The Jesus Code: “Watch & Pray” + LINKUP

 

The Jesus Code

Chapter 35 The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer by O.S. Hawkins.

 

This week’s question: “Could you not watch with me one hour?” (Matthew 26.40).

When we read this verse, we most often think about prayer and, certainly, prayer is in view here, but pray and more … watching. Hawkins says:

Jesus asked this question of Peter, who would one day become the undisputed leader of the Jerusalem church. Jesus asked this question of James, one of the original “Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3: 17) and the first of the apostles to meet a martyr’s death. And Jesus asked this question of John, who after pastoring the great church at Ephesus would be exiled on Patmos from where he would write the book of Revelation. Jesus was not only asking them— these men who knew the Scriptures— to pray with Him but also and primarily to ‘‘ watch.” His question was, “Could you not watch with Me one hour?” Upon hearing this, the disciples undoubtedly thought of the words of Isaiah, the prophet who spoke of the watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem who “shall never hold their peace day or night” (Isaiah 62: 6). Seven hundred years earlier Isaiah had spoken of the importance of watching and praying.

Peter, James, and John had the opportunity to provide Jesus with physical security as well as spiritual security during this hour that He prayed. The disciples could have alerted Jesus to anyone entering Gethsemane, and more importantly, the disciples could have prayed for strength, courage, and peace for their Master and Lord. But the disciples did neither; they slept.

We, too, are called to watch and pray. Who needs the physical or spiritual security that could come from your prayers? Are you praying for your pastors and church leaders? Do you know missionaries who face hardship and difficulties? What about family members who face a hostile workplace or spiritually dangerous campus? Who is praying for your spouse or your children if you aren’t? Continue reading

The Jesus Code: “Still looking for signs?” + LINKUP

 

The Jesus Code

Chapter 34 The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer by O.S. Hawkins.

 

This week’s question: “What will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24.3).

Wouldn’t it be nice if the next time you thought God wanted you to make a certain decision, He would just speak to you from a burning bush? Or how about a voice from heaven? Signs … we are so prone to want signs.

And wouldn’t you like to know for sure when Jesus is coming back? That way we could make sure we get all our ducks in a row!

Or maybe life is hard right now. Maybe you are suffering persecution or some other trial and find yourself wondering, “How long, Lord?”

The Disciples were feeling the same way when they asked, “What will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?”

Hawkins writes:

Clearly, just like the disciples who asked this question of our Lord two thousand years ago, we are fascinated by signs of His coming. But you may not know that the Bible actually speaks of three major comings. First, the coming of Christ, born of a virgin in an obscure village named Bethlehem, was foretold centuries before the Baby was born. Next, the prophet Joel foretold the coming of the Holy Spirit, and that prophecy was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came to indwell the believers, never to leave us and to empower us for service. The third and only major coming yet to be fulfilled is the return of the Lord Jesus to Planet Earth, His Second Coming. Just as surely as He came the first time, He has promised to come again for His bride, the church.

There are thousands of promises in the Bible, but this Second Coming will be the climax of human history and the fulfillment of the last promise of the Bible: “Surely I am coming quickly” (Revelation 22: 20). According to Scripture, several events will herald Christ’s return, no longer as a Suffering Servant, but as the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

 

What are those events? 

  • What the author calls “a polluted pulpit.”

Jesus said “many false prophets shall rise up and deceive many” (Matt. 24.11). Continue reading

The Jesus Code: “What is your primary purpose?” + LINKUP

 

The Jesus Code

Chapter 33 The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer by O.S. Hawkins.

 

This week’s question: “Which is the great commandment in the law?” (Matthew 22.36).

Everyone has a purpose? We may believe we are called to teach others or take care of those who are sick. We may feel called to be full time moms or lead a large company. We may be firefighters or police officers or nannies. We may have a strong desire to use an artistic or musical talent. We can feel called to various careers or activities, but what is our primary purpose in God’s view?

Jesus went straight to the heart of that question when He was asked by a religious lawyer, “Which is the great commandment in the law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Hawkins writes:

Including the Ten Commandments, the Jewish Torah— comprised of the first five books of the Bible— contains 613 commandments. When the Jewish lawyer posed the question, Jesus used the phrase “first and great” to clarify that He was also taking into consideration the Ten Commandments. Jesus went on to say, “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (v. 40).

Loving God (the vertical dimension of life) and loving one another (the horizontal dimension) represent all that the Ten Commandments address. The first four commandments (having no other gods before Him, not making an image or likeness, not taking His name in vain, and remembering to keep the Sabbath day) have to do with our relationship with God, the upward, or vertical, expression. The last six (honoring our parents, not murdering, not committing adultery, not stealing, not lying, and not coveting) speak about our relationship with other people, the outward, or horizontal, expression. So, although the Pharisees were “testing” Jesus when they asked this question (v. 35), He simply told them that all the commandments boil down to this: love. According to Jesus, we who are His followers are to love God supremely and to love people around us.

Most of us understand in some measure what it means to love with all our hearts. When we find that special someone in life, we focus all our attention on him or her and on building that relationship. We want to spend long periods of time just talking to each other, getting acquainted, and learning all we can about each other’s likes and dislikes.

If we love God supremely, Continue reading

The Jesus Code: “Who is this Jesus?” + LINKUP

 

The Jesus Code

Chapter 32 The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer by O.S. Hawkins.

 

This week’s question: “Who is this?” (Matthew 21.10).

Throughout the centuries people have been asking this question about Jesus, “Who is this?”

Some say He was a wise teacher and a great example to mankind of how to live and treat others. Even men like the Hindu activist Mahatma Gandhi have acknowledged Him in that way. Others see Him as just another one of the Prophets like Isaiah or Jeremiah. According to Hawkins:

[O]ne apologist has argued that there are only three possibilities as to Christ’s identity: He was a liar, falsely claiming to be God; He was a lunatic, bona fide crazy and delusional, out of touch with reality; or He was, in fact, who He said He was, the Son of God, Lord.

The same question was asked just days before He was crucified. Matthew 21:

10 And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?”

11 So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”

How was it that “all the city was moved” and that people wanted to know about Jesus? Hawkins points out three prerequisites.

 

  • Experience Him

The first is for us to really experience Him and the way to do that is to listen to Him and obey Him. The author:

… one reason God moved the city that day to ask, “Who is this?” was the tremendous spirit of obedience among those who listened to Him. Jesus is still on His throne today, He is still speaking to us, and He is still commanding us to obey His commandments as set forth in His Word. When we honor Him by obeying Him, when more of His own people begin to experience Him through obedience to His Word, we will find that He is also still in the business of moving cities to ask, “Who is this?”

 

  • Extol Him

Look what was happening as Jesus entered Jerusalem that day:

And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:

“Hosanna to the Son of David!
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Hosanna in the highest!”

Think about who might have been in the crowd that day. Lazarus whom Jesus had raised from the dead? The formerly blind Bartimaeus? The once crippled man who spent 38 years laying by the pool of Bethesda? Others whose lives had been touched by Jesus’ ministry? They had reason to praise and their joy was contagious. Hawkins goes on:

Do you and I have any less reason to extol Jesus, to shout our own hosannas today? We have seen His greatest miracle ever: His provision of new birth through His death and resurrection. We were dead in our sin until He brought us new life. Yet, sadly, some of us have lost the joyful spirit of praise—praise— and we desperately need to recover it. God will move in our cities and prompt those around us to ask, “Who is this?” when we, like those of old who have experienced Him— we who choose to obey Him— extol Him with our praise.

And finally …

 

  • Extend Him

The people who heard Jesus and whose lives were touch by Him couldn’t help but shout for joy and extend Him to others. The author:

When we do the same— when we praise Jesus for what He has done in our lives and share our stories with others— the people around us will also ask, “Who is this?” Who is this . . . who transformed your life? Who is this . . . who put your family back together? Who is this . . . who brought you peace in the midst of such tragedy? Who is this . . . who enabled you to be victorious over your addiction? Who is this . . . who gave you hope in the darkness of your circumstances? Who is this? Who is this? “This is Jesus!” You have experienced Him, so now extol Him and extend Him to others.

 

Blessings,
Donna

 

Next week’s question: “Which is the great commandment in the law?” (Matthew 22.36).

Last week’s question: “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16.15). Read it here.

 

A note:

I have been pulling a few thoughts out of each chapter, but I cannot cover all the nuggets Hawkins shares in this little gem of a book. I hope these excerpts whet your appetite to purchase the book for yourself. Just click on one of the links below.

You can get a copy of The Jesus Code and follow along with these 52 vital questions. The chapters are short and can easily be read in one sitting. If you do, I’d love your feedback. Click here to  get the book or HERE for Kindle.

 

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The Jesus Code: “What will you say?” + LINKUP

 

The Jesus Code

Chapter 31 The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer by O.S. Hawkins.

 

This week’s question: “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16.15).

The author offers some great thoughts on leadership from this question and last week’s, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” He says, there are basically two kinds of leaders: those who lead by public opinion and those who lead by their personal convictions.

As he points out, those who lead by public opinion wait to see which way the wind blows. In politics they may ask themselves: What do the polls say? What is popular? What will get me re-elected?

This kind of leadership is not limited to politics. Many parents tend to lead by consensus. It is the reason there are so many “child-centered homes.” Not a good thing! Our homes are to have Christ at the center, not our children, not even ourselves. Lou Priolo, in his book The Heart of Anger, says this is, actually, one of the ways we provoke our children to anger (Eph. 6.4).

Churches, too, are often lead by consensus.

Jesus confronted His Disciples with the same issue. “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” What do the polls say? What do people think of me? What is the consensus?

Then He turned their attention the most important question, “Who do you say that I am?” What do you believe about me? Before they could lead others well, they needed to know what they believed.

The same is true in our lives. We won’t be able to train up our children in the way they should go if we don’t first know what we believe and why we believe it.

If our nation is to ever be strong again, we need politicians who are principle oriented and will lead based on what God says is right, whether or not it benefits them personally.

The Church needs pastors and elders who will search the Scriptures and lead God’s people into His truth and who stand up for that truth, whether or not the world agrees.

Families need husbands and mothers and fathers who will lead based on God’s Word, whether or not it makes everyone happy at the moment.

But it doesn’t stop there. We are all leading others by what we say and what we do, though we live in a world that is much more concerned about what people think than what God thinks.

The author:

Now Jesus’ question was personal and direct: “Who do you say that I am?” In the language of the New Testament, the “you” is emphatic: its placement at the front of the sentence gives it significance and weight. Had we been there listening to our Lord that evening, Jesus’ question would have sounded more like this: “What about you, you and you only, you and no one else, you and you alone— who do you say that I am?” How an individual answers this question has eternal implications, and this is the question each person who walks on this planet must ultimately answer. Is Jesus who He said He was when He declared, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14: 6)? He is still asking, “Who do you say that I am?

In our pluralistic culture, to say that Christ is the one and only way to heaven is akin to waving a red cape in front of a raging bull. People today are far more interested in what men say than in what God says, and we set ourselves up as a target for attack when we state the truth that Jesus is indeed the one and only way to heaven.

He goes on:

When we, based on our personal convictions, insist that Christ is the only way to eternal life, we are accused of being narrow-minded … But all truth is narrow. Mathematical truth is narrow: two plus two equals four, not three, not five. That is narrow. Scientific truth is narrow: water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, not 35 or 36 degrees. Geographical truth is narrow: on the northern border of Texas is the Red River, not the Sabine River. Historical truth is narrow: John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln in the Ford Theatre in Washington. Booth didn’t stab Lincoln in the back in the Bowery in lower Manhattan. So why should we be surprised that theological truth is narrow? Jesus Himself invited potential followers to “enter by the narrow gate” (Matthew 7: 13).

Look again at Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?” Notice that little word “say.” What will you say about Jesus to a lost and dying world. What will the example ofyour lives and mine be? Will we stand up and be counted and do we have the courage to lead by our convictions when it counts?

Blessings,
Donna

 

Next week’s question: “Who is this?” (Matthew 21.10).

Last week’s question: “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” (Matthew 16.13). Read it here.

 

A note:

I have been pulling a few thoughts out of each chapter, but I cannot cover all the nuggets Hawkins shares in this little gem of a book. I hope these excerpts whet your appetite to purchase the book for yourself. Just click on one of the links below.

You can get a copy of The Jesus Code and follow along with these 52 vital questions. The chapters are short and can easily be read in one sitting. If you do, I’d love your feedback. Click here to  get the book or HERE for Kindle.

 

SIGN UP FOR THE “BIBLE IN A YEAR” DAILY POSTS.
SIGN UP FOR SPECIAL “CHRISTIAN LIVING” POSTS ON VARIOUS SUBJECTS. ALSO SIGN UP HERE TO RECEIVE NOTICES OF THE LINKUP.

 

IF YOU ARE A BLOGGER, IT’S TIME TO LINKUP!

IF NOT, CHECK OUT THE GREAT POSTS LINKED BELOW!

linkup

Mondays @ Soul Survival is a place to share your insights about God and His Word. Feel free to link up multiple posts as long as they bring glory to God.

If you are new to the linkup let me know in the comments so I can say hello and follow you back.

Share your posts on character, family, parenting, marriage, homeschooling, devotions, and more – any God-honoring post.

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