Seas Roar; Rivers Clap

Psalm 98: 7 – 9

Let the sea, everything in it, the world, and those who live in it roar like thunder. Let the rivers clap their hands and the mountains sing joyfully in the Lord’s presence.

Do you ever wonder what happened the day the Lord died? I mean, if he is the life (John 14: 6) what happened to the world when the life died? And then, did the earth rejoice when he came back to life? Did the animals feel something happening in the earth? Did they hide in their burrows when Jesus died? What about the grass? Did it begin to wither and die?

I have a creation theory which may be a bit different from others you’ve heard. This began forming in mind in the sixth grade, so I’ve had a bit of time to think about it. Scientists have been on the hunt for the smallest particle in the natural universe. Everything they find is made of something else, but what? Electrons? Protons? Quarks? What is a quark composed of?

Well, ultimately, I believe that answer is, “God.” This actually goes along with the big bang theory and you will see why. Genesis 1: 3 is where we find the well-known language, “Let there be light.” It’s not until verse 16 that God made the sun, moon and stars, so what was the light that He released? John 8: 12 records Jesus saying, “I am the light of the world.” So that makes me think that he was the light in verse three. We know that Jesus was with God at the foundation of the world, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men,” (John 1: 1- 4.) And there is the reference, again, to him being both the life and the light.

So here is my theory, I believe when God made the earth, he did so by releasing a part of Himself. We see that Jesus was an integral part of the creation process. Perhaps when God said, “Let there be light” He was releasing that part of Himself which is Jesus into the universe and earth. There wasn’t a sun and moon, so it wasn’t that kind of light that he released. What if it was energy, the force of life, that God released. Now, if this is, in fact, a part of Him, one can easily imagine a BIG bang. There is room to think about what that might have looked like and a great opportunity for God to reveal the truth of it to someone. Imagine God releasing a part of Himself.

Now if we are on the trail of creation revelation here, that would mean that everything you see, touch, feel or perceive is made from the most basic, but most essential element of all, God’s living energy. God made everything from the only thing that existed at the time, Himself. Isn’t that amazing? That would mean that even the grass and trees get their life from Him. Well, that really isn’t that large a leap. Intuitively it seems to make sense. And when He formed the animals, did they have a sense of Him? Animals have an inner knowing of things. You can see it when storms approach. Did they recognize that something was amiss the day Jesus died? And did they leap for joy when he arose?

It would be something to see the sea teaming with life and praising God with such exhalation that the sea roars. One gets the sense that the mountains would bow down before our Lord. The Lord’s presence is reason for celebration, not for what He will do but just His presence. In His presence is fullness of joy; joy so profound and prolific that even seas will leap, and rivers clap their hands.

Spirit of Truth

John 14: 16 – 17

I will ask the Father, and he will give you another helper who will be with you forever. That helper is the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him, because it doesn’t see or know him. You know him, because he lives with you and will be in you.

Yesterday we saw the impact of truth on our lives. Because Jesus is the way to the Father, and he is the truth then the truth is the way to the Father. It is interesting, then, that as Jesus was about the leave planet earth, he made this statement about the Spirit of Truth to his followers.

As we go forward, I hope every time you hear “truth” you will think of Jesus saying, “I am the truth,” (John 14: 6). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth which makes perfect sense since he is the Spirit of Jesus. When Jesus left earth, he sent a helper. It turns out the helper he sent is truth, that is the Spirit of Truth. Ultimately, truth is an aide to you. I think that was apparent in yesterday’s Word of the Day. It is truth which leads us into divine integration. You and I are consistently assisted by truth because Jesus is the truth and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. Jesus told us that the Spirit was to be with us forever which means that we were designed to live in and with truth all the days of our lives including our life in eternity. Can you see, then, how offensive untruths are to the Kingdom of God and its inhabitants? There can be no falsehood, white lies or deception in the Kingdom. None!

The world does not know the Spirit and it can’t because it doesn’t know truth. Those who will not accept and acknowledge truth cannot know the Spirit. The Spirit and truth are inseparable. However, Jesus said you can both see him and know him. When you embrace truth, then you make a resting place for the Spirit of Truth. When you embrace the lie, he cannot dwell with you. In the beginning, the Spirit was hovering over the formless mass of the earth. He was brooding, waiting, prepared and ready for the Father to speak. When the Father spoke, the Spirit brought forth whatever Yahweh said.

The Spirit of Truth is hovering over you right now. He is prepared and listening. When you speak truth and faith, he becomes energized to operate in that space. What, do you imagine, is his response to lack of truth or outright falsehood. I imagine that he is stripped of his power in that space. He operates in the light, draws his power from the light. If we dwell in darkness and deception, I believe we handicap the Spirit of Truth. Life and love operate in and by truth. That is how the world was created. It can create in our lives too.

The Way

John 14: 6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

I was riding my bike this week when this verse came to me and at the same time, took on a whole new meaning. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus; we know that. Jesus said he is the way. Thus, he is the way to the Father. As I was riding, I heard it this way. First Yahweh brought to my mind that no one goes to the Father apart from Jesus. The next words that came to my mind were, “I am the truth.” Then this idea reverberated in my spirit, “No one goes to the Father apart from the truth.” “That’s interesting,” but, “what truth?” I queried.

There are many truths; truths about Jesus, truths about the Father. What truth is it that we need to comprehend in order to live our lives intertwined with the Father like Jesus modeled for us and taught? The answer resonated through my whole body and was as clear as it could be. It is the truth about ourselves that prevents us from knowing our Father and living with Him as He desires.

A lot of people know the truth about Jesus. They know he is the one promised, the Messiah. Many people know the truth about Yahweh, that He is the one and only true God, that He is the Almighty and the creator of all. They know these truths, but one can know them and yet remain separated from God. In fact, Satan knows this as do his followers. Knowing this truth will not set you free by itself. We acknowledge these truths yet remain distant and separated from the Father. This is true even of Christians. Why? It is because we have not accepted the truth about us.

In order to draw close to the Father, we have to spend time with Him. One of the main reasons we do not do so is because He reveals the truth about us to us and for many of us that is a very uncomfortable event. So, we pray in the religious way. We attend church but we never reveal our hearts fully to the Father and we certainly do not allow Him to reveal the true content of our hearts to us. When we acknowledge truth, when we embrace it, that is when it changes our lives. That is what Jesus meant when he said, “you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free,” (John 8: 32). He meant that you would recognize and accept the truth and when you do, you shall be set free.

He is the truth so when you know him and know him in your own heart then truly you will taste a liberty that is unavailable to those who only intellectually accept facts about Jesus. When we allow Jesus to show us ultimate truths, especially truths about ourselves, then we will experience healing, transformation and complete integration with the Holy One. It is then that we can join with the Father in an unencumbered fashion. That is when we can truly become one with Him. Jesus is telling us today that the only way to the Father is through the truth. The lies and deceptions we have been telling ourselves and others work to keep us separated from God. Allow Jesus to speak truth into your heart for it is the only way to the Father. Jesus is the way; the way is through truth.

In Conclusion

Ephesians 4: 15

But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ.

Here is the conclusion of Paul’s soliloquy. This verse of Ephesians 4 could well be called the topical sentence of all that comes after it. The verses which we have examined hang on this verse. This represents the theme of the chapter.

We are all supposed to be growing up into Jesus Christ himself. We are not only to grow into an image of him, but we are actually supposed to be growing up as part of him just like the branch is vitally integrated into the vine. This is our work as accomplishing Christians. We are supposed to be growing up. Christianity is more than a salvation prayer uttered once. It is life and it is a total way of life. It is Christ.

There are two essential elements that we need in order to grow into him as we should. They are not a mystery. They are in the verse above: love and truth. Only through love and truth can you grow into the integration with Christ that God has called you to. God is love (1 John 4: 8) and Jesus is the truth (John 14: 6), so of course we cannot do without them. You are going nowhere without love and truth.

Jesus said in John 15: 1-2I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine-dresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes (cleanses) it, that it may bear more fruit.” That means you either bear good fruit or God prunes you away. And when you do bear good fruit he nurtures you so that you can bear even more good fruit. See please that truth is the true vine. Makes sense right? Love is the vine dresser. You must abide in truth, thereby abiding in Jesus (John 15:4) and you must allow love to guide your growth.

It all makes sense when you see it this way. The rest of the verses in Ephesian 4 follow from verse 15. Of course, we must keep our mouths from all unwholesome language. Of course, you are kind and gentle because love is kind and gentle. And finally, it all makes sense and becomes easy. If we will allow truth and love to guide us all day every day, we will become well-watered branches lovingly cared for by the Holy Gardener. Every other verse of the Bible folds in here. In this concept is your every need met, your healing, your protection and of course your salvation and redemption. It does not have to be difficult to understand any longer. Where there is love and truth, there is the real first family, the family of God.

New Creature

Ephesians 4: 24

. . . and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

You have been created a new creature. You have been created in righteousness and truth. Jesus said in John 14: 6I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” You have been created in the truth because Jesus is the truth and you are the righteousness of God because Jesus gave you right standing with God through his blood. That is what righteousness means, “right standing with God.”

In this passage Paul is trying to lead the church at Ephesus to put away their old man and old ways and to realize that they have been made new by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. He is showing them that their new selves have been forged in truth and righteousness not because of anything they did but by what Jesus did. He wants them to receive the gift of holiness and walk therein.

Jesus paid an enormous price so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. We have our part to play though. We must receive this gift and walk in it. It is not by works that we are saved or righteous, it is only by the price paid by Jesus. Now in humble gratitude we proclaim that we are new and glorious creatures because our Lord has made us so. It is not by our works but only by our faith in His sacrifice. Don’t make his sacrifice of nil effect though. As Paul says, “put on the new self.”

Shake Up

Matthew 27: 50 – 53

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two form the top to bottom, and the earth shook; and the rocks were split, and the tombs were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.

Try to wrap your mind around all of this for a moment. We generally accept that Jesus arose from the grave and appeared, in the flesh, to his disciples. Sometimes I think we don’t make enough out of that truth but at least there is general recognition of it. How about the rest of the manifestations? Don’t they boggle your mind just a little? How is it that when Jesus gave up his spirit, the earth reacted so violently?

I know, the unbelievers will chalk a great deal of this story up to a natural earthquake. I have no doubt the earth quaked. That’s kind of the point. Why, though, did it shudder? The answer, I think, is because the life force which had sustained it ever since it was created was yielded, released. For a brief time, Jesus was not the life (John 14: 6) and the earth trembled in response. The life, for a brief time, went out of it.

What about the veil in the temple? That is such a poignant fact. The veil separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple, and indeed, the rest of the world. Symbolically, this represents the reality that no longer is God hidden behind a veil from the ordinary person. The veil has been pierced, rended and ultimately abolished. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, God is available to every person without the need of an intermediary. Was it coincidental that the veil in the temple was torn in two when Jesus gave up his spirit? I wouldn’t agree that damage of that sort is a likely result of an earthquake.

But lastly, surely no seismologist would argue that bodies coming back to life and arising from their graves is an expected consequence of an earthquake. These people entered the city and appeared to many people. It is surprising to me that we don’t make more of this amazing consequence of the life of Jesus. He is resurrection life and those saints are the proof of it.

The world shook when Jesus gave up his breath. Never before in the history of the earth had there been a moment without “the life.” Jesus’ release of his spirit shook the earth to its foundation, literally to its core. Many who did not previously believe, including the soldiers who participated in the crucifixion, were instantaneously converted. Of course, the news of this Jesus spread throughout Asia. This was a big deal.

I think we forget how big this event was. It is so far away from us in time and experience that we have lost the measure of its importance. Jesus’ death, quite literally, shook the world. But hold on to your hat because he isn’t done. He is coming back and he is going shake up the world again. Many, so called, unbelievers will recognize the truth of his deity and will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

New You

Ephesians 4: 24

. . . and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

You have been created a new creature. You have been created in righteousness and truth. Jesus said in John 14: 6I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” You have been created in the truth because Jesus is the truth and you are the righteousness of God because Jesus gave you right standing with God through his blood. That is what righteousness means, “right standing with God.”

In this passage Paul is trying to lead the church at Ephesus to put away their old man and old ways and to realize that they have been made new by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. He is showing them that their new selves have been forged in truth and righteousness not because of anything they did but by what Jesus did. He wants them to receive the gift of holiness and walk therein.

Jesus paid an enormous price so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. We have our part to play though. We must receive this gift and walk in it. It is not by works that we are saved or righteous, it is only by the price paid by Jesus. Now in humble gratitude we proclaim that we are new and glorious creatures because our Lord has made us so. It is not by our works but only by our faith in His sacrifice. Don’t make his sacrifice of nil effect though. As Paul says, “put on the new self.”