VIDEO A Prophetic Message to an Ungodly Nation

Samson and Delilah, c. 1610. Found in the collection of the National Gallery, London. (Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

By John MacArthur

Now, I told you a couple of weeks ago that we had finished the New Testament. Doesn’t mean I’ll never go back there again. I will. I have some plans to. But the natural assumption is that we’re going to take a look at the Old Testament. And I do have some plans for that. I’m working on kind of putting together a sort of a long series that could last the rest of our lives together, that you could – you could sort of call “The Road to Emmaus.”

You remember in Luke 24, Jesus on the road to Emmaus said to the disciples, it says that he said to them, “Beginning at Moses and the prophets and in all the holy writings, He spoke to them of the things concerning Himself.” Well, Moses, that’s the law; the prophets, the prophets; the holy writings, all the other books. Those are the three categories of the Old Testament.

So Jesus went to the Old Testament and taught them the things from the Old Testament that were about Him. So I can’t cover everything in the Old Testament, but I think we’ll go on a road-to-Emmaus journey and we’ll go through the Old Testament and find all the things that refer to Christ there. And there are many of them, and you might be surprised to know that Christ appears first in the Old Testament in Genesis 1:1. And last, in the last chapter of the Old Testament, in Malachi. So He is the beginning and the end of the Old Testament and whole lot of places in between. So that’s one of the things I want to do, among several others, and I’m kind of working on that as I attempt to reinvent myself this summer.

Now, I want to demonstrate to you that I do really know there is an Old Testament, and I am actually willing to teach the Old Testament to you. So let’s get a sample, all right? Open your Bible to Jeremiah – open your Bible to Jeremiah, the remarkable prophecy of the man known as the weeping prophet. He wrote this great prophecy of fifty-two chapters, and in addition to that, of course, he is responsible for the wonderful, deep, and insightful book of Lamentations. Jeremiah.

And I want to talk about Jeremiah because I think Jeremiah is a man for a time like our time. The Old Testament prophets were historical figures, real figures living in real events that are laid out for us in their prophecies and in their histories. But they are not unique in the sense that the times and the seasons and the issues that faced them were somehow never repeated. They are, in fact, the same cycles that are repeated through all of human history. Jeremiah lived in a time in a nation that is very instructive for us, living in the time and the nation in which we live today.

I think you are pretty much aware, if you are at all attuned to the character of our culture, that naturalism dominates our society. You might say there was a time in America when supernaturalism dominated our thinking. In other words, we were a nation under God. And you know they’re deleting that from the Pledge of Allegiance, I understand even at a golf tournament, trying to figure out how to get it off our coins. But there was a time when we were happy to say we are a nation under God, we are supernaturalists.

We believe in a Creator. We believe in God as a sovereign ruler of the universe. But we have abandoned that and we are essentially now rapidly becoming a nation of naturalists. The most influential intellectuals, philosophers, scientists, educators, politicians, judges in America are mostly naturalists.

Naturalists assume that God exists only in the imagination of religious people, that the idea of God is, frankly, a superstition, an irrational superstition that is created out of a pre-scientific era to meet certain anxieties of the human heart. The truth is, however, there is no God and everything is simply a consequence of natural effects. Naturalism is the idea that nature is all there is, that virtually everything that exists is simply the product of unplanned, uncontrolled accidents. Life is based on this assumption, that we have just randomly evolved into what we are today.

Creation, then, is the result, as we know it, life as we know it is the result of unconscious forces randomly mutating. Man says evolutionary science is the purposeless end of a purposeless process that did not have him in mind. Oops, he just showed up. This is what is taught in the universities and then this is what is learned by the students. Those students then become the next generation of educators, the next generation of politicians, the next generation of social architects, the next generation of judges who make their legal decisions. They become the next generation of journalists who interpret things that are going on in the world from a naturalist perspective. It is a form of atheism.

And while not all of them would deny the existence of some god, they are almost all very anxious to deny the existence of the biblical God. Those who believe in God are seen as irrational. Those who believe in the biblical God are seen as dangerous and must be kept out of the public discourse. And in the name of separation of church and state, we cannot have people who believe the Bible and the biblical God to be the true God have anything to say about public policy, public life, education, government, social order, law, courts, or morality.

All this rejection of God is purported to be based on science. It is called for by intellectualism. It is demanded by freedom and tolerance and mutual respect. There’s no place for anybody being an authority, anybody saying there is one God who is the absolute ruler who has written one book in which is contained all His will and all truth pertaining to Him and life in His world that is necessary. That is absolutely objectionable. There is this wholesale rejection of God. It is, however, not intellectual, it is the product of the love of iniquity. That’s all it is. Not a love of freedom, not a love of intellectualism, it’s not a love for science, it is a love for sin that drives this.

If you get rid of the God of the Bible, you get rid of the Bible. If you get rid of the Bible, you get rid of biblical morality. If you get rid of biblical morality, you can live any way you want with the assumption that there would be no consequences. So all the supposed intellectual naturalists are nothing but Hedonists wanting to express their lust in an unbridled way. Anybody with half a brain knows that all of this didn’t come from no one. Spurgeon said, “I can scarcely conceive a heart so callous that it feels no awe or a human mind so dull and destitute of understanding as fairly to view the tokens of God’s omnipotent power and then turn aside without some sense of wonder and obedience.”

How can you look at what exists and not be in awe of the source of it? How can we sin against so great a reality by denying it and then sin against the will of the very God we deny against the greatness of the Almighty? Well, our instruction today is going to come from the prophet Jeremiah as to how we respond to a society like ours which is very much like his.

Turn to Jeremiah chapter 5 – Jeremiah chapter 5. In a 52-chapter book, obviously there’s a lot more than we would attempt to cover, but I think I can give you a feel for the man and his time that will relate to how we approach the time and the place where we find ourselves today. Chapter 5 and verse 20 is one of the sermons of Jeremiah that comes from the Lord, and it gives us a good insight into the way things were.

Jeremiah is told by the Lord to say these things. “Declare this in the house of Jacob and proclaim it in Judah, saying,” – here is the message that God gives him – ‘Now hear this, O foolish and senseless people who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear. Do you not fear me?’ declares the Lord. ‘Do you not tremble in my presence? For I have placed the sand as a boundary for the sea, an eternal decree so that it cannot cross over it. Though the waters toss, yet they cannot prevail. Though they roar, yet they cannot cross over it.

“‘But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart. They have turned aside and departed. They do not say in their heart, “Now let us fear the Lord our God who gives rain in its season, both the autumn rain and the spring rain, who keeps for us the appointed weeks of the harvest.” Your iniquities have turned these away and your sins have withheld good from you.’”

Now, what is this saying? It’s really a very, very clear statement. He is saying that the people of God, the men of Judah, the people of Jacob, the Jews have looked at the creation, they have seen the ocean and the land that bounds it, they have understood the rain at the appropriate season and the seasons and the rain that together produced the food that sustains life. They have seen the enduring consistency of all of this. They have seen the power of these provisions and the wonder of them – that is to say, the majesty of God in creation is on display. The providence of God is manifest, and it ought to stir up their hearts in worship. That’s why he says in verse 22, “Do you not fear me or worship me? Do you not tremble in my presence?”

On the contrary. They say in their heart, “Let us” – verse 24 – “not really fear the Lord.” It should say, “Let us fear the Lord now.” But they don’t. Their wills do not submit to Him. They don’t even give Him honor as the Creator and the provider. The almighty power of Jehovah is manifest, it is visible in the works of His creation, that should constrain His covenant people, Israel, and any people in any era of history to fear His name, to be in awe of Him as the Creator, to reverence Him as the source of provision, the One who controls the sea, provides the land and the seasons and the food.

How can we contemplate this God and not worship Him and not give Him honor and not turn to Him and not obey Him? That is the question that God tells Jeremiah to pose to Judah, the southern kingdom, the remaining people in the land of Israel. The northern kingdom already had been taken into captivity for their own apostasy.

But there’s more here than fact. There is an analogy here, and I want you to see the analogy. The analogy appears in verse 22. It is a fact that God places sand as a boundary for the sea. It is a fact that the waves toss and yet they cannot prevail, they roar yet they cannot cross over. It is a fact that God controls the oceans with the shore. The sea, then, Jeremiah says, never breaks its boundary. It obeys me in all its movements. It may toss and turn, there may be an occasional tidal wave, there may be an occasional tsunami, but the sea will go back to its ordered place.

However, on the contrary, verse 23, “This people has a stubborn and rebellious heart. They have turned aside and departed. They will not be bound. They will not stay within the confines of God’s will and purpose. They are a revolting and rebellious people. They go astray. They break all the boundaries. This pure, puny, sinful man, this little creature that God could crush like a moth under your shoe, this man will resist the restraints of God and overrun all his boundaries. Man in his fallenness cannot be held in check, either individually or collectively. The sea tosses and turns but it obeys. It is restrained by a little belt of sand. Its mighty powers are held back.”

But people, says God, who have stronger restraints than sand are rebellious and overrun the borders that God has established. That’s what the people of the nation Israel had done. The borders, the boundaries, His promises, His threats, His judgments, His commands, His Covenants, and they overran them all. Man is hellbent on revolt. It’s just the way it is. That is how, God says, Jeremiah must see His people.

Now, into this situation in the southern kingdom of Judah, God drops this prophet, and he’s a remarkable man. His message is the judgment that is coming and it is coming fast. In fact, the judgment came in his lifetime. About a century earlier, there was another very familiar prophet, Isaiah, who said the same thing, “Judgment is coming, judgment is coming, judgment is coming,” and he was referring to the Babylonian captivity, the holocaust of the arrival of the Babylonian-Chaldean army to desecrate the temple, destroy the temple, conquer Jerusalem, massacre multiple thousands of people, and carry the rest off captive into a pagan culture. That particular holocaust, among many in the life of Israel, Isaiah said would come. About a century later, Jeremiah arrives, and it’s during his lifetime that it actually does come.

Jeremiah was a preacher for about the same length of time as I have been here, 42 years – 42 years. He preached during the reign of five kings. The first king was a man named Josiah – Josiah. The end of the reign of Josiah was a time of reformation and a time of revival. The law was recovered, and Josiah sought to bring the law to the people, and it produced a revival.

However, a prophetess named Huldah showed up and said, “This is superficial. This is man-centered. This is not going to last. This will have no permanent reformation.” That was true. The superficial revival under Josiah didn’t last. What Josiah did was right, he did all the right things, but the people’s response was surfeited and superficial.

Josiah’s reign was followed by the second king during the ministry of Jeremiah, a man by the name of Jehoahaz. He only lasted three months. He was followed by Jehoiakim and he returned the people to corruption. He led them right back into idolatry and the worship of false gods.

He was followed by Jehoiachin, who also lasted three months. And Jehoiachin was followed by the final king during the time of Jeremiah and the last king of the southern kingdom before the captivity, a man named Zedekiah, who was a vacillating weakling, saw the nation more swiftly down the steep slide of depravity that led to absolute ruin and deportation. He had tough going.

The first king, superficial revival; the next four, rapid decline. And through 42 years of these five kings, Jeremiah’s message never changed – never, ever changed. He was always the voice of God to that society, as any faithful preacher must be. His preaching in no way deterred the idolatry. His preaching in no way stopped the slide. His preaching in no way eliminated the judgment. He never saw, essentially, any impact on a national level through 40 years of his efforts. He was faithful and he was despised, and eventually they threw him in a pit to try to shut him up.

I see so many parallels between Jeremiah’s time and Jeremiah and our time and faithful preachers today. We stand near the holocaust. We have to be on the brink of a devastating judgment in this nation. We have gone through some quasi revivals. There are people who would argue that we’ve had some revivals, that the gospel has spread, that Bibles have spread, that we’re on television and radio and through all kinds of media, the gospel is going out and yet we see no – no reversing of the direction of this nation. We see no lasting results.

The church seems superficial and shallow and consumed with self-fulfillment and self-gratification. So we come to a place in the life of Jeremiah that parallels our own time, and we ask this question: How do we approach a nation on the brink of judgment? Let’s learn from Jeremiah. I’m going to show you three elements.

Number one, Jeremiah understood that he had a divine mission – a divine mission. I’m sure there were people in those days who were calling for all kinds of social reform, all kinds of political action, all kinds of educational advancement. But none of those had anything to do with the calling of Jeremiah, nor did they have anything to do with our calling. Ours is a divine mission – a divine mission.

In other words, Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” That becomes clear to us in the commission of Jeremiah. Let’s go back to chapter 1. It’s one of the most fascinating callings that any man of God has ever had and here, Jeremiah is informed of things about which he had no knowledge. Verse 4, “The Word of the Lord came to me,” he says. “The Word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you. I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.’” Wow.

Here’s the first thing to understand about a divine mission: Your life is predestined by God – your life is predestined by God. Long before Jeremiah was ever conceived in the womb of his mother, long before Hilkiah, his father, and his mother came together to bring him life, long before that, sometime not only before the birth of Jeremiah, before the conception of Jeremiah, but probably before the foundation of the world, Jeremiah was chosen and appointed as a prophet, not only to Judah but to the nations. His message extended beyond Judah and it’s still extending even today, across the globe wherever the prophet is read.

Long before life ever was given to this man, God had determined to separate him, put him in a unique place at a unique time as a consecrated prophet of God to speak for God – predestination. Here, in this brief beginning with eleven short Hebrew words, God gives Jeremiah his own biography. Beginning in eternity past, the timeless eons of eternity, right on through until there are no more nations left for him to preach, God sums up his calling as predestined. He is an intensely human personality, this Jeremiah, and if you read the book and read it and read it and read it, you’re going to learn to love this man.

He is very human, and yet his humanity does not explain the power of his preaching and the relentless endurance of his faithfulness. He is a man who is mysteriously endowed with power from on high to survive the rejection that marked his entire life. He is so humanly weak that he can’t stop crying, and yet he is so unassailably strong that he will not yield and compromise. He is a powerful personality. He is a lovable personality.

Now let me tell you something. When there is a crisis, people look for a program, but God looks for a man. When there is a crisis, people look for some system to fix it, and God looks for a man and God looks for a woman. When God wanted to deal with a crisis, He started with a baby. In this case, Jeremiah was that baby. And He designed him in the womb. And He put him together to have the human capabilities that he needed to do this. He also endowed him with the spiritual equipment to fulfill his appointment by God.

Jeremiah knew this, and this was the bottom line, he was sovereignly ordained by God to do what he did. And it was never a matter of results. It was never a matter of his will. In fact, to show you that, look at verse 6, “Then I said, ‘Alas, Lord God’” – sounds like Isaiah, “Woe is me.” Are you kidding? “Alas, Lord God, I don’t know how to speak, I’m no speaker, and I’m just a youth.” You’re looking at the wrong guy. I’m inadequate, I’m not qualified, I can’t do this.

How did he overcome that sense of insufficiency, inadequacy? What took him beyond that was the clear indication that he had been predestined by God to this calling. By the way, whoever doesn’t have a sense of being predestined by God to service will never lead a spiritual revolution. Most people living in the church today have no sense of divine mission, they’re just bouncing from job to job and event to event and engagement to engagement and activity to activity. That’s the way they live, that’s the way they raise their kids.

There’s no sense of an overarching divine mission. There’s no sense – and this is tragic – in the life of believers that the birth of every believer was ordained by God, the death of every believer was ordained by God, which means the middle was ordained by God and for purposes that advance the name of Christ and the glory of the kingdom, and that’s the last thing on our priority list. Not Jeremiah. He knew that he had been called by God from before he was born, designed in the womb, separated from the womb, separated from the society, appointed to be a prophet, and he had been called to fulfill his mission.

Not only was he predestined by God but he was provided by God what he needed. He says, “I don’t know how to speak and I’m a youth.” So the Lord says to him, “Don’t say ‘I’m a youth,’ because everywhere I send you, you shall go, and all that I command you, you shall speak.”

Now, the first thing you would say is, “What am I going to say? What am I going to say?” The educators say that the greatest fear that humans have is the fear of public speaking. Well, the reason people have a fear of public speaking is very often related to the fact that they have no idea what to say or they think that what they have to say isn’t important and most of the time they’re exactly right. In fact, some of the people who do most of the public speaking have the least to say and should be embarrassed about speaking.

But when you have the most important message, that hesitancy has a way of disappearing, does it not? When you see the children on the brink of being consumed in the house fire, you really don’t stumble over the fact of whether you should publicly yell, “Fire, get out” and grab somebody. It’s about the passion of it. You don’t have to worry about what you’re going to say because you’re not going to have to invent it – you’re not going to have to come up with it. I’m going to provide it.

I’m going to give you the words to say. You’re going to speak for me. You’re going to have divine wisdom. All that I command you, you shall speak, and everywhere I send you, you shall go. That’s how any true minister, any true preacher that represents God has to approach ministry. I am predestined to this and I am provided the message. Jeremiah was resisted and hated and despised and abused.

That leads to the third aspect of his calling, not only predestination and provision but protection. Verse 8, “Don’t be afraid of them, I am with you to deliver you,” declares the Lord. You have nothing to fear. You are called by me. You are empowered by me. You’re going to face opposition. You’re going to face antagonism, and he certainly did, constantly.

Nobody listened to him. Nobody paid attention to him. The nation didn’t turn. It was a very hard, discouraging 42 years, and people hated what he said and hated him for saying it. If you want to do an interesting study sometime in your Bible, find all the places where it says, “Fear not,” and it’s not said just to little widows who didn’t know where their next meal was coming from or orphaned children who didn’t know who was going to care for them and protect them.

“Fear not” is said by God to Abraham and Moses and Daniel and Mary and Peter and Paul because any human being, even the strongest leaders, face the fear that comes with confronting people with a message they don’t want to hear. But you’ll have protection from God.

There’s a fourth component here, verses 9 and 10, power. “The Lord stretched out His hand, touched my mouth and the Lord said to me, ‘Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.’” Verse 10, “‘I have appointed you this day over the nations, over the kingdoms, to pluck up, to break down, to destroy, to overthrow, to build’ and to plant.’”

That is amazing. Jeremiah feared he was nobody. He was young, he wasn’t effective as a communicator, he was unskilled in oratory. The divine answer is, “Don’t worry about it. I am going to give you the words to speak. Don’t worry about the reaction, I will protect you from the enemies of that truth. And know this, that the words that come out of your mouth will shatter and build. They will tear down and they will plant. Your words will be destruction to people and nations and construction to other people and nations.”

This is the power that belongs to the one who proclaims the truth. The great power brokers in our world, the kings and potentates and the rulers, have no power – they have no power. The power they do have is the weakness of human power or even worse, the power of the kingdom of darkness, neither of which can even approach the power of God. Kings, nations, empires boast of their power, yet the power in the world belongs to the mouths of the messengers of heaven. God picks up this obscure young man of about 30 years of age from a tiny, little, obscure country and says, “I will set you over nations, over kingdoms of the earth. Your Word will destroy and your Word will build.”

So this was his calling. He was on a divine mission. And, people, we live in a nation in a dire crisis of abandonment of God, headed for a holocaust of judgment. We’re already under the judgment of Romans 1, we’ve been turned over to our immorality, our homosexuality, and a reprobate mind. We’re on the brink of divine judgment, and what is needed is that the kingdom of God. And the representatives of that kingdom understand that our mission is divine. The reason for your birth, the reason for your death and your conversion in the middle is so that you can speak the Word of God to this culture on the brink of a holocaust. It’s a divine mission, it’s why we live.

Secondly, what characterized Jeremiah was a direct message – a direct message. He didn’t pull any punches, we would say. He didn’t pamper, cajole, soft-soap, skirt issues. He didn’t say, “Well, we don’t really want to talk about sin,” and he paid for it. Chapters 30 to 33, he wrote when he was in prison. He didn’t spend his life trying to avoid controversy, trying to make everybody happy. If you read chapter 14 and verse 7, you will hear him say, “We have sinned against God as a nation.”

If you read chapter 17 and verse 9, you will hear him say, “Your hearts are deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.” He preached against sin. He indicted the nation. He indicted the sinners for their sin categorically in chapter 3, chapter 9, chapter 11, chapter 19. He accused them of being involved in false religion – false religion. You have turned to idols from the true God.

Chapter 2, verse 12, “Be appalled, O heavens, at this. Shudder, be very desolate, declares the Lord, for my people have committed two evils. They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water” – that’s false religion. They have turned away from the fountainhead of life, the Lord God, the One who made His Son the living water to quench the thirst of the soul of every penitent sinner.

This wicked thing they have done, turning from the fountainhead and trying to fill up their broken buckets, concocted and created by themselves as if they could hold the water of life. Labor long, do they, in false religion, hewing out cisterns, man-made, collecting dirt and dead animals but holding no water. That’s false religion.

If you are to be a faithful prophet in a nation in decline and crisis, you must expose false religion where it exists. This is not a time for tolerance, this is not a time for embracing everybody and saying, “It doesn’t really matter what you believe as long as you follow your heart.” Listen, this world is full of damning false religion. I have been accused through the years of being intolerant and I accept that as a compliment. Of course I’m intolerant, I am as intolerant as God is, as Christ is, as the Bible is of anything that damns people’s souls while promising them heaven. It is a direct message. We’re not just talking about making people feel good, we confront lies.

In the seventh chapter of Jeremiah, Jeremiah indicts them for worshiping the queen of heaven, who is now cast under the name of Mary, the mother of Jesus. And so we confront Roman Catholicism and Mormonism and every other ism and spasm and schism and whatever it is, any of it, all of it, because we have no choice but to confront and expose false religion. That’s what Jeremiah did. He did it all the way through chapter 19 and beyond that.

He also confronted corrupt spiritual leadership. Go to chapter 5, where we were, and we’re just looking briefly at these, but chapter 5, verse 30, an appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land. What is it? The prophets prophesy falsely, the priests rule on their own authority. He confronted the false prophets. He confronted the deceivers and the liars who had infiltrated Judaism. So on the one hand, he attacked the idolatry of false religion, and then he attacked the corrupt infiltrators of the true religion.

You cannot be the prophet of God, you cannot be the mouthpiece of God, you cannot be the representative of God unless you have a direct message that goes at false religion as it exists contrary to the truth and as it exists inside the categories of the truth. Jeremiah 23 says the same thing. Jeremiah 25 says the same thing.

These were false teachers who were saying whatever they wanted to say, whatever satisfied them, and the people loved it. Sure, they fill up those places where false teachers tell them what they want to hear, how good they are, how wise they are, how powerful their thoughts and their words are and how they can create their own euphoria in this world. All those liars find people who love to hear that, but what will you do at the end of it? What’s going to happen at the end when you face the judgment?

This is a direct message. He addressed wickedness in general in chapter 3. Chapter 3, verse 24 and 25, will be a sufficient illustration. “The shameful thing has consumed the labor of our fathers since our youth, their flocks, their herds, their sons, and their daughters.” It’s just – the whole society is immoral. Shame describes all conduct. Verse 25 talks about lying down in our shame. We have sinned against the Lord our God and our fathers from our youth, even to this day have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God.

There’s overtones of sexual deviation, sexual perversion, sexual immorality, all about the book of Jeremiah. Perversion of marriage in chapter 3, sexual perversion there and elsewhere as well, the sexual perversion coming physically as a part of the spiritual perversion of worshiping idols. They were a wicked, wicked people.

They were also dishonest, chapter 5. This is really an indictment that we can identify with. Aren’t you weary of being lied to by people in power? Listen to what Jeremiah says in chapter 5, verse 1, “Roam to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem. Go everywhere in Jerusalem, look now and take notes, seek in her open squares. If you can find a man, if there’s one who does justice, who seeks truth, and I’ll pardon her.” Huh. I’ll halt the judgment if you can find one guy who tells the truth – one person.

Liars, deceivers, “O, Lord,” verse 2, although they say as the Lord lives” – as the Lord lives, that’s a way to swear. I swear I’m telling you the truth, God is my witness, as the Lord lives, I’m telling you the truth – they still lie, they still swear falsely. “O Lord, do not your eyes look for truth?”

Sounds so much like our society. Corrupt religion abounds everywhere. False prophets have infiltrated Christianity everywhere. Moral corruption abounds on every front. Dishonesty is everywhere. There’s a rejection of Scripture.

Look at chapter 11, and we’ll wrap this up in a minute. Chapter 11, verses 8 to 10, “They didn’t obey or incline their ear but walked each one in the stubbornness of his evil heart. Therefore, I brought on them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do; they did not. The Lord said to me, ‘A conspiracy has been found among the men of Judah, among the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They have turned back to their iniquities of their ancestors who refused to hear my words. They have gone after other gods to serve them. The house of Israel, the house of Judah have broken my covenant which I made with their fathers.’”

Pull one statement out, “They refused to hear my words.” Characteristically, they rejected the Word of God. They rejected the Word of God. They deliberately abandoned the Word of God. You know, that’s characteristic of our culture. There’s no place in our society for the Word of God, the truth of God, the Scripture, the Bible. It’s an amazing thing. And then in chapter 13, just to kind of summarize this second point, God does a very interesting thing. It’s a visual aid. You don’t need to read it, I’m just going to tell you what happened.

He tells Jeremiah, “Go get a pair of shorts” – underwear – “and put it on and wear it and don’t wash it.” You’ve heard of wash-and-wear, this is wear-and-don’t-wash. “Wear it and don’t wash it.” And then He comes to him and says, after he’s done that, “Go take that pair of shorts and go far away, go” – according to chapter 13, verse 4 – “up to the Euphrates River and hide it. Bury it in the crevice of a rock.” What? That’s two hundred miles. And by the way, two hundred miles is a long trip when you’re walking.

Go two hundred miles and bury dirty shorts? What is this? Well, he goes and does it, and the Lord tells him later, “Go back and get it.” What? “Go back, get those dirty shorts.” And when he goes back, by the time he digs them out, they’re horrible, disintegrated. And He says, “That’s my people. I drew them to myself as intimately as I could, and they became more foul and more foul and more foul, and I separated myself from them, and they corrupted, and they’re under judgment.” God doesn’t change the rules, right? And we don’t have covenant protection. Jeremiah was a man who had a divine mission and a very direct message – very, very direct.

There’s a third thing, and I’ll close with this. He was characterized by a deep mourning. He’s known as the weeping prophet, chapter 13, verse 17, “If you will not listen, my soul will sob in secret for such pride. My eyes will bitterly weep and flow down with tears because a flock of the Lord has been taken captive.” This is God weeping, and God wept through the eyes of Jeremiah. God wept through the eyes of Jeremiah. Jeremiah says, “O, that my head were a fountain of waters, that my head were a spring that just kept gushing water so that my tears could continually flow for my people.”

We don’t ever want to get to a place where, as we go to a nation on the brink of a holocaust of divine judgment, we become indifferent or callous. We want to have the heart of Jesus, who saw the city of Jerusalem that He was going to judge and wept over the city of Jerusalem. We want to have the heart of Jeremiah. I’ll read that to you, chapter 9, “O that my head were waters and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people.” I just wish my head was a fountain of unending tears. He even calls, in chapter 9, later in the chapter, for mourning women to come out and mourn with Him over the condition of His people.

So for 42 years, he followed his divine mission. preached his direct message, and was characterized by deep mourning. What was the result? What was the result? Chapter 7 – quickly – the result, verse 23, I’ve already told you, “This is what I commanded them saying, ‘Obey my voice and I’ll be your God and you’ll be my people and walk in all the ways I command you, that it may be well with you.’ Yet they did not obey or incline their ear but walked in their own counsels and in the stubbornness of their evil heart and went backward and not forward.” Wow. Discouraging – discouraging. Why do you do this if nobody listens?

I’m going to close with the twenty-fourth chapter – twenty-fourth chapter and the fourth verse. “Then the Word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Like these good figs’” – that had been illustrated on a fig tree – “‘Like these good figs, I will regard as good the captives of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans. I will set my eyes on them for good. I will bring them again to this land. I will build them up and not overthrow them. I will plant them and not pluck them up. I will give them a heart to know me, for I am the Lord, and they will be my people and I will be their God, for they will return to me with their whole heart.’”

What is that saying? There is a remnant. There is a remnant. After the destruction and the devastation and the judgment and the purification of the captivity, there is a remnant that God will save.

Why do we preach if nobody listens? Because the nobody is qualified. Within that vast number of rejecters, there is a remnant that God will save, that God will forgive, whose hearts He will change. That’s why we do what we do. You, dear ones, are that remnant, part of that remnant in a nation on the way to judgment.

Father, thank you for your Word to us. We are so grateful for its richness. It’s life-giving to us. Thank you for this precious church. I pray for those here who have not come to Christ. O Lord, would you give them that new heart? Would you cleanse them? Would you love them and seek them and draw them to yourself and save them? Thank you for all that you’re doing here and will continue to do as we’re faithful to you, and we’ll thank you in your Son’s name. Amen.

https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/80-367

What is God teaching you in your storms?

October 21, 2020 by Dr. Jack Graham

I vividly remember in 2009 when I found myself in a storm like I’d never experienced before. I had received a cancer diagnosis and was unsure of what the future would hold.   

But what I also remember is what a close friend of mine said to me in the midst of my battle… 

“Jack, I’m praying for you… that you will learn everything you need to learn in the midst of this trial in your life.”  

And God was faithful to do just that. As I prayed, “Lord, teach me what you want to teach me,” He stepped into my storm to do something I never expected. You see, while trials are a painful part of life, they serve to strengthen our faith and build our character.  

That’s what the first chapter of the book of James is all about. James writes in verse 2, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” 

The picture James is painting is that we’re walking along, everything is going well, and out of nowhere life hits us like a two-by-four with a trial, test, or storm. 

Now I realize that this is exactly where many of us find ourselves today. Toward the beginning of 2020, we lived blissfully ignorant of the trials that were about to hit us. 

And then over the past several months, we’ve been hit hard.   

We’ve seen sickness and death from a global pandemic. We’ve experienced the isolation that comes with sheltering at home. And we’ve lived through one of the most politically and racially charged climates we’ve seen in decades. 

There’s no escaping it – our world is full of pain and suffering. In Romans 8 we’re told that all creation groans in preparation for the birth of the new earth that is coming when Christ returns. 

But on this side of eternity, we will experience suffering, pain, and heartache. 

And still, James writes, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.”  Seriously? Why would James say this – a difficult, almost impossible command to follow? 

Scripture answers that question for us in Psalm 16:11. The psalmist writes, “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”  

All who are in Christ share in His eternal joy, even in the midst of seemingly impossible circumstances. It is a unique promise and privilege for believers and followers of Jesus.   

https://resources.jackgraham.org/resource-library/articles/what-is-god-teaching-you-in-your-storms/

How to cross the River Jordan in our life? Part-2

January 22, 2021Author: hephzibahgarden

We all have to cross the river Jordan in our own life, one day!

The Israelites successfully crossed the river Jordan before entering the Promised Land of Canaan.. In Part-1 we already saw the first two points of how to cross this river. Here is the second part of the same topic:

Using the mantle to cross river Jordan

Prophet Elijah was an Old Testament saint and a prayer warrior. He was also the one who had brought down rain and fire from heaven. With the mantle, both he and Elisha had crossed the river Jordan, while ministering together. And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground. 2 Kings 2:8.

What does the Mantle refer to?

Spiritually, the Mantle refers to the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Without the Anointing, we cannot cross the river Jordan like situations in our life. Moreover, to enter the Kingdom of God we need to have received the Anointing of the Holy Spirit. We need to be people who are always relying on the Anointing.

To face greater trial, we need to have greater unction of the Holy Spirit. Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah’s Anointing, before being taken up. 2 kings 2:9. For this to happen, Elisha had to keep his eyes focused on Elijah. they both didn’t know when the latter would be taken up.

And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; 2 kings 2:11-13.

So by using the mantle, that is, through the anointing of the Holy Spirit, we can cross the river Jordan in our life.

By using the staff

Shepherds use a staff for grazing their flock. Old people also use this for walking. However, Jacob also says that he used a staff to cross the river. I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands. Genesis 32:10.

Jacob used that staff from the beginning to the end of his life. When he left his Father’s house, he also took the staff along with him. Later on, the staff continued to be with him, even when he was returning from Padanaram (Laban’s place). Finally, in the end of his life as well, Jacob leaned on his staff and passed away. Spiritually, Staff refers to the Promises of God. Dear child of God, use the promises of God to overcome your troubles. May the Lord help us!

Be Blessed!

How to cross the River Jordan in our life? Part-1

Crossing the River Jordan

January 15, 2021Author: hephzibahgarden

The Israelites had to cross the river Jordan before entering the Promised Land of Canaan.

Every believer also has a River Jordan to cross in their life. Spiritually, this River Jordan refers to the last and final hurdle you and me will have to encounter, before moving on to meet Jesus on the other shore.

Here are 4 ways through which we can cross the River:

  • By using the Counsel of Hushai
  • With the help of the Priests and Ark of Covenant
  • Using the mantle
  • By using the Staff

Using the counsel of Hushai

With the counsel of Hushai, David and his men were able to overcome a Jordan like situation in their life. Hushai was king David’s friend, he gave the right counsel to the king and his men. 2 Samuel 15:37. Ahitophel was also a counsellor to king David, but he was a conspirator. David did not listen to his counsel because Ahitophel was conspiring to create division between David and his son Absalom. David chose to rather listen to his friend, because he gave him the correct counsel on how to cross Jordan. 2 Samuel 17:14-16,22.

Spiritually, Hushai is a shadow of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the best friend and guide a believer can possibly have to navigate through life. A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24. Yes..!! He is a friend who sticks closer than a brother to us. He gives us the best counsel through His Word. Therefore, He is Wonderful in counsel and excellent in working. Isaiah 28:29, 9:6. Therefore, in our spiritual life, in order to cross the river Jordan, we need good counsel. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Psalm 73:24.

With the help of the Priests and Ark of Covenant

During the journey of the Israelites, the Priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant helped them to cross the river Jordan. In the harvest season, the river Jordan overflows all of its banks. Nevertheless as soon as the feet of the Priests carrying the Ark of Covenant touched the waters, the river got divided into two parts. It stood as a wall on both sides for the people to travel across.

And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people; And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,) That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.Joshua 3:14,15,16.

The Priests refers to the Spirit baptised ministers that the Lord has given the Church, as overseers. The Ark refers to the fellowship of the saints or the Church of God. As members of the Body of Christ, when we abide in the fellowship God gave us, remain stedfast under the guidance of these overseers, we will be able to cross the river Jordan. Psalm 50:5.

(…to be continued)

The Testing God

 / MULYALE MUTISYA

‘Testing will surely come’ ~ Ezekiel 21:13

‘I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold’ ~ Zechariah 13:9

Life is a test, and within it are series of tests. Just like a litmus test is used to figure if something is acidic or basic, tests in life produce only two outcomes. However, to understand the outcome of the tests, we must understand the Tester and the reason for His testing. Solomon writes, ‘As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like animals. Man’s fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so does the other’ (Ecclesiastes 3:18-19). If the fate of all men is death, then life is the soluble mixture of our experiences where we, litmus papers, are dipped by God for testing. As we journey through life, some tests are subtle while others are apparent, and so it is only God who judges the outcome, ‘For who can bring him (mankind) to see what will happen after him?’ (v22). When God tests, He only declares two outcomes; ‘Well done good and faithful servant’ (Matthew 25:23) or ‘you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting’ (Daniel 5:27).

Whatever the form, format, or unit that God uses in our tests, He is only concerned with taking note of two things; our faith in Him and our faithfulness to Him. Peter writes, ‘Though for a while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. So that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed (1 Peter 1:6-7). When Jesus beckoned to this same Peter to defy scientific laws so that he ‘walked on water and came towards Jesus’ (Matthew 14:29), Peter probably thought he would do it just for fun, or just to see. Little did he know that even in that situation, Jesus was testing him. Jesus was measuring something vital and so when Peter ‘saw the wind, he was afraid and beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord save me!’’(v30). Jesus response simply was, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’(v31). At that time, the test showed little faith, and Peter was found wanting. Likewise, our life is not just for living or for just going with the flow in our experiences.

In every conduct of our lives, God is only interested in two things- our level of faith and faithfulness to Him because, ‘without faith, it is impossible to please God’ (Hebrews 11:6). That is why Jesus would say, ‘your faith has healed you’ to ‘a woman subject to bleeding for twelve years’ (Mark 5:34), to ‘a blind man, Bartimaeus’ (10:v52), and a man healed of leprosy (Luke 17:19). To a sinful woman, Jesus said, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace’ (7:v50).  These people were facing prolonged trials, fateful even, because they were in tests of adversities that never seem to lift. It is through them we see that faithfulness also interlocks with faith in that, ‘anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek him’ (Hebrews 11:6). Those who believed in Jesus approached Him in faith that He exists and is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek him. Their healing and forgiveness of sins was thus their reward.

Sometimes though, our reward is not earthly. Of the great men and women of faith, Paul observes, ‘These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect’ (11:v39-40). Therefore, faith through testing not only rewards but also qualifies.For if we cannot please God, we cannot be qualified to be in His presence. Therefore, He ensures our faith is refined so that, ‘To the end he may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints’ (1 Thessalonians 3:13). Not wanting anyone to miss out on this glorious eternal gift, God uses tests to ‘perfect that which is lacking in your faith’ (v10). So throughout life, God tests us and takes note of the;

Responses we make:  Sometimes when trouble hits us, they seem like storms in our lives, but in reality, they are just tests. When a woman told Jesus that her ‘daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession’ (Matthew 15:22), ‘Jesus did not answer a word’ (v23). Likewise, when we make our request to God and He does not immediately say a word, it is not that He is unbothered, but could be that He is testing our faith. Because true faith recognizes God’s sovereignty and man’s frailty. Jesus eventually tells the woman that, ‘It is not right to take children’s bread and toss it to their dogs’ (v26). The woman then responds, ‘Yes, Lord but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table’ (v27). Even when things did not go her way, the woman still recognized Jesus as Lord and Master. She also acknowledged her frailaity comparing it to that of an animal, and acknowledged God’s mercies irregardless of the crumbs He sent- because no one is deserving to eat at the Master’s table in the first place. In hearing her response, Jesus tested and gauged her response and eventually said, ‘Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted’ (v28).

Instructions we take: Other times, God gives us explicit and clear instructions to follow in order to test our faith. ‘Some time later God tested Abraham . . . God said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about’ (Genesis 22:1,2). When Abraham followed the instruction and ‘took the knife to slay his son’ (v10), the angel of the Lord stopped him and said, ‘Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son’ (v12).

When God asks us to give up something dear, it is not that He is in need of it, but is rather testing our faith. When He sees our faith and complete obedience to His instructions, He restores and multiplies. To Abraham, God says, ‘I swear by myself . . . I will sure bless you and make your descendants as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. . . and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed because you obeyed me’ (v16,17,18). Abraham’s faith was found in good measure when tested based on the seemingly unfavourable instructions he followed. ‘By faith Abraham, when God tested him offered Isaac as a sacrifice . . . Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead’ (Hebrews 11:17,19).

Sins we tolerate: Although God does not bring sin into our lives to test us, temptations arise from the lust of our flesh or by the devil’s cunning devices. ‘Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts any man; But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed’ (James 1:13-14). Irregardless, how we respond when temptations cross our way directly correlates with our faith. Being tempted is not sin, but giving in to temptation is sin. So God tests our faith by the sins we tolerate in our lives. He says, ‘See, I will refine and test them, for what else can I do because of the sin of my people?’ (Jeremiah 9:7). When we continually tolerate sin in our lives, God sees us as, ‘hardened rebels . . . the refining goes on in vain; the wicked are not purged out’ (6:v28,29). So God says, ‘I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another’ (Isaiah 48:10-11).

Choices we make: ‘Are you still holding your integrity? Curse God and die!’ (Job 2:9). Job facing loss and anguish is presented with two choices. His wife urges him to let go of his integrity, his faith in God, and curse Him so he can die- so that his troubles can come to an ‘end’. How far one is willing to go to rid off their misfortune is a measure of their faith and faithfulness to God. In life, we are presented with choices. Some take the wide road contrary to God’s will in order to become rich, famous, admired, comfortable, or ‘happy’. Our choices reflect our faith in God and our readiness, or lack thereof, in the Kingdom class. Job replies, ‘You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? In all this, Job did not sin in what he said’ (v10). Job knew his adversities were a test and that the choice he made would not only determine his outcome, but his perception of God. He eventually says of God, ‘But he knows the way I take; when he has tested me, I shall come forth as gold’ (23:v10).

‘The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart’ ~ Proverbs 17:3

https://carolynemutisya7.wordpress.com/2021/01/06/the-testing-god/

10 Things You Should Know About Anglicanism

By Gerald R McDermott -April 2, 2020

10 Things You Should Know About Anglicanism

1. It didn’t start with the divorce of Henry VIII.

Actually, it started in the very first centuries of Christianity when Romans settled Britain and Christians came as soldiers, administrators and traders. The first mention we have of English Christianity comes from Tertullian who wrote in 200 AD that “parts of England were conquered by Christ.”

Very soon, Christians in Britain developed their own way of worshiping the triune God, involving attention to the beauty of the created world and missions. The Celtic church in England differed with Rome over many points of worship, and in the fourteenth century Oxford priest, John Wycliffe, called the pope “a poisonous weed” and denied transubstantiation. All of these differences with the Roman church were centuries before Henry VIII.

2. By the fourteenth Century, England had developed a distinctive spirituality.

It was rooted in the synthesis of doctrine and prayer taught by two Christian greats: Augustine of Hippo—the great theologian whose Confessions are an extended prayer—and Benedict of Nursia, whose monasteries modeled the Christian life as work amidst liturgical prayer. By the fourteenth century, English Christianity had long been influenced by both Augustine’s “pessimistic” emphasis on sin and Benedict’s “optimistic” stress on joy in common life.

3. Anglicanism is not just for the English or for Americans.

Today the majority of Anglicans are in Africa and other regions of the Global South. Each province uses its own culture to worship God with the Book of Common Prayer and the orthodoxy of the Thirty-Nine Articles.

4. There are more Anglicans in church on Sunday morning in Nigeria than in all the British Isles and North America combined.

5. With a membership of about 85 million, Anglicanism is the third-largest Christian communion in the world, after the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.

6. Anglicans consider their way to be a via media.

This means the “middle way” between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. They think they have the best of both—the worship of the catholic tradition of the undivided Church of the first millennium, plus the emphasis on preaching and justification by faith from the Reformation.

7. The Anglican Book of Common Prayer is widely regarded as the most beautiful worship in the English language.

The “sombrely magnificent prose” (Eamon Duffy) of the Book of Common Prayer has attracted legions of admirers all around the world. It reflects the liturgical genius of Thomas Cranmer, but it also provides moderns access to the worship of the early church. Cranmer, and the many other hands that produced the Book of Common Prayer, were adapting a basic catholic pattern of worship derived from the first few centuries of the Church that then developed over the course of the Middle Ages.

8. Anglicans worship not only with liturgy (ordered prayer that changes every Sunday of the seasons of the church year), but also with sacraments.

These are the two Dominical (commanded by the Dominus, or Lord, of the Church, Jesus) sacraments of baptism and Eucharist, and the five “sacraments of the church”—confirmation, Holy Orders, marriage, absolution, and healing of the sick.

9. Anglicans believe that in the Eucharist, they receive the real body and blood of the risen Christ.

This differs with the Catholic view of transubstantiation, which holds that the substance of the bread and wine are changed so that they are no longer bread and wine. Anglicans believe the bread and wine remain as bread and wine, but that in a mysterious way, the body and blood of Christ are also conveyed through the sacrament.

10. While Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556) was the English Reformation’s greatest liturgist, Richard Hooker (1554-1600) is widely regarded as its greatest theologian.

His Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity are a comprehensive treatment of life and worship on the via media.

Content adapted from The Future of Orthodox Anglicanism by Gerald R. McDermott. This article first appeared on Crossway.org; used with permission.

Original here

VIDEO The Difference Between “Son of God” and “Son of Man”

FROM Nathan W. Bingham Nov 14, 2020

Jesus is given many titles in Scripture. What does it mean that He is the “Son of God” and the “Son of Man”? In this brief clip, R.C. Sproul reveals that these two titles actually signify something different than what we might expect.

Transcript:

Just briefly in passing, let me ask you to pay particularly close attention, when you read the Gospels, to the use of the phrase or the title “Son of Man.” It’s one of the most important titles for Jesus in the New Testament and yet, at the same time, one of the most frequently misunderstood.

Part of the reason is we see the difference between the title “Son of Man” and “Son of God.” And given the church’s confession, historically, of the dual nature of Jesus—that He has a divine nature and a human nature—the tendency is for folks to assume that when Jesus referred to Himself as the Son of Man, that He was speaking of His human nature, and when He’s referred to as the Son of God, He was being referred to vis-à-vis His divine nature. Well, it’s not as simple as all of that, because both of these titles have within them elements that refer to His deity and to His humanity. But if anything, the emphasis on the two is just the opposite of what we would normally expect.

The title “Son of God” is given, in the first instance in Scripture, to those who manifest obedience to the Father. Sonship is defined predominately, not in biological terms here, but in terms of being in one accord or submissive towards, and so on. Remember Jesus Himself, in His discussions with the Pharisees, who claimed to be “sons of Abraham,” Jesus rebuked them and said, “You are the children of Satan. You are the children of the one whom you obey.” Now, don’t get me wrong. The “Son of God” also contains, in certain references in the New Testament, clear indications of Jesus’ eternal sonship and His deity. So, we don’t want to overstate the case.

But this title, “Son of Man,” is the one I want you to really pay attention to when you’re reading the Gospels, because it’s used so often in the New Testament, and all but three times that it occurs in the New Testament, it comes from the lips of Jesus. And it refers back to the Old Testament vision that was written down by the prophet Daniel, where Daniel had a vision into the interior of the heavenly court of God, where he saw the Ancient of Days enthroned, and the judgment was set. And to the Ancient of Days comes “one like unto a son of man,” who then is given the authority to judge the world. So that in the first instance, the Son of Man is a heavenly person—a heavenly person who descends to this world, whose principal role in His visitation to this earth is that of the heavenly judge.

Then He returns to the presence of God in His ascension. We remember that Jesus says, “No one ascends to the Father except He who has first descended from Him.” Again, we tend to think that Jesus’ calling Himself the Son of Man was an expression of humility, when, in fact, it was a claim to divine authority. That’s why I want you to notice this. When He heals on the Sabbath day and is rebuked by His enemies, He said, “I did this that you may know that the Son of the Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” And when He forgives sins and creates an uproar from His contemporaries, saying, “Only God has the authority to forgive sins,” Jesus said, “I did this that you might know that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” And again, and again, and again, you will begin to see that this title, “Son of Man” that Jesus uses for Himself, is a highly exalted title.

https://www.ligonier.org/blog/difference-between-son-god-and-son-man/

10 Ways to Replace Fear with Faith

young man praying while wearing surgical mask and gloves

Alisa Hope Wagner

During this season of COVID-19, fear has become rampant throughout the earth. People are isolated and scared, and Satan is feasting, creating havoc in hearts, minds, homes, families, and nations worldwide. As Christians, we must take back our rightful authority that Jesus died to give us. 

We trample snakes by rebuking fear and standing firm on faith. When the temptation to fear is all around us, we must remember that fear literally gives the Serpent authority in our lives. The Bible says that the way to “stand firm against him” is to “be strong in your faith” 1 Peter 5:9 (NLT). Faith gives us back the keys of authority when the world around us is festering with fear.

Standing strong in faith during these scary times can be difficult, but there are 10 ways we can safeguard our choice of faith. We become motivated to claim faith rather than fear because it is our faith that pleases God: “And without faith, it is impossible to please God…” Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

  1. Guard your heart. (Proverbs 4:23) Your heart is the tender soil for thoughts of good or evil to grow. When the enemy tries to plant seeds of fear, worry, anxiety, etc., we rebuke them instantly. Only allow God’s seeds of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control to take root. (Galatians 5:22-23)
  2. Stand firm in faith. (1 Corinthians 16:13) Faith protects us from the enemy’s schemes and places us in the center of God’s perfect peace. Our faith demonstrates to God and the world that we trust His provision, plan and power. When the circumstances around us swirl with disorder and animosity, we have every right to claim God’s peace. (1 Corinthians 14:33)
  3. Listen to the prophets. (2 Chronicles 20:20) God does nothing without revealing His plan to the prophets first. No prophet knows everything, but God gives them each a partial view of His Kingdom Plan. We seek prophets who have an excellent track record of speaking God’s heart in order to calm our fears.
  4. Capture your thoughts. (2 Corinthians 10:5) We must play an active role in standing firm in faith by capturing thoughts of fear that are not of God. This habit may take a few weeks or even months to form, but the complete peace we gain is worth the effort.
  5. Rejoice, pray, and give thanks. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) We can move from fear to faith simply by praising and thanking God through prayer. The enemy can’t attack worship, so our thanksgiving is the key to rising above the negative waves in life.
  6. Read your Bible. (Joshua 1:8) The Bible is a living source of God’s encouragement and strength. (Hebrews 4:12) During times of stress, reading verses from the Book of Psalms can be particularly reassuring.
  7. Stay in community. (Hebrews 10:25) When we are bombarded by fear, we need to purposely surround ourselves with faith-filled Believers. Just knowing we aren’t alone is enough to fill us with a peaceful confidence that will sustain our faith.
  8. Pray in tongues. (1 Corinthians 14:2) (If you’ve been given this Spiritual Gift – 1 Corinthians 12)Many times we don’t know what to pray, but the Holy Spirit does. Speaking in tongues may feel strange at first, but it can be done in secret, allowing the powerful presence of God to disperses all fears.
  9. Speak the name of Jesus. (Philippians 2:10-11) The name of Jesus spoken in complete faith of its authority will rebuke ugly thoughts of fear. Remembering that Jesus overcame death on the Cross gives us a hope and confidence that we are on the winning side. (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)
  10. Remain in God’s love. (Jude 1:21) Love disperses all fear. (1 John 4:18) God loves us so much that He gave His Son as a sacrifice for our sins, so He can have a relationship with us. (John 3:16) When we immerse ourselves in His love, our worries, anxieties, and fears have no chance to survive.

Copyright © 2020 Alisa Hope Wagner, used with permission. 

Find more information about resisting fear and standing firm in faith with Alisa Hope Wagner’s book, The Way of the Wolves: The Enemy’s Planned Strike on Your Life.  Watch Alisa’s video about her family’s experience with COVID-19 and rebuking fear.

Can God change your life?

God has made it possible for you to know Him and experience an amazing change in your own life. Discover how you can find peace with God. You can also send us your prayer requests.

https://www1.cbn.com/spiritual-life/10-ways-to-replace-fear-with-faith

Ancient Ritual Bath First Evidence Of Jesus’ Gethsemane

Steven Law  December 23, 2020 

Ritual bath that was discovered by archaeologists at Gethsemane

Summary: A Second Temple-era Jewish ritual bath recently discovered on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives may mark the first physical evidence for activity at the New Testament site of Gethsemane.

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” – Matthew 26:36 (ESV)

2,000-Year-Old Jewish Ritual Bath Discovered by Accident at Gethsemane

The night he was betrayed, Jesus is said to have gone to an olive grove called Gethsemane where he spent hours in agony and prayer before being arrested, tried and finally crucified the next day. Aspects of the long night on the Mount of Olives just outside Jerusalem are recorded in all four New Testament Gospels. However, no physical evidence pointing to the site of Gethsemane has ever been found from the time of Jesus – until now.

A Second Temple-era Jewish ritual bath known as a mikvah was recently unearthed at a popular pilgrimage site long believed to be the location of the garden of Gethsemane.

“For the first time, we have archaeological evidence that something was here in the Second Temple period, in the days of Jesus,” said Amit Re’em, the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Jerusalem district head.

The mikvah was discovered by chance due to a cave-in during construction of a new visitor center. The cavity was encountered in a tunnel that was being constructed to link the modern Church of Gethsemane to the Kidron Valley. Archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and students from the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum (a nearby Franciscan research institute) then discovered the ritual bath as they scrambled to complete salvage excavations at the site before construction resumed.

Construction work on a modern tunnel under the 1920 Catholic Church of All Nations
2,000-year-old Jewish ritual bath discovered during construction work on a modern tunnel under the 1920 Catholic Church of All Nations. (credit: Yaniv Berman – IAA)

Ritual bath sites in Israel from around 2,000 years ago are fairly common finds as evidenced by several recent discoveries seen in the news, but it is the location of this one that makes it significant.

“It is not from the mikvah that we are so excited, rather the interpretation, the meaning, of it. Because despite there being several excavations in the place since 1919 and beyond, and that there were several findings — from the Byzantine and Crusader eras, and others — there has not been one piece of evidence from the time of Jesus. Nothing! And then, as an archaeologist, there arises the question: Is there evidence of the New Testament story, or maybe it happened elsewhere?” said Re’em.

Archaeologists digging at the Byzantine Church in Jerusalem
IAA excavations at the Byzantine church. (credit: Yoli Schwartz – IAA)

Re’em thinks it likely there was some kind of olive press, for making oil, in the field nearby, though it is yet to be discovered. The ritual bath outside the walls of Jerusalem is a sign that this was a functioning olive field at the time.

“According to the Jewish law, when you are producing wine or olive oil, you need to be purified,” said Re’em. “So there is a high probability that during the time of Jesus, at this place was an oil press.”

The bath was dated by means of the archaeological layer of earth it was in as well as comparing its style and construction to other Second Temple era mikvahs. The results have not yet been officially published, however. (See olive presses and smashed idols that point to the reforms of a biblical king)

Garden of Gethsemane, Mount of Olives, Jerusalem
Garden of Gethsemane, Mount of Olives, Jerusalem. (Tango7174, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons)

Discovery Made at Traditional Garden of Gethsemane Site

The site where the bath was found has a long history of being a pilgrimage site for Christians. The modern Catholic church there is known as the Church of Gethsemane and alternately as the Church of the Agony or Church of All Nations. It was constructed in the 1920s at the foot of the Mount of Olives. Remains of a Crusader-era monastery and a much earlier 6th century Byzantine church have also been unearthed at this traditional spot for Jesus’ betrayal. The Byzantine’s are especially known for their zealous drive to mark holy sites. (Read about the discovery of the site of Jesus’ trial.)

According to Re’em, the next step in researching the mikveh will be to take plaster samples to send to micro-archaeologists who will look for tiny olive pollen grains and other substances. If found, the connection to oil production will be strengthened.

However, he cautioned that such results do not prove the Gospel accounts. “Let’s not get carried away,” said Re’em. Even with this ritual bath, “there’s no evidence to the truth of the Gospels.”

Archaeologist Amit Re’em posing next to the recently discovered ritual bath at Gethsemane
Archaeologist Amit Re’em next to the ritual bath at Gethsemane. (credit: Yaniv Berman – IAA)

Connecting the Find at Gethsemane with the Biblical Account

Of course, confirming that Gethsemane was, in fact, an operational olive grove at the time of Jesus does not in and of itself prove that his words and actions took place as recorded in the Bible. However, at minimum it supports the validity for the setting of those accounts.

The presence of an oil press would also fit the Hebrew meaning of “Gethsemane,” which is “oil press.” Additionally, it would be an apt reflection of the idea that Jesus’ soul was hard-pressed in the agony experienced following the Last Supper in the lead-up to the crucifixion.

Painting: Agony in the Garden by Antonio da Correggio
Agony in the Garden by Antonio da Correggio (1489-1534). (public domain)

Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch[ with me.” – Matthew 26:38 (ESV)

Father Francesco Patton is custos of the Holy Land in the Franciscan order that operates the church and oversees the work they do from Egypt to Lebanon. They were an early archaeological presence in the region. The order also maintains olive trees on the site that they say date back to the time of Jesus, which would make them the oldest in the world.

Fr. Francesco Patton standing next to the ancient ritual bath in Gethsemane
Fr. Francesco Patton, custos of the Holy Land, standing next to the ancient ritual bath in Gethsemane. (credit: Yoli Schwartz – IAA)

Patton said in an IAA press release, “Gethsemane is one of the most important sanctuaries in the Holy Land, because in this place the tradition remembers the confident prayer of Jesus and his betrayal and because every year millions of pilgrims visit and pray in this place.

“Even the latest excavations conducted on this site have confirmed the antiquity of the Christian memory and tradition linked to the place, and this is very important for us and for the spiritual meaning connected with the archeological findings,” he added.

Painting: The Adoration of the Shepherds by Gerard van Honthorst
The Adoration of the Shepherds by Gerard van Honthorst (1592–1656). (public domain)

This thinking flows well into the Christian teaching of Christmas – that God sent the light of his son into the world on a rescue mission to remove the penalty for sins by paying the ultimate price, beginning with what happened on that night in the olive press of Gethsemane. Merry Christmas and Keep Thinking!

TOP PHOTO: The ritual bath from the Second Temple period that was discovered at Gethsemane. (Credit: Yaniv Berman – IAA)

The Door to Heaven is Narrow (Luke 13:22-30)

Pastor Joe Quatrone, Jr. Book of Luke

This is a message that will tell you how you can go to heaven when you die.

There are two doors after death: destruction or delight, and we choose which door we will pass through while we are alive; either the narrow door to heaven or the wide door to hell. Many of you are already believers and know you are going to heaven, so you may wonder why I’m speaking on this topic. The Bible makes it clear that many people think they are going to heaven, but they are mistaken. So it’s good to occasionally clear our minds of all of our preconceived notions and consider how a person can go to heaven. Heaven can only be entered through a narrow door. Have you found heaven’s narrow door? Let’s read about it in Luke 13:22-30.

Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as He made His way to Jerusalem. Someone asked Him, “Lord are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ But He will answer, “I don’t know you or where you come from.’ Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!” There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the Kingdom of God. Indeed, there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”

If we want to enter heaven, there are four important truths we need to understand:

1. There is Only One Door to Heaven and it is Narrow

These words of Jesus are not politically correct in our age of religious pluralism. If Jesus came to America preaching this message today, He would be labeled a radical and would probably be arrested. In fact, that’s exactly why the Jews arrested Him and executed Him 2,000 years ago.

To say there is only one way to heaven is an unpopular stance today. Most people think there are many ways to get to heaven. They think it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are “sincere.” Well, those Palestinian suicide bombers are sincere in their beliefs, and they are wrong. You can be sincere – and be sincerely wrong.

A man told me he thought getting to heaven was like flying in an airplane. I could fly American Airlines, he could fly Delta, and somebody else could fly Northwest airlines, but we’d all get to the same destination. “Doesn’t that sound logical?” he asked.

I told him it sounded logical, but when you get on an airliner, you could never be 100% certain it would arrive at the intended destination; it could be diverted by weather, hijacked, have mechanical problems, or even crash. I told him I am booked to fly on Jesus Airlines and it’s the only one in the universe with a 100% on time arrival record! For Jesus (or any of us) to insist there is just one way to heaven seems too narrow-minded in this age of enlightenment. But look at His words again in verse 24: “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” Jesus didn’t speak of different doors or different airliners. He didn’t say “enter through one of the narrow doors.” He spoke of the narrow door.

Other Scriptures confirm there is only one way to heaven. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Now, let me misquote this verse the way most folks believe. They think Jesus said, “I am one of the ways, part of the truth, and one kind of life. No one comes to the Father unless they are religious, good, kind, and sincere in whatever it is they believe.” But Jesus didn’t say He was one of the ways or even the best way; He said He is the only way.

For five decades, Billy Graham had been filling stadiums around the world preaching Jesus is the only way to heaven. He always had a banner with John 14:6 placed in a prominent place. Many people thought his position was too narrow-minded. Several years ago, after he conducted a crusade in Australia, a woman wrote a letter of complaint to the newspaper. Her words are typical of many who do not appreciate our insistence that Jesus is the only way to heaven. She wrote, “After hearing Billy Graham on the air and viewing him on television, I am heartily sick of the type of religion that insists my soul (and everyone else’s) needs saving–whatever that means. I have never felt that I was lost. Nor do I feel that I wallow in the mire of sin, although his preaching insists I do. Give me practical religion that teaches gentleness and kindness and acknowledges no barriers of color or creed, that remembers the aged and teaches children about goodness and not about sin. If, in order to save my soul, I must accept such a philosophy as I have recently heard preached, I prefer to remain forever damned.”

Sadly, Jesus confirmed that millions of people share her attitude. He pointed out that only a small percentage of the entire population are going to be saved and He was dogmatic about it!

What’s wrong with being dogmatic about some things? If you go in for surgery, you wouldn’t want your surgeon to say to you the night before the surgery, “I don’t want to be dogmatic about the way to do this surgery. I think I’ll try a different approach this time. I may try going in from the other side for a change. After all, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.” You’d say, “But I’m not a cat and I don’t want to be skinned! Do the surgery the way you were taught to do it!” How far do you think the surgeon would get if he did it the wrong way?

We can’t bend God’s rules either. The people in this passage were at the door; they were even knocking on the door. But almost getting into the door won’t get us into heaven. When it comes to our eternal salvation there is only one door. What is it?

2. Heaven’s Door is Knowing God by Knowing Jesus

A few years ago, I conducted a survey. One of the questions on the survey was: “In your personal opinion, what do you understand it takes for a person to go to heaven?” As you can imagine, I got a variety of interesting answers. Everybody has an opinion. The most common incorrect answer to the question of how to get into heaven was: “Do good or be good.” Wrong. Access to eternal life in heaven can only be gained when we have a personal relationship with God.

In verse 25, Jesus describes people who will be pounding on heaven’s door after it is shut. They will be hollering, “Let me in! Open the door! I went to church; I even went to Sunday School! I gave my money to the church. I even worked for You! Hey, let me in!” Notice the reply of the Master of the house. He says, “I don’t know you.” It’s all about knowing God. Do you know Jesus Christ? Does He know you? He said in John 10:27, “My sheep hear My voice; I know them and they follow Me.” Do you recognize God’s voice when you hear it? Do you know Jesus and does He know you?

All of us in this room know about President Obama. Maybe you’ve met him or shaken his hand, but do you really know him? Have you visited with him enough that you are known by him? The same can be said about Jesus. Everyone here knows about Jesus, but some of you might have had casual contact with Him. Others of us have met Him and we know Him intimately because we talk with Him regularly (by the way, it’s easier to gain access to Jesus than it is to President Obama, so feel free to get to know Him).

Eternal life is knowing Jesus. Let me call your attention to the verse that best defines what eternal life is: “Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent” (John 17:3). Eternal life is knowing God. That’s the door to heaven and it is the only way to get into heaven.

I love to read fables because they are like the parables of Jesus. Many of them teach practical lessons that can be applied to spiritual truth. There’s an old Russian fable about a cat and a fox. The fox bragged to the cat about how clever he was. He claimed he had hundreds of ways of escaping from the hunters who chased him. He could hide in a hole, or backtrack in a creek, or lie flat in tall grass. He was proud of his big bag of tricks. The cat replied she only had one way of escape, but that seemed to work.

At that moment, they heard the sounds of the hounds coming toward them. The cat scampered up the tree and hid herself among the leaves. She said to the fox, “This is my plan. What are you going to do?” The fox first thought of one plan, then of another. While he was debating the best plan the hounds came closer. At last, in his confusion, the fox was caught by the hounds and soon killed by the hunters. The cat witnessed the whole scene and provides the moral of the story: “Better to have one safe way than a hundred by which you cannot be sure.”

God is Spirit and no man can see Him without dying. That’s why Jesus came to this planet. God took on human flesh and became one of us, so we can relate to Him. Jesus said, “I am the door; whoever enters through Me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture” (John 10:9). The narrow door into heaven is Jesus Himself. There is no other way to get to heaven than by trusting in Jesus as your Savior and Lord.

Maybe you have heard of the name, “Ivan the Terrible.” He was crowned the first Czar or Caesar of Russia in 1547. He was cruel and ruthless. He gouged out the eyes of the architects who built the beautiful St. Basil’s Cathedral, so they would never be able to build anything more beautiful. He had seven wives and abused them all. He even killed his own son in a fit of anger. There were many reasons why people called him “terrible.”

When he died in 1584 the leaders of the church followed his strange instructions. They shaved his head and dressed him in a Monk’s robe. Ivan the Terrible knew he was such a wicked man that he was hoping God would mistake him for a monk and let him into heaven. But you can’t get into heaven by disguising yourself as someone and hoping God will mistake you for him or her. There is only one door and that door is Jesus.

3. There are Only Two Doors Leading to Eternity – Choose Your Door

Each of us faces these doors. Behind one is eternal life and delight. Behind the other is death and destruction. There is no mystery involved in these doors. The doors are clearly marked and Jesus tells us what is behind each door. Beginning in verse 28, Jesus describes the fate of those who don’t enter through the narrow door. He says there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” That means there will be hopeless sorrow and unending pain. It makes me shiver in revulsion just thinking about it. Jesus said these people will “see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the prophets.” One of the worst parts of hell is the ability to realize others are in heaven and you aren’t. What a terrible place hell will be. In his epic, Inferno, Dante described hell as having different levels and circles of torment. He created minute details you never find in Scripture, but he got it right in one respect. He inscribed over the gate to hell these words: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

Then Jesus contrasts that awful scene with the delightful glories of heaven. People from all four points of the compass, from all over the planet will gather for a feast! The Kingdom of God is like a feast, not a funeral. So, how do you get to enjoy the party and miss the pain? Choose the right door. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus lets us know there are actually two doors that lead to two totally different destinies. He said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

Consider the two doors. The one leading to destruction and hell is wide, and easy to find. Jesus said most of the world is on the pathway that leads to that door. But the door that leads to the delight of eternal life is narrow and only a few find it. God loves us so much He has made a way for us to know Him and to spend eternity with Him. But He also loves us so much that He has honored us by giving us the capacity to choose.

4. Heaven’s Door is Open Now, But Someday it Will be Shut

I can tell you on this very day, God’s door of grace is still wide open. But in verse 25, Jesus says one day the Master of the house will get up and close the door: “Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.” The door could close for you today. You could die today and that would close the door. Or, Jesus could return today and that would close the door of grace as well. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know things are heating up to a new level in Israel. All of that is a clear indication we are in the season of the return of Christ. So, if you haven’t trusted Jesus yet, do it today. Christian, if there is someone you know and love who hasn’t walked through God’s narrow door yet, don’t let another day pass by without lovingly urging them to trust Jesus alone for their salvation.

You can choose to enter heaven’s door today. Jesus said it’s a narrow door. Think about that for a minute. It’s so narrow only one person can walk through it at one time. In other words, you can’t walk through heaven’s door holding someone else’s hand. I thank God my parents raised me in church and sent me to Christian school, but when it came time for me to give my life to Jesus, I walked through that door all by myself. Some of you think because your grandfather was a preacher or your mother was a godly saint that you can walk through the door with them, but you can’t. The narrow door to heaven says, “One person at a time.”

Do you know what else it means because it’s a narrow door? It’s so narrow you can’t bring a bunch of excess baggage with you. In fact, you’ve got to unload all your “stuff” before you walk through it. I read once about a hiker who got trapped in a cave. He found a small opening to escape, but he couldn’t squeeze through with his backpack. So, he removed his backpack, and then his canteen, and then his jacket before he could slip through the opening. When you walk through the narrow door of heaven, you’ve got to leave your backpack of sinful habits and sinful attitudes behind. As the old song says, “Nothing in my hand I bring, Only to your cross I cling.”

Have you discovered heaven’s narrow door? Jesus is inviting you to come to Him today. Is there a need in your life? Does there seem to be an unquenchable thirst in your soul you haven’t been able to satisfy by anything this world offers? On the last page of the Bible, God extends an invitation to all of us. He says, “Is anyone thirsty? Come! All who will, come and drink. Drink freely of the Water of Life!” (Revelation 22:17).

The Bible speaks about another kind of door: it’s the door to your heart. And the way you walk through heaven’s door is by asking Jesus to come into the door of your heart. The most famous painting of the 19th century is by English artist Holman Hunt and is called “The Light of the World.” It’s a dark picture because it is night, symbolizing that the night has come and the day of salvation is almost over. Jesus is wearing a crown of thorns and standing at a door with a lantern in His hand. He is knocking on the door and His message is hard to miss. Jesus says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with Me” (Revelation 3:20). Art critics looked at the painting and pointed out that Holman Hunt made a mistake–there was no latch on the door. His reply silenced the critics. He said the door of our heart only has a doorknob on the inside. We are the only ones who can open our hearts to Jesus.

Right now, Jesus is standing at the door of your heart. He’s knocking. Do you hear His voice? Will you open your heart to Him? When you do that, you will have found Heaven’s narrow door.

https://joequatronejr.wordpress.com/2015/04/30/the-door-to-heaven-is-narrow-luke-1322-30/