Above all gods

Thursday, August 31, 2017, 2:17 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Jesus, Name I Love.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 95 and Hebrews 3 (Select vv. NASB).

A Great King (Ps. 95:1-7a)

O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord,
Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving,
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is a great God
And a great King above all gods,
In whose hand are the depths of the earth,
The peaks of the mountains are His also.
The sea is His, for it was He who made it,
And His hands formed the dry land.
Come, let us worship and bow down,
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.

Jesus Christ, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is the Rock of our salvation. He is our Lord (owner-master). He is our great King above all other gods. And, he is our creator, who made the heavens and the earth and all living creatures on the earth. We are his sheep, and he is our Shepherd, if we have trusted in him to be Lord and Savior of our lives via death to sin and resurrection to new lives in Christ.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God (and God) left his throne in heaven, came to earth, was born as a baby, took on human flesh, suffered as we suffer, and was tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin. He healed the sick and afflicted, raised the dead, cast out demons, fed the hungry, comforted the downcast, and he preached repentance for salvation and for forgiveness of sins. He performed many miracles, too. Many people followed him, at least for a time, though many also deserted him when he told them the cost of following him. They thought his teaching was too hard.

He was despised, rejected and mistreated by certain leaders within the Jewish temple who were jealous of him, and who did not like what he stood for and what he taught and did. So, they had him hung on a cross to die, as though he was a common criminal. Yet, it was God’s will that he should suffer thus, for it was the will of God from before the creation of the world that Jesus would be our sacrificial Lamb to take away the sins of the world. When he died on that cross, he who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. So, when he died, our sins died with him, and were buried with him, and when he was resurrected from the dead, he rose victorious over sin, hell, Satan and death, on our behalf.

When Jesus died on that cross, he died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He gave himself up for us “to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Tit. 2:14). He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. When we believe in Jesus Christ, and we trust him to save us from our sins, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and we are resurrected with him to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our lives are no longer our own, to be lived how we want, for we were bought back for God with the blood of Jesus Christ, so we are to honor God in all that we do, say and are.

Jesus said that his sheep listen to him, he knows them, and they follow (obey) him. He said that if we want to come after him, we must deny self, take up our cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) him. Because of what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross, and through being resurrected back to life, we ought to live holy lives, pleasing to him. We ought to honor him as our King above all other gods, i.e. above all else that we might honor, praise or give glory to. He alone should be who or what we worship and give our allegiance and absolute devotion and passion. Our praise to him should not be just with our lips, but it should be with our very lives given over to him in obedience, and for his praise, honor and glory.

If You Hear Him (Ps. 95:7b-11)

Today, if you would hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
As in the day of Massah in the wilderness,
“When your fathers tested Me,
They tried Me, though they had seen My work.
“For forty years I loathed that generation,
And said they are a people who err in their heart,
And they do not know My ways.
“Therefore I swore in My anger,
Truly they shall not enter into My rest.”

Many of God’s people of old, when he led them out of slavery in Egypt, and he led them toward the Promised Land, via the desert, rebelled against him, worshiped false gods, complained against him and his servant Moses incessantly, and did what was evil in God’s sight. So, they were not able to enter into God’s eternal rest because of unbelief. And, their lives serve as a warning to us to not be like them, to not rebel against God, and to not harden our hearts against the Spirit’s voice (See: Hebrews 3). For, if we continue in willful sin against God, by our lifestyles, we don’t have the promise of eternal life with God, but a fearful expectation of judgment and of hell’s fury (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 8:1-14; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21).

For, Jesus did not die that horrible death on a cross just to forgive us our sins, but to deliver us out of slavery (addiction) to sin, and to set us free to now walk (in lifestyle) according to his righteousness and holiness, by his Spirit. His grace to us is not a free license to continue in willful sin against God without guilt and without remorse. His grace, which brings salvation, instructs (commands) us to say “NO” to ungodliness and worldly passions (lusts) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s soon return. His grace, thus, is not leniency, but it is liberty in Christ from bondage to sin, and to the control of righteousness (See: Ro. 6:1-23).

Encourage One Another (Heb. 3:12-14)

Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end.

Not everyone who says he is saved from his sins truly is. Not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” has truly submitted to the Lordship of Christ. Not everyone who seems to begin well with Jesus ends well. Just because you are a member of a local institutional church does not mean you are part of the body of Christ. You can be a Baptist, Methodist or Presbyterian, etc., and not know Jesus Christ at all. You may go through all the motions of being a Christian but be living like the devil when you think no one else is looking. We are not saved from our sins merely because of some words we repeated after someone in a prayer, or because we were brought up in organized religion.

We are saved from our sins when, by God’s grace, through faith in him, we die with Christ to sin and we are reborn of the Spirit of God to now walk in Christ’s righteousness and holiness, and we continue in him, and in his word, and we walk in obedience and no longer live our lives to gratify the sinful cravings of our flesh. If we claim to have fellowship with God, but we walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (sin), we don’t live by the truth (1 Jn. 1:6).

Jesus, Name I Love
Or, Like the Strain of Sweetest Music
William M. Runyan

Jesus, Jesus, name I love,
Sinful needy hearts to move.
Name, all other names above,
Jesus, name I love.

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