You Belong to God

Ephesians 2b.pngConsequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

Ephesians 2:19-22

You are called to belong, not just believe. When we read in the book of Genesis it is not good for man to be alone. We are created for community, fashioned for fellowship, and formed for a family, and none of us can fulfill God’s purpose by ourselves. The Bible knows nothing of solitary saints or spiritual hermits isolated from other believers and deprived of fellowship. The Bible says we are put together, joined together, and held together, members together, heirs together, fitted together, and held together and will be caught up  together. You are not on your own anymore. While your relationship to Christ is personal, God never intends it to be private. In God’s family you are connected to every other believer, and we will belong to each other for eternity. I am sure there are many of you out there longing to be a part of a family, having your own family, and without you even knowing that once you accept Christ into your heart you have been connected to the rest of his family. Following Christ includes belonging, not just believing. We are members of his Body–the church. C.S. Lewis noted that the word membership is of Christian origin, but the world has emptied it of its original meaning. Stores offer discounts to “members” and advertisers use member names to create mailing list. In churches, membership is often reduced to simply adding your name to a roll, with no requirements or expectations. To Paul, being a “member” of the church meant being a vital organ of a living body, an indispensable, interconnected part of the Body of Christ. We need to recover and practice the biblical meaning of membership. The church is a body, not a building, an organization. Whenever a child is born, he or she automatically becomes a part of the universal family of human beings. But that child also needs to become a member of a specific family to receive nurture and care and grow up healthy and strong. The same is true spiritually. When you become born again, which means flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. (John3:5) you need to become a member of a local expression of God’s family the church, his church. The Christian life is more than just commitment to Christ, it includes a commitment to other Christians. The Christians in Macedonia understood this, Paul tells us, “First they gave themselves to the Lord, and then, by God’s will they gave themselves to us as well. Joining the membership of a local church is the natural next step once you’ve become a child of God. You become a Christian by committing yourselves to Christ, but you become a church member by committing yourselves to a specific group of believers. And believe me being a part of a church, the family of true believers makes our journey in life a little easier to bear with that family and with God.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends.

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Crucifixion Cross

crrown of thorns.pngThe Soldiers Mock Jesus                                      (Matthew 27:27-31 NIV)

Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus to the place called the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and they took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

At the time of Jesus death, crucifixion was considered the most painful and degrading form of capital punishment in the Roman Empire. It was considered so horrible that it was used by the Romans only for salves, those from the provinces under the control, and the lowest type of criminals. It was not to be used for a Roman citizen. This is in accord with the Biblical account of Christ’s death and with church tradition, which asserts that Peter was also crucified (Peter  believed to be crucified upside down because he felt unworthy to be crucified the same position that Christ was) but Paul, a Roman citizen who was to  became a disciple later was beheaded. So although Jesus was completely innocent of all sin, he suffered the most horrible, degrading punishment knows. And yet his agonizing death was not an ordinary death…since he suffered for the sins of the world and turned this apparent defeat into a glorious resurrection that would, hereafter, defeat the power of all sin and death. Indeed, through the Cross, Jesus offers salvation to all who will believe in him.

Grace and Peace to you my friends