Mining For Gold

Steve Arterburn

Everyone ever born has a human mother and father, right? Almost. There are three exceptions: Adam and Eve, our first parents, and Jesus Christ, who, as the Apostle’s Creed says, was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.

 

The opening chapter of Matthew, the first book in the New Testament, consists of an extensive genealogy. You may consider genealogies dull, and maybe skipped right to chapter two. But, there’s gold here if you’ll mine for it.

 

Matthew’s goal is to show us that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah, a direct descendent of both Abraham, Israel’s father, and David, it’s greatest king. Along the way, Matthew mentions forty-two fathers and five mothers.

 

You see, Matthew’s culture was certainly patriarchal, and because it was, the mention of these women takes on increased significance. They’re quite a colorful group. Tamar bore her father-in-law’s twins. Rahab was a prostitute. Ruth was a foreigner visiting Israel. And Bathsheba’well, we all know about her and David.

 

But women aren’t the only colorful characters here. Trace the men through Scripture and you’ll find most of their backgrounds quite checkered. And it shows that God chose and used not only ordinary people to create the linage of Jesus, but also, profoundly flawed people. My point: God uses men like you and me in mighty ways. Take heart!

Savior And Lord

Steve Arterburn

 

 

Trusting in Jesus Christ as your Savior makes you a Christian. It’s your access to God and your entrance into the Christian life. But it’s no place to stop. When Jesus Christ becomes your Savior, He also becomes your Lord.

 

What’s the difference? Trusting Christ as Savior means you understand that you’re a sinner and deserve death as a result. It means accepting that Jesus made the unique and ultimate sacrifice by dying on the cross to take away your sins.

 

Receiving Christ as Lord means you surrender your will, your desires, your plans, and possessions’everything you have’to Him. He gets all of you to do with as He sees fit. It means you hold nothing back from Him. You don’t give Him part of you and horde the rest to do with as you choose.

 

It means you surrender your life to the One who purchased it with His own blood’and in so doing, receive a new life in Christ. True surrender means admitting you can’t handle life without God. You stop pretending to be God, get off the throne of your life, and let God assume His rightful place there. In short, it means joyful obedience. You come to God on His terms, accepting that He is God and that He is likely to use you in ways you never dreamed; but trusting that because He is loving and wise, whatever He wants to do with you will be ultimately for good.

The Cross-Shaped Christian Life

Steve Arterburn

 

 

The triumph of the cross is the pattern for the Christian life. In the death of Christ we witness the death of death itself. Through the cross, Christ defeated your worst and last enemy. He won the war. And in this same way, you’re to fight the remaining battles, confident that the outcome is decided and in your favor.

 

Reading the gospel sets your thinking in a completely different direction than that of personal potential and self-empowerment’things our society put such a high value to. The gospel calls you to be out of step with the world. You and I must die in order to live. We lose our lives in order to find them. We become strong by becoming weak.

 

Yet we too often lack the courage and conviction to embrace these gospel paradoxes. Instead, we look at our needs, wants, and desires and formulate a plan we expect God to honor in order to meet them. This keeps us focused on getting our own way rather than on releasing God’s redemptive power in our lives.

 

How different this is from praying ‘Your will be done”Jesus’ prayer as He went to the cross. The world looks upon this and sees weakness, vulnerability,’and foolishness. Yet, if you believe the Bible, you believe the apostle Paul when he says the cross is the power and wisdom of God.

 

Men, we’re not better than our Master. Jesus Christ’s life was cross-shaped, and ours should be also.