Receive Jesus, Receive Power

Photo by Alex Hockett on Unsplash

John 1:11-13 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Let Us Strive To Finish Well

The most important part of the race is the finish. I don’t know about you, but I want to finish well. I don’t want to be like Judas Iscariot who, following Jesus for 3 ½ years, ended up hanging himself (Matthew 27:5-8). Peter said of Judas,

Acts 1:18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.

What a horrible ending that was! One author notes, “Perhaps Judas hanged himself and in the process also fell (lit. “flat on his face”) and tore open his abdomen. Perhaps the rope or branch with which he hanged himself broke. Or perhaps when others cut his corpse down it fell and broke open, as Luke described. … This description of Judas’ death stressed the awfulness of that apostle’s situation.”

I want to finish well. I have seen so many pastors and powerful Christian leaders fail because they allowed the devil to sidetrack their lives. Who can forget Tammy & Jim Bakker, and the mess they made of their lives. Or Jerry Falwell, Jr, who took over as President of Liberty University (a University his father started). He tragically fell and was fired, texting photos of his wife in provocative sexual poses. Or the Apologist Ravi Zacharias who was discovered abusing women, and seeking sexual favors from massage therapists. Or Carl Lentz, who was fired from Hillsong Church for sexual unfaithfulness in his marriage. Consider also mega Church pastors

  • Perry Noble, removed for alcohol abuse and family neglect from NewSpring Church.
  • Darrin Patrick, the teaching pastor at Seacoast Church who took his own life.
  • Tullian Tchividjian, the grandson of Billy Graham. He pastored Coral Ridge Presbyterian until he resigned due to marital infidelity.

I do not list these pastors with any sort of pride or gloating, but just to say this.

I want to finish well. I want to honor my Jesus until the day I see Him face to face. The most important part of the race is always the finish line. Let us strive to finish well.

Finishing Well Does Not Depend
On Your Physical Birth

People always seem to blame their failures on something in their physical placement, their physical birth. They say, “I was born poor, disadvantaged, disabled, and therefore I will do nothing but feel sorry for myself”. I can understand feeling sorry for yourself. I’ve been through many pity parties myself. We have no control over how we start out in life. But we do have control over how we will handle our “race”.

• You may be poor. It is no sin to be poor. Jesus said:

Matthew 26:11 … ye have the poor always with you …

If you are poor, it’s because God put you in that position to start. In America you can work hard, but even working hard, you may be poor. It’s not your fault, but a divine calling if you are NOT slothful but poor. Some are poor because they are slothful, lazy. That’s your fault if you are that way. But some are poor so that we all can learn kindness. The Bible says:

Proverbs 19:17 He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.

God uses people to shape people. Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend (Proverbs 27:17). God allows poverty so those WITH can love those WITHOUT in a practical way.

• You may be rich. It is no sin to be rich. It is a sin to WORSHIP your riches. The Bible says:

1 Timothy 6:9-10 … they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Illustrate If God has given you riches, this is where God started you in the race. There is no sin in being rich, as long as you control the riches and the riches do not control you. Adrian Rogers once told the story about a man who loved gold. Then he inherited a fortune. With joy he redecorated his bedroom. He put gold parchment wallpaper up, hung yellow curtains, had a golden colored rug and a yellow bedspread. He even bought some yellow pajamas. But then he got sick and came down with, of all things, yellow jaundice. His wife called the doctor who made a house call and went up to that bedroom for an examination. The doctor stayed up there a long while. When he came down, the wife asked, “How is he?”

“Don’t know,” said the doctor. “I couldn’t find him.” Don’t get lost in your riches. The Scripture says:

1 Timothy 6:17-19 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18 that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19 laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

• You may be born beautiful, and may be born plain. It is no sin to be either beautiful, plain, or plain ugly – thank goodness! God made you the way you are. Always remember that you are made by God in the image of God, and do not sell yourselves as many have. I heard of a website called Fans Only where beautiful housewives sell naked pictures on themselves for $6.99. God’s Word says:

Proverbs 11:22 As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a {beautiful} woman which is without discretion.

As God has made you, praise Him, for you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). God tells us all,

1 Peter 3:3-4 (NKJV) Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— 4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

When George Younce made his final public appearance with William Gaither, he sang an amusing rendition of “Side by Side”:

We got married last Friday, My girl was right there beside me
Our friends were all gone – We were alone – Side by side

We were so happily wed when, She got ready for bed then
Her teeth and her hair – She placed in a chair – Side by side

One glass eye so tiny, One hearing aid so small
Then she took one leg off, And placed it on the chair by the wall

I stood there broke hearted, Most of my girl had departed
I slept on the chair – There was more of her there – Side by side

• You may be born with a disability. It is no sin to be born disabled. God intended you to be born the way you are. I remember that one day Jesus and His disciples saw a man born blind. The disciples asked Jesus:

John 9:2-3 Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? 3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

God made you the way you are. It is no sin to be born disabled or, “challenged” as so many like to call it. God has a purpose for your life, and He wants to show His glorious power through you. Let no one make you lesser than because of your birth. It is no sin to be broken.

• You may be born of a certain color. It is no sin to be born black, or white, or red, yellow, or brown. The Bible says:

Acts 10:34-35 … God is no respecter of persons: 35 but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

It is a sin to be racist. Martin Luther King, Jr preached in his sermon “I Have A Dream”, “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”.

Acts 17:26 … (God) hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth …

Your color is not a sin. I have heard that Critical Race Theory teaches if you are white, you are automatically racist. I don’t believe this is true. Billy Graham refused to preach revivals in any stadiums that forced the people of color into a roped off area. I applaud that. I have no control over my race, but my race is not a sin. Racism is!

We Must Receive Jesus As He Is

Do you know what the chiefest of sins is? The unpardonable sin is to refuse to receive Jesus Christ.

John 1:11-12 {Jesus} came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him…

Word Study God wants us all to receive Jesus Christ. The word translated “received” is the Greek λαμβάνω lambánō, (pronounced lam-ban’-o), which means “to receive (of course), to grab hold of, to take with your hand, to take in order to possess or carry away, to claim for oneself, to take possession of”. The word carries with it the sense of desire. To receive Jesus is to greatly desire Him, to want Him above all else.

Oh how we need Jesus! What does it mean to “receive or lay hold of Jesus”. It means, first of all, to take Jesus as He is. Jesus is not just another Teacher or another Rabbi. Jesus is Eternal God in the flesh. When Job in his suffering questioned God, the Lord told him:

Job 38:4-6 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;

None of us were on this earth when God made it. The evolutionists and scientists merely guess at what happened before. None of us were there in the beginning.

But Jesus was. The Bible says:

John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

When God said “Let there be”, it was Jesus Who interacted with the earth. God made all things through Jesus. Jesus Christ is not just Perfect Man – He is Eternal God in human form. Jesus Christ was with the Father and the Spirit at the beginning of creation – and has preexisted with God from eternity. The Bible says:

Colossians 1:16-17 for by {Jesus} were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

The Father planned the heavens that we see – but spoke it into existence through Jesus. Like a prism bends light, Jesus focused the power of God in creation. All things – whether visible or invisible – were made through Jesus. When God said,

Genesis 1:26 … Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…

Jesus Christ was part of that “us” and “our”. Though He was not yet incarnate – that would much later occur through Mary – He was nonetheless there and active. Jesus Christ is called “The Word”, because Jesus is the expressed and visible image of the invisible God. The Scripture says:

Hebrews 1:2-3 {God} hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

It is fitting that He Who made the earth and the heavens is the One chosen to be the Savior of the earth and the heavens. “By the Word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host” (Psalm 33:6).

We must receive Jesus Christ as Creator and Savior. We must receive Jesus as the way to life.

John 1:4-5 In {Jesus} was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Jesus Christ is the only Source of eternal life.
Jesus Christ is the only Source of spiritual light.

When you receive Jesus Christ, you are receiving Him as Savior and Lord. There is no life nor light apart from Jesus. This morning we read the words of God in

Revelation 21:5 … Behold, I make all things new.

It is Jesus Who leads us from the darkness of sin and Satan, and into the light of God. The Book of John is all about God bringing light out of darkness – this is why the Book copies the beginning of the Book of Genesis. Only God can bring light – self existent light – to darkness. Man has learned, first by using flame, next by combining electricity and metal in a sphere we call the light bulb, how to bring light to darkness. But we who are human cannot form spiritual light. This is what God did. Through Jesus we are brought to spiritual light. Our blindness to God is removed. Through Jesus God causes us to have light and truth. The Bible says:

Isaiah 42:5-6 Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: 6 I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles….

When Simeon was brought by the Holy Spirit into the Temple, and saw the Baby Jesus, he praised God and quoted this text:

Luke 2:29-32 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 30 for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 31 which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 32 a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Jesus Christ is the Light of the World. When we come to Him, receiving Him as THE Light of God, then we can see whereas the lost stagger about blindly. There are many who profess to be the Christ, but only Jesus is the …

John 1:9 … true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

Some say that they have “received Jesus”, but they have received Him only as Savior. Jesus Christ is LORD. He is LORD OF ALL, and demands the allegiance of those who take hold of Him. The Bible says:

Philippians 2:5-11 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus affirmed His Lordship over His people. He was affirmed by God while in the cradle:

Matthew 1:21 .. {Mary} shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

And later told us:

John 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

When we receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, God works a miracle in our lives. We read:

John 1:12-13 … as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Eternal Jesus Christ became incarnate, because God the Holy Spirit came to Mary. The angel told Mary:

Luke 1:35 … The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Mary agreed to this operation of God, and became with child, carrying the incarnate Son of God. There has only been one incarnation of the Son of God in all of history.

But God makes other sons, other children when we receive Jesus Christ as He is. When we believe on Him, the Scripture says:

to them gave he power to become the sons of God

Word Study The word translated “power” is the Greek ἐξουσία exousía, {pronounced ex-oo-see’-ah}, which refers to “the power of rule or government, endued power”. What is this referring to? When you receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, God the Holy Spirit comes into your life. The Spirit causes you to be born again:

1 Peter 1:23 …. born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

The Word of God Who was in the beginning with God and is God calls upon the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirt comes to the life of the believer, and makes us “born again”. We are

John 1:13 … born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God

Born again of the Spirit of God, He makes us into sons of God. Sons of God are led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14). We are not led by the things of the world, but by the Spirit of God and the Word of God. We are called to reflect the Light of Christ into the world. We are called to run, looking unto Jesus. We are to live our lives so as to please our Heavenly Father. The Scripture says:

Philippians 2:12-16 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. 14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15 that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 16 holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

A Christian is not just a Christian in name only. A Christian – rightly understood – is a son of God, a child of the Most High, a believer empowered and enlivened by God the Holy Spirit. We are not of this world, but on mission for Jesus until He calls us home.

Let us strive to finish well, if we are Spiritually born, and Spirit led. Let us remember our heritage, a heritage that John spoke of, saying:

1 John 3:1-2 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

May God the Holy Spirit and the Word of God move you to follow Him in the light, for His glory. Amen and Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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