Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Protect Your Neck!

Acts 15:10
Now then why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear?

Sometimes, when I’m working out at home, it’s funny to see my boys trying to lift the same weights that I select. They want to show me that they are strong like their daddy but they are not at an age where they can lift what I lift. So to protect them I give them weights that they can handle and still be able to work out with their father.

Jesus did that for us. He knew that we would not handle the weight of God’s law because we were weakened by sin. So he lightened the load by dying in our place and giving us a weight we could handle and still workout with the Father. That weight is called Grace, unmerited favor, from the father. That is why Jesus said, “Come unto me all of you that “work out” and I will give you rest, Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. For my yoke is easy and my burdens are light.”

Jesus lightened our Load making it possible to walk alongside of the Father to do the work of the Kingdom. We are able to be in relationship with the father based upon the work that Jesus did on Calvary.

Religious people have come along and tried to increase the weight through tradition and dead rituals. The Pharisees were complaining that the Gentiles who were being saved needed to be circumcised out of Jewish tradition. Peter had to remind them that God made the decision to pour out his spirit on the Gentiles, so why should they come behind Jesus and put weight on the necks of new believers that they couldn’t even lift? He said, “Why do you test or provoke God by putting heavy yokes on the necks of these new disciples we couldn’t even carry?”

In Football, the linemen and maybe some linebackers have a “yoke” around their necks to protect them from neck injury. They are made out of foam so the helmet can only go so far back in a collision. God’s grace is like the foamed yoke that protects our heads form getting so heavy with rules and oftentimes our righteousness collides with the opposition. It's grace that keeps our necks from being broken by the sin that so easily entangles us. Sometimes, the rules get so heavy on our minds that it threatens to break our relationship but Grace sustains us. We are saved by grace not works but we still have rules.

Peter said in verse 28; it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements. Verse 29; “you are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.” So they narrowed it down to eating healthy, eating righteously and having righteous relationships. You would do well to protect your neck.

Dear God,
Thank you for lifting my heavy burden and making it possible to work with you and for you. Forgive me of my sins and help me to do that which pleases you. You are my strength and my redeemer. I’m stronger; I’m wiser, I’m better so much better because of you. When I look back on all you brought me through I realize I made it because I had you to hold on to. Thank you Jesus.


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