04/9/10

The Messiah: 11 Mediations from the Book of Mark [Weekend Resource]

Messiah Cover1 The Messiah: 11 Mediations from the Book of Mark [Weekend Resource]I’m not going to try to sell you on the top three reasons why you should download this exceptionally written, free book (See there? I only used two reasons).

Or maybe I should tell you the rest of the story…

This 36 page ebook will hit you like a wallop upside the head. It is a page turner. It is written by Demian Farnworth. It is a compilation of arguably his finest series on his blog, Fallen and Flawed. It presents the identity of Christ so clearly, you will be breathless.

I guess the bottom line is: You ought to download and read The Messiah: Eleven Mediations from the Book of Mark.

Here’s a short excerpt from the introduction to whet your appetite:

“Something happens when you systematically read through a gospel narrative like the book of Mark: You are confronted with the real Jesus.

“Gone are the pretty pictures of a gentle man lugging a lamb around on his shoulders.

“Instead, you meet a man who is vast in wisdom, terrifying in strength and exceptional in humility. So vast, terrifying and exceptional you begin to wonder if he is God.”

Here are five ideas for way to use the book from Demian & Co.:

1. Book.
Read it and move on. Pretty straightforward. You could take it a bit further and brag [or rag] on it–whether here, Scribd or your social media site of choice.

2. Devotional.
Print the book out and hunker down each morning with a chapter. Meditate on the messages like you might a page from Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest.

3. Tract.
The book is 30 pages of very short chapters, so it’s easy to read. And the content [the identity of Jesus] is perfect for introducing non-believers to the gospel.

4. Study Guide.
Print this book out and walk your study group or Sunday school class through it. Could stretch into an eleven week course.

5. Gift
Print several copies of the book to give away. Mail some to faraway friends and relatives.



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11/9/09

Our Hope for Humility

stumble warning 275x300 Our Hope for HumilityOur Lord Humbled Himself so that We Could Humbly Call Him Lord

If pride precedes the fall
We’ve further down to go
Unless we’re saved by Christ’s humility
Who for our sake was brought low
So that we may be set free
From the pride that preceded Adam’s fall

(Philippians 2:5-11 & Romans 5:12-21)

It’s just a rhythmic run-on sentence with one point:

The only reason we are able to humble ourselves and call him Lord is because our Lord humbled himself to bring our salvation.

Christ’s humility is the only hope for our own.

We find humility not by trying to make ourselves less proud, but turning our focus to Christ and the work He has done so that we may live the gospel.



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08/3/09

The blood is precious

Jesus nailed to cross 300x224 The blood is preciousForeshadowed
Every time the priest’s knife cut the bull’s throat, it was a foreshadowing of Christ. When the veil was pulled back once a year to allow the priest to bring the blood to the mercy seat for the day of atonement, it was a foreshadow of Christ. Everything in the temple pointed to Christ, and so did all of the scriptures (John 5:39).

Christ kept us from God
Even the veil pointed to Christ. The veil that kept us from God. I shied away from that picture at first. Could Christ have actually been keeping us from God?

Yes.

All of history beforehand led to the final moment when Christ made the final sacrifice, Himself. Until Christ was torn for us, man had no free and confident entrance behind the veil. If Jesus avoided the cross, even healing 10 million more paralytics would not bring us closer to experiencing delightful communion behind the veil.

Power unleashed to fulfill
More than 12 legions of battle-ready angels  looked on as Christ suffered to fulfill scripture. No wonder the earth quaked and dead men came out of their graves when Jesus was on the cross. Power unseen was ripping through the body of Jesus, tearing the veil as the final blood sacrifice was spread over the mercy seat.

What the danger and delight reveal
The danger and delight of entering God’s presence reveal to us that the blood of Jesus Christ is both powerful and precious. Without it, we are exposed to immeasurable danger, and deprived of unfathomable delight. Covered by it, we confidently draw near to delight in God.

Get lost in an awesome narrative
If God was writing history prior to the cross to point to Christ, then certainly now God is working to point us back to that message and bring it to bear on us today.  Life is no more about me than the Bible is. The Bible is about Christ. History is about Christ. Right now is about Christ. Get lost in that narrative instead of choked in a personal agenda that is blind to the glory of our purpose within God’s sovereign plan.

Hebrews 10:19-23
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.



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07/31/09

The blood is powerful

686044 51291053small 300x199 The blood is powerfulHebrews 10:19-23
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

Climax of the New Covenant
Hebrews lays it out for us: Drawing near to God confidently is the climax of the New Covenant. The blood of the Lamb atones for the sin that shattered the God-man relationship since Eden.

Don’t miss the significance of a man drawing near to God confidently.
A common man can now push through the veil into the Holy of Holies and survive. No, more than survive. He can commune with the God who created the universe, who led a people from Egypt, who wiped out pagan kings, and who still strikes men like Ananias dead.

Are we confident in the promise, or just unconscious of the danger?
I wonder if we come to the throne comfortably in prayer because we do not understand the fierceness of God’s wrath toward the unclean. “Step into the 10,000 degree furnace. You won’t be incinerated.” Really? Imagine taking that step. That’s the picture, except God’s wrath is a blaze infinitely more severe.

The better we understand the danger, the more fully we understand the power of the blood.
We come into the presence of the Holy One of Israel as…a child, not a criminal. God is bound by a covenant oath to accept the payment made on the cross. He can no more dishonor that oath than He can cease being God. Therefore, we enter the Holy of Holies with unwavering faith and full confidence in the powerful blood of Jesus Christ that protects men from the wrath of God.

Exalting Christ in prayer
We skip over the power of this blood too often. We approach God in a way that claims the promise of His listening ear, but fails to do more than a customary hat-tip to the Guarantor of the promise. Relying consciously (even verbally) on the blood of Jesus to draw near to God in prayer exalts Christ. It displays the power of the cross to our own heart and anyone within earshot.



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02/25/09

The Enemy's Open Shame

shapeimage 1 3 The Enemy's Open ShameCol 2:15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

What a Savior, praise His name. The enemy was disarmed, death has no power. The enemy’s lie has been exposed to those in the light, bringing open shame on the exposed enemy. This shame belongs to the one who has been discovered as a complete sham in utter weakness, unable to prevail against Jesus Christ on the cross.



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