Ephesians (Program #21) – Once Far Off, but Now Near
Let me ask you a question, before we were saved, what was our status before God? Well, yes, we were sinners condemned to judgment. But actually according to Paul in Ephesians we had 2 major problems: first our nature. We were dead in offenses and in sins, that’s verse 1 and 2 of Chapter 2. But our problem also involved our status before God. As he points out in verses 12-13 “That you were at that time apart from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have become near in the blood of Christ.“ So, we see that our problem before God extend far beyond sins and even beyond our being dead before Him. We have a status problem.
John (Program #48) – Life Processed for Multiplication (3)
I really like this marvelous term here. “Go tell my brothers.” In the Gospel of John, He was with these disciples a lot, but He never referred to them as brothers. He always called them either by name or referred to them as friends. But, after His resurrection for the first time, He calls them brothers.
In this Gospel, the presentation of the crucifixion is really more complete and more meaningful than you have it in the other three Gospels. First, the account here brings out the two aspects of the Lord’s death by mentioning two substances, which came out of the Lord’s side when the soldier pierced Him. When the soldier pierced Him, out came blood and water. The blood of Christ there is to answer to our need for the dealing with sin. The blood of Christ cleanses us from every sin. And, the water that came out is really meeting the need for our life. Water in the scripture is often a picture of life. There’s the water of life that’s in the book of Revelation. And, there’s the water that flowed out of the rock in the Old Testament. So, water really means life, the imparting of life.
Of all the disciples called by the Lord Jesus in the gospels, probably the one we can most readily identify with is Peter. Simon Barjona as he was known before the Lord changed his name to Peter. In John chapter 1 was as impetuous as he was fervent and often found himself as the target of the Lord Jesus’ reprove.
Recall for example in Matthew chapter 16, Peter’s sympathetic suggestion to the Lord that He should keep Himself from the suffering of death that He knew awaited Him. “get behind Me, Satan” was the Lord’s reply. “You are a stumbling block to Me, for you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of men.” How could Peter possibly recovered from such a stinging rebuke?
And of course it was also Peter, who denied the Lord three times during the hour of trial preceding the actual crucifixion. Yet only days later it was this same Peter who stood on the day of Pentecost and usher thousands into the kingdom with his powerful and dynamic speaking.
And not only so, in his two epistles, Peter uses language and phrases so rich and full of high and profound meaning that we can’t help but marvel at the power of God’s full salvation. That this unlearned fisherman could write such thing. Listen to his word in 1 Peter,
1:18 “Knowing that it was not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, that you were redeemed from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers,”
19 “But with precious blood, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot, the blood of Christ;”
Welcome to our first life-study of the book of 1 Peter.