by Pastor Tim Burt
To this day, one of the most mind-boggling thoughts of my life is to think that I knew about Jesus, but didn't understand His love or what He really did for me! I went to church the first 18 years of my life, participated in serving, heard the stories of the birth and death of Jesus Christ, and at the age of 24 still didn’t understand why Jesus died or how it personally affected me. I had a friend who served in Viet Nam. He jumped on a hand grenade that was thrown in his tent, so he could save his friends. I thought that was as bad as Jesus dying on a cross. I could not make the distinction. And again, I couldn't because I didn't understand what Jesus had accomplished at the cross for you and me!
Radio, television, cable, and all forms of media, broadcast a variety of mediums about the truth of Jesus Christ daily. I realized that people can be surrounded by God's efforts to get the truth of Jesus and what He did for us, to them, yet not know it. People sing along with songs, watch the movies, and celebrate national holidays about Jesus' birth and resurrection and still do not understand the truth of what God wants us to know about Jesus.
In the Old Testament, Israel was first a name that God gave Jacob. Then the name Israel was used to describe the sons of Jacob and their families. Then God began to call all of the descendants of Jacob, Israel. When God delivered His people from Pharaoh in Egypt and addressed them as Israel, through Moses, He revealed another name He had for them—“His treasured possession.” He would continue to reveal who He was to them. He would instruct them how to live so that they could learn, imitate, and emulate His ways. Through these descendants of Jacob called Israel, He would reveal Himself and teach the world who He was as God to them. This was the calling of the Jewish people—becoming a particular nation of people, God's chosen people—through whom He would reveal, His love, His character, His ways, and His instruction for moral, upright behavior and attitudes for the world to learn. They would be responsible to be a light to the world and to share God and all His ways with the world. It says in Exodus 19:5-6 (NIV), “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation…” They would all be in a sense, influencers to impart God's ways to the world.
Through Jesus Christ, God extended that privilege and responsibility to His Church—to those who would believe in Jesus and what He did for us. We would become His body in the earth. It says in 1 Corinthians 12:27 (NIV), "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." Through Christ, we would become a light to this world—a light to shine before all men. In Matthew 5:14 Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
The church is the body of Christ. As His body in the earth, we've all been given the commission to help share the love of Jesus Christ—who He was, and is, and what He has done for us. We are to share how He died for our sins and that through His mercy and forgiveness of our sins, He has offered us the gift of eternal life. No one, including me, was EVER meant to be in a church all their life without learning that Jesus paid the debt for our sins so that we could have eternal life as a GIFT. I was led to believe that I had to earn my way into Heaven by becoming good enough. I couldn't ever seem to accomplish that. Until knowing this truth, I wanted to run from God because I was sure I'd go to Hell. And I believed this while going to a church every Sunday! Can you believe it? You can if you've experienced the same thing I did!
A friend of mine shared his experience with me after he started attending our church, “Pastor Tim, I have attended church with my wife for over 30 years. It seemed like the right thing to do for myself and my family. It was a religious experience in ceremony more than anything else. My mind frequently drifted during the service. There were readings from the Bible in church, but they were never talked about as God's Word to us. They were just like a religious saying or quote. I was truly bored to tears but felt obligated to go. Then someone invited me here. Since I have started coming here, I feel like I have been in school learning the most basic things about God from the Bible, that I should have learned and known all my life. I had never read the Bible until coming here, and I was in a church all my life. Now I can’t stop reading it. And I can feel God speaking to me through it! For the first time in my life, I feel like I have a real and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. I never knew church could be like this."
Churches are not all created equal. Many exist but leave people not knowing or understanding who Jesus is. They've made him a religious figure instead of the Savior or our souls. They leave us ignorant of knowing His love and the sacrifice made so we could have eternal life—as a gift, not something we can be good enough to earn!
God called those who knew Him, "His treasured possession." We can't be that if we don’t first know Him personally ourselves. It is so important to get into a church that teaches the truths of God from the Bible so that you can learn of Him and understand how to be that "treasure possession" of God to this world. When that happens, you'll overflow with His love and it will spill in words, kindness, and other ways to the world around us. Your life will begin to fulfill 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV): "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have...gentleness and respect..." This was the reason God raised up Israel and the Jews. And, it has become our inheritance and calling also through Jesus Christ. Know this, and let your life and love for God fill your heart and overflow to the world around you. You are called as His "treasured possession."
If you don't think you know Jesus to the degree you should, please read this to help you! "The Road to God's Forgiveness and Salvation, and the Gift of Eternal Life."
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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