Blog, Living in the Abundance of Christ

Our Great Treasure, Our Rich Reward.

Jesus is not our “buddy.” He didn’t come to exchange our little teddy bear for a bigger teddy bear, or bigger better stuff. And he certainly is nothing like the fictional character of Santa Claus. Not. Even. Close.

buddy jesus        Just trust Me                  men_s-santa-and-jesus-christmas-sweater

So, when I see these memes, thoughts, opinions, and wearers of such ridiculous sweaters, swirling around social media, it makes me totally furious, and typically these things are done by “”Christians””. I hate to even show these images, but they are so rampant and unbiblical that I wanted to have examples. These pictures do not depict who Jesus is, and if this is who he is to you, then you don’t know him accurately and you are missing out on the fullness of knowing the true Christ.

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;

the whole earth is full of his glory.”

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” Isaiah 6:1-5

Isaiah seems to get it. Why don’t we?

We Lack Fear and Reverence For God

We lack fear and reverence for a personal God.

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15

We have taken the term “friend”, which God has used benevolently in the Bible to express his love towards us, and we have twisted it to mean something shallow and futile. Jesus as a friend demonstrates a depth of intimacy that he shows to us, it does not suggest that he is our buddy or our pal.  He came down to our level and made himself nothing for us (Philippians 2:7). We don’t do anything for him. He does it all for us.

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

I’m pretty sure I don’t see “buddy Jesus” in the list of names he will be called.

We lack fear and reverence for a soveriegn God.

Something I have heard many times, in certain church realms, is that the Holy Spirit is a gentleman. That God won’t ever do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or do anything that goes against your will. I don’t know where that myth came from, but I think many people in the Bible and many Christians today, would find that notion laughable. God is sovereign which means he is in control.

“You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?” Romans 9:19-21

Lets see how Ezekiel reacted when confronted with a Holy God.

“…and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him.

This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.

He said to me, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.” As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me.” Ezekiel 1:26-2:2

The Lord goes on to tell Ezekiel what he will be doing and where he will be going. And Ezekiel obeys.

Let’s take a look at Esther. She risked her life in doing what the Lord called her to do.

” When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape.  For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai:  “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:12-16

She knew that obeying God could mean death for her and her people, but she did it anyway. She had to.

How about Jonah? Let’s see how his will stands up against the will of God.

“The Lord spoke his word to Jonah son of Amittai:  “Get up, go to the great city of Nineveh, and preach against it, because I see the evil things they do.” But Jonah got up to run away from the Lord by going to Tarshish.” Jonah 1:1-3

“The Lord caused a big fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.” Jonah 1:17

“The Lord spoke his word to Jonah again and said,  “Get up, go to the great city Nineveh, and preach to it what I tell you to say.” So Jonah obeyed the Lord and got up and went to Nineveh.” Jonah 3:1-3

Jonah did not want to obey God, so he ran. God had him swallowed by a giant fish, and then Jonah obeyed him.

We lack fear and reverence for a majestic God.

We don’t realize how majestic, how beautiful God is. He creates and defines beauty and all beauty comes from him.

Peter explains here:

“For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 2 Peter 1:16,17

John experiences God’s majesty here:

“At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God.Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.

In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:

“ ‘Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come.”

Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.” Revelation 4:2-11

 We lack fear and reverence for a mysterious God.

God reveals himself and his mystery to his Saints, through Christ in us, so we may carry out the preaching of his word. Paul shares this here:

“…so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.…Colossians 1:25-27

Daniel experiences this when God reveals to him the interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.

“…Then Daniel praised the God of heaven and said:

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.
He changes times and seasons;
he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.
He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him.
I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:
You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
you have made known to us the dream of the king.”
Daniel 2:19-23

There are many times when he reveals himself and his mystery to us, so that we can better understand his word, so that we can better share the message of the gospel with others, and so that we can be closer to him in relationship. And there are other times when he chooses not to reveal things to us; the mysteries of himself, the mysteries of his creation and the universe, and often the mystery of why certain things happen and other things don’t.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8,9

Our Great Treasure, Our Rich Reward.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

Our treasure is Jesus. He is our rich reward. No amount of money, health, people, or ideas can fill his place in our lives and we will not know how precious and beautiful he is unless we know him and are known by him.  We do not need a buddy or a pal. We do not need bigger and better stuff, or more. We do not need someone that will grant all our wishes or give us gifts if we earn them by being good. We settle for pennies when the whole earth can be our inheritance. Why do we settle? Why do we compromise and make light of all that God encompasses? Why do we compare him with fictional characters when while we were still sinners Christ died for us? (Romans 5:8) Why do we make a mockery of the one who can be our dearest and closest companion?

“My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. Colossians 2:2,3

I’ve barely scratched the surface on some of the attributes of God and why we should fear and reverence him, but unless you understand his strength and power you will not understand why he is our greatest treasure and our rich reward. And if you do not understand these things, I pray that you will. He is our treasure, our rich reward. Not what he gives us, which is here today and gone tomorrow, but himself, who is the Ancient of Days. He has always been, he is, and he always will be. Let us seek him first! (Matthew 6:33)

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.” Psalm 111:10

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