Eva, Ok, after a number of weeks, we are back to my list as I promised. It is summertime in Seattle, Washington, and it is hotter than you know what. We have been buying fan after fan from Home depot, trying to get the house to cool down. You are sleeping in your crib for your naps now. Your mother is doing such a good job with you. I couldn’t have married anyone better than your mother. I want to be a man worthy of her love and the gift that God has given me in her. The fourth item on my list that I try to read to myself, reads like this: Lead Angela and Eva in to the heart of God, which is worshiping Jesus through His Spirit and Making disciples who make disciples. Life is not about making money Brian, nor is it about fame, it is about the Kingdom of God following Jesus. Mk 8:34-9:1
God has to redirect the focus of my life to this reality continually Eva. I am naturally drawn away from this truth everyday. Not only by the outside world, but by my own desires and wants I am tempted to rebel against The reality that God has set forth in His Son. Sin living in me wants to get the best deal I can get on God’s Son. This is what lives in all of us Eva, even after we come to know God through Jesus, what we want is to get the best bargain we can on the innocent death of God’s Son. We all have Jesus innocent blood on our hands. We all have a firm grip on the mallet that drove the spikes through his hands and feet.
The entire world owes it’s continued existence to God’s grace and allowance of its existence. While humans smugly repudiate Jesus, He holds their very breath in his hands. Eva, Jesus is the only being worthy of worship (adoration, allegiance, devotion, exaltation). He is the only unique Son of God and glorified King. He is the only answer to the worlds main problem…which is rebellion against God. The more and more you pay attention to what is going on in the world, the more you will see that there is something wrong inside of man…innately wrong. It is our rebellion against God and our denying him of the worship he is due as creator and the one who sustains our existence that has brought about ALL of the worlds problems. In response to this Eva, God had to and has to be just. He has to punish and put down rebellion and sin. Someone has to pay for our strong, pungent offense against God. Someone must bear the consequence of our reprehensible action and attitude against God. If not, then God can not be holy and just. He must punish sin for Him to be just and perfectly holy and right. What person could or would knowingly bare such wrathful punishment of guilt of the entire world…past, present and future? Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
God laid on him every act of rebellion, every lie told, every secret of the heart, every abusive hand laid to a child, every human sold into slavery (past, present and future), every hypocritical attitude and act committed by a Christian, every adulterous act committed by a man or woman done in secret, every provocation of every heart to murder, every murder, rape, assault of the poor and powerless. Jesus innocent blood soaked it all up. God poured out on Jesus, what you , your mother , myself deserved and everyone who has ever lived. We deserved the unbridled wrath of God, yet he sent his Son Jesus to the 1st century gallows to hang on a cross to pay the debt we could not, and never will be able to fathom mentally. Eva, If you take the time to read Matthew’s and Luke’s account, in Matthew chapter 26 and Luke 22, you will read the story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane just prior to his betrayal by Judas, His trial before the Sanhedrin and his crucifixion (Matthew v 36-46, Luke 39-46). He is talking with God the father and as the narrative goes on, he goes into deep agony so much that , “His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground” (Luke 22:44). Jesus is in such agony because he is taking on and baring Brian Bailey’s sin, Eva’s sin and Angela Bailey’s sin…and the sin of the rest of the world.
God’s answer to our innate rebellion and sin against him, was to lay our punishment upon His Son. This is why Paul can write in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast”. Eva, grace is unmerited favor. In biblical terms it means not giving some one what they do deserve (in our case wrath and condemnation), and giving them what they do don’t deserve (unmerited favor, forgiveness of the debt of innumerable and indwelling sin, being counted as righteous before God and eternal life). In the death of God’s Son, He was not giving us what we deserved …unbridled wrath and he was giving us what we didn’t deserve…..unlimited forgiveness of sin in front of God, unending joy and satisfaction and most importantly Eternal life with Him. It follows that God would find ultimate value in His Son because he is the only means by which we can be made right with God. God is looking at how we respond to His Son’s life, ministry, death and resurrection from the dead.
God finds ultimate value in His Son and Eva, he invites us and the nations to do the same. That truth is seen in Jesus’s words in Matthew 28:18-20, “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 [e]Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you [f]always, even to the end of the age.” Jesus is commanding that his disciples go to the nations and proclaim that God has raised Jesus, His only Son, from the dead. God did this testifying to everything that Jesus claimed about himself. To put it another way, God has cast his vote on whether or not Jesus was telling the truth about himself by raising Jesus from the dead. By raising Jesus from the dead, God is saying that Jesus is who he said he is.
Therefore, His disciples did exactly what Jesus told them to do….they went through out the world proclaiming, preaching, teaching and defending that Jesus is who he said he was, that God had raised Him from the dead in the power of God’s Spirit and that Salvation from sin and reconciliation to God is found in no one else other than Jesus Christ. Eva, this command from Jesus, to go and make disciples of all the nations still stands today. Notice what Jesus says at the end of verse 20, “…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” The disciples obviously didn’t live until the end of the age….so that command stands until the end of this age. Eva, you will do nothing greater in this life than to believe on the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth for the forgiveness of your sins, to repent (to turn) from them and yourself and trust in Him for salvation and eternal life beyond the grave. And inseparable from from that truth, is Jesus’ command to His disciples…. to go and make disciples. Eva, implicit in being a disciple…is making disciples…who make disciples…who in turn make disciples…all to the glory of God. Eva, if you never get married, own a home, gain notoriety, amass tons of wealth; but are passionate about making disciple-making disciples and spend your life pursing Christ and making his glory known to the ends of the earth like the first century church, this is the best and more importantly, the wisest decision you can possibly make (Mark 8:34-9:1).
Life is not about money nor is it about fame. Life is about the Kingdom of God and responding to Jesus and acting on what He said…specifically in His command to make disciples. Remember Eva, God the father is looking at how we respond to His Son whom he has raised from the dead. Look at the book of Acts and see how the New Testament Church responded to Jesus in the great commission, and then join them in doing the same in the 21st century. Eva, sow God’s word in your heart, value and love God’s Son and marry a man that is satisfied in Jesus…. not Jesus + the American Dream. What matters in this life Eva, is how you respond Jesus now in the present, because this is the same Jesus who will judge you then in the future.
Eva, what God is saying in Jesus and the Biblical writers is that Jesus is enough and all together satisfying in this life. What God the Father is looking for is people will agree with that statement with their hearts, lives and pursuits. What the world will say to you (and will seem attractive because of sin in you) will be,” make much of yourself, get all you can, do what feels good, you are your own god.” Those people will have to answer to God someday, and they will be on the deepest remorse. We just got back from Portland for the 4th of July, it was awesome. you played in the bubbles, played with your cousins and relatives. You had a great time. The weather was so hot. I am looking forward to cooler weather hopefully soon. Eva, I love and enjoy you so much. You are such a sweet joy to me. I am so thankful God gave you to your mother and I. You will have to decide if you want to follow Jesus or not. However, I will tell you now, He is worth it and He is worthy. Daddy loves you so much Eva, Your dad, Brian