Saturday, March 12, 2016, 4:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “A Believer’s Prayer.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read John 5:19-29 (ESV). Emulating Jesus Christ (vv. 19-21) So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. Jesus’ relationship to God the Father is a model for us as to what our relationship should look like with him, though not equal, for he was also God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As Jesus could do nothing of his own accord, but only what he saw the Father doing, we, as well, should be completely dependent on our Lord, and we should be submissive to him in all things. Not only did Jesus command us how we ought to live, but he modeled that life for us. Not only did he model that life for us, but he also gave us his Spirit to live within us to counsel, guide, direct, encourage, instruct, strengthen and empower us to live as Jesus commanded us to live. What Jesus modeled for us when he walked the face of this earth, we should also do, especially with regard to how we treat him and others. Jesus, although he was a son, learned obedience through what he suffered. He obeyed the Father without wavering. What the Father told him to do, he did. He lived in submission to his Father. He was in continual communication with his Father, too, and he brought him all his requests. He was united (one) in heart and mind with his Father, as well, because he listened to what his Father taught him, and because he obeyed what he learned. What the Father desired, the Son also longed for. In addition to all this, Jesus reveals the Father to us. We come to know the Father through the Son, for he reflects the Father in all he does. As the Son emulated his Father, we are to emulate Jesus, i.e. we are to become like him in thought, word and deed. We, as well, will learn obedience through the things we suffer, so we should not be afraid to suffer. We should continually be cognizant of the fact that, as Christ’s followers, we are his representatives to the world. The world will judge Jesus by what they see in the lives of his followers. Our lives speak louder than our words, although words are still a necessity in presenting the gospel message of salvation from sin. Just as Jesus was in continual communication with the Father, so should we be with Jesus Christ. We should talk with him, but mostly we should listen. When we hear God speak his words to our hearts, then we should obey what he teaches us. From Death to Life (vv. 22-24) The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. We make judgments every day of our lives as to what we will eat, what we will wear, and where we will go. Thus, not all judgment is condemnation. It is also making decisions, expressing opinions, discerning situations, being perceptive, making appraisals, and the like. Jesus, because he is God, is able to judge our hearts, because he created our hearts, and he knows us inside and out. Yet, when he judges our hearts, it is not merely for the purpose to reward or to condemn us. He, because he is God, is able to discern error from truth, and to know who truly believes in him, and who is making merely a show of faith. He is able to judge our motives, and to see our secret sins, or to see who truly has a heart desire to obey him in all things. Thus, he, by his Spirit, is able to counsel, correct, rebuke, encourage, comfort, convict, and lead and guide us into all truth. Because Jesus is the judge of our hearts, we should honor him. Because we love him, we should respect him. Because of what he did for us in dying on the cross for our sins so that we could be set free from the power of sin over our lives, we should give him honor and praise. And, because he is our God and creator, completely sovereign over all things, and because he loved us so much that he gave his life up for us, we should revere him. We honor him first of all by trusting him with our lives, and by believing in him and in what he did for us. When we put our faith and trust in him, we die with him to sin, and we are resurrected with him to newness of life; to live to righteousness. Because of what he did for us, we give our lives to him as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is our worship of him. By his grace, through faith in him, we are no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but we are transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God away from sin and to walking in obedience to Christ and in his holiness. If we do not honor Christ, we do not honor the Father. If we do not honor the Father and the Son, we do not truly know them, and we don’t have the assurance of eternal life (Jn. 14:23-24; 1 Jn. 2:3-6). If we truly believe Jesus, we will honor him, and we will pass from death to life. An Hour is Coming (vv. 25-29) “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. For those of us who have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, not only do we live in him and him in us while we walk the face of this earth, but one day we will be with him face-to-face, either when we die, or when he comes back to take us to be with him forever. In other words, our hope in Jesus is not just for this life, but for a life yet to come. One day we will leave these flesh bodies, and we will no longer suffer pain, sorrow and death. We will no longer be tempted to sin. Sadness will be no more. And, our salvation will be complete. Amen! What determines our eternal destiny, though, is not our own righteousness. Our own righteousness is like filthy rags in God’s sight. We only receive salvation from sin and the hope of eternal life with God because of God’s grace to us, and because of Jesus’ sacrifice of his blood given on the cross to redeem us, i.e. to buy us back for God away from sin; away from Satan. We can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless the Father first draws us to him, and even the ability to repent and to believe in Jesus are granted to us as gifts. Our hearts are only transformed from death to life because of the power and working of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. Yet, we must submit to Christ and to the cross in our lives, and we must surrender our wills to the will of the Father in heaven. We must willingly let go of our past lives of living for sin and self, and we must yield control of our lives over to God. In other words, we must cooperate with God’s work of grace in our lives in saving us from our sins. We are not puppets on a string. He does not force his will upon us. We must choose to trust in him and to submit to his Lordship over our lives. This is the good we do which rewards us with eternal life, i.e. believing on Jesus Christ to deliver us from our sins, and to give us new lives in him to be lived in his power, and to righteousness, for this is why he died. Those who continue to do evil will face the judgment of condemnation, even many of those who profess to know Jesus, and who have prayed a “sinner’s prayer,” too. This is true of them if all they were doing was repeating words just because they thought they would escape hell and/or just because they were told they would go to heaven when they die. If we read Jesus’ teachings, and those of his New Testament apostles, we will clearly see that believing in Jesus to be our Lord and Savior is not just an escape from hell and the hope of heaven, but it is trusting him completely with our lives, in submission to him, and in surrender to his will for our lives in dying with him to sin, and in living with him to righteousness. So, if you have not submitted your life to Christ, to do his will, and you have not left your old life of sin behind you, I pray you will do so today. Your future depends on it. Let him be Lord of your life today while you still have today. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. A Believer’s Prayer An Original Work / July 31, 2012 With my whole heart, Lord, I pray to be Yours, And Yours always. Lead me in Your truth today. May I love You, and obey. Lead me in Your righteousness. When I sin, may I confess; Bow before You when I pray; Live for You and You always. Love You, Jesus, You’re my friend. Life with You will never end. You are with me through each day, Giving love and peace always. You will ne’er abandon me. From my sin You set me free. You died on that cruel tree, So I’d live eternally. Soon You’re coming back for me; From this world to set me free; Live with You eternally. Oh, what joy that brings to me. I will walk with You in white; A pure bride, I’ve been made right By the blood of Jesus Christ; Pardoned by His sacrifice.