Jesus had given up all His glory when He left heaven to become our Redeemer. That mission was soon to be completed. He had not lost a single soul that the Father had given Him. (Yes, Judas was lost, but he obviously was never a true believer) Now, Jesus is asking His Father to bring Him back home to be returned to that glory. He will have accomplished everything that they had planned before the earth was formed. He, once again, tells us the way to eternal life is to know Himself and His Father, the only true God. Now, it is our turn to bring glory to the Father by living the same lifestyle that Jesus lived.
35 Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.—Matt. 9:35-36 (NLT)
As we go, we should always be telling the Good News about the Kingdom, but there are those that Jesus puts in our path that He wants us to talk to about Him. Our lifestyle and actions should be such that people notice a difference between us and the world. If we allow the Holy Spirit that abides in us to do His work through us then we will produce the fruits of the Spirit and that will draw people to Jesus.
Do we really believe that Jesus is available all the time? Do we really believe that He wants the absolute best for us all the time? Do we really believe that He is interested in our present welfare? Or do we believe that He is only interested in our eternity? Do we really believe that He loves us so much that He is interceding for us right now? Do we really believe that the King of Kings is praying for us at this very moment? Do we really believe that “if He gave us His Son, He will freely give us ALL things? Do we really believe “that all things are possible to him who believes”? Do we really believe that we need to “hide God’s Word in our heart”? Do we really believe that God’s Holy Spirit is a person and can be grieved? Do we really believe that Jesus is God? Do we really believe that God’s Holy Spirit is God? Do we really believe that God’s Holy Spirit searches our hearts and prays for us? Do we really believe that God’s Spirit knows our hearts and the heart of God and that He is able to communicate our deepest desires to God and put God’s answers in our heart? Does our lifestyle and daily walk reflect that we really believe that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible, immutable word of God? Do we constantly lean on Jesus or is He just our safety net? Is He our constant friend or is He our ER doctor? Is He first in our lives or just mixed in somewhere down the list? Is a day without spending time with Him and in His word dark and gloomy? Does our soul hunger and thirst after Him and His word just as much as our body hungers and thirsts after food and drink?
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. – 1 Cor. 6:11 NLT
If we are unable to forgive our brothers and sisters for these things, we are no further along than we were when we were living a sinful lifestyle. What, then, shall we say to those who have not yet accepted Christ? If we continue in our old lifestyle, we might want to question whether we actually repented of our sins or just had an emotional experience at the altar? True repentance does not leave the heart and mind empty, it fills us with the Holy Spirit so that satan cannot come back and take up residence in our lives. Oh, he will send one of his demons by to checkup on us, but it is up to us to make sure he doesn’t get a room and stay. That is what we used to be and do. But now, we are forgiven and washed in the blood. We have been cleansed “just as if” we had never sinned and we are being sanctified daily. 23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.–1 Thess. 5:23,24 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”–John 10:17,18 (NIV) The Holy Spirit has been given to us as our guide, but He will never make us do anything against our own will. We have the power and the authority to make the same decision that Jesus made. We can decide to hold onto our earthly, physical lives if that is what we want or we can decide to put our lives on the cross that Jesus gives us to bear. We will never do this as long as our own pride and other people’s opinions of us are more important than pleasing God. There is one funeral that we all need to attend and that is the death and burial of our fleshly desires. Anything that we put above our love and obedience for God has to be removed. It is a decision that Jesus had to make and so must we. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus ended His prayer with “not My will but thine be done”. So should our prayer be as well. 44 Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last.–Luke 23:44-46 (NIV)
Are we ready to commit our whole lives, mind, soul, body, and spirit into the hands of God? The way of the cross leads home, but we have to go through the cross, the blood and the darkness to get there.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.–Romans 12:1-3 NIV
When Paul says “bodies” here, he is talking about more than just the physical body that we see.The Greek word is “soma” which can mean “a sound whole” In other words, Paul is referring to the same things that Jesus listed in Luke 10:27, when He said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind“. We. like David, need a “heart after God’s heart” and we need “the mind of Christ” If we have these two things, then we can be sure that our soul is secure in Jesus Christ and it will be our desire to worship God with all of our strength. Our heart’s desire will be to daily ask God to “create a clean Heart” and “renew a right Spirit” within us. If we do this, our minds will be continually renewed by the Holy Spirit. If we stay in communion with the Holy Spirit who stays in communion with the Father, then we will know God’s will for our lives for this moment. And when you think about it, that is probably all we can handle. We won’t need to know what tomorrow is going to bring, if we don’t make it through today. Stay humble and walk in faith.
8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.—Micah 6:8 NIV
23 One of the followers sitting next to Jesus was the follower Jesus loved. 24 Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus whom he was talking about. 25 That follower leaned closer to Jesus and asked, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “I will dip this bread into the dish. The man I give it to is the man who will turn against me.” So Jesus took a piece of bread, dipped it, and gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered him. Jesus said to him, “The thing that you will do — do it quickly.” 28 No one at the table understood why Jesus said this to Judas. 29 Since he was the one who kept the money box, some of the followers thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the feast or to give something to the poor. 30 Judas took the bread Jesus gave him and immediately went out. It was night.—John 13:23-30 (NCV)
Jesus had just told them that one of the 12 would betray Him. It is only natural that they would wonder which one it would be. Jesus told them it would be the one to whom He gave the bread. Even when Jesus dipped the bread and handed it to Judas and said to Judas, “Do it quickly”, they still did not understand. When Judas took the bread, he immediately left. He walked out into the darkness of the night. Judas had spent years with the Light of the world, yet it seemingly had not penetrated the utter darkness of his lost soul. Judas was still more concerned about his own well being than he was about the Good News of Jesus Christ. It is possible to sit in the light without seeing the light when you are blind. Judas was spiritually blind and unwilling to see the Light. Jesus knocks at the door, but it is up to each of us to open the door and let the Light into our hearts and lives. We can hear the Word daily, just as Judas did, and still not be redeemed. We must not only repent from our sins and empty ourselves of all impurities, but we must fill that void with the Light of the Word. 43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. —Matt. 12:43-45a (NIV)
1 My dear children, I’m writing this to you so that you will not sin. Yet, if anyone does sin, we have Jesus Christ, who has God’s full approval. He speaks on our behalf when we come into the presence of the Father. 2 He is the payment for our sins, and not only for our sins, but also for the sins of the whole world.–1 John 2:1,2 (GW)
The plan of salvation and redemption was laid out before the foundations of the world were laid. 19 Rather, the payment that freed you was the precious blood of Christ, the lamb with no defects or imperfections. 20 He is the lamb who was known long ago before the world existed, but for your good he became publicly known in the last period of time. 21 Through him you believe in God who brought Christ back to life and gave him glory. So your faith and confidence are in God.–1 Peter 1:19-21 (GW)
Jesus having fulfilled His mission here on earth now stands at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. We are hidden in Christ and He abides in us. No amount of service or money could ever pay this debt. No amount of worship or adoration by mankind can ever match the marvelous love, mercy and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Humbly bow before Him now and thank Him! Praise Him and give Him glory forever! 23 My lips will sing with joy when I make music to praise you. My soul, which you have rescued, also will sing joyfully.—Psalm 71:23 (GW)
9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment. 11 Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, 12 looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. 13 But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.—2 Peter 3:9-13 (NLT)
One day and possibly in the not too distant future, this earth will once again be destroyed. Only this time, it will be with fire, the heavens, the earth and everything in it will be burned with fire and melt away. There is only one Person to turn to, if we want to escape this terrible destruction. We must turn to Jesus. We should be practicing that every day of our lives. In the smallest of trials and frustrations, we should be turning to Jesus now. That is how we build our faith and know that we can trust Him to deliver us from the wrath to come. If we can’t trust Him with a hangnail, how do you suppose we can trust Him with the future of our souls? When the doctor says, “you only have a few days”, where do you turn? We should practice turning to the Great Physician in the small things. Regardless of who applies the bandage, He is the one who does the healing. He, and He alone, can direct the medical team if the end result is going to be healing. Above all, praise Him that the day is coming when we won’t need doctors of any kind. We will live an eternity where there is no sickness and no more dying.
22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. 23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. 24 As the Scriptures say, “People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. 25 But the word of the Lord remains forever.” And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.—1 Peter 1:22-25 (NLT)
The only way we can show our love for Jesus is by showing that love to others. Before we were cleansed from our sins, we only knew how to love the way the world loves. When we showed our love we expected love in return, it was a conditional love. I will love you if you love me. I will do things for you if you will do things for me in return. That is not the way Jesus loves us. His love is unconditional. He always loves us regardless of what we do or whether we ever return that love to Him. That is deep, heartfelt love. It is an eternal love that cannot be destroyed because its foundation is the love of Jesus Christ. Physically, we will all pass away unless the Lord comes back before that happens. Just as we see plants wither away every year, so will our physical bodies, but the love of Jesus and His Word are eternal. We have received and believed that Word, so we will be raised again to enjoy eternal life and love with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. While we wait, let us show sincere love for each other, not only in our words, but in our actions.
13 For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. 14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.–Galatians 5:13-15 (NLT)
God is love! Because of that love, a love that is incomprehensible to humans, He gave us His Son to redeem us from our sinful state. Jesus was obedient, even to the Cross, because He is also love. He is our example of how to serve others in love. If we focus on Jesus and His service to us, we find that our joy will be restored. Fulfill this one command: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and body and your neighbor as yourself”. Practice this by doing small acts of kindness to others each day. It isn’t necessarily something overt or costly. Forgive before they ask, don’t verbalize that unkind thought, smile and say hello to a stranger. Ask God’s Holy Spirit to prompt you and give you the words of encouragement that those He puts in your path need to hear.