Hello Brothers & Sisters,
The heatwave is now behind us and we have cooler temperatures ahead. I hope you’re able to enjoy the weather at home or the beach, wherever you’re at this week.
This past Sunday we continued our Knowing Jesus series with a message entitled, Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? (2 of 6). We began the series with how Jesus ought to be at the center of everything, but if Jesus is to be central and supreme in our life and church, we need to ask, “Which Jesus?” Not only do we see many competing portraits of Jesus in the world today, but we’re all tempted to fashion Jesus in our own image. I unpacked that a bit and challenged us to come to know that the Jesus of history and of faith are one and the same, as revealed to us in the Gospels of the New Testament.
As the disciple John said: “We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy” (1 John 1:3-4).
So, how can we be sure that we’re coming to know the Jesus who was seen and touched by his first followers?
We accept the entirety of the apostolic testimony about Jesus as recorded in the Gospels & the Epistles of the NT;
We shouldn’t selectively read or cherry-pick verses that prop up a monochrome Jesus of our own bias, culture, politics, etc.;
We read, reflect, and meditate on the Jesus of the NT and are being visibly transformed by his person through prayer, worship, & missional community.
Transformation is what naturally happens when you’re coming to know the real Jesus. It’s true that when we’re deepening a relationship with Christ are lives will change over time. Our views and beliefs change. The way we feel about our neighbors and our enemies will change. We will continue to inch closer and closer to the likeness of Jesus. This is discipleship. This is what spiritual growth is all about.
How is that going for you? Are you becoming more like Jesus in any observable way? Are you becoming more loving and less judgmental? Have you given up a belief/idea or repented of anything lately that you know conflicts with Christ? Are you experiencing the joy that comes from accepting Jesus’ teachings? These are just a few questions to consider as you reflect on your own faith journey with Jesus.
Remember, if we want to come to know Jesus as a living person, the place to begin is by spending time reading, listening, and reflecting on the Jesus of the Gospels so that we can enter into his presence and encounter him in fresh ways. And then we go one step further by talking to this Jesus and allowing him to speak to us. The more we do this the more natural it will become. Therefore, I want to encourage you to pick one of the four Gospels and begin today. Read and sit with Jesus. Ask him, “Lord, what are you saying to me?” And then watch how the Spirit works!
Finally, if you’re in town this weekend, I hope you’ll join us for worship and the next installment of our Knowing Jesus series. This Sunday we will consider what it means to make Jesus both our Lord and our friend. Until then, may you know the peace and joy that comes from trusting in Jesus to meet all of your needs.
Grace & Peace,
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