Bible Ballistics: Vol. 12 No. 06 First And Last???
We talked a bit ago about Jesus being first in our hearts and lives, for those who have trusted in HIM! Yet it is a constant struggle to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus with all the distractions around us, and “wiles of the devil” calling us to abandon our “first love”.
Today I’d like us to consider why Jesus is the only One that is worthy of our “First Love”. HE alone is the one who loves us first, and gave Himself for our salvation, that we might be restored to “son ship” (We are made children of God when we come to Jesus in repentance and faith for salvation—when we are born again!)
“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.” John 1:12-13
We are born of God, restored to relationship with the Almighty God who created us; The One from whom we walked away shortly after creation—but God (one of my favorite phrases in all of scripture—“but God….”) had already made provision for our redemption through Jesus. His Son would be the first and last—the first and only God, man, Savior; the One who would provide the sacrifice for sin, and eventually even make an end of sin, and be the ‘last One’ to deliver the final blow to Satan, and make all things new! So let’s take some time today to consider the confidence that we can have in this One who is “the first and the last”, not because I say so but because God says so—and His Word is forever true, because He IS truth that never changes.
“Jesus Christ the same yesterday,
and to day,
and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8
This same Jesus is the One who was in the beginning with God, because He was God, and is God, and He leads His own, and knows us by name!
“My sheep hear my voice,
and I know them,
and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life;
and they shall never perish,
neither shall any man pluck them
out of my hand.
29 My Father,
which gave them me, is greater than all;
and no man is able to pluck them
out of my Father’s hand.
30 I and my Father are one.” John 10:27-30
It’s kind of like a mom with her children in a crowed place, she can hear many unidentifiable voices all around her, but when one of her own cries out for help—that voice is totally recognizable to that mom, because it is one of her own! And her child knows her voice as well. When we belong to Jesus He knows our voice, and as we learn to intimately walk with Him, we will learn to recognize His voice more quickly and follow Him via His voice (His Holy Spirit within us) more consistently. Striving not for perfection, but for excellence, holiness, and intimate confidence in our daily living, all because we are children of God/Jesus who imparts The Holy Spirit to dwell within us. (See Ro. 5:1-11 & 8:9)
“For ye have not received
the spirit of bondage
again to fear;
but ye have received
the Spirit of adoption,
whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness
with our spirit,
that we are the children of God:
17 And if children,
heirs of God,
if so be that we suffer with him,
that we may
be also glorified together.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings
of this present time
are not worthy to be compared
with the glory which shall be revealed
in us.” Romans 8:15-18
As His children, we are often called to suffer with/for Him, because the world doesn’t love our God, and therefore they won’t love us, HIS children. When we walk right before our God and Savior, most of the world won’t like it.
and all that will live godly
in Christ Jesus
shall suffer persecution.
13 But evil men and seducers
shall wax worse and worse,
and being deceived.” 2 Timothy 3:12-13
I find it most interesting that while there has always been a natural affection between children and parents, we are seeing a phenomenon today, but a phenomenon that God told us would be one of the signs of the times when Jesus would return, a lack of “natural affection”. But it shouldn’t be so for us who are HIS children!
“Wherefore come out from among them,
and be ye separate,
saith the Lord,
and touch not the unclean thing;
and I will receive you,
18 And will be a Father unto you,
and ye shall be my sons and daughters,
saith the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:17-18
We are His children—what a blessing! But not everyone wants to know God or be His child, and we are living in a world that is rejecting Him more and more blatantly every day! Yet this is no surprise to God, and it shouldn’t be a surprise to us, for God has told us beforehand. Are we listening?
“This know also,
that in the last days
perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves,
disobedient to parents,
3 Without natural affection,
despisers of those that are good,
lovers of pleasures
more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness,
but denying the power thereof:
from such turn away.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5
It’s amazing to me that this could have come out of any current morning newspaper! It is an accurate description of our culture—of the culture of the world—I see in my community, as you see it in yours, a microcosm of sin that breaks my heart, but remember Jesus still saves and changes lives today, and we can share the good news. Jesus—the first and the last—is still calling today:
“We love him, because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
This One who created it all cares about you and me! I pray that you are looking to “Jesus….the author and finisher of our faith”—the “first and the last”! (See Heb. 12:1-2)
“Giving thanks unto the Father,
which hath made us meet to be partakers
of the inheritance
of the saints
13 Who hath delivered us
from the power of darkness,
and hath translated us
into the kingdom
of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption
through his blood,
even the forgiveness of sins:
15 Who is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of every creature:
16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven,
and that are in earth,
whether they be thrones,
all things were created by him,
and for him:
17 And he is before all things,
and by him all things consist.
18 And he is the head of the body,
who is the beginning,
the firstborn from the dead;
that in all things
he might have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:12-18
He is calling us to Himself, because He is the Only Way to God! Only One Redeemer—Only One Way—Only One Jesus—The First and The Last!
“Jesus saith unto him,
I am the way,
and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father,
but by me.” John 14:6
And this One, who loves us and calls us to Himself, is still calling today; The One who gave His life for our salvation—and for all who will believe–and His arms are open to you today! Open because HE IS the first-born from the dead, The One who overcame death and hell that we could live!
“Come unto me,
all ye that labour
and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you,
and learn of me;
for I am meek and lowly in heart:
and ye shall find rest
unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy,
and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-29
This One who is the first and last, invites us to take “His” yoke—and we will never walk alone—for He will lead and direct our every step in that yoke, as we step with HIM.
“Let your conversation
be without covetousness;
and be content
with such things as ye have:
for he hath said,
I will never leave thee,
nor forsake thee.
6 So that we may boldly say,
The Lord is my helper,
and I will not fear
what man shall do unto me.” Hebrews 13:5-6
As we walk with Jesus, He guides us into all His truth and ways, as we heed the voice of His Spirit leading and teaching us as we delve into HIS Word.
“Order my steps
in thy word:
and let not any iniquity
have dominion over me.” Psalm 119:133
“The steps of a good man
are ordered by the LORD:
and he delighteth
in his way.
24 Though he fall,
he shall not be utterly cast down:
for the LORD upholdeth him
with his hand.” Psalm 37:23-24
Jesus, our first and last, is the One who supplies our every need as we look to Him, depending on His care rather than trying to go our own way. We are in a constant struggle with our flesh and the world around us calling us to veer from the “straight and narrow” (not a popular way to go, but the way that God calls us to go). We must heed the warnings that He gives us in His Word—there is only One way that leads to God, and eternal life, and that way is Jesus! Be careful who you listen to and who you follow—make sure it’s the good shepherd and that you’re not being led astray by the “wolves in sheep’s clothing”
“Enter ye in at the strait gate:
for wide is the gate,
and broad is the way,
that leadeth to destruction,
and many there be
which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate,
and narrow is the way,
which leadeth unto life,
and few there be
that find it.
15 Beware of false prophets,
which come to you
in sheep’s clothing,
they are ravening wolves.” Matthew 7:13-15
Don’t sacrifice “truth” for “trendy”—for wolves usually have the trendiest message, but it is the way “that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat”! Just because it’s popular and fashionable doesn’t mean it’s right! We must be on our guard for the deceiving ones, and they are everywhere—even in the church—always have been, always will be, until the Lord comes and takes control of this world! Even so, come Lord Jesus! But we need to be ready to be found faithful to Him and not the world or self (and they are pretty hard to tell apart for the world will always appeal to your flesh and mine!). May we “withstand in the evil day”, and we can only do that by keeping our eyes on the prize—Jesus; remembering that He IS our soon-coming King! Let’s not fall asleep on duty, and miss hearing “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!”
I come quickly;
and my reward is with me,
to give every man
according as his work shall be.
13 I am Alpha and Omega,
the beginning and the end,
the first and the last.” Revelation 22:12-13
Even as Paul reminded his son-in-the-ministry, Timothy, may we be found to be “vessels of honor” fit for the Master’s use? (For more see 1 Corinthians 3:7-16)
“Nevertheless the foundation of God
having this seal,
The Lord knoweth them that are his.
And, Let every one that nameth the name
of Christ depart from iniquity.
20 But in a great house there are not only vessels
of gold and of silver,
but also of wood and of earth;
and some to honour,
and some to dishonour.
21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour,
and meet for the master’s use,
and prepared unto every good work.” 2 Timothy 2:19-21
Our first and last is coming—may we keep our eyes on HIM! The best is yet to come, and it will be worth the wait!
“And God shall wipe away all tears
from their eyes;
and there shall be no more death,
neither shall there be any more pain:
for the former things are passed away.
5 And he that sat upon the throne said,
Behold, I make all things new.
And he said unto me,
for these words are true and faithful.
6 And he said unto me,
It is done.
I am Alpha and Omega,
the beginning and the end.
I will give unto him that is athirst
of the fountain of the water of life freely.” Revelation 21:4-6
Amen and Amen!!!