9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” — Romans 10:9-13 NIV
It is the old, old story, the story that has been told over and over throughout the centuries. It will continue to be told until every nation, tongue and tribe has heard it and Jesus returns. But, it is also a story that we, as Christians, should hold near and dear to our hearts. We should never hear it or think about it without being amazed by the great love shown to us by our Creator. God, Himself, left all of His glory in heaven and came to earth as a man to redeem a fallen world! He could have wiped us out and started over. He could have done anything He chose to do. And He did! He chose to give His life for ours! Love never-ending and beyond our comprehension led Him to a cross and us to eternal life in glory with Him! Then, He trusted a bunch of redeemed sinners to tell that story to everyone we know until the whole world would hear it. “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound!” May we never grow tired of hearing and telling the old, old story.
Up until the death of Jesus, the people would follow after certain Rabbis, the great teachers of religion in that time. These Rabbis taught the Old Testament laws and rules, as well as those who taught idol worship. Now there was a new plan of salvation instituted with the death and resurrection of Jesus. In a sense, it is understandable that the people, at that time, would have been inclined to follow the teachers and not just their teaching. Paul is telling the Corinthians that they aren’t yet able to understand the message. They must first learn that it is the message that is important and not the messenger. Until they understand this and have accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord, he is not able to teach them in more depth. We still have the same thing happening in our society today. We have people who are misled and think that the messenger is the savior, thus we have cults and incidents such as Jim Jones, where people follow their leaders even unto death. Paul was concerned that the people in Corinth would turn back to the law or false religion. He wanted to be able to get them grounded in the faith by teaching them about living a Holy life after being saved, so that they, in turn, could make disciples of others. Today, we have many people who are saved and then become unsatisfied with Christianity because we don’t teach them to live holy lives. They drop out of church because we don’t teach them that living for Jesus is hard, but the joy and the end result is more than worth the effort.
57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.–1 Cor. 15:57 NIV
As Jesus spoke plainly to His disciples, they found it easier to understand the things He was telling them. Now they understood and believed that Jesus was the
Son of God. Now Jesus tells them that each one of them will abandon Him in His time of suffering. But He assures them that He will not be alone, even when they all leave Him. Jesus explains to them that they will have trials and sorrows in this world, but they can still have peace because He has overcome the world. We will have our times of trials as well. But we have someone now that the disciples didn’t have until later. When Jesus left, the Holy Spirit came to take His place. The Holy Spirit is not another god, He is the same God in a different form to perform a different function. We should not fear the trials and temptations that will come our way, because we have someone inside us who is more powerful than anything in the world.
4 But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.—1 John 4:4 (NLT)
How can we be called “over-comers” and “more than conquerors”, if we never have any problems to overcome or battles to win?
Because of His great love for sinners, such as us, God made His salvation plan very simple and free. Just believe! Once we are saved, we start on a journey that will require everything and every part of us. It is not easy to love all of God’s children. Even so, it is not a choice we can make, it is a command given to us by our Father. Then we must learn to obey His commandments. This obedience and faith in the work of the Holy Spirit in us, we can become overcomers. The flesh alone can not defeat satan in the smallest battle, we have to depend on Jesus to fight our battles. Our job is to “trust and obey”. Instead of worrying and being filled with fear, we just need to lean on Jesus. The world says “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”. Jesus says something totally different.
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”–Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)
Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us, just rest in His arms and praise Him!
We must be very careful who we let speak into our Spiritual lives. Are the people with whom we spend the most time encouraging us in our Spiritual life or are they more concerned with worldly activities, such as our social life? Do we spend more time on Facebook or in the Book? There are at least two very easy ways to find out where we are “laying up our treasures”. One is to look at our checkbooks to see where we spend our earthly treasure and the other is our phones/computers to see with whom we converse and what we converse about. Are we tithing our money and our time? We don’t need to be spiritual fanatics beating people over the head with the Bible, but we do need to be sure that our lives reflect the fact that we are redeemed and that Jesus Christ is our Lord, We need to listen to God, first of all, and then to those who belong to God. We need heavenly wisdom, not earthly wisdom.
18 Do not fool yourselves. If you think you are wise in this world, you should become a fool so that you can become truly wise, 19 because the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. It is written in the Scriptures, “He catches those who are wise in their own clever traps.” 20 It is also written in the Scriptures, “The Lord knows what wise people think. He knows their thoughts are just a puff of wind.”—1 Cor. 3:18-20 (NCV)
Our brains are the most fantastic computers ever designed and we all know the old GIGO principle about computers. So, we need to limit the amount of garbage the world puts in us and increase the amount of wisdom that God is so anxious to give to us. We do this by meditating on the Scriptures and listening to and spending time with the right people.
The people we read about in Chapter 11, successfully completed the course Jesus had laid out for them. Now, they are in heaven, cheering us on as we run our races. Just as we see worldly runners using lighter and lighter attire for their races, we must get down to our spiritual running weight. We do this by getting rid of all the cares and worries of this world. Jesus instructs us to “cast our cares upon Him”. When we do this, we are spiritually lighter and ready to run. We must stay focused on the prize, an eternity with Jesus. We do this by focusing on what Jesus did while He was here on earth and imitating Him. He is our hero and our champion. If we stay faithful and run with endurance to the finish line, we will be rewarded. We will be offended in this world, but most of us will never be offended to the point of dying for Jesus. Since we probably won’t have to die for Jesus, let’s live for Him.
In 2 Thess. 2:5-12, Paul talks about the spirit of the anti-Christ that is already present in the world. The anti-Christ is being held back by God’s Holy Spirit. Our concern now is to stand firm on the Holy Scriptures and not be deceived by that spirit of the anti-Christ. That spirit is busy today in our world deceiving people and it explains why intelligent people believe incredible things. The world as a whole will become more wicked as time passes. Those of us who have been called to salvation and have accepted Jesus as our Savior have nothing to fear from the anti-Christ or satan himself. Jesus has given us eternal comfort and hope. He will continue to strengthen us and comfort us as we carry out His plan for each of our lives. We are not to live in fear, because we belong to God Who has told us that He is greater than the spirit that lives in the world. We cannot be defeated!!!!!
But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.–1 John 4:4 (NLT)
Each of us goes through a myriad of situations in our lifetime. Hardly a day goes by, (probably none) that we don’t have some sort of frustration in our lives. Does this mean that we have lost our salvation or that God no longer loves us? No, God hates sins, but He does not hate the sinner, His heart is set on forgiveness and restoration. Our fellowship with Him can be broken and interrupted, but the very second we repent, He is waiting with open arms to receive us back into fellowship with Himself. If we don’t have this assurance of salvation and forgiveness, then as Paul said, “we, of all people, are most miserable”. But we do have it because it is dependent on the faithfulness of God, not on our faithfulness. So, “rejoice and be glad, this is the day the Lord has made”.
In today’s society, we are confronted almost daily with alternate belief systems. There are religions with all kinds of tenets and creeds. But none of them claim to serve a risen Savior. Christianity is the only one that makes that claim. Our God is a living, loving God. He sent Jesus to overcome death, hell, and the grave. For that reason, we must stand strong and immovable. For us, there can be no alternative to Jesus. He is the way, the truth, and the life. His death and resurrection guarantees us eternal life. So, our work that we must do enthusiastically for Him is to “win” others to Christ. “Win” is the correct word because we are in a spiritual war every day and we must be overcomers. We overcome satan by the blood of Jesus, our testimony and because we love Jesus more than life itself. Religious work is useless, but the work that we do for Christ is eternal.