I read this article last night and liked it so much I sent it to my wife. This morning I decided I wanted to share it with you. I hope this brings back wonderful memories that you can continue to build on regardless of how long it has been since you first said, “I love you” to your spouse.
Father, this morning may we gather together all over this world and sing praises to You!
Every once in a while, when working through a book of the Bible, you come across a set of verses that seem to fill in the gaps of New Testament history and yet they don’t seem to have any relevance to today. In Acts 1:15-26, we read about the replacement of Judas Iscariot after his betrayal and subsequent death.
It was important to replace Judas because the number of disciples needed to be twelve. In Luke 22:28-30 Jesus says, “You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” This role of the apostles was a unique, irreplaceable office which held eternal responsibilities. Their witness to Jesus is the foundation for believers of all generations to receive salvation, which is seen in Eph. 2:20 where our faith is described as being built on the foundation of the apostles.
We also see this teaching in Revelation 21:14. The New Jerusalem is coming down to the new earth where the saints of God will dwell in His presence forever and ever. In describing the city John writes, “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”
These facts clearly help us understand the reason for restoring the number of disciples to twelve. It also proves that the replacement for Judas is not a case for apostolic succession. After all, when James the son of Zebedee died, he was not replaced. James had not abandoned his office but was martyred and therefore is an apostle for all eternity.
In just a couple of minutes, we were able to look at these verses and understand the reason for Judas’ replacement as well as the apostles’ purpose to lay a foundational witness of Jesus Christ. On the surface this may seem to be innocuous facts that really don’t relate to us; however, while studying this week, I began to look specifically at the three men mentioned in these verses and one key theme kept coming to mind—LEADERSHIP.
I would like to invite you to Living Oaks Baptist Church this Sunday as we ponder some of the ways these verses apply to Christians. I hope to see you at 10:45 a.m. this Sunday.
In His service,
Over the last few days we have seen how God reveals Himself through creation as well as through His Holy Word. Today, we are going to look at a few ways God not only revealed His personal nature to us but how He demonstrated it for all to see.
In Hebrews 1:1 we are told “God…has in these last days spoken to us by His Son [Jesus].” It is in the life of Jesus that we get a perfect picture of what God the Father is like. Colossians 1:3 says Jesus “is the image of the invisible God,” while Hebrews 1:3 tells us Jesus is the “brightness of [God's] glory and the express image of His person.” Jesus made it clear in John 14:9 that anyone who has seen Him has seen the Father. Therefore, when reading the Gospel accounts of Jesus, we are getting a perfect representation of the Father in heaven.
When we examine the life of Jesus, we are immediately drawn to His concern for all people. It didn’t matter if He was approached by a Roman centurion, Samaritan, tax collector, lawyer, rich man, or poor man He always had time to answer their questions and share with them their deepest need. He didn’t let someone’s social standing or checkbook balance determine their importance. Every person counted regardless of their ethnic background.
He was also concerned for people who were considered dirty by first century standards. Jesus wasn’t afraid to touch a leper, heal those that were sick from various diseases, give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, speech to those who were mute, restore the strength of those who were crippled, provide food for the poor, and love those considered to be unlovely. He didn’t recoil from anyone regardless of their condition. He reached out past their affliction, all the way to their heart, and healed them from the inside out. After all, it is the sick who need a doctor, and Jesus came as the great Physician to heal the hearts of the spiritually sick.
Jesus also came to teach us God’s expectations. He taught us that all of life is to be lived by loving the LORD our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love our neighbor as ourself. He set the example of loving others and putting them first. He told us He did not come to be served but to serve and give His life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). We demonstrate our love for our Father in heaven, whom we have not seen, by loving our neighbor who we have seen. As we have already said, Jesus demonstrated this kind of love.
In Jesus we see the Father. We see His compassion, unconditional love, passion to know us and be known by us, forgiveness for even the most vile human being. In Jesus, God reveals His nature, character, integrity, righteousness, and holiness. Jesus is the exact representation of the Father in heaven.
For some, God seems like an uncaring creator who allows us to suffer way too often. For others, God is our grandfather in the sky who spoils us by giving us everything we want. Neither of these views of God are true. He loves you and came to earth in the form of Jesus so that we could know exactly what He is like. If you really want to know more about God, then start reading one chapter a day from the Gospels. Work your way through Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the New Testament over the next ninety days. While you are reading, pay careful attention to Jesus. Ask Him to reveal His nature that you might know Him better.