“I have glorified you on the earth; I have finished the work you have given me to do.” John 17:4
In our study of John 17, we are continuing to uncover the truths of the atoning work of Christ. God planned His covenant of grace before creation. The Father and the Son made this covenant of redemption together to ensure His people would know their love and share in their glory.
The stipulations of the covenant were fulfilled when Jesus lived in full obedience to the law. Then, in offering Himself as our sacrifice, He became the mediator of the covenant. God, the Father accepted His offering. “And the Holy Spirit undertook to reveal the great salvation and apply it with power to the hearts of those whom the Father had given to Him” (Jn. 17:2). Our Lord Prays for His Own ~ Marcus Rainsford
An Everlasting Covenant The covenant of grace was promised in the Old Testament. David records in Psalm 89, not speaking of himself, but of the Messiah, chosen from the people and anointed.
Then You spoke in a vision to Your holy one, And said: “I have given help to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people. 20 I have found My servant David; With My holy oil I have anointed him,
Also My arm shall strengthen him. 22 The enemy shall not outwit him, Nor the son of wickedness afflict him. 23 I will beat down his foes before his face, And plague those who hate him.
“But My faithfulness and My mercy shall be with him, And in My name his horn shall be exalted. 25 Also I will set his hand over the sea, And his right hand over the rivers. 26 He shall cry to Me, ‘You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.’ 27 Also I will make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth. 28 My mercy I will keep for him forever, And My covenant shall stand firm with him. 29 His seed also I will make to endure forever, And his throne as the days of heaven.
He speaks in 2 Samuel 23:5 of the everlasting covenant God made with him.
“Although my house is not so with God, Yet He has made with me an everlasting covenant, Ordered in all things and secure. For this is all my salvation and all my desire; Will He not make it increase?
God promised to give His Son as a covenant to His people,.
“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, Isaiah 42: 5-8
And of this Jesus spoke of Himself.
As a light to the Gentiles ,7 To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the prison, Those who sit in darkness from the prison house. 8 I am the Lord, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Luke 2:32
God’s part being to give His only begotten Son: His Son’s part being to glorify him upon the earth; and the Spirit”s part to reveal and apply this salvation and God revealing Himself by His Spirit in a new covenant character as the God of peacein Hebrews 13:20-21
“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in [b]you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.” Amen.
It is Finished
“I have finished the work you gave me to do.”
Altogether finished is the great work the Father gave His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
The “transgression” is finished.
The making an “end of sin” is finished.
The “making reconciliation for iniquity” is finished.
The bringing in the righteousness of God” is finished.
The “everlasting righteousness” is finished.
The “sealing up the vision and prophecy: is finished.
The Scripture is fulfilled, the foundation of the Most High is laid, and the topstone shall be Christ – and you and I, sinners, who believe, are the living stones of the building.
Redemption – finished,
The types and shadows – finished.
Forgiveness sealed and finished.
The separation which sin had made between us and God, and between the members of Christ – finished.
Justification – finished.
The distance annihilated, and those “who were afar off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.’ Our Lord Prays for His Own ~ Marcus Rainsford
From start to finish, it was a work only God, the Son – the God/man – could do.
To reject Christ is to reject His finished work and the love of the Father and the Son for our propitiation.
‘Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (I John 4:10)
He is glorified when we live in obedience to Him and do the His kingdom work here on earth – and our purpose is fulfilled – To glorify God and enjoy Him forever. The Shorter Catechism.
Gracious Father, who has proven your love to us, we praise you for your covenant of grace, fulfilled in Christ, your Son.
Lord Jesus, we thank you for glorifying our Father – your Father and ours – in your finished work for our redemption.
Holy Spirit, we thank you for revealing this great work and fulfilling this promise of redemption in us that we may look forward to sharing in your glory forever. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Humankind seems to be the only creature with the ability to think for himself – but are we in control of our thinking?
The serpent in the Garden of Eden did not tempt the other animals. Then again, he was not a serpent, per se, but possessed by the spirit of the enemy of God – a fallen angel who wanted to be God.
The animals had an inherited mindset from God. Made in God’s image, the man was to receive by His Spirit at all times direction from God for all we needed and respond in a loving relationship to Him.
The enemy wanted to be in control and have this attention and glory for himself.
His disguise and deception obtained the control he wanted over our first parents.
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Gen. 3:6
When they took the bait, the spirit of oppression and deception became the spirit of every human being who would be born on earth. They saw their nakedness, their vulnerability to their world, and the need for covering.
Their minds had been ravished and overcome by a foreign spirit.
Unless we know the anecdote and receive the Spirit of God through His Son, Jesus Christ, we have no control over our thoughts, words, or actions.
What we feed our thoughts controls us. And we encourage the spirit of oppression by what we see and hear.
2020 and now 2021 is proof that whatever we hear and read governs our lives. The enemy works through every source of sight and sound and continues to destroy people’s lives.
We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. 1 John 5:19
Without understanding how we think, we are unable to realize our condition. The world lives in fear and oblivion to how the enemy has a stronghold on our minds and lives.
This spirit lies dormant even in the best of God’s people and can easily be aroused and raise its ugly head whenever it is threatened. We must recognize the difference and use God’s Word to counteract our thoughts against others.
We will remain immobilized until we take God’s Word in hand, open it, read it, pray for His Holy Spirit to inoculate us with its truths, meditate on it, memorize and make it our food and drink.
We must take it to bed with us, wake up with it, love it, and make it the focus of our lives and teach our children how to think and use God’s Word as a defence against the world’s thinking.
Brainwashing is nothing new. We are brainwashed from the moment we take our first breath on this earth. Our minds are programmed to cry out for everything we want and taught how to acquire it, even if by deception or force.
If we do not submit our minds to God’s control, we remain under the control of the enemy.
Our only hope for a reversal for this nation and the world is through God’s Word and Spirit.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Heb. 4:12
Dear Father in heaven, in a season when your people used to gather to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are seeing a culture dead and buried under the hand of the enemy. Give life and raise your people by your Holy Spirit. Put your Word into the hands, minds, and hearts of your children that we may again proclaim the power of a resurrected Savior and Lord. Enable us to go forward in the battle against the enemy of our souls. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
The first parable that Jesus spoke was that of the Sower. After a series of miracles, crowds had started to gather around Him. Soon enough, opposition arose. After healing ‘a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute’ (Matthew 12:22), the Pharisees remarked that, ‘It is only by Beelzebub the prince of demons that this fellow drives out demons’ (v24). Jesus then makes a distinction between His Kingdom and that of Satan, and cautions the Pharisees to be careful of what they speak. Probably after being slightly convinced that the power at work in Jesus was different ‘some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, ‘Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you’ (v38). Jesus refuses to offer a miracle and instead says, ‘none will be given to it (this generation) except the sign of the Prophet Jonah’ (v39).
Jesus takes them back to the Nineveh saga and says, ‘the men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgement with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah and now one greater than Jonah is here’ (v41). Jesus then transitions to saying that ‘The Queen of the South will rise at the judgement with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here’ (v42). Jesus uses two men- Jonah and Solomon- to demonstrate that one greater than them was here. He also uses two others- men of Nineveh and Queen of the South- to demonstrate the effect of heeding to words of warning and wisdom. When Jonah started into the City of Nineveh, he proclaimed, ‘Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned’ (Jonah 3:4), the ‘Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth’ (v5). By heeding to God’s word, calling to God in truth, and turning from their wicked ways, God ‘did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened’ (v10).
For the Queen of Sheba, or the Queen of the South as Jesus refers, she made way to Jerusalem to listen in to wisdom. When she ‘heard about the fame of Solomon and his relationto the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions’ (1 Kings 10:1). When she sat with Solomon and he ‘answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her’ (v3). The Queen of Sheba was ‘overwhelmed’ (v5) by such wisdom and splendour, leading her to say, ‘The report heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes . . . Praise be to the Lord your God who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel’ (v9). She then lavished the King with gifts so ‘that never again were so many brought in as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon’ (v10).
Jesus uses two different groups of individuals in two different settings who He says will act as witnesses to condemn this generation at the judgement – Men of Nineveh, and the Queen of the South. This is because of their response to God’s Word, one of warning and one of wisdom. The men of Nineveh repented of their ways while the Queen of the South (Sheba) had interest, took action, listened, meditated, and responded with enthusiasm to the words of wisdom God spoke through Solomon. She did not settle on hearsay and personally took initiative to sit by Solomon face to face. She did not also settle on knowing surface level, but probed deeper into Solomon’s wisdom. When she had come to an understanding, she praised God and lavished what she had on Solomon. Jesus then declares that One greater that Jonah and Solomon (who spoke words from God) was here. And so Jesus embodies Himself as one speaking God’s very words of warning to the world, and wisdom to ‘he who has an ear, let him hear’ (11:v15, Revelation 2:7). After the comparisons, Jesus then proceeds to expound on the same matter using a parable on ‘that same day’ (Matthew 13:1).
‘A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell on along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and chocked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop – a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears let him hear’ (v3-9).
Interestingly, while Jesus was speaking this parable, He was in a ‘boat and sat in it, while the people stood on the shore’ (v2). Because with God there are no coincidences, Jesus purposefully positioned Himself in that setting, not just to deliver the parable, but to demonstrate it as He spoke it. He withdrew from the masses and sat in the boat as the farmer, and the words He was speaking were the seeds, and the different kinds of grounds where the seed fell were the crowds of people listening to Him- diverse people. Because Jesus can see the hearts of men, He saw four kinds of receivers gathered there and proceeds to explain the parable that spoke not only of the crowd gathered, but of the entire human race. Jesus compressed the human heart into four types in relation to how it receives the God’s Word – how it receives Him.
Receiver on the Path – ‘When anyone hears about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart’ (v19)
Receiver on Rocky Place – ‘Is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away’ (v20-21)
Receiver on Thorns – ‘Is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful’ (v22)
Receiver on Good Soil – ‘Is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown’ (v23)
The Bible not only exposes the human condition, but is also the remedy for our ills. And so for the Receiver on the Path, the remedy is; ‘Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it’ (Joshua 1:8). For the Receiver on Rocky Place, the remedy is; ‘Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God’ (Hebrews 6:1). The Receiver of Thorns is urged to ‘Seek first the Kingdom of Godand His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you’ (Matthew 6:33). The Receiver on Good Soil always ought to know that the crop they produce is not because of them but because of the soil, the Holy Spirit who Jesus says will ‘teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you’ (John 14:26). And like the Queen of Sheba, they ought to return praises back to God and spread His Word.
Praying this morning on the eve of another Lord’s Day, praising God, my Father, desiring His name to be hallowed, seeking His kingdom and His righteousness, and His will to be done here on earth, it was with worship in mind.
Tomorrow He will meet with us who are gathered in the name of our Lord on the day of our Lord, January 10, 2021. This Eve has become a day of preparation for me, remembering that every day is the day of our Lord for over two thousand years. But, specifically, the first day of the week belongs to Him. According to His atoning work, we, who are His by grace, plan for this day to honor Him. He is the beginning of eternal life for us through His death and resurrection.
So, what difference does it make if I honor Him on His day? And what happens in this celebration of His atoning work of grace? New thoughts came to mind as I prayed for Chris, our pastor. He has specifically asked for prayer that He may preach more faithfully, more pointedly, and more Christ-centeredly. Daily praying for the Holy Spirit to work in Him in His preparation to preach the word in power, we pray more fervently the day before for the sword of God’s Word that will pierce our hearts. We pray for the Holy Spirit to prepare our hearts to receive the truth of His Word and that it will find its resting place to root and grow and produce its fruit in and through us as His children.
This means more than just saying “Amen” to what we hear. A prepared heart comes to listen to what our Father has given His servant for us. If we “have an ear to hear,” we will take in what He intends to reveal of Himself. The truth in the power of His Word will change our minds and hearts and conform them to His.
So, why do I need to be in church? The church is the place for gathering God’s people to honor His Son and receive the eternal life He came to give. It is the place of His worship and His Word. I need to know and hear from heaven the Father/Creator and Redeemer of my soul. The church was His plan, not man’s. We need under-shepherds who know Christ and the life He came to give His people, who are filled with the Holy Spirit, and who feed His sheep with the manna from heaven.
I need the cutting edge of the sword of His Word, not to desire what makes me feel good about myself, nor to be entertained, but to have all sense of pride and deception stripped from my being. I need to be cleansed of thoughts of, and plans for, myself.
Individual reading and study are good, but these are not all we need. We need the “body of Christ” listening collectively to how He plans to shape us into His image.
Christ died and rose again to give us His life, that we may live through Him (1 Jn. 4:9). The more we know of Him as revealed through the preaching of His Word, the more we become like Him, understanding the reality of His dwelling in us and our dwelling in Him (1 Jn. 4:13; Jn. 14:17, 23), Filled with Grace ~ Wrapped in Glory.)
The supernatural, spiritual work in His incarnation, His resurrection, and His ascension is the same divine power working in us through the sword of His Spirit ~ the Holy Spirit working His Word in our hearts and lives.
His sanctifies us individually and collectively.
We must submit ourselves to the weekly preaching of God’s Word to know His transforming power in the days ahead, lest we lose ourselves in the overwhelming chaos and uncertainty of the world. His Word defines who we are in Christ. We must plan, prepare, and anticipate a newness of life in Christ we have hardly known.
Dear Father, we ask for the unction of your Holy Spirit for the preaching of your Word tomorrow. Prepare our hearts to receive what you have given your ministers. Enable us to receive the truth of your Word for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness. Let us willingly accept what your Word reveals of the intentions of our hearts, deliver us from our sins, and conform us to the image of Christ. In His name, I pray. Amen. Fran
January 11, 2021, Governor Ducey gave his State of the State address in which he outlined his plans and goals for Arizona.
This is the time of the year when the President of the United States usually gives the State of the Union Address to the Nation. In it we hear the President’s views of how things are going in America and how he wishes for them to go in the future.
Joe Biden hasn’t addressed our Nation yet. It was thought he’d make that speech in early February, then maybe on February 23. It hasn’t happened and now it looks as though he isn’t going to make that speech at all.
I certainly wouldn’t want to upstage the Governor or the President, but today I want to give you God’s State of the World Address.
The State of the World is a topic much more important than the State of the State or the State of the Union.
– It’s more important because it involves the welfare of not just the 328.2 million people in The United States, but includes the 7.8 billion people in the whole world.
More people skipped Doug Ducey’s message than heard it, but God’s message is a message you can’t afford to skip.
– Because it’s Jesus’ assessment of the world, not mine.
– Also, because it has to do not just with economics, or education, but with Eternity.
– Its primary concern isn’t peace among nations, but peace with GOD
The State of the World’s Population
GOD would remind us there are more souls than ever needing the Gospel today.
– World population is 7.8 billion, with the highest growth in developing nations.
– Global outreach opportunities have never been greater — Christians are concerned about feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, tending the sick, and educating the illiterate.
That’s why we dig wells in Africa, buy blankets in Iraq, help the down-trodden in India, feed and care for the homeless in America………….when we do these things we’re doing them for/to Christ!
The State of the World’s Morality
What in the world has happened to our world?
What a dysfunctional mess we have on our hands!
Our culture is losing its moral and ethical roots!
People are redefining the meaning of moral in order to justify their self-indulgent, hedonistic behaviors and lifestyles.
Principles of Americans have become rotten as the moral compass of America continues to decay.
Not only our Christian moral standards, but our political system.
This can be seen by the newly elected members of Congress who are Socialist Democrats.
These anti-Americans are injecting poison into this country pushing for the same socialist policies that destroyed Venezuela.
I believe the moral decay in the United States is the direct result of our country increasingly opposing God over the years in favor of secular humanism.
As we continue to reject God and push Him out of our nation, we’re swinging our doors open and welcoming corruption, hatred and violence in our country with open arms.
In Edward Gibbon’s final volume of “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” we see 3 of the 5 major causes he sites as destroying Rome that are clearly apparent in America right now.
They are: The breakdown of the family, an insatiable craving for pleasure, and the decay of religion.
We’ve become a nation as wicked, or even more wicked, than Sodom and Gomorrah, as evidenced by the increased acceptance of sexual immorality and the gruesome abortion laws that have been enacted.
We as a nation and as a world are steering off course onto the broad road leading to destruction.
We need a spiritual revival! We need to repent and turn back to God while we still can!
Ronald Reagan warned, “Without God, there is no virtue because there’s no prompting of the conscience. And without God, democracy will not and cannot endure. If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”
The State of the World’s Crises
Jesus would direct our attention to the widespread crises we’re facing today.
– These are heartbreaking times.
– With more people come more diseases and greater mortality rates.
Globally, about 10% of the world’s population has gotten Covid 19 (Coronavirus).
– In one year it’s reported that 3 million people died from this pandemic.
Vaccines have been developed to combat this disease, but their lasting effects are still undetermined. Doctors live in fear of a new virulent, unstoppable epidemic.
In addition, there are millions of people at war today, and thousands upon thousands are dying.
– Rogue states are developing nuclear capabilities, and shadowy terrorist organizations are seeking weapons of mass destruction.
– President Biden has repaved the way for Iran to get Nuclear Power which is kind of like feeding a tiger so it’ll have strength enough to attack and eat you.
– Radical Muslims are taking over the Mid-East and have set their sights on Israel and America!
– They plan a world-wide Caliphate with Shira Law which will destroy anyone who refuses to convert to Islam.
Russia’s are moving towards an invasion of Israel.
GOD warned Iran (Persia), with Russia (Magog), and a coalition of allies (including Turkey, Libya, Syria, Sudan) will go to war and will invade Israel.
Ezekiel 38-39 warns this coming war between Iran (Persia) and Israel will take place sometime after Israel has been re-gathered into her land as a nation (fulfilled on May 14, 1948)
This prophetic war hasn’t taken place yet…
THIS WAR will be unlike any other war in history … this war will unleash a series of IRREVERSIBLEevents which will change the world forever.
– God set aside two whole chapters in the Bible to warn us of this coming war…
According to the Bible, Israel must stand alone … with God.
Someone will ask, “Well, won’t the United States be there to back Israel, aren’t we allies?”
– When this coming war does finally start, the United States will be unwilling (or unable) to help Israel defend herself.
– We’ve already witnessed President Biden and his Government have cooled relations with Israel.
– Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel will stand alone if need be.
The Bible warns the invading armies will ultimately be destroyed by God, it’ll be a devastating war for both Israel and the whole world. (Read Ezekiel 38 and 39)
Bible scholars are divided as to whether this coming war is part of the prophetic battle of Armageddon or will just precede Armageddon to prepare a way for the Antichrist.
– This will trigger the final prophetic 7-Year Tribulation which God has set aside for Israel and the World which is sometimes called the “Apocalypse” …
THE WHOLE WORLD should be sitting on the edge of their seats with white knuckles watching this terrible prophecy slowly start to unfold.
– Those who call themselves Christians are to “examine” themselves in the Word and in their faith to make sure they’re not just ‘almost’ Christians.
Matthew 7:21-23 21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’
Too many Christians are “lukewarm” in their faith in Jesus and knowledge of God’s Word.
Revelation 3:14-16 14 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. This is the message from the one who is the Amen—the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s new creation: 15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!
Jesus warned us in, Luke 21:36 — “Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.”
The Bible promises that faithful Christians who are alive at that time and have endured in their faith in God’s Word are not “appointed” to this coming time of “God’s wrath” that’ll be “poured out” upon the “whole world.”
1 Thessalonians 1:10 10 And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment.
1 Thessalonians 5:9-11–For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. 10 Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. 11 So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
Any day could bring the world to the edge of Apocalypse.
There are earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, drought, fires, blizzards, and all kinds of natural disasters as God tries to get our attention.
WAKE UP! IT’S TIME TO GET SERIOUS IN YOUR COMMITMENT TO JESUS CHRIST!
The State of the World’s Technology
Daniel 12:4 — But you, Daniel, keep this prophecy a secret; seal up the book until the time of the end, when many will rush here and there, and knowledge will increase.”
Daniel received some of the most sweeping prophecies found in the Bible.
Daniel’s prophecies take us from the days of the Babylonian captivity (which Daniel was part of) to the very end of this age . . .
It’s fascinating to see how God told Daniel, after giving him some of the most remarkable prophecies found in the Bible, to “shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end” and then gives Daniel two signs that would help us identify “the time of the end”…
#1. The ability to travel from one place to another would be unlike anything seen before in history.
It’s interesting to note that from the time Daniel wrote this book until almost the 20th century, the speed man could travel remained fairly constant … limited to the speed of foot, horse, and boat.
#2. ][ And knowledge would increase at a rate … and to a point … unlike any time in history.
It’s interesting how many reports and articles now brag how the sum total of man’s knowledge is doubling at a rate unlike anything ever found in the history of mankind . . .
Are you having a hard time believing in God? Just watch the news.
– Read your Bible it will become clear … Why? God is warning us . . .
The rapid development of technology is another distinctive sign of our age.
– Instant communication, entertainment-on-demand, and nanotechnology are daily changing the world so fast that we can’t keep up.
If you buy a new computer it is obsolete by the time you get it home and set-up.
Internet connections have created a global economy — the world’s open for business 24/7.
– The changes aren’t all good.
– In addition to online pornography and Internet gambling, there’s the danger posed to children by a lifetime of staring at screens.
The World Bankers are planning to do away with cash and the government is figuring ways to confiscate your savings to pay National Debt and then they can better control your earning and spending……….MARK OF THE BEAST!
There is a global push now to get rid of cash. And Revelation 13 tells us why. God warned us in Revelation 13 that the day would come when certain laws would be enforced and anyone who refused to go along with those laws would no longer be able to ‘buy or sell’.
Revelation 13:16-17 16 He required everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. 17 And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name.
The World Bankis calling for governments to work together to implement standardized, cost-effective identity management solutions … Moreover, the nature of the deployments has required an economically feasible solution, and has demonstrated that reliable, biometric ID cards can affordably be used on a large scale. It offers hope for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal of getting legal ID into the hands of everyone in the world by the year 2030 with its Identification for Development (ID4D) initiative.”
– You will notice that this refugee crisis in Europe is making the push for a global ID system even stronger.
So what does Satan need to do in order to successfully enforce the mark of the beast?
– Get rid of cash and make the financial system purely electronic, so that those in control
will simply be able to press a button and stop God’s people who refuse the mark from being able to buy and sell.
PAY ATTENTION! GOD SAID THIS WOULD HAPPEN AT THE END OF THE AGE!
5. The State of the World’s Religions
Jesus would be mindful of the state of the world’s great faiths.
On line reports indicate that there are 2.4 billion Christians, 1.8 billion Muslims (24%) (the fastest growing religion), 535 million Buddhists, 1.2 billion Hindus, and 16% of the world’s population claim no religion at all.
One Muslim leader proclaimed: “We aim to establish Allah’s religion in its entirety, in every soul and upon every inch of this earth, in every home, institution, and society.”
At the same time, persecution against Christians is widespread and underreported, occurring in 183 nations of the world.
– Latin America is now the largest continent of Christians, and the church in Africa is the fastest growing.
Meanwhile Pope Francis is traveling the world recruiting leading Evangelical pastors, Hindus, Muslims, and whoever else he can talk into forming a “ONE-WORLD RELIGION!”
– He recently proclaimed that Jehovah and Allah are the same God!
Pope Francis decreed that 2016 was a Holy Year and priests may absolve women of the “sin of a procured abortion” during a Holy Year. At the close of 2016, he made permanent the permission that he had provisionally given priests to forgive the “sin of a procuring abortion” through the sacrament of reconciliation, more commonly known as “confession.”
In Catholic teaching, it was normally only bishops or the Pope himself who may absolve the faithful of the sin of abortion, which led to excommunication from the Church.
In keeping with his ministry of mercy, however, Pope Francis extended his powers of forgiveness to those “missionaries of mercy” priests who will visit Catholic dioceses and parishes.
Only Christ can forgive sins!
Pope says, those who believe they have the absolute truth, (which would be genuine born again Christians who know nobody can absolve sins and get us to Heaven except Jesus Christ,) and go on condemning others through slander and defamation are in the wrong.
He is saying, Religious fundamentalism must be combated.
The Pope is trying hard to replace God in today’s world.
6. The State of the World Shouldn’t Surprise Us
If God was giving a “State of the World” address, are these the observations He’d would make?
Actually, Jesus did give us a “State of the World” message that transcends the centuries.
We call it “The Olivet Discourse” because He spoke it on the Mount of Olives shortly before ascending to heaven.
In Matthew 24:6-14 Jesus described the state of affairs that would dominate the world between His ascension and His return: 6 And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. 7 Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. 8 But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come. 9 “Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. 10 And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. 11 And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. 12 Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.
Well, there you have it!
– God’s message about the State of the World isn’t very hopeful right now, but a new, greatly improved world with new leadership is on the way!
Jesus knew history in advance, and He’s still in control.
The problems of this world won’t be answered in peace initiatives, political movements, climate change seminars, or world religions.
The State of this World won’t be redeemed by medical advances or modern technology.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only answer, and the return of Jesus Christ is the only hope.
If you’re disturbed by today’s headlines and tomorrow’s uncertainties, look to Jesus.
Trust His unfailing predictions, and lean on His unchangeable promises.
He told us in Luke 21:28 — “So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!”
God is not the author of confusion, as Scripture tells us (1 Corinthians 14:33). But confusion nevertheless reigns in many corners of the modern evangelical church. When it comes to understanding the truth of God’s Word, too many believers are content with subjective interpretations and fluid doctrinal statements. And even churches that claim to have sound convictions can quickly descend into a hermeneutical free-for-all.
Scripture Without the Authority
I was briefly a member of one such church. In a region dominated by liberalism, it proudly submitted to Scripture’s authority in all matters of faith and practice. But the façade of biblical fidelity came crashing down when the senior pastor explained that I shouldn’t talk about sin in my evangelism. “People already know they are sinners,” he contended. When I asked if we could discuss this matter by reasoning from Scripture he shut down the conversation immediately, seeing only futility in further discussion. I will never forget the last words he spoke to me: “You can make the Bible say what you want it to say and I can make the Bible say what I want it to say.”
For all I know, he still professes allegiance to the authority of Scripture. But what real authority can God’s Word have if you don’t believe its meaning is clear?
Because God Said So
That’s not to say the Bible does not contain passages that are difficult to interpret—it does. Some prophecies are mysterious. Some instructions are shrouded in cultural obscurity. And sometimes our English translations bury the profundity of the original languages. But when it comes to matters of essential doctrines, Scripture could not be clearer.
The fundamentals of the Christian faith are not only fundamental because they are biblical, they are also fundamental because the Bible sets them forth clearly. John MacArthur makes that point in his book Reckless Faith:
If an article of faith is to be regarded as fundamental, it must be clearly set forth in Scripture. No “secret knowledge” or hidden truth-formula could ever qualify as a fundamental article of faith. No key is necessary to unlock the teaching of the Bible. God speaks clearly in His Word—it has perspicuity.
The truth of God is not aimed at learned intellectuals; it is simple enough for a child. “You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent, and have revealed them to infants” (Matthew 11:25). The Word of God is not a puzzle. It does not speak in riddles. It is not cryptic or mysterious. It is plain and obvious to those who have spiritual ears to hear. “The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul” (Psalm 19:7).
The Whole Bible Tells the Whole Story
But what about fundamental doctrines like the Trinity? The word is not mentioned in the Bible, nor will you find a comprehensive statement on it from any single passage of Scripture.
Those with a strong ecumenical bent tend to put the cart before the horse when it comes to defining which doctrines are fundamental. Rather than treating Scripture as the source of fundamental doctrine, Scripture is subject to the consensus of church denominations. This issue has not escaped John MacArthur’s attention:
Some would argue that the only test of whether something is essential to true Christianity is whether it is affirmed by all the major Christian traditions. Perhaps this is the very idea behind appeals for ecumenical unity. But as Witsius points out, according to that rule, hardly anything of any substance would remain to distinguish the Christian Gospel from the “salvation” offered by pagan morality or Islamic theology. “There is much truth in the remark of Clement of Alexandria; ‘No Scripture, I apprehend, is so favourably treated, as to be contradicted by no one.’”
Fundamental doctrines are not obscure, nor are they defined by ecumenical consensus. They are fundamental because they represent what Scripture clearly teaches, and as we’ll see next time, they represent everything essential for salvation.
As Christians, we live between two extremes ~ between two worlds. We have been “delivered from the power of darkness.” Our heavenly Father has “translated us—conveyed us (NKJV) into the kingdom of His dear Son.” Col.1:13
A follower of Christ knows the reality of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).
While we live in this world, the Christ in us will be stalked like a lion.
“If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” 1 Pet.1:14
Even as Jesus was betrayed by those who lived in darkness, we experience this opposition by those who cannot rest unless the light is put out. While we want to bring others out of darkness, it is to live against the god of this world.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” 1 Pet. 5:8-9
The oppressor is a constant foe against God’s people. This has been true since the beginning. The enemy – God’s enemy, and ours – will not leave us alone as long as we live in his territory.
It may seem, at times, that we are safe and let our weapons fall by our side. It is then, the foe within may raise its ugly head. Pride can remain dormant until our thoughts are taken captive to the world’s thinking. Whatever has our attention, politics, social media, or any earthly thoughts, we are at war. The tension will rise as death desires to subdue us.
When the enemy gained his stronghold and set up his kingdom, he set God’s creatures against each other. Death ensued to put down anything good. Cain murdered Abel and the pattern of this world was set.
The Spirit and the Flesh As God’s people, we still live in the flesh. It has been appointed that men shall die (Heb. 9:26-28). We cannot live forever in this body. Those who are born of the Spirit have eternal life – a life that transcends this one. As long as we are in this body, we will continually be at war with the flesh and its proneness to satisfy its desires.
This tendency flairs whenever we are faced with an opposition of some form, whether a lust of the flesh or in a relationship. “The old man” is stirred up when others will not see our point of view, agree to our leading, or bend to our will. This happens between husbands and wives, parents and children, siblings, friends, etc.Blessings and Curses Recently, I have looked at this subject in light of God’s relationship with the Israelites. He promised blessings and life to his people as a result of their obedience – curses and death to those who rebelled (Deut.11:26-28). Does this not sound like His promise to Adam and Eve?
The nation of Israel was not able to acquire the blessings and life. They could not keep His commandments. Death continued to rule in the lives of men.
That curse was broken when, as He had promised to send a Messiah from among their people, Jesus came. And those who believe are given eternal life through His sinless life and death on the cross for us.
Eternal life does not mean we are free from temptation, but we have what Adam and Eve, and the Israelites did not have. As Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit is within the believer, setting up the kingdom of God within us, revealing the life of Christ.
He is the constant power and presence in us to keep us in God’s Word, training us to war against the flesh and pride that still lurks within – and to work obedience, and blessings in and through us to others.
I am tempted to make this a series and touch on the subject of curses handed down through generations, but I will stop here, else we have started another book. Our books already published proclaim the presence and the power of our heavenly Father, the legacy of His kingdom in His people, and His victory in Christ and His Spirit over our flesh, sin, and death.
“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Pet. 5:10-11
Gracious Father, thank you for delivering us from the power of darkness and death. Though we suffer for the name of Christ, let us live by the indwelling of your Spirit and so, overcome the enemy’s tactics. Keep us always sober, fervent in prayer and your Word, knowing you and Jesus whom you sent to be our life here and forever. Let us with the humility of Christ face any opposition. In His name, I pray. Amen. Fran Books
I know a man who likes to share his Christian faith using two simple questions. If he is meeting someone for the first time, he will ask them, “What do you do for a living?”
The person will answer, “I’m a doctor” or “I teach Spanish at the high school” or “I run a nonprofit” or “I’m a stockbroker” or “I’m a writer,” or whatever it is they happen to do.
That question works because we all do something. So it’s easy to get people to talk about what they do for a living.
We all do something.
Then comes the second question: “What are you living for?” Usually there is a moment of silence because people don’t know how to answer that question. But it’s a good one because just as we all do something, we all live for something, even if we don’t know what it is.
It’s good to pause and ask ourselves, “What are we living for?”
Some people live for money. Some people live for fame. Some people live for approval.
What are you living for?
A Question from Jesus
To help us answer that question, let’s take a trip back in time to a place called Caesarea Philippi, a Roman city located north of the Sea of Galilee. A huge rock cliff dominates the landscape. At the base of the cliff a stream flows on its way to the Jordan River. It is a critical moment for Jesus. All Israel buzzes with word of this man from Galilee. Who is he? By what power does he perform his miracles? What does he want?
After a wave of early popularity, the nation is now divided. True, he has a wide following among the common people. It is also true that among the rich and powerful, opinion is slowly crystallizing against him. In the distance, the drums of angry opposition are beginning to beat. Before too many months, their sound will become a deafening roar.
Are you ready to commit your life to Jesus?
Knowing all this, and knowing that it would end in his death, Jesus gathers his disciples in this quiet place to draw out from them a deeper commitment than they had yet given. It is here Jesus asks the famous question, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13) And it is here Peter makes his confession, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).
But the conversation does not end there, for Jesus is seeking more than a confession; he is also seeking a commitment: “Now that you know who I am, are you willing to commit your life to me?”
This is how Jesus puts the issue in Mark 8:34-36:
If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and the gospel will save it.
What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
Take a careful look at those verses. The New International Translation uses the word “life” twice and the word “soul” twice. But in Greek those are not different words. The Greek word is psyche, from which we get our English word psychology. Sometimes it refers to the immaterial part of man (his soul) as opposed to his body. But more often it refers to the whole man or to the inner conscious self we call the personality. The psyche is the “real you” that lives and breathes and makes decisions. “Life” is not a bad translation so long as we remember it means more than just physical existence.
What’s the Best Deal You Can Make?
With that background, we may paraphrase these verses this way:
“Now that you know who I am, are you ready to take up your cross and follow me? Before you answer, let me warn you that following me will seem in the eyes of the world as if you are wasting your life.
“The people of the world will never understand what you are doing. It will seem to them that by following me, you are throwing your life away.
“You always have another option. You can try to save your own life by following your own desires. Lots of people do that. They live as if their career was all that mattered. But the people who live only for this life in the end will find they wasted it on things that don’t really matter.
“They try to save it by living for themselves, but in the end they will lose it. They have wasted their lives on trivial pursuits.
“But if you follow me—though the way will not be easy, and you will often be misunderstood—in the end you will save your life. And the people who laugh at you now will not laugh at you then. They will see you were right and they were wrong.
“After all, what good will it do if you become the richest man in the world or climb to the top of the corporate ladder or rise to the highest salary level in your company or win the applause of the world, what good will all that do if in the end you find out it was all wasted? What good will that shiny new Lexus do for you then? Will you be able to trade it in for another life?
“No, you won’t. “But if you want to live that way, go ahead.
“Millions of people do. In the end they will be sorry, but by then it will be too late to do anything about it.
“So what will it be? The way of the Cross or the way of the world? You’ve got to invest your life somewhere. What’s the best deal you can make?”
That reminds me of the famous words of Bob Dylan:
“You’re gonna have to serve somebody Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.”
On this point, Bob Dylan and Jesus agree. You’re going to serve somebody.
You gotta serve somebody
Who will you serve? What’s the best deal you can make?
Was Jesus a Failure?
The life of Jesus is the best answer to that question. Consider the facts of His “career”:
He was born in an obscure village in an out-of-the-way province of the Roman Empire.
He never went to college, nor did he have any professional training.
He never had a bank account.
He owned no property except the clothes on his back.
He never held public office.
He never wrote a book.
He never had a wife or children.
His closest friends were blue-collar workers.
He felt at home among the outcasts of society.
His ministry consisted of preaching in the countryside, teaching in the synagogues, answering difficult questions, healing the sick, and casting out demons.
His opponents openly accused him of consorting with the devil.
Along the way, he made many powerful enemies by exposing corruption in high places.
Finally, his adversaries captured him, tried him in a kangaroo court, and put him to death.
Was Jesus a failure?
To be perfectly honest, by most modern standards we would consider him a failure. He never made it to the top. If ever a man seemed to waste his life, it was Jesus.
But consider this. After more than two thousand years . . .
His words are remembered and repeated around the world.
His followers number in the billions and can be found in every country on earth.
His personal integrity stands unsullied amidst the attacks of the cynics and the sneers of the ignorant.
His death, which seemed to be a tragedy, has become the means by which we can be reconciled to God.
His whole mission on earth, which seemed to be a failure, has now become history’s greatest success story.
How can this be? He was humiliated to the point of death and seemed to lose his life for no purpose whatsoever. Yet through his death God exalted him to the very highest position in the universe,
“So that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11).
Jesus made clear why he did what he did when he said,
“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).
Out of one seed comes forth a vast harvest; but that seed must die in order to bring forth fruit. As long as the seed “saves” its life, it remains alone. But when it “loses” its life, it brings forth the harvest.
You can’t “save” your own life, but you can “lose” it
It’s simple, really.
If you try to “save” your life, in the end you “lose” it. But if you dare to “lose” it for Jesus’ sake, in the end you “save” it.
Jesus himself is the supreme example of this principle.
Career vs. Mission
There is yet another way of looking at this whole question of “losing” and “saving” your life.
That is to ask the question, Is your life a career or a mission?
There is a vast difference between those two concepts.
Is your life a career or a mission?
A quick glance at a dictionary reveals the essence of the difference:
—A career is something you choose for yourself. —A mission is something chosen for you by someone else.
There is a huge difference between living for your career and being sent on a mission.
The Bible never talks about having a career. You’ll never find the word in the Bible.
You won’t find the word “career” in the Bible
Having a career is not a biblical issue. Having a mission is.
It is not that believers don’t have careers. We do. Some of us are painters, some are doctors, some are computer scientists, some are bankers, some are nurses, some are teachers, and some are writers. But the difference is this: The people of the world live for their careers; the people of God don’t.
When your career is central in your life, then you are career-driven and career-minded while you climb the career ladder. You take a job and leave it two years later because it’s a “good career move.” You break all the significant relationships in one place and move across the country because your career demands it. Everything is calculated to get you someday to that elusive place called “the top.” When you get there, your career will be complete, and the world will applaud your achievements.
I am suggesting that being career-minded in this sense is precisely what Jesus meant when he said, “He who would save his life will lose it.” Your career may well keep you from fulfilling your mission in life, and your mission may never make much sense as a career.
—Your career is the answer to the question, “What do you do for a living?”
—Your mission is the answer to the question, “What are you living for?”
Your career is a ladder to climb. Your mission is a journey you take.
Your career takes you to the top. Your mission leads you to the cross.
Your career makes you a professional. Your mission makes you a disciple.
Your career takes you to the top. Your mission leads you to the cross.
Your career is about the here and now. Your mission is about eternity.
If you are just here to eat, sleep, go to college, get a degree, get married, get a job, have some children, climb the ladder, make some money, buy a summer home, retire gracefully, grow old and die, then what’s the big deal?
All of that is okay, but if that’s all there is to life, then you are really no different from the pagans who don’t even believe in God.
It’s nice to have a career; It’s far better to be on a mission for God.
Serving God in a Communist Prison
Not long after the fall of the Soviet Union, I had the privilege of eating supper with a pastor from St. Petersburg, Russia. During the evening he told us what it was like to grow up in a Communist country.
His father (a pastor for over forty years) used to tell his mother, “Some night we may be sleeping when suddenly there will come a knock at the door. When that happens, don’t be surprised if the KGB takes me away in the middle of the night and you never see me again. When that happens, don’t give up the faith. After I am gone, remember the Lord will never leave you.”
It’s nice to have a career; It’s far better to be on a mission for God.
During the Communist years, many Christians were taken to the prison camps and psychiatric hospitals and were made to suffer because of their faith. Some believers spent twenty-five years or more behind bars for the sake of the Gospel. A few of them came out and wrote books about their experiences. But most of those who suffered for God did not write any books because they did not want any publicity. They viewed their time in prison as part of their ministry for God. Their attitude was, “If God can use me more effectively in prison, then that’s where I will serve him.”
Let’s put it this way: Jesus calls his followers to be totally sold out to his kingdom. That applies to all Christians all the time, not just to “full-time Christian workers” such as pastors or missionaries.
Suppose you are an electrical engineer or an attorney. Here is God’s job description for you:
You are a missionary cleverly disguised as an engineer.
You are a missionary cleverly disguised as an attorney.
It’s nice to have a career; It’s far better to be on a mission for God.
It’s not wrong to have a career and do well by the world’s standards. Nor is it sinful to move across the country. But motivation is everything. Two people may follow the same career path, and both may end up at the top. Yet one may be living solely for his career, while the other sees his life as a divinely ordained mission from God.
One has lost his life; the other has saved it, just as Jesus said.
Ask yourself, did Jesus have a career? No;he had a mission from God to be the Savior of the world. Nothing he did makes sense from a career point of view. Being crucified is not a good career move.
Yet by his death he reconciled the world to God. Was he a success or a failure? The answer is obvious.
“So Much Wasted Time”
When David Cassidy died at the age of 67. He is remembered for his role in the 1970s sitcom “The Partridge Family.” According to his daughter Katie, his last words were, “So much wasted time.”
I think that’s the fear of many people: That we will come to the end and look back with regret. That we will come to the end and realize we wasted our one and only life.
Don’t waste your one and only life
Sooner or later we all come to the end of our earthly journey. What will we have to show for our time on earth? No doubt we can all look back on too much wasted time.
When I thought about David Cassidy’s final words, I remembered these lines by Benjamin E. Mays:
I have just one minute Only sixty seconds in it, Forced upon me—can’t refuse it Didn’t seek it, didn’t choose it, But it’s up to me to use it. I must suffer if I lose it, Give account if I abuse it. Just a tiny little minute— But eternity is in it.
Dr. Mays was right. It may only be a minute, “but eternity is in it.”
Life is Not a Dress Rehearsal
In one of his sermons Ravi Zacharias tells the story of Robert Jaffray of Canada. He came from a wealthy family and in fact was heir to a large newspaper fortune in Toronto. When he was a young man, he learned the Chinese language and was offered a large salary by Standard Oil of New York if he would forego his missionary career and work for them.
He refused, so they doubled their salary offer. He refused again.
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
They cabled him with this message: “Robert Jaffray. At any cost.”
He cabled back, “Your salary is big. Your job is too small.”
He spent 35 years as a missionary in China and helped translate the Bible into Cantonese. When World War II broke out, he and other missionaries were placed in an internment camp. He died there two weeks before the end of the war.
Did he waste his life? It depends on your perspective.
C. T. Studd said it this way:
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
One day all of us will pass from this life into the presence of God.
What will we say on that day? More importantly, what will the Lord say about us?
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
The martyred missionary Jim Elliot said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
If you try to save your life, you’ll lose it in the end. If you lose your life for Jesus’ sake, in the end you will save it.
If you live for your career, what difference will it make ten seconds after you die?
If you spend your life in the service of the kingdom of God, the road may not be easy, but ten thousand years from now you won’t regret your decision.
Life is not a dress rehearsal. We only get one chance to do whatever we’re going to do on planet earth. Soon enough, sooner than we think, our moment in the sun will be over.
Do you have a career, or are you on a mission for God? The answer to that question makes all the difference in the world.
I’d like to repeat those two questions I asked in the beginning and ask you to ponder them again in the light of what God’s Word says.
What do you do for a living? Most of us can answer that question easily.
What are you living for? That’s a harder question.
May God help us to live for Christ today and every day.
As I woke up on a Lord’s Day morning a week ago, these words of Jesus from John 16:32 were my words. From my heart and soul, I would say in the reality of His presence and power, “I am not alone. My Father is with me.”
Jesus spoke these words to His disciples as He ended His teachings of three years, before His High-Priestly prayer to the Father, then to the Garden of Gethsemane ~ on His way to the crucifixion.
But, we may say, His Father turned His back on Him while He was suffering for our sins, in obedience to His will. Yes, but it was for one time, and so that we may know His everlasting presence with us. He will never leave us, nor forsake us because He looks upon us as His own, now joined to Christ, His Son. We dwell in Him and He, in us, by His Spirit which He has given us (1 John 3:24).
We never fear that He may turn His back on us. He has given His Son as a propitiation for our sins, appeasing His anger, that we never know His wrath. We turn to Him in repentance and faith for the abundant life He gives in Christ (John 10:10).
How blessed to know even when we are alone physically, He is always with us. I have been a sister, a wife, and a mother, but always, I am a daughter to my heavenly Father.
Gracious Father, thank you for your promises that make us your own, not by anything we can do, but because you have desired us and sired us by your will here, and forever. We praise you for revealing your plans for our relationship with you through Jesus Christ, your Son, and for keeping us always in your care, leading us by your Holy Spirit, for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I thank you and praise you. Amen.
We must be born of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8) in order to see, to seek His Kingdom, to knock and to enter His kingdom.
We find in the following verses the diligent seeking and the urgent knocking.
In Luke 11:6-10 is the widow’s persistent asking, seeking, and knocking until the master of the house opens the door to her request.
“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:” Luke 13:25-26
The strait gate leads to the master’s house. But when He has shut the door, man’s knocking and crying, Lord, Lord, will be to no avail.
We who are born of His Spirit will continue to ask Him to lead us. We walk and live by His Spirit (Galatians 5:16-25) and continue to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Unless we knock at the door of His heart in His timing, He will not know us, and the doors of heaven will be shut.
“And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.”
When Jesus Knocks
The Book of Revelation records Jesus’ words in the letter to the church at Laodicea.
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20
Knocking indicates a separation (a door that must be opened from the other side) between the person knocking and the person on the other side. There is a need and the only fulfillment of that need rests in the promise of someone who can provide that need.
Does the door swing both ways? Had Jesus knocked at the door of the heart of those who were left out?
“Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)Hebrews 3:7-12
By His Holy Spirit and His Word, Jesus knocks at the door of our sin and unbelief. He calls us to put away our sin ~ to repent and believe ~ to allow Him to lead us out of the bondage of self and sin.
We cannot seek or knock of our own volition. It must be the work of His Spirit within us drawing us to Christ even as He draws near to us. John 6:44; John 6:63-65
The Doors of Wisdom
“Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.” Proverbs 8:34
In Revelation 4:1, “a door was opened in heaven” to John where he saw and recorded what would come to pass.
Jesus is the Door to the Kingdom of Heaven
“Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.” I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
A Door of Hope
“And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.” Hosea 2:15
The Door of Faith
“And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the doorof faith unto the Gentiles.” Acts 14:27
In this brief study of Jesus’ words, we learn that asking, seeking, and knocking are descriptive of the work of prayer by His people, for His kingdom. His Holy Spirit brings us to repentance and faith in Him so that as we continue to ask for His Spirit, we are led to seek His kingdom and His righteousness and to knock at the door of His heart for all He has promised.
We understand that this practice is not just for us individually, for our own needs, but in unity with His people ~ the body of Christ ~ for the needs of others. Intercession involves a greater degree of fervency, diligence, and urgency as we pray continually at His throne of grace.
The prayer life of a Christian is a daily dwelling in His presence. He dines and sups with us continually as He opens His Word and His promises to us and proves His presence and His power in our lives.
In Christ, we dwell in the throne room, in unity with His Spirit ~ knowing His power to accomplish all He desires for our good and His glory.
“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together
in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”
We ask what we will because we ask in faith according to His will, seeking His glory in all things, continually knocking at the door of His heart as He intercedes and presents our petitions to our Father.
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
1 Corinthians 2;9
We are continually filled with his grace, nestled in His goodness, and wrapped in His glory. In Christ and Christ in us, we are kept by His power now and forever.
Dear Father, we cannot thank you enough for all you have prepared for us and given by your grace. We are unworthy stewards of your blessings but you have entrusted us with the knowledge of your Word and your will so that we know what to ask, what to seek and where to knock. Continue to draw us to Christ by the power of your Spirit, to dwell in Him and receive your heavenly blessings as well as all our earthly needs. We praise and bless you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.