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EXPERIENCING A RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS


EXPERIENCING A RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS                                 

In our first series of teachings, Experiencing and Understanding the Love of God, one might ask the question Can any of us truly understand Almighty God’s love for us?  I think from eternity to eternity, not one of us will ever fully understand God’s love for us but we can start experiencing God’s love in our everyday lives by getting to know Him better through prayer, and reading and meditating on God’s Word.  Through knowing Him and His Word we can seek His will for our lives and when God doesn’t make sense, maybe just by our simple surrender to His will, knowing that He has a perfect plan and that through trials and tribulations He is always there.  

In this next series of teachings, we will discuss who Jesus is and the attributes and characteristics of Jesus and how we, as Christians, can become more like Him every day.  Hopefully we will be able to foster our relationship with Him as our greatest friend and be committed to Him as we carry out our inheritance in Him  to become His hands and feet on the earth.

Prayer:
Let us pray:  Thank you God the Father, for Your love and compassion; Thank You Jesus, for Your love and compassion and sacrificing Your life in atonement for our sins and by whose Resurrection we are assured of salvation and thank You Holy Spirit for Your guidance, power and manifestations that are an important part of our spiritual walk and growth in our lives.

Who is Jesus?
He is the Son of God, the second person in the Trinity.  He came down from heaven and became one of us so we could become more like Him.  He suffered and was crucified for the forgiveness of our sins. 
It is important that we recognize Jesus’ divinity.  If we do not recognize that He is the manifestation of the incarnate God, then He is like any other prophet.  He is incarnate God come down from heaven. 

Characteristics of Jesus:
When I think of Jesus, I think of how much He loves us because He suffered and died to take away our sins on the cross.  He loved us so much that He gave His life for us.  How many of us would be willing to give our lives for someone else?  In       John 15:13 it says, “No one has greater love (no one has greater affection) than to lay down His own life for His friends.”  
                                                            
Other characteristics of Jesus that stand out are joy, peace, patience, kindness, self-control, faithfulness, many of the fruits of the Spirit.

Knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus are two different things.  Knowing Jesus is about relationship.  We can read the Bible and learn about God through Jesus but that’s only the beginning.  We need to have a personal relationship with Him in order to truly love Him and serve Him.

When I was going to college someone came up to me and read a booklet to me that said that God loves me and how He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for me and that I needed to confess my sins and also ask Jesus into my life.  Of course growing up as a Catholic, I knew about Jesus, received communion and had been confirmed at an early age but I had never had anyone tell me about asking Jesus into my life.  So that night, I got down on my knees and asked Jesus to come into my life.  This began my personal journey and relationship with Jesus.

About a year or so later, I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  For those of you who do not understand about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, we will talk more about the Holy Spirit in our other teachings.  After I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, I had a hunger for the Word of God and my life changed from that moment on.

Our Identity in Christ
Our identity revolves around the fact that, as we are made in God’s image, we re-present Jesus Christ to the world.  We are the manifestation of the glory of God through Jesus living in us.  We are a personification of how we are to live in God’s world.  We are living a supernatural life being led by the Holy Spirit living in us. 

Our inheritance in Christ is exemplified in the apostles who were commissioned to heal the sick, cast out demons and proclaim the good news to the world.

We are prophets, priests, and kings.  We are citizens of heaven and therefore we have authority on the earth because of our inheritance in Christ.  What is inheritance?  Inherit according to the dictionary means to “come into possession of; possess.”  It is given freely and not earned.  

What did we inherit from Christ?  When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we become a child of God.  Therefore, we inherit the promises of God for us one of which is salvation and eternal life.  We also become joint heirs with Christ and because Christ is living in us, we can do the works that He did and even greater works because Jesus ascended to the Father in heaven.  What does it mean by greater works?  I think that it might mean that greater is more works since Christ is living in us and we have so to speak become an army, a remnant speaking and manifesting the miracles that Jesus did on earth.  It is through the power of His Name that miracles happen.  John 14:12, “I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father.” 

What does it mean to have identity in Christ?  It means that we live the way Jesus lived.  We live the way God created us to be.  He created us to be free from guilt or shame.  We should not be afraid to speak out in a world that is full of darkness but we need to re-present Who Christ is on earth.

We are who God says that we are and our identity can be found in living as Jesus lived.  He was one with the Father.  He had an intimate relationship with the Father.  He said that He only did what He saw the Father doing.  Jesus’ ultimate goal was to do the will of the Father in heaven.  That should be our ultimate goal also.  We are the hands and feet of God here on the earth as Jesus was.  With Him living in us, we can do what He did because the Holy Spirit was given to us so that we could have the power of God in us to do what Jesus did.  Before Jesus died the Holy Spirit was with the apostles and after Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came to live in them and He lives in us too.

As Christians, we have redemption through Jesus Christ.  We are blessed with every spiritual blessing, we are more than conquerors.  We are who God says that we are.  We are created in God’s image and likeness.  We exemplify the fruits of the spirit as Jesus did; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.

We are prophets, priests and kings because this is our inheritance as citizens of heaven.  We have authority through Jesus to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons and preach the Gospel in Jesus’ Name.  It is not us but Jesus who is living in us and the Holy Spirit that gives us the power to do things in His name just like the apostles did.  What they did is alive today.  It is not something that God intended just for the apostles but for all the believers.  We re-present Christ on the earth and in so doing we are the light of Christ in a world of darkness.

So live as Jesus taught us to live with compassion and love and as priests and kings because the world will see the Gospel in action and be drawn to Him whose name is above all names----Jesus living in you!!

We need to take a stand and stand for who we are and not let the world, or the media, or the “powers that be,” dictate who we are.  We are not of the world but in the world to do God’s will fulfilling His commission.  James 4:4 says, “You (are like) unfaithful wives.  Do you not know that being the world’s friend is being God’s enemy?  So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God.”

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