s really not a position of power anything like what a king wields. Kings don’t answer to anyone. They rule completely and without need for advice or instruction. At least, that’s how a true Kingship should be. This is the kind of King we have in Jesus. He is perfectly loving, just, kind, and powerful. There is no comparison anywhere else or at any other time in human experience. But, do you know what is the most amazing part of Jesus’ Kingship? He shares it with everyone in His Kingdom! We are princes and princesses in an eternal Kingdom.

Work Application

WorkApplication

All of us do different jobs and have to make various decisions about how we are going to work for God. Working for God isn’t just about the work we do for Him in His Kingdom, but the way we accomplish our daily jobs. Working with love, kindness, and deferential treatment toward our coworkers, supervisors, and subordinates must be a part of how we conduct our Christian walk. We think of Colossians 3:17 many times when we consider how we work. “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” But, what does Paul say immediately preceding this verse? “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (vss. 12-14).  Working in Jesus name is more than just saying it; it’s a change of heart and mind where we live it! This is where Paul ties up the loose ends with verses 22-24: “Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Wow! Isn’t that freeing? Isn’t it great to know that we are serving the Lord of Heaven and Earth, Jesus Himself? I can think of no better motivation to do a good job.

Questions for Thought

  • If a supervisor, coworker, or subordinate approached you in anger about something you did or did not do at work, how would you react? What if it was not your fault?
  • How do you accomplish your work as “working for Jesus”?
  • What kinds of conflicts might we come across when working for the Lord in our secular occupations?

Jesus Works Chapter One Jesus – A Man of Many Talents: White Collar Jesus

Jesus Works Chapter One Jesus – A Man of Many Talents: White Collar Jesus

Jesus the Public Relations Rep

JesusthePRRep

We now shift into the realm that most people today would identify as “white collar” work. Jesus knew how to bridge the gap between those who were considered the working class and those who were in the upper echelons of society at the time. Today, He still knows how to do this. Interestingly, there wasn’t really a middle-class during the early first-century. Basically, there were those who lived on most of the wealth and then those who were the poor, scraping along through life. Of course, there were exceptions like tax collectors (Matthew), but even these exceptions would have been considered so far above the poor in social and monetary status as to be considered wealthy. However, Jesus was in the mix with all of these segments of society and was able to understand and communicate with all of them, effectively demolishing the boundaries that separated them. This comes to fruition in the early church and later as Paul writes about the equality of humanity (no slave or free, male or female, etc.) Jesus was and is the penultimate PR guy. We’ll look at just how great he is at understanding and dealing with humanity on all these levels in a later chapter.

Jesus the Teller, Teacher, and Trainer

JesustheTriT

There are three main ways to get information across to other people. You can tell them something. Telling is basically just giving someone information. I tell you that Jesus is God’s Son. Now you have the information. The end. Teaching goes farther. When you teach someone, you give them the information and then tell them what it means. I tell you Jesus is God’s Son and that He died to save you from your sins and that means that if you become a Christian, you can be with Him forever. But, the ultimate way to get information to someone is through training. When you train someone, you’re making a disciple. I can tell you that Jesus is God’s Son and that you can have eternal life in Him, thereby teaching you about what it means, but you won’t really get it if I don’t live it. Jesus was what you would call today a Full Professor of teaching about how to live in Him. He combined telling, teaching, and training into a perfect synchrony of how to have life and have it more abundantly. In our study on Jesus the Professor of life, we’ll get a clearer view of how He Professed life and how those who tell, teach, and train today can produce life and power in their own work.

The Gift of Song: Part 1 Why Do We Sing?

gift of song

This is the first part of a lesson I presented at Dalraida church of Christ several years ago. It’s all about worship in song…

Music is a part of everyone’s life. Whether they choose to admit it or not, most people sing (get people to raise their hands if they have ever sung with the radio in their car; in the shower; in front of the congregation; during worship). This last one is the one we’ll mainly focus on during the lesson. But, mostly I want us to look at how music is a part of us. It is a gift from God and one that we use to praise Him. Singing makes us feel good about ourselves and others and is mentioned in conjunction with some of the most significant events in the Bible. Let’s see what the Word says about singing.

Why do we sing?

For Worship (horizontal and vertical aspects):

Eph 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord (horizontal)

Rev 5:9-14 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped. (vertical)

For Learning (education through song)

Col 3:19 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. – listen to the words of the song and learn…

Because we have joy in the Lord!

If you love God, you will not be able to restrain your heart and mouth from song…

Jesus Works: A new book in the works from Sipper Books!

jesusbuilding

There’s a new book being written at Sipper Books! It’s titled Jesus Works and is and important look at work as it is defined by Jesus and how we can use our work for His service and glory today.

Christians often feel guilty about their work. They wonder if they’re working hard enough or too hard. Some feel that they should leave their career to go into ministry or missions when this might not be the best course of action. Jesus Works deals with these feelings and Jesus’ own view and sanctification of work for His servants.

Work, in American society especially, can be dehumanizing and discouraging. With the current economic, social, and religious upheavals people across all sectors of work experience, Jesus Works offers those who are disenfranchised and overwhelmed within their professions advice and strategies to deal with their negative feelings and experiences.

After completing Jesus Works, readers will:

  • Understand Jesus’ view of work in His own life and creation
  • Be able to deal with guilt and misunderstandings about Christian work
  • See their role in the Kingdom of Heaven and how their work matters

Jesus Works:

  • Examines Jesus’ work in all levels of society: blue collar, white collar, and high level
  • Explores how Jesus shares His power with us in His Kingdom at every level
  • Identifies the core human needs within and from work and suggests strategies to fulfill those needs

This is a really exciting time! Hopefully, this work will help people to find goodness and service in their work and service for Jesus.

God’s Word Upholds: Construction and Deconstruction in the Word Part 3: The deconstruction of the Physical World

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God’s Word Upholds: Construction and Deconstruction in the Word  Part 3: The deconstruction of the Physical World

Now consider what would and will happen when God’s Word no longer upholds this physical reality…

Joel gives an early picture of the deconstruction in 3:15 “The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining.” So, we are to understand that the ceasing of light will be a direct sign of the deconstruction of the physical universe. Is 13:10 states something similar: “For the stars of the heavens and their constellations
will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light.”

Now look at Matt 24:29-31 ““Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” This is a later picture given of the darkening and the sounding of the trumpet on the Day of the Lord.

But, here’s where it gets really interesting as it relates to matter in the physical world. 2 Cor 5:1-4 “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” Here we see a destruction of the “tent”. This could refer to our earthly bodies and possibly the “tent” that is the fabric of physical reality, like the tent that God spread out for the Sun and stars. Either, way matter will be deconstructed.

II Peter gives an even clearer picture of what will become of the material universe in 3:10-13 “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” In this passage, it becomes immediately clear that everything in this physical reality will not only be melted and burned, but will actually dissolve away into nothing. Just consider again how matter works. It’s tiny bits of stuff held together with magnetism and gravity and is mostly comprised of empty space. Now, consider what would happen in those forced ceased to be upheld…It becomes immediately clear that all those little atoms and subatoms would merely dissolve away into nothing. Our whole universe and these bodies are mostly empty space, held together merely by weak forces that could not and will not be upheld if not for God’s word. And one day, His word will not uphold any of these things and it will all dissolve into nothing. But, we have a hope for something new.

Everything around us is an image of God’s power or His Word. It’s all held together by that Word and literally constructs everything we know in the physical world. But, deconstruction is coming. In the Day of the Lord, God’s Word will no longer uphold all of the matter we experience now and the Heavens and Earth will pass away. Fortunately, God promises us a new Heaven and new Earth that will never dissolve and will be upheld eternally.

God’s Word Upholds: Construction and Deconstruction in the Word Part 2: The construction of the Physical World

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God’s Word Upholds: Construction and Deconstruction in the Word  Part 2: The construction of the Physical World

So, how is all of this really held together? I know we’ve discussed the physical properties of the universe and the design God has used to hold all the matter in the universe together, but where do all of these forces originate? Let’s look at how God’s Word impacted creation:

Genesis 1:1-3 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.” What things can we pick out from these first three verses?

Now, let’s compare this passage to John 1:1-5 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” The similarity, which we all have seen and understand, is astonishing and explains so much about God’s creative power and methodology. He literally speaks all matter into existence. But, once the physical universe is spoken, does He stop there?

Look at Col 1:15-17 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” The matter and forces in our universe are held together by Jesus’ creative will and power. I don’t know how, but there is obviously something deeper and more mysterious than the magnetic and gravitational forces we see that hold matter together…

Heb 1:1-4 says more about this: “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.” Imagine a roof with no walls or pillars underneath it…can you imagine such a thing? Why not? Of course, you have to have a foundation upon which to build, supporting structures, and something to hold it all together before you can ever have a roof. Our physical world is no different. While a materialist only looks as deep as the matter itself, the believer understands that there is Someone whose power initiates and upholds that matter…

God’s Word Upholds: Construction and Deconstruction in the Word Part 1: The Physical Universe

Godsworduphold

God’s Word Upholds: Construction and Deconstruction in the Word

Part 1: The Physical Universe

Have you ever considered how everything is held together, not just in your life, but the entire universe? Materialists would point to weak and strong magnetic and gravitational forces as the primary reason for the physical bonds of the universe, but is there something deeper than just physical forces that holds everything in its place? Is the very matter of the span of creation being upheld by something unseen and far more powerful?

Who remembers high school or college science class, more specifically physical science? What kinds of things did you learn? In the world we can observe, it seems that everything is held together by physical forces such as magnetism and gravity. If you go all the way down to the atomic level, you see electrons spinning around a nucleus of protons and neutrons. You can even work your way down to subatomic particles such as bosons, muons, and gluons and see these revolving around things, being held together by these nuclear forces. All of this attraction is based on objects having mass and positive/negative charges. So, if we continue down and down and down, we see smaller and smaller components of matter being held together by weaker and weaker forces, upon which the fabric of the physical world seems to rest. In fact, there may be sub sub atomic particles that have not yet been discovered. Where will it end?

Now, let’s go up. We live on Earth. Earth has mass as well and is made up of uncountable atomic and subatomic particles. But, around the Earth, other things revolve, don’t they? Then, you move back and begin to see that the Earth itself spins around the Sun. move farther back and notice that all the plants and their moons move around the Sun as well. Pull back farther and you’ll observe that our very solar system is in a spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy, revolving around the galaxy’s nucleus. And, if you could go even farther back, you’d see that our galaxy is merely one of trillions of galaxies, spreading across light years of space! It’s an amazing universe God has made!

Just look at some of the Biblical passages that describe the universe in all its beauty and majesty. Psalm 19:1-6 refers to the Sun and the “tent” under which it is set, referring to space. Space being stretched out like a tent is referenced many times in scripture. Psalm 104:2, Is 40:22 … This is consistent with what astronomers and physicists see in the universe today. Our universe is literally stretching away in every direction, the fabric being pulled in every direction simultaneously as if it were a balloon being blown up…1 Cor 15:40-41 “There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.” Here’s another view from the heavens where we see the immeasurable variety of creation and all its glory. No two stars are alike just as no two snowflakes or animals or humans are exactly alike.