Week 10 Mar 4 - 10, 2018

Have you ever struggled to believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to have an eternal relationship with God?

This is an honest question that skeptics of the Christian faith often point to, but it is a statement that even followers of Christ have wrestled with. With such a wide spectrum of world religions that are each supported by devout followers making exclusive claims to divine truth, how can we believe that Christianity is the only true path that leads to God?

The answer is found by looking at the nature, work, and power of Jesus Christ, which separates Him from every other religious figure in human history.

The first chapter of the book of Colossians reveals that Jesus is not just one man among a series of important religious men, He is God Himself who stands over the entire world as the Lord of all creation. Colossians 1:15-17 says, “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.”

In just these two verses, we see the distinctive identity of Christ through His divine nature as the superior being of the world, His divine work as sovereign creator of the world, and His divine power as the exclusive sustainer of the world.

First, we encounter the divine nature of Christ in the beginning of verse 15 when we read that He is “the image of the invisible God” as well as the “firstborn of all creation.” Being identified as the image of the invisible God means that Jesus is God Himself clothed in human flesh. Through His incarnation, the invisible God of the universe was finally able to become visible to His created world. When the verse mentions Jesus as the firstborn of all creation, this does not refer to a physical but a spiritual reality. As the “firstborn,” Christ has a spiritual right to claim superiority over all things the same way the first-born son of a family would claim superior birthright privileges to continue his family’s legacy.

Second, in verse 16 we witness the divine work of Christ as the agent God used to create all things. Every square inch of existence from the heights of heaven to the depths of the earth was “created through Him and for Him” because He completed the work of creation for His divine purposes and glory.

Finally, in verse 17 we read that in Christ “all things hold together.” This means that every moment of reality throughout all of existence is only possible because Christ permits it and sustains it. This world was created through the power of Christ; this world is sustained today through the power of Christ; and this world will one day come to an end through the power of Christ.

The non-believing world wants so desperately to reject the exclusivity of the Christian faith and package Jesus in with every other religious leader who has a cult following. But when those arguments arise, remember this precious truth: Every religion is based solely on the teachings of its founder, but Christianity is based on the nature, work, and power of its founder. This is why Jesus Christ is set apart as our Lord and Savior, and why we can trust that He is the only right and true way back to an eternal relationship with God.

A Savior Who is Set Apart     

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Worshipping Through Our Work  

We need to be reminded daily that all work we do is an act of worship. The reason that we were given the responsibility of work is primarily to bring honor and glory to God. Colossians 3:23-24 says, “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.” While we seek to honor our companies and support our co-workers, our main purpose for working hard is to serve the Lord and build His Kingdom.

The Fate of Fearing Man

In the book of Numbers, we learn why the stubborn Israelites did not enter directly into the promised land of milk and honey after their exile from Egypt. Joshua and Caleb urged the people to trust in God instead of being paralyzed by their fear of man. In Numbers 14:9, they proclaimed, “…do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.” Unfortunately, Israel remained more fearful of man’s power than of God’s promises, and as a result they were punished as desert prisoners for four decades.

A Surrendered Soul

A shining example of what a soul surrendered to God truly looks like is found in the response of Mary when she learned that she would give birth as a virgin woman to the promised Messiah. In Luke 1:38, Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” This one statement gives us a wonderful example of how we should respond in surrender to God when we are faced with a situation that doesn’t make sense to the unbelieving world.

Tips to Keep You on Track

In the week ahead, we will be walking through accounts of the birth and early ministry of Jesus in the first six chapters of Luke. As you read these chapters, take a moment to notice how Luke emphasizes the humanity as well as the deity of Christ.

Luke 2:52 says, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” This means that although He was God, He humbled Himself to become a human being in every way except in sin. He had to learn and grow in wisdom like all of us do. Take a few minutes this week to really meditate on the human side of Christ and praise Him for all that He went through to offer us eternal life.

Week 11 Readings:  March 11 - 17

-Day One:  Numbers 26-29; Luke 2

-Day Two:  Numbers 30-33; Psalm 35; Luke 3

-Day Three:  Numbers 34-36; Luke 4

-Day Four:  Deuteronomy 1-3; Psalm 36; Luke 5

-Day Five:  Deuteronomy 4-5; Luke 6