Why does God keep asking the impossible?

4 02 2011

Have you ever noticed that God asks us to do things that are impossible?

- Be born all over again
- Give up everything & follow Jesus
- Speak to a mountain and tell it to move

Several times in the new testament Jesus brings his followers to a place where all they were left thinking was: “It’s impossible to be saved!”

Let’s start with Nicodemus.

In John chapter 3 Jesus tells him that “no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” Nicodemus becomes confused and asks “How can someone be born when they are old? Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Then after an explanation from Jesus he asks “How can this be?” The verses that follow teach us that Jesus had to come to earth and be crucified in order for salvation to take place. Then we are led right up to a very popular scripture, John 3:16. Here is the way it is translated in The Message.

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.”

John 3:16-18 (The Message)

Jesus ends his discussion with Nicodemus by explaining that faith in Christ was the only way to enter into the kingdom of God.

The Impossible Pattern

This is the pattern that I am referring to when I talk about Jesus bringing a person to the point where they feel they cannot be saved. It seems as though Jesus brings them to the point where they ask “How on earth can I ever accomplish this?” Then he drops the truth on them. The deep truth that they cannot accomplish it. It can only be accomplished by God himself.

Give up everything and follow me!

In Matthew chapter 19 we see a young man who approaches Jesus and asks what he needs to do to get eternal life. When Jesus begins to explain about keeping the commandments the young man boldly exclaims that he has kept all of them ever since he was a little boy.

If your spiritual ears are open while reading this scripture red flags should immediately raise up. This young man is telling God that he has never sinned in his entire life. His statement is absolutely absurd since everyone has sinned at some point in their life.

This mans boldness had him believing that he was sinless and perfect before God. Pride had surely taken control of this young mans life and Jesus was about to break some pride off of him.

First off understand this. All throughout the scripture to be rich was to be blessed by God. you don’t have to look very hard to see that many of God’s servants, prophets and chosen were, in fact, VERY wealthy. It was believed that God blessed those who he was pleased with by giving them more sheep, more servants, more land and so on.

Now Jesus tells the young man that the one thing he needs to do is to give up everything he has, give to the poor, and follow him. Essentially it would seem that Jesus was saying give up all the blessings of God and come follow me.

Then Jesus makes a statement that makes everyone cringe.

…Jesus told his disciples, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for the rich to enter God’s kingdom? Let me tell you, it’s easier to gallop a camel through a needle’s eye than for the rich to enter God’s kingdom.”

Matthew 19:23-24 (The Message)

At this point, the disciples are shell shocked! But do we understand why? One must understand that what Jesus was saying seemed to contradict all that God had been doing throughout history while dealing with the Jews.

Jesus “seems” to contradict God and His laws in many cases throughout the New Testament, but of course, Jesus is not wrong – only our understanding of God and salvation are wrong.

The disciples were staggered. “Then who has any chance at all?”

Matthew 19:25 (The Message)

In the eyes of the disciples and everyone around him, this man has been blessed by God. This man was a good man. Jesus himself said that he only lacked ONE thing – Christ.

So, we should easily understand the shock going through the disciples’ minds and hearts at this time. They were likely thinking- “if this man who God has blessed and who has kept the commandments has a hard time entering into God’s kingdom, then we have NO chance! We’re just a bunch of poor (not blessed) men.”

Can you see the pattern here? Jesus brings everyone there to the point where they feel like nobody can be saved. Then he drops the faith bomb on them all.

Jesus looked hard at them and said, “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.”

Matthew 19:26 (The Message)

Conclusion

After His followers came to the conclusion that it would be impossible for them to achieve salvation He would basically then tell them that with faith in God all things are possible. In effect God wants us to understand with all our heart that salvation cannot be achieved through our abilities, or our achievements.

Are there other places that you can see this pattern playing out in scripture? How about in your own life?

The impossible challenge!

God challenges us every day. Just maybe he is challenging you to force you to the reality that you cannot make it without him. Maybe he knows that you are not really trusting him with your whole heart.

Have you totally put your trust in Jesus Christ? If everything in your life was taken away today could you still stand and say, “God I trust in you! You are my provider and my Saviour!”

- – – The End – – -

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Why does God keep asking the impossible?
By: Raymond Brady

Article Source: http://buildyourhouseontherock.wordpress.com/

 





Just a Branch?

18 05 2009

John 15:4 - Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. (NIV)

grapevineHave you ever noticed braches on a fruit tree? The braches are where the fruit is produced. You will not find a fruit tree that grows fruit on it’s trunk. The branches must first grow and become mature enough to produce fruit. This maturity process involves nutrients being fed to the branch from the trunk. In fact a branch is created by the trunk.

As the branch is fed by the trunk it grows stronger each day. Once it has grown enough to support fruit it will begin to produce fruit in the right season. Jesus said we are the branches and if we want to bear fruit we must remain in Him.

The branch has an interesting job. It has a unique ability to create fruit for people to eat yet it cannot create this fruit on it’s own. It has to stay connected to the trunk in order for it to fulfil it’s purpose. If it becomes disconnected from the trunk it cannot create fruit.

The branch also does not have to work to be part of the trunk because it is already connected. The branch also does not have to strive to produce the fruit. What this means is that the branch does not do any real work at all in producing the fruit. It simply acts as a conduit to take the nutrients given by the truck  and transfer them out of itself. As these nutrients are pressed out an amazing transformation takes place and fruit is created.

Our job is simply to remain in Him. This simply means to rest in Him. He is everything we need and He will supply all that we need. How do we remain in Him? Simply by keeping our faith in Him. Verse 5 tells us that if we remain connected to Him we will produce alot of fruit and Jesus also reminds us that we cannot do anything on our own.

We have a purpose and we can produce an amazing amout of fruit as long as we stay connected to Christ. It is Him that does the work through us and not ourselves therefore we must remain in Him. We remain in Christ simply the same way we came to Him, by trusting Him and placing our faith in Him alone.

Colossians 2:6-7 -So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.





What is Truth?

28 04 2009

In our world today we are surrounded by so many things that are not based on truth. Most of the time we are hurt by the truth so we walk around trying to ignore the truth. We feel better being surrounded by fairy tales and illusions so we tend to cling to them instead of truth.

If we define truth according to the dictionary we find this definition:

Truth: a fact that has been verified.

Sounds like something from a court case. Only something that we can scrutinize very closely and verify as a fact will we call truth. If we can’t see it, smell it, touch it, taste it, and test it then it doesn’t exist.

If we use scripture to define truth we start in John 14:6 Jesus said: “I am the way and the truth and the life.” The very foundation of truth starts with Jesus Christ. From God all truth flows and exists. Outside of God is no truth. He is The Truth.

But wait a minute, doesn’t that go against our definition of truth? Is God a fact that can be verified? We can’t see Him so some say He doesn’t exist. He is only a figment of our imagination. What then can be said to answer this age old question. Is there really a God and if so who is He?

To those who question this God I pose a question. If God does exist wouldn’t He be accessible to everyone? Would He only be a God to the rich who could afford Him, or the smart who could understand Him? Would He only be a God to the poor who really need Him, or to the dumb who need His help? Would He only be a God to the devoted who can hold a religious standard, or only a God to the sinner who cannot follow God’s ways?

If there really is a God would He not be a God for everyone? Would He not provide the needs of the rich, poor, smart, dumb, devoted, and sinner? Would He not provide for everyone? If He did not then what kind of God would this God be?

So what is truth? Is Jesus Christ really The Truth? Is He The God of the rich? Is He The God of the poor? Is He The God of smart? Is He The God of the dumb? Is He The God of the devoted? Is He The God of the sinner?

So many questions wouldn’t it be nice to know The Truth?





Who Do You Claim To Be? Part 2

11 03 2009

The “If You Are” Trap:

Some fall into the “If you are” trap. What I mean by this is when you are confronted with this question your gut reaction is to defend yourself.

If you are a son or daughter of God then satan will try to make you doubt this. He does this using the “If you are…” trap. If you are really a Christian then prove it. Turn stones to bread or do some other spectacular miracle. He pressures you by using the same teqnique he used on Jesus. In other words prove to satan that you are spiritual.

Many Christians get tricked into trying to prove they are spiritual rather than just standing justified before God by their faith. They fear the big “IF” question and then react.

Simply standing in grace makes you less vulnerable to temptation. The moment you begin to give place to doubt, pride will step in and take over. You will begin to say things like: I know I am a Christian because I do this, or I do that.

What WE do will never make us a Christian. For this is where the law failed. Only one person has ever been able to keep ALL the law and He died on a tree. You will be tempted, you will fail him, and you will fall. These things are sure. But when you fall will you fall at the cross, or will the cross fall on you?

Have faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. It is the power to set you free.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (KJV)

8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.





Who Do You Claim To Be? Part 1

11 03 2009

When you ask yourself “Who am I?” what answer do you get? Some will answer I am a bank teller or a sales clerk. Others will say I am an athlete or maybe even a superstar. How you view yourself says volumes to the world around you, and if we are not careful our view of ourself can fall into pride.

It is said of Mohammed Ali that he got the title “The Greatest” by proclaiming himself as “The Greatest”. However, just because someone claims something doesn’t always mean that it is true.

Gaining a true understanding of yourself can only happen when you are open and honest with yourself. When you look into the mirror each morning and see a hair out of place you stop and fix it. So, you should also stop when you see something out of place in your life and take the time to correct it.

Jesus took the humble road in life. Even though he had every right to boldly proclaim he was great He chose rather to let His Heavenly Father speak on his behalf. We see one example of this in Matthew 3:16-17.

16As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

It was soon after this that Jesus was being tempted by satan in the wilderness. We find that satan tempted him on what seems to be three different occasions. However, a closer look at these temptations will show there were actually more than three temptations. It is in this revelation that we can learn several valuable lessons.

First satan tempts Jesus in Matthew 4:3

3The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Second temptation in Matthew 4:5-6

5Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: 
   ” ‘He will command his angels concerning you, 
      and they will lift you up in their hands, 
   so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”

Third temptation in Matthew 4:8-9

 8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9“All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

Look at how satan asks the first two questions. “If you are the Son of God…” We can clearly see that satan was trying to make Jesus doubt who he was.

God had just proclaimed that Jesus was the Son of God in the previous chapter. Now, satan comes to him and says “If you are the Son of God…” This is typical of satan as he is the father of lies. He is the exact opposite of faith, which is doubt.

I find the replies of Jesus full of wisdom. He completely ignores the doubt and doesn’t even address it. You see, Jesus knew who he was and that was good enough. He did not have to defend himself by debating with satan on his Sonship, so maybe He simply chose to ignore satan on this issue.

I recently attended a bible study with a friend of mine. The study was discussing the meekness of Christ. It is awesome to think about how meek and humble Christ is. Christ is the epitome of humbleness and meekness.

Jesus was God Incarnate but yet he was also fully human. Knowing the weakness of the flesh He chose not to proclaim his diety, but rather to humble himself in the sight of God.

Phillipians 2:6-10

 6Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

Maybe that is why God chose to proclaim the Sonship of Christ as he did. For if Christ boldly proclaimed it in the flesh it could have conceived pride. I am thinking out loud here so if anyone has something that contradicts me on this than by all means post it so I can review it.

So, who do you claim to be? When the tempter comes to you how do you answer?

The “If You Are” Trap

Well this post is getting way too long so I am going to continue this in another post. I don’t like reading posts that go on forever so I won’t make you do the same….





Contending For The Faith

24 04 2008

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.
Jude Chapter 1 Verse 3

Faith is the very foundation of Christianity and faith in Jesus Christ as the one and only son of God is the very root of our relationship with God. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6) so we know that faith is one of the core foundations our spiritual house must be built on.

Jesus taught a story about a wise man and a foolish man. Each man built a house. The wise man built his house on the rock and the foolish man built his house on the sand. We know this story very well because of the little song we sang in Sunday school as kids. I am singing it in my head now as I even write this. But we have to somehow translate this cute little song in our head to real life actions that have an end result of a strong solid life.

I am reminded of when Peter and John were walking up to the temple to pray and found a lame man sitting at the gate. We get a brief glimpse of how deep there faith went in this moment in time. The Bible tells us that Peter grabbed the man by the right hand, pulled him up, and immediately the mans feet and ankles became strong.

I don’t know if you believe in healing and miracles or not but this teaches us so much about the faith that we should strive to achieve and hope to have. There was no question in Peters mind about whether God would or wouldn’t heal this man. It’s as if Peter knew that God was going to heal the man. Peter took immediate action and did not question anything. God performed a wonderful miracle using the faith that Peter expressed.

It was only a short while before this that Peter himself struggled with his faith while having more faith than you and I may ever have. It was on the choppy waves of the sea that Peter jumped ship to walk on the water with Jesus. No one today would even attempt such a thing but Peter did not hesitate until he took a few steps and the waves began to crash into him. Then he began to sink. Peter eventually came to a realization of his faith in God and his faith did not waiver when he reached down and picked up the crippled man.

So… Dear friends, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. Let us go forth with our feet planted on a solid rock, our faith in Jesus Christ.

Jude Chapter 1 Verse 3








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