April 13, 2015
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
In the last blog we talked about mission statements. According to the website, 50 Example Mission Statements, a mission statement is a “…one-sentence statement describing the reason an organization, program or ministry exists. It is used to help guide decisions about priorities, actions, and responsibilities….Good mission statements should be clear, memorable and concise.”
Jesus has more than one mission statement. Friday we considered I John 3:8: “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” The Savior came to Destroy The Destroyer – Satan, and His works!
Another mission statement is found in Luke 19:10, and – as the above description of what a mission statement is to be, this scripture is “…clear, memorable and concise…”: “…the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” What was lost, and how did Jesus seek it out and save it? Notice our scripture says “that which,” and I say ‘it’ and not ‘him’ ‘her’ or ‘them’! Because, while people are much of the focus of what Jesus came “to seek and to save,” people are not the only things that were lost !
But let’s start with people. Humankind was in a terrible dilemma! Created to be vitally connected to God and in perfect fellowship with Him, our first parents blew it! They disobeyed their Creator and bought the devil’s lie that if they would eat “…of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil…” (Genesis 2:17), they would not die, even though God said they would! Satan had told them, “…God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5). That was true in that they would be “knowing good and evil, ” but what the devil did not tell them that from then on, they would no longer be able to do the good, only the evil ! As Paul wrote in Romans 5:12 and 19:
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death
through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned….For…
by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners….
So we all inherited death – physical, yes, but spiritual also. Spiritual death is separation from God because our human spirit – that which connects us to God by means of the Holy Spirit – is dead! As Paul said in Ephesians 2:1, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, He comes to dwell within our human spirit by the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit brings life to that which was dead, do we are reconnected back to God! That’s why this experience is called being “born again” (John 3:3, 5), because we are reborn to a new life in Christ, reconnected to God!
But being “born again” is just a start. Like the physical birth of a baby, that little one must then grow up and mature into (hopefully) a productive adult. That takes time and effort – of parents, of the extended family, of the church, of the school, and of the community. The end goal of the believer is set forth in Romans 8:29: “For whom He [the Father] foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son [Jesus]….” But the process of the believer to get to that end goal is described in II Corinthians 3:18:
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the
Lord [Jesus Christ], are being transformed into the same image from
glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
The idea is that we are changed to be more and more like our Lord as we focus upon Him. But such a focus is by faith now, not sight. And things beheld by faith can get sort of hazy and far off if we don’t work to keep our faith strong through His Word (see Romans 10:17) and our spiritual eyes upon Him (see Hebrews 12:1, 2). It is a process that happens by degree – day by day – expressed as “from glory to glory” in the above scripture. Someday that process will be complete when the Lord Jesus comes again in glory: “…we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (I John 3:2).
To keep our Lord in focus takes work and discipline:
• Daily reading, studying, memorizing, meditation on the Word of God, the Bible.
• Regular and disciplined prayer time – confessing our sin to Him, praising and thanking Him for His blessings, supplicating God for our own needs and interceding for the needs of others.
• Worship and fellowship regularly with other believers.
• Practicing the discipline of abundant and joyful giving.
• Sharing the gospel with the lost, and discipling other believers to help them mature in their faith.
But when our eyes are upon Jesus, the work and discipline becomes joy!
What else did Jesus Christ “come to seek and to save”? In the April 3rd and 6th blogs, What Is Redeemed By The Cross? – II and III, we learned not only did Jesus “…come to seek and to save…” our soul, but also our bodies, our total life experiences (even our failings), and all creation! (See Isaiah 38:16-19; Romans 8:19-23; I Corinthians 15:42-58). And He accomplished it all by His sacrifice on Calvary’s cross!
Thank God Jesus came “…to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10).