In many ways 2018 was a blur. We praise God for His faithfulness to us and Jubilee. Thank you for your friendship, fellowship and prayers. We love you and are so grateful for all the ways you support us.
I believe 2019 will be our best year yet, as we follow our Shepherd Savior, Jesus. Recently, I received a copy of Steve Epperson, Jr.’s book, “First Words of Jesus”. It is a very meaningful read. He takes us to the temple where Jesus’ parents found Him at age twelve, interacting with the religious leaders and officials.
The family had gone to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. On their way home, Mary and Joseph assumed that their son was probably with some of His friends. When they had gone a day’s journey, they looked for Him and saw He was nowhere to be found. So, they turned back and after three days, they found him in the temple interacting with the leaders.
Mary said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, your father and I have sought you anxiously.” And, He said to them, ‘Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business’?” Luke 2:45-49
He was twelve years old and it is clear that He was comprehending the Father’s purpose or mission for His life. We have just celebrated Christmas and His first recorded words at age twelve are the very essence of Christmas and life.
His words encapsulate the very reason He was born in a manger on that holy night. Jesus is far more than just a nativity baby. The Prophet Micah stated of the One to be born, “whose goings forth are from of old from everlasting.” (Micah 5:2) Jesus first recorded words to reveal to us that this child is God incarnate or in the flesh.
At age twelve, He would be considered a young man, and these first recorded words reveal the passion and heart of the God-Man, Jesus Christ.
From these first words, He taught us that His relationship with His Heavenly Father was the most important part of His existence.
Folks, it should be the same with you and me. In the four Gospels, Jesus addressed God as Father more than 160 times. He taught the disciples and us that the relationship with the Father is the most important part of our existence.
He wanted them and us to know that through Him, that God in heaven is our Heavenly Father. (Matt. 23:9) He taught His disciples and us that we are to serve the Father and pray to our Father in Heaven. (Matt. 6:9) “Pray like this: ‘Our Father in heaven …’”
Just as the Father’s business was Christ’s first concern, it should be ours as well, the moment we meet and receive Jesus as our Savior. Are we committed to the Father’s business? Are we allowing His kingdom to be established in this world like it is being carried out in heaven?
What was Christ’s mission? I believe He stated it very clearly in the home of Zacchaeus, the tax collector when He said, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save those who are lost.”
“Jesus did not come to make a name for Himself. He did not come to throw His weight around, though He could have. He didn’t come to manipulate and maneuver people. He didn’t come to manufacture success. He came to seek and save the lost-people, like Zacchaeus and like you and me. Jesus came to give up His rights so that the Father’s will would be done.” (Chuck Swindoll)
Just hours before His crucifixion, we find Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane praying. Listen to His prayer — “He went on a little farther and bowed with His face to the ground, praying, ‘My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from Me. Yet, I want Your will to be done, not mine.’” (Matt. 26:39)
Do you remember what Saul of Tarsus, asked the LORD right after his conversion? In Acts 9:6, we read of him, “So he, trembling and astonished, said, ‘LORD, what do You want me to do?’”
Saul who was re-named Paul, asked the LORD, two very important questions:
1. “Who are You, LORD?” Acts 9:5
2. “LORD, what do you want me to do?” Acts 9:6
· Do you and I really know who Jesus is? He is God come in the flesh.
· Do we know why He came? To seek and to save the lost.
· Have we ever asked Him “LORD, what do you want me to do?”
In Philippians 2:5-11, the Apostle Paul wrote of a whole new and passionate perspective for those who truly know Christ.
“Let this same mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond servant, and coming in the likeness of men.
And, being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death of the cross. Therefore, God also has highly exalted Him, and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is LORD, to the glory of God the Father.”
Folks — Jesus came to do the Father’s will.
He came to seek and save people who are lost. People who are dead in their sins and separated from God
He came to destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8
So, Paul says, “Let this same mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus …” (Phil. 2:5) Just as Jesus was about His Father’s business, seeking and saving the lost, we should be committed to the same God-given agenda.
Are you wise?
In Proverbs 11:30, we read, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.” In John 15:8, Jesus said, “By this My Father is glorified, that you/we bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”
In this new year, my prayer is that each of us will be wise and intentionally win others to Christ and thereby glorify our Heavenly Father. Let’s seek to save those who are lost. Let’s keep our baptistry in steady use, baptizing those who are coming to Christ.
Happy New Year Beloved!