You Are Already Clean {#flourish}

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The following #Flourish post first appeared in the Christian Community Magazine published by Papa’s Pantry. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to check out the rest of this encouraging publication and the ministry of Papa’s Pantry.

The men are somber and bewildered. The previous week had been full of turmoil and conflict as Jesus purposefully confronted the Pharisees with his teachings and words condemning them of hypocrisy. The disciples eagerly anticipated celebrating the Passover meal with Jesus, as they had done the previous years, but an uneasy heaviness bore down on them. Jesus talked about someone betraying him and the bread and wine being his body and blood. Then he did the unspeakable act of washing their feet, saying something about learning how to be a servant. They are almost thankful when the meal is over. Then Judas abruptly leaves. At best the men are perplexed. At worst, they are fearful.

This is the setting we find Jesus pouring his final words into the 11 men who were his disciples. He knows his time is short and there is compelling urgency as he speaks. Part of Jesus’ final discourse is a section of scripture often entitled “The Vine and Branches” found in the gospel of John, chapter 15. If you attend church you have most likely heard messages on this passage referencing God as the gardener, Jesus as the Vine and we are the branches. That’s all true and will be the foundation of our Flourish journey. But there is one, very important, sentence we often overlook.

“You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. (Jn 15:3)”

What did Jesus mean by this?

To understand, we have to go all the way back to Genesis where God created Adam and Eve in his image. Other scriptures describe us as fearfully and wonderfully made and God’s masterpiece. I like to think of us as God’s image-bearers. They lived in perfect harmony with God and each other in the Garden of Eden. Then the unthinkable happened. The enemy of God enticed Adam and Eve to sever their perfect relationship. It’s as if Satan came and spray painted graffiti over God’s masterpiece. Mankind, perfectly created in the image of God, became defaced.

When the Bible talks about sin and being born into sin, this is what it means. We are born into this world as a defaced image of God. We are spiritually “unclean.” Our relationship with God is severed. Outside of the saving grace of Jesus, we exist as a defaced, unclean, image-bearer.

“Unclean” was the spiritual condition of the disciples when they met Jesus. Christians understand restoration and cleansing from sin happens when we first believe n the resurrected Jesus Christ as our Savior. But in this scene, Jesus is the one speaking. This is before the cross. The disciples don’t have a resurrected Jesus to believe in for salvation. Yet, Jesus says to them, “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.” How is this possible and why is this important?

Jesus is not talking to the masses who may, or may not, believe in him. He is pouring into these 11 men who have been with him, lived with him, traveled with him, and learned from him. These are men who have – however imperfectly – believed the words that Jesus has spoken to them over the past three years. Words about forgiveness of sin, eternal life, heaven, God as the Father, the coming of the Holy Spirit. Words that they often did not understand in the moment but chose to believe anyway.

Men who have staked their lives with Jesus’ and have declared their faith that he is the Messiah even before his crucifixion and resurrection.

The Greek word katharos, translated “clean or purified” in most translations of this verse, means pure, free from sin and guilt, unstained with the guilt of anything.”

Jesus declares the disciples clean and pure before God. They are restored as God’s image-bearers. They no longer bear the graffiti of God’s enemy.

God’s desire is for all of his creation to be confident that they have been restored into his perfect image. He wants you to declare with certainty that you are 100% confident of your salvation. 100% sure that you are God’s restored masterpiece, his work of art, his image-bearer.

Are you 100% sure of your salvation? You can be! #flourish journey continues Click To Tweet

Jesus spoke the words about being already clean because he knew what the disciples did not. He knew that they were called forth to be his witnesses in the world, sharing the good news that salvation has come to all of God’s creation. All of Jesus’ words about vines, branches, abiding, and bearing fruit tell the disciples how to become the people they need to be in order to do what God has purposed for them to do.

But before all of that – before they can go forward in the name of Jesus, they must be confident that they are cleansed, made pure, and are restored into relationship with God.

This is where we must begin as well. We want to flourish don’t we? We want to influence our families and our communities. We want lives of purpose that bear bountiful fruit.

The Christian season of Lent begins on February 14th. As we approach Easter, do you find yourself where the disciples were? Unsure? Fearful? Wondering what your purpose is? Start here. Believe the Word that Jesus is Savior. Hear his voice echo the same assurance he gave the disciples. You are completely clean and free from all stain. The graffiti is gone.

Go. Be a world-changer confident in your restored relationship with God.

Christian Community News Magazine

Personal Study – Flourish Journey

How confident are you in your salvation and restored relationship with the Lord? Let’s get the truth that we are cleansed, restored, and God’s masterpiece ingrained in our hearts. Look up these verses and record what Jesus accomplished on the cross.

1 Corinthians 6:10-11

Colossians 1:21-22

Titus 2:11-14

1 John 1:7 and 9

What do you most need to meditate on this week so that this truth soaks in?

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Bearing God’s Image Is Not Reserved for Believers Alone

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I love everything about photography.

Pictures tell stories and spark imaginations. Images invite us to wonder, celebrate, mourn, and remember. They provide glimpses of life, history, and potential without saying a single word.

During my senior year in college, I signed up for a beginner-level photography class with aspirations of learning how to capture wonderful storytelling images. This was back in the days of F-stops, shutter speeds, light meters, manual focus, and actual film we had to develop ourselves. There’s something fascinating about seeing an image appear where, moments before, there was nothing but blank space, reflecting the creative work of the photographer.

Webster defines an image as “a physical likeness or representation of a person, animal, or thing, photographed, painted, sculptured, or otherwise made visible.”

Images are all around us. Ultrasounds tell stories of new life. X-rays might tell stories of a fearless adventure gone awry. The reflection in the mirror might speak to a sleepless night or a life well lived.

Through the mystery of DNA, we bear the image of the people who biologically created us. Our nose, our feet, that quirky way our hair grows are all instances of us bearing the image, or the likeness of our parents. We are the physical representation of them made visible. But we bear the image of more than our biological parents. We bear the image of our ultimate Creator.

In the very beginning of the Bible, we have the account of God creating the heavens and the earth, the light, the sky, the water and dry ground, the sun, the moon, the stars, and all of the creatures of the sea, the land, and the air.

Then on the sixth day he does something simply extraordinary.

In my comfortable Christian life, I forget that bearing God’s image is not reserved for believers… Click To Tweet

I am excited to share our #flourish journey on The Glorious Table today. Please join us here as we discover whose image we ultimately bear.

Related #Flourish Posts

Who Is God?

Whose Girl Are You?

The Flourish Journey Begins!

 

 

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Who Is God?

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Who is God?

To you. Who is God to you? Have you ever stopped and answered that question?

In America, close to 88% of adults in America believe in God, according to 2017 research data by the Pew Research Center. This number is staggering. And perplexing. It makes me wonder why we are so divided as a nation if so many of us profess to believe in God.

This 88% has not changed much over the past 7 years as a total number of people who profess to believe in God. What has changed, is how this 88% is allocated between confidence levels in the existence of God. In 2007, 71% believed in God absolutely. In 2014 that percentage had dropped to 63% with the 8% shifting to increasingly lower confidence levels that God exists.

So roughly 88% percent still believe in God, but fewer profess an unshakeable faith in him. Why is this?

Maybe part of the reason is because we don’t agree on who God is.

Contrary to a popular cultural leaning, God is not the same across all religions. Muslims believe in Allah, Jews believe in Yahweh, Hindus believe in Buddah, and Christians believe in the Triune God. There may be some similarities in what each of these religions teach about their god. But they are not the same.

I believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. This is who Christians call the Triune God. One God manifested in three distinct persons. The basis of the Christian faith is believing in God the Son (Jesus Christ) for salvation (reconciling our sinful selves with our Holy God the Father). Through Jesus, we have full rights as a child of God and are given the gift of the Holy Spirit. No other world religion believes this same thing.

It’s quite the mystery.

Who is God?

Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

Maybe part of the reason why we see eroding confidence in God’s existence is because we have not taken the time to get to know God.

People often read the Bible to prove the existence of God. But the Bible does not prove his existence. It assumes God’s existence and then sets about revealing God’s character so that we can know him. Not “know about God” but really know him. As we grow in our knowledge, we gain wisdom and revelation specifically for the purpose of knowing God even more.

His greatest desire is for each one of us to know him personally, intimately, and with an unshakeable confidence that he is Who he says he is. We are meant to do more than exist. More than survive. We are meant to flourish and bear out beautiful fruit that comes from living a life of purpose.

Our #Flourish journey starts the moment we choose to know God the Father, God the Son, and God the… Click To Tweet

You may not be quite ready to do that. That’s okay. Might I encourage you to join me in discovering God by unearthing his character through the richness of his Word?

Let’s begin today. I hope you have your own personal copy of the Bible. I believe you’ll want to underline passages and make notes. I do. If you don’t, you can access the Bible online. I’ve included links for each of the following passages.

Take some time today looking these up and record what you learn about the character of God. This is not an exhaustive list. It is a starting point. Is this a God you can be confident in? I believe so.

Exodus 34:6

Numbers 14:18

Psalm 86:5 and 86:15

Psalm 106:1

Psalm 119:124 and 119:156

Psalm 143:1

Nehemiah 9:8 and 17

Isaiah 63:7

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