To this day, one of the most mind-boggling thoughts of my life is to think that I went to church the first 20 years of my life, participated in serving, heard the stories of the birth and death of Jesus Christ, and at the age of 24 still didn’t understand why Jesus died or how it personally affected me.
Radio, television, cable, and all forms of media, broadcast a variety of mediums about the truth of Jesus Christ daily. I realized upon discovering the truth of Jesus, that people can be surrounded by God’s efforts to get the truth of Jesus and what He did for us to them, yet not know it. People sing along with tunes, watch the movies, and celebrate national holidays about Jesus’ birth and resurrection and Thanksgiving to Him and still do not understand the truth of what God wants us to know about Jesus.
Israel was first a name God gave Jacob. Then Israel was used to describe the sons of Jacob (Israel) and their families. Then God began to call all of the descendants of Jacob, Israel. When God delivered His people from Pharaoh in Egypt and addressed them as Israel through Moses. He had another name He called them – “His treasured possession.” He would continue to reveal who He was to them and His heart and desire for them to imitate and emulate. Through them, He would teach the world who He was and His ways. This was the calling of the Jewish people. He was raising up a particular nation of people whom He would reveal, His love, His character, His ways, and His desire for moral behavior to the world through. They would be responsible to be a light to the world and to share with the world, God and His ways. Exo 19:5-6, “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation…” They would all in a sense, be a priest in that they would learn and then impart to the rest of all mankind, His ways.
Through Jesus Christ, God extended that privilege and responsibility to His Church – to those who would believe in Him and what He did for us. We would become His body in the earth. 1 Corinthians 12:27 (NIV) says, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” Through Christ, we would become a light to this world – a light to shine before all men. In Matthew 5:14 Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.”
The church is the body of Christ and we’ve all been given the commission to help share the love of Jesus Christ – who He was, and is, and what He has done – died for our sins and through His mercy and forgiveness of sin, offered us the gift of eternal life. No one including me was EVER meant to be in a church all their life without learning that Jesus paid the debt for our sins so that we could have eternal life as a GIFT. I was led to believe that I had to earn my way into Heaven by becoming good enough. I couldn’t ever seem to accomplish that. Until knowing this truth, I wanted to run from God because I was sure I’d go to Hell. And I believed this while going to a church every Sunday! Can you believe it? You can if you’ve experienced the same thing I did!
A friend of mine shared his experience with me after he started attending our church, “Pastor Tim, I have attended church with my wife for over 30 years. It seemed like the right thing to do for myself and my family. It was a religious experience in ceremony more than anything else. My mind frequently drifted during the ceremonial parts of the service. There were readings in church, but they were never talked about as God’s word to us. They were just like a religious saying. I was truly bored to tears but felt obligated to go. Then someone invited me here. Since I have started coming here, I feel like I have been in school learning the most basic things about God from the Bible that I should have learned and known all my life. I had never read the Bible until coming here and I was in a church all my life. Now I can’t stop reading it. And I can feel God speaking to me through it! For the first time in my life, I feel like I have a real and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. I never knew church could be like this.”
Churches are not all created equal. Many exist but leave people not knowing or understanding who Jesus is other than a religious figure, and not knowing His love and the sacrifice made so we could have eternal life. God called those that knew Him, “His treasured possession.” We can’t be that if we don’t first know Him personally ourselves. It is so important to get into a church that teaches the truths of God from the Bible so we can learn of Him and understand how to be that “treasure possession” of God to this world. When that happens, we’ll overflow with His love and it will spill in words, kindness, and other ways to the world around us and fulfill 1 Peter 3:15. (NIV) “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…gentleness and respect…” It was for the Jews and continues to be for us, the reason we are His “treasured possession.”
Malachi 3:17 (NIV) “They will be mine,” says the LORD Almighty, “in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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