The desire of every human should be to become the person God meant them to be. What does it mean to be truly human? Should we look at the best example of a human that we have ever seen and try to copy them? That would not be satisfactory because there has never been a perfect human who ever lived on earth. However, there is an exception to this. It is Jesus Christ of Nazareth the Son of God who humbled himself to become a human and live on this earth. He was perfectly human as well as being perfectly divine. As we study His life, we can see what it means to be fully human and then we can seek to follow His example in an attempt to become the person God meant us to be
The Jesus who was born of a human mother, died for sinners, was buried, was raised from the dead and ascended to heaven. He is now sitting at the right hand of God. The Bible declares that He is coming again. It is a certainty that no one can prevent. If that is so, then how can we prepare for His Coming? An answer is given in 2 Peter 3:10-12 “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. 11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!” The answer is by becoming the people God wants us to be, to be “holy” and “godly.” That is our part in bringing back the King! But how do we become more holy and godly? By living as we should as citizens in the kingdom of God and by seeking to live in perfect submission to God as Jesus did!
1. THE CONCEPT OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD. (God’s rule over us.)
i. Everyone is meant to live according to Kingdom principles. (This is what the King wants)
God as King wanted the world to run His way. Humans can choose to obey or not to obey. We can have an inner motivation and power as believers to live as we should. That was prophesied in the Old Testament. We see this in Jeremiah 31:33-34, For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbour and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah had prophesied that Jesus would establish a new covenant with His people which would enable them to experience not only God’s law within them, but they would also be given the inward motivation to obey it.
Ezekiel also prophesied this inward work of God in human lives in Ezekiel 11:19-20, “And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” God’s people would have a new heart and a new spirit which would be sensitive to Him and this would enable them to know and to do God’s will.
Ezekiel added to that when he later wrote, “I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” Not only would there be a new heart, but the new spirit God would put within them, would be his own Holy Spirit. His Spirit would motivate or cause them to walk on His statutes and to obey His rules. It means that God’s resources have been made available to us by the gift of His Spirit in our hearts.
ii. Living contrary to these Kingdom principles causes damage to us.
a]. Danger of effect of hate, resentment and unforgiveness.
When humans are not living by the principles of the kingdom of God they will live by their own resources and not by God’s. They will live by exhibiting the works of the flesh [their unredeemed nature] and sin will be the result. Instead of love, there will be hate. Instead of gratitude and graciousness there will be resentment. Instead of being loving and forgiving there will be unforgiveness. And much damage will be done to many people as a result of these sins. The good news is that humans can become new creatures as they put their trust in Christ and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit who will make them more holy. They will also be forgiven of all their sins and thus be freed to forgive other people.
If God has given believers the gift of His Holy Spirit, then it should mean that they ought always to display the fruit of the Spirit in their lives, namely “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23. They should always be loving as Paul wrote of the love of God being shed abroad in human hearts by the Holy Spirit, “and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:5. However when people do not become open to God’s grace in their lives, they can forfeit His peace and suffer from dis-ease [disease].That dis-ease can cause illnesses in their bodies, minds and spirits.
b. Psychosomatic illnesses. Pneumopsychosomatic. (Pnuema. Psyche. Soma.)
In recent years the term Psychosomatic has been used to describe many illnesses. The term comes from 2 Greek words [psyche] meaning soul or mind and [soma] meaning body. In had been observed that wrong thinking in the mind can have a deleterious effect on the body. It has also been noted that improving someone’s wrong thinking can lead to a great healing in their body. More recently the term Pneumopsychosomatic has come into being. The additional prefix [pneuma] is the Greek word for spirit. This term suggests that true wholeness can only come when the body, mind and spirit are all healthy. That is certainly seen in healing ministries around the world as people learn to forgive and receive various degrees of physical and emotional healing as a result.
iii. If we lived according to those principles, we would be more likely to maintain health.
a. Healing is accelerated as negative factors are dealt with. (Removal of barriers).
When people begin to live according to kingdom of God principles, they open themselves to God’s healing power. That may come as they learn how to forgive others. But there are many barriers to healing besides unforgiveness, such as resentment, bitterness, anger, and depression caused by rejection. We will look at these and other barriers later in our Core Teaching programme.
[I remember a woman very years ago who heard my talks on forgiveness and asked me after the session that if you forgive someone, can you receive more healing. I noticed her hands were shaking badly as she spoke to me but I told her that forgiving someone opens that person more to God’s healing. I was surprised next morning to see her in Church walking around the pews talking with people with her hand in the air. Then she came into the room where we were preparing for the service and said to me, ”Look at what God has done. My shaking had completely stopped.” She told me later that she had had the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease for some months and not been able to write or sign her signature. When she went home from the Seminar, she realised that the person she most needed to forgive was her own mother. She told me that she asked God to forgive her of holding resentment towards her mother and then said, “Mother, I forgive you in Jesus’ name!” As she did so, the shaking stopped and she knew she had been healed. That was why she was walking around the pews in the church showing people what God had done for her as she forgave her mother. I got her to write her name in my Bible as the first signature she had written after several months. She was never bothered with shaking in the years that followed.]
b. The Prayer, “May Your kingdom come, Your will be done” perhaps should also include, “Begin in ME!”
Many of us believe that the world would be a better place if people knew and followed God’s will. So we can easily pray that prayer thinking that it is the people ‘out there’ who need to be saying it. But it is a prayer that every human needs to pray. It is a prayer asking God to bring His kingdom power into this earth, but that includes into your life and mine.
Jesus prayed a prayer like that. Judas was in the act of betraying Him as Jesus was praying in the Garden, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” Luke 22:42. Submitting to the will of God is the privilege and responsibility of every human ever born. When we are walking in the will of God, good things happen.
2. JESUS AS THE PERFECT HUMAN LIVING UNDER THE RULE OF GOD.
I mentioned above that Jesus was both perfect God and in His incarnation became a perfect human. So we would do well to look at how He lived His life to see the patterns we need to follow as humans. But first we will look at a passage of scripture that shows his humility in becoming a human. It is to be found in Philippians chapter 2:5-8, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
What does it mean that Jesus “emptied Himself?” The word empty is from [kenoō; κενόω] meaning to make empty, to make of no reputation, to make void. It does not mean that Jesus emptied Himself of His divinity when He became human. Rather He emptied Himself of the privileges He had as the Son of God in order to live as a human, in order to die as a human for humans. That was the only way they could be redeemed!
As we look at Jesus’ perfect life and perfect death as the “true” human we can see what He achieved in doing so.
i. John’s explanation of Jesus’ Healings and Miracles.
John wrote, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name,” John 20:30-31. So were these signs, signs of His divinity or of His perfect humanity? We note the order of the words where John suggests that the signs pointed to Jesus as being the Messiah, as well as being the Son of God. He had come to fufil the role of the Messiah in offering Himself as the sacrifice to take away the sin of the world. He could only do that as the perfect human.
This speaks of Jesus’ perfect life, His perfect availability, His perfect faith, His perfect obedience, as THE true perfect human. An example we are meant to try to follow!
ii. Peter’s explanation of Jesus’ ministry.
Peter in Acts 10:38 spoke of Jesus, “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” This appears to mean that Jesus’s ministry on earth was conducted under the anointing and empowering of God’s Holy Spirit. Thus God was with Him in all His ministry.
This could indicate that Peter recognised that Jesus accomplished His ministry as man, under the anointing and empowering of the Holy Spirit.
iii. Jesus’ explanation of His ministry. It came from the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
There had been a prophecy about the Messiah in Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” The Jews had been waiting centuries for this Messiah to come.
When Jesus began His ministry on earth He went into the synagogue and read from the scroll these words from Isaiah 61 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” Luke 4:18-19. What a shock it must have been for those present to hear Him add, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:21. Here was an outright claim by Jesus that He was the fulfilment of that prophecy, HE WAS THE MESSIAH. His ministry would be under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
If Jesus as the Perfect Man was to live His life under the anointing of the Holy Spirit to
accomplish what God wanted Him to do, then so must we. What we often fail to realise is that it is the same Holy Spirit who indwells all of us as believers. It is not a lesser Holy Spirit who indwells us compared to the one who indwelt Jesus. He is the same with the same power to accomplish what God wants done through human lives.
Our anointing by same Holy Spirit, enables us to know, to be and to do.
2 Cor.1:21. “And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”
1 Jn.2:20. “But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.”
1 Jn.2:27. “But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.”]
Believers are now established in Christ. They have knowledge of the truth revealed by the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit abides in them and they are to ensure that they seek to continually abide in Him.
iv. Jesus’ explanation of His ministry of Words and Works.
How did Jesus explain His Ministry? He saw that the source of His ministry was God Himself and that He was the instrument through whom God ministered.
The Words He spoke.
- John 7:16-17, ‘So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. 17 If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.” The source of His teaching was from God. Jesus proclaimed what the Father had given Him to say.
- John 3:34 “For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure.” Jesus was speaking here about His own ministry as one sent from God to utter the words of God.
The Works He performed.
- Jn.5:19, “The Son can do nothing by Himself. He can only do what He sees the Father doing.” Jesus was saying that His ministry depended on the Father. He did only those things that He saw the Father doing, because He always abided in the Father.
- Jn 5:30, “By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me .” This is another saying by Jesus that He had no independent will of His own, but His will was to do the Father’s will for Him as the way to please His Father.
- John 14:10, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.” From the lips of Jesus came this admission. He spoke only the Father’s words. Likewise the works that He performed were in fact the Father working those things through Him. Jesus’ words and works; His teaching and His ministry stemmed from the Father. Jesus claimed that His words and works were what what the Father did and said through Him.
v. Jesus, The Pattern of Perfect Humanity.
From all the above, we can see that Jesus was perfectly submissive and available to God for every moment of His life as the true human. He has showed us what being a human is all about. It was a pattern of perfectly abiding in the Father.
When Jesus prayed one of His final prayers to His Father, He prayed for His disciples that they too should live in close unity with God and with one another. “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17:20. It was good that believers discovered a unity between themselves. But it was absolutely essential that as Jesus said, “that they also may be in us.” That involved being willing to abide in Jesus and in the Father.
3. OUR OWN CHRISTIAN PERSONHOOD AS WE LIVE FOR GOD
How then are we meant to live for God as humans in today’s world? These are some suggested answers from the above.
- Christian living and witness. Do these depend on our ability or upon our avail-ability to God to allow Him to do in and through us what He desires? If we are going to take Jesus as our perfect pattern, then it means that it is not our ability but our avail-ability that is important to God. In brief our responsibility before God is to be available to His ability in and through us as we give our lives completely to Him.
- Like Jesus we need to always abide in the Father by abiding in Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5. That would be the secret of answers to prayer for the disciples, as Jesus told His disciples, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” John 15:7.
- St Paul was very aware of the source behind his ministry. He told the Galatians that it was God who was at work through His ministry and also at work through the ministry of St Peter, “On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles.” Galatians 2:7-8.
- God’s strength is only available to those who admit they are weak. 2 Cor.12:9-10.
Paul never boasted about his strengths. He often boasted about his weaknesses.
2 Corinthians 12:9 ‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.’ Later in the epistle he wrote, 2 Corinthians 11:30 “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.”
Paul saw the secret of his ministry in these words, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10
5. We need to have Paul’s motive in life. To know Christ and the power of His resurrection. Phil.3:10. Paul had become a leading teacher among the Jews at an early age. The world had opened to him as a Pharisee of the Pharisees. But as someone once put it, “There came the expulsive power of a new attraction” [Jesus Christ] and from that moment He lived only for Jesus. As he wrote, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection,and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”
We can see that there is a lot involved in becoming the person God wants you to be. But the attempt to do so is totally rewarding for those who try. And totally devastating for those who make no attempt. There needs to come a point in every human’s life when they can echo St Paul’s words in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” We need to come to the end of our own lives and allow Christ to live His life in and through us.
In this topic we have seen that we do have a pattern to follow in our attempt to become God’s person, and that is the life of Christ Himself. As we learn to live in total subjection to the Lord, as Jesus did as a human, we find that we are drawing nearer to that goal. Or in St Paul’s words in Philippians 2:12-13, “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” We need to work out in our outward lives what God is working within us by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. It is He who gives us the willingness and the ability to do the things that please Him! Praise God for His incredible grace towards and in us!
Blog No.427 Becoming The People God Wants Us To Be. Core Teaching Stage 1 Topic 1. Posted on Friday 16 September 2022.