Luke 2:1-7                            Her Firstborn Son                                      12/12/2004    ßà   

  • A Call to All the World (Prov 25:2, Luke 2:1-7, John 1:12-13)

 

 

#1.       And All Went (Luke 2:3, John 6:37, Matt 7:13-14, 2Cor 6:14)

 

 

 

  • He Was of the House of David (Luke 2:4, 2Sam 7:12-16)

 

 

  • Out of Nazareth (Luke 2:4, John 1:46)

 

 

#2.       Bethlehem Ephrathah, City of David (Luke 2:4, Mic 5:2, Heb 2:3)

 

 

 

  • Mary, His Espoused Wife (Luke 2:5)

 

 

  • The Days Were Accomplished (Luke 2:6, Gal 4:3-5)

 

 

#3.       The Firstborn (Luke 2:7, Mark 6:3, Gal 1:18-19, Col 1:15-18)

 

 

 

  • And Laid Him in The Manger (Luke 2:7, Rom 10:17, Gen 3:15)

 

 

  • No Room for Them in the Inn (Luke 2:7)

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to Luke 2:1 (2X). The events preceding the birth of the Lord Jesus are written in chapter 1. Some of the events of His birth and the following events during the infancy of Jesus are described here in chapter 2. Although it is understandable that Doctor Luke would write extensively about the birth of Jesus, we still recognize that it was not Dr. Luke who chose the words that ended up in the Bible, but God chose these words, and God chose these words very carefully. Therefore we would do well to study carefully what God wrote, and ask ourselves for what purposes God chose these words. God says in Prov 25:2,

Pr 25:2 ¶ It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.

We are those kings who have the honor to search out the things that God chose to conceal in the Bible. The first thing then that we see is that God extended:

  • A Call to All the World (Prov 25:2, Luke 2:1-7, John 1:12-13)

Lu 2:1 ¶ And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. {taxed: or, registered}

Lu 2:2  And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.

Lu 2:3  And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. {taxed: or, registered }

Lu 2:4  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; because he was of the house and lineage of David:

Lu 2:5  To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. {taxed: or, registered }

Lu 2:6-7  And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.             And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

We see in verse 1 that by the decree of Caesar Augustus all the world should be taxed. That verb “to be taxed” actually means “to be registered”. Historically, was the entire world commanded to be registered? No! Not even all the known world was called to be registered. At this point in time the Roman Empire did not extend far beyond Syria and Palestine and Egypt. For example, there was the city of Petra, in the land of Edom, which became the Eastern edge of the Roman Empire in the year AD 105. But the Romans never took most of the Greek-Persian Empire all the way to India that Alexander the Great conquered, which also belonged to the “known world”. And another thing: the word “world” is not the usual Greek word “kosmos”, but it is another word.  It is a word that refers to the entire inhabited world; really “the whole world”. And so, why did God choose the words “That all the world should be registered, or numbered”? God orchestrated this event in history to be a picture of salvation. From the words that God chose we must conclude that God indeed meant that everyone in the world should heed this call to be registered. Did everyone obey? No! Only those in the Roman Empire, which is just a fraction of all mankind, obeyed the call from Caesar Augustus. Now we know that God raises up kings and puts down kings. God appointed Caesar Augustus to be emperor over the Roman Empire at this point in time. This command to all the citizens of the Roman Empire is like a call from God to all the people in the world to believe the Gospel and be numbered in the Kingdom of God together with Mary and Joseph and the Lord Jesus Christ. This call goes out to all the world. But who obeyed? Only those obeyed who against their own will were forced to obey this command from the highest authority in the land. They did not do it because they liked to do it. They obeyed because they could not resist the authority of Caesar. And so it is with all who become saved. God bends their will so that they are irresistibly drawn to the Lord Jesus Christ. God says in John 1:12-13,

Joh 1:12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: {power: or, the right, or, privilege}

Joh 1:13  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

These verses speak about being “born again”, as explained in John chapter 3. We did not become “born again” by our own will, nor by the will of our father or mother, nor are we chosen to be saved because we were born in the proper bloodline such as from Jacob, but we were “born again” by the will of God. We did not like to be “born again”, but God did it to us in spite of our own evil inclinations. All those outside the Roman Empire who did not hear the call are like all those whom God passed by, and who did not hear the call to be numbered with Mary and Joseph and the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the spiritual meaning of the words, “That all the world should be registered, or numbered”.

#1.       And All Went (Luke 2:3, John 6:37, Matt 7:13-14, 2Cor 6:14)

Lu 2:3  And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. {taxed: or, registered}

You see, all those who were chosen to obey the highest authority in the land did obey, and were numbered with Mary, and Joseph and the Lord Jesus Christ. Likewise in the spiritual realm, all those whom God chose to be saved will obey His call to believe and come to the Lord Jesus. No one else will obey this call. They do not hear. Historically, no one outside the Roman Empire thought that they had to obey this command from Caesar. But according to verse 3, everyone within the Roman Empire obeyed this command from Caesar Augustus. The Lord Jesus said in John 6:37, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” All those whom God the Father has elected unto salvation shall come to the Lord Jesus. And likewise all those who come to the Lord Jesus are only those who have been given to Him by the Father. Therefore the Lord shall not cast out those who come to Him.  Does this mean that 85 to 90% of the population of these United States of America is on the way to heaven because they believe in Jesus? Let us now ask ourselves which Jesus it is they are coming to? The Lord Jesus did not lie when He said in Matt 7:13,

Mt 7:13-14  Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction (which means Hell), and many there be which go in thereat:    Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Therefore it is not possible that the majority of this country is on the way to heaven. “Few there be

that find it”, must mean that only a remnant chosen by grace shall find the way to eternal life. What is going on? Don’t they all believe in Jesus? Have they not all come to Jesus, and did Jesus not say that He will not cast them out? The real question is: Which Jesus? The Jesus of the Bible is hated by the majority of the human population and also by the majority of the people in these United States. They hate the God of the Bible. They hate a God who has to be feared. They hate a God who says, “Jacob have I loved but Esau have I hated”, and God said this before these children were born. They hate a God who says that “it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy”. They hate a God who says, “No man CAN come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him”. They hate a God who says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect”. People prefer a god of their own design, who behaves pleasantly like they have made him to behave, but they do not like the God of the Bible. It is not a matter of education. It is not whether they have been told. But from the outset people reject what is written here in the Bible. The God of the Bible says in 2Cor 6:14, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” But people say it is OK. You can worship God in other churches as well as in your own church. Let us consider other Christians as one big happy family. If they say that they are Christians, then we must give them the benefit of the doubt. Is that really so? Let me ask again: Which Jesus is being worshipped? The Jesus of the Bible says that He is the Word of God. Therefore, we must believe the whole Bible, or else we would be worshipping another Jesus. If people do not believe the whole Bible, from cover to cover, they would be worshipping a god of their own making. Therefore, when we read in Luke 2:3, “And all went to be registered”, we understand that in the spiritual picture the “all” in this verse refers only to those who truly have been saved, and who worship only the God whom the Bible portrays to be. Can we apply this now to ourselves? Which God do we worship? Do we have any preconceived notions what God is like, or do we let the Bible dictate what we should believe? This is very important, because God will send all those who worship other gods to Hell, no matter how sincere we are, and no matter how pious we are. And then we read in the next verse that Joseph:

  • Was of the House of David (Luke 2:4, 2Sam 7:12-16)

Lu 2:4  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; because he was of the house and lineage of David:

What is so important about that? Joseph was not in the lineage of Jesus. Joseph was His step-father. But Jesus was his Son by adoption. And in the Bible an adopted child receives all the privileges of a true descendant. Therefore the lineage of Joseph was important. We find the lineage of Joseph in Matthew chapter 1. Joseph was a descendant of David through the kingly line, through Solomon and the kings of Judah. Mary was also a descendant of David, but through another son of David, named Nathan. Mary’s genealogy is listed in Luke chapter 3. The Lord Jesus had to be a Son of David from all vantage points, because God is making sure we understand that God keeps all His promises. Put a sticker here in Luke 2, and please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of 2Sam 7:12 (2X). This is easy. You find 2nd Samuel after 1st Samuel, and 1st Samuel is right after Ruth. Here in 2Sam 7 God sent the prophet Nathan to David with a message from God concerning the temple and concerning his Kingdom. And beginning in verse 12 God told David that David should not build the temple, but someone of his seed shall build the temple. This is the message that God sent to David:

2Sa 7:12  And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.

2Sa 7:13  He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.

2Sa 7:14-15,  I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:              But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.

2Sa 7:16  And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.

God spoke here of someone of the seed of David who will build the temple of God, and God will establish His kingdom forever. David understood that this was a Messianic prophecy. Modern day theologians made this prophecy apply to Solomon, who indeed built the physical temple in Jerusalem. But Solomon was not in view in this passage, because his kingdom did not last forever. The kingdom of Babylon terminated Solomon’s kingdom about 400 years later. Therefore, it is the Lord Jesus Christ who was in view. Christ purchased His Kingdom on the cross, and God established the throne of His Kingdom forever. The house that Christ built is the spiritual temple, which consists of all those whose sins have been paid at the cross. This group of people is called the Body of Christ, or the dwelling place of God, because God dwells in their souls. It is in this way that the Kingdom of David shall be established forever. It is not an earthly kingdom, but a spiritual Kingdom. It will remain forever, because it will outlive the destruction of this world, and it will last into eternity. Please turn again to Luke 2, and let us continue the story of Joseph. We read in verse 4 that Joseph came:

  • Out of Nazareth (Luke 2:4, John 1:46)

Lu 2:4  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth.

Why did God arrange it so that Joseph and Mary came out of Nazareth, and the Lord Jesus Christ also grew up in Nazareth? What do we know about Nazareth? Nazareth is nowhere referred to in the OT. From the NT we know that in Galilee one of the most despised cities was Nazareth. The Jews said among each other, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46). There was no honor to have come out of Nazareth. But God the Son, the second Person of the Triune Godhead made Himself of no reputation. He humbled Himself, and took upon him the form of a servant, and chose to grow up in the least esteemed city of Galilee, Nazareth. Not only was Nazareth the least esteemed city in Galilee, but also the inhabitants of Nazareth were the most hostile toward the Lord Jesus. We read in Luke 4 that early in His ministry they tried to kill Him by throwing Him off a cliff. Where are we spiritually? Are we neglecting the Lord Jesus by neglecting to read the Word of God? That is spiritually identical to throwing Jesus off a cliff. Is that where we are, or are we in Bethlehem? The Lord Jesus was not born in Nazareth. The Lord Jesus was born in Bethlehem, or more precisely:

#2.       Bethlehem Ephrata, City of David (Luke 2:4, Mic 5:2, Heb 2:3)

Because there were two cities called Bethlehem. We read in Luke 2:4,

Lu 2:4  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; because he was of the house and lineage of David:

Bethlehem means “House of Bread”. It was the city where the Lord Jesus Christ who is “the Bread of Life” was born. As you know, Bethlehem was about 5 miles from Jerusalem, in the hill country of Judea, on the main highway to Hebron and to Egypt. About 2000 years earlier Rachel, the wife of Jacob, was buried there. In Jacob’s time it was called “Ephrath”, which means “fruitful”. Many years later it was the hometown of Boaz and Ruth. Here their great grandson David was born and here David was anointed by Samuel to be king over all Israel. Therefore this city was known as the “City of David”. It was a great honor for David that Christ was born in Bethlehem, out of the loins of David. Although it was a small city, nevertheless it was an honorable city. God announced the birth of Christ in Bethlehem through the prophet Micah. Let me quote to you from Mic 5:2, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting”. Here in Bethlehem the wise men from the East brought their gifts to the Lord Jesus, because they wanted to worship Him. And here in Bethlehem is where they found their spiritual bread, Christ, the “Bread of Life”. Where do we find Our Bread of Life? We find our spiritual food in the Bible. There on the pages of the Word of God we find Our Lord Jesus, Our Bread of Life. When we read, and study, and believe what we read, we are partaking of Christ, Our Bread of Life. May it not be said that we neglected to read and study the Bible, because it would mean that we have starved our soul unto damnation. God says in Heb 2:3, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him”. And so Bethlehem, the House of Bread, is spiritually representing the Bible, where we are fed with Our Bread of Life. This is the spiritual meaning that Joseph went to Bethlehem. But Joseph did not go alone. Joseph went with:

  • Mary, His Espoused Wife (Luke 2:5)

Lu 2:5  To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. {taxed: or, registered }

Joseph and Mary had to be registered in the city of Bethlehem, because they both were of the lineage of David. What does it mean that Mary was “his espoused wife”? It means that Mary was betrothed to Joseph. The father and mother of Mary promised Joseph, that Mary would be his wife. This promise was as solid as a marriage vow. That is why Joseph sought to divorce Mary in a formal manner when he discovered that she was pregnant. But God interfered. God sent an angel to Joseph in a dream to tell him that Mary’s pregnancy was not caused by her unfaithfulness, but it was from God. And so, Mary remained “his espoused wife” until the Lord Jesus was born. It was only after the birth of Jesus that their marriage could be consummated. But look how wonderfully God’s providence arranged it all. Joseph and Mary were living in Nazareth. Without any interference from Caesar Augustus the baby Jesus would have been born in Nazareth. But prophecy had to be fulfilled. And so God arranged Augustus to be the emperor of the Roman Empire, and at the right time God caused him to make a decree that everyone in his empire had to register at the city of their ancestry. That is why suddenly Joseph and Mary were commanded to travel to Bethlehem. They could not wait till after the birth of Jesus, because the command from Caesar Augustus was urgent. And so it was that in the fullness of time, in the fullness of her pregnancy, they had to travel to Bethlehem, because God had it so ordained, from of old, that the Messiah had to be born in Bethlehem. If God so faithfully kept His prophecies, then should we not expect that God will keep His promises to us, who are His children? God has promised that He will never leave us, nor forsake us. We should adhere to that promise with all our being, and we should never despair or become depressed. Everything shall work together to our favor. This is what we must believe, and practice what we believe. Not just say it, but also apply it.

  • The Days Were Accomplished (Luke 2:6, Gal 4:3-5)

Lu 2:6  And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And so it was that, while they were in Bethlehem, the fullness of time came that she had to give birth. The word “delivered” is an English idiom, and has nothing to do with being liberated from bondage. Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Galatians 4:3 (2X). Here in the Epistle to the Galatians, chapter 4, God begins to speak about us, His elect children, and about our bondage in the past under the elements of this world. It means that in the past we all were by nature in bondage to the enticements and sins that are so common in this world. God says in Gal 4:3-5,

Ga 4:3  Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:

Ga 4:4  But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

Ga 4:5  To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

The fulness of time” had come when Mary gave birth to the Lord Jesus in Bethlehem. Here the days were accomplished that she should give birth to the long promised Messiah. But notice that God’s emphasis did not stop there at the birth of the Lord Jesus. God’s eyes were focused on verse 5, where God said, “To redeem them that were under the law”. This was the purpose for which the Lord Jesus came. He was “made of a woman”, and He was “made under the Law”. He had to obey the Law of the land and He had to obey the law of God even as a baby. He had to obey the command of Caesar and travel, while in His mother’s womb, to Bethlehem because this was Caesar’s command. He had to obey the Law of Moses, and so He had to be circumcised. He had to obey the Law of God, meaning the Word of God in prophecy, and so He had to be born in Bethlehem. But more so, He had to obey the Law of God when He had assumed the guilt for the sins of all His elect people, and He had to pay in their place the wages of sin that the Law of God demanded. God demands the payment of an eternity in Hell. This is the wages of sin. This is what the Lord Jesus Christ had to pay, the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. But this is how He redeemed them that were under the Law. You see, the Bible says in Rom 7 that when we came into the world we were under the Law. We remained under the Law of God, until it pleased God to regenerate our soul by the Holy Spirit. It was then that the Holy Spirit revealed our status within the Kingdom of God. And we believed that the Lord Jesus Christ has paid for all our sins. He redeemed us in order that we also might receive the grace of being the adopted sons of God. Please turn again to the Gospel according to Luke 2:7 (2X). And there we read that the Lord Jesus Christ is called:

#3.       The Firstborn (Luke 2:7, Mark 6:3, Gal 1:18-19, Col 1:15-18)

Lu 2:7  And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Jesus was Her Firstborn Son. It means that Mary had other children after she gave birth to Jesus. The Roman Catholic Church denies it, but the Bible is very clear that this is so. For example when Jesus returned to Nazareth, the city where grew up, we read of their response in Mark 6:3,

Mr 6:3  Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.

And also we read in Gal 1:18-19,

Ga 1:18  Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.

Ga 1:19  But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.

There are many other verses like these, which unambiguously show that Mary did not remain a virgin. Mary gave birth to at least 6 children after she gave birth to Jesus. It really does not matter a great deal how many children Mary had. The main thing is that we may not elevate Mary to the status of being the “Immaculate Conception” before Jesus was conceived in her, and being the “Virgin Mary” all her life, and being the “Mother of God” for eternity. This must be unmasked as a gross idolatry. However, there is another reason why God dropped the name “The Firstborn” on the Lord Jesus. Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Colossians 1:15 (2X). First of all Christ is God’s only begotten Son, and thus from God’s perspective He is “The Firstborn in the family of God”. But the Lord Jesus Christ is also called “the Firstborn of all creation” because by Him and for Him were all things created. We read here in Col 1:15-18,

Col 1:15  Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

Col 1:16  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

Col 1:17  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Col 1:18  And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

And thus, God says that Christ is called “the Firstborn of every creature”, or a better translation would be “the Firstborn of all creation” because all things were created by Him and for Him. Before anything was created God the Son was there. God, in His counsel before the foundation of the world already conceived in His mind all creation and all that would come to pass. And God already decided that in all things Christ might have the preeminence. But what is the process by which Christ would have the preeminence? He shall be called “The Firstborn From the Dead”, which refers to His resurrection from the dead, to indicate how He shall redeem all creation for Himself. First He created it, then Adam squandered it with the result that it was ruled over by Satan, and then Christ redeemed it, He bought it all back, when He paid for it on the cross. This is why He is called the Firstborn. Primarily it is pointing to His cross and His resurrection. Let us now return to Luke 2:7.

  • And Laid Him in The Manger (Luke 2:7, Rom 10:17, Gen 3:15)

Lu 2:7  And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in The Manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Did I read that right? That is correct. The Greek text does not say “a manger”, but “The Manger”. The definite article is really there. What is that supposed to mean? It means that God had a specific manger in mind. A manger is an animal feeding trough. Mary laid Jesus in The Manger. Does this have anything to do with the fact that Jesus is called the Bread of Life? And where is the Bread of Life found? The Lord Jesus Christ as our spiritual Bread of Life is found only in the Bible. Christ is found only in the Bible, the Word of God, for “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom 10:17). And therefore, The Manger is spiritually representing the Bible. There is only one Bible. That is why God chose to write “The Manger”. Mary is a type of the OT body of believers, as prophesied in Gen 3:15, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed”. Mary laid the Lord Jesus in the manger, like the OT prophets laid the Messiah in the Bible. And just like God gave the Lord Jesus to Mary, so God gave the OT prophets the words to speak and to write. What was the reason why she laid Jesus in the manger? She laid Him in the manger because there was no room for them in the inn. What does that mean spiritually?

  • No Room for Them in the Inn (Luke 2:7)

Lu 2:7  And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Why was there no room for them in the inn? What do the inn and the stable represent? Certainly

God pictures here a contrast. Literally, the Greek word translated inn is actually a word that means “a guestchamber”. The stable, on the other hand, houses the animals that feed from the manger. Which of the 2 groups of creatures are better off? The lowly animals in the stable, or the rich people in the guestchamber? Of course, those in the stable have only the Lord Jesus Christ and no cash, whereas those in the guestchamber have cash but have not the Lord Jesus Christ. This is why there was no room for Jesus in the guestchamber. Those who have all the worldly goods often have no need for Jesus. The thorns and thistles of the cares of this world have crowded out Jesus.

But let us now look at ourselves. Do we make room for Jesus in our hearts and in our lives? Let us be honest about it. Do we particularly like the church to spend our money on evangelism? Why should we care if some of these messages go out on tapes, or on the Internet, or on the radio? We do not listen to the radio, and we never check out our website or the tapes. These are all invisible expenses. These are expenses that seem to go down like water in a hole in the beach.

But let us now honestly ask ourselves: What really is our commitment to this church? Are we in it just to see what we can get out of it? You can see how ridiculous it gets when we approach the church from a purely selfish point of view. This is not why we come together. We come together because we love the Lord Jesus Christ. We come together because we love one another. It is our love for Christ that drives us to work for Him. It is our love for Christ that causes us to ask what we can do to help in the church. It is our love for Christ that causes us to seek opportunities to witness, regardless the cost. Do we really love the Lord Jesus Christ? Then what are the evidences that we can show to Christ how much we love Him? He gave His all. He laid down His glory and came to earth to be born in a stable, and to grow up at poverty level. But He was rich from the inside. Whom do we want to follow? Do we want to follow the rich in the guestchamber or do we want to follow Christ in a stable? Do I need to remind you that salvation is synonymous with loving the Lord Jesus? Not just any Jesus, but the Jesus from the Bible. 

AMEN.                             Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.