9 But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” — Jude 1:9a NLT
When satan comes around to tempt us or to harass us in any way, we must be very careful of the words we use in resisting his efforts. We have the authority to “resist the devil” James 4:7 NKJV but only the Lord can rebuke the devil Zechariah 3:1,2 NKJV . If we say to satan that we:rebuke: him, he knows we don’t have that authority, so it doesn’t bother him. Just ask the sons of Sceva Acts19:16 =NKJV . So, how do we resist without rebuking? We do what Paul told us to do in Ephesians 6, we put on the whole armor of God and we take up the only weapon that can defeat satan “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God”. That is what Jesus did when He was tempted by satan in the wilderness. Is there a better example to follow than Jesus our Savior and Lord? We know there isn’t.
37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. — Matt 13:37-39 NIV
We are warned over and over in the Bible, that as the end draws nearer, there will arise more and more false prophets even in the church. They will seem genuine to those who do not have the Holy Spirit abiding in them and therefore, have no discernment. They will preach and teach a “cheap” grace. A grace based on head knowledge and not on what we have in our hearts. They will expound doctrines that do not require holy lifestyles or they will add manmade rules that require more than the Bible requires for salvation. Whether they add to or subtract from the Biblical requirements for salvation, they are both wrong. When we have truly accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior and He gives us the Holy Spirit, we are saved. We are clothed in His holiness and righteousness. There is nothing we can do to make ourselves more holy or more righteous than He made us. A Christlike lifestyle is the external proof of what we believe in our hearts not what we know in our minds. Our thoughts and actions are the fruit of the Spirit, a good tree will bear good fruit and a bad tree will bear bad fruit. It is a natural and a spiritual law that we cannot change. For fruit trees to bear an abundant crop, they require a lot of care. So, everyday, fertilize the tree with scripture and wash it with the water of the Word.
19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. — 1 Peter 2:19-23 NIV
We have brothers and sisters throughout the world who “bear up under the pain of unjust suffering” everyday because of their commitment and faithfulness to Jesus Christ. If someone asked us to tell about our latest persecution brought on by our commitment to God, what would our answer be? Do we even understand what it really means to suffer for doing good and/or being faithful? Worldwide, Christians are the most persecuted group and yet, Christianity is still the fastest growing group. Even though, we are not yet being openly persecuted, Christians in the “free” world are being more and more marginalized everyday. Our time to be openly persecuted may be closer than we care to admit. We can name the names of our favorite pastors, members of our favorite sports team, but can we name the name of one persecuted Christian? Add persecuted Christian(s) to your list of people to pray for everyday. Pray that God will send His angels to strengthen them in their situations.
41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. — Luke 22:41-43 NIV
31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.
1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.–1 Cor. 12:31-13:1 NIV
In chapter 12, Paul has been explaining the importance of each individual in being part of the body of Christ. He ends chapter 12 with the instructions to desire the greater gifts. Before the translators came up with divisions of chapters and verses, this would have been a continuation of Paul’s words without an interruption. Paul immediately launches into an elongated definition of love, giving us the “love” chapter of Corinthians 13. This a pretty strong hint in what Paul considers to be the most important aspect of Christianity. Unless our words are backed up with actions of love, we are just making noise and creating much ado about nothing. Then Paul starts chapter 14 with this verse
14 Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, –1 Cor. 14a NASB
Paul continues his letter with a discussion of gifts and their use in the church. Remember that Paul wrote these two letters to the Corinthians because they were having issues in the church about gifts and who was the most important. So, right in the middle of this discourse on the body of Christ and the gifts God has given us, he pauses to emphasize that none of this is about us. It is about serving God in love and unity. Use your gift in love to edify others, but don’t think that it makes you any more important than anyone else in the congregation.
48 The people retorted, “You Samaritan devil! Didn’t we say all along that you were possessed by a demon?” 49 “No,” Jesus said, “I have no demon in me. For I honor my Father — and you dishonor me. 50 And though I have no wish to glorify myself, God wants to glorify me. Let him be the judge. 51 I assure you, anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!” 52 The people said, “Now we know you are possessed by a demon. Even Abraham and the prophets died, but you say that those who obey your teaching will never die! 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? Are you greater than the prophets, who died? Who do you think you are?”—John 8: 48-53 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
Now the people are really getting upset! They even tell Jesus that He is demon possessed. Jesus assures them that He is not demon possessed and that He is here to honor His Father. He also tells them that if anyone accepts His teachings as truth, they will never die. This gets the crowd in a bigger uproar! How can you say that those who obey you will never die? “Who do you think you are?” Who is this man Jesus? It is the same question that all of us must answer, “Who do you think Jesus is?” The answer to that question will determine where you spend eternity. Consider it carefully. My prayer is that you will come to know Jesus as your own personal Savior and Lord. If you do, it will be the best Christmas you have ever celebrated. Even the angels in heaven will join in and throw a party.
8-10 “Or imagine a woman who has ten coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and scour the house, looking in every nook and cranny until she finds it? And when she finds it you can be sure she’ll call her friends and neighbors: ‘Celebrate with me! I found my lost coin!’ Count on it—that’s the kind of party God’s angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God.”—Luke 15:8-10 (The Message)
59 He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
God is waiting to show you the Way.
60 Many of his disciples said, “This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?” 61 Jesus was aware that his disciples were complaining, so he said to them,“Does this offend you? 62 Then what will you think if you see the Son of Man ascend to heaven again? 63 The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But some of you do not believe me.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn’t believe, and he knew who would betray him.) 65 Then he said,“That is why I said that people can’t come to me unless the Father gives them to me.”—John 6:59-65 (NLT)
Many of the people who had followed Jesus and had become His disciples were offended at the words of Jesus when He said you must eat my flesh and drink my blood. They complained that His words were too hard to understand. In today’s society, we have the same thing happening. There are people who go to church, hear the Gospel of Jesus and leave offended. Because they don’t understand, they think that Christianity is a negative, bloody religion. It is only when the Holy Spirit calls us and we come to Jesus and believe His words that we can understand the message. The Spirit leads us into all truth and gives life to the words of Jesus. It is then that we can understand that the spoken words become the living Word, Jesus.
14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.—John 1:14 (NLT)
Once we accept this truth, we become the Children of the Living God.
We are Spirit-bred, (John 3:5)
We are Spirit-led (John 16:13)
We are Spirit-fed (John 21:15-17)
5 So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful. 6 And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment. 7 And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment. 8 In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings.—Jude: 5-8 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
Jude continues his warnings to the early Christians and to us to stay alert for false prophets and those teaching false doctrines. When we look around us in today’s world, we see the same things happening. We often wonder why God allows it to continue. God’s judgment may not come on these people when we think it should, but we can be sure that it is coming in His timing. The people who deny God’s existence will be punished as surely as these people in the Old Testament. There is a heaven and there is a hell. There are angels and there are demons. Those who do not believe this live immoral lives and tempt others to do the same. We must continue to stand firm. The end will come and the earth will be consumed by fire. Of this, we can be sure. We don’t need to focus on how or when this will happen. We just need to keep our eyes on Jesus and know that one day we will see Him face-to-face.
1 Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. 2 Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! 3 Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies. 4 Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.
God is waiting to show you the way.
5 Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said,
“I will never fail you.
I will never abandon you.”–Hebrews 13:1-5 (NLT)
Jesus said that the two greatest commandments were
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’[e] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.–Matt 22:37,38 (NLT
We must keep on showing our love for Jesus by loving others. We must be kind to others with charitable acts even when we think we can’t afford it. We must pray daily for Christians that are being persecuted around the world. It appears that it won’t be long until we will need those prayers for ourselves. Don’t love money or believe that it will sustain you. We should depend on God for all of our needs, God said “I will never fail you, I will never abandon you”. We should live our lives as if we really believed that. This is what the Lord requires of us:
8 No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.– Micah 6:8 (NLT)
14 Since all of these sons and daughters have flesh and blood, Jesus took on flesh and blood to be like them. He did this so that by dying he would destroy the one who had power over death (that is, the devil). 15 In this way he would free those who were slaves all their lives because they were afraid of dying. 16 So Jesus helps Abraham’s descendants rather than helping angels. 17 Therefore, he had to become like his brothers and sisters so that he could be merciful. He became like them so that he could serve as a faithful chief priest in God’s presence and make peace with God for their sins. 18 Because Jesus experienced temptation when he suffered, he is able to help others when they are tempted.–Hebrews 2:14-18 (GW)
God is waiting to show you the way.
Jesus took on flesh and blood and became human just as we are. He became like us so that He could experience the same things we experience. Because Jesus was willing to do that, He knows our feelings and our weaknesses. He understands the situations we go through and the temptations we face. The difference is that He went through these same things without sinning. Because He is perfect, He is more than qualified to serve as the sacrificial Lamb for our sins. His perfection also qualified Him to be our chief Priest. It also qualifies Him to judge us and correct us when we sin. God made Him a little lower than the angels and then restored Him to His glory in heaven, where He is, even now, interceding for us when we fall to temptations.
6 Instead, someone has declared this somewhere in Scripture:
God is waiting to show you the way.
“What is a mortal that you should remember him,
or the Son of Man that you take care of him?
7 You made him a little lower than the angels.
You crowned him with glory and honor.
8 You put everything under his control.”
When God put everything under his Son’s control, nothing was left out.
However, at the present time we still don’t see everything under his Son’s control.9 Jesus was made a little lower than the angels, but we see him crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death. Through God’s kindness he died on behalf of everyone. 10 God is the one for whom and through whom everything exists. Therefore, while God was bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was the right time to bring Jesus, the source of their salvation, to the end of his work through suffering.—Hebrews 2:6-10 (GW)
Reading this passage, I am reminded of these words from Isaiah:
8 “My thoughts are not your thoughts, and my ways are not your ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts.”–Isaiah 55:8,9 (GW)
Why does the Creator even consider the created? Why would God create us knowing that in the future, He would have to give His only Son as a sacrifice for our sins? He caused His son to give up the glory of heaven and become lower than the angels He had created. This is love that human beings cannot understand. Through His kindness, God allowed His son to suffer and die for us. Then, because Jesus was obedient even to death on that cross, God crowned Him with glory and honor and established Him as ruler over all things. When Jesus returns, He will use the authority given to Him to rule and reign. At that time, those who have refused to bow before Him will be cast into an everlasting hell. Those who have chosen to receive His salvation will be with Him in the new heaven and the new earth forever. We will cast our crowns at His feet and He will be crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords.