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January 7, 2016

GOD IS A SPIRIT

by Leslie John

“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth”. (John 4:24)

God is a Spirit and He cannot marry any one, but He compares His relationship between Him and Israel to that of husband and wife. God applies physical relationship of Hosea with his wife Gomer to that of his own spiritual relationship with Israel and asks Israel to come back from her fallen stage to receive forgiveness.

God is compassionate and long-suffering and is waiting with his outstretched hands to receive them back into his fold. They have committed fornication and gone far from His love. They were unfaithful and worshipped idols. They worshipped Baal, a weather God, with the hope that it will give them good harvest that they become rich. They have worshipped Ashtaroth, a false god of Canaanites, said to be a god of fertility.

God hates idolatry and unfaithfulness. Israel was unfaithful to him. Similarly if born-again children are unfaithful to him, he will chastise. God will not allow his flock to be taken by anybody. Jesus is our Good Shepherd and he will not allow any one to pluck his sheep from his fold.

The LORD God of Abraham, Jacob and Isaac is Jehovah, and He said…

“I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images”. (Isaiah 42:8)

The fore-runner of Jesus, John the Baptist preached saying “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. (Matthew 3:2) and Later Jesus preached “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. (Matthew 4:17). But then, notice how John introduced Jesus as:

“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29)

The phrases “kingdom of heaven”, “kingdom of Christ”, and “kingdom of God” are used interchangeably in the Gospels. Israel was in disturbed condition when Jesus came into this world. After King Solomon’s death, the kingdom was divided into two and they never had peace.

When Jesus was preaching “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” the Jews understood that Jesus was preaching about the kingdom of Israel that was in disturbed condition. They expected their Messiah to come like a King and restore them their kingdom, but Jesus was born in a poor family of carpenter.

Jesus was from the lineage of David and he is called “Son of David”. King Herod heard of Jesus and ordered the firstborn in the land of Judea to be killed because he was afraid of losing his own position.

Shepherds were informed by the angels that a savior was born and he was Christ the savior. The wise men inquired of baby Jesus “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?” and went and worshipped him.

The prophecy of union of divided kingdom and the King is seen in Daniel’s vision as we read in Daniel 7:13-14, 1 Kings 2:4, 8:25, Jeremiah 33:7. David’s throne shall be established and there will be literal rein of Lord Jesus Christ from the throne of David.

“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed”. (Daniel 7:13-14)

When Jesus was born the Jews were expecting a national deliverer. But because Jesus was born in a poor family they never believed him as their Messiah.

After Jesus entered into ministry he said to his disciples not to go into the way of Gentiles but go to the lost sheep of the “house of Israel” and asked them to preach “The kingdom of heaven is at hand”

Jesus indeed came in search of the lost sheep of Israel:

“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 10:5-7)

From the latter portions of Matthew it is clear that Jesus came not only for Jews but for all the mankind. He spoke his death, burial, and resurrection. After his resurrection and before his ascension he spoke of the Holy Spirit coming into the world after his ascension. Then, he gave commission to his disciples to preach first in Jerusalem, then in Judea and Samaria, and then to the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8). That was the Gospel of Jesus Christ that Jesus asked his disciples to preach.

The message Paul spoke on different occasions before he finally settled to speak to the Gentiles was about Salvation which is free gift and is not associated with law and works.

The message Peter spoke initially was about the “kingdom of God” to Jews before he spoke to Gentiles. The Kingdom, which was originally supposed to come into existence, provided Jews accepted Jesus as their Messiah was postponed to accommodate Gentiles in the Church.

Jews rejected Jesus as their Messiah and this eventually paved the way for Gentiles to come into the Church. But then, was this a happening without the knowledge of God? No, God had salvation to Gentiles in his plan and deliberately blinded the eyes of Jews. (Romans Chapters.9-11)

God sent His one and only Son Jesus Christ into this world to redeem mankind from the bondage of sin. Jesus, who was without any sin, bore our sin on himself (1 Peter 2:24, 2 Corinthians 5:21). He paid the price of our salvation.

Whoever accepts this fact and confesses by mouth will receive everlasting life. The price Lord Jesus Christ paid on the cross for our sake was not silver or gold but his own precious blood.

The Scriptures say that silver and gold are perishable and corruptible and will fade away. Lord Jesus did not redeem us from those corruptible things but by his own blood. He is the creator of this universe and all the elements in therein.

Who can please him with the elements of this world – none. God wants us to worship him in spirit and truth. The whole purpose of God sending His only begotten Son was to reconcile man unto himself and grant him everlasting life. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile in Christ.

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers” (1 Peter 1:18)

 

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