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.
In Matthew 13:44 a man found a treasure hidden in a field. For the joy of what he had found he was moved to return home and leave the treasure hidden in the field to sell all he had to buy the field. Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is likened to this.
Question for the day is: Have you found that treasure, the Lord Jesus Christ? Have you sold out to own the field were he is found? Have you given up the past to own the present and rest for the future, to lay claim to the field, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, and embrace the treasure?
Oh, you are not to take the treasure home and put him on a shelf with your other keepsakes or trophies. You are not to bring your possessions into the field to compare with him. You have to give up to gain and lose to win. You can either walk away with a white knuckle grip on your toys, or turn loose and find a multitude of joys. What you waiting on?
Claim the field and lay hold on eternal life, Jesus Christ.
As with a tree, the source of the strength in the limbs and the sweetness of the fruit is covered with dirt: the root. So it is with the child of God, the flesh can disguise the source of our thoughts and actions: the heart.
Sometimes it is hard to see past the dirt to acknowledge the source. Yet, the results we see are evidences of just that. The tree may suffer a season of lack in cold times or lose a branch or two in stormy days, but as long as the root grows deep it can be refreshed.
It is the long droughts and hot days when no moisture can be found as the heavens have withheld their rains that the root drys and the tree dies. Much like the soul when the connection from above withholds the nurture and refreshing insights of God's word and the spirit dries within.
Lord send your word today to our thirsty souls and revive us again to your service. Help me to know that perhaps I might be that source of a cup of water to another parched traveler. "As cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country." May it find its way past the dirt to the root of my heart. Amen.
Once again I sit this morning in awe of the lessons my dad taught me in "hands on" examples when I was a boy. I'm really not sure that he even considered some of them as such to me, probably more than I ever will realize, but the value of teaching overwhelms me at times. I confess at the time I was not a very willing student and shamefully resented the length and repetition of the class.
Yet, as I see the principles of those days explode in the pages of scripture I marvel at the wisdom of the teacher and acknowledge from whom he must have learned as well. The wisdom of God revealed in the patterns of scripture boggle the mind with detail and wonder. "In the beginning GOD".
I bow in meditation and thanksgiving LORD to thank you for the teaching of thy word to me this day. I am unworthy of your truth to me that reminds me without a sure foundation no house can stand. Indeed, how shall I build a life without YOU upholding me? LORD again pull me from the pit and sure my feet upon the ROCK of my salvation. Let me this day feel the weight of my load lift as you come along beside me. May I hear your still voice call me from my cave of despair to stand in the light of your presence. Renew my strength to the work before me and make me a blessing, not a stumblingblock, to some one else this day. In Jesus Name, Amen.
"Peace on earth"? "And on earth peace"? Which? Both.
These are statements made concerning the affect of the Lord Jesus' birth. Yet, have you noticed that conflict and war have not ceased? Have you noticed that men have not improved in "good will" toward each other? Then the angels must have misunderstood the message or misrepresented to us all; Not so.
The message was true and remains so today. Peace came in the Prince of Peace. The variance and conflict that was to be appeased was not between men, but men and God. God's law had been broken and He offended. Justice demanded the declared penalty and the verdict had been passed. The results were evident in the corruption and death since the days of creation and continues today. For there to ever be fellowship and harmony for any in the presence of God, the payment had to be made. Yet, the babe found in the manger did not pay, but was the price.
The price was paid at Calvary and accepted of God in the place of men by the atonement of the blood, his very life through death, of Jesus. Redemption was accomplished there and declared received in full by the resurrection of the Son of God. Peace for men, not mankind, came in a babe at Bethlehem, but salvation was completed by the man at Calvary. Peace restored and imputed at regeneration, the new birth, by the immediate and sovereign work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of men (the elect family) that can not be taken or lost by the recipients forever. Not sweet, calm, musing of a baby in rags, but the wonder and awe of a man sent and willing to die for sinners to establish harmony for all time.
Praise God for this unspeakable (more that we could think or ask, more than we can comprehend or tell) gift. Amen.
Takes a fishing license to fish and a hunting license to hunt. The two will not work for the other.
A marriage license means I am committed to one woman for life, not all women when I please.
Baptism publicly says I submit to Christ and am willing to be identified as a member of His Church: ONE, not all religion or systems thereof.
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:" 1 Peter 3:15 KJV
In this day of relativism of thought and casual knowledge of most subjects, especially scripture, how important a few words in context are!
Peter's admonition is not for us to be always telling reasons 'for' the hope we have, but to be ready to answer, when asked, a reason "of the hope" that is in us.
This does not speak of an opportunity to reason as to how you acquired the hope or as to why you got it or received it. But, this is opportunity for you to express your understanding of the hope that is in you. How is it that Christ dwells within you? How is it that God would be in such as we? Indeed, why would He have to be and why is it that His presence makes hope swell within your heart?
How much of the reason of hope do you understand? Can you answer, if asked? Do you hold the faith in a pure conscience? Or is your trust in externals of ceremony, ritual, seasons, times, days, custom?
How about this? During this time when it seems that many discuss and share this time of the year and relate their understanding of the "REASON FOR THE SEASON": What if we related 'why' the babe came? Why that child was sent to die? Why He lived a perfect life? Why He suffered in silence? Why He allowed Himself to be put such an end? Why were you/I not worthy to, not only would not, but could not do any of these things? And how such unreasonable hope could be resident in you?
Thanks be unto God for the unspeakable gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ my/our LORD! Amen.
"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." 1 Corinthians 1:18 KJV
Just what is it about the cross that is passed off by some as nonsense and others as an offense? To some the preaching of the cross, (not preaching in general), insults the religious mind and to others is not worth a passing thought as unintelligible.
Beyond the facts of the betrayal, the trial, the blasphemy, the lies, the insults, the torture, the beating, the whip, the spit, the nails, the pole, the thieves, the forsaking of all, all of which might, and do, provoke sympathy and even anger from some; there lies another aspect to the declaration of the cross that flies in the face of man.
It it the "WHY" of the cross. Why did Christ Jesus suffer and endure it all? To set the example and show a way, a point of truth, or a manner of life that was acceptable with God? To show that forgiveness was possible and attainable by men? God help! NO! He did so because it was required and needed, not himself, but for me and you.
We could not do so and would not do so. Our inherent sin and existence forbid any hope of such. Our sin and eternal need of salvation insults the mind of the religious. They think that they can some way obey and live above it. The intellectual think themselves above it from birth and dismiss the thought of such punishment as foolishness, especially on their part. And the idea that someone, anyone, would stoop to such a low estate for those that hate them is completely confounding! Foolishness indeed!.
Yet, to those of us that are saved, (not being saved), the message is the power and wonder of God! It strips us of any boast of self in mind, might, or right. It leaves us in the dust of humanity faced with the reality of our helplessness without His complete work. It leaves us with no praise on our lips for our own righteousness, but glory for only God and Christ.
One should notice that this preaching is not what produces the perishing or the secure position of some, but finds the response of these. It is not preaching of the manger, ministry, or man that so much stirs such response, but the truth of the cause and cure that cuts to the heart and causes some to stumble and others to mock. But, to us which are called, (not being called), this truth thrills the heart with hope and the power of God. To the believer it directs our focus and tunes our lips with praise. Amen.