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Into His Marvelous Light

Into His Marvelous Light

Jesus asked the disciples in Matthew 16:13, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They said in the next verse, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” Jesus then asked them in verse fifteen, “But who do you say that I am?” At this time Simon boldly answered in verse sixteen, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” In the next verse we see that Jesus was greatly pleased with Simon’s answer and said, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” Jesus then renamed Simon Peter saying, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church.”

When Jesus renamed Simon He called him Peter which is Petros in Greek. Petros is a small stone or a rock. A brick can fall under the category of a petros. It is certainly not a foundational stone that someone would build a house on. Rather it would be the small stones, like bricks, that would rest upon the foundational stone.

After Jesus named Simon Petros, He said “upon this rock I will build my church.” The word that Jesus used for rock was a different word than the one He used for Simon Peter. Jesus used the Greek word petra as the rock that the church would be built upon. Petra is a large rock, a foundational stone that is much different than the small stone, petros, Simon was called. Clearly Peter is not the foundational stone that the church is built upon; Jesus is. Jesus is the one who gave His life so He could redemption the church. To say any other is the foundation of the church is not only biblically inaccurate, it is outright blasphemous.

Peter clearly understood what Jesus was talking about. Peter wrote in I Peter 2:4-5, “And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house.” Who is the living stone? Jesus is. He is the one that was rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God. We are the ones who come to Him also as living stones that are being built up as a spiritual house. This is the perfect portrait of the church.

The church is not a physical building, an address, or location. The church is a spiritual house. Jesus is the living stone that is the foundation. We are living stones being built up on that foundation. Just as bricks are laid atop of the foundation of the building we are laid atop of Jesus who is the foundation of the church. We are also laid atop of all of the other believers who came before us such as Peter. Peter was named Petros because he was the first to confess Jesus as the Christ. Upon our confession of Christ we are saved and therefore laid atop of the foundation of Christ as the church.

After Peter gave us this wonderful picture of the structure of God’s spiritual house he then gave us an understanding of its function. He said in I Peter 2:9, “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Jesus didn’t save us to give us a get out of hell free card. He saved us out of darkness and into light so we would have a relationship with Him and so we would proclaim to the rest of the world, which remains in darkness, of His excellencies and His marvelous light so they too would be drawn to the light and have a relationship with Him and not stand in darkness separated from God doomed to eternal condemnation. Clearly, this is one of the main functions of the church; the whole church.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2016 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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How Beautiful Are the Feet of Those Who Bring Good News

My newest book, How Beautiful Are the Feet of Those Who Bring Good News, is now available in paperback and ebook. It was written to equip and encourage believers to share their faith. You can order a copy through this link. https://rustykuhn.com/books-by-rusty-kuhn/

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Posted by on December 13, 2014 in Bible Study

 

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Day 5: The Gift of Redemption

28 Days of Christmas Devotions: The Greatest Gift-The Gift of Christ

“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13, 14 NASB

Prior to accepting God’s greatest gift, the gift of His Son, the bible tells us that we all, “formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.” (Ephesians 2:2). We were citizens of the domain of darkness destined to eternal hell and separation from God. We were bound in our sins with no hope of escape and no hope of freedom from condemnation-until God sent His Son. Colossians 1:13 tells us He, Jesus, rescued us. The word “rescued” is used in past tense indicating that the rescue has already taken place. Jesus has rescued us out of the domain of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of God.

How did we become citizens of the darkness in the first place? Sin. Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin is death. We bought our residency into the domain of darkness and our ticket to hell with our own sins. The bible tells us that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). Therefore, everyone who has ever lived has resided in or is residing in the domain of darkness. They have either been saved from the domain of darkness, by Jesus, or stand in need of salvation.

Just as our sins purchased our residency in the domain of darkness, the blood of Jesus redeems us and purchased for us freedom and forgiveness of sin enabling us to reside in our new residency, the Kingdom of God, with Jesus for all eternity. Ephesians 1:7 says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.” As already stated, Romans 6:23 tells us “The wages of sin is death.” The good news is that the same verse tells us, “but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The gift we have received from God is the gift of redemption. Redemption that came at a great price to Jesus but is a free gift to those who believe. The gift of redemption that was paid for by the blood of Jesus but freely offered to whoever will repent of their sins and make Jesus Lord of their lives. In faith, we ask Jesus to forgive us of our sin knowing that they have already been paid for. Truly Jesus is the greatest gift, “Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession.” (Titus 2:14).

This is part 5 of 28 devotions that will go through Christmas Eve. If you would like to subscribe to my daily devotions please PM me your email. Also, please share.

Merry Christ-Mass

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Posted by on December 1, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Pay Close Attention to Yourself

“Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you” (I Timothy 4:16).

If we are going to be effective tools for the Lord, we must take heed to the words of Paul and pay close attention to ourselves. With this in mind we should continually examine ourselves. We examine ourselves through the Word of God and through prayer. Psalm 139:23-24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” This should be a continual prayer from our heart.

Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear.” If God will not hear us, he certainly will not use us. Therefore, as we examine our heart we must ask God to reveal any wickedness we may have hidden in our heart. One may say, “I have no need for this, for my heart is pure.” That is pride, which is in every way, wickedness. Remember, “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling” (Proverbs 16:18). The Pharisees were prideful in what they perceived to be their righteousness, but, Jesus called them sons of Hell.

Iniquity and wickedness is sneaky, hiding in the darkest corners of our soul, unwilling to show itself for what it is, so it can control your will and manipulate you into thinking you are right with God. Some iniquity could have been lingering in the darkness for years while we are clueless of its power over us. Other forms of wickedness could have recently crept in trying to take root. For this reason we must pay close attention to ourselves and seek God for revelation of any form of wickedness hidden deep within.

Wickedness can come in many forms. It is found in the heart that is unloving and selfish. It is found in the soul that is self-centered and self-seeking. It is found in the heart of the prideful trusting in their own power rather than God’s. It is found in the heart of the prejudice thinking they are better than the other. It is found in the vengeful, spiteful, resentful, and unforgiving spirit. It is found in the one who is seeking his own kingdom with worldly ambitions, rather than the advancements of God’s. It comes in many forms and in many ways, but the worst form of wickedness is the stubborn soul that refuses to repent and submit to God.

As we pay close attention to ourselves, we are sure to find flaws in our character that do not line up with God’s. We first trust in His grace and receive forgiveness, then we seek His transforming and renewing power, trusting that He will restore us into right relationship. We realize that we never reach the pinnacle of maturity as a Christian. We are perpetually learning and growing. For this reason, if we are going to be effective workers for His Kingdom, we must perpetually seek the power of God in our personal lives, submitting ourselves to His will, and His ways.

In order for us to achieve this spiritual success we must be devoted to the Word of God. Not devoted only to enhance the ministry in which God has called us, but first and foremost devoted to the Word of God for our own spiritual growth and well-being. We must be seekers of God, continually seeking Him through His Word. At the same time we must pray without ceasing. Again not only for the purpose of the ministry, but as seekers of the Lord, allowing our lips to never cease praising Him, and never cease requesting His presence in our lives. Not for what we can get from Him, but for the simple purpose of having Him central and exalted in our lives.

If Jesus is not central and exalted in our lives, we open the door for wickedness to enter in, and close the door for the power of God to work through us. Therefore, when we pay close attention to ourselves, the main question should always be, “Is Jesus central and exalted in my life?”

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Posted by on November 25, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Know the Word

             The number one excuse I hear people use for not sharing their faith and serve God is fear. We will discuss that in a moment. The second greatest reason people give is that they do not know God’s word. My question is, why not? Why do you not know the Word of God? Do you not own a bible? The majority of churches in this world will gladly give you a bible for free. The Gideon’s give millions of bibles away yearly; therefore, not owning a bible is not a valid excuse. Even those who cannot read are without excuse since the bible is readily available in audio.

Not only is the bible readily available in our modern world we are blessed to have unlimited accesses to some of the greatest bible scholars along with an abundance of wonderful study materials. Therefore, not knowing the bible is a poor excuse. It represents laziness and callousness on your part. I Timothy 4:7 tells us to “discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.” If you don’t know God’s word you have only yourself to blame.

The excuse of fear is invalid as well. Fear is a lack of faith. Romans 10:17 tells us, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” When we study the Word of God, God builds up our faith. I have seen Christians who have sat in church pews for decades that are still babes in Christ. I have also seen brand new believers rapidly grow and mature in their faith. What makes the difference? One is indulging in the word and the other is not.

As already discussed, Satan is a liar. He is not only a liar; he is a very good liar with thousands of years of experience. When he came as a serpent to deceive Eve in the garden the bible describes him as, “more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.” However, Satan’s only power over us is his lies. Therefore, if we know the Word of God, and stand firm on the Word of God, we have no reason to fear the lies of the devil.

Colossians 2:8 warns us to, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Satan’s false prophets are in abundance. They look Christian; they might even speak some Christian truths from time to time. But, the consistency of their message will drastically conflict with that of God’s. The root of their message is deadly and destructive. But, how will we know unless we know the word of God?

The Greek word translated into “spoil” in Colossians 2:8 literally means to “carry you off” or to “capture you.” In other words, Colossians 2:8 is warning us not to become a “spoil” of war captured and taken away. HBCS translates it this way, “Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ.” Satan would love nothing more than to capture you as a spoil of war. However, if you know the word you will not be tricked by philosophy or empty deceit of the traditions of man. You will stand firm in victory through your faith in God’s truth-His word.

Not only do we stand firm in the truth of God’s word, we also fight the good fight with it. It is our greatest tool to defeat the lies of Satan and win over those who have been taken captive. II Peter 3:15 says, “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” What better way do we have to make a defense of our faith in Christ than “the word of God (that) is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart?” (Hebrews 4:12).

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Posted by on November 20, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Walking in the Newness of Life

Prior to being born again our lives were carnally minded. Our hearts, minds, dreams, goals, desires, wants, and what we thought were needs were all fleshly and carnally focused. Ephesians 2.3 says, “Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” When one indulges in the desires of the flesh and mind they walk in the flesh and are greatly displeasing to God. Romans 5:8 tells us, “those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

However, when we become born again we die to the flesh and come alive through the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit teaches us the ways of God and rebukes us when we walk in the ways of the flesh. Apart from the Spirit of God teaching and guiding us we cannot live for the Lord. Yet, when we accept Christ as our Savior and Lord the Holy Spirit comes to live in us giving us new life. Christ is in us and we are in Him. We are alive.

The carnal man cannot live for the Lord, nor will he want to. However, the spiritual man who possesses the Holy Spirit can live for the Lord, far the Lord is with him, leading and guiding him. Romans 6:4 says, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” When we became born again we were buried with Christ in the likeness of His death, not physically but spiritually. Just as we were buried with Christ we were, past tense, raised from the dead. Again this is a spiritual act, not a physical one.

The bible clearly teaches that those who are in Christ will one day be given a resurrected body. However, the bible also clearly teaches that the moment you accept Christ as Savior and Lord you die to self and come alive to God. Prior to being born again you were dead in your transgressions and sins. Once you became born again you are alive to Him and dead to sin.

A Christian is dead to sin. Therefore, he cannot live in it. “How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:2.) Living in sin means that sin is your lifestyle; it defines who you are. Living in Christ is also a lifestyle that defines who you are therefore the bible tells us to walk in the newness of life. One cannot live in sin and Christ. It is a spiritual, physical, and philosophical impossibility.

Living for Jesus is a choice. God can but won’t force us to live for Him. Jesus called the rich young ruler to follow Him and the rich young rule said no. If he said no to Jesus, we too can say no. Yet, when we make the choice to live for Jesus we are not alone. We have been empowered by the blood and led by the Spirit. Wow! What a powerful combination. Therefore, we choose to walk in faith.

I have had people over the years tell me that they cannot repent of their sins because their sins have too much power over their lives. That is a lie straight out of Satan’s mouth that directly contradicts the Word of God. I John 4:4 says, “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” As a former drug addict trust me when I say that I know the power of sin. As a delivered drug addict I also know the power of God. God’s power is much greater. Again, we have a choice. It is a choice of who to believe. I chose to believe God.

If I chose to believe God I will then walk in the newness of life, repenting from my fleshly life, staying focused on things above rather than the things below, focused on life rather than death, and focused on Jesus who is the author and perfecter of my faith. Will I do this perfectly? No. Neither will you nor anyone else. However, we should do this consistently as it is the identifying mark of being a Christian.

Not if, but, when I lose focus I will repent and ask Jesus to forgive me. I then will ask Him in faith to deliver me from whatever areas I have failed Him in and continue to walk in the newness of life. This process will be repeated many times in a Christian’s life. God isn’t interested in the amount of times you have slipped. He is longing for you to get back up and pursue Him again. Being a Christian doesn’t make you perfect. But, you should be consistent. Jesus death, burial, and resurrection purchased for you a new life. Therefore, we should walk in it.

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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From Generation to Generation

             In the Great Commission Jesus told us to make disciples of all nations. A disciple is someone who commits the entirety of their life to the ways of the teacher. Their goal is to reflect the teacher in every way. A disciple without question lives in obedience to the teacher. To make a disciple of the Lord we must begin by evangelizing them. If they so choose to commit their life to Jesus they become His disciple.

Jesus is the teacher. If we are His disciples we must live in obedience to Him. One of the very clear teachings of Jesus was that we are to preach the gospel to the whole world. (Matthew 24:14, 28:19-20, Mark 16:15, Luke 24:47, Acts 1:8). If we choose not to live in obedience to the teacher we are unfaithful and disobedient disciples. Living in disobedience to Jesus is sin. Therefore, choosing not to share the gospel is a sinfully rebellious act of disobedience.

The 1st century church clearly took this teaching to share the gospel as a non optional act of obedience to their master. The Christians of the 1st century were harshly persecuted. Many of them suffered in horrendous ways. Many of them, just as Steven, lost their lives because of their faith in the Lord. Despite the horrendous treatment of Christians in the 1st century, Christianity grew rapidly. It grew rapidly in spite of the persecution because the Christians of the day were faithful to evangelize the world in which they lived. Even the fear of death did not prevent the spreading of the gospel from those who set in their hearts and minds to be faithful to the Lord.

Jesus also taught us in the great commission that once we make disciples we are to teach them all that Jesus commanded. We need to be faithful in teaching new believers the truths of the word of God and walk with them to show them the way of the Master. We need to make it clear to new believers that they are responsible to share the same gospel that just saved them. We need to teach them that this is required of the Lord.

Too often we don’t think new converts are ready to serve because they are too young in their faith. Let us not forget that Paul stayed as little as two weeks in certain cities leaving the new converts to oversee the newly started churches. I am thoroughly convinced that we need to let new converts start sharing their faith immediately, while the zeal of their fresh fire of conversion is stirring their hearts. I am also convinced that once they see what God can and will do in their lives through their obedience that the fire will stay fresh and continue to grow, driving them deeper in their service and devotion to the Lord.

Remember as well, new converts that are previously unchurched usually have a whole host of unchured and unevangelized people within their inner circle. They have a mission field of friends and associates that traditionally is much more vast than that of the churched folk. Certainly, we are not to leave them alone to this task. We are to walk with them through it. This is true discipleship.

For the most part we teach today that if you are a good Christian you go to church and you tithe. If you are a real good Christian you will go to Sunday School and Sunday evening service. If you are a phenomenal Christian you will go to prayer meeting and give to missions from time to time. This type of thinking is killing the church in our modern world. Should we be doing these things? Yes, all of these things are important and yes we should participate in them. At the same time we need to teach what Jesus commanded as non optional and that anything else is sin.

We need to rise up each generation of new believer to preach the gospel to all creation starting where they are at from the moment of their conversion. When witnessing becomes the norm of the church we will win this world to the Lordship of Jesus. Paul took Timothy under his wing as a son in the faith and taught him to be a man of God with a sincere faith. Paul wrote to Timothy in II Timothy knowing he was about to die for his faith to encouraging Timothy to carry on in his service to the Lord. He invited Timothy to “join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God.” (II Timothy 1:8). If we do not teach the younger generation and the new converts to carry the gospel light into this dark world, then who will carry it when we pass on? But, if we teach witnessing and discipleship as Jesus taught us it will be passed down from generation to generation just as it is biblically mandated.

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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