Sunday, January 29, 2017

Beautiful, Part Six

How are we to behave?

Jesus loves His disciples (believers who love Him and follow in His footsteps). We are called His Body. Men are to love their wives as Jesus loves the Church (all true believers). We are spiritually joined as one with Him in the same way that a husband and wife become as one. Because of that, we are meant to be faithful our whole lives and to refrain from any acts of sexual impurity. Our bodies are temples of the Lord, indwelt by His Spirit. Our behavior is to reflect that reality, but how can we love anyone we barely know and don’t spend much time with? NOW is the time.

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 1 Corinthians 12:27 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1:22-23

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:25-30, 32

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. Romans 6:12-13 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Romans 12:1

The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. ...But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:13a, 7-20

And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Ephesians 5:2, 3, 6

But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!  2 Peter 2:12-14

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. Philippians 3:17-19

Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure"—for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb." And he said to me, "These are the true words of God." Revelation 19:7-9

What does God deserve of us?

Jesus poured Himself out for us. I am poured out like water... Psalm 22:14 ...He poured out his soul to death... Isaiah 53:12 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:27-28

Jesus was anointed twice with costly ointment in Bethany–His feet six days before the Passover at the house of Simon the Pharisee, and His head two days before the Passover at the house of Simon the Leper. (Bethany means “house of affliction.”) In this, we can see a picture of what is expected of us. We’re to pour out our lives for Him as He did for us, if we really love Him. The Apostle Paul tells us that he did this. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 2 Timothy 4:6 Spikenard (or nard) is a plant that is crushed to make a thick, intensely aromatic ointment. It was kept in an alabaster jar, which Mark tells us was broken to release the fragrance.

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 2 Corinthians 2:14-15

Paul explains that a woman’s hair is her glory. (1 Corinthians 11:14-15) Using the precious ointment on Jesus’ feet, wiping them with her hair and kissing them, Mary showed that she valued Him above herself and personal glory– she didn’t care what anyone else thought. (This is the same Mary (John 11:2) who sat at His feet and, when criticized by her sister, He commended for choosing the better part. Luke 10:39-42) She was in tears over her past sins, which Jesus forgave. Our prayers of repentance and self-sacrificing acts are like fragrant offerings, pleasing to and greatly valued by God. Jesus said the actions of the unnamed woman (who anointed His head) would be told in memory of her. Her actions testified of her love for Him, giving outward evidence to His immeasurable worth in her eyes. Let's fill our "flasks" with "pure nard" and break them, pouring them out for our precious Savior.

It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him, for they said, "Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar from the people." And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, "Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor." And they scolded her. But Jesus said, "Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her." Mark 14:1-9 (Also see Matthew 26:3-13)

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. John 12:1-3 And he said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." Luke 7:48

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are hard pressed in every direction, but not confined; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10

This is Part Six of a series.  You may download the entire devotional in a "pretty" format here or in a basic, small file size format with highlighting here.