"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." Matthew 6:24
The words of Jesus, so must be true, right? But, isn't it interesting how many think they are the exception to the rule? How many think they can ride the fence between two worlds?
Consider the alternatives: The first is to have a clear distinction of the two. One you love and the other you hate. You can not love both. The second is to hold one all the while despising the other. There is no alternative three. No plan C.
It is all about who or what is #1 in your life. Can not be two number ones. You either have clear focus of priority or you find yourself clinging to one and cheating the other. Can't have it both ways.
All too many of us are under the self delusion of trying to save the world, our world, and losing our life. We either love God and hate the world or we are holding the world and cheating God. Which do we seek?
A few biblical facts that shut down most religious conversations and blow the minds of all.
1. Not one human being since Adam has been conceived into this world without a sinful nature, which of itself condemns them to eternal damnation and their lives are proof of the same. Their works are according to their nature.
2. Not one of the human race since Adam has been, nor will be, able to do one, single, good act, (be that believe, repent, accept, continue, etc), worthy of or part of any process to redeem themselves or any one else from this damnation.
3. Not one of the human race in this state will ever be changed or see heaven that was not known of God and chosen in Christ before the world began.
4. Not of these that were chosen shall pass this life without being changed, regenerated, born again, by the immediate, sovereign power and action of Holy Spirit God without any assistance of man or religion.
5. Not one of the human race were included in the payment of Calvary by Jesus Christ for sin, but those that were chosen and will be born again.
6. Not one of the human race that are chosen, regenerated/born again, will be forgotten or left out at the resurrection. None shall be lost or separated from the love of God.
7. Not one of the human race that shall be cast to hell for eternity were loved of God, chosen in Christ, died for, or regenerated.
8. Not one of the human race are worthy to be numbered among the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ that have not been regenerated/born again and submitted themselves to the call of the gospel and been baptised.
9. Not one of the world religions teach this truth other than Christianity and not all that call themselves Christian know or do so.
10. Not one of any of us have a mind that can understand and believe such without having been born again, thus giving evidence that they were chosen, have been regenerated, and will be called up at the resurrection for all eternity. They are the children of God! Yet, not all of these shall ever in this life hear or believe. Amen.
Sorrow not, not, not sorrow
1 Thessalonians 4:13 "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are sleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope."
Here in a few verses Paul makes one of the most direct statements to the coming of the Lord and the resurrection found in scripture. Within these glorious words are found so many grand truths.
First, not the least of which is that ignorance of this day produces sorrow for those that have no hope in the resurrection. That said, the knowledge of this day lifts the concern for those that have gone before us and yields an expectation of the Lord Jesus' glorious return.
Sorrow for the loss of loved ones is a normal and expected emotional experience. And yet, Paul would teach as well (2 Corinthians 7) that there is a godly sort of sorrow and there is a worldly sorrow. While we do grieve in loss, the knowledge and hope of Christ's return can turn that finality into a new beginning.
Paul was not saying that sorrow would be eliminated or that we would 'not sorrow', but that through Christ we would 'sorrow not', even as others. That is the experience of those that have not this hope. This is the hope we have, the anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast. It enters into that within the veil. That is Jesus Christ. Amen.
The wonders of God's grace and mercy, His power and purpose are magnified in the truth of election. God's choice of His elect family in Christ before the world was far reaching and yet specific to a multitude not existing as yet, but in His mind before they were in Adam.
God sent His Son in to this world in the man, Jesus Christ, to pay the debt of enmity resulting by the sin of Adam inherited in all of His children scattered among the race of man. As Jesus hung on the cross separated from this world and offered to God, He paid that debt in full for the entirety of the elect family all the while seeing His seed individually as they were embraced within Himself.
Holy Spirit God quickens, regenerates, gives life to all those that were chosen and atoned without the exception of one. He does so specifically to the individual with complete knowledge of what they are now in Adam to the end of what they will be in Christ. The election stands sure in that regeneration is not a random granting of spiritual ability to those that merit it, but predetermined, purposefully, bestowed upon the person that was known of God the Father, redeemed by God the Son, and born again by God the Holy Spirit.
Though they have been corrupted by Adam's sin, they are loved of God and not forgotten. They are the choice possession of the Father and the kindred of the Son. They can not be lost or separated from His love and power. Though their flesh and natural birth can not attain or earn what they gain in Christ, their flesh can not hinder nor prevent it. The resurrection will find each one, and the whole, of the elect family rising to meet the Lord in the air and so forever to be. All known before the world will be there after the world is gone. Each one by name shall hear the glorious call, "Come home, my child!" How marvelous and beautiful the thought.
This is why salvation is of grace and must be so. This is God's sovereign work in regeneration to us, even me! He does so because He purposed and said so and brings it to pass. Not because of what He sees of Adam, but what He knows in Christ Jesus. Thanks be to God for His amazing mercy and grace to such as we. Amen.
At the end of the 7th chapter of Matthew and beginning with chapter 8 we are confronted with an evidently marvelous response to the preaching/teaching of Jesus. As stated the people were astonished by His manner and words. It is noted that He was not like the scribes.
What appears to be the impressive manner of our Lord is that He broke the scripture down to the common person and applied it to their daily lives in a way that was foreign to the norm of temple worship. In essence He made the gospel personal, to Himself as well as them. It was an inclusive message, not exclusive criteria to be attained to. In other words, the teacher was involved with the students. He brought the word off the page into the person.
How is it with preaching today? Is the message nothing more than a set of rules and formulas to restrict or entice the hearer to become what they obviously are not? Is it nothing more than the chant of an auctioneer or spirit of competition? Are we left with the impressive volume of verses that somehow apply to a topic without explanation to impress the hearers with the wealth of memory of the speaker? Is it the scream of an inconsistent teacher/parent trying to regain control by volume and threats? Lord help.
Jesus related scripture well known to those that heard. He taught in terms and example applicable to the hearers. He taught in various manners in multiple settings and expressed intimate details that baffled some and left others with no doubt. He was not necessarily 'politically correct', if ever. He confronted sin and assured forgiveness. He was separate from sin and accessible to sinners.
Makes you wonder, doesn't it, when we say, "Now, preaching is --------", if we really know? And yet, we have the clear pattern and example of others. I wonder how Jesus judged Paul's preaching??? Do to ponder, right?
The "finger" of God is an interesting thought and study. Exodus 8:19, & 31:18 speak of the tables of the law given to Moses which were "written by the finger of God". Deuteronomy 9:10 repeats this fact for us.
When Jesus was questioned and challenged by many concerning His power over demons and devils; He said that He cast them forth with "the finger of God". Luke 11:20
Now, consider that Peter teaches us also that prophesy came in Old Testament times, not by the whims and imaginations of men, but by the Holy Ghost's moving upon men. Thus the interpretation is not left to men, even those that spake it, but God who sent and gave it. 2 Peter 1:20,21
Now to verify a thought: God is sovereign in all His ways and doings. That is a clear and established fact in scripture. He does not need men to accomplish His purposes. He can speak and create. The power of His voice can take hold of demons and cast them forth or move mountains as He so chooses.
And yet, He used Moses to teach the law. He used prophets to speak. He came in person and taught, fulfilled, and finished this work in the man, Jesus Christ. He remains the power of the word today in the manner He has chosen to manifest His power in the Church, preaching.
God does not need men, but there is no reasonable doubt that He uses men to preach. What a sobering thought to be touched by the "Finger" of God and moved to proclaim His truth today. Oh God, may it be so. Not to be cut to the heart, but pricked. The power and authority is not the man, but the "Finger" that moves him. Amen.
The least I can do is pray??? The least? Perhaps we need a renewed vision of whom we pray to! There is no doubt that from our perspective our words seem to be nothing compared to the circumstance. Even scripture teaches that we know not what or how to ask as we ought. Yet, the same scriptures teach us as children of God, that the Holy Ghost intercedes with groaning and utterance that we can not. Jesus assures us that he hears and pleads our case and needs before the throne of the Father. And Father God invites us to His throne to cast all our cares on Him, because He does care for us.
We are promised to never be forsaken or forgotten. When we pray according to God's will He hears and if we know that He hears, we have the petitions for which we ask. We are admonished to place our needs and concerns before Him, and yet that He knows our needs better than we and nothing is hidden from His view. The riches of heaven are His supply and the army of heaven surrounds us in our conflicts and battles. The enemy is a defeated foe and is retrained by the word of God at His command.
The least we can do? How about the best and first we can and should do? Pray without ceasing. Pray with joy as well as with tears. Pray in thanksgiving as well as request. Pray for the glory of God daily as well as deliverance for self and others. Pray my friends for me as I do for you. To God be the glory! Amen.
The gospel of salvation is so misunderstood and mixed among the self help theories of our day. It is if it is nothing more than one among many of the suggested cures for our discomforts in such trying times. God Help!
As another season of religious vigor nears and some begin to muse upon the cross and sufferings of Christ, can it be believed that the reason for such was to make us feel better about ourselves? To know we deserve better? To help us balance our checkbook? To justify our apathy and complacency toward others and indifference toward God and His truth?
Would we dare to explore the reality of our corruption and hopeless condition apart from God? Would we venture into the halls of truth in scripture to view the end of the wicked? Could we dare to believe that the Lamb of God would descend to this pit of sin to rescue such a one as self? Could it be that unless He had come and died, we could not live? Is it true that what He did, we could not do? Did He accomplish salvation or present an example for us? Is it finished or does a cross await you?
Have you seen the truth of the crucifixion yet or are you still drowning in the storm of religion and ceremony? Thanks be unto God for the unspeakable gift of eternal life in and by Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory! Amen.
Gospel Conversion: a clearly taught point of experience in the life of a regenerated child of God. It is the point in life where the reality of personal responsibility and participation in the death of Christ comes to bare in the understanding of the preaching of the gospel of truth. It is when the message of "It is finished" registers upon the heart of an individual with such power that the peace of God overwhelms the soul in joy.
It is all within the same moment that the mind and heart of an individual is so torn with grief because of the obvious fact that they are indeed one that inherited Adam's sin and were the reason Jesus came, suffered, and died at Calvary. It is in that same moment that the stone is removed from their heart to shout, "He is risen, INDEED!", and He did so for ME!
This moment of spiritual life is not when life originates, but that moment eternal life is realized and manifested for that soul in such power and demonstration of the Spirit that for a while heaven is open and doubt flees away. This is the power of the gospel and the salvation to be had in it.
Oh that more of God's elect people would hear and understand the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ and turn from the bondage of religion and know the freedom of Christ! To understand they have no more power to make Jesus Lord than they do to make Adam a sinner, nor so within themselves, and yet the truth of both is real within. This is the truth of sovereign grace and the assurance of faith, not in self, but all in Christ alone. Amen.
"Opinion is asked for, advice is free", or so I have been told. Seems that more are free with what they think in whatever form it is shared.
"Thus sayeth the Lord", at one time was the end of the matter. Regardless of opinion or persuasion, respect for the word of God at one time was the conclusion to all discussion. "The Bible says", was the last word in debate or disagreement.
Over the years such phrases as, "But our people have always believed", and "That's not the way we do it", have risen to seemingly undisputed significance as to be the 'trump' card in all conversation.
And who can forget the simple, "Well, I believe" and "You know I just feel like"? What has come to pass is that we live among a society that hates God and His word. I realize that this is not new, however, it has come to such blatant reality in a country that once professed to honor God and the scriptures.
The attempt to talk of God is met with resistance from so many that claim to not believe in Him or have any regard for any 'out of date book written by men', or so they claim. The opinions of men have seared over the consciences of even those that sit on pews any given Sunday. Thus, why it takes more and more of the world to get them there and to keep them entertained.
"Take the book and eat it up" is still the command of heaven to any seeking truth. To any individual who hungers for stability and thirsts for a cool drink in such a barren land of ignorance there remains only one source of refreshment, THE WORD OF GOD! May we be reminded the labor and sacrifice to hold a copy of inspiration in our hands and to have the God of heaven to speak to such undeserving wretches as we. If we answer not from this standard, there is no light in us. God help! Amen.