About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman

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The past year and this start to the new year have had demonstration of the realities of fallen man in a decaying creation. All creation is in bondage. All mankind must work to overcome corruption and decay. Unless it is the work mandated by Jesus it contributes to the corruption and decay. What will a new year show us?


The Lord Jesus commands total allegiance. Allegiance to anyone or anything else falsifies true faith. We are to submit to governing authorities, not align our allegiance with them. The kingdom of God is not a democracy.


Whether we are challenged by a pandemic or a scamdemic, it will pass.


Whether we are out of business, or raking in obscene profits, it will pass.


The actions and reactions of people to the events and circumstances have revealed who they are. What have we learned, and what can we change?


I could say much about Christian religion in North America from what reaches my eyes and ears here in Ontario, Canada. It is in stark contrast to true faith in Jesus. You may not understand that or agree with it. I hope that in reading this you might take some of what I say to heart. Examine scripture. Examine your thinking.


“Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. ” (Romans 12:2 CSB)


It is important what we do with our minds. Opinions indicate what we are thinking about, and also how we are thinking. There are many critics, but few critical thinkers. We need to be thinking but so often we jump to premature conclusions, or do not think in a pure and truthful fashion.


Thinking is part of a process of change. We want to change properly, in the right direction. Let us not impede it by unholy rhetoric. Let us have reasonable discussion, and be careful about our conclusions.


“Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable — if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy — dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8 CSB)


We might say what we think, but Jesus has the last word.


Exactly what will unfold toward the end of the present age and what will be ushered in, then, are beyond our full understanding at this time. Certainly the glory of the new heaven and earth, later, and our eternal existence with Jesus are incomprehensible.


However, we must be knowledgeable of our current mission and the tools we have to accomplish it in the present age.


“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

(2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV)


Many who call themselves Christians do not recognize proud things in themselves and in others. They pretend, or may even believe, that they are in the know. Some even proudly proclaim their opinions with vain, worldly pretension that they know everything better than anyone else who is not also in the know.


If you are a true Christian who has also done that, begin to think honorably.


What does this mean for the year ahead?


What have we learned about ourselves in the past year that we can look forward to having changed in our lives?


What are we thinking about everything? Do our opinions matter? What do they inform us about ourselves?


We have varied thought lives. What we think about and how we do our thinking, are important.


If you have been challenged or discouraged or endangered, frustrated or disillusioned or disgraced, God is on your side if you are His.


We are either in Adam or in Christ. What we think about that does not change the truth of where we stand. We are either dead in sin or alive in the Spirit. Our thought life does not change our standing but does play a role in how we walk that out in our lives.


We certainly should not be focused on thinking about evil things. There is unrighteousness in the world. We should not be surprised. We do not need to be constantly focused on all the wrongdoing.


This is not the power of positive thinking to change things. This is us thinking correctly in order to align ourselves with God's plan, whether that plan is to change things or keep them the same; or to make things “better” or to make things “worse.”


We should not be impatient in our thinking. Too often we want to reach conclusions when they are not yet warranted. We might infer something from what we presently know, but that is not proof of it. Further information can change potential conclusions.


How many of us have ever changed our minds about something? Have we changed an opinion? Having an opinion, having our minds made up about something, does not make it true. It only changes our interaction with reality. If we are ruled by our opinions we do not walk in the light and we risk perpetuating untruth and bondage.


The circumstances of the past year have shone a light on our priorities. Have we been so caught up in informing others of our “correct” opinions that we fail to listen to others and that we also create unhealthy, polarizing division? Do we fail to be peacemakers?  Let us have reasonable discussion, and be careful about our conclusions.


Be encouraged. Do not despair. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. If you have been fixated on some particular victory or defeat in the affairs of men, and especially if you have been entrenched in a particular opinion for or against it, then you may humble yourself and confess, so our Lord may redirect you. Be careful not only to look at things you thought or said that turned out to be wrong, but examine why you thought that way. If things have turned out as you expected, you still do not know everything.


The focus of many has been on the health, social, employment, freedom and political issues in their lives. The related concerns about factual information versus conspiracy and fake news have dominated the thinking of some. There are valid questions in considering any aspect of human endeavor and the challenges faced. Too many people are unwilling to subject their personal conclusions to the questions of others. And it is also easy to say, “I told you so,” when someone else is shown to be wrong. But let us face the fact that we have not reached the end of history yet. There is room for all of us to face correction. There are bigger issues than surviving the pandemic, than the rebuilding of a nation, than losing our freedom to powerful and controlling people and organizations, or than having food for our families.


Our trust is in Jesus, not in men. Do we align ourselves with men? We pray for our leaders, but our trust is not in them. God raises up kings and kingdoms and brings them down. How many of us pretend to know His schedule for His unfolding plan? How many of us are Godly prophets revealing exactly what is going on?


“'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'” (Romans 10:13-15 NIV)


Kings and governments do not save us. They do not empower us to bring good news. Nether gut flora and fauna nor vaccine will deliver us from deception. Neither relief benefits nor lock-downs can touch our eternal life.


“So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Therefore, put to death what belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, God’s wrath is coming upon the disobedient, and you once walked in these things when you were living in them. But now, put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self. You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your Creator.” (Colossians 3:1-10 CSB)


There is a hope within us, if indeed we are His, and because of that we ought to examine ourselves – our motivation, our thinking and our speech and acts. All that we are will be made plain.


“For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. No creature is hidden from him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give an account.” (Hebrews 4:12,13)


People can change, with the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, their own thinking and actions. They cannot change the reality of this present age. They can simply be the representatives of the Lord Jesus, the Christ, and present the gospel as an opportunity for men to be saved individually from the darkness and corruption of this world. Walk in the Spirit, be knowledgeable and trained in the scripture.


“Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:16 CSB)


Do we have preferences concerning the way the world is run? Do we know better than Jesus what is going on? How do we respond and react to the events in this world? True Christians have a choice about what to believe and what to do. Be careful.


Many choose to believe things that they hear without any firsthand knowledge. There are countless issues in the lives of men. There are arguments for and against any opinion about those issues. So many people choose to believe things that they know nothing about personally. Many choose to believe that there can be no reasonable argument if it does not support their own conclusions.


Human opinion and reason do not change the truth. There are many critics but few critical thinkers. Be careful in expressing personal opinion, even if others agree with it, on issues that are beyond your personal realm of firsthand knowledge. All human opinion and reason is vain unless subjected to the word of truth. It can be polarizing and divisive, confusing and enslaving.


There is hope. It is in the true light. Everything in the darkness will be uncovered. The current circumstances in this fallen world are exposing the way people think and behave. We have an opportunity to examine ourselves and repent of any involvement in this world, that is, any involvement that is not out of firsthand knowledge of Jesus and His ways.


Here is a valid conclusion at any time and in any circumstance: the kingdom of God is … righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.



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