These must have been very confusing days for the disciples and the true believers in Jesus. The Messiah had come but He had not set up an earthly kingdom as many believed that He would do. Now, Jesus is telling His followers even worse news. “I will be with you only a little longer.” Why was He leaving and where could He be going? Looking back from our vantage point in history, we know where He was going and we understand why He had to leave. Few, if any, of the people present at that time understood that. Isn’t it wonderful news that Jesus has never made that statement to us? In fact, just the opposite is true. To us, He has said:
5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”——Hebrews 13: 5 (NKJV)
We have a companion that is closer than a brother. He not only leads us, He walks with us, He is our rearguard, and He abides inside us. Jesus is in us and we are in Jesus. What more could anyone ask?
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
In our witnessing, there is only one message and that message is the foundation of Christianity. The message is this; Jesus died on the cross at Calvary to redeem us from our sinful nature. He was buried and three days later, He arose. That is the foundation upon which the church of Jesus Christ is built. We can build on that foundation by teaching others that the Bible is completely true. If we do this with understanding and wisdom from heaven, then we will be building with gold, silver and costly stones. This builder will receive his crowns and rewards in heaven. If we do it with only human understanding without the illumination of the Holy Spirit, we will be building with wood, hay or straw. This builder will narrowly make it to heaven, but suffer the loss of any rewards he thought he had earned.
22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh–Jude 22-23 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
1 Peter 3:13-17 (NLT) 13 Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. 15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. 17 Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!
We are all guilty! We have felt that gentle nudge from God’s Spirit and said nothing, we have heard that soft quiet voice and still we did nothing! The King of Kings, the Creator of the Universe has issued the command to go and spread the gospel to all of us. (Ref. Matt 28:19, 20) And in individual situations, He has asked us to speak out and invite others into His Kingdom. Why don’t we speak out? Are we afraid that our friends and acquaintances will mock us, make fun of us, reject us? Always remember this, they did the same to Jesus and we are not greater than our Creator. But the most important thing to remember is that it isn’t us they are rejecting, it is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. We are going to suffer in this world, and as Peter tells us, it is better to suffer for doing good, than for doing evil. Matthew 5:11-12 NLT “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.
1 John 2:3-8 (NLT) 3 And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. 4 If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. 5 But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. 6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. 7 Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before. 8 Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it. For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining.
Since God loved us so much that He gave Himself on the cross for our redemption, we should live our lives for His glory. Living that lifestyle and showing love for each other is how the world can see that we belong to Jesus Christ. If His word abides in us and we abide in Him, that relationship will be reflected in how we respond to situations in our daily lives. Bitter and sweet water can not come from the same stream. A lifestyle that reflects glory to God will be one that is characterized by the fruits of God’s Spirit. Grace, kindness, love, patience, joy, gentleness should be the fruit that we produce. Before we react to a stressful situation, we need to whisper a silent prayer. Counting to ten might keep you from saying something hurtful, but prayer will give you the words that are life-giving and beneficial to you and the other people involved in the situation. Don’ be deceived into thinking that we should just go with the flow. God has put you where you are to make a difference in the lives of the people around you. Sometimes that requires us to step out of our comfort zone and show love to people who are seemingly unloveable. We are the light that God has placed in this world to dispel the darkness. God is just as concerned about what you say to those in the workplace as He is about your Pastor’s sermon on Sunday morning. There are words of life that need to be spoken, but they must be spoken in love.
Romans 5:1-5 (NLT) 1. Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. 3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
God has not only given us His Holy Son to die on a cross to redeem us from sin, He has also given us His Holy Spirit to indwell us. When God has given us His absolute best, why would He withhold any good thing from us? God knows where we are in our walk with Him. The trials and problems we face are to let us know our progress. God cannot be surprised, He knows us better than we know ourselves. He isn’t worried about tomorrow because for Him, there are no tomorrows, there is only now. So, we should follow His example and stay focused on “now”. We can’t see the “big picture” so we can’t know what is best for us. Everything in creation was created by the Power of His Word and it is held in place by that same power. Everything He allows in our lives is for our benefit. If we truly believe that, then we can truly trust Him to bring us safely home.
Romans 5:10,11 (NLT) 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.
There is only One Creator who would create a creature knowing that it would require His death to redeem that creation. What kind of Creator has that much love for His creation? God, and God alone, because He alone is complete, pure love. God, as the man Jesus did not die for some bogus religion of the world. He died to renew the relationship that He had with man in the Garden of Eden. We call that relationship, Christianity. There is no comparison of Christianity to any religion in the world. Christianity is eternal because it is based on Jesus Christ, who died and was resurrected for our sins. He knew from before the foundations of the earth that He would have to do that. Sin took away that relationship and introduced all kinds of false hopes, which the world calls “religions”. All those religions are named after and founded on the teachings of dead men. But, praise God, Christianity is named after and based on the teachings of a LIVING GOD and SAVIOR! One who longs to talk to You and show You His love in the tiniest details of Your Life.
If, up until now, you have only experienced “religion”, it is time for you to get into a “relationship” with the One and Only Living God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is standing at your heart’s door and knocking. Open up to the most beautiful and meaningful relationship you will ever know.
Post for 9/16
Jude (NIV) 17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. 20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
If you have been keeping an eye on the Middle East, you can see that God’s clock is ticking down the minutes until Jesus returns. All over the world and especially here in our great country, we can see the signs of the “last times”. We hear people more and more saying that there is no God, scoffing at Biblical principles and the words spoken by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Atheists are becoming more outspoken and militant with their comments. When people say there is no God, what they are really saying is they don’t accept the truth of the God of the Bible. Their pride is saying “I will not accept any god that I have to be accountable to. Everyone has a “god”, someone or something that they are devoted to, even if it is their self. False prophets will rise up with such convincing truths that even the most devout Christian can be deceived unless we are “rooted and grounded” in the truths of the Bible. We must spend more time with our God. If you are having trouble finding answers, do no dig a wider hole or forsake your first Love, just dig deeper into the Holy Scriptures and meditate on them. The answer is there and God is waiting to reveal it to you.
Posted for 09/02