[forthright] The Eternal Christ/Prove It!

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From: Forthright Magazine <ba@...>
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 2004 13:09:25 -0500
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: Outlines of Faith

The Eternal Christ
by Greg Tidwell

Jesus Christ
is the same
yesterday
and today
and forever.
Hebrews 13:8 (ESV)

The deity of the Christ is seen in his unchanging
nature, for only of God can we say: "... you are
the same, and your years have no end" (Psalm
102:27, ESV). Jesus, being fully God, is the
object of our worship and adoration. He is central
in every aspect of our faith, defining what we
believe and determining what we do.

Many problems arise when the church fails to honor
and serve Christ in all things. Conversely,
looking to Jesus, we find guidance for every
aspect of our lives as Christians. If we want to
improve, either individually or as a congregation,
Jesus Christ provides an essential starting point.


Considering the unchanging nature of Christ, we
see how this truth provides an essential support
for our understanding of what God's people are to
accomplish. As William Barclay observed:

"It is in the nature of things that all earthly
leaders must come and go. They have their day and
they lead their generation, and then they must
pass from the scene. They have their part in the
drama of life, and then the curtain comes down.
But Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and to-day
and for ever. His preeminence is permanent; His
leadership is for ever. And therein there lies the
secret of earthly leadership. The real leader is
the man who is led himself by Jesus Christ" (The
Letter to the Hebrews, p.223).

How can we have confidence in the direction the
church is headed? Only by looking to Jesus. He, in
His unchanging nature, provides a constant
assurance that we are on the right track.

When the church remains true to the Lord it can
work through any difficulty. If we fail at this
point, however, nothing else matters.

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COLUMN: Heavenly Connections

Prove It!
by Tim Hall

"I'm not afraid of Old Man Hanks. Why, I wouldn't
be scared to run up to his house and knock on his
door."

"Oh, yeah? Well, I dare you!"

Such conversations are common between young boys.
Some are prone to making big boasts of what they
can do, and others aren't slow to call their
bluff. "I dare you" is another way of saying
"Prove it!" Show me by your actions that your
words are true.

God has issued challenges like that to us. But
we're not the ones of whom he speaks; he speaks of
himself. Yes, he has made bold claims. But before
we can mutter our doubts about what he has
promised, he urges us to "Prove it!"

In the days of the prophet Malachi, the people of
Judah had lost faith in the promises of God. They
brought inferior offerings to God instead of the
best of their flocks. Their gifts fell short of
the amount God had commanded. God responded with
this challenge: "'Bring all the tithes into the
storehouse, that there may be food in my house,
and prove me now in this,' says the Lord of hosts,
'If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
and pour out for you such blessing that there will
not be room enough to receive it'" (Malachi 3:10,
NKJV). Those who had faith enough to do as God
commanded would realize that God is always true to
his word.

God's challenges extend to us as well. Just how
much does God expect of us? Here's how Paul
described it in Romans 12:1,2: "I beseech you
therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that
you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy,
acceptable to God, which is your reasonable
service. And do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind
..." Reflect on those words and realize the
awesome nature of the demand. God doesn't ask for
a few hours of our weeks -- he asks for our entire
lives! Why would anyone respond to that kind of
calling?

The final words of the passage appeal to our
faith: "... that you may prove what is that good
and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Romans
12:2). God's will is good, acceptable (to us) and
perfect. I often stand in pulpits and confidently
proclaim that message. But in the final analysis,
I can't prove that claim to you or to anyone else.
You've got to prove it for yourself. And the only
way to do that is to accept God's challenge and
put him to the test.

"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed
is the man who trusts in him!" (Psalm 34:8) God
dares you! Come give his will a try. Hold back
nothing; throw yourself completely and
unreservedly into his will. When you do -- and
only when you give it everything you've got -- you
will discover that God can indeed be trusted.
Deceptive advertising didn't originate with him.

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