Finish His Work

Saturday, May 25, 2013, 7:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put the song “Nothing Can Separate Us” in my mind this morning as I was getting up out of bed to have my quiet time with the Lord. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read John 4:31-38 and John 5 (NIV).;

The Will of God

“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”

The will of God for each one of us is that we finish HIS work here on earth, too. We read in 1 Co. 15:58: “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” Paul referred to a great door for effective work that God had opened for him, but that there were many who opposed him. He said that Timothy was carrying on the work of the Lord, just as he was (see 1 Co. 16). Paul, as well, described the ministry of the apostles in this way: “Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love…” (2 Co. 6:4-6).

We read in Ephesians 4 about the body of Christ and how it works: “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” And, we receive this encouragement in Phil. 1:6: “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” And, in Phil. 2 we read this: “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

Before Jesus left the earth, he commissioned his disciples to go into all the world and to make disciples (followers of Christ) of all nations, baptizing, and teaching them to obey all that Jesus Christ commanded them, and he would be with them always (see Mt. 28:18-20). He also told them that after he left he would send the Holy Spirit to come and to live within each one of them, and when they had received the Spirit they would be empowered from on high to be his witnesses throughout the world (see Acts 1:8). Then we read in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4 concerning the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the parts of the body of Christ. We learn here that the Spirit distributes the gifts as he determines, and that God has placed the parts of the body just as he wanted them to be, and that he has assigned each one of us a task (function; part).

So, we are all assigned the task of taking the gospel throughout the world and of working together as a body to encourage and strengthen one another in Christ Jesus, our Lord. And it is the Spirit within us who gives us all we need, and who accomplishes God’s work in us.

Great Opposition

During Jesus’ time of ministry here on the earth he healed the sick, bound up the injured, preached freedom to the captives (slaves to sin), and shared the gospel of salvation to all who would listen. Yet, he faced much strong opposition to his ministry, and most of that came from the leaders within the Jewish faith. They frequently chided him for healing on the Sabbath. His response to them was: “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.”Because of this, the passage states, the Jewish leaders tried to kill him. That is some pretty fierce opposition. They persecuted him, not only because they believed he was breaking the Sabbath, but because they felt he was making himself equal with God.

Jesus responded to their opposition by letting them know that he could do nothing by himself, but only what he sees his Father doing. And, the same applies to us. We cannot do the work God has assigned us to do here on this earth apart from his Spirit within us working in and through us for his glory, as we cooperate fully with that work. Whatever Jesus did, we should do also. We will never be completely sinless like he was, but we should also never use that as a conditioned excuse to continue in willful sin. Jesus Christ came to set us free from the control of sin, and he will give us all we need to flee sin and to walk in faith.

Jesus said that whoever hears his word and believes in the Father who sent him has eternal life and will not face the final judgment of hell. Then, he spoke briefly on the subject of a future period of time when (at his second coming) the dead will rise – some to eternal life and some to eternal condemnation. He told his listeners that the Father had given him authority to judge, and that his judgment is just, for he sought not to please himself but him who sent him. He also told them that if they did not honor the Son (himself), that they did not honor the Father who sent him. So, he was telling them that he was God, and that he was their promised Messiah, Savior and judge, and without faith in him, they would not have eternal life. And, for that they persecuted and eventually killed him.

Jesus told them that the works that the Father had given him to finish testify that the Father had sent him, but that they had never heard God’s voice nor did his word dwell in them, for they did not believe in the one the Father had sent, namely Jesus Christ. The Jewish leaders studied the Scriptures diligently because they thought by doing so that they would gain eternal life. Jesus said: “These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” He told the leaders that he knew them, that they did not have the love of God in their hearts, and that they did not accept him, even though he came in his Father’s name. Yet, if someone came in his own name, they would accept him. Isn’t this so true today? So many people, even church leaders, believe the testimony (wisdom) of man over the testimony of Christ and his gospel. And, they frequently will engage in persecution of those who do believe in and who share the true gospel of Christ.

Jesus said that we would be hated because of him, but we are blessed when humankind hates us, excludes us, insults us and rejects our names as evil because of Jesus. Jesus said, in fact, that we would be hated just like he was hated. He told his brothers that the world could not hate them, but that it did hate him because he testified that its works were evil. He said we would be arrested on false charges, persecuted, and handed over to the authorities, for if they persecuted him, they will persecute us, too. We are certainly not God, as was Jesus, but God (by his Spirit) is living within those of us who are Christ’s followers, and when we follow our Lord and do his will, and we finish HIS work here on this earth, we can expect to be treated much in the same way as what Jesus was treated, and by church people and church leaders, too. Yet nothing can ever separate us from Christ’s love within us – not hatred, persecution, opposition, trouble, hardship, famine, danger nor sword.

Nothing Can Separate Us / An Original Work / March 28, 2013

Based off Romans 8:28-39

Nothing can separate us
From Christ’s love now within us:
Not trouble, hardship, nor famine,
Nor danger, nor sword.
No, in all of these things
We are more than conquerors!

For your sake we face hardship.
We are sheep to be slaughtered.
I am convinced that death,
Nor life, nor anything else
Will separate us from
The love of God now in Christ.

What, then, shall we say to this?
God for us: who against us?
He who did not spare His Son
But gave Him for us all –
How will He not, with Him,
Graciously give us all things?

Who brings a charge against us?
God justifies His chosen.
Who is He that condemns?
Christ Jesus; died, rose again.
He’s at the right hand of God,
Interceding for us.