Archive for the ‘Real Jesus’ Category


Jacob had left Beersheba and was on his way to meet Esau. He had sent his family on ahead, so that perhaps Esau would soften and his heart and not kill him as he had threatened years ago. Tired, he picked out a nice rock to lay his head on and get some sleep. He had a dream about a ladder that stretched from earth all the way to heaven. And on this ladder, angels were descending and ascending. At the top of the ladder was the Lord God. In his dream, he heard the voice of God:

“I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said,

“Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” (Have you ever gone through some trial and thought, Surely God was in this place and I did not know it?)

And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” So early in the morning

Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. He called the name of that place Bethel, but the name of the city was Luz at the first. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.” Genesis 28:10-22

STEADFAST LOVE

As we peer closely at the Real Jesus, the Jesus of Revelations One, we see another aspect of Divine Love expressed in His appearance.

John saw his golden sash (Agape love that sacrifices all), his white hair (enduring love that lasts through the tests of life), his eyes of fire (discerning love that sets boundaries), his feet of bronze (uncompromising love that desires the strength of His righteousness), and his voice of many waters (distinguishing love).

Now we see his right hand, and in his right hand are seven stars. The stars are the messengers to the churches, which could be angels but more likely represent the Pastors, or those responsible for God’s messages to the churches.

Specifically, the seven stars in His right hand means that Christ holds the power of the churches in His hand. The church age is His age; it is when He is at work among the nations. His kingdom is at work through the church.

His right hand is the hand of power, and the church is to know His power!

  • Ex 15:6 your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power, you right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy
  • Ps 17:7 Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand.
  • Ps 48:10 Your right hand is filled with righteousness.
  • Ps 63:8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
  • Ps 139:10 your right hand shall hold me.
  • Isa 41:13 For I the Lord your God hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you”.

The Question we must ask ourselves as we examine our Love for the Lord,

  • Do we hold His Right Hand?
  • Do we hold it with steadfast love?
  • Or do we reach for him only when we are in trouble?

Ps 16:8 “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken”. To have steadfast love is to have a love for Christ that is fixed in intensity and direction; it is steady, unwavering, marked by determination.

The right hand represents strength, it represents steadfastness. When you hold His hand, you will never be shaken.

Jesus commends the steadfast love of the Philadelphians in verse 10: “Because you have kept my word about patient endurance”

Patient endurance is hupomoné; to persevere, remain under. A bearing up under, patience, endurance as to things or circumstances. It refers to that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial[1].

Christ is writing to a church that has a steadfast love that is determined and fixed upon Him, and because of that steadfast love, they are enduring; they have not let go, they have not turned aside, they continue to lift up His name with everything they have, even if Jesus says it is little.

First love is steadfast love, and Jesus Christ demonstrated that:

  • John 13: 1 …”he loved them to the end”
  • Jeremiah 31:3 … “I have loved you with an everlasting love”

Divine Love is triumphant love, love that is steadfast and sure, love that holds on no matter what it encounters or suffers through.

God calls to us in Isaiah 55:

Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. Isaiah 55:3

Jesus is before the Church of Philadelphia, and in his hand is no rebuke, no call for repentance, only the reminder of His promises for them.

This church was not a big church. It would be considered a rural church in a small farming town on the edge of a fertile valley. There is still a farming town there today. Although just a church in the country, and not a big city church with prestige, the church in Philadelphia was special to Jesus. Therefore, He reminds them of His Promises.

Steadfast Love is always based upon promise

Marriage is always begun with a promise. Marriage is to be a display of God’s steadfast love, yet we all know the tragedy of marriages in America. Steadfast love has been re-defined to mean 5 years, 10 years, or until I find someone better. Well, with God, Steadfast Love is to be for a Lifetime!

Marriage to me is like the word to Philadelphia – He that overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of My God.

My Mom and Dad - Jim and Clare Tompkins

I am proud of my Mom and Dad for the example of being a pillar of steadfast love. They were far from perfect, and their marriage was very strained at times, but underneath it all was a steadfast love that withstood the trials and tests of time. I am so proud that we have in our church such pillars of steadfast love. I hope and pray that each of you will see the need to be pillars in this society of ours, to hold forth an example to your children of steadfast love. America is only as strong as our commitments to our families and our spouses.

The Promise to Philadelphia, and the Promise to you and me

“The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. Revelation 3:12

Yet, we read in Revelation 21:  “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God the Almighty, and the Lamb are the temple thereof” (Rev. 21:22).

There is no temple, God is the temple. Therefore, the Pillars will be in God Himself. You will always dwell in the heavenly Jerusalem. No more will you go out. You will be one who counts with God!

All who are of the character of Philadelphia, marked by steadfast love, become strength in the place of God’s dwelling and in His interest. To be of great importance to God, in the presence of God, important in the Church, which is the New Jerusalem – love is the thing that must characterize us.

It is not money, title, office, pedigree, or social standing. These things may give importance in this world, but in God’s Kingdom, it is love. It is steadfast love when you are weak, steadfast love when you are persecuted, steadfast love when you are barely able to hold on.

DO YOU WANT TO COUNT FOR SOMETHING BEFORE CHRIST?

The way to be something for God is not based on how much you know, how much you have studied, or even how many verses you have memorized.

Understand this about what God Values: He says in James 5: 11 – Behold, we call them blessed which endured. God will often take us through something that is designed to bring us to a feeling of nothingness. He wants us to love Him not because of what we have, but simply because of who He is.

You do not want to be loved because of what you are able to do. You want to be loved for your own sake.

When it is like that, and we get away from all our ambitions, all our craving for recognition and reputation, and we love the Lord for His own sake, we have attained a place of tremendous importance – pillars of strength in the things of God, in the temple of God, in the presence of God. Love is the key to all spiritual significance.

What matters to God is not the number of our trials, but that we reach God’s goal through them. That Goal is steadfast Love for God no matter what we have or do not have. It is pure love for Jehovah God.

So with the background of Christ wanting us to see that Divine Love is Steadfast Love, let’s look at this letter.

The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. Revelation 3:7

True and Holy

The one who has the sure right hand wants us to see Him as the true one, the holy one. This true refers to the fact that He is the real Jesus, the real God, he is no man made idol, no figment of man’s imagination.

The real Jesus is Holy, He is sacred, He is set apart, and He is God! So when you pray to Jesus, when you talk about Jesus, remember the real Jesus is no Christmas ornament, He is Holy, He is righteous, and His Holiness is essential to love Him with steadfast love.

Key of David

The real Jesus holds the key of David. He has the authority of the throne of David, which is the throne of God! The promises of God to David are held in the key of David. Jesus Christ is coming soon, and He will be holding the key of David. He will have authority to sit on the throne of David and rule the world.

This is a reference to an incident recorded in the 22nd chapter of the prophecy of Isaiah. In the days of Hezekiah the king there was a courtier (we would call him a chief-of-staff, for he was in charge of the palace) whose name was Shebna. He had been caught in a personal scam run for his own benefit, and as a result God says a very unusual, very descriptive thing about him: “I will take him and whirl him around and around (like a discus thrower), and hurl him into a far country,” {cf, Isa 22:18}. It was a prediction that he would be sent into Babylon. He would be replaced by a godly man named Eliakim, of whom God said,

“I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David. What he opens, no one can shut, and what he shuts, no one can open.” {Isa 22:17 NIV}

Our Lord refers back to that passage in Isaiah and applies it to himself: “I am the one who shuts and no one can open, and opens and no one can shut”. His will cannot be opposed. He governs the events of history on earth. He will open some doors; he will close other doors… Jesus has the authority to open and to close. That which He opens, no one shuts, that which He closes, and no one opens.

We have the privilege to partner with Christ here on earth through our prayers.

Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:18-20

These verses come on the heal of the teaching on church discipline. They form the foundation for church discipline. That foundation is that when we are united in prayer and are agreed on God’s will, what we pray to be bound will be bound, and what we pray to be loosed will be loosed.

The key is coming together, being led of the Holy Spirit to pray in unity about something. In the case of church discipline, the church comes together to deal with someone who is unrepentant. If the church is led to close the door of the church to that person, then he is bound in heaven. The doors of God’s care and fellowship are shut.

The church has great authority here on earth, and in truth, God partners with His people in effecting His will. However, we fail to partner with God because our eyes and hearts are not open to see the injustice in the world, or we do not desire God’s will.

Our love for God must be steadfast, it must be resolute, always desiring His will here on earth. We must never retreat into thinking there is nothing we can do, that it is hopeless. We have the power to shake the Key of David through our prayers!

The Open Door

I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Revelation 3:8

Jesus knows their works, but He does not detail them as the other letters did. However, they are good, because Jesus sets before them an open door, which no one can shut. I believe this door is complete access to Jesus, it is complete access to His power and glory and love! No one can shut it; no one can take it away.

The Door is Always Open

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? …. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39

The church of Philadelphia has a special door to Christ, one that no one can shut. I believe we all have a special door to Christ. I believe He lives in each of us. The problem is that we shut the door of our heart to Him. We are the ones who are not steadfast in our love and devotion to Him. We are the ones who let go of His right hand, and go our own way.

The church at Philadelphia had a door that was always open because they have kept His Word and not denied His name.

O they were weak in numbers, weak in power, but their love was resolute. They were steadfast in their devotion to His Word and to His Name! To such the Door to Jesus is always open!

Little Power

However, I want you to note something: Jesus said they had little power. These Christians were clearly no Elijah, able to pray fire from heaven. They were no Paul, able to be bitten by a poisonous snake and simply shake it off and go on preaching. They were no Moses, facing off against a mighty ruler and bringing him to his knees.

No these folk were like you and me, struggling to make a life in a small town, where money and opportunities were slim. Yet they did have a little power, they did have an open door, they did have a steadfast love for the Word and for the Name of Jesus. They wore His name proudly in their forehead. They obeyed His Word no matter the cost or sacrifice.

God is the God of LITTLE THINGS

We think we cannot do anything for Jesus because we do not know too much, or we think we have no ‘spiritual power’, but the truth is that Little is Much when God is In IT!

LITTLE THINGS WHICH ARE GREAT IN GOD’S SIGHT.

  • Two or Three Gathered in His Name, Matt. 18:20.
  • Only a Cup of Cold Water, Matt. 10:42.
  • In addition, a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. Mark 12:43
  • Little Children, Matt. 18:1-5 (“little” used 7xs in 18:1-14).
  • A Little Money with…
    • Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it. Proverbs 15:16
    • Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it. Proverbs 15:17
    • Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice. Proverbs 16:8
  • A poor, little widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. Mark 12:43

Little is Much when God is in it!

Does the place you’re called to labor
Seem too small and little known?
It is great if God is in it,
And He’ll not forget His own.
Little is much when God is in it!
Labor not for wealth or fame.
There’s a crown and you can win it,
If you go in Jesus’ Name.

Are you laid aside from service,
Body worn from toil and care?
You can still be in the battle,
In the sacred place of prayer.
Little is much when God is in it!
Labor not for wealth or fame.
There’s a crown and you can win it,
If you go in Jesus’ Name.

Those that speak against you will learn

Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet and they will learn that I have loved you. Revelation 3:9

Obviously, there were Jews who were making fun of this little church. They were saying that God loved them, that these Christians were noting to God.

The Church that loves with Steadfast Love can always count on opposition!

The Philadelphia letter reminds that any true church at any time, and especially during the last days, meets Satanic opposition…through imitation, religious ritualism, and hypocrisy—opposition strengthened by mixture of worldliness and religiousness.

Jesus says, remember, the door is always open to me. I will make those “Jews” come and bow before you. They will learn it is you I have loved, and not them.

We should not make fun of small things. We should not think less of one church just because they are small in number. What counts is the Love of Christ. I would rather pastor a church of 20 and know we are beloved of Christ than to pastor a church of a thousand who walked in their own way.

Because you Have endured with steadfast love

Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. Revelation 3:10-11

Remember the Door is always open

There is a trial coming on the world, a great day of tribulation.

Joel 2:1 Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming; it is near, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness!

But Jesus promises these weak but steadfast Christians that they will escape, they will go through that open door and not face the tribulation that the world will endure.

Because of their faithfulness, the Christians in Philadelphia are promised that they will be kept from the hour of trial which will come upon the earth as a divine judgment.

But the promise to the church is specifically that it is to be delivered from the hour of trial. Actually, the word is not “from”, but “out of” — to be delivered out of — not just the trial but out of the very time of the trial! This is one of the clearest promises in the Bible of the catching away of the church before the great tribulation begins.

The time of trial and trouble described in Revelation 6 to 19. This time of tribulation will overtake the entire world, as God inflicts His wrath upon unbelieving Gentiles as well as upon Christ-rejecting Jews. The Philadelphian church is therefore promised deliverance from the time of trouble, which will overtake the world but will not overtake them.

He is coming soon

Hold fast what you have. Even though your strength is weak, even though the trials have sapped your strength, keep holding on!

Your crown is at stake, the crown of steadfast love!

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10

Reward

The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ Revelation 3:12-13

“A pillar in the temple of my God.”

We read, “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God the Almighty, and the Lamb are the temple thereof” (Rev. 21:22).

It indicates a fixed and unchangeable state. He shall go no more out. They have now overcome. They are partakers with their Lord in all his glory. They abide in his presence. They rejoice in his kingdom, and their joy no man takes from them. Oh how unspeakably happy is this prospect!

A pillar is a symbol of triumph.

And what a triumph has the Savior accomplished for me! He spoiled principalities and powers for me, in his death on the cross, triumphing openly over them there. Every saint a separate illustration of his power. All the saints a combined demonstration of his all-conquering grace.

A pillar is an instrument of commemoration.

Living monuments of his works of grace. What testimonies do they give! What evidences do they remain forever! In the history of each of them, what wonderful chapters have been written, and are to be read hereafter! They are thus pillars of record. Upon them are inscribed such histories of grace and power as the universe has never seen but in them.

A pillar is a place of Sacrifice

Jacob sacrificed atop the pillar he made. There he pledged Jacob’s pledge.

A pillar is an instrument of support.

There is an end of all schisms in the body–of all separations of feeling or affection. Each saint is a cordial supporter of this happy union among the people of God. They unite in one song of praise. They engage in one heavenly worship. They surround one throne and one Lord in one common affection and obedience. The many tongues of earth are all forgotten in the one song of heaven. Each saint is a supporter of Divine authority.

New Name

A pillar sometimes has an inscription or an identifying mark chiseled into it by the stonemason. Jesus promises to write upon the pillar (the faithful Christian) the name of God, the name of the New Jerusalem, and Christ’s new name.

A change of names would be meaningful to the Philadelphians because that city changed its name twice in its history. It called itself Neocaesarea when Tiberius helped it; and later on, in honor of Vespasian, one of the Flavian emperors, it changed its name to Flavia. (It later resumed the name Philadelphia.) Thus these people understood what it meant to have a different name.

In addition to this promise Christ gives them a threefold assurance that they will be identified with God, because

They will have the name of God, “the name of my God”.

This is a promise that believers will be made godlike. “Godliness” is a shortened form of the word “godlikeness”. The purpose of the Spirit in our lives is to make us godly or godlike.

They will have the name of the city of God, the new Jerusalem.

And, “I will write [on him] the name of the city of my God.” The last two chapters of Revelation give a vivid description of this wonderful city, the New Jerusalem, coming down from heaven “as a bride adorned for her husband” — a beautiful bride meeting her husband. That again is a picture of loving intimacy; someone captured by the beauty and goodness of another and longing to be with him or her. That is the second promise given to those who hold on, who stand fast in the midst of a decaying world. They will know the intimacy of a husband’s love for his beautiful bride.

They will have a new name belonging to Christ.

“I will also write on him my new name.” What is that? Since a name symbolizes one’s character this is a reference to the fact that when our Lord’s work of redemption is finished he will have a new name. Everyone wants to know what that new name is, but in Revelation 19:12 we are told that when Jesus appears he will have that new name written upon him, but it is a name that no man knows.

The Choice is yours:

You can be a pillow Christian, choosing the comfort to your pillow when it comes to seeking after Christ, or you can be a Pillar Christian, steadfast in your love for Jesus, proudly bearing His name regardless of Satan’s attacks, or trials, or testing’s. You may not be strong in your own ability, but you are strong in Christ. Your faith allows you to see Him at work, and allows Him to make you a Pillar in the Temple of God.

A Pillar Christian always holds the strong right hand of Jesus Christ. He holds eternity, He holds the churches, He holds the Holy Spirit, yet He can hold your hand. When you hold the hand of Jesus, you hold on to all that power, you are holding on to eternity!


[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book.

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Moses with one wave of his staff was able to see the seas part and the seabed dry up. He was able to see the waters stand tall as if held back by a thick wall of glass. When the enemy army was crossing after them, with another wave of the rod of God, he saw the waters fall upon them and drown every soldier.

But when it came to leading this complaining horde of people across a desert land, Moses was at his wits end.

Moses and the Tent of Meeting

In Exodus 33, we find that Moses would take a tent and pitch it outside the camp, far away from the people, and there Moses sought the Lord. He called it the ʾōhel môʿēd (tent of meeting). This was the forerunner of the tabernacle. Here Moses would speak face to face with God (Ex 33:11)

When Moses would enter the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and God would speak to Moses.

When Moses went out to the tent, all the people would get up, go to their tent door, and watch. And when the cloud would descend, the people would worship, each at their tent door.

Later on, when they constructed the Tabernacle according to God’s commands, it was brought within the camp, and the people worshipped there. I can’t help but wonder if Moses longed to return to that tent outside the camp…

Letter to Concerned Jewish Christians

It is a reference to the Tabernacle that the writer of Hebrews is using to address the concerns of the Jewish Christians in Hebrews 13. Here the writer makes the foundational statement which should guide these Christians, and I believe it is the foundational statement for our church.

Foundational Statement of Hebrews

We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore, let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:10-16

The Problem Facing these Jewish Christians

There were pressures from the world-pressures as to how they should worship, how they should not worship. It was so much easier to follow a hybrid Christ-one who was Jewish and Christian. One who was worldly and Godly.

On the other hand, the world was becoming more antagonistic toward Christians, especially those that really followed Him. So the struggles they were facing are the same ones we face in our lives.

Two Problems

1.  Driven by formalism-How they worshiped was more important than Who they worshiped.

2.  Paralyzed by Fear – Faced expulsion or persecution-wanted to have the glory of God and stay in the safety of the camp. Their desire for comfort overwhelmed the command to risk it all.

Remember:

We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat.

If we insist on serving from a place of comfort, or a place of ‘tradition’, or a place of safety…we can not eat from the altar of Jesus Christ. We will lose out on the sweet abiding fellowship that is in Him alone.

Choice Number 1

  • Will we Die in our Religion or Die in our Devotion?

The writer addressed the plight of the Hebrews by calling their attention to those who wandered in the wilderness:

Num 13:31-14:4; Num 14:20-23, 32-34

Here the Jewish wanderers had the chance to believe in God’s Word, to embrace His power that they had witnessed first hand. However, they refused to see Him Who is able, and focused on their own weakness and inability. Instead of advancing into Canaan and trusting God to overcome the giants, they wept in bitterness and retreated from the mission God had given them.

They had two options:

  1. Retreat from the Mission

  2. Risk everything for the Mission

To risk everything requires the faith to see Him who is invisible. To risk everything requires a total disregard for personal comfort, personal safety, but an overwhelming CONFIDENCE in the power of God to allow you to finish the mission!

We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat.

Choice Number 2

  • Will We Embrace our Comfort or Will we Embrace His Cross?

If you want to eat from this altar. If you want to experience God face to face. If you want to know the presence and power of God, you must go outside the camp. You must be willing to be disgraced just like Jesus. You must be willing to bear His disgrace.

Let us Go to Jesus …Outside the Camp

Dead and Dirty things

And the bull for the sin offering and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the Holy Place, shall be carried outside the camp. Their skin and their flesh and their dung shall be burned up with fire. And he who burns them shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp. Leviticus 16:27-28

Diseased and Despised

“The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp. Leviticus 13:45-46

Blasphemers

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Bring out of the camp the one who cursed, and let all who heard him lay their hands on his head, and let all the congregation stone him. And speak to the people of Israel, saying, Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin. Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death. Leviticus 24:13-16

Dangerous

Murderers, blasphemers, adulterers were all kept and stoned outside the camp.

Do You Really Want to Follow Jesus?

Then you must go to Him OUTSIDE the camp!

  • Mission without suffering is like Christianity without a cross
  • Suffering is not a consequence of our mission: it is the central strategy for achieving our mission.

Moses met face to face with God outside the camp!

If you desire to fellowship face to face with Jesus Christ, you must meet with Him outside the camp, and bear His reproach.

Choice Number 3

  • Will We Live for Pleasure in this World or for Paradise in the World to Come?

The Truth of the Real Jesus

  • Jesus calls the church to live according to a radically different definition of success than the rest of the world.
  • Jesus calls me to live according to a radically different definition of success than the rest of the world

If we do not advance toward Jesus in our Christian walk, we:

  • Give way to formalism
  • Give way to paralyzing fear
  • Give way to a retreating spirit

We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat.

Do we desire to stay inside the comfort of our camp? Do not count on feasting on Christ.

Believer’s can be forgiven but cursed to wander in the wilderness apart from the power and presence of God.

God does not need our church to gain glory for Himself. He will glorify His Name regardless of whether we go to the altar outside the camp.

Following Christ does not mean coming to the cross and then neatly carrying Jesus back into our safe and comfortable American lives. It means risking everything and going outside the camp to bear His reproach on His altar of total sacrifice. (A thank you to David Platt for the core points of this message)

Notation about my Faith Journey

In 2004-2005 I became burdened about the nation of Myanmar. I even went there in January 2006, and now serve as Treasurer on the Executive Board of the Friends of Burma, Inc. This all came about as I began to understand the true meaning of discipleship.

While going through a sermon series on Mark, I was struck anew with Mark 8.

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. Mark 8:34-35

The greatest example of these verses was the life of Adoniram Judson. I was fascinated with the truth that what he risked with his life and family was the reason for the Christians in that forsaken country today!

His life led me to became so interested and concerned about Burma (Myanmar).

Adoniram Judson is why I am going outside the camp. Adoniram Judson went outside the camp and bore the reproach of Jesus Christ.

Adoniram Judson

Once when a Buddhist teacher said that he could not believe that Christ suffered the death of the cross because no king allows his son such indignity, “Judson responded, ‘Therefore you are not a disciple of Christ. A true disciple inquires not whether a fact is agreeable to his own reason, but whether it is in the book. His pride has yielded to the divine testimony. Teacher, your pride is still unbroken. Break down your pride, and yield to the word of God.’ (Anderson, To the Golden Shore, 240.)

Judson’s conversion to Christ was due in large measure to the same deist friend who led him away from Christ. After graduation, Judson left home to become a wanderlust. One night in a country inn, his room was adjacent to the room of a dying man. The moaning and groaning of that man through the long night permitted Judson no sleep. His thoughts troubled him. All night questions assailed his soul: “Was the dying man prepared to die?” “Where would he spend eternity?” “Was he a Christian, calm and strong in the hope of life in Heaven?” “Or, was he a sinner shuddering in the dark brink of the lower region?” Judson constantly chided himself for even entertaining such thoughts contrary to his philosophy of life beyond the grave, and thought how his brilliant college friend would rebuke him if he learned of these childish worries.

But the next morning, when Judson inquired of the proprietor as to the identity of the dead man, he was shocked by the most staggering statement he had ever heard: “He was a brilliant young person from Providence College. Ernest was his name.”

Ernest was the unbeliever who had destroyed Judson’s faith. “Now he was dead — and was lost! Was lost! Was lost! Lost! Lost!” Those words raced through his brain, rang in his ears, roared in his soul — “Was lost! Lost! Lost! There and then Judson realized he was lost, too! He ended his traveling, returned home, entered Andover Theological Seminary and soon “sought God for the pardon of his soul,” was saved and dedicated his life to the Master’s service!

In Burma

But opposition came, also. Finally, Judson was imprisoned as a British spy — an imprisonment of twenty-one months. Judson was condemned to die, but in answer to prayers to God and the incessant pleadings of his wife to officials (one of the most emotional-packed, soul-stirring stories in evangelism), Judson’s life was spared and finally British intervention freed him from imprisonment.

Following the missionaries in their holy adventure, we behold scenes too horrible for words. On one occasion Judson, pitifully weak and emaciated, was driven in chains across the burning tropical sands, until, his back lacerated beneath the lash and his feet covered with blisters, he fell to the ground and prayed that the mercy of God might grant him a speedy death. For almost two years he was incarcerated in a prison too vile to house animals. He was bound with three pairs of chains and his feet were fastened in stocks which at times were elevated, so that only his shoulders touched the ground. The room, into which he and many other prisoners were crowded, was without a window and felt like a fiery furnace under the merciless glare of the tropical sun. The stench of the place was terrible, vermin crawled everywhere and the jailer, Mr. Spotted Face, was a brute in human form. And, as Judson saw other prisoners dragged out to execution, he lived in terrifying suspense and was able to say with Paul, “I die daily.”

Surely, he would have fallen and perished under the weight of his cross, except for the tender, persistent, beautiful ministrations of Ann. As often as possible, she bribed the jailer and then, under cover of darkness, crept to the door of Judson’s den, bringing food and whispering words of hope and consolation. Finally, for three long weeks she did not appear; but, upon her return, she bore in her arms a newborn baby to explain her absence. An epidemic of smallpox was raging unchecked through the city and little Maria was smitten with the dread disease. Due to the double strain of concern for her imprisoned husband and the suffering baby, Ann found herself unable to nurse the little one. Tormented by its pitiful cries, Ann took her baby up and down the streets of the city, pleading for mercy and for milk: “You women who have babies, have mercy on my baby and nurse her!”

Near the prison gate was a caged lion, whose fearful bellowings had told all that he was being starved against the day when he would be turned loose upon some of the prisoners. But the lion died of hunger before the plan was executed. Thereupon, plucky Mrs. Judson cleaned out the cage and secured permission for her husband to stay there for a few weeks, since he was critically ill with a fever.

One of the most pathetic pages in the history of Christian missions is that which describes the scene when Judson was finally released and returned to the mission house seeking Ann, who again had failed to visit him for some weeks. As he ambled down the street as fast as his maimed ankles would permit, the tormenting question kept repeating itself, “Is Ann still alive?” Upon reaching the house, the first object to attract his attention was a fat, half-naked Burman woman squatting in the ashes beside a pan of coals and holding on her knees an emaciated baby, so begrimed with dirt that it did not occur to him that it could be his own. Across the foot of the bed, as though she had fallen there, lay a human object that, at the first glance, was no more recognizable than his child. The face was of a ghastly paleness and the body shrunken to the last degree of emaciation. The glossy black curls had all been shorn from the finely-shaped head. There lay the faithful and devoted wife who had followed him so unwearily from prison to prison, ever alleviating his distresses and consoling him in his trials. Presently Ann felt warm tears falling upon her face and, rousing from her stupor, saw Judson by her side.

And there were other sorrows. Before he had been in Burma fourteen years he buried Ann and all of his children. But “the love that never fails” sustained him. “If I had not felt certain,” he says, “that every additional trial was ordered by infinite love and mercy, I could not have survived my accumulated sufferings.” Judson joined with Paul in declaring: “The love of Christ constraineth me … Therefore I will glory in reproaches, in persecution and in distresses for Christ’s sake.”[2]

The work progressed and gospel power began to open blind eyes, break idolatry-shackled hearts and transform the newly-begotten converts into triumphant Christians. On April 12, 1850, at the age of 62, Judson died. Except for a few months (when he returned to America after thirty-four years from his first sailing), Judson had spent thirty-eight years in Burma. Although he had waited six years for his first convert, sometime after his death a government survey recorded 210,000 Christians, one out of every fifty-eight Burmans! It was a partial fulfillment and a monument to the spirit and ministry of the man, who at Ava, the capital city, gazed at the temple of Buddha and challenged, “A voice mightier than mine, a still small voice, will ere long sweep away every vestige of thy dominion. The churches of Jesus Christ will soon supplant these idolatrous monuments and the chanting devotees of Buddha will die away before the Christian’s hymns of praise.”[1]

Will You Go Outside the Camp?

My question is, if Christ delays his return another two hundred years – a mere fraction of a day in his reckoning – which of you will have suffered and died so that the triumphs of grace will be told about one or two of those 3,500 peoples who are in the same condition today that the Karen and Chin and Kachins and Burmese were in 1813? Who will labor so long and so hard and so perseveringly that in two hundred years there will be two million Christians in many of the 10/40-window peoples who can scarcely recall their Muslim or Hindu or Buddhist roots?

May God use his powerful word and the life of Adoniram Judson to stir many of you to give your lives to this great cause!

We must keep advancing to Him, to His altar which is outside the camp!


I want to focus on the golden sash across Jesus chest. It is the sash that covers His heart. It is a Kingly sash, wore by one in authority. It is a symbol of strength for action. The material is real gold and gold is only achieved when refined by fire, indicating that He was tested, yet came forth as gold. The purity of gold over His heart represents the purity of His love.

His heart of love is the basis of His authority, His strength and His actions. His love is the foundation for everything He is and does. This is Divine Love, which we understand when we see the Real Jesus. It is a Love this world does not understand.

We need an extreme makeover of our concept of love.

We need to see the Real Jesus to understand the Love that He expects us to have in our Christian Life.

Most of us really only know phileo, brotherly love. It is love (actually friendship) based on common interests and concerns. It is usually based on our interests and concerns.

Jesus expects Christians to have agape love. He expressed what it means in Matthew 5:44 when He told us to “love your enemies”

To love (agapáō) others means to see what their need is and to meet that need, not according to that person’s concept of need, but that of the one who loves. For a believer, we are to see the needs of even our enemies and we must do everything in our power to meet that need. Believers are never told to love their enemies with the word philéō because that would mean to have the same interests as they have[1].

To See This we need to understand God calling us ‘friends’

God calls us his friend (phílos), as He did Abraham (James 2:23), when we adopt His interests as our own, just as Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son even as God did His own.[2]

The Son of Man, the Real Jesus Christ has a message for each of seven churches in Revelation. Each message indicates a facet or characteristic of His Divine Love, and how the church is falling short of His love. The very first church, Ephesus, thinks they love Jesus, but Jesus wants them to understand what Divine Love is really all about.

Revelation 2:1-3

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. “ ‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.

Some clarifications of the words Jesus uses:

Jesus knows (eido). He knows these people intimately, and watches them constantly.

  • “emphasizes better the absolute clearness of mental vision which photographs all the facts of life as they pass” (Swete)[3].

Works (ergon)

  • erga; The whole life and conduct as in John 6:29[4]. “Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” John 6:29
  • deed, act, action, something done[5]

Toil (kopos)

  • kópos; gen. kópou, from kóptō <G2875>, to strike. Beating, wailing, grief with beating the breast, equal to kopetós <G2870>, lamentation, wailing (Sept.: Jer. 51:3). In the NT, toil, labor, i.e., wearisome effort, generally[6]
  • Originally suffering, weariness; hence exhausting labor[7]

Patient endurance (hupomone)

  • Hupomoné is associated with hope (1 Thess. 1:3) and refers to that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial.[8]

Cannot tolerate evil men (Not able (ou dunēi).bear (bastasai)

  • No power to bear them. They are such a burden, you dismiss them as being a burden and drag to the congregation.
  1. Test and deny false (pseudo) apostles
  2. Patiently endured and born up for the sake of Jesus (bastazo)
  • bastázō; from básis, basis, foot. To bear, carry in the hands or on the shoulders (picturing the duty of a servant, to bear a pitcher of water). Also pictures carrying the cross.
  • Figuratively it means to bear, support, endure, i.e., labors, sufferings[9]

Not fainted or turned back. (kopiáō)

  • kopiáō; contracted kopió, from kópos, labor, fatigue. To be worn out, weary, faint[10]

Ephesus sounds like a great church. They are doing all the right things. Any Pastor would be proud of this church! But they should be a church rich in ‘agape’ Love, for Paul taught them all about it…

Paul Emphasized Love to the Ephesians

Remember Paul’s letter to the Ephesians: It was all about needing, knowing, living a life of Love, God’s Divine Love.

  • 1:5 –  “In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ
  • 2:4 –   “For his great love wherewith he loved us”
  • 3:17 – “that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
  • 3:19 – ” the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ”
  • 4:2 –   “bearing with one another in love”
  • 4:15 – “speaking the truth in love”
  • 4:16 –  “the body…builds itself up in love”
  • 5:2 –   “Walk in love as Christ also loved us”
  • 5:25 – “As Christ loved the church and gave himself for it”
  • 5:25, 28, 33 “Husbands love your wives” – because you picture the love of Jesus Christ.

How could the Church at Ephesus fail the Test of the ‘Golden Sash’?

But I hold this against you, that you do not love as you did at first. Remember then how far you have fallen. Repent and live as you lived at first. Otherwise, if your heart remains unchanged, I shall come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. Revelation 2:4-5(Phillips)

~’But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. ~’Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent. Revelation 2:4-5(NASB)

But I have this against you: You have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. Revelation 2:4-5(HCSB)

Jesus sees and knows intimately how hard they labor and toil and try to live a life pleasing to Him. They live good and moral lives for His name’s sake. They endure persecution for His sake.

  • However, Jesus sees that something is missing in their hearts.
  • Something about their service bothers Him.
  • Outwardly, everything is great, but inwardly, something is not right.

He sees that their duty is correct, but their devotion is missing love. They are laboring and enduring from obedience rather than love.

They have moved away, they have forgotten what made them new creations. They have forgotten the love of Jesus Christ. Instead of it being about Him, and their love for Him, it has become about the service, the duty, and the religious observances. They are serving Him simply because they should.

Jesus holds this against them.

Remember their deeds at the first? Acts 19 recounts their sacrificial love for Jesus Christ. They sacrificed everything for the sake of following Jesus!

And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily. Acts 19:19-20

They have Fallen

They have (aphēkes), at a particular moment, made a sad but definite departure from their fist love.

  • your first love (tēn agapēn sou tēn prōtēn). The Love you had at the first!

Aphekes pictures a definite moment in time when they left, deserted, or quit loving Jesus with all their heart mind, soul and strength. It is the same word used in Romans 1:27 that describes a man’s decision to leave the natural love of a woman and start loving a man. O yes, homosexuality is a decision, just as leaving your first love is a decision.

Remember Your First Works

The first works define your life, define your heart. The first works move you to crazy love, where you risk everything for the one you love.

  • The work of God resulted in something utterly crazy, giving His only Son to take all the sins of the world. [“This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” John 6:29]
  • The work of Jesus led Him to become rejected by His Father, so that He might redeem you and me.

Jesus saw their service, but He also saw their hearts, and saw that they were falling into ritual service, ritual devotion, ritual duties. They were faithfully doing their duty. They were being good people doing what good people should. But the basis for their service was no longer their agape love. They had fallen into a phileo love. Their love for Jesus was now based on their own interests and concerns. Gone was that willingness to risk it all for Jesus Christ.

Jesus never meant His followers to religious or good. He meant them to love, the same way He loved. That love was not comfortable, not good, but it risked everything.

The Ephesians needed to repent. You need to ask yourself, do I need to repent?

  1. They had made a definite decision, which weakened their love.
  2. Their decision resulted in a fall from Divine Love, the only Love, which pleases the Lord.
  3. Their decision resulted in duty not devotion.
  4. Their decision resulted in the Lord’s demand for repentance and return.
  • Decision: to love something other than Jesus Christ, or to disobey his commands
  • Fall: Change of focus meant that the throne of God lost its power

Leaving their first love meant that sacrifice and devotion gave way to duty and observances.

The impact of this letter to the Ephesians is seen in answering the following questions from what Jesus said in the Gospels.

How Does Jesus Define Divine Love?

Divine Love is Crazy, with no concern for yourself, your safety, your possessions or even your reputation:

Matthew 5:43-48 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect (COMPLETE, FULL), as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Luke 6:27-31 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

What is the Source of Divine Love?

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:9-11

I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:26

You must know and be convinced of the Power of God’s Name if you are to risk everything for the sake of Jesus Christ.

What Causes us to lose our Divine Love?

A. NEGLECT OF THE WORD: Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. John 14:23-24

B. Other or Divided Interests: “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Matthew 6:24

C. FRIENDSHIP WITH THE WORLD: You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4

D. CHOSE COMFORT vs. SACRIFICE: READ MATT 19:17-21 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect (complete, full), go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me”.

How important is it that we have Divine Love?

John 5:40-44 “yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. I do not receive glory from people. But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?

Divine Love is Fullness of life!

Be Full and Complete as the Father is Full! Only when you risk it all do you know true love and fullness! Which would you rather eat-the fruit of the forbidden tree or the fruit of the tree of life! Those that keep their first love will eat of the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life was in the Garden of Eden, where life was complete, full, until sin entered the world. The Tree of Life will be in the New Heavens, when God’s plan is fulfilled, and life on earth is full!

The world teaches that fullness of life is in possessions and money, a prestigious career, the number of friends you have, or even your family.

But Jesus said “whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” Mark 8:35-36

Divine Love is Fullness of Life…Fullness of Life comes to those willing to risk it all for His sake!

What are the consequences of fallen love?

In His letter to the church, the danger was the removal of the candlestick, which signifies the removal of the fire of the Holy Spirit. Today Ephesus lies in ruins, and the church is long gone.

  • Worship Devoid of the Spirit

Across the world there are churches that look like churches, act like churches, but the Divine Love of God is not in them. The Holy Spirit is not there. They are functioning out of a mistaken sense of duty. There may be a supposed love for Jesus, but they have fallen from His standards. They are down, serving in their fleshly strength. They are not living in the fullness of Christ of His love, of His word. They are like the Pharisees, content in their religious observances, yet on their way to Hell.

  • Children, teens Abandon the Church

The other consequence is that our children grow up with a concept of religion, but no concept of loving a real Jesus. Therefore, they rebel against religion for the sake of religion, and seek after something else that fills the void in their heart.

  • A Nation that is Outwardly Moral but inwardly Corrupt

How do we return to our first love?

Jesus said we are to do three things:

A.Remember

  1. Remember what He has done for you
  2. Remember what you were willing to do at first.

B.Repent

  1. Change your heart focus,
  2. Get rid of those things that have captured your affections, that have taken the place of Jesus Christ.

C.Return

  1. Do what you did when you first came to Jesus
  2. Live for Him totally.
  3. Risk it all for Him

David Left His First Love

PSALMS 51:7-15 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.

David returned to his first love, singing and writing the Psalms, teaching others of the ways of God!

Peter Left His First Love

John 21:15-18 “When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep”. He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him “Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.”

Peter had left his first love, even denying Christ, and returning to the thing he loved most-fishing. Yet, when confronted by Jesus, he could only confess deep emotions for Jesus. He was not quite ready to confess agape love, that love that risks everything, sacrifices everything. Still, Jesus said, feed and care for my sheep. You will one day know that agape love.

Return to the works you did at the first. Return to the time you depended upon me for everything. The agape will return. You will regain your first love. You will sacrifice, you will risk it all!

Peter returned to His agape love, and He teaches us the importance of it in his last letter. Look at what Peter wrote in 2 Peter 1:3-11:

2 Peter 1:3-11 – His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with (phileo) brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with (agape) love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:3-11

  • You will never fall as I did. You will keep your first love!

Do You See the Real Jesus? Do you see His Golden Sash? Do You Pass the Gold Sash Test.? Do You Love Him with Divine Love?

Have you fallen into comfort and complacency? Are you still doing the first works? Are you still risking everything for Jesus Christ? Perhaps you never did, perhaps you are not a genuine follower of Jesus Christ. Perhaps you never loved Him with agape love. You need to make sure you are a Christian. You need to repent and love Jesus with agape, sacrificing, risking it all kind of love!

Do you really want to Know Divine Love?
Do you want to see the Real Jesus?

Turn with me to Hebrews 13:12

So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. Hebrews 13:12-13

Outside the Camp is Where we Find Agape Love

Jesus Christ died to set apart a people unto God. If we truly love Him, we must go to where He was willing to go – outside the camp.

  • ‘Outside the camp’ is where the lepers were kept.
  • ‘Outside the camp’ is where murderers were sent.
  • ‘Outside the camp’ is where the beggar begged as the apostles walked through the gate.
  • ‘Outside the camp’ was where all who were to be separated from society at large were to be kept.

‘Outside the camp’ is where we were called to ‘go to him’ and ‘bear the reproach he endured’ – death. Death to our comfort, death to our desires, death to our reputation.

Going Outside the Camp is where we discover the Love of the Golden Sash.

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him;1 John 3:16-19

  • Divine Love risks it all for the city that is to come.
  • Whatever you lose in this life will be made up 1000 fold in the life to come.
  • We can either retreat and perish in the wilderness
  • We can risk it all for the love of Jesus Christ, who risked it all for us.

In the 1600’s there was a man named Joseph Aline and he wrote a book entitled An Alarm to Unconverted Sinners.Let me close our time with what he said.

“All of Christ is accented by the sincere convert. He loves not only the wages, but the work of Christ. Not only the benefits but the burden of Christ. He’s willing not only to tread out the corn but to draw under the yoke. He takes up the command of Christ, yea, even the cross of Christ. The unsound man closes by halves with Christ. He’s all for the salvation of Christ but he’s not for sanctification. He is for the privileges but appropriates not the person of Christ. He divides the offices and benefits of Christ. This is an error in the foundation. Who so loveth life let him beware here. It is an undoing mistake of which you have beenoften warned and yet none is more common. Jesus is a sweet name but men love not the Lord Jesus in sincerity. They divide what God has joined, the King and the Priest, yea they will not accept the salvation of Christ as He intends it. They divide it, every man’s vote is for salvation from suffering but they desire not to be saved from sinning. They would have their lives saved but with all would have their lusts. Yea, many divide here again, they would be content to have some of their sins destroyed but they cannot leave the lap of Delilah or divorce the beloved Herodias. They cannot be cruel to the right eye or right hand. The Lord must pardon then in this thing. 0 be careful here, your soul depends on it. The sound convert takes a whole Christ, takes Him for all intents and purposes, without exceptions, without limitations, without reserve. He’s willing to have Christ upon any terms. He’s willing to have the dominion of Christ as well as deliverance by Christ and he says with Paul, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?”


[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “phileo”.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Archibald Thomas Robertson, A.M., D.D., LL.D., Litt. D., Word Pictures in the New Testament, (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1930), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Revelation 2:2”.

[4] ibid.

[5] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 650.

[6] ibid, 877.

[7] Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, (New York: Scribners, 1887), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Revelation 2:2”.

[8] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “hupomone”.

[9] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 328.

[10] Ibid, under kopiáō.


Wendy’s used an advertising campaign featuring three little old ladies standing at the “Home of the Big Bun” hamburger counter. Clara Peller lifts the big bun to see a tiny patty and yells out “where’s the beef?” The other ladies say: “It certainly is a big bun. It’s a very big bun. It’s a big fluffy bun. It’s a very big fluffy bun.”

Today we may be seeing a new ad with gringos holding a Taco Bell taco saying, “where’s the beef?”

An Alabama law firm is suing Taco Bell, saying that they are falsely advertising ‘beef’ products.

The meat mixture sold by Taco Bell restaurants contains binders and extenders and does not meet the minimum requirements set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be labeled as “beef”, according to the legal complaint. Attorney Dee Miles said attorneys had Taco Bell’s “meat mixture” tested and found it contained less that 35 percent beef.[1]

The question I want to look at over the next few weeks involves our belief in Jesus Christ, and who we believe Him to be. The question we must ask ourselves is how much of the real Jesus do you have to have to be a true born again Christ follower. I believe that some Christians are following only 35% or 50% of the real Jesus.

In other words, I am hoping you will take an honest look at your life and see if you believe in the real Jesus Christ, and if so, does your life reflect the real Jesus? We are going to lift the bun on our lives and hopefully none of us is going to say, “Where’s the real Jesus?”

THE REAL JESUS WILL JUDGE US

  • And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. Acts 10:42
  • For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. 2 Corinthians 5:10

While many of us believe we follow the real Jesus, the Scriptures say that many of us are being fooled. We are following a Jesus of our own making, taken from parts of the Real Jesus. The important question is does Jesus know me? Because if He does not, no matter how much good you do for Him, He will declare to you, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:23

It does not mean you violated God’s Law, it means you want your own way; you were living and serving for your benefit. You thought Jesus would be happy with what you did, but you did not understand the real Jesus. You never gave your life to the real Jesus. You never even saw the real Jesus, so it is no wonder that He did not know you.

Partial Obedience is a “No Go”

Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands, holding to the tradition of the elders, and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.) And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “ ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)— then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.” Mark 7:1-13

Jesus was pointing out that the proof of real worship is your obedience in your everyday lives. Anyone can go to church, anyone can be baptized, but to Jesus, the proof of your Christianity is the change in your heart that produces obedient living no matter the cost to our convenience.

The Pharisees obeyed God, but if they had to choose between obeying God and their convenience of profit, they would overrule the command of God with some fabricated tradition or false practice. The one example given regards the command to honor your father and mother.

With Jesus, words are not enough, and a show of obedience is not enough.

Look what Ezekiel experienced:

PUTTING ON A SHOW IS A “NO GO”

“As for you, son of man, your people who talk together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, say to one another, each to his brother, ‘Come, and hear what the word is that comes from the Lord.’ And they come to you as people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it; for with lustful talk in their mouths they act; their heart is set on their gain (besa)[2]. And behold, you are to them like one who sings lustful songs with a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument, for they hear what you say, but they will not do it. Ezekiel 33:30-32

‏בֶּצַע‎ (beṣaʿ)

  • To cut off what is not one’s own, or in the slang of our day, to take a “rip-off”, thus to be greedy, covetous.
  • Personal advantage derived from some activity. Used largely in the negative sense, as in the case of the racketeer who takes his “cut” from the profits of an otherwise legitimate business.

People want the show and the spiritual experience as long as it is entertaining and moving. But if it requires a change in the way they live their lives, no, that’s too extreme for me. Just as a con man plays people for a “rip-off” for personal gain, so do many ‘Christians’ slice and dice the Real Jesus down to someone they can tolerate in their personal lives. They do so for their personal gain.

Jesus asks us: “Who do you say that I am?” Mt 16:15

Peter Answers: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”.

Jesus responds: “On this rock I will build my church”.

Jesus indicates that who we believe  Jesus is will determine how solidly our church is built!

As a Pastor, the greatest error or sin I can commit is to preach a false salvation, a false or incomplete Jesus. I must preach Jesus Christ without compromise, without watering Him down, without mixing man’s ideas with who Jesus Christ really is!

I do not want anyone to be surprised when they meet Jesus. I want Him to know you, because you knew the real Jesus. You gave your heart to the Real Jesus.

With Jesus, there is no 35% and you are a Christian. There is no 50% and you are a Christian. There is no 85% and you are a Christian. Jesus told us what His standards of Christianity are in one of His last commands to us:

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe[3] all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

We are to teach others to observe ALL that He commanded us! Observe is not a passive word, like a bystander. It involves 100% attention, it means to “keep your eyes fixed upon”. It draws the picture of a prison guard or warden who must constantly watch a vicious killer. If you take your eyes off him, he could escape and kill you.

We are to have that attitude not just toward the commands we like, or can gain from, or fit into our lifestyle. We are to observe ALL the commands of Christ as if our life depended upon it.

Paul and James made this clear:

  • Paul: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7
  • James: Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27

Who do you say that Jesus Is?

Are you like Ricky Bobby, praying to baby Jesus? Or are you like so many football fans, following Touchdown Jesus? You know the one, the one who gives you victory.

The fans of Notre Dame Football love their team. Win or Lose Notre Dame is followed by fans around the world. At one end zone, just above the stadium seats, you can catch a glimpse of Touchdown Jesus. He is atop a huge stain glass mural. His arms are raised as if to signal a touchdown. Before they added more seats at that end, he was clearly seen by the entire stadium.

That is the Jesus most of us worship. Upraised arms, stepping forth from the tomb, rising in the air, standing at the right hand of the Father, coming back in the air, riding on a white horse, ruling on the throne of David!

Touchdown Jesus! He’s a winner, He’s a conqueror! He’s the victor! He’s the ‘hero of the world’! He’s my hero! and he will make me a hero too!

This is where we start to fold in our ideas and our traditions with the Jesus Christ of God’s Word. Somehow, Jesus has become more about me than about a Sovereign God! We like the Touchdown Jesus because he is the winner, and we all want to be winners. We are taught that from our crib. We boast about when our baby started crawling, started walking, started talking, how smart they are, what grades they get, how well they play this sport, how well they excel at this activity. We want our kids to be winners! Therefore, we like Touchdown Jesus. He is a winner that fits nicely with our ideas of life in America.

Touchdown Jesus and the American Dream

Michael Jordan was arguably the greatest basketball player to play the sport. When he retired, the owner of the Chicago Bulls, Jerry Reinsdorf said, “He’s living the American Dream”. Someone defined the American Dream as “reaching a point in your life where you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do and can do everything that you want to do”. James Truslow Adams defined it as “a dream… in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are”.

Consider whether YOU worship an “Americanized” Jesus

I believe that many American Christians have made Jesus Christ into a Jesus that fits nicely into our “Touchdown” mentality, our “American Dream” mentality. We are guilty of being like the Jews in Ezekiel’s days, turning God into someone we are comfortable with, as long as he is good for us, and fits in with our desires for success and wealth.

We like a nice middle-class American Jesus. A Jesus who doesn’t mind materialism and would never tell us to do something ridiculous like give away our wealth, or stop saving for retirement. We want a practical, realistic Jesus, one who understands the pressures of life, accepts nominal devotion, and is considerate of our need for creature comforts.

We want a balanced Jesus, a Jesus who wants us to avoid outrageous extremes, and who for that matter wants us to avoid danger altogether.

As David Platt (author of Radical) says, we want a “Jesus who brings comfort and prosperity to us as we live out our Christian spin on the American Dream”. In an interview with the Christian Post, David Platt underscored the danger of following the American Dream:

“The American Dream begins with self. It exalts the self and says you are inherently good and you have in you what it takes to be successful” (David Platt)

The American dream is built on gaining, but Jesus said:

“Whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:38-39

The foundational commmand of a true follower of Jesus Christ is to ‘destroy’ your life.

Lose=  apollymi “To destroy, cause to perish”[4]

  • Jesus said you are not worthy of following HIM unless you are willing to take your cross and have your life destroyed (‘apollymi’ in Matthew 10:39).
  • You can live this life following the dream, gaining as much as you can, but you will wake up in the reality of eternal destruction.
  • Or you can be willing to take up your cross and have your ‘life’ destroyed in total abandon to Jesus and wake up in the reality and beauty of His presence.

“Believing in the Jesus in the Bible makes life risky on a lot of levels because it is absolute surrender of every decision we make, every dollar we spend, our lives belong to another,” he said. “It is relinquishing control in a culture that prioritizes control and doing what you need to do to advance yourself.” (David Platt)

The goal of the Christian American dream is to make much of us, to follow a Touchdown Jesus, a winner, who we can point to when we make our goal! However, the real Jesus has different priorities. Instead of encouraging our self-fulfillment, he confronts us with our inability to accomplish anything of value apart from God. He says if we want to be great, we must become a servant!

Instead of wanting us to be recognized by others, he commands us to die to ourselves and seek the glory of God above everything. The goal of the gospel of the real Jesus Christ is to make the MOST of God. And the LEAST of us!

I encourage you to read the book Radical. It will shake your Christianity to its core.

Who do you say that I am?

Peter gave the right answer, but denied Jesus Christ. He gave up on Jesus, and went fishing. You can know the right answer, but deny Jesus Christ in your life, because you honor Him with your lips, but not your heart and life.

The goal of this sermon series is to hold forth the real Jesus Christ, and to encourage each of us to observe all that He commands, without being watered down by our conveniences, our conceptions, our priorities. My prayer is that our lives, our goals, our walk, our priorities will be a clear reflection of the real Jesus Christ.

Where do we SEE the Real Jesus Christ?

The Bible School ‘skinny’ on the Gospels is that Matthew presents Messiah Jesus, Mark presents Servant Jesus, Luke presents King Jesus, John presents Divine Jesus. But there is one book we often overlook as representing the Gospel of the Real Jesus. It is the book of Revelation.

There we find two things: What was needed for John to see the real Jesus, and second, what happened when he saw the real Jesus.

  1. John was in the Spirit (10). He was under the influence and control of God’s Holy Spirit. Moreover, to see the real Jesus, we must be under control of the Holy Spirit. He is the one who reveals Jesus to us. That is His delight and Joy!
  2. When John saw the real Jesus, he fell at his feet as though dead (17). The Jesus that John saw was not the Jesus that John thought he knew, had touched, and had spoken to. When he saw the real Jesus, John was deeply affected. He was shaken to the core of his being. He was emotionally, physically and mentally overwhelmed to the point of swooning and passing out.

Was he overcome with a sense of failure, a sense of awe, a sense of fear, a sense of shortcomings in being like Him? Yes, all of these. Bottom line, however, when our heart and eyes are opened to see the real Jesus, we are knocked down from the platform of our comfortable life and laid out in the dust of our lives. It is just like Saul on the road to Damascus. He saw the real Jesus, and He fell to the ground. His life, his priorities, his goals were forever changed.

When we see the real Jesus, we will know it, and we will be changed. Our priorities will change. Our goals will change.

The Key to Understanding the Real Jesus

The key to understanding the Real Jesus of Revelations is to change our concept of Divine Love. The Book of Revelation is the final chapter in God’s Work in redeeming man. It is an account of the final settlement. That final settlement reveals the consummation of God’s Love for man. God’s love consummation begins and ends with His church. The church is in view in Revelation Chap 1:11 and 22:16

  • John reveals the key to understanding Jesus in Rev 1:5

Divine Love

And from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Revelation 1:5-6

Understand that the foundational motivation of Jesus Christ was divine love. That divine love moved the Son of God to do what He had to to free us from our sins. It cost Him His blood, His life, but in return, He made us a kingdom, He made us priests for His Father, and it brought Him Kingship and dominion.

As our King, and as priests in that Kingdom, we will be judged by the standards that He has set, and those standards are revealed in the vision of the True Jesus that John saw.

Quick Glimpse at the Real Jesus

“and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest”. Revelation 1:13. John saw the  SON OF MAN. “When John heard His voice, he immediately turned around and saw one like the Son of Man”.

The Real Jesus still held on to His humanity. John described as the Son of Man, a title that Jesus gave Himself. This meant that He really was one of us, exactly like us. As the Son of Man, He was our redeeming kinsman, who came into our lost estate. Jesus Christ became flesh of our flesh, bone of our bone to redeem us to His Father.

John Saw Gold about His chest

As we look and gaze upon the Real Jesus, the Jesus that John described, we will find that He is “clothed with a golden sash around his chest”. ASV: “girt about at the breasts with a golden girdle”. Revelation 1:13

Every word speaks of Divine love, the breasts, the gold, the girdle.

  • The girdle is the symbol of strength, of energy, of intention, of purpose. You mean business when you gird yourself. The robes are no longer flowing for leisure, loose for reclining.
  • The girdle is golden, symbolic of the very nature of God who is love.
  • The breasts or chest is the place of the Heart, the heart of Divine Love.

The Real Jesus is the sum total of God’s Divine Love!

The Real Jesus Has a Message for the Churches. That Message uses Divine Love as the standard. The Vision of the Real Jesus is to be revealed to the churches (write therefore the things you have seen)

Here is God’s standard:

  • We are called with this great calling — to be like the real Jesus. God’s desire is that we be brought into conformity with Him.
  • What is true in Him has to be true in each of us, and in the body, the church. “Girt about at the breasts with a golden girdle”. There is to be a heart devotion and faithfulness to the real Jesus Christ!

This is the real Jesus.

  • How can this be? What about the nice Jesus with the children, or the footprints in the sand that become one set while he carries me?
  • This Jesus in Revelations is frightening. John passed out  when he saw him. How can that be the effect of Divine love? After all, we’re supposed to dance when we see Jesus!
  • This is Lord all-terrible, not Lord all-loving!

We have to change our concept of Divine ‘agape’ love. The real Jesus is real Love, but He must have our devotion. He must have our heart. Have you ever been disciplined by the Lord, your life, your dreams shattered, your soul being poured out like water on the ground? Afterward did you say, “You were right Lord, you knew what had to be done. It was a terrible experience, but you are faithful and true”.

John says, “When I saw him I fell at his feet as one dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying, Fear not.”

This is not judgment, this is not destruction, and this is not death and condemnation. The right hand is the token of honour, of favour. “Fear not; I am the first and the last.” “Everything is in My hands and in the end it will be all right; I took it up and I am going to finish it; fear not”.

Paul’s Encounter with the Real Jesus

There was another man who, travelling on a road with hatred in his heart, and murder on his mind. He wanted to destroy Christianity, but instead his life, as he knew it was destroyed by the vision of the Real Jesus Christ.

Did Paul describe Him as All-terrible, frightening, scary? No, Paul said in Gal 2:20, “He loved me and He gave Himself for me!”  Far from a meeting with a terrible King, Paul met the lover of his soul.

We need an “Extreme Makeover” of our concept of Divine love.

It is not that sickly, sentimental thing we call love. It is not that I love you so much that anything you do is ok.

  • This divine love is something tremendous.

This Savior, this real Jesus, represents divine love that has our eternity in His heart. And that desire means He will deal with us faithfully for the betterment of that eternity.

God’s divine love has the end in view. His job is not to be a babysitter, trying anything to get the baby to stop crying.

Jesus Christ is our standard for eternity. If we set our eyes on the real Jesus, to be like Him, to live for Him, our eternity will be affected.

We are called into His eternal glory “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison”, 2 Corinthians 4:17

The Real Jesus is Divine Love. But Divine Love is set on our eternity, not temporal comfort and riches that encompass the American Dream.

The Seven Churches Were Judged According to the Divine Love in Jesus Christ

Jesus message to the churches are on the basis of how they represent His character, His nature as seen in the vision of the Real Jesus.

The messages and the churches are bounded by Ephesus and Laodicea. In Ephesus and Laodicea, the trouble is defective love. Ephesus, “thou didst leave thy first love”; Laodicea, “thou art neither hot nor cold.” Each church had failed to measure up to the real Jesus Christ. Each church failed to measure up to His standard of Divine Love.

Jesus is the standard of judgment for the churches.

Do you love the real Jesus? Or do you love a Jesus that fits into your dreams and desires and with your own ideas of what is best for your life? If your love is defective like that of the churches in Revelation, so will your concept of the Real Jesus be defective.

The real Jesus is a picture of Divine Love. It is awesome, it is terrible, and it knocks you off your feet. It is not always loving in the sense we imagine. At times it is harsh. At times it seems cruel.

His divine love is the basis for how we will be judged. Do you know the real Jesus? Do you know what real Divine Love is? Has your life been transformed by the Real Jesus?

  • To the Ephesians Jesus says: “To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God”.
  • To the Laodiceans Jesus says, “The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne”.

Our earthly love for Jesus will be the basis of our heavenly reward and duties. So yes, following the real Jesus is a struggle, it is a fight, it is a discipline, it requires a steadfast desire to conquer, against all odds, but the rewards will be worth it all!

As we study, see, and understand the Real Jesus Christ, I am praying that that we will understand true divine love, and how the real Jesus is the mark, the representation of how that love is to impact our lives.

I am praying further that once we see the real Jesus and what He expects of us, our very lives will be changed as we determine to be followers of the real Jesus Christ.

Adam & Henri Nouwen

Henri Nouwen is a well-known Catholic Priest who authored over 40 books. Even though a Catholic, his books The Wounded Healer, In the Name of Jesus, The Life of the Beloved and The Way of the Heart are classics. He was sought the world over as a gifted teacher and speaker. Yet the last 10 years of his life, he gave it all up to work in a home that took care of severely retarded and handicapped adults.

Nouwen has said that all his life two voices competed inside him. One encouraged him to succeed and achieve, while the other called him simply to rest in the comfort that he was “the beloved” of God. Only in the last decade of his life did he truly listen to that second voice.

“I left the university and went to France. After a year in France, I was called to become a priest at the Daybreak Community in Toronto which is a L’Arche Community (the word L’Arche means the Arc of Noah) a community of about a hundred people, fifty handicapped people and fifty assistants. L’Arche is a community of mentally handicapped people and their assistants who try to live in the spirit of the beatitudes. So I went to Toronto”[5].

The first thing they asked me was to work with Adam—of all names. I had to work with Adam! It sounded like working with humanity. Adam, a twenty-four-year-old man, was very, very, very handicapped. He couldn’t speak. He couldn’t walk. He couldn’t dress or undress himself. You never really knew if he knew you or not. His body was very deformed. His back was distorted and he suffered from continuous epileptic seizures.

It took him nearly two hours to prepare Adam each day. Bathing and shaving him, brushing his teeth, combing his hair, guiding his hand as he tried to eat breakfast-these simple, repetitive acts had become for him almost like an hour of meditation.

I must admit I had a fleeting doubt as to whether this was the best use of the busy priest’s time. Could not someone else take over the manual chores? When I cautiously broached the subject with Nouwen himself, he informed me that I had completely misinterpreted him. “I am not giving up anything,” he insisted. “It is I, not Adam, who gets the main benefit from our friendship.”

He had learned what it must be like for God to love us-spiritually uncoordinated, retarded, able to respond with what must seem to God like inarticulate grunts and groans. Indeed, working with Adam had taught him the humility and “emptiness” achieved by desert monks only after much discipline.

He taught me that the heart is more important than the mind. … Adam didn’t think. Adam had a heart, a real human heart. I suddenly realized that what makes a human being human is the heart with which he can give and receive love. Adam was giving me an enormous amount of God’s love and I was giving Adam of my love. There was an intimacy that went far beyond words or far beyond activity. I suddenly realized that Adam was not just a disabled person, less human than me or other people. He was a fully human being, so fully human that God even chose him to become the instrument of His love. He was so vulnerable, so weak, so empty, that he became just heart, the heart where God wanted to dwell, where He wanted to stay and where He wanted to speak to those who came close to His vulnerable heart.

Adam was a full human being, not half human or less human. I discovered that … God loves Adam very specially. He wanted to dwell in his broken person so that He could speak from that vulnerability into the world of strength, and call people to become vulnerable[6].

“Every time I told [Adam’s story] I could see new life and new hope emerging in the hearts of my listening friends. My grief became their joy, my loss was their gain, and my dying their coming to new life. Very slowly I started to see Adam coming alive in the hearts of those who had never known him, as if they were being made part of a great mystery. . . . Is this when is resurrection began, in the midst of my grief? That is what happened to the mourning Mary of Magdala . . . for the disciples on the road to Emmaus . . . for the disciples in the upper room . . . for the grieving friends of Jesus who went back to fishing in the lake. . . . Mourning turns to dancing, grief turns to joy, despair turns to hope, and fear turns to love. Then hesitantly someone is saying, ‘He is risen, he is risen indeed.” (pp. 119-120)


[2] R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Bruce K. Waltke, ed., “267: ‏בָּצַע‎,” in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 122.

[3] tēréō; contracted tēró, fut. tērésō, from tērós (n.f.), a warden, guard. To keep an eye on, watch, and hence to guard, keep, obey,

Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993).

[4] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 230.