April 2nd 2017: Matthew Maxwell-Carr

Looking at Christ produces radiance on the face because it brings rest on the heart. Just by looking at Christ rest comes immediately. A look at Christ does something to the heart and you’re not ashamed anymore because you don’t fear God will fail you or let you down. The biggest battle you and I face now is the battle with sin – the sin of all sins  is unbelief. It’s so natural to disbelieve and doubt because we’re sinners. Daily, how do we deal with this? Read the Bible? Pray? Look to Him is the answer, fix your eyes on Jesus Christ. He’s the answer to everything we need. A look at Jesus cures it all. This is what it means to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul directs us to the Holy Spirit, to walk in the Holy Spirit, to live by faith in Jesus Christ. He emits the Holy Spirit.

Paul says ‘the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.’ (Galations 5:22). These are all divine qualities. The Lord puts us all through trials and difficulties. The Lord wants us to have divine peace – peace in the midst of the storm. Keep your eyes on Jesus to have divine peace.

In Numbers 21: 4-9 we read  how the people were discouraged because they took their eyes off Christ, And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.” (Numbers 21:5). When the Israelites took their eyes of Christ this affected their relationship with God and with Moses. Their ingratitude is seen in their complaining and worry. Can you identify with that? I can! ‘So the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, and many of the people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD that He take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.’ (Numbers 21: 6-8). Here we see the antidote to the problem. How does God deal with this? ‘… when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.’ (Numbers 21:9). The people had venom coursing through their bodies. The pole reminds us of Christ lifted up. Moses lifts the serpent up, those who look at it live. Look and live. That is the Christian life. Every look at Jesus Christ produces life. You are saved by faith alone, by resting in Jesus Christ. Look and you will live. It seems ridiculous to us that looking at a serpent could bring life, but that is the way of God.

2 Chronicles 12 is a chapter well worth reading. It is very encouraging. Here we see that to win victory all that was needed was praise. The people had tambourines out and were marching. The Lord Himself defeats the enemies – just because the people gave praise. We read in verse 5 that Jehoshaphat pleads to God because they are in difficulty. In verse 12 they cry out, ‘We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.’ Let the Lord move you by the Spirit. Trust in Him.

‘You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.’ (Isaiah 26:3). You, me – we don’t keep ourselves in peace, perfect peace is from the Lord. Our responsibility – ‘whose mind is stayed on you.’ Stay your mind on the Lord Jesus. Trust in Jesus every moment of your life.

‘Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.’ (Matthew 11: 28-29). Rest isn’t our focus, peace isn’t our focus, our focus is Jesus. He will sort the rest and peace out. The human condition is unrest. Jesus Christ is the medicine.

‘But immediately Jesus spoke to them saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27). In our Christian life Jesus wants us to be fearless. As Jesus walked on the sea the storm raged. Peter experiences the supernatural, keeping his eyes on Jesus. Jesus was the focus. ‘So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.’ (Matthew 14:29). When Peter looked at Christ the power of the Holy Spirit supported Peter so he could do the supernatural. But then everything goes wrong, ‘But when he saw that the wind was boisterous he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”’ (Matthew 14:30). Peter saw the wind. He turned his eyes away from Jesus and this produced unrest in his heart. He cried out to the Lord to save him. He still had a little bit of faith. Even when we fail, Jesus still comes. ‘And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”’ (Matthew 14:31). Why do we doubt? Things get on top of us because we are fallen, sinners. Look at Jesus and He will conquer unbelief and unrest. He will sort everything out, we just need to look to Him.

Paul says whatever is not of faith is sin. Look to Jesus and H e will help you sort out all the rubbish. ‘I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.’ (Galations 2:20). This hits the nail on the head. The great apostle Paul lived his life by faith in the Son of God who loved him and gave His life for him. Look to Jesus.

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