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In the previous post, “You Must Be…“, we were looking at the life of the new creation in Christ in relationship to the new heart we receive at the moment of regeneration. In this post, we’ll be exploring the Lifeblood of this new heart. What is the attribute of the new creation in Christ that is being figuratively pumped throughout the body as the very essence of the Life we have in Christ? What is the attribute of Christ that we have, as born again believers, that we didn’t have in our natural (fallen) state? This is what we’ll be looking at as the lifeblood of the one who has been born again to new life in Christ.

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You Must Be…

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Do you remember the words of Nicodemus? “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” [John 3:4]. This was his response to what Jesus had just declared to him regarding who it is that can see the Kingdom of God. In John 3, Jesus cuts right to the heart of the matter. This conversation recorded for us in John 3 is the central issue in the life of each and every one of us. If you are to see the Kingdom of God, you must be born again. In the words of the Lord Jesus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God” [John 3:3]. The word we use to describe this event of being born again is regeneration. Sadly, we don’t hear much today about this biblical concept of regeneration. Generally speaking, we have replaced this concept with encouragements to make a decision to follow Jesus or asking Jesus into your heart. However, the biblical way for us to think about and to discuss the salvation of mankind is in terms of regeneration.

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The Word Became Flesh

Imagine living in a world without communication of any kind. No words to write or speak. No meaningful gestures or facial expressions to communicate thoughts from one person to another. Would you genuinely be able to know anyone with no way for them to communicate their thoughts, feelings, ideals and values to you in a meaningful way? In God’s infinite wisdom, this isn’t the world He created for us. We are able to communicate our inner-most thoughts from one person to another. At the base level of communication are words. We might speak or write them, or use signs with our hands to communicate information from our minds to others. We can think of communication as being the bridge that allows information to be exchanged between people through a common system of symbols, signs or behavior. These words and the varied means of communicating them are central to the human experience.

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Representative Union

The United States of America was established to be a representative republic rather than a democracy. In a representative republic, the citizens vote to elect representatives to govern on their behalf. The representative then acts on behalf of everyone in their congressional district. It is as if each citizen is also there. Every “yes” vote and every “no” vote—it is as if I am in Washington DC casting the vote myself. Likewise, when the president of the United States acts around the world, it is as a representative of every citizen of the country. It is as though the entire nation is within the person of the president and he represents each one of us in the world through his decisions and policies by looking out for the best interests of those he represents. The topic of this article is perhaps the single biggest aspect of the gospel message that most Christians do not understand rightly—or even at all. It is the concept of representative unionaka federal headship. I made a profession of faith in 1995, but I have only recently begun to grasp this concept and it has been very transformative in terms of my walk with the Lord.

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Dissecting Discontentment

In June of 1965, the Rolling Stones released a song that sums up the plight and the frustration of fallen man in a fallen world. The song is titled “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and it is regarded as one of the top five songs of all time. What is the appeal of this song? What about this song has resonated with people from all over the world for the the last 55 years and will likely continue to do so well into the future if the Lord tarries? The song is essentially an ode to the frustration of my will on the earth. I want what I want when I want it. I want an exact amount of it for a specific duration of time which is determined by me. In an earlier post, we looked at the popularity of the song “Imagine”. It’s amusing that these two songs are both extremely popular with generational appeal. One song is softly and melodically imploring the listener to envision a perfect world in which everyone lives together in peaceful harmony and the other is essentially shouting at the listener because the satisfaction of his fleshly will is being frustrated at every turn. Doesn’t this sum up the human condition pretty well? In theory, the concept of unity and peaceful harmony is appealing to us, but at the end of the day, the satisfaction of my will is most appealing.

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You can feel the great concern that Paul had for these believers as you read through the book of Galatians. It was an urgent situation with no time for pleasantries. As he put pen to papyri under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, I can imagine him struggling through the spectrum of human emotion as he writes. These were people he had visited and preached the gospel to, personally. He had seen the evidence of the Holy Spirit granting to them repentance and empowering them to believe the message of truth. Yet, as he writes to them—only a short time after he had been with them—he wonders if his efforts among them were in vain (Galatians 3:4). In this letter we see, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are running to a different gospel—not that there is another one…”(Galatians 1:6-7a), and “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?(Galatians 3:1a).

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Hello, My Name is Darkness

Societal changes generally happen over the course of long periods of time and move very slowly. The reason for these slow and methodical movements is because big movements are too shocking and repulsive to the culture. The trip to Crazytown can’t be a short one or it would appear too different from what we’ve grown accustomed to and we wouldn’t be comfortable there. For example, think of a map on which point “A” represents the light of God’s truth and point “Z” is labeled Crazytown. You can’t go from point “A” to Crazytown in a day because it is so very different that it’s offensive. We’d say, “This place is crazy! I’m getting out of here!” So, the culture concedes and agrees to a more methodical approach that takes place slowly over time. So the culture shifts from “A” to “B”. “B” is slightly different from “A”, and has introduced a milder, precursory quality of Crazytown, but it’s not so offensive to our senses that the masses run away. As the journey continues, those precursory qualities of Crazytown are ratcheted up a little at a time at each stop in an effort to desensitize the masses to the incredible darkness of Crazytown. Then, after becoming slowly desensitized to the darkness over time, there is a sign outside the window of the train that reads—“Welcome to Crazytown”.

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Into the Light

While I’ve never heard of a child being scared of the light, it is fairly common for a child to be scared of the dark. I was just having this conversation with my five year old the other night at bedtime. She was telling me that she was afraid of the dark, so I asked her why. She couldn’t articulate it, so I tried to reassure her that the only difference between the light and the dark is that in the light you can see what’s actually there. The light doesn’t change what’s there, it just makes it visible. All of the same toys, shelves, furniture, and clothing on the floor is there in the dark as is there when the light is on. Whether or not that was reassuring to her as she was going to sleep, I’m not sure, but I think there is a very good spiritual application to make from that, so in this post, we’ll be taking a closer look at how the truth is made visible by the light.

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You’re Wrong

You’re wrong.” This phrase has turned into one of the most offensive things you can say to someone in today’s climate of human interaction. There has been a great deal of social conditioning that has taken place over the last 50 years that has led us to this point. Rather than a disagreement providing an opportunity to gain a better understanding of truth through logic and reason, they are instead the arena for offense and outbursts of emotion. In schools today, the children are not taught how to think, they are told what to think and how to feel. Logic, reason, and the analysis of argumentation have been tossed aside and are not employed in social discourse. The consequence of this has been a disordered emotional response taking the reigns in regard to our responses.

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Why Does Truth Matter?

I’ve never been confused for a builder, but I have heard it said that the most important part of the house is the foundation. In fact, a quick internet search turns up an article written by Laurie Brenner for SF Gate that says, “but of all the elements in building a house, the most important part, the foundation, is usually ignored by the majority of new homeowners”. I have no reason to doubt Laurie on this. She goes on to say that the reason the foundation is the most important part of the house is because of what it provides for rest of the house. It provides stability and bears the weight of the entire structure. It provides a level base for wall construction and separates the wood framing from the termites in the ground. The foundation is the most important part of a house because of what it provides for what is built upon it. Although the foundation is the most important part of the house, no one would look at a completed foundation and think the house is move-in ready. If all you have is a foundation, you don’t have a house—you have part of a house. Below, we’ll be exploring the truth of God’s Word as the foundation of the Christian life.

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Army of One

In 1971, John Lennon released the song “Imagine” and it is recognized—even today— as one of the most popular songs of all time. In this song, Lennon is asking his listeners to imagine a world in which there is peaceful unity among all people on the earth. Without addressing the specific views of John Lennon—as the song was quite clearly written from a perspective that represents his secular-humanistic worldview—why does the song have the generational appeal it has? We are now about 50 years from the song’s release and it remains well known throughout the world and is even sung at the New Year’s Eve gathering in New York as the people view the new year as loaded with the potential to bring the peaceful unity in the world that we’re being asked to imagine. The appeal of the song is rooted in the understanding that a world living in peaceful unity is only a dream rather than reality. As Lennon was writing this song, the U.S. was engaged in the Vietnam War which raged on from 1954-1975. Of course, there were many wars before and since, and the concept of world peace remains the mission of beauty pageant contestants everywhere. The lack of peaceful unity in the human race is not only seen in the existence of military conflict, but it is manifested on every level of human interaction. Despite calls for unity, marches for unity and promises of unity, there remains no peaceful unity among mankind—it is something that we can only imagine. What we’ll be looking at in this post is an answer to why this is the case. If everyone truly desires unity, why is peaceful unity within the human race not a reality?

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