July 16, 2018

We are nothing, and can do nothing, without Jesus Christ

We are nothing, and can do nothing, without Jesus Christ

Jesus continued to clarify to His disciples who He was, and who they were when He said to them – “’I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.’” (John 15: 5) This became experientially evident to them when they followed Peter’s lead to go fishing – “Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We are going with you also.’ They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Children, have you any food?’ They answered Him, ‘No.’ And He said to them, ‘Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.’” (John 21: 3-6)

When we act in self-direction, we often come up short. Our plans usually do not work out the way we intend them to. However, when we allow Jesus to be our Captain; and allow Him to direct our steps, He brings about an abundant outcome. An abundant outcome through Christ; however, may not be what the world considers an abundant outcome. After years of abiding in Christ, Paul understood the realities of abundant living in Christ. He wrote to the Philippians – “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4: 11-13)

A wise question to ask ourselves is – “Are we seeking to build our own kingdom, or are we seeking to build God’s Kingdom?” If we are a spiritually born again believer, Paul teaches that we do not belong to ourselves – “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Cor. 6: 19-20) If we are seeking to build our own kingdom, it will be a very temporary, weak, and deceptive one. If we are seeking to build both our kingdom, and God’s Kingdom, the “Day” will reveal this truth – “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their own craftiness’; and again, ‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.’ Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come – all are yours. And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” (1 Cor. 3: 11-23)

Considering the abundant life that Paul found by abiding in Christ, I wonder what he would think about the teachings of our prosperity preachers? What would Paul say to Oral Roberts, Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Copeland, Reverend Ike, or Kenneth Hagin if he could? I believe that he would tell them that they have been deceived, and are in turn deceiving others. The spiritual blessings we receive through abiding in Christ in no way can compare to the paltry material blessings that these false teachers glorify. Like all of us, they too will one day answer to God as to how they built on the foundation of the prophets and apostles. I think there may be quite a bonfire coming…

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