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“…Who for the Joy That Was Set Before Him, Endured the Cross…”

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

The beginning part of this verse, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;” has always been one of my favorites, even to the point of using it as the theme of two of our websites: Looking Unto Jesus Backgrounds and Prints and this blog.

However, for some reason, the meaning of rest of the verse didn’t take root until Pastor Madle recently mentioned it again, and I knew I needed to really dig into it.

“…who for the joy that was set before Him…”

What could have been so wonderful, so joyful, that the Lord was willing to “endure the cross” for? I mean really? He endured what has been considered the most barbaric form of death devised:asphyxiation. Besides all the agony He went through because of the scourging; the beating of the crown of thorns on his head; the nailing of his hands and feet. Our Lord endured all that….for what?

“… who for the joy that was set before Him…”

 

The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Jeremiah 31:3

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. Luke 15:10

God Almighty endured all the rejection, humiliation, betrayal, agony and distress for the joy of seeing one soul saved! A sinner finding his way home.

I began to think about how easy it is for me to get down in the dumps about how “hard a time I’m having.” Whatever I have been through, or will go through, is nothing compared to what my Lord went through, yet He could say, “…who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame…”

Did you catch that last part? “…despising the shame…” The Lord didn’t care about the shame He endured. He even despised it. It was nothing compared to the joy of seeing a sinner saved!

What can I set before myself as a joy while I endure the cross that the Lord has given me? Here’s just a few that are on my heart right now:

* My sins are forgiven and I’m a child of the King of kings
* I have a home in Heaven where there is only joy, no crosses to bear
* I will spend eternity with my Saviour, the one who could endure all He did for the joy of seeing me saved

What “cross” are you bearing right now? Wouldn’t it be easier to bear it if your heart and mind were focused on the joy ahead?

Now, make you own list.

Angela Trenholm
January 13th, 2009

My Life Verse

What is a life verse? It’s simply a verse that means something really special to you and that God has really brought to your mind over and over. Mine is the title for my blog, Hebrews 12:2 To me, it is the solution to everything!

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb. 12:2

If you stop and think about it, “the joy that was set before Him” is yours and my salvation! He loves us so much!

Where Has God’s Love Gone?

This has been in my thoughts very much lately. God’s love is so great, so immeasurable, yet it seems elusive in many Bible believing churches today.

First, let me clearly state that I am unequivocally a Bible believer who stands firm on separation & holiness. The love I’m talking about is not the unscriptural, modern, wishy washy eceumenical – join with everyone regarless of doctrine, love everyone & their sin type love.

I’m talking about the kind of love that will graciously – with the compassionate, understanding heart of someone who sees their own sin –  show the sinner their sin, and then lovingly show them the Saviour!

These verses clearly demonstrate the key:

Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Jude 1:21-23

We cannot show God’s love if we do not keep ourselves in His love! Notice verse 23 says we are to hate “the garment spotted by the flesh.” not the person themselves!

Here’s some points to ponder:

A. Examples of Christ dealing with the lost:

1. When Christ confronted the woman at the well, yes, he showed her her sin, but spent far more time directing her to himself.  John 4:7-42

What portion of time do we spend on “badgering” people about sin, instead of directing them to Jesus? When they see their sin, it’s time to show them the Saviour!

2. When the woman “caught in adultery” was brought to Him, she had obviously already dealt with her sin, so He showed her Himself. John 8:3-12

Are we walking close enough to Jesus that we can tell when a sinner is already convicted of their sin and can simply be shown the Saviour?

3. Jesus didn’t even tell the tax collector Zachaeus his sin. Christ’s very presence brought him to repentance and He took him in. Luke 19:2-10

4. The woman who washed Jesus’ feet with tears had already dealt with her sin and given Him her heart so He didn’t humiliate her, but for the sake of others hard-heartedness, He publicly acknowledged her sins were forgiven. Luke 7:36-50

Is Christ visible enough through us that others can be convicted of their sin without a word and be drawn to our precious Saviour?

Let me make it clear that I am not teaching people should not repent. There is no salvation without repentance:

“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3&5

Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 20:21

B. God’s love hasn’t gone anywhere or changed:

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Hebrews 13:8.

It is the vessels the Lord wants to use that have become unusable. They cannot spread His love because they have become corrupted with a pride that exalts them so high they can no longer see where they have come from.

Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 2 Peter 1:1-10

Sadly, we are the ones that God says have become hard-hearted and He has to be longsuffering with.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

C. Questions to ask ourselves to help measure our degree of love:

What is my first thought when I see:

- the drunk or druggie on the street
- the prostitute on the street corner
- the single mom on wellfare with a car load of kids
- the teen/young man with his pants hanging so far down you can see his underwear
- the illegal alien you or your spouse just lost your job to
- the new immigrant who is struggling to learn how it all works in this foreign land
- the homosexual/lesbian, etc.
- the prisoner or the ex-con
- the gang member

Does my heart break for their condition, or is my heart elevated in pride? Do I think I’m too good to bring myself low enough to show them the love of God?

We cannot hope to reach a lost world for Christ if we no longer remember the state in which Christ saved us, nor where we would be were it not for the grace of God.

The great apostle Paul said:   “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” 1 Corinthians 15:10

He knew he was nothing without Christ, as we are.

D. Christ as our example of humbleness:

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:8

E. God’s commands to the believer:

Notice that Colossians 3:12-13 are in the imperative (or commanding) form.

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. Colossians 3:12-13

Being merciful, kind, humble in mind, meek, longsuffering, forbearing & forgiving are not requests. They are commands!

F. What our message must be::

If we go to the lost world with this genuine humbleness of heart and a genuine love for the Saviour and the sinner, only then will they see & believe the greatest love of all:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

But God commendeth (proved) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

I’d like to finish this devotional with a song from the Marshall Family that really expresses this whole idea so well:

How Can We Reach a World we Never Touch?

Why, Lord?

Lord, I have learned so much of you,
Yet how little do I truly know.
I know I should not ask you “Why”
Yet these things I would have you show.

Why, Lord, can you stand to look at me,
When my sins nailed you to the cross?
You endured such pain and agony;
For me you suffered such loss!

Why, Lord, have you made me your child,
When my heart is so prone to wander?
Perhaps you see in me the prodigal,
Who does return though I falter.

Why, Lord, do you still love me,
Though I fail you day by day?
I stumble and yes I fall,
Yet by my side you stay.

Why, Lord, do you hold my hand,
Through my temptations and trials?
You even give me strength to stand,
Though my faith fails you so often.

Why, Lord, have you prepared a mansion,
Where I will dwell with you eternally?
Walking through the streets of gold,
Lord, a wretched sinner like me?

The answers still elude me, Lord,
Though I’ve pondered this in my mind.
Yet seeing your arms open wide at Calvary,
Glimmers of understanding begin to shine.

Your mercy withholds from me,
The judgment I so much deserve’
And your grace bestows upon me,
Your great love that I could never earn.

Angela Trenholm
October 15th, 2007

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