The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Who Will We Wed, Frankenstein or Jesus?


His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” – John 2:5



The setting for Jesus’ first miraculous sign was a wedding. Weddings and marriage are God’s creation. They are important to Him. They are important to His Son Jesus. Weddings are times of great joy. Jesus spoke of abundant life and what better place to introduce the prospect of abundant life than a wedding? But weddings and marriages as a conduit of abundant life are being stopped up. Weddings today are known more for debauchery and drunkenness than holy unions. The presence of Jesus and outpouring of His joy are nowhere to be found in them.


The pure white gown of weddings and marriage are being dragged through mud. That which is holy is being desecrated. Marriage is being redefined so broadly that it is being robbed of meaning. Same-sex “marriage” unions and no doubt soon to be legislated polygamous marriage arrangements are creating a mutation. Like Mary Shelley’s Dr. Frankenstein opponents of traditional marriage are trying to replicate a creation of God. Body parts of immoral lifestyles are being sewn together. The lightening of unrepresentative legislation is giving this mutation life. And, . . . “It is alive!” The question we face now is, who will we wed, Frankenstein or Jesus?


Yes, “It is alive!” But like Dr. Frankenstein those playing with God’s creation fail to see the ramifications of what they are fabricating. This concoction of dead parts can’t produce new life. The parts don’t fit right. They can be sewn together like a patchwork quilt but they’ll never be as smooth and beautiful and intricately glorious as the original of God. Same-sex proponents and others can look at the statistically supposed mess heterosexuals have made of traditional marriage and claim, “We can’t do any worse!” But the truth is that things can get a lot worse. Marriage is being destroyed. When humans try to make something from dead cadaver parts of our modern day “new morality” it’s not pretty. Only Jesus can raise the dead. Fallen human efforts to create life lead to death. Mutations cannot reproduce. That “death” may walk and it may talk, but it is dead. Like the Frankenstein monster, it can think but it has no spirit.  Death produces death.


Yes, “It is alive!” Something new is being introduced. It seems to have life. But like another grotesque image, the psychopath in Silence of the Lambs, who murders victims, flays them and sews their skin to fit him with a perverse alternate gender body image, you can’t cover up the wicked reality. You can murder marriage, skin it, and try to cover yourself with it, but you won’t hide what you are underneath. “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3). “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and He ponders all his paths. His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, and he is caught in the cords of his sin. He shall die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray” (Proverbs 5:21-23).


Yes, “It is alive!” But it’s a poor piecemeal human alteration of a beautiful gift of God. Like Frankenstein’s monster, this new mutant marriage will roam the earth looking for fulfillment and meaning and all it will find is emptiness. It’s separate from and devoid of God’s presence and joy. The travesty of this marriage mutation is that this ugly product of human engineering is being stamped with Jesus’ approval by false teaching clergy. A warped “love” has been kidnapped from scripture and reprogrammed to condone something the God of love never intended. It’s a human tragedy all around.   In the end Jesus will say something similar to what He said to the church in Sardis, “I know your works, . . . you are alive, but you are dead” (Rev. 3:1).


It’s questionable if we will ever be able to get this mutated horse back in the barn. We are at the point where there really is only one hope. If we respond on merely an earthly level through reason and politics we will continue down the road of despair. Our only pure hope is a heaven sent revival; a revival of God that gets to the core of the problem, the human heart. “Repent, and turn from all your transgression, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die . . . ?” (Ezek. 18:30-31). So I ask you, who will you wed, Frankenstein or Jesus?


Jesus waits at His altar, looking down to us, calling to us, inviting us, outstretched arms, love in His eyes, yearning for us to join the bride of Christ. He says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them” (Ezek. 36:26-27). Jesus offers a new heart and new beginning; true life change.


The Holy Spirit regularly and in various ways convicts people about their sin. God graciously reaches out to those living in darkness. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12). God hasn’t given up on the lost . . . yet. There’s still time to choose Jesus.


Each time the conviction of the Spirit is resisted or ignored the resistant heart gets a little harder; people drift and drive further from the Lord. There is a limit; a point of no return; a state of heart that people reach through persistent rejection of God where they are no longer able to respond to God (cf. John 12:39). The Spirit will not always strive with those who rebel against God (Gen. 6:3). I believe we are fast approaching that final state of darkness. Our only hope is one last holy wave of the Spirit that washes upon us like a giant tsunami of holy reality, truth and grace. God still desires none perish (2 Pet. 3:9). But a time of His judgment will eventually come. Will you walk the aisle with Frankenstein, really?


We live in a world addicted to pleasure. People are searching for happiness, fulfillment, meaning, and purpose. Their search implies they are at a loss for these things. They are empty. If they ever had a modicum of these things they have now run out of them. There’s no joy in life. The counterfeit “joy” they have settled for is as tasteless as water. What’s the solution? Jesus is the solution.


Come with me to that wedding in Cana where Jesus performed His first sign. The wedding was going as planned, until something changed. They ran out of wine. No more wine meant no more joy. It meant the wedding would likely end; it wouldn’t get where it needed to go; it would be anticlimactic. Wine is a type, a symbol of joy in the Bible. What could be done? How could the joy be replenished, refreshed?

And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” (John 2:3). Mary, the mother of Jesus, knew exactly what to do and where to go when there was a need. That’s a good example to follow. Whenever there is something missing, go to Jesus. Whenever we are at a loss, go to Jesus. Whenever we don’t measure up or we run out of whatever we need, go to Jesus. When you run out of God’s best, don’t try and substitute a watered down alternative, go to Him. Will you take His hand and walk the aisle with Jesus?

The presence of wine at the wedding should not be taken to endorse drunkenness or debauchery. Nowadays the wedding ceremony is brief and the reception long. People are married in the church and then indulge in wild reckless worldly partying that is anything but welcoming to Jesus. (Just listen to the lyrics of the music played at some wedding receptions; yes, “Christian” weddings too!). Wine was simply an acceptable beverage to consume at weddings. The wine had run out. You can walk the aisle with “another Jesus,” a counterfeit that cares little of holiness (2 Cor. 11:3-4). That leads to emptiness too. They needed more. We need more, more of Jesus.


Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:4). Jesus gently rebukes His mother and tells her His hour had not yet come. What did He mean? Maybe Jesus was alluding to Mary’s motive not being pure. Maybe she wanted her Son Jesus to finally lay to rest any thought that He was the product of fornication. Since His birth whispers of illegitimacy were likely circulated by cynics of the incarnation account of Mary. Illegitimacy is not such a big deal in our day. It’s a pretty common practice for people to have children outside of marriage in our day. It was a big deal in Jesus day. It was a sin, a disgrace. It still is a sin. It’s no big deal in our day because society is moving away from God and His word and restraints on passion have been thrown off. What God thinks or whether or not a sin is being committed is not that important.


The dark shadow of illegitimacy appears to have been the accusation of those who rejected Mary’s incarnation account. Over thirty years after His birth the specter of immoral beginnings were being brought up to Jesus Himself by His detractors (John 8:41). Maybe Mary had had enough of such shameful allegations. Maybe she thought this was the perfect public setting to show by a miraculous sign of her Son that there really was something to His holy beginnings. But Jesus wasn’t concerned with what people thought about Him. We shouldn’t  walk the aisle with Jesus just to justify ourselves.


The “hour” of Jesus is the time of glorifying fulfillment of His redemptive mission. Jesus came to be the sacrificial Lamb; our substitute on the cross to pay our death-debt for sin (John 1:29). He came to serve and give His life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). He’s a perfect example of what marriage is meant to illustrate. Loving selfless sacrifice and service is what keeps marriages together. He came to provide a death blow to sin and death by His atoning death on the cross and victorious resurrection from the dead. He came to give new life, abundant life (John 10:10). He came to complete His mission and be able to say, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). When we walk the aisle with Jesus, following in His steps, we learn from fellowship with Him and with each other in marriage, just what true love is.


There’s no evidence that Mary took offense at anything Jesus said or the way He said it. She simply received His words and then gave some direction to those serving at the wedding. His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.(John 2:5). Good advice to be gleaned from Mary’s words here – “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Obedience and following the instructions of Jesus always lead to blessing. These are the last recorded words of Mary in the New Testament. Last words are always significant, they are culminating, climaxing, concluding. The last words of Mary, her conclusion to who she was and what she would be remembered by, were, “Whatever He [my Son Jesus] says to you, do it.” There aren’t many better last words! It’s as though Mary asks, “Who will you wed Frankenstein or my Son Jesus?”


Later in John’s gospel Jesus will connect love with obedience (John 14:15 and 21). He says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments. . . . He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me.” It’s not enough to pay lip service to our love of the Lord. It’s not enough to merely say we love Jesus. Our love needs to be validated in action; it needs to be real. If we say we love Jesus, and disobey Him, we are liars (e.g. Mat. 7:21-24). Love and God’s word are wed. We speak God’s truth in love (Eph. 4:15). Love and disobedience are a divorce from God (1 John 3). And yet that is the new “love” that the world has created and that unfortunately parts of the church have adopted. Love always implies accountability and responsibility. Love obeys. Don’t settle for walking the aisle with a cardboard cutout of Jesus that silently approves your every whim and sinful way. If you love Jesus, you will obey Jesus. To wed Jesus is to obey Him.


If we say we love Jesus and want Him to come to our wedding and yet we indulge in sex before marriage (i.e. fornication) then our “love” isn’t worth too much. If we say we love Jesus and want Him to be central in our marriage and yet we are unfaithful to our spouse and commit  adultery in mind or actual act our love isn’t worth too much. If we say we love Jesus and want Him to attend our same-sex wedding and bless our same-sex marriage even though His word calls such relationships sinful, what does that really say about our “love”? The Bible defines such sexually related sins very clearly and calls believers out of it (e.g. 1 Cor. 6:9-11). Really, who are you going to wed, who will you walk the aisle with, Frankenstein’s mutation or Jesus?


If we say we love Jesus and disregard His word and don’t do, “Whatever He says,” then we are hypocrites, the truth is not in us, and we are living a lie. When we deny the sin that the Spirit points out to us, we are self-deceived and in reality call God a liar (1 John 1:8, 10). That’s of the enemy. In the end and in every life situation the solution is really quite simple yet profound. It boils down to, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Just do it! Just do what Jesus tells you to do.  In the power of the Spirit, do it! Walk the aisle with Jesus!


6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. (John 2:6-8). Those used by Jesus to work this miraculous sign demonstrate three characteristics which those who want to be used by Jesus to do great things should also follow. We need a great work of God in our day. Saving marriage and seeing revival requires some heavy lifting. We must make ourselves available to Jesus. We need to stop saying one thing and living another. Our marriages must become example of God’s best. We need to get right with Jesus. We need to walk the aisle with Jesus and make Him the center of our weddings and our marriages. If we truly want to experience and help others to share in the greatness of Jesus joy, happiness, fulfillment, meaning, and purpose, we need to start serving our Lord. 


If you want to be used by Jesus to do great things obey Him don’t argue with Him. Jesus told the servants to fill the waterpots and they obediently filled the waterpots. They didn’t argue with Jesus. They didn’t ask, “Why do we have to fill the waterpots with water, aren’t we looking for more wine?” They simply trusted and obeyed Jesus command. We have to submit our will and even our understanding or lack thereof to Jesus. Yes, we have to prepare a reasoned and revelatory response to the purveyors of the corruption of marriage. But we shouldn’t try to argue and persuade Jesus to accept or condone their alterations of marriage. There really isn’t room for compromise with corruption. “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” (Amos 3:3). Their argument is not with us, it is with Jesus. They have to decide whether or not they will walk the aisle with Jesus. They have to choose to wed either Frankenstein or Jesus. We need only to point these people to Jesus. He can handle the questions. Our duty is to simply obey Him. Then He will use us to work His work.


If you want to be used by Jesus to do great things obey Him to the full extent. “They filled them up to the brim.” They filled the waterpots as full as they could. They didn’t understand what Jesus would do, but they did as much as He asked them to do and to the fullest extent of what He asked them to do. We have to be wholeheartedly devoted to Jesus if He is going to use us. When the enemy comes in like a flood the Spirit of God raises up a standard against that enemy (Isaiah 59:19). We are that standard, that banner, that line of defense in the hand of the Holy Spirit. Let’s commit fully to our Commander in Chief. Let’s walk the aisle with Jesus with all our heart! We wed Jesus for life. We throw the little black book of alternative loves away.


In the Book of Acts Jesus speaks of an infilling of the Spirit, the baptism with the Holy Spirit that goes beyond mere filling to the brim. He speaks of an overflowing experience with the Holy Spirit. In Acts 1:8 Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit coming upon the disciples. He said when this happened they would be empowered to serve and witness for Jesus. That word “upon” is a translation of the Greek preposition epi and refers to an overflowing, a flowing over of something. The baptism with the Holy Spirit is that superabundant overflowing relationship with the Spirit where we have more than enough of Him and He has all of us to use as He pleases. Does Jesus have all of you? Are you filled to the brim and overflowing with Jesus? If so, get ready to be greatly used by Him.


If you want to be used by Jesus to do great things you have to trust Jesus one step at a time. Jesus didn’t lay out a detailed plan or strategy for the servants. Jesus simply told them step by step what to do: see those waterpots; fill those waterpots with water; draw out some of the liquid out and give it to the master of the feast. They simply obeyed each step of the way until the miracle happened. A wedding marks a beginning. Marriage is a lifetime of ups and downs, good days and bade days, growth and persevering, of growing in true love. The state of marriage today is not going to revert to what it should be overnight. It is going to take a persistent, persevering step by step obedience to the Lord. Walking the aisle with Jesus is only the beginning. We need to go on with Jesus.


The miracle of Jesus happened when the servants fully obeyed and did their best entrusting the rest to Jesus.  It’s going to take a miracle of God to change our world. It’s going to take a revival from heaven. God is willing, I believe, and He is looking for people through whom He can work. He is scanning the earth looking for those whose heart is loyal to Him (2 Chron. 16:9). He’s looking for those willing to obey Him without argument, obey Him fully, and to obey Him one step at a time by faith. God still wants to do great things. Our part is, “Just do what Jesus tells us to do.” Who will you wed, Frankenstein or Jesus? Come walk the aisle with Jesus.

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