The Purpose Of Promise

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2 Corinthians 7:1 (KJV)  Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Audio of Sermon: 

Last week the Apostle told us not to receive the Grace of God in vain or to no purpose, and we discussed what that meant. Grace is given by God to us to bring us into His Family, to empower us to live our lives daily in Christ. Grace saves us, and keeps on saving us. Tonight the Apostle applies the promises of God to our lives.

Promises, Promises

God makes promises to His Children, promises that we are to secure for ourselves, to apply to our lives, and to grow to be more like Christ. God makes TWO PROMISES to the lost. His Grace promise is that

Romans 10:9-13 (NKJV) … if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

None are excluded from the whosoever will of the Gospel call. Praise Him, Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world …

1 John 2:2 (NKJV) … And He Himself is the propitiation (the atonement or covering) for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

The Blood of Christ is sufficient to save whosoever will believe on Him. That is a promise from God. But God also promises that the one who rejects the Son and refuses to believe on Him is in a state of condemnation. God promises eternal judgment against the one who rejects the Christ as Lord and Savior.

1 John 5:10-12 (NKJV) He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. 11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

John 3:36 (NKJV) He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.

Two promises to the unbeliever – but MANY promises to the believer. The Apostle says:

2 Corinthians 7:1 (KJV)  Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved

We who are God’s children by faith in Christ are dearly beloved. Christ is God’s Beloved …

Ephesians 1:6 (NKJV) {God the Father} made us accepted in the Beloved

Christ is “The Beloved Son, in Whom the Father is well pleased” (Matthew 3:17; 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 3:22). He is the Eternal Beloved, forever loved of the Trinity. Because He is Beloved when we receive Him we become Beloved. He is the Natural and Supernatural Son of God, but we become adopted sons of God because of Christ (Ephesians 1:5). Because of Christ we are

chosen of God
Holy
Without blame before Him
In love (Ephesians 1:4)

Because we are beloved of God the Father has given us precious promises. These promises are not offered to the lost world, but to those who are IN CHRIST:

2 Corinthians 1:20 (NKJV) For all the promises of God IN HIM are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.

God has made precious promises to we who are His Beloved Church, His Beloved Children, His Beloved Christians.

Promises Serve A Purpose

2 Corinthians 7:1 (KJV)  Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

You will never find a promise of God that does not have a purpose to it. Every promise of God has purpose. Every promise of God calls us into PARTNERSHIP with God. When we are saved the Holy Spirit comes to INDWELL us and GUIDE us into ALL TRUTH. Jesus told His disciples:

John 16:5-14 New King James Version (NKJV) But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.

Christianity is a PARTNERSHIP with God. When you receive the promise of salvation by believing and receiving Christ as He is, then God’s Holy Spirit comes to live in the framework of your life. He INDWELLS you, so much so that the Scripture declares:

Romans 8:9 (NKJV) But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.

God lives in the lives of His people. The Christian is indwelt by God. The Spirit indwells us to speak of Christ, to guide us into Christ’s truth. We are in partnership with God. Certainly we are minority shareholders in this partnership, but are nonetheless called to work with God if we want to be blessed.

When God saved Israel from Egypt His message to them was the same message He gives to us. “Come and follow Me to blessing”. If the Israelite followed the way of Egypt and refused to kill the lamb without spot or blemish, when the LORD came whoever was in that uncovered home died just as surely as the Egyptian died (see Exodus 12:13, 23). If the Israelite refused to follow God as a Pillar of Fire by night and a Pillar of Cloud by day (Exodus 13:22; 14:19) then they would not be under God’s protection. If the Israelite refused to cross the parted Red Sea when God said to do so then they would have drowned just as surely as the Egyptian Army drowned (see Exodus 14). God calls a person and a people into partnership with Him.

When God promised Abraham a son He did not say “lounge here where you are and I’ll drop the promise on you like fairy dust”. What did say to Abraham? Follow Me.

Genesis 12:1-3 (NKJV)

“… Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
2 I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

For the promise to be fulfilled Abraham had to leave what he knew and go where God told him to go. God had to become the most important Person in his life, greater than father, mother, or brother. Abraham did not receive the promise immediately, but was driven to a greater partnership with God trusting Him no matter what might come.

Hebrews 6:13-15 (NKJV) For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” 15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.

The belief came first. Not just a belief of the MOUTH, but a belief of the WHOLE MAN. Abraham believed God, the Scripture says …

James 2:22-23 (NKJV) Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.

God partners with His people. Salvation is a free gift of God. Come to Him believing and you shall be saved. But saved, you are called to follow Him.

Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19)
The Spirit and the Bride say “Come” (Revelation 22:17)
Not “Stay where you are” but “COME”.
Follow Christ.
Follow God.
Heed the Spirit.

There is nothing in this life more important than following the Lord. Jesus told an individual …

Luke 9:59-62 (NKJV) … “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” 61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” 62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

If you will not partner with Christ you are not fit for the Kingdom of God. The person who must be begged to partner with Christ is a person who perhaps is not saved. If Christ is last and least in our lives, our lives are not where they need to be. We are called to partner with Christ, to follow Him, to heed His Spirit, to feed ourselves on His Word, to communicate with Him in prayer. This is not a chore for the believer, but a blessing.

The Promises Of God Draw Us To Christ

2 Corinthians 7:1 (KJV)  Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Since we have the promises of God and are beloved of God:

let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit

The word translated “filthiness” is the Greek μολυσμός molysmós, (pronounced mol-oos-mos) which literally means that which stains or defiles. What are the things that defile? Jesus said:

Matthew 15:10-20 New King James Version (NKJV) {Jesus} had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” 12 Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” 13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14 Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.” 15 Then Peter answered and said to Him, “Explain this parable to us.” 16 So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

What defiles a person is a heart that is fleshly, focused on satisfying self. Jesus said that out of the heart proceeds:

evil thoughts
murders
adulteries
fornications
thefts
false witnesses
blasphemies

If you’ll notice all of these things are PLURAL. Sin draws to sin. If we belong to God we are not to wallow nor focus on sin. God does not save a person to keep on sinning. God saves a person to remove us from satan’s kingdom and transfer us into the Kingdom of God. Being saved, being the beloved of God, we are to cast off the old works of darkness. Not in our power, but in the power of Christ. The Apostle says in another place:

Ephesians 4:17-24 (NKJV) 17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

We no longer walk in darkness. If we have received the promise of salvation, and if we are blessed by the promises of God in Christ, then we are to live accordingly. We put off the old man, the old way of being. We put on the new man, the Christ image, and love as He loved, walk as He walked. We walk in the Spirit of Christ,

cleansing ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit

What the flesh does impacts the soul. If we are filthy of soul, we will do filthiness of the flesh. If we do filthiness of the flesh, we damage our souls. Christ did not save us so we could be IN the world. Christ saved us so that we can be like our Father and our Savior.

IN CHRIST we are raised up to sit with Him in Heavenly places.

Ephesians 2:6 (NKJV) {God} raised us up together, and made us sit together
in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus

BY CHRIST everything I need will be supplied.

Philippians 4:19 (NKJV) … my God shall supply all your need
according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

THROUGH CHRIST the peace of God guards and protects my heart and mind.

Philippians 4:7 (NKJV) … the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

IN CHRIST I shall never see death nor defeat.

1 Corinthians 15:22 (NKJV) … in Adam all die,
even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

2 Corinthians 7:1 (KJV)  Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

The words “perfecting holiness” means to take upon ourselves the Word of Christ. As He is, we strive to be. As the Father is holy, we are holy. As the Son is holy, we are holy. We strive toward this mark in the power of God’s Spirit and God’s Word. What He has forbidden we put off. What Christ has modeled we put on. We do this not to be saved, but because we are saved. We do this because we love Him and want to be like Him. We are not driven by feelings nor foolishness, but by the fear (respectful awe) we have of our God. Jesus said:

John 10:10 (NKJV) The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Jesus came to give us life. It is life to live like Jesus. “I have told you these things so that IN ME YOU MAY HAVE LIFE” (John 16:33). There is no life apart from Christ. There is no life in chasing after the things of the flesh. So many refuse to come to Jesus and follow Him for life (John 5:40). It is not life to come to Christ halfway. Follow Him. If you are God’s Beloved, cleanse yourself from the filthiness of this world (Galatians 5:19-21). Let Christ rule in your lives.

May God touch us all with His Word!

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Alpha And Omega

1.jpgRevelation 1:12-18 {KJV} And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. 14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. 17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

Last week I emphasized the name of this Book is REVELATION, from verse 1:

Revelation 1:1 (KJV)  The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

Though the book has a series of visions in it, the INTENT of the Book is to REVEAL CHRIST, to show His majesty and power to us. We are tempted in the Book to look away from our Lord to other things, but to do so is to lose the vision. For instance, last week I spoke of the future ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT revealed in the Book in Chapter 13. I angered at least one on line reader who declared that I was politicizing the Bible and promoting the Republican Party. That’s not true. I am an Independant voter, and have always been so. But truth is truth whether it hurts your feelings or not. The One World Government draws away from God’s established order, and the only time a One World Government will work is when JESUS is at the head of that government.

Jesus Makes Golden Candlesticks

John heard a Voice in the midst of his suffering. We read:

Revelation 1:12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;

John turned, and the FIRST thing he saw was                                                                                    Seven.
Golden.
Candlesticks.

We’ll find out in a minute that these are seven Churches.

Some view these as local Churches.

Some believe these to be the seven types of Churches that are always on the earth.

Others believe these to be the seven Church Ages.

The text doesn’t tell us exactly which category these Churches fall into, but I myself believe these are the seven TYPES of Churches that are always on the earth. We’ll find out as we go through this Book that each of these Churches have a different focus.

The Church focused on CHRIST is praised of Christ.
The Church focused on ITSELF is rebuked of Christ.

Please notice that all of these Churches are GOLDEN CANDLESTICKS. There are SEVEN of them.

What is the significance of SEVEN? The number SEVEN is the number of REST. God created the world in SIX days and then RESTED on the SEVENTH. Israel was supposed to keep the seventh day as a day of rest:

Deuteronomy 5:12-14 (NKJV) ‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work

Man was created on the SIXTH day and commanded to rest on the SEVENTH. Six is the number of man but seven the number of God. Seven shows completion.

  • When leprous Naaman wanted to be healed the Lord told him to dip himself in the Jordan seven times (2 Kings 5:10).

  • When Joshua was to destroy Jericho God told him to march around that fortified city seven days, and on the seventh to make seven circuits (Joshua 6:3-4).

  • There were seven pairs of clean animals on Noah’s ark (Genesis 7:2)

The number 7 is used in the Bible over 700 times, and more than 50 times in the Book of Revelation. The number represents REST, RESTORATION, and RECONCILIATION. The Church of Christ is commanded to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all who will hear.

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 (NKJV) Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

The Church carries the message of the Gospel Rest. Only in the authentic Church of Christ isa salvation by faith in Christ preached. The false or pseudo-Church teaches a works based salvation. But the Church is where we REST, knowing that …

Titus 3:4-6 (NKJV) But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,

What is the significance of GOLDEN? Gold is a precious metal, very rare, and is mentioned throughout the Bible starting at Genesis 2:10-11. Gold is mentioned 22 times in Revelation. Gold was a gift given to kings. The Baby Jesus was given gold, frankincense, and myrrh not long after His birth. Gold was used throughout the Temple. In Heaven gold is a common theme:

Revelation 21:18, 21 (NKJV) … and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. … 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

Gold is interesting because it is often found in rotted quartz. The quartz must be crushed and heat applied until the gold separates from the dross.

The Church of Christ is not perfect, but is filled with members that have various failings of the flesh. But the Church is gold to Christ because He purchased it with His own Blood, and He will refine it until it becomes what He wants it to be.

What is the significance of CANDLESTICKS? These are not CANDLES but CANDLESTICKS, things designed to hold candles. The candlestick in itself has no light of it’s own, but holds the candle which is lit. Jesus said to His Church:

Matthew 5:14-16 (NKJV) “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

The Church does not possess light of its own, but our light comes from the Presence of Jesus. John sees these Seven Golden Candlesticks and quickly turns his attention back to who matters:

Revelation 1:12-13 …. I saw seven golden candlesticks; 13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man

Jesus is in the midst of His Church, whether it be perfect or imperfect. He is watching His people, just as He watched John on Patmos. He is never far from us. When John saw Jesus he was overwhelmed with love.

Jesus Must Be The First And The Last

Revelation 1:17 …. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead.

John is surrendered to Jesus.
He knows in whom his power rests.
Our strength is in Jesus, not in ourselves.
The dying Church is the one focused on ITSELF.
The VIBRANT, LIVING Church is the Christ focused Church.
A Church is not a fishbowl nor the Pastor the aquarium keeper.
The Church is where JESUS IS EXALTED.

The Bible does not say “I can do all things through Me”, but rather

Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) I can do all things THROUGH CHRIST who strengthens me.

The best place to be is at Jesus’ feet.
John fell down.
O dear God, make us fall down!

 I’m reminded of the story of the time that Jesus went to visit His friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Martha was trying to be a good hostess, running about and trying to make a meal for Jesus and the disciples. Mary, on the other hand, “sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His Word” (Luke 10:39). After a while Martha got tired of this. She went to Jesus and interrupted the lesson. “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her to help me!” Jesus said:

Luke 10:41-42 (NKJV) …. “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

When John saw Jesus he completely surrendered to Him. When he did the Lord blessed him. We read:

Revelation 1:17-18 And he laid his RIGHT hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I AM THE FIRST AND THE LAST: 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

He laid His right hand on John. That’s the hand of blessing. Dear friend, if you love the Lord and He loves you, though you may be tried there will come a day when you will see Him face to face. He will lay His right hand on you. He will say “Fear not! I am the first and the last”. Jesus has conquered death. He has the keys of hell and death.

Jesus told us:

John 3:16-18 (KJV) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Jesus Christ IS The First And The Last

Revelation 1:11 (KJV)  Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last …

The language of the people of John’s day was common Greek language. ALPHA was it’s first letter and OMEGA the last letter of that Greek alphabet. Jesus is the FIRST and the LAST. He was at the beginning of all things, and will be at the end of all things. It was through Christ that the Father created all things.

John 1:1-3 (KJV)  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  [2]  The same was in the beginning with God.  [3]  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Jesus is God Incarnate, God manifested to us in the flesh. In the Old Testament the Lord declared:

Isaiah 44:6 (NKJV) Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God.

Isaiah 48:12 (NKJV) Listen to Me, O Jacob, And Israel, My called: I am He, I am the First, I am also the Last.

Jesus Christ is God Revealed.
He is the First and the Last.
He will be first and last.
Jesus does not want your left overs, but YOU.

He was at creation making all things, and is the Creator Who will make all things new. It is through Jesus that the Law is fulfilled (Matthew 5:17) and Jesus alone is the One Who secures our salvation.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV) Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus Christ Is The First And The Last. We have a tendency to make ourselves first. In fact, that’s what gets us into trouble. When God made Adam He put him in a perfect environment, gave him a perfect job, a perfect wife, a perfect diet. Everything was perfect. But then Satan came and whispered:

Genesis 3:4-5 (NKJV) … “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Though perfect, Adam thought that he was missing out on something. And so he tried to be like God and failed terribly. Only Jesus Christ is the Beginning and the Ending. Only God is God.

Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (Luke 18:10-14, KJV).

There is no blessing to the life that does not recognize Christ to be beginning and ending, first and last. Those who humble themselves and bathe in Grace will discover that God will lift them up. But those who make life about themselves will not ultimately be blessed, but cursed.

The way to blessing is to humble yourselves under the mighty Hand of God – and HE will exalt you in due season (1 Peter 5:6)

Jesus Is The First And Last Who Directs His Church

I love the Jesus that John saw. He said …

Revelation 1:13 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire ..

The white hair on His head shows Him to be abundantly wise. The wisest man who ever lived was Solomon … until Christ came down! His flaming eyes symbolize that He is discerning in judgment. What He has seen, He speaks of it in both love and truth.

Revelation 1:15-16 … and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

The Word of Christ is a double edged sword. It conquers. It strikes. If offends. The world loves the Jesus of its own imagination, but despises the Jesus of the Bible. His voice is calming, but His Word conquering. His gaze is life giving. Jesus loves His Church. Jesus spoke …

Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. (Revelation 1:11, KJV).

As Jesus spoke to John He told him: “What you see, write in a book”. The Lord was going to show him a Revelation – and John was to write it as presented. Once John wrote this material it was to be given to Angels or Stars, symbolic of the Pastors to the Churches.

The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. (Revelation 1:20, KJV).

Christ was in the midst of His Church, watching, seeing what she needed. The seven stars or angels were the messengers to the Churches – the Preachers Jesus chose – and they were all in His hand. Angels are messengers. The faithful angel carries the Word that God has given. The unfaithful angel is a demon, harming the Church of Christ.

1 Corinthians 4:2 (NKJV) Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

Where believers gather together to hear and do Christ’s Word the Lord is in their midst. Let us be faithful to Him as good stewards. Let us live for HIM, not for ourselves.

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The Life Look

1Isaiah 45:21-23 (KJV) Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Savior; there is none beside me. 22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. 23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

Audio of Sermon: 

Since Jerry made this “Fanny Crosby Sunday” I thought I’d talk about her for a moment. Few Christians today know about Fanny. Frances Jane van Alstyne or Fanny was a great worker for God. In her earthly life she wrote more than 8000 hymns and Gospel songs. She was so prolific in writing that many of the publishers she worked with were hesitant to post so many hymns by one person, so Fanny used close to 200 different pseudonyms during her career. Her songs all focused – LOOKED – toward God our Savior. A few of her most known were …

Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior
Blessed Assurance
Jesus Is Tenderly Calling You Home
Praise Him, Praise Him!
Rescue The Perishing
To God Be The Glory

all hymns we know and love. Fanny was a long time member of Sixth Avenue Bible Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York.

What makes her life so interesting is that for all her accomplishments, Fanny was blinded – according to Christianity.com – when she was but six weeks old. Though accounts vary most state that she had an eye infection that a doctor tried treating with a hot mustard poultice. Whether the poultice or the infection blinded her no one truly knows, but she was blind her entire known existence. If anyone had a right to be bitter against the world and God it would have been Fanny. But she was not bitter.

Though blinded physically, spiritually she looked unto Jesus.
She kept her spiritual eyes on God her Savior.

Fanny was quoted as saying:

“It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank Him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me.”

She also said “when I get to Heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior”.

Though she had no physical sight, Fanny used what she had for the glory of God. By the time Fanny was 10 years old she was memorizing 5 chapters of the Bible each week. At 15 years old she memorized the Gospels, the Books of Moses, Proverbs, Solomon, and many of the Psalms. Fanny not only wrote hymns, but published four books of poetry. She played the piano, organ, harp, and guitar, and had a beautiful Soprano singing voice.

How could a blind person see so much better than
many of us who were born with eyesight?
She looked unto God.
She heard His Call, the command to …

Isaiah 45:22 (KJV) Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

Fanny was blessed by doing what God said. Let’s take this command, break it down, and apply it to our lives.

The SOURCE Of Salvation

The great sin of man is IDOLATRY. This has been our sin from the beginning. God made man and placed us in a perfect Garden. “You may eat of anything growing, but do not eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” God said. “The day you eat of it, you shall die!” The command was heard, and God was seen. But when God left man and woman to choose, they chose to follow not the God Who made them, but their own hearts.

The snake looked to Satan.
Eve looked to the snake.
Adam looked to himself.

Because their spiritual eyes were not godward, they lost Paradise.
Because our spiritual eyes are not Christward we lose Paradise.

In the recent School shootings our nation is understandably in turmoil. Our politicians are choosing sides on how to make this a Democrat or a Republican problem. Lawmakers are discussing creating new laws to control or restrict guns.

The question that ought to be asked is how a
disturbed 19 year old boy got hold of
an AR-15?
The other question is “Why did so many know he was disturbed
and do nothing about it?”

I doubt he got it through any legal channels. The other “elephant in the room” is that many interviewed knew that the boy was disturbed, but ignored the problem. Then when he shot 17 people the talking heads of television wonder and examine and talk not to solve the problem, but to inflame it so that other disturbed young people will want their 15 minutes of fame. What is the problem?

It is a spiritual problem.
The boy was not looking unto God.
The school was not looking unto God.
We all – ALL – need the Lord.

God says “Look unto Me … I am God and there is none else”. In America we have created idols to look to. The Lord spoke of idols in the previous chapter of Isaiah. He said:

The Lord has said:

Isaiah 44:8-9 (KJV) … Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.  [9]  They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed.  

Rather than come to the God of the Scripture people create idols, “graven images” that they worship instead of God. These things are “vanity” – literally “emptiness”. An idol cannot help you. An idol like money is fleeting. Beauty passed. Young girls worship Beyonce or the Kardashians. These idols cannot save you. This young man who murdered many was worshiping himself. How many people worship themselves? This is but emptiness. “Their delectable things shall not profit, but they deceive themselves” …

They see not, nor know, that they may be ashamed!

In our day we have renamed and excused sin and wonder why sin is so prolific. If you rename sin and make it NOT sin then you remove the shame. This is what we have done in America. If it is popular and accepted on television and movies it is NOT sin. If it goes against popularity and the wants of the crowd then it IS sin. We define sin not by God but by what WE think. This is idolatry.

Illustrate We have all gone the way of Israel who, when Moses went up in the mountain:

Exodus 32:1-4 (NKJV) … the people gathered together to Aaron, and said … “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” 2 And Aaron said to them, “Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. 4 And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!”

Many pastors like Aaron succumbed to the pressure and allowed that which God forbade as sin. They took the blessings that God gave, melted it down into a false god, and the people now dance around it. Yet the idol brings no satisfaction. We can dance around idols and let congress be our god, or our political party be our god, or our own desires be our gods, and nothing will be changed.

Idols are not gods.

Isaiah 44:17-18, 20 And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god.  [18]  They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand.  … [20]  He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?

If we will be saved as people, if we will be saved individually and as a nation we must look unto GOD. He alone is the Source of Salvation. False gods deceive us, making us think everything is fine when it is not. We must look unto God. He alone is the Source of Salvation. Jesus has said:

John 14:6 (NKJV) “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

The SCOPE Of Salvation

LOOK UNTO GOD. God says

LOOK unto ME, and be saved, all the ends of the earth”.

God doesn’t call just a select few to salvation, but everyone. God loves everyone. If you are broken as I am and will acknowledge your brokenness, God calls you to salvation. When Jesus walked this earth who pursued Him? The disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus one day and asked the question:

Are You the Messiah, God’s Son, or should we look for another?”

What did Jesus reply? Was it “I sit in a comfortable palace with a crown on My head, on a cushioned throne, and gathered around Me are my disciples resting in ease”? Was it “I have pleased the religious and the secular crowd, and popular opinion has been my rise to fame?” No. No. Jesus said:

Matthew 11:5-6 (NKJV) The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

Jesus came to save the whosoever will. He came for the broken. His harshest words were not to the prostitute, the drunkard, the impoverished, the hurting. Christ’s harshest words were to the Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees. Why? Because these people were self righteous as many are today. The Apostle spoke of these who:

Romans 10:3 (ESV) … being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.

The unholy trinity of self righteous people feel that THEY are fine but EVERYONE ELSE is messed up. These are a “smoke in God’s nostrils” because their attitude is “Do not come near me … I am holier than thou!” (Isaiah 65:5). They cannot be saved for they will not acknowledge their need. They cannot be blessed because they judge they know better than God Himself.

God loves all, regardless as to sin.
God loves the heterosexual, and the homosexual.
God loves the liar and the thief.
God loves the vandal, the thief, and the murderer.
God released Barabbas from the Cross,
But sent His Son to it to die for us all.
And God will save whosoever will come to Him repenting.

John 3:16 (NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER BELIEVES in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Revelation 22:17 (NKJV) … the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. WHOEVER DESIRES, let him take the water of life freely.

John 10:9 (NKJV) I am the door. If ANYONE enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.

Hebrews 2:9 (NKJV) But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might TASTE DEATH FOR EVERYONE.

Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world. He died for you, and He died for me. God says “Look unto Me and be saved, ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH”. You are not left out of that promise. Whoever you are if you come, God will save you.

The SIMPLICITY Of Salvation

LOOK unto ME, and be saved, all the ends of the earth”.

Salvation is not found in doing penance, nor doing religious things. Fanny Crosby – a woman blinded from 6 weeks old – was able to LOOK unto the Lord. Salvation is found in LOOKING unto God. To turn our eyes from the ways of the world and our own wandering ways, and to turn our hearts to Him Who loves us so. The Bible says …

Isaiah 44:2 (KJV)  Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee …

God says “I made you. I designed you. I know what makes you tick.” It is this God Who made you, Who designed you, that is able to show you blessing. God loved you at birth, and loves you now. When we look to Him, to the Christ Who gave Himself for us, He promises to bless our lives. He says …

Isaiah 44:3-4 (KJV)  For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:  [4]  And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses.

God promises to POUR WATER upon the THIRSTY. Are you thirsty? Are you unsatisfied with life? Does it seem as if you are just spinning your wheels, just existing rather than living? The solution is to come to Him. God sent His Son to this earth to call whosoever will to His side. We read in:

John 7:37-39 (NKJV) On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive …

The reason we are unsatisfied is because we try to LOOK to the wrong things. God says “Look unto ME”. God is the only God. Christ is the only Way. Look to Him. Follow Him. Jesus came preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom saying:

Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men!

When we turn our eyes upon Jesus, God’s only Son, and believe that He gave Himself for us, then God blots out our sins and write our names in the Book of Life. God says …

Isaiah 44:22-24 (KJV)  I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.  [23]  Sing, O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel.  [24]  Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;

The God Who made us is the God Who will save us. If a person is to be saved, he must turn to God and God alone. We are in a helpless and hopeless state without our Creator. Nothing can save you but the Love of God found in Christ Jesus.

As you look to God you see how much He loves you. There is His Son Jesus. This is the Child in whom God has said “I am well pleased”. This is the Son that the Father said “Is My Beloved”. Oh how the Father loves the Son! And yet …

Galatians 4:4-6 (NKJV) But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”

God sent His Son to redeem us. How? By paying for our sin. Jesus stood in my place, bearing my sin, so that I might be saved. We are told:

1 John 4:8-11 (NKJV) He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Jesus died for me, and died for you. His Blood became the propitiation – the covering for our sins. When we look unto God we look unto Jesus, God’s Messiah.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV) Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 LOOKING unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Oh Beloved, look to Christ for life both now and into eternity. He will save you from yourselves. He will save you from sin. Look unto Him. Go where He goes. Do what He says. Trust Him. Receive Him as Lord and Savior.

The SECURITY Of Salvation

Look Unto Me and be ye saved …

God in Christ saves us three ways from sin.

  • When you receive Christ as Savior you are saved from the PENALTY of sin

You can enter Heaven without money.
You can enter Heaven without power.
You enter Heaven without health.
You can enter Heaven without fame.

You can enter Heaven fat or thin,
beautiful or ugly,
white collar or blue collar,
rich or poor
.
BUT you CANNOT enter Heaven without Christ.

Heaven belongs to Christ. The Bible says:

John 3:17-18 (NKJV) For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

If you have received Christ as Lord and Savior you are no longer condemned. The penalty for sin was paid by our Jesus on Calvary, and we stand before God as His Children.

  • When you receive Christ as Savior you are saved from the POWER of sin God translates you from darkness to light. He brings you into His Kingdom.

1 Peter 2:9-10 (NKJV) But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

Ephesians 5:8 (NKJV) For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light

When a child of God is saved he or she is baptized – not to be saved but because we are saved. It is a ceremonial and symbolic washing that emphasizes we have moved from darkness to light. The Scripture declares:

Romans 6:14 (NKJV) For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

Praise Him, for God defeats sin in His children. Let us not cloak sin but admit it, and trust Him to replace it with His righteousness.

  • Through Christ as Savior you are promised to forever be in the PRESENCE of God Heaven is not promised to all, but only to those who have received Christ as Savior. Have you received Him? Have you looked to Him for salvation? If not, today would be a blessed day to do so.

Jesus will not pass you by. Will you cry out to Him? He is here today. Call on the Name of Jesus and you shall be saved.

Savior, Savior,
Hear my humble cry,
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.

Posted in God's Children, gospel, grace, Isaiah, Law Of God, Living God, Sermons Preached | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Now!

1.jpg2 Corinthians 6:1-2 (KJV)  We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.  [2]  (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I [helped] thee: behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation.)

The biggest threat to all of us is the time that is not “now”.
To live in either the “then” or the “when”.

As I get older, my mind loves to go back to “then”. That thing we all call the good old days. The days of Mayberry. The times when I ran through the woods and my own back yard, climbed pine trees, rode bikes with my brother Mark and my friends. I get nostalgic for the good old days. As I go through nostalgia, wishing things were the way they used to be, I forget about the bad things. In the good old days we had trouble with disease like polio, small pox, and plague. There were no dishwashers. When I think with nostalgia of the smell of fresh cut grass wafting through the screen window in my bedroom I also forget tossing and turning in a pool of sweat to 98 degree or higher temperature, hoping one small breeze would blow. There was no air conditioning. King Solomon said:

Ecclesiastes 7:10 (NKJV) Do not say, “Why were the former days better than these?” For you do not inquire wisely concerning this.

Yesteryear had its sin, its failure, its problems. When I was young money was scarce and all we had was hope and pocket lint. Sherry and I – living on an Airman’s pittance – used to walk through K-Mart and dream of what we could one day afford to buy. We had fun window shopping but I often felt bad that I couldn’t provide better for my little family. But I by the grace of God fed them. God gave us what we needed in the “then” – the “Good Old Days”.

So often we get trapped not only in the “then” but in the “when”. We look to the future and dreaming about what might be. We plan, but do nothing about it. We may procrastinate, waiting for a better time, hoping for something better. I never dreamed as a child of living in the year 2000, but I always believed there would be flying cars when that happened – didn’t you? Time has progressed. Amazingly I am still alive in 2018. But there are no flying cars, and if there were I wouldn’t want to be in one. People are texting and driving gravity bound cars NOW … how will it be when cars take to the sky aqnd people fly about with no roads nor lines to restrict them. I can only shudder!

Only God knows what tomorrow may bring. We read in …

James 4:13-17 (NKJV) Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” 16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.

We lived through yesterday because of God’s Grace. We will make it through tomorrow because of God’s Grace. Yesterday, today, or tomorrow we are to live with our hearts vested in our Creator, our Savior, our Lord. We are to do good TODAY because to fail to serve God TODAY IS SIN. James says “to him who knows to do good but does not do it, this is sin”.

Faith seeks God diligently.
Faith follows Christ.
We were given Grace – second life – spiritual life – so that we can serve our Lord.

without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that HE IS, and that HE IS a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6 – NKJV)

The Bible does not tell us that HE WAS, or that HE WILL YET TO BE. Our God is the Great I AM. He is ever in the present tense. He is always right now. There is a point to this. We are to serve the Great I AM RIGHT NOW. We are to live for Him and in Him this very moment. We cannot bury our heads in the sands of time hoping things will be better later, or smell the aroma of all our yesterdays. As Spurgeon said back in the 1800’s:

The time present is the only time I may ever have.

Live In The Grace That God Gave You NOW

2 Corinthians 6:1 (KJV) We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye RECEIVE NOT THE GRACE OF GOD IN VAIN.

Life is a gift from God. No one earns life. It comes by His Grace. God gave us our first life as a gift, and gives us our second or spiritual life as a gift. The Apostle says “we BEG you, do not receive the Grace of God IN VAIN”. What does it mean to “receive the Grace of God in VAIN”? The third of God’s Commandments is …

Exodus 20:7 (NKJV) You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

To take something in vain is to take it shallow, to denigrate it, to misuse it. When I was a little boy I found a .22 caliber long bullet on the floor of my daddy’s shop. I took it out behind my house, sat it on a brick, and smack it with a rock. By the grace of God it didn’t kill me, but it went off with with a loud crack. I don’t know where the bullet went, but I do know I hid for a while scared because of it.

I used that bullet in vain.

To use God’s name in vain is to use it in a wrong manner. God gave us His Name so that we can call on Him, worship Him, praise Him. God did not give us His Name so we can frivolously use Him in curses or silliness. God gave us His Name so we can know Him, for by His Name we know His attributes. God’s name is not “God” no more than our name is “Human Being”. The Name has a purpose. It is so we can intimately know Him.

Just as God’s Name is not to be used in vain, we are not to use Grace in Vain. This Grace, this Amazing Grace that was given us was given to us to bring us into the Light of God.

By Grace we enter His Kingdom.
By Grace we are transformed.
By Grace we become priests with access to Heaven.
By Grace we are forgiven.
By Grace we become alive, indwelt by God the Spirit.
By Grace we are saved from hell and condemnation.
By Grace we are new creatures, Children of God.

The Holy Word tells us that Grace transforms in a mighty way:

Hebrews 10:16-25 (NKJV) This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” 17 then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. 19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

There are many who receive the Grace of God in vain. These who are many cripple the Church of God, drawing its light into darkness.

Some Receive The Grace Of God In Order To Continue In Sin Jude speaks of these …

Jude 4 (KJV) For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lasciviousness or embracing the sins of the flesh (sexual or immoral behavior) is mentioned and condemned by God in Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 4:19; 1 Peter 4:3, 2 Corinthians 12:21 and was directly condemned by our Lord in Mark 7:22. The Grace of God was given to release us from slavery to our sins, not to enable us to sin guilt free. Sin is abhorrent to God. We are told:

Galatians 1:4 (ESV) {Jesus} gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

And in Romans 8:3-6 (KJV) For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

This is very clear. Grace was given to every child of God to save us FROM our sins, to release us from the bondage of sin. When any lesser Grace is preached it is no more Grace than a Thanksgiving Turkey made of Tofu is a Turkey. It may look like a Turkey, but that wiggly mess ain’t no Turkey! The Grace that saves is the Grace that frees.

Some Receive Grace Like An Advance Reservation For Heaven They think that since they have been “saved” they need not live in Christ’s Kingdom until later. The reality is that the recipient of Grace is in the Kingdom of God RIGHT NOW. The Scripture says …

Colossians 1:12-14 (NKJV) …. giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

Others Receive The Grace Of God Like A Raft On A Lazy River They think that now they are saved that they may drift carelessly on soft mat of ease on the stream of time to Heaven. “Now that I’m saved” think these “I need not concern myself of His Lordship. There’s time enough to serve Jesus in Heaven when I get to that sweet by and by!” What does the Apostle say?

1 Corinthians 15:10 (NKJV) But by the grace of God I am what I am, and HIS GRACE TOWARD ME WAS NOT IN VAIN; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

If the Grace of God is in you it should make you WANT TO LABOR FOR HIM, the One Who saved you. Grace is given to the Child of God to make us workers for God. You were not saved to rot on the vine, but to be attached to Christ, to make a difference for Him and for this world NOW.

We are workers together with Christ.
We are workers together with Christ.
We are workers together with Christ.

Receiving His Grace we are to work for Him to the glory of our God in the NOW. TODAY.

What Is Our Example Of The Grace Of God?

2 Corinthians 6:2 (KJV) (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I [helped] thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

After warning us not to receive God’s Grace in vain the Apostle speaks in parenthesis, beginning with “For He saith”. This tells us that what is in parenthesis is from the Old Testament. The Apostle loved to quote the Old Testament, just as Jesus loved to quote the Old Testament. His quotation is a portion from …

Isaiah 49:8-9 (NKJV) Thus says the Lord: “In an acceptable time I have heard You, And in the day of salvation I have helped You; I WILL PRESERVE YOU AND GIVE YOU AS A COVENANT to the people, To restore the earth, To cause them to inherit the desolate heritages; 9 That You may say to the prisoners, ‘Go forth,’ To those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’

I preached a similar text about the Promised Messiah Jesus Christ a few Sundays ago:

Isaiah 42:6 I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people.

Jesus Christ was sent from the Father to be the New Covenant of the people. Jesus is the sum and substance of the Covenant. We are to receive Him and only Him if we are to be saved. We recognize Christ alone as the Covenant Maker when we partake of the Lord’s Table:

Matthew 26:28 (NKJV) For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

The Apostle quoted Isaiah, who looked forward cto the Coming of Christ. The Scripture says that in the fullness of time – when it was appropriate – God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, to redeem them that were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption of sons (Galatians 4:3-5). The Father prophesied through Isaiah that Christ would come. When God opened the door and said “Go” the Son went. He did not hesitate, but went to release the prisoners from sin and the blind from spiritual inability. Christ came doing His Father’s business, even when that business was difficult.

We see in Christ that Grace is not easy.
Grace is difficult.
But Grace is in partnership with God.
Christ went forth from Heaven when the Father sent.
And Grace stayed the course.

Jesus never quit. He never gave up. He always moved forward to glorify His Heavenly Father no matter how difficult the task. If Jesus did not shirk His duty, and we are workers together with Him, we must not shirk our duties. What would Christ have us do?

We are to live in the NOW for Jesus. NOW is the accepted time. The Apostle said:

Galatians 2:20 (NKJV) I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I NOW live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Christ did not live for Himself but for the will of the Father. His every moment of every day was “What is My Father’s will? What would He have Me do?” Christ worked in the supplied power of God, and so should we. In everything we do, we do as children of Christ, saved by faith in His Blood.

Ephesians 2:13 (KJV) But NOW in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Ephesians 2:19 (KJV) NOW therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

We do not live in fear of standing for Him. We do not live procrastinating because of this fallen world. We step out boldly, serving our Jesus in the NOW. Now is the accepted time. I remember when I was first saved, very new to the faith, when I saw my first Church fight. The Pastor and another member got upset in the course of a business meeting. The Pastor asked the member to step outside so they could settle the problem, and they did. From that day forward I lost all respect for both Pastor and member. No matter who was right or who was wrong, neither had the right to take the NOW of Christ and toss it away, going back to the old man. The Lord tells us in Scripture:

Romans 6:6 (NKJV) … knowing this, that our old man WAS CRUCIFIED with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

Ephesians 4:22 (NKJV) … that you PUT OFF, CONCERNING YOUR FORMER CONDUCT, THE OLD MAN which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,

We WERE enslaved to sin and the flesh. But the day we were saved our old man was crucified with HIM. We no longer belong to evil, but belong to God. We are children of the Most High. We are not to take off Christ and slide back into the filth of the flesh. We were not saved for this, but for His Glory.

I heard of another person who was provoked by someone at Church, who took off his coat and threw it to the floor saying “there is the Christian, lying on the floor. Now we can fight!” Beloved, a salvation that can be put on and taken off like a coat is no salvation at all. It is not your dress nor your current location that makes you Christian, but the fact that NOW WE ARE THE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF GOD.

We WERE in darkness, but NOW are children of the Light.
We WERE of Adam, but NOW are of Christ.
We WERE lost, but NOW are FOUND by Him.
We WERE blind, but NOW we see.

And our primary concern as Christians is to share the NOW of salvation.

NOW is the accepted time.
NOW is the day of salvation.

If you die right this moment where would your soul be? If you do not have Christ and the Grace only found through Him then you will be in Hell. That is the testimony of Scripture. No one is promised tomorrow. Seize His promise NOW.

John 3:16-19 (NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

With Christ, no condemnation. None. I beg you, receive Him, the Covenant of God. Receive Him and be saved!

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Tried? Look Unto Jesus!

1_Reveal_BannerRevelation 1:1-3 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

Sermon Audio:

The REVELATION of Jesus Christ

The Revelation of Jesus Christ. These are the first words in this glorious Book. I have heard people call this book “Revelations”. Though I don’t mean to be nit picky, it is not REVELATIONS plural but REVELATION. The Book reveals Christ. Every interesting part of it reveals another aspect of our Lord Jesus. The singular focus of this Book is Jesus.

This Book was written by a disciple named John who dearly loved Jesus. When Jesus met Simon He gave him a new name Cephas or better known as Peter (see John 1:42). But John gave himself a new name. He called himself “the Disciple whom Jesus loved”. John immersed himself in Jesus. He clung to Jesus. At the Lord’s Table we read:

John 13:23 (NRSV) One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him

When Christ hung on the Cross the Bible says:

John 19:26 (NRSV) When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.”

On the day that Christ rose from the grave John the Beloved Disciple was the first to get to the empty tomb (see John 10:1-10), though Peter was the first to go into the tomb. SIX TIMES in John “The Disciple whom Jesus loved” is mentioned. John gave up his own name – it seems – just to dwell on our Lord Jesus.

Let us be like our brother John.
Let us lose ourselves in Christ.
Let us embrace this REVELATION of our Savior.

The Built In BLESSINGS Of The Book

You can only be blessed by this Book if you do what it says. You must …

Revelation 1:3 “Blessed is he that READETH, and they that HEAR the words of this prophecy, and KEEP those things that are written therein: for the time is at hand.”

The Book is to be READ Each week I ask you to read the chapter I am preaching, to incorporate it into your daily walk with God. It will take me several weeks to preach through the Chapters of this great book. So READ the current chapter. If you’ve read it once, read it again. Read it prayerfully. Read it seeking a revelation of Christ.

The time is at hand. We live in the last days, more-so now than at any other time. As we study Revelation we will see that Satan’s end game is to dispose of national entities and establish a singular, one world government. This has been the gradual drift of the world since the beginning of time. In my lifetime I have seen the rise of the United Nations, a one world entity that seeks to control all nations under it’s umbrella. We have had one world conferences and Presidents of the United States who have tried to give away our national power in place of a one world governmental control.

We have had Presidents try to give away America.
Britain had Prime Ministers try and give away that nation.
Satan wants world domination.
When Satan takes anything and merges it to one, it becomes dark.

The big news of the decade is Great Britain and Brexit where our mother country is pulling out of the European Union. Both Great Britain and America have installed leaders who put their nation first above others, to the howl of the liberal media and liberal politicians. The Book of Revelation prophesied many years ago of the rise of a one world government and a one world leader, a god like man who would rule every nation. It is when we READ the Book that we understand the danger of NOT PUTTING AMERICA FIRST. If we give in to a one world government – no matter how rosy the picture may be painted – we open the door to the Beast of Revelation 13 “having seven heads and ten horns”, a ten nation confederacy seen in Daniel 2:41-42. The ruler of this vast empire has authority given to him by Satan himself (Revelation 13:2), as well as a one world Church (Revelation 13:3-4). The end game is to establish a one world currency in the mark of the Beast which, if you do not have it, you cannot buy nor trade (Revelation 13:16-17).

Reading the Book makes us watchful, not foolish. Satan will do everything he can to destroy Christ and His Gospel. This is the focus of the one world government. God established nations to maintain world order. Multiply and fill the earth means spread out and control. Anything that moves us toward a one world government moves us from Christ and toward Tribulation, a great and terrible Tribulation.

The Book is to be HEARD You must invest time in it not only PERSONALLY but also PUBLICLY. Come to Church with ears wide open to God, to HEAR what He has to say to you in this Book. When we gather together in Christ’s name He promises:

Matthew 18:20 (KJV) For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

When God’s people gather together in obedience and seek His Word the Spirit of God blesses us. We hear from the Lord. The Christian is a part of the Body of Christ and a member in particular:

1 Corinthians 12:27 (NASB) Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.

When you come together focused on His Word, The Spirit guides us into all truth …

John 16:13-14 (ESV) When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

The Book is to be KEPT The Book of Revelation is not just a novelty item. Jesus said:

Luke 11:28 …. blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

Matthew 7:24-25 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

Your life is not founded or seated on the Rock that is Christ unless you take His Word and apply it to YOUR life. Every week we give an invitation and inevitably I see people looking around to see who else is going to move. No one else can live the Christian life for you. No one else can hear the Gospel and be saved for you. What God speaks to your heart to do, DO IT. Trust Him. Live for Him.

John Was Suffering Because He Loved Jesus

Revelation 1:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in TRIBULATION, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

John loved Jesus, but this love for Jesus did not raise him above suffering. In fact I have found that the more you love Jesus, often the more you are tried. When you love Jesus then you stand in direct opposition to this present fallen world.

If you are never at war with the world then you may be OF the world!

Jesus warned us …

John 15:18-22 (NKJV) If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.

God gave His Law to the world to convict the world of sin.
Today there are no sinners, just different lifestyle choices.
What does God say in His Word? To whom was the Law given?

1 Timothy 1:9-11 (NKJV) the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.

If you read carefully through this list of sins that the LAW IS AGAINST you will see FORNICATION or Heterosexual sin and SODOMY or Homosexual sin. You will see LYING and PERJURY (we had a President a few years ago who perjured himself before a Grand Jury). We see UNGODLINESS and INSUBORDINATION – those who have no respect for vested authority. We see MURDER and LAWLESSNESS. Many of the things in this list are not only winked at in the fallen world but are also heartily endorsed. When you lovingly deny the lifestyles so rejected by the Word of God the world will hate you.

BUT a true friend speaks the truth in love!

John was imprisoned for intolerance. The world accused him, I am sure, of hate crimes and bigotry, but this is but the world. John dared believe that no one can be saved and go to God’s Heaven unless they receive Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior. This infuriated the world. The Roman world allowed people to worship their gods and goddesses as long as you worshiped the Roman gods and goddesses equally. You had to be inclusive – or else. But John believed what Jesus taught:

I am the Only Way to God (John 14:6)
I am the One you must believe in (Matthew 7:21-27)
I have the words of Life (John 6:63)
I alone give eternal life (John 3:14-15)
I am the gate of the sheep (John 10:7)
I am the Bread of Life (John 6:35)
I am the Resurrection (John 11:25)

The world doesn’t like this. The world loves tolerance unless you are intolerant of their tolerance, then the world becomes intolerant. The world is for inclusiveness. How dare John and the early disciples say that Christ is the Only Way to God? How dare they?

This is why John was on Patmos. It was a prison Island. We will suffer when we stand for God’s truth. A Christian Baker has lost his business, and stands before the Supreme Court of the United States. He has suffered and will suffer. When you stand for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ you will suffer. But remember this …

It Was In Suffering That Jesus Was Revealed To John

Revelation 1:4-6 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; 5 AND FROM JESUS CHRIST, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

John is writing here, but he also says “and from Jesus Christ”. Jesus is with me. Jesus reveals Himself in our trials no matter what they might be.

The Christ Follower Is Never Alone – EVER! If you’re following Jesus, Jesus is watching you. That’s just common sense! This first AMEN statement of John celebrates not the trial John is going through but that Jesus is with His people.

How do I know that Jesus is with me?

Revelation 1:5 AND FROM JESUS CHRIST, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us,

Because Jesus Christ is the FAITHFUL WITNESS. He stays the course. He was sent to this earth by the Father, and so perfectly mirrored the will of the Father that to see Him was to see the Father. Philip asked Jesus one day:

John 14:8 (NKJV) … “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”

Jesus replied … John 14:9-10 (NKJV) … “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.

Jesus is the faithful Witness. He was sent to do the will of the Father. Though He went through TREMENDOUS SUFFERING on Calvary He never backed down. He will not abandon you, dear Christian. He cannot. God is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9).

Jesus loved us. 1 John 4:19 (NKJV) We love Him because He first loved us.

How did Jesus love us? Before we ever loved Him He went to Calvary for us. Before we were aware of our sin He gave Himself for you and for me.

Revelation 1:5 (KJV)… Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Jesus suffered a blood bath so we could be bathed in His Blood!

He died for us so that we could be elevated from sinner to saint. Jesus paid a great cost for each believer He redeemed. He paid the greatest price that could be paid. This is why He promises …

Hebrews 13:5 …. I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Jeremiah 1:8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.

Matthew 28:20 …. lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Jesus is with us in the trial. Dear ones, if you belong to God then God is with you – Father, Son, and Spirit. God is with you! If, when the trial comes, you find yourselves looking everywhere BUT to Him them, dear ones, your heart is not right. Repent. Turn to Him. He will be with you.

My Trial Does Not Diminish What Christ Is Making Me To Be We read again …

Revelation 1:5-6 Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Christ made us on purpose for a purpose. On Patmos John was not diminished, but was given an opportunity to be a king and a priest unto God even in the midst of suffering. God did not make you to be trash, but treasure. Because of Christ we are elevated. So as we suffer we praise God for it. We cry out with John …

to HIM be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Christ has made us kings and priests unto God and his Father. We are not without worth – we are of the Royal Family because of Him.

We are kings because He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords – and we are part of His Family.

Galatians 4:4-7 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then AN HEIR OF GOD THROUGH CHRIST.

You are heirs of God, children of the King. You are also priests unto God, having direct access unto Him. God is shaping you through the trials. He is molding you for service to Him now, and life with Him throughout eternity. The scripture says:

James 1:2-4 (NKJV) My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

I heard a wonderful illustration by Pastor Tony Evans today, one I want to share with you. A man is lost in a desert, and is on his third day without water. He’s dying. He desperately needs water. When he is about out of hope he sees a shelter, a little shack, off in the distance. Staggering he gets to the shack. Opening the door he sees a dusty water pump. He pumps and pumps the handle but nothing comes out. Nothing! Oh how his thirst grows with every squeak of the handle. In desperation he looks around the shack and sees a mason jar filled with water, and on it a note:

Use This Water To Prime The Pump
Refill If After Use For The Next Traveler

The man is on the horns of a dilemma. He is so thirsty. Should he drink the water and get a temporary blessing, or should he have faith in the Word written and prime the pump.

This man is us.

Do we believe God’s Word? If so, we will do as He says no matter what our circumstances. We will not deny God’s Word but trust it, trust Christ as the Living Word, and embrace and DO what He says no matter what we feel. Feelings change. Popular opinions change. But the Word of the Lord endures forever (1 Peter 1:25). John didn’t look around at his helpless and hopeless circumstances but he looked upward …. and there was Jesus.

Look To Jesus And We Will Win

Revelation 1:7 (KJV)  Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

Jesus is coming. He died for our sins at His first Advent, but there is coming another Advent where every eye shall see Him. Those who mocked will mock no more. The unrighteous shall see. Those who crucify Him afresh with mockings and cursings shall WAIL because of Him. John was being persecuted for doing the right thing, but what comforted him was the sure knowledge that Jesus was coming again. He is coming again! He is coming again! When He comes, the scales of justice will be balanced. The backbiter and manipulator will be revealed. His Children will be magnified, and the children of Satan cast into hell forever more.

Praise His Holy Name!

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God Our Savior

1Isaiah 43:1-7 (KJV)1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. 2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. 3 For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Savior: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and SebaNE Africa – Meroe for thee. 4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honorable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. 5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; 6 I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; 7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.

Audio of Sermon: 

God founded His Church in Israel. His Church was called out of Abraham’s seed. Abraham – originally called Abram – lived in Ur of the Chaldees – heard the call of God to salvation and followed Him. From Abraham God brought about the nation of Israel, and from Israel God called His Church. I have heard Israel called God’s Old Testament Church, and we who are His by faith in Christ His New Testament Church.

Whether Israel or the Church, God calls to a people to be “in the world, but not of the world”. God created this world and loves this world, but from Adam onward this world has wandered far from God. But God is our Savior. Though we wandered from Him, God was not satisfied with this … and neither are we.

We are not satisfied unless we are in God.
We are not satisfied unless we love Him and His Word.
We are not satisfied unless we are following His design in our lives.
We are not satisfied until we are resting in God or Savior.

Why are we not satisfied unless we are in Him because it is HE that MADE US.

Isaiah 43:1 (KJV)1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob,
and he that formed thee, O Israel,

Just as God created Jacob in his mother’s womb, and formed Jacob into Israel, God created you. God has a design and a purpose for your life. He wants to elevate you from Jacob the thief and wanderer to Israel the Prince of God. He wants to bring joy to your life, joy unspeakable and full of joy.

The way of Adam is not the way of peace!

I was reading the news on the internet the other day when I came across several articles that address “Inclusiveness”. Years ago we were a society that had two genders of people, “men” and “women”. Then a vocal and somewhat angry group of people decided that this wasn’t enough, that we should have other “genders”. We were told if we had other “genders” and we were allowed to legally marry any “gender” then it wouldn’t effect the rest of us raised to believe in two genders. So the courts struck gavels and legally we decided to be more “inclusive”. Colleges and universities are now releasing what they call “new gender pronouns” because the pronouns we grew up learning are not inclusive enough. Instead of “he” or “she” we say “(f)ae”, and instead of “him” or “her” we say “(f)aer”. Instead of “himself” or “herself” we say “(f)aerself”. Don’t you feel better now? There is no standardized pronoun replacement, by the way. Some use one of these: “ze” “xem” “xyr” “verself” “perself” “eirs” “em”. I feel much better now. The departure from God’s design has gone so far that in Canada now it is against the Law to use non-inclusive language.

At a town hall meeting a voter asked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a question and used the phrase “future of mankind”. The Prime Minister told her “We like to say peoplekind not necessarily mankind because it’s more incluisive”.

My spell checker on my computer went crazy when it saw the word “peoplekind”, offering about a dozen different words in place of this foolishness. Sadly, a machine knows better than we do.

Nancy Pearcey, a teacher at Houston Baptist University and the author of Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions About Life And Sexuality was recently interviewed by The Christian Post. In the interview she stated truthfully:

“… no one really denies that on the level of biology, physiology, and anatomy, males and females are counterparts to one another. That’s the way the human sexual and reproductive system is designed. So when someone adopts a same-sex identity, they are contradicting their own biological design. Implicitly they are saying, “Why should my body inform my psychological identity? Why should my biological sex as male or female have any say in my moral choices?” This is a profoundly disrespectful view of the body. It creates inner conflict between a person’s physiology and their psychological identity, leading to fragmentation and self-alienation.” (underline mine)

The farther we get from God, the more confused we get. Feelings change. That which is popular changes. But what does not change is that it is God Who made us. He formed us. We are of His design.

God Made You And Will Redeem Imperfect You

The source of our confusion is that we think we made ourselves.
Even a test-tube baby does not make itself.
We do not make the egg, nor do we make the sperm.

Life has never been created in the laboratory. Life is from God. God equips and we enjoy what He has given us. It was God Who looked from Heaven and said:

Genesis 1:26-28 (NKJV) Then God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

God formed us. God made us male and female. He made us in His image. He made us according to His likeness. He gave us dominion over the earth, His earth. And God in His blessing said “be FRUITFUL and MULTIPLY and FILL THE EARTH”. The commission of God is not possible if we do not see His design as male and female. The two became one, and out of the one became the many. This is God’s design. While we are in Him we …

Fear not!

God did not make us to fear, but to rejoice in Him. God offers redemption to His children. He offers us salvation from Adam’s failure. God said:

Isaiah 43:1 (KJV) … Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.

The world and all that was in it was given to Adam. But Adam rejected the will of God. The Scripture says that ..

Romans 5:12 (NKJV) … just as through one man {Adam} sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned …

Adam was given the world and all that was in it, but turned from the Lord of Life to the snake of death. He ate that which was forbidden, and just as God said, “that day that you eat of it, you shall surely die”. But God was not satisfied with this, but planned to redeem man from the snake of satan.

Romans 5:19 (NKJV) For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

Adam sold himself and his progeny into sin, but God planned our redemption. God is our Redeemer. God sent His Son to this earth to give Himself in our place. The Scripture declares the beautiful story of God’s love in Christ, how that we are blessed by the Father’s sending of His Son for us.

Ephesians 1:3-7 (NKJV) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. 7 In Him {our blessed Jesus} we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace

God – Who cannot lie – promised Adam death the day he sinned. God kept His Word. Adam did not, but God did. God – Who cannot lie – promised even after the Fall of Adam that He would send a Redeemer to us. Jesus would come. Jesus would be born of “the seed of the woman”, the Virgin Mary. Jesus would be flesh as we are flesh, but without sin. Praise be unto God …

Psalm 111:9 (NKJV) {God} has sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever: Holy and awesome is His name.

Out of His love God sent His Beloved. We are told in

Psalm 130:7 … hope in the Lord; for with the LORD there is mercy, and with Him is ABUNDANT redemption!

God is our Redeemer. He sent His Son to give Himself for us. Christ paid the penalty we could not pay. We are …

Romans 3:24 … being justified freely by His Grace THROUGH THE REDEMPTION THAT IS IN CHRIST JESUS …

If you have received Christ then God chose to redeem you.
He chose to call you.
He chose to save you.

The Perfect God chooses to save imperfect you

Isaiah 43:1 (KJV) … Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.

He did not call you by an Angel. He did not send an emissary to you, a lackey, a save a gram. God says “I have called YOU BY YOUR NAME”. I knew you, and know you, and will always know you. God knew you before you were ever born. God told Jeremiah …

Jeremiah 1:5 (NLT) I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.

God had a plan for his life, and has a plan for yours. He called the Saul the self righteous to be Paul the Apostle. He calls you, and keeps calling to you. Are you lowly. Then listen to Him. Are you a sinner as I am? Listen to Him. Hear His Voice. He calls you to redemption asking you to receive His Son. Those who are saved were not saved of merit. What does the Scripture say?

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (NKJV) For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”

If you are called of God, o Jacob, He knew of your Jacobness. Hey, if a politician can invent the alleged word “peoplekind” I can invent the word “Jacobness”. My word makes better sense.

Jacob was not the best in morality.
Samson was not the best in chastity.
David was not the best son of Jesse.
Abraham did not perfectly obey God.
Moses was humble, but not enough.
Though Rahab did well, she was a whore.
Ruth was from the cursed Moabites.
Saul started out in the Church killing Christians.

When you look at anyone of stature in the Scripture they only became great when they gave their lives to the Lord. Very few in the faith of Christ are mighty, noble, or wise on their own. We glory, but we glory in the Lord. And God says to us that He loves:

Isaiah 43:1 (KJV) … Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.

When We Call Upon Christ The Father Saves Us

God says “I have redeemed you … you are MINE”. He saved us by His dear Son on Calvary. Christ shed His Blood for us that we might be His, that God might cover our sins. We read:

Isaiah 43:25-26 (KJV)25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. 26 Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.

The problem in our day is that humanity has been taught that there is no sin nor sinners. But we know in our heart of hearts this is not true. We are sinners … and God has promised to blot our sins out. We confess our sins, and He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, to cleans us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8-10)

God says “I will not remember your sins … I’ll blot them out”. Why does the Lord do this? He does it for His own dear Son’s sake. When we remember – think upon – what He did, and cry out to Him by faith – then God commutes the righteousness of Christ to us. God says:

Put Me in remembrance
Let us PLEAD together – come together in prayer
Declare thou – Confess Christ
That you may be justified
.

The New Testament puts it this way:

Romans 10:9-13 (ESV) …. if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

When God saved Israel from Egypt they were in no wise perfect. And yet God looked after His Children by faith who followed Him. He carried Israel through the waters of the Red Sea and the Jordan. He took them through many trials. God promises to look after His Children.

Isaiah 43:1-7 (KJV) When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. 3 For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Savior: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and SebaNE Africa – Meroe for thee.

God looks after His Child. If you are His, you are His Witnesses by how you live your lives. As we come to the Lord’s Table today we are witnesses for Him. As He has said:

Isaiah 43:10-12 (KJV) Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. 11 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no savior. 12 I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.

As we come to His Table we cast away all strange gods and goddesses. We reject every pleasing murmur of the world. We focus our minds on Him Who gave Himself for us. We recommit ourselves to follow Christ and only Christ. We do not like Jeshrun (Deuteronomy 32:15) “forsake the God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.” We now lay our sins and our burdens down at the feet of Christ. We come wholeheartedly to the God of our Salvation.

Psalms 24:3-5 (KJV) Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? 4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. 5 He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

Isaiah 12:2-6 (KJV) Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. 3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. 4 And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. 5 Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. 6 Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.

Let us now turn our eyes upon Jesus as the Deacons come forward to prepare His Table.

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Ambassadors

2_Corinthians_5_20_n_Proverbs_13_17_Ambassador_BIBLENOTES.odt

2 Corinthians 5:9-11 (KJV) Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.

2 Corinthians 5:18-20 (KJV)And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

Proverbs 13:17 (KJV) … a faithful ambassador is health.

Audio of sermon: 

Every believer in Jesus Christ is an Ambassador from Heaven.

I looked up the word “ambassador” in Webster’s and found this definition:

an official envoy; especially : a diplomatic agent of the highest rank accredited to a foreign government or sovereign as the resident representative of his or her own government or sovereign or appointed for a special and often temporary diplomatic assignment”

The Ambassador Is SENT To A Foreign Country

Though you may have been born on this earth and have a Social Security Number and a license with your address on it, the day you were born again things changed. You changed. You were dead in sin and in trespasses, but now have been made alive. The Scripture says:

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (KJV)14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

Before we knew Christ we lived for ourselves in selfishness and deceit. We justified our sin. We made ourselves the center of the universe. But once we received Christ as Lord and Savior our lives changed. We became new creatures – the people of God.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

If you are a Christian, saved by the Blood of the Lamb, then you are a new creature. You are not like the Child of Adam, but you are now a Child of God. When Jesus prayed for His Church He prayed … listen to His Words now …

John 17:15-17 (KJV) “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. {16} They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. {17} Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. {18} As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.”

An Ambassador is SENT. Jesus was SENT from Heaven to tell us of the Father’s Will. Jesus came not representing Himself but the Father. He said “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father”. A good Ambassador is SENT to REPRESENT the desires of His Country’s leaders. Jesus said “as You (Father) have sent Me, I send them”. We are Ambassadors of Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

… a faithful Ambassador is health

If God left you on this earth as His Ambassador (and the Scripture seems to teach this) then when you do as you are called you will spread health. A lost person is not healthy. A lost person is in bondage to sin, to satan, to self. The Bible says:

Romans 6:23 (KJV) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The good Ambassador carries the message of the Heavenly Kingdom to this world so that others may enter into His Kingdom.

The Ambassador Is Sent To CARRY THE KING’S MESSAGE

No good Ambassador makes up his or her own message, but carries the message given by God to this world. We are like the Angel Gabriel who announced the birth of Christ:

He shall save HIS PEOPLE from their sins

The message we carry to the world is not the simplistic message that “God is love”. God is love. God loves. But sin separates us from God. The Apostle said:

2 Corinthians 5:11 (KJV) Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.

We know the terror – the TERROR – of the Lord. What does this mean? The word TERROR is the Greek φόβος phobos which means FEAR. What does the Bible say about fearing God? I’ve heard people say that “fear” just means to “respect God”. The Bible uses the word FEAR in reference to God some 300 times, so we shouldn’t minimize it. It is true that “perfect love casts out all fear” (1 John 4:18) but this is a reference to those who are born again by faith in Christ, born into the family of God. When people have no fear of God they do foolish things.

They live as if they will live forever without eternity.

They make themselves gods, ignoring the Creator.

They never consider the next life which is certain.

They do immoral things and mock God’s Word.

Jesus spoke of a certain rich man who lived in luxury, heartlessly ignoring the poor around him. He lived “clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptiously every day” (Luke 16:19). When that man died he “lifted up his eyes in hell, being in torments” (Luke 16:23). He had no fear of God in this life – and no fear of being blessed by God in the next. Our Lord Jesus said:

Matthew 10:28 (NKJV) And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

I was reading an article by Pastor Greg Morse of Desiring God Ministries the other day called “Over Our Dead Bodies – Embracing The Cost Of Warning The Lost”. In the article he spoke of a funeral where a woman was being buried. Greg wrote:

The woman before him lived as worldly as they come, blaspheming God and His Word whenever the opportunity presented itself. … the Pastor proclaimed that – deep down – she was a good person and was with the Lord in Heaven. It was at that moment when all sat pleased at the Pastor’s words that a young woman {in the audience} spoke up.

It’s a lie! Do not believe him. We will not all be in a better place! That hope is false. Only those who believe in Christ, the son of God, the One Who died and was raised, will be saved! Only those who repent and believe and follow Him until the end will be in a better place. Wrath awaits all who die in sin! He stands ready to forgive you!”

What courage this took! People tried to quieten her. The usher tried to expell her. But she spoje the truth in love.

God is love, but as HE defines love. If we leave this life without being reconciled to God then we go to a place of eternal torment, a place without peace or without hope, a terrible place, a place of judgment. God has left us ambassadors in this world to share His message of reconciliation to whosoever will believe.

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 (KJV) And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself BY JESUS CHRIST, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

We who are reconciled to God by faith in Christ are to invite others to be likewise reconciled. Jesus Christ laid His life down for this fallen world. He calls all who will to lay their lives down for Him.

Salvation is entirely attained by receiving Christ. What does the Scripture say?

John 1:12-13 (NKJV) But AS MANY AS RECEIVED HIM, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

He died for this world so that this world might live.
This is the message we preach and teach.
There is no life in denominations.
There is no life in works.
There is no life in the keeping of the Law.
Wherein is life? It is in Christ alone. In loving Him.

Romans 3:23-24 (KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

We are justified – made upright – by the grace of God that is available in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:1-4 (KJV)1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

We are with condemnation before God because we follow after Christ and are in Christ. Look at the Scripture:

2 Corinthians 5:9 (KJV) Wherefore we LABOR, that, whether present or absent, we MAY BE ACCEPTED OF HIM.

Salvation is all of faith in Christ. Jesus Christ is the …

1 John 2:2 (KJV) ….. propitiation (covering) for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

But the saved love Jesus and love to work for Jesus. Ambassadors are honored to be called. They are not forced into service, but love Him with all their hearts.

The Ambassador Is Sent To Carry The King’s Message FEARLESSLY

As good Ambassadors we do not add to nor remove from the message we have been given. God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16). We as Ambassadors represent the Kingdom of God, and we others to come into this Kingdom while there is time. They must come by Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (KJV)14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

The way of life of the world is dead.

Proverbs 14:12 (KJV) There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

The way of the world is the way of selfishness, lovelessness, and death. There is no life in this world, but there is life in Christ. Jesus was very clear when He said:

(John 10:8-11 KJV) “ALL THAT EVER CAME BEFORE ME ARE THIEVES AND ROBBERS: but the sheep did not hear them. {9} I AM THE DOOR: BY ME IF ANY MAN ENTER IN, HE SHALL BE SAVED, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. {10} The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. {11} I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD: THE GOOD SHEPHERD GIVETH HIS LIFE FOR THE SHEEP.”

The only way to life is through Christ. This is the message we carry. It is not a popular message. The Apostle Paul asked the Church at Ephesus to PRAY for him, saying:

Ephesians 6:20 (KJV) For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

He was an ambassador in BONDS – in chains – for preaching the Gospel. Nonetheless Paul did not fear. He knew that God was in charge, and God was in control of what happened. Paul focused on the message, not the mess he was in.

As good Ambassadors we must NOT bend nor compromise. We do not belong to this world, but to Another. We are not citizens of this country permanently, just temporarily. We are “strangers and pilgrims” (1 Peter 2:11; Hebrews 11:13) on this present earth.

My heav’nly home is bright and fair,
I feel like traveling on;
Nor pain nor death can enter there,
I feel like traveling on.
Yes, I feel like traveling on,
I feel like traveling on;
|My heav’nly home is bright and fair,
I feel like traveling on.

We are here as long as God needs us here to be His Ambassadors. As Ambassadors we speak for Him and for our only Home. The Bible says:

Philippians 3:20 (KJV) “For our {citizenship} is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:”

Our citizenship is in Heaven. We are but visitors to this planet offering God’s peace to whosoever will receive it. We obey the Laws of our land as long as they do not conflict with the Laws of our King. But our King’s Laws are NEVER replaced by the Laws of mortal man. The Pharisees came to Jesus one day to try and entrap Him. They asked:

Matthew 22:17-21 (KJV) “Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? {18} But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? {19} Show me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. {20} And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? {21} They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”

No Christian has the right to break the Law of the land he is in unless the law of the land is contrary to God’s Law. We obey God first. We as Ambassadors represent God first. The Apostle wrote:

Romans 13:1-4 (KJV) Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. {2} Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. {3} For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: {4} For he is the minister of God to thee for good.

The Ambassador Will One Day Be Judged For His Or Her Stewardship

Again in our text we read:

2 Corinthians 5:9-10 (KJV) Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

As Ambassadors we will never stand before that terrible Great White Throne of Revelation 20.

Revelation 20:11 (KJV) And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

The Great White Throne is a place where TERROR will reign. People will run from the Judge on that Throne. Another name for the Great White Throne is “The Terror of the Lord” as we mentioned before. When we return home – our real home in Heaven – our works will be judged. Let us be good Ambassadors for Him. Let us live our lives knowing that our destiny is with Jesus. Let us work to please the One Who saved us.

2 Corinthians 5:6-8 (KJV) Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

There will come a time when God will call His Ambassadors home. No Ambassador stays forever in the place he is sent. There will come a time when we – each and every one of us who are His – will go into yonder glory. If we live until the Time God will remove all His Ambassadors at once from this earth in an event we call “The Rapture”. When all Ambassadors are removed from a country it is tantamount to a declaration of war. Our removal will start the Great Tribulation, the Great Purging of the earth.

But until that day we honor our God by serving as faithful Ambassadors. We are to always remember the words of our Lord:

John 16:33 (KJV) “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Jesus Christ has and will overcome the world. Be His Ambassador. Live for Him. Let Him live through You. Pray. Read His Word. Do good. Love. Share. His. Gospel.

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

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They know they won’t live forever. Yet they spend their days as if they are never going to die.

very interesting blog. Thought provoking. Well done.

rinatalov

via Daily Prompt: Puzzled

Leo Tolstoy’s novella “The Death of Ivan Ilych” explores the inevitable occurrence of demise.  It is one of the human concerns, which crosses cultures and historic ages.  Tolstoy asks his readers to experience the process of dying and examining life with his protagonist Ivan Ilych.  The author is convinced that without death, life loses its meaning.  He compels Ivan Ilych to examine his life before he dies.  Olney (1972) writes that Tolstoy does not mean to frighten his readers with death, but rather to cause them to reflect on how they live.  Most do not live as if they will live forever.  Yet they spend their days as if they are not going to die.  At the end of his life, Ivan Ilych realizes that he spent his life chasing a social deception, which left him with nothing to show for.  Therefore, each must strive to…

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Behold God’s Servant

1.jpgIsaiah 42:1-7 (KJV)  Behold My Servant, whom I uphold; mine Elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon Him: He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.  [2]  He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.  [3]  A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench: He shall bring forth judgment unto truth.  [4]  He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for His law.  [5]  Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:  [6]  I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;  [7]  To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

Audio of Sermon 8:30 AM:

Audio of Sermon 11 AM:

Sermon Notes: A young couple sat watching the Superbowl Game together for the first time since they had been married. The young bride watched quietly with her husband. Every now and then he would jump up and shout at the screen of the television, sometimes startling her. When intermission came he asked her “How do you like the game so far?” She replied “It’s all right, but I don’t understand why they’re trying to kill one another over a coin.” He looked at her puzzled and asked, “What do you mean?” She said “At the beginning before they started playing they flipped a coin. Now you keep shouting at the television get the quarter back!”

Many people love to watch the Superbowl, but many don’t understand the excitement. Two teams play to see who is the best, and the winner will get a Superbowl ring and bragging rights. But like most things the victory won will be forgotten in a few years. As the Bible says,

James 4:14 (NIV) … What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes..

The young bride didn’t understand the excitement that her husband was having. Many people today don’t understand why any of us get excited over coming together as a Church.

Christ Our Sabbath Rest

When God’s people come together our Jesus comes together with us. When we are in one accord seeking His face and His Word then He fulfills His promise:

Matthew 18:20 (NKJV) For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.

When we gather together in His name seeking His face Jesus shows up. He speaks to our hearts. His Holy Spirit touches lives. We come together so that we can see Jesus.

Our Isaiah text today is about Jesus. Isaiah was given a vision of Christ as the Servant of God. How do I know this text is about Jesus? The Bible says so.

If you turn for a moment to Matthew 12 you’ll see the testimony of Scripture. In Matthew 12 Jesus was once more attacked by the self righteous Pharisees. They caught the disciples picking corn off the stalk and eating it on the Sabbath day, the day of rest. This started a dialogue between Jesus and the Pharisees as to why the Lord created the Sabbath. Jesus told the Pharisees:

Matthew 12:8 (NKJV) For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.

As Jesus entered the Synagogue – the local Church of that town – we read:

Matthew 12:10 (NKJV) And BEHOLD, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they {the Pharisees, the Self Righteous} asked Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—that they might accuse Him.

Do you see that BEHOLD?
BEHOLD! Stop, look.
We had a BEHOLD at the beginning of our Responsive Reading, our focal text.
BEHOLD My Servant.

These Pharisees knew how much Jesus loved people, people who were broken, people in need. BEHOLD there is a man with a withered hand. BEHOLD here is a broken person, suffering, that the world cares nothing for. To the Pharisees this man is no more than just an object to be used to try and entrap Jesus. BEHOLD! What about this man, Jesus? Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?

Matthew 12:11-14 (NKJV) {Jesus} said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? 12 Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other. 14 Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him.

The Pharisees were excited by Jesus – they wanted to kill Him for doing good. Self righteous people feel that they are self made good, that they need no one, especially Jesus. They watch the Christ like that woman watched the Superbowl. They do not understand because their eyes are focused in the wrong place.

We are all but broken things.
This man was a broken thing, desperately needing Jesus.
The Pharisees – self righteous ones – were broken and blinded, needing Jesus.

The Bible says

Psalm 34:18 (NASB) The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

The saddest thing is that the self righteous ones needed Jesus most of all, but rejected Him. Their sinful pride kept them from being blessed by His presence. But to those who loved the Lord, who needed His blessing, BEHOLD, He was there. The Bible says:

Matthew 12:15-16 (NKJV) {Jesus} withdrew from there. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all. 16 Yet He warned them not to make Him known,

Here is why we come to Church, why we read from this Book of Books, why we listen to preaching of Christ. Because when multitudes come together in His Name He is here. He heals. And He blesses. Matthew went on to quote from our Responsive Reading:

Matthew 12:16-21 Yet {Jesus} warned them not to make Him known, 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:

(and now we come to our main text in Isaiah)

18 “Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen,
My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased!
I will put My Spirit upon Him,
And He will declare justice to the Gentiles.
19 He will not quarrel nor cry out,
Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench,
Till He sends forth justice to victory;
21 And in His name Gentiles will trust.”

How do I know that Isaiah 42:1-7 is about Jesus? Because the Apostle Matthew tells me it is about Jesus. Matthew ties the prophecy of Isaiah to Jesus. Jesus is the Servant of the Living God.

Let Us Behold Jesus

Jesus Christ is the Servant of God the Father. He is the Son of God sent to save the world. The Apostle said:

1 John 4:9, 14 (NKJV) In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. … 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.

The Servant of God the Father is Jesus Christ our Lord. He was sent to this earth. Mohammed was not sent. Buddha was not sent. The Hindu gods were not sent. But Jesus Christ was sent.

Isaiah 42:1 (KJV)  Behold my Servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth;

The Father upholds the Son in all that He did and does. The Father calls the Son “My Servant”. The Son is the Father’s representative. He is the “elect” or chosen of God to do His will. God delights in His Son. We are told in Hebrews:

Hebrews 1:1-9 (NKJV) God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. 5 For to which of the angels did He ever say:

You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”?
And again:
I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son”?

6 But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: “Let all the angels of God worship Him.” … 8 But to the Son He says:

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom …

BEHOLD Him and only Him.
BEHOLD Him, For He Alone is God’s Atonement For Sin.

He is the one and only Servant of the Father. Jesus Christ came to do His Father’s will. What was His Father’s will but to save those who were lost. To reach out to the broken. To lift up the fallen. To save from hell the hell bound, and to lighten those entrapped in darkness. Jesus Christ came as the Servant of God. We read:

Hebrews 10:4-10 (NKJV) For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. 5 Therefore, when He {Jesus} came into the world, He said:

Sacrifice and offering You did not desire,
But a body You have prepared for Me.
6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin
You had no pleasure.
7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—
In the volume of the book it is written of Me—
To do Your will, O God.’”

8 Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), 9 then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Jesus Christ came into this world to make payment for our sins. The blood of bulls and goats could not pay for sins, they were but temporary shadows of that which was greater. The great Gospel of Scripture is this, that

1 Timothy 1:14-15 (ESV) … and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

Jesus Christ is God’s Chosen Servant. He is the Suffering Servant giving His life for us. The Superbowl games are but temporary victories. Who remembers who won the first Superbowl, or the tenth Superbowl? These victories are cheered by the world. But what Christ has done is eternal, and blessed, and never forgotten. For He has won victory over death and sin. He has, by His willing service, defeated the devil and secured salvation for whosoever believes in Him.

Isaiah 42:1 (KJV) … I have put my Spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. 

The Holy Spirit rested on Christ at His Baptism, and Jesus promised to send His Spirit to those who believed in Him. Those who have believed in God’s Suffering Servant are indwelt of the Spirit just as Christ promised. Jesus told His Church:

John 16:7-14 (NKJV) Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.

Isaiah 42:2 (KJV) He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.

Many times Jesus healed people and asked those whom He healed to “tell no one”. Jesus did not come to promote Himself, but He came to do the Father’s will. He did not want people chasing after Him for His ability to heal. No, Jesus called people to follow Him so that He could transform their lives. He called people to walk with Him so that they could walk with God.

Isaiah 42:3 (KJV) A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.

Jesus came to help, not to hurt. The bruised reed is a picture of a tender shoot of bamboo that has been trampled underfoot. Bruised but not broken, Jesus would not add to the suffering of that person, but would come to tenderly assist them. The smoking flax is the picture of a lamp wick that – being burned nearly up – can barely hold a flame. For those who are nearly extinguished from the horrors of this world Jesus – unlike the Pharisees – did not come to add to the burden of man. Jesus would not blow the tiny spark out, but would through His Spirit and His Word gently breathe on the exhausted until they burst into the flame of new life.

He is the Servant of the Most High God, the Son Who loves. His Word will stand forever!

Jesus Is The Servant That Cannot Fail

Isaiah 42:4-5 (KJV) He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.  [5]  Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: 

Jesus is the Servant of God, the Son of God by Whom all things have been created, and through Whom all things consist. In Christ we shall prevail because Christ cannot fail. The isles shall wait for His Law. The Father created all things through Jesus, and the Father will bring His Kingdom to this earth. We read in …

Colossians 1:12-17 (NKJV) giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

15 {Jesus} is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.

Gods is building a Kingdom on this earth, and Christ is the tireless Servant Who is bringing this Kingdom about. As we preach His Gospel and as people receive Him as Lord and Savior His Kingdom grows. He delivers all who believe in Him from the power of darkness and brings whosoever will into the “Kingdom of the Son of His Love”. We are redeemed from sin, Satan, and this fallen world by receiving the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” as our Savior.

The Covenant Of God’s Kingdom Is Jesus

Isaiah 42:6 (KJV) I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;

The Father says of the Son His Servant:

I have called You in righteousness” – Jesus Christ is the manifest Righteousness of God.

I will hold Your hand and keep You” – the Father loves and protects His Son.

And give Thee for a Covenant of the people” – A Covenant is a contract between God and man. Christ is our Covenant. When we receive Him as Lord and Savior we enter into a Contract with God.

For a Light of the Gentiles”. Christ is the Light of the world. When you receive Him as He is God promises to give you Light.

1 Peter 2:9 (ERV) But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Until the day that you receive Christ as God’s Covenant to you you will be in darkness. But when you receive Him He promises to give light to your eyes. He promises

Isaiah 42:7 (KJV)  To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

To those who say “I am saved, but remain in my sin” God says “You Lie”. You have deceived yourself. Those who sin habitually are servants of sin, not of the Savior. God calls us out of darkness and into His marvelous light. He calls us out of the world to walk in the Light with Him. If you are born again, Christ is your Covenant. Christ is with you, and you are with Him. And this is the very best of places to be.

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

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In Earthen Vessels

2_Corinthians_4_5t7_Earthen_Vessels.jpg

Audio of Sermon: 

Bible Notes: I was watching something disgusting on television the other day, not because I wanted to watch it, but it was forced on me in the middle of the show I was watching.

It was called – I think – a commercial.

It was a new commercial for one of these diet drinks I never drink because – quite frankly – they taste like battery acid. Anyway this young woman came on and told me how good her diet soda was — that it was “delicious” — then proceeded to tell me that

If you want to live in a yurt, live in a yurt”

I thought at first she was saying “If you want to live in the dirt live in the dirt” which I thought was weird. But with people and their belief structure today – who knows? At least I know what DIRT is. I had to look up YURT. It’s a round, portable tent made of animal skins that Turkish nomads invented.

I don’t want to live in a YURT. I want to live in my house sitting in my recliner loving my wife. The young lady went on to say

Life is short. Just do what you want. Just DO YOU!”

That is the attitude of most of the world today, and most of the world of yesterday. Jesus asked the question one day:

Mark 8:36-37 (NKJV) For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

What indeed. People have given up their souls for money, food, sex, fame, and have done so since the beginning of human history. The attitude of this and the previous generations of people is that I should live to do what I MYSELF want to do.

Live in a YURT.
Eat DIRT.
Do whatever YOU want because life is short.
This life is short.
But life itself is not really short.

Life Is Not A Commercial

God tells us that there is another life beyond this life. That life can be light in the Lord for those who love the Lord:

Psalm 89:11-16 (NKJV) The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; The world and all its fullness, You have founded them. 12 The north and the south, You have created them; Tabor and Hermon rejoice in Your name. 13 You have a mighty arm; Strong is Your hand, and high is Your right hand. 14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Mercy and truth go before Your face. 15 Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance. 16 In Your name they rejoice all day long, And in Your righteousness they are exalted.

But there is a life beyond this one of eternal darkness for those who do not live in the light of God’s love:

John 3:19-21 (NKJV) And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

Life is short NOW, but not THEN.
Every human is created in the image of God, and as such our souls are eternal.
Where will I go when I depart this place?
I go to
Whom I love.
If I love Jesus I will go to Jesus.
If I love ME I will go to a place where people only love themselves and God is not in it.

The Gospel is in direct opposition to every commercial – I say EVERY COMMERCIAL – on television today. The Gospel shouts out to all who say “Life is short – do YOU” and says “No, this is not life. Life is in God. Life is in Christ.”

Commercials preach US. Every commercial is about YOU. YOU should buy this car. YOU should drink this drink. YOU should come to this bank and get our credit card. YOU deserve it. This is the message that the world brings to us. When you watch a television show and it says just prior to your show:

This show is brought to you by …

and they fill in a company or manufacturer telling you who the sponsor is, what they should tell you is that …

This show is brought to you by the devil and his servants.

You say “But brother, that seems a bit harsh”. Maybe it does. But the Scripture says:

Read Together 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (KJV) But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

The devil – the god of this world, the one that the world worships – blinds the minds of the lost. He tells them just as this young girl did on the commercial

Life is short!”
“Just do YOU”

Jesus told a parable one time about a rich man that had all kinds of things. Rather than praising God for what he was given he wanted more and more. As he accumulated stuff – buying whatever the crappy commercial was selling – he said to himself:

Luke 12:19 (NKJV) … Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.

Jesus said that this man was rebuked by God Who said:

Luke 12:20 (NKJV) … you Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?

Everything belongs to God. Everything. This is why:

Read Together 2 Corinthians 4:5 (KJV) For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

Jesus is LORD. We preach “Christ Jesus the Lord”. What does this mean?

  • We preach CHRIST. Not OURSELVES, but CHRIST. He is the Messiah sent from the Father, the Only Atonement for sin. Jesus is THE Christ. The Bible tells us that there is but One Christ, and that He was sent from God to be both King of His people. Daniel called the Messiah …

Daniel 9:25 (NKJV) …. Messiah the Prince

and the Angel Gabriel told Joseph that Mary would …

Matthew 1:21 (NKJV) … bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will SAVE His people from their SINS.

He is Lord.
He is Lord.
He has risen from the dead, and He is Lord.
Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord.

He is Christ the Lord. We preach Him as Lord, the Lord Who saves His people. Christ Jesus saves us from our sins – and from the PENALTY of sin.

Romans 6:23 The Wages of Sin is DEATH …. but the gift of God is ETERNAL LIFE through Jesus Christ OUR LORD!

When you die in this life without Christ you go to a place of DEATH where sin’s wages are paid. But you need not go there, for

Romans 5:8 (ESV) God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ DIED FOR US.

  • We preach CHRIST, and we preach JESUS. God the Son took upon Himself humanity so that He could pay for our sins. The Scripture declares:

1 Timothy 1:15 (NKJV) This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.

He Who was eternal God the Son became temporal but perfect Man. Jesus came preaching Himself as the One and Only Anointed Savior.

Luke 4:17-21 (NKJV) {Jesus} found the place where it was written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” 20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Jesus is God lowered to human flesh. The Son came to do His Father’s will. What was the Father’s will?

John 6:29 (NKJV) Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

John 6:40 (NKJV) And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

We preach that Christ is the promised Messiah, and that Jesus died for us. We preach salvation as a gift of God. And where Christ Jesus is preached as the only Savior and only Lord, God works.

We Are But Earthen Vessels – The Potter’s Creation

2 Corinthians 4:5-6 (KJV)  For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.  [6]

Read With Me For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

It is God Who reveals Christ to the lost, Who opens the mind of the darkened, Who brings light to the darkness. The same God Who in the beginning:

Genesis 1:3 (KJV) …. said, Let there be light: and there was light.

Is the same God Who saves the soul of the lost. He must open the eyes. Every part of man is corrupted by the old sin nature. The Bible says that …

Ephesians 2:4-5 (NKJV) But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when WE WERE DEAD IN TRESPASSES, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)

The Bible makes it clear that WE WERE DEAD IN TRESPASSES – totally unable to do anything to help ourselves. Sin enslaves and entraps. Jesus told the self righteous Pharisees (which are populating many Churches today):

John 8:31-34 (NKJV) Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” 33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

People are enslaved by sin. But Jesus said “If I MAKE YOU FREE you will be free indeed”. It is through Christ Jesus that freedom is found. As Christ is preached lives are changed. It is through the glorious Gospel that Christ calls to the dead to make them alive. That is how I was saved. That is how you were saved. That is how all are saved – through His Work in our lives.

There is no personal merit in salvation. But once we are saved, we are bound to Him by love. Read with me:

Read Together 2 Corinthians 4:7 (KJV)  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

The TREASURE of eternal life and the Gospel that secured it is IN EARTHEN VESSELS. I want to think about this for a moment. What is an EARTHEN VESSEL?

  • An EARTHEN VESSEL is FOUND by the Potter.

When I was a young boy I used to play near a creek with my friend Benny. We wallowed in that creek, and often slipped and fell on the clay banks. I can remember that clay, gray, with its stink. What we played on would be a gold mine for a true artist, a Potter to find. The Potter finds the clay then shapes it into a work of art, or an item of use. The Bible says:

Isaiah 64: 6-8 (NKJV) But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away. 7 And there is no one who calls on Your name, Who stirs himself up to take hold of You; For You have hidden Your face from us, And have consumed us because of our iniquities. 8 BUT NOW, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.

The Father found us in Christ. We heard the Gospel, He called to us, and dug us out of this broken world.

We are IN the world but not OF the world (John 17:14-16).
We are not the clay of the bank of the creek, but found by Father.

  • An EARTHEN VESSEL is FORMED by the Potter.

The Bible says in Romans 12:2 “Do NOT be CONFORMED BY THIS WORLD”.
It is not the hand of the world that shapes God’s clay, but God Himself.

Galatians 1:4 Christ gave Himself FOR OUR SINS that He might DELIVER US FROM THIS PRESENT EVIL AGE!

We are not the mud of the bank, nor children of darkness, but creatures of His light. God forms us just as a Master Potter forms the lump of clay.

Our world spins. Sometimes we are tossed, beaten, deluged with water, pressed down. Read with me:

Read Together 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 (KJV)  We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  [9]  Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;  [10]  Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

As we are pressed down, afflicted, troubled, we never despair. We see every rough action that occurs in our lives to be the work of God in us. We bear about in our bodies the dying of the Lord Jesus. We are ever mindful that He died for us so that we can live in Him. Let me say that again:

He died for us so that we can live in Him.
He died for us so that we can live in Him.
He died for us so that we can live in Him.

  • An EARTHEN VESSEL is FIRED by the Potter. You cannot allow an earthen vessel to just air dry then expect to use it for anything substantial.

It must be placed in the kiln.
It must be fired to convert it from gray clay to white porcelain.

Matthew 16:24-26 (ESV) Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him DENY HIMSELF AND TAKE UP HIS CROSS AND FOLLOW ME. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

There needs be MORE Cross Preaching and less Prosperity Preaching if the Church will grow as Christ intended. The Church today is preaching a welfare Gospel, a Gospel with a little “g” and not the glorious Gospel the Apostles preached. Trials will come. Tribulation will come. The world will hate us. Let it. Let’s quit trying to please the world and let’s please our Lord. Let’s be as clay in His hands, but to the world let us be IRON.

  • An EARTHEN VESSEL has it’s FUTURE determined by the Potter. Though afflicted in this life God saved us so that we will one day have eternity in Him. Let’s read together:

Read Together 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (KJV)  For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.  [17]  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;  [18]  While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

The Apostle saw the trials that he was presently undergoing as “light afflictions” and “but a moment”. He viewed all things through the lens of eternity.

If you look through the binoculars through the BIG LENS everything you see out there will be tiny. But if you look through the binoculars through the LITTLE LENS – as it was designed to be – then you can see very far away. Too many are looking through the binoculars through the wrong lens.

You need to turn your binoculars around.

God has made you for eternity. This current EARTHEN VESSEL is FRAGILE, but the soul He is working on will one day be deposited in an ETERNAL VESSEL. You are God’s Masterpiece if you are saved by faith in Christ Jesus. You have an eternal destiny.

This world is not my home – I’m just a passing through,

My treasures are laid up – somewhere beyond the blue,

The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door,

And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

Oh Lord you know I have no Friend like you,

If Heaven’s not my home then lord what will I do,

The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door,

And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore!

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