Christian Universe ™
The First And The Last
August 29 , 2010
Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. He is the first and the last. He was, and is, and will be. Faith alone will not save us, but rather obedience to the will and commandments of God. Our faith begins and ends in Jesus, and He rules our faith all the time in between!
The First And The Last
By Bernie Parsons
Presented to Load church of Christ on 08-29-2010
Presented to Globe church of Christ on 09-05-2010
Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. He was in the beginning.
Revelation 1:8 "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty."
John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men."
John 8:56 "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?
58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am."
Ephesians 3:8 "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: "
Jesus was in the beginning with God, and by Jesus all things were created. Jesus is the Alpha, as in the first letter of the alphabet. He is the beginning.
He is the author – that is, He who begins – and the finisher, of our faith.
Hebrews 12:2 "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."
Our faith begins and ends in Jesus.
Romans 10:17 "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
Our faith begins with the raw and simple acceptance that Jesus is the son of God. As we grow in knowledge of the Lord, our faith matures and progresses from a simple belief to a deep, abiding trust.
John 14:1 "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
We trust that Jesus is who He says that is, and that He will look out for His followers, in this world, and in the next. We also trust the teaching of Jesus to have originated with God, our creator, and worth learning and doing. James tells us that faith without works is dead.
James 2:17 "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?"
If Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith – and He is – doesn’t it make sense that He leads us through the in-between stage between the beginning and ending? During that period, we are growing – or maturing -- as Christians.
2 Peter 3:18 "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen."
Ephesians 4:15 "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:"
As we grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, we learn to speak the truth in love. In fact, if we think about the author and finisher of our faith, where the beginning of our faith is a raw acknowledgement of Jesus as son of God, what can we say about the end of that faith?
Galatians 5:5 "For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love."
As James said, the apostle Paul says – faith in Christ works by love. Our faith is proven when we do the works of God in the spirit of true, godly love.
Ephesians 3:14 "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God."
Jesus dwells in our hearts by faith, which leaves us rooted and grounded in love. By that faith we learn of God, and the love of Christ and God, and are filled with the spirit of God.
1 Thessalonians 1:2 "We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;
3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;"
Faith moves us to work in love and hope, knowing that our reward is sure.
Mark 9:41 "For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward."
Colossians 3:23 "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ."
Paul said that three things endure, and the greatest of the three is charity. The end of our faith is to live in a way that shows our faith, hope, and charity to all.
1 Corinthians 12:31 "But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way."
1 Corinthians 13:9 "For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."
Our faith in Jesus was the beginning of our life journey, and our charity is the culmination of that journey. The whole point in believing in Him, is to become like Him, and to show the world through our own lives and deeds, the charity that God, and His son Jesus, have shown us all.
Ephesians 5:8 "For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord."
When we work mightily throughout our lives to spread the message of Jesus, not only in preaching and talking to others, but also by doing the righteous things that we are to do, we make the world a better place where we are, and shed a great light into the darkness around us. We show people the way out of despair and hopelessness into a life of meaning and accomplishment.