Posted in IDENTITY

LIKE SON, LIKE FATHER


Dude!
You’re just like your dad!

Hopefully, you paid attention to the title of this article. It is not a mistake. I have titled it “Like Son, Like Father” for a reason.

That is a twist on what we normally say, isn’t it?

Like father, like son.

We’ve all heard and maybe even said that line.

What we mean is, “Dude! You’re just like your dad!”

We usually hear or say it when the son is doing something off-the-wall that reminds us of his father. However, it is often more true than the joke reveals.

It is especially true when we consider Jesus.

We have looked at the human side of Jesus and His ability to be tempted. But, what do we know of His divine side?

We probably don’t even think about it, but we believe that Jesus is just like His Father.

Guess what?!? He is!!

He is so much like the Father, that we are told we cannot know the Father except through the Son. …and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. [Mat 11:27c]

You have been chosen by the Lord to be able to know the true God. How do I know that? Because you are reading this concerning what the scriptures say about Jesus and the Father.

There are some things that we should understand about God the Father as we enter into this revelation of Jesus.

The first thing is that no one has ever seen God.

NO ONE HAS EVER SEEN GOD

No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. [Jhn 1:18]

But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.”
[Exo 33:20]

Then the LORD spoke to you out of the midst of the fire. You heard the sound of words, but saw no form; there was only a voice. [Deu 4:12]

No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. [1Jo 4:12]

 (God) who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. [1Ti 6:16]

Of course, Jesus is the exception. …not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. [Jhn 6:46]

Not only has Jesus seen the Father, but He has also shown us what the Father is like as we saw in the first scripture, Jn. 1:18—Jesus has made the Father known

This is an extremely important fact to recognize. It is Jesus who has shown us the Father and His nature.

It is Jesus, and not the OT.

Most of our thoughts about who God is, or what God is like, come from our reading in the OT.

We see Him as the people of old saw Him—vengeful, angry, judgmental, ready to swat you down like a fly if you step out of line.

QUESTION—is that how you view Jesus? Is He ready to exact punishment on anyone?

That may be what we have been taught, but is it the truth?
For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, [Jhn 5:22]

You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. [Jhn 8:15]

The same Greek word is used in all four instances of those two verses. It is used in a variety of ways in the Bible, and both Thayer and Strong agree with how it is used here
—passing judgment on the words or deeds of others.

The Father does not judge.
Jesus does not judge.

Why? Because the law of sowing and reaping is already and always at work.
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. [Jhn 3:18]

The word translated “condemned” is the same word we just looked at translated “judge.”

So, let’s try to eliminate the concept of “God’s gonna get you for that” from our thinking about God the Father. Instead, let us try to begin seeing the Father through the Son.

Like Son, like Father.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. [Col 1:15]

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, …
[Heb 1:3a]

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. [2Co 4:4]

Jesus is the image, the exact representation of the Father.

Anything you believe about God must be able to be said about Jesus.

Jesus is the one who told the woman caught in adultery, “Neither do I condemn you.”

Jesus is the one who told the woman of Samaria that He knew all about her life, but He said not one negative thing to her.

Jesus is the one who told Zacchaeus that He wanted to have fellowship with such a scoundrel.

Jesus is the one who looked with pity on Peter when Peter had denied Jesus for the third time, and later asked Peter to take care of the others.

Jesus is the one who caught Saul in the act of dragging believers off to prison, and told him to go preach the gospel.

What have you done that is so much worse?

What has anyone done that excludes them from the love of Christ?

What has anyone done that should place them outside the mercy of God?

Even the OT tells us of God’s love. The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; [Lam 3:22]

There are many more, but we haven’t the time to go through them.

For some reason which I do not completely understand, we have chosen to focus our thoughts, our interpretation, our concepts of God on the verses of the Bible which seem to showcase God’s anger.

Yet, we have left out anything which would contradict that negative image.

Rather than argue whether that is true, all we need to recognize is that there is a difference between the Old and New Covenants.

Jesus brought us the New covenant, which is entirely different from the Old.

He also brought us a new understanding of the Father, which is entirely different from the old. Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? [Jhn 14:9]

Jesus has shown us the Father. Everything that Jesus was or is, is what the Father is. Anything that does not fit a description of Jesus cannot fit a description of the Father.

There are only three places in the Bible where we are told specifically who/what
God is.

God is merciful [Psa 116:5]
God is spirit [Jn. 4:24]
God is love [1 Jn 4:8]

The first is an attribute, an aspect of His character.

The second is His being.

The third is His nature.

His nature is love. Anything outside of love is not God. Any concept of God that negates love is not of God.

Jesus came to give us the true understanding of God the Father.

If you can see Jesus, you can see the Father.

Like Son, like Father.

Posted in IDENTITY

THE DANGER IN DECONSTRUCTION

These are exciting times in which to be alive.

The Church is in a season of transition and transformation. For many, this is a cause for concern. For those who have at least a small grasp on history, there is no problem. In fact, it is a cause for much excitement.

These are, indeed, exciting times in which to be alive.

It has been noted that the Church goes through a major upheaval about every 500 years. Augustine of Hippo turned the Church on its head with his teachings about sin and hell, changing almost everything the Church had believed until his time.

The Great Schism between the Roman church and the Eastern church (Rome & Constantinople) happened around 1054AD. Then there was the Protestant Reformation of the 1500s.

Now, in the 21st century we are once again experiencing a major shift within the Christian Church.

Just as in an earthquake the ground beneath you begins to move causing consternation and a feeling of being unsteady, so, too, this new move of the Holy Spirit is causing many to lose their footing.

This is nothing new for many of us who have lived through the recent changes in the Church during our lifetime. The Second Vatican Council under Pope John XXIII brought changes to the Catholic Church, which upset many people of the time.

Shortly afterward, we experienced the Charismatic Renewal, fueled in large part by the liturgical churches beginning with the Episcopalians and Dennis J. Bennett in California. The Catholics came in around 1967, and the Jesus People movement was birthed shortly thereafter.

These somewhat isolated events have had a profound impact on traditional Christianity so that you will witness hand-raising and clapping even within formerly staid congregations.

However, the Pentecostal movement at the turn of the 20th century and the Charismatic movement mid-century, were but minor tremors compared to the shaking now taking place.

This shaking, according to Hebrews 12:27, is for the purpose of getting rid of that which is not necessary. Any shaking of the Church, though, is always disconcerting, because we have grown comfortable with what we believe.

We must remember, however, that truth in its first form always causes a negative reaction. There is the negative reaction within our own being, because we naturally resist change. There is a negative reaction from those we are close to who think we have gone off the deep end.

These negative reactions are more than just unsettling for many. They are the cause of trauma from which many are finding it difficult to heal.

Understanding is one of the keys to gaining victory over anything debilitating in our life. And understanding what is happening to you can go a long way toward bringing stability to your life.

Many—and you, dear reader, may be one of them—are going through what has been termed a deconstruction. You are in the process of deconstructing (tearing down) what you formerly believed. This, too, can be somewhat traumatic as those things upon which you built your life no longer serve you.

There is nothing wrong with this process, and for many it is a necessary part of their journey. However, there is a danger that lies ahead in which caution is required.

That danger is found in stopping with only the deconstruction process.

Jesus illustrated this.

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.”” (Mat 12:43-45)

The house is EMPTY, swept and decorated.

Matt 12:44

Notice the condition of the house—empty, swept, and put in order. That is the result of deconstruction by itself. It looks nice. It is clean. Chaos is gone.

But, it is empty.

Nothing has been done to replace that which was removed. It is an empty experience.

When a building is removed from its foundation, that is all that remains—an empty space where once a house stood. Before long, there is an abundance of weeds as debris begins to accumulate.

The same thing occurs with a house. Everything can be removed. The place can be swept. It looks nice and clean; but left alone it will soon become filled with unpleasant things—spiders, dust, mold.

Your theological house is no different.

The Scripture speaks to this in two distinct places.

“…a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;” (Ecc 3:2)

“See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”” (Jer 1:10)

Ecclesiastes speaks to where you were and what you are doing now. You were in a place where something was planted. You lived that life for a while, maybe even many years. Now it is time to remove what was sown and grown during that time.

Jeremiah speaks to where you are and where you are going. You are tearing down that which no longer serves you, that which is no longer of any value. But, he says you are not to stop there.

It is time to also build and plant.

While many are using and loving the term “deconstruction,” I fear that some will become so focused on that part of the process that they will miss the most important part—the rebuilding of something bigger, greater, newer, more magnificent than before.

Labeling a building as uninhabitable and then tearing it down, only leaves an empty space in the neighborhood.

A wise investor will take the time to rebuild something of value on that empty lot which will benefit the entire community.

May you be such an investor.