Love Always Perseveres

Love from God's perspective.

Daily Spirit & Word: 824.

Love Always Perseveres.

Sermon Series on LOVE (Understanding LOVE from God’s Perspective 1 Corinthians 13).

Good morning, we’re back with 1 Corinthians 13: The Great Love Chapter in God’s Word. Here we’ve been discovering some of the secrets of TRUE LOVE:

TRUE LOVE: Agape: Sacrificial / Devotional / Charitable Love.

1) That love is not at first an emotion to give into, but an act of the will, with principles and precepts to live by.

2) We will want to act these ways, because we’ve first of all experienced God’s; Love, Forgiveness, Kindness and Mercy. He’s given us a New Start, New Heart, New Life, New Relationship of Love through His Son Jesus Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit.

3) When we act in God’s love, great feelings of LOVE will follow… i.e. attraction in relationships can be restored.

Some People think their marriage is over, because they don’t feel the love any-longer  It’s not over just because you don’t feel “IN LOVE” any more. Love and feelings of being in love will follow and flow afresh into your heart and your relationship once you begin LOVING God’s Ways.

LOVE ALWAYS: (Sermon Series).

We’ve been looking over the last few weeks at: Verse 7: Love Always:

1 Corinthians 13:7 (NIV) It (LOVE) always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Today It Is: Love Always Perseveres.

To see how LOVE ALWAYS Perseveres: We can look though God’s Word to see if this is a principle / precept that is TRUE.

  • Then we’ll KNOW: Know the Truth and the Truth will set you free.
  • Then we’ll KNOW: That Always Persevering in LOVE… (LOVE NEVER FAILS)…

Genesis 29:20 (NIV) “So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.” (That’s Perseverance).

Part of Jacob’s reward for working for Laban was to have Rachel, Laban’s beautiful daughter, given to Jacob as his wife. Our verse for today sums up the details of this arrangement and shows the great effects of love how we’ll be persevering because of it…

  • Love Prompted Jacob’s Perseverance.
  • Love Prolonged Jacob’s Perseverance.
  • Love Produced Pleasure in Jacob’s Toil.

1) LOVE Prompted Jacob’s Perseverance:

Perseverance’s Prerequisite: Is LOVE:  “Jacob served seven years to get Rachel.” (Prerequisite = Essential Condition. Needed Requirement: LOVE).

It was love that caused Jacob to serve here. He was very much in love with Rachel and so agreed to serve Laban for her. Love is essential if we are going to persevere.

Remember what Paul said;

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (NIV)
14  For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
15  And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

Paul was motivated (compelled) to serve his Lord Jesus by his love for Christ. (First LOVE).

When Christ called Peter to feed His flock, He asked Peter, “Do you love me?” or in KJV “Lovest thou me” (John 21:15,16,17 {three times}).

If your perseverance draining, if you feel everything to do with church is a drag, maybe you are getting a bit like the church at Ephesus which was rebuked by the Lord because they had “left their first love” (Revelation 2:4).

If Jacob had just had a passing FANCY for Rachel, he would not have served or persevered to get her hand in marriage.

It wasn’t a passing fancy, but true love that enabled Jacob to persevere for those seven long years.

 

2) Prolonging of Perseverance. “Jacob served seven years to get Rachel.”

Love caused Jacob to serve for a long time.

Later when Laban deceived Jacob and gave him Leah instead of Rachel at the end of those seven years, Jacob was prepared, because of his love for Rachel, to agree to serve another seven years for her. That’s awesome! We need to understand this today 14 Years to get a wife… who today would be prepared to do that? Would you wait? That’s how much he longed for and loved Rachel.

Because of his LOVE he was prepared to persevere for Rachel’s hand.

  • Love Caused Jacob: To continually work for Rachel.
  • Love Cause Jacob: To Never Give up on Rachel.
  • Love Caused Jacob: To have longevity (No matter how long it would take, he’d get his Rachel)…
  • Love Cause Jacob: To keep Going, not quit after a few days, weeks, months or years… 14 years it took to get his Rachel as his wife.
  • LOVE MADE JACOB: Persevere until….

 

QUESTION: Why do so many Christians fall away from the faith?

Why do so many Christians grow luke-warm in their devotion to Jesus?

Why do so many not persevere and keep following Jesus?

ANSWER: NOT IN LOVE WITH JESUS.

Some have a PASSING FANCY for the CHRISTIAN FAITH. Dabble their toes in the water of Christian Experience, but when the going gets tough, the feeble, fickle, feeling based Christians = leg it. They’ve had a passing fancy for Jesus, not TRUE LOVE… If Jesus was ever their FIRST LOVE, then no matter what, they’d stick at it come what may.

The reason so many folks do not last long in persevering faith in Christ is because they do not love Christ as they need.

If you truly love Christ, you will stay at your work continually: Like Jacob (Joseph, David, Moses, Abraham). Some didn’t see their PROMISED LAND (HOPE)… However, because of their LOVE they were able to PERSEVERE.

  • Love causes us to have longevity in our persevering for Christ.
  • Love does not serve Jesus a few days then quit when it gets tough; no it KEEPS GOING (Digging In Deeper onto the foundation bedrock of Jesus).
  • Love keeps us going in serving the LORD.
  • When we LOVE Jesus, we will PERSEVERE in the FAITH…

3) PLEASURE in PERSEVERING (Perseverance’s Rewards).

Genesis 29:20 (NIV) “So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.”

When you are truly in LOVE with Jesus, then no matter what happens; good or bad, plenty or want, you’ll LONG to SERVE HIM: Persevering won’t seem like a chore or a burden, it’s a pleasure.

  • When Jacob got Rachel: He said, “It seems like I’ve only served a few days” because of his love for her.
  • When you get to Heaven: You’ll be thinking it only seemed like a few days that I served Jesus. Because of your LOVE for Him.
  • Love for Rachel made long-days seem short.
  • Love for Rachel brought much pleasure to Jacob’s service. (The sweat of looking after sheep was a JOY)…
  • Love for Rachel sweetened the difficult times and made them delightful times.

 

Question: Why do so many followers of Jesus find serving Jesus a chore or a burden or a difficulty?

Why do so many Christians get resentful in their service?

  • They’re not looking at Jesus. Taken their eyes off HIM…
  • They’ve forgotten the Prize.
  • They’ve wandered away from their first LOVE…

 

LOVE ALWAYS PERSEVERES:

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV) (Don’t Loose Heart: Run With Perseverance: Fix Eyes on Jesus)…
1  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
2  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Philippians 3:14 (NIV) PRESS ONWARDS to WIN PRIZE…
14  I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV) RUN (Persevere) to GET YOUR PRIZE.
24  Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
25  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last for ever.
26  Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.
27  No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

If you are not in love with Jesus, you will not persevere: Not Run, Fix Eyes, Aim, Walk or Limp towards your Prize. You will loose heart and possibly fall away from the faith…

If you are in love with Jesus, you will persevere: Run, Walk, Keep Going, PERSEVERE.

 

How to get back in LOVE? {with your first-love}

  • LOVE as the Bible tells you: be patient, be kind, be forgiving, be gentle, don’t be proud, selfish, rude… etc (1 Cor 13). PRACTISING CHRISTIAN… Practice LOVE… Try it.
  • Repent: Of your lack of love for Jesus. Ask for His forgiveness. He’ll then MOTIVATE you to PERSEVERE once you are back IN LOVE with Him.

 

NOTE: RUNNING FOR THE PRIZE: (Not Down to Self-Effort)…

Personal Testimony: I’d failed, time and time again. Self-Effort wasn’t working. I got a bit depressed, felt a failure, felt God didn’t love me, couldn’t love me, wouldn’t love me. I had almost LOST HEART… Why? Because I was trying to be GOOD in my own strength, my own determination and perseverance and my will-power was failing fast… Who would rescue me? It’s Jesus my friends, I needed to trust in Jesus alone all over again. Submit to Him and confess and let Him do the changing of my heart…. Allow HIM IN: I needed to surrender all over again.

This PERSEVERANCE: Is NOT Self-Effort: It comes from being connected and in-love with Jesus. (OR RE-CONNECTED).

He gives you the DETERMINATION YOU NEED to Keep Persevering against the odds…

People will look at you and wonder: “How on earth does He / She do it?”… It’s NOT you, It’s Jesus in YOU… It’s the Holy Spirit who’s taken up residence and become your own personal President (Lord, Master, Boss, King)… He’ll be motivating you to obedience to what you know is right.

But many do not find that joy in serving. The reason is because they lack that deep heart love for Jesus.

If your love for Christ abounds, you will find much pleasure in serving Him even though the service may be difficult, long, hard, and trying.

LOVE ALWAYS PERSEVERES: Jacob loved Rachel (A Picture of How the Saint should love His / Her Jesus).

Conclusion:

1) Perseverance’s Prerequisite: LOVE for Jesus (Jacob loved Rachel)…
2) Prolonging of Perseverance: LOVE will make you SERVE for MANY YEARS…
3) Perseverance’s Reward: Those many years of service will seem like only a few days… Because, there is PLEASURE in persevering. {LOVE ALWAYS PERSEVERES}.

You’ll delight in Serving for Jesus, if you LOVE Him… No matter how successful or not… You’re going to keep going because of your LOVE for Him.

Amen!

Hymn:

Oh, How I LOVE Jesus,
Oh, How I love Jesus,
Oh, How I love Jesus,
Because He first loved me.

An Extra Hour In Bed

Service in Jesus Kingdom Family

Daily Spirit & Word: 801: AN EXTRA HOUR IN BED.

Jesus is Drawing Near To Jerusalem.

“Can YOU Drink the Cup that I Drink?”

It’s the most wonderful night of the year, an extra hour in bed, because the clocks go back an hour, but will you get a good night’s sleep? When that night comes don’t you just love having that EXTRA hour?

I’ve been thinking about that word, EXTRA:

“EXTRA, EXTRA, READ ALL ABOUT IT” That’s what Newspaper Sellers used to shout. As if we’d want that newspaper over and above the others because we’re getting something EXTRA.

But what does EXTRA mean?

EXTRA = More, than is needed, desired or required. More is added than should be measured. More than you’d normally get.

When we hear the word EXTRA, we think MORE often we think “More for FREE“…

In shops you’ll see on a packet of Cornflakes “An EXTRA 10% Free”.

“WOWzer! That’s awesome, an extra 10% for FREE, give me two packets”. 🙂

EXTRA LIFE: For some people, their whole life is consumed with looking for the EXTRA: As if what they’ve been getting is not enough. You know those types of people who hoard stuff, save coupons and get all the bargains with EXTRA to boot?

  • People want EXTRA: Money in the pay-packets: i.e. a surprise bonus from the boss (Extra Pay).
  • People want EXTRA: TIME… When the School closes down because of Snow and the kids get an EXTRA day off: Joy. EXTRA time off work. EXTRA time in bed 🙂
  • People want EXTRA: ??????? What EXTRA do you like to get?

Extra:

  • Savings on fuel,
  • Returns on Tax,
  • Bigger percentage OFF: Not just 30% but an extra 10% off the normal asking price.
  • More time on this earth before we need to go into the next life.

NEGATIVE: However, there are Negative Connotations too: EXTRA as in “A minor actor in a crowd scene”… “A subservient part in a play”. An extra on a football team is called a Substitute or Standby.

Today, we’re going to see this in both contexts in our reading of God’s Word from Mark’s Gospel as we continue through chapter by chapter: EXTRA as in more… and EXTRA as in a minor part to play.

Mark 10:32-45 (NIV)
32  They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him.
33  “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles,
34  who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.”

35  Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”
36  “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
37  They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
38  “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptised with the baptism I am baptised with?”
39  “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptised with the baptism I am baptised with, 40  but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”
41  When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John.
42  Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.
43  Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,
44  and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.
45  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

  • First Jesus Prediction of His Death:

Jesus KNEW what was going to happen to Himself. Mark 10:33-34.

33  “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, 34  who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.”

JESUS DIDN’T SHRINK BACK FROM HIS DESTINY. Mark 10:32-34.

Jesus knew what was about to happen, but did He shrink back? Did He try to avoid it? Did He try and change the outcome?

No He did not, notice in our reading, “He’s LEADING THE WAY to Jerusalem” He’s AHEAD of the whole crowd of followers.

It’s like Jesus just can’t wait to get it over with. Jesus wants to complete His mission on the earth. He came to die.

He’s revealed so far in Mark’s Gospel: three times, why He came down from Heaven:

  • He came to PREACH the Gospel of the Kingdom: Mark 1:38.
  • He came to CALL sinners to repentance: Mark 2:17.
  • He came to DIE a cruel death; betrayal, condemnation, mocked, spat-upon, flogged, killed. Mark 10:33-34.

Jesus Christ knew all of that, and set his heart on fulfilling that mission and completing it in Jerusalem.

“He set his face like flint”

Luke 9:51 (KJV)
51  And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,

Oh yes my friends, Jesus knew and was fully resolved to get His mission done.

2) Second: James and John’s Request.

What would you want to do if Jesus had just revealed to you he’s about to be; BETRAYED, CONDEMNED, MOCKED, SPAT-ON, BEATEN, FLOGGED AND KILLED? I hope that I’d be a bit more sympathetic than James and John, that I’d not be thinking about myself, my desires, my wishes. I hope I’d be thinking about what my Master had just told me would happen to him. Surely normal human compassion, sympathy and empathy would kick in and you’d CARE? Right? Well, that wasn’t the case with James and John.

NO, that’s not what happened: Listen to James and John’s request.

“Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”

They are NOT thinking about Jesus, about what He’s going to suffer, but about themselves. They are ALL WRAPPED-UP IN SELF.

Imagine that, how insensitive can anyone possibly dare to be?

How would you feel if you’d just related to your best friends or family how you are suffering and they change the subject back onto themselves? I’m sure you be Hurt, right?

You know, some people are following Jesus in that exact same way as James and John today:

They’re following Jesus only because of what they can get out of Him.

  • People want to be blessed,
  • People want to be healed,
  • People want to be happy, successful, rich, powerful, anointed, have a long life and EXTRA years on this earth, and eternal life as well. (It’s like getting a Cornflake Packet that will never run out).

So they start following Jesus for what they think He’ll give them or what they can get EXTRA (Over and above the normal) out of Him. They are not that bothered about what Jesus really wants them to be doing with the rest of their lives. He had a mission Himself, but He’s also got a mission for each and every one of us as well. But sometimes we can’t hear Him because we’re all wrapped up in self, just like James and John. We’re not satisfied with our lot, so we ask Jesus for more.

Today, we’re going to see that Jesus turns ALL of these NOTIONS of EXTRA on their heads.

Jesus asks them a question: Mark 10:36. “What do you want me to do for you?”

It’s like this my friends, “I’ve just told you I’m going to die, but OK what is it that you want?”

They have the EXTREME AUDACITY: To ASK for EXTRA… (Over and above what the other Disciples are getting).

It’s a bit like Oliver, in Oliver Twist, “Please Sir, can I have some more?”

Listen to what they are after my friends, and listen carefully;

Mark 10:37.  They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”

They want the POSITIONS of HONOUR & GLORY: 

They’re still thinking that Jesus is going up to Jerusalem to be crowned KING: When that happens, they want the right and left hand positions when Jesus is on His throne. They’re after; Honour, Glory, Power, Rule, Dominion. To be ABOVE other people: They want to be like KINGS themselves. They didn’t realise yet that before every CROWN of Glory, there’s SUFFERING, SWEAT and TEARS.

SORRY For James and John: I don’t know about you, but I feel a bit sorry for James and John (The Sons of Thunder). They were really THICK…(Thick skinned as well as Thick-headed). Thankfully they were transformed at PENTECOST and that thickness didn’t last too long, they went on to become two of the most beloved and devout Apostles of Jesus Christ. (Read James’ book and all of John’s writings, including Revelation). However, here, at this point in their journey towards glory, they’re really hurtful to Jesus and their fellow Disciples (Mark 10:41). No wonder the others got a bit annoyed with them.

3)Thridly, Jesus tells them about His BAPTISM and His CUP:

  • His Baptism: He’s talking about the CROSS and DEATH. Luke 12:50 and Psalm 69.
  • His CUP: Refers to His submission to His Father’s will: Mark 14:36 and John 18:11.

Jesus is determined to go through with it.

He’s asking if they are willing to go through with it too.

They said they would, but they didn’t fully understand what Jesus was talking about. So Jesus knowing their minds are upon earthly things, explains what Kingdom Service under God’s Authority is going to be like.

4) TRUE KINGDOM LEADERSHIP:

So Jesus goes onto explain; TRUE KINGDOM LEADERSHIP: He contrasts it with worldly leadership: Mark 10:42 (LORD it OVER)…

If you want to be great in God’s Kingdom, you are not going to LORD IT OVER people, instead you’ve got to learn to be; THE SERVANT OF ALL.

I’ll say that again, “If you want to be GREAT IN GOD’S KINGDOM, then you must learn to be; THE SERVANT OF ALL”. Mark 10:43.

Do you Remember that Children’s Gospel Song?

Jesus goes on to tell them why?

Mark 10:45  “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Jesus gave His LIFE: As a RANSOM:

  • A Ransom: Is the the PAYMENT required to set a slave FREE.
  • A Ransom: It’s like what you have to PAY a Kidnapper to set their CAPTIVES free.

Jesus death brings freedom in so many different ways;

  • Freedom from Judgement.
  • Freedom from Sin,
  • Freedom from Satan,
  • Freedom from Fear of Man,
  • Freedom from Fear of Death,

That’s why Jesus could say, “Know the Truth and the TRUTH will set you FREE”

He also said, “I am the WAY, I am the TRUTH and I am the LIFE.” John 14.

And that is why Jesus came to DIE, that’s why He set his face like flint, to complete His mission in Jerusalem. He died to set us free so that we too could complete the Mission to which He’s called each and every one of us; to be SERVANTS of God and others.

Conclusion:

We can forgive James and John, because they didn’t realise that before you can wear the Crown of Glory, you’ve got to Suffer the Cross of service of suffering of sweat and of shame and pain.

Service in God’s Kingdom: Means; Sweating, Self-Sacrifice (Time, Effort, Money,), Sympathy, Empathy (walk in people’s shoes, feel what people feel), Not like James and John who were so wrapped up in themselves they didn’t even take in what Jesus was about to suffer.

Listen to people, listen to their hurts and do whatever you can to life them out of the slippery-pit of despair they’ve fallen into.

Service in God’s Kingdom is NOT an EASY ROAD to GLORY, it’s crowned with the thorns of service along the way.

CAN YOU BEAR TO BE LIKE ‘An Extra’ IN GOD’S KINGDOM SERVICE?

My friends, when we come to Jesus, we really do get EXTRA: More and above what we can ever expect or deserve or imagine.

But, it’s NOT an EXTRA Hour in BED.

However, we don’t FOLLOW Jesus for what we can get out of Him do we? We’re not like that at all, are we? We all want to serve Jesus as SERVANTS don’t we? We’re not like James and John, are we?

No, once we truly come to Jesus, in repentance and faith, we’ll want to serve God the Father, just like He did.

Like the Apostles James and John eventually did:

  • James was the first Apostle to be a Martyr and
  • John was put into exile on a Roman Prison Colony on the Island of Patmos. (They did get their own Baptism and their own Cup).

We do want to be GREAT in God’s Kingdom. Of course we do. But to get there we must learn to be; “THE SERVANT OF ALL”…

Before we can wear the CROWN of Glory, we must Endure the Cross of Service: Then we’ll win a Crown and gladly cast it at Jesus feet in His Glory in Heaven.

How is Jesus calling you today? In what ways can you learn to be SERVANT in God’s Kingdom: At home, at work, in your neighbourhood? Is there anything the Boss at work has been asking you to do, that you’ve done begrudgingly? Get Jesus attitude at work as well as in the home and in church, be the SERVANT Jesus wants you to be in the SMALL THINGS and He’ll give you even greater things to do as well.

Is God calling you to EXTRA: Service? (Above and Beyond).

Does He want you to do MORE: in His Kingdom?

I’m sure you’ll be learning: God’s Spirit will be leading, calling, guiding and prompting and equipping you into DEEPER SERVICE in God’s Kingdom.

Have a blessed week with Jesus: Don’t MISS OUT on the EXTRA He’s got in store for you.

Stay close to Him, be filled with Holy Spirit, be blessed,

Don.

BTW (By The Way): On Sunday I thought the clocks had gone back one hour, that’s next week  🙂 What an booby I am 🙂 We all make mistakes right? I thought I’d had an extra hour in bed, and I felt fantastic… You know there are thousands of people in this world today who call themselves Atheists, well, could they too be mistaken? Watch Atheism the movie NOW

The Difference Between Commitment and Surrender

Surrender to Jesus, don't just make a commitment.

Daily Spirit & Word: 799: Real Surrender: End The Cold WAR.

The Difference Between Commitment and Surrender.

How to WIN when you are feeling like there’s a Cold War between you and God.

The Cold War has started again. Just like the 1960s and 70s, the Russians are back to their old Cold War tricks, sending their Navy into UK waters. That’s what it was like when I served in Submarines. We played like Hunt for Red October, but it was a deadly game. Let’s commit to praying for this situation that it might not escalate into full-scale aggression.

However, my friends, today the LORD has reminded me that Christians are in a constant HOT WAR BATTLE with the powers of darkness and the evil forces in the Heavenly realms. It’s like the Christian is in a constant state of being battle ready. We’re also in a battle against our old nature, the flesh life, it wants to jump back onto the throne of every Christian’s life a take back complete control and make you its slave.

So many wonderful and sincere people in this world today have been duped into thinking they are Christians, that they are right with God and their place in Heaven is secure, but what they don’t realise is there’s a vast difference between making a ‘Commitment’ to following Jesus Christ and Surrendering your life to Christ.

REAL SURRENDER: How to win in the battle of the flesh.

I was re-reading an old book by Adrian Rogers (The awesome Baptist preacher and pastor). The book is called “The Incredible Power Of Kingdom Authority”. In the second chapter he recounts a meeting he had with a Romanian Pastor.

God does not give Kingdom Authority and all its potential to rebels.

In fact, most of us have about all the authority with which God can trust us.

When we teach our teenagers to drive, where do we begin? The accelerator? The steering wheel? No, always with the brake! If you can’t get your teen interested in the brake, then you aren’t interested in showing him the accelerator. In the same way, you will never really know the release of the Spirit until you yield to the restraint of the Spirit. We must first master our spiritual brakes. We must learn that strength comes from surrendering.

I had the privilege to preach in Romania shortly after God brought spiritual revival to this nation that had been liberated from a cruel Communist government. One of the leaders in that revival was a man named Josef T’son. Part of what made this man a mighty servant of the Lord was his exercise of Kingdom Authority in his life. Suffering at the hands of the Communists with brutal beatings, imprisonments, and death threats, he learned the victory that comes so sweetly in surrendering to the Saviour.

As Josef and I rode along in his car, I said, “Josef, tell me about American Christianity.”

He said, “Adrian, I had rather not.”

I said, “No, I want to know.”

He then said, “Well, Adrian, since you have asked me, I’ll tell you. The key word in American Christianity is commitment.”

I said, “That is good, isn’t it, Josef?”

He replied, “No, it is not. As a matter of fact, the word commitment did not come into great usage in the English language until about the 1960s. In Romania we do not even have a word to translate the English word commitment. If you were to use commitment in your message tonight, I would not have a proper word to translate it with.”

Josef continued, “When a new word comes into usage, it generally pushes an old word out. I began to study and found the old word that commitment replaced. Adrian, the old word that is no longer in vogue in America is the word surrender.”

“Josef,” I asked, “What is the difference between commitment and surrender?”

He said, “When you make a commitment, you are still in control, no matter how noble the thing you commit to. One can commit to pray, to study the Bible, to give his money, or to commit to automobile payments, or to lose weight. Whatever he chooses to do, he commits to. But surrender is different. If someone holds a gun and asks you to lift your hands in the air as a token of surrender, you don’t tell that person what you are committed to. You simply surrender and do as you are told.”

He said, “Americans love commitment because they are still in control. But the key word is surrender. We are to be the slaves of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

I had to say “Amen” in my heart. Never were more profound words spoken. And never a greater challenge given than those words to me that day. Of course, there are many things we may be committed to in a godly and wholesome way, but nothing can take the place of absolute surrender.

I did some more reflecting on this. In Titus 1:1, Paul says that he is a doulos of Jesus Christ. This word refers to a slave. It speaks of one who is in a permanent relationship of servitude to one whose will is swallowed up in the will of another. Specifically, it signified one who was born a bond slave in contrast to an andrapodon—one who was captured or sold into slavery.

In the New Testament, the word doulos is often translated by the word servant, which sounds a little softer. The New Testament uses this word to show the sinner’s relationship to sin. Jesus said, “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin” (John 8:34). After the bondage to sin has ended, however, doulos is then used to describe the believer’s new relationship to God. Believers are not merely servants; they are devoted slaves of Jesus Christ.

The Incredible Power of Kingdom Authority: Getting an Upper Hand on the Underworld. Adrian Rogers.

SURRENDER not COMMITMENT.

It’s amazing how just one word can get you thinking. I had to reflect on my own ministry and the times I’ve used that word, calling on people to make a “Commitment” to Jesus instead of asking them to “Surrender” to the the LORD.

When we make a commitment, we’re withholding, we’re retaining control, we’re not letting Christ have complete Authority in our lives. I had to examine my own life too, I’ve made so many commitments over the years, but I have to be honest, the only times I’ve experienced that wonderful fullness of Holy Spirit is when I’ve surrendered to His leading, guiding, equipping.

Every time an opportunity to sin comes before me, I have to make a choice. If I SURRENDER to my flesh; I’ll be a SLAVE to my flesh again. However, if I surrender to the Holy Spirit, I’m a slave to RIGHTEOUSNESS (Living in surrender to the LORDSHIP of Jesus Christ).

Adrian goes onto recount the Biblical story of Surrender and Authority: The Centurion that made Jesus marvel because of his understanding of submission and authority in Luke 7:1-10. That’s Kingdom Authority and Kingdom Submission. The Centurion knew he was under authority, so when he gave an order of issued a command, he knew his men would obey him. He knew (Believed) that Jesus was operating under the authority of the Lord God Almighty and that’s why when Jesus gave an order or issued a command, things had to happen.

But I want to go back to Romans 6 where God reveals in His Word: That what we surrender ourselves to, we become slaves of that thing.

“Yield NOT to Temptation: For Yielding is SIN.” A wonderful Gospel song by Al Green. (See bottom of page).

We don’t use the word YIELD much these days, but it means the same as SURRENDER.

  • When you give into temptation you are surrendering all your rights as a child of God.
  • When you give into and surrender and yield to temptation, you become a SLAVE of whatever SIN you are surrendering to.

Let’s see if that is TRUE:

Are we SLAVES of what we SURRENDER, YIELD or SUBMIT to?

Romans 6:5-23 (NIV)
5  If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.
6  For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7  because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
8  Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
9  For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.
10  The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11  In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12  Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.
13  Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.
14  For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
15  What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!
16  Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
17  But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.
18  You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
19  I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.
20  When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.
21  What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!
22  But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.
23  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

When we YIELD or SURRENDER to Temptation, we SIN.

In surrendering we become a SLAVE of what we’ve given into.

Note in verse 19 “…ever increasing wickedness…” The more we give into sin, the more wicked the sins we commit become. i.e. if we steal a sweet from a big superstore, the next time we might steal a whole packet of sweets, the next time …. EVER INCREASING WICKEDNESS.

However, there is HOPE:

When you realise what’s been happening, how you’ve lost your JOY, PEACE and the PRESENCE of the SAVIOUR and SELF-CONTROL, then you know that you’ve taken a WRONG ROAD. Somewhere along the pathway of your life you’ve made a wrong choice. In doing so you’ve surrendered control of your life by yielding to temptation. To get back control, self-control, you need to once again come under the Authority, the absolute authority and surrender yourself to Jesus Christ again (if indeed you’ve already surrendered to Him, for many are false converts these days).

For one who is already a Christian: That means honest Confession, going through with God how you’ve been using the parts of your body in sin. Repentance (turning from those sins towards Jesus and letting them go), and re-submitting to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Master. Once you do you’ll soon see the Divine Power of Heaven comes flooding afresh into your life once again. You’ll notice an supernatural ability to be self-controlled and to rule and reign with Christ over your desires.

If you are not a Christian yet, it’s not about making a Decision or a Commitment to Jesus, to being religious or to strict rules and regulations. However it is all about SURRENDERING TO HIM AS LORD. Making Jesus the KING of your whole life.

It really does mean you are ready to have Jesus Christ come into your life, to take control, to rule and reign as your KING. That’s what a King does, He comes to reign and rule in a Kingdom.

So my friends, don’t make a commitment, be surrendered to Jesus Christ.

This is how we can know if we’ve really come into Jesus Kingdom:

John 14:21 (NIV) “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”

Have you experienced Christ’s self-revelation? He will come to those who have submitted themselves to Him as KING. We’ll know we’re submitted when we’re living in obedience to Christ’s commands, because we’ll know that we love Him.

Remember Paul was a willing dulos (Slave) of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in becoming a slave, living in surrender and submission to Jesus, he experienced true freedom.

A PRAYER Of Complete Surrender to Jesus Christ. 

I thank you today Lord Jesus Christ, that when you died for my sins, you died for all of them. I’m coming to you today Lord Jesus and I want to surrender my life completely to You. All the parts of my being; my head (thought life), my hands (doing life), my feet (going life), my stomach (feeding life), my desires, (inward inclinations of my heart)… O LORD, I realise that I’ve been away from You. I’ve taken back the throne of my life and I’ve let myself be fooled into thinking I was back in control, but in reality, I’ve lost control and become a SLAVE to ever increasing wickedness. I come to You Lord Jesus to surrender and I know that You will set me free, so that I can live in freedom and regain Holy Spirit self-control. Come Lord Jesus and be my King take your rightful place on the throne of my life and be my King, because today, I’m surrendering to You LORD. Amen!

You can use your own words, be specific about how you’ve sinned against the Lord, how you’ve become a slave again, let it all come out into the open before the Lord, but don’t wait around to make HIM your KING today. Amen!

Have an awesome weekend,

Don.

“Yield NOT to Temptation: For Yielding is SIN.” A wonderful Gospel song by Al Green.

Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin;
Each vict’ry will help you some other to win;
Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue;
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.

– Refrain:
Ask the Savior to help you,
Comfort, strengthen, and keep you;
He is willing to aid you,
He will carry you through.

– Shun evil companions, bad language disdain,
God’s name hold in rev’rence, nor take it in vain;
Be thoughtful and earnest, kindhearted and true;
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.

– To him that o’ercometh, God giveth a crown,
Through faith we will conquer, though often cast down;
He who is our Savior, our strength will renew;
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.

 

Only God Can SAVE You From The Judgement to come.

Good works or following religious rules and regulations can't save us from our sins. We can only be saved by God alone.

Daily Spirit & Word: 796: Being Saved Is Possible, but ONLY by God’s Grace and Mercy.

Only God Can SAVE You.

From the Judgement to Come.

Being SAVED Is Possible, But Only By God.

Can A Camel Go Through The Eye of a Needle?

Good morning my friends, today we’re back with the Gospel of Mark. In our gatherings in church, we’ve been going through Mark for almost a year now. The Journey has been amazing. We’re discovering what an amazing LORD Jesus really is, and how inspired Mark (the author) must have been by Holy Spirit. I don’t think it’s possible that a man could put this work together, without the help of God. For we’ve been experiencing progressive revelation and this portion of God’s Word has built for us a wonderful picture of Jesus nature and character, but in doing so He’s also opened up what true Discipleship is like, from each and every story, parable and incident He recorded.

What we’ve observed:

  • Jesus is more Godlike that we at first would imagine.
  • The Disciples are more human and unable to save themselves from the consequences of sin.
  • Jesus (God) needs less human and earthly resources to sustain His life.
  • The Disciples, followers of Jesus, need more and more Divine intervention and revelation.

What I’ve discovered afresh, as if I didn’t know, is that we all need to stay very close to Jesus, every day, just to keep going as His followers. Yes we have advantages over His own disciples; we have the Holy Spirit’s indwelling, the Word of God in full; so we know how to serve and we have Jesus’ promises to be with us always for the journey. However, we must be willing to maintain that connection with God.

Today we’re back with Mark 10:23-31. Being SAVED Is Possible, But Only By An Act Of God.

  • Can a Camel Go Through The Eye of a Needle?
  • Can a Man Be SAVED by Good Works?

 

Mark 10:23-31 (NIV)
23  Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
24  The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
25  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
26  The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27  Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
28  Peter said to him, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29  “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no-one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel
30  will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.
31  But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Last week Robert preached, whilst I was away in Plymouth, about the Rich Young Ruler and how he thought he’d fulfilled and lived according to the requirements of the Old Testament Law (Summarised in the Ten Commandments)… When he said to Jesus, “All these I have kept since I was a boy” Jesus didn’t react by saying what He knew, “No, my friend you have not lived according to God’s Commandments”… Instead, Jesus looked at him and, as the Bible tells us, “He loved him”…

 

I wonder if Jesus look of love was one of pity; because the Rich Young Man was BLIND (He couldn’t see his Spiritual need and didn’t understand how much he was in need of God’s forgiveness). I do not think that WEALTH was his only problem. In fact I’ll go as far a declaring I KNOW it wasn’t. Because, when we look at the Ten Commandments properly and honestly we’ll soon see we’ve all FALLEN SHORT of every single one of them: None of us can say in front of God: “I’ve kept all of these since I was a child”…

 

However, Jesus did focus upon his WEALTH.

Jesus knows what a TRAP WEALTH IS for most people in this world.

It was back then and it is today.

That’s why He said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God”.

 

The Disciples Knew It Too: “If A Camel CAN’T, Then We CAN’T either”

They knew that EVERYONE wanted to be RICH: Like the Rich Young Ruler…

 

Today, many people, all over the world, are clamouring for WEALTH, Health and Happiness:

People are risking life and limb in the Mediterranean Sea to get to Europe, the Land of PROMISE.

They know, people in the West are Prosperous, Wealthy and Healthy: So, willing to risking everything in flimsy boats, that’s what they want for themselves. They launch themselves into the Mediterranean Ocean from all over Africa in their thousands ever month. Many of those boats are without even an engine, cram-packed with people; men, women and babies. How foolish to go to sea like that, without an engine in a flimsy rubber boat. That’s how desperate people in this world are for Wealth, Health and Happiness.

 

When they arrive, they head for the most prosperous, populous areas; Germany and the UK.

 

Oh my friends, if only they could see; Health, Wealth and Happiness can’t SAVE you; Only Jesus Christ can give you lasting peace and happiness upon this earth and the life to come.

 

THE IMPOSSIBILITY:

The Disciples KNEW it’s IMPOSSIBLE then, for ANYONE to enter the Kingdom of God.

So they asked that pertinent question; “Who Then Can Be SAVED?”

 

JESUS ANSWER: It’s Impossible for man to save himself: Therefore ONLY God can save.

The Disciples asked in Mark 10:26 and Jesus answered in Mark 10:27.
26  The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27  Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
It’s IMPOSSIBLE: For anyone to SAVE themselves by human effort, by your own goodness or by your own righteousness.

The Rich Young Man: Good in his own eyes; couldn’t.

The Rest of Humanity: Good in their own eyes; can’t either.

However, Jesus revealed the IMPOSSIBILITY:

A Camel can’t ever FIT through the eye of a needle.

A Human being can’t ever FIT in the Kingdom of God.

 

NOTICE: The DISCIPLES: Were EVEN MORE AMAZED… i.e. They were amazed the Rich Young Man couldn’t be SAVED. Now they were EVEN MORE AMAZED, because they knew “NO ONE” could be saved. Unless God did something.

 

That “MORE AMAZED”: Reveals to me something about the Disciples.

Perhaps they we secretly thinking they were good enough themselves. After all they’d been with Jesus (they’d left EVERYTHING to follow Him).

Perhaps they’re just beginning to get Jesus message, that EVERYONE needs God’s intervention; if they ever hope to enter the Kingdom of God.

“Not with God, ALL THINGS are POSSIBLE with God”.

 

It’s POSSIBLE: But ONLY with God.

A Camel Can’t go through the eye of a needle (Impossible).

A Man Can’t enter the Kingdom of God (Impossible).

 

Unless, God does something. (Mark has been revealing that Jesus is God, because only God can do the things Jesus did).

  • Only God could make a Camel fit through the eye of a needle.
  • Only God could turn water into wine.
  • Only God could walk on water.
  • Only God could calm a storm with a word.
  • Only God could command Demons.
  • Only God could open the eyes of a man born blind.
  • Only God could bring a dead girl back to life.
  • Only God could make you FIT Enough to enter into Heaven.

ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD.

ONLY GOD CAN SAVE YOU; YOU CAN’T SAVE YOURSELF.

Peter Reveals: (Why he was even more amazed) “We’ve left everything to follow You”… i.e. surely we’ll be saved by our human effort… “Look at the sacrifice we’ve made Jesus”… “Surely you can see how serious we are in following you”… My friends, no matter how hard you try, you’ll NEVER be good enough for Heaven. No matter what EFFORT you put into it yourself. You’ve got to STOP trying to SAVE yourself and let Jesus SAVE you. Why? Because no amount of effort to be good will wash away your sins that contaminate your soul.

Jesus answer, “No, Peter, because by leaving everything, you’ve gained much more”..

Mark 10:28-30.
28  Peter said to him, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29  “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no-one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30  will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.

If we let go of EVERYTHING: Then it’s possible to be SAVED: But only by God.

The great temptation is that most people think they can do enough good works to earn a place in Heaven. That’s why the Disciples asked Jesus that question, “Who then can be saved?”. Deep down inside all of us, is this desire to work for or earn Salvation for ourselves. It’s hard to let go and let God do the saving, but that’s exactly what we’ve got to do or we CAN’T be SAVED.

  • Let go of Human Effort to be GOOD enough for Heaven.
  • Let Jesus come into your life and take away all your SINS.
  • Then His blood will cleanse you and make you FIT for Heaven.
  • It’s impossible with MEN: But it’s POSSIBLE with God.

How is it POSSIBLE?

Next Week: We’re going to be looking at “Why Jesus Came To Die?” Mark 10.

He came into this world to SAVE SINNERS.

Everyone has sinned, The Disciples knew, so they asked “Who then can be saved?”

My friends, you don’t want to wait until next week:

God’s Word tells us, “Today is the DAY of SALVATION”.

i.e. Get right with God today.

A) Confess your sins to God: How, like the Rich Young Ruler, you’ve not kept the Ten Commandments. You’ve lied, you’ve stolen, you’ve not put God first in all things, all the time. You’ve dishonoured you mum and dad. You’ve lusted and been unfaithful sometimes. You’ve coveted what your neighbour has. We’ve all done it. Everyone has broken God’s Commandments: Confess how you’ve done it to God.

B) Believe Jesus died on the Cross for all your sins:

His death was in your place. He died so that you can receive Heaven, once you Repent, Believe and Receive Him as Lord and Saviour.

C) Repent: Turn away from living a life of sin a rebellion and turn around and come to Jesus Christ to be cleansed and forgiven and renewed by Holy Spirit.

D) Receive: Receive Jesus Christ by an act of faith.

Just like you would board a plane to go on holiday. You trust the Captain knows how to get you to your destination. You RECEIVE Jesus as your Captain, He’ll take you all the way to Heaven.

More than that; you’ll receive the Holy Spirit Birth. New Life and Abundant LIFE right now.

E) Live: Become a Disciple of Jesus and live according to His teaching in fellowship with other followers. (Your Christian brothers and sisters in God’s family).

In order to do that, to live this Christian life, you’ll need: To gather regularly in worship, fellowship and receive Discipleship training from God’s Word. You’ll need to sort out your TIME and make time for daily prayer to connect with Jesus every day. You’ll need TIME: to Study and begin to practice God’s Word; daily.

You’ll get God’s HEART for others, that they might know Him too. You’ll be overflowing with a burning desire to lead others to Jesus Christ.

All of these things are indicators that you’ve really and truly been SAVED by Jesus.

You’ll also notice the Fruit of the Holy Spirit begining to ripen in your life: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control.

NOTE: Passages by Way of Illustrating of these points in today’s message.

Titus 3:4-7 (NIV)
4  But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, 5  he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6  whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, 7  so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

Titus 3 shows us;

  • We can’t be saved by ‘the good things we have done’… i.e. no amount of human effort will suffice.
  • That God in His mercy saves us by REGENERATION (RENEWAL) NEW LIFE, NEW BIRTH by The Holy Spirit.
  • We are JUSTIFIED (Made right with God: Justified = Just as if I’d never sinned). How? By God’s Grace and Kindness.
  • What happens? We become heirs (inheritors) of Eternal Life (Through this faith and trust in Jesus, we can enter into the Kingdom of Heaven).

Romans 5:6-8 (NIV) We’re POWERLESS: i.e. we don’t possess the strength or ability to SAVE ourselves.
6  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
7  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.
8  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Jesus died on the Cross for us, so that we can be forgiven, cleansed, set free from sin’s power, so that we can be made fit for God’s Kingdom of Heaven.

Ephesians 2:1-5 (NIV) Before We Put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, we are DEAD in our Transgressions and Sins.
1  As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,
2  in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air (Satan), the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient (Those who break God’s Commandments; all people).
3  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.
4  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

Conclusion:

We’ve seen today that the Disciples discovered the impossibility of anyone being able to SAVE themselves by human effort to get into God’s Kingdom of Heaven.

We can’t SAVE ourselves, it’s impossible for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle. It’s impossible for a human being to be cleansed from sin by doing good or being religious or following the Ten Commandments.

So, it is only through God’s kindness, mercy and Grace that anyone can ever be SAVED from God’s wrath and anger against sin.

If we were to die without coming to Jesus Christ, then we would carry our sins to the Judgement. If we come to Jesus, we’ll be set free from sin, forgiven and cleansed. We’ll be born of the Spirit and receive NEW LIFE in Christ Jesus. When God sees us coming, He’ll throw open the gates of Heaven and welcome us in. Why? Not because of the good we’ve done, but because of His Son; Lord Jesus, who washed our sins away.

My friends, God has demonstrated just how much He loves everyone by sending Jesus to die for us. He doesn’t want anyone to end up in Hell or be judged because of their sins. He’s giving us all this moment in time to reflect, to repent, to return to Him. Do it right now! Don’t waste another moment of time. Get right with God today: Confess, Repent, Believe, Receive and Live. Amen!

Let us PRAY:

Have and awesome week with the LORD.

Trust Him every day and come close to Him in praise, worship, adoration. Then go out and share the Good News so that many more can come to Know HIM.

He’s alive! He wants to give your family, friends, workmates, school friends, college comrades and neighbours that NEW LIFE too.

Be blessed,

Don.

 

Hello From The Other Side

when men call evil good

Daily Spirit & Word: 794: Hello From The Other Side.

How to Weary God: He’s getting ready to meet you on the other side of life.

“Hello From The Other Side”

Good morning my friends, it’s so easy to get the LORD upset. Just use these two methods and you’ll see.

Have you heard Adele’s song, “Hello from the other side”? Well today’s message is like God saying, “Hello from the other side, I’m waiting for you”.

Malachi 2:17 (NIV) You have wearied the LORD with your words. “How have we wearied him?” you ask. By saying, “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the LORD, and he is pleased with them” or “Where is the God of justice?”

 

I don’t know if you get weary of some things?

Once there was a man in the crew on my submarine that would talk the hind legs of a donkey. He’d done everything, seen everything and been everywhere. There wasn’t a single subject he didn’t know everything about. If you’d done something, he done it better, faster, longer etc… When you saw him approaching, you had to quickly think of something to say, before he began to tell you one of his stories. Yes my friends, Boris could bore you senseless. But the LORD loved him 🙂

 

Is it possible to get God weary and worn out with our words?

We’ve all met people like Boris, but imagine what it must be like for God?

We get tired of the way some people incessantly talk. You know the type, when you can’t get a word in edge-ways, because they don’t even breath between sentences and never finish. or when they do they move onto another subject without giving you a chance to interject in the first ten subjects. Sometimes I don’t know if I should laugh or cry.

 

Well our verse from God’s Word reveals two kinds of talking which wearies the LORD God Almighty: They are depraved talk and blasphemous talk.

FIRST, DEPRAVED TALKING:

(Deviating from what is considered to be; moral, right, good, proper and true).

God answers through Malachi when people ask, “How have we wearied the LORD?”

God is answering that question for us today: first we WEARY THE LORD with our constantly saying that “EVIL IS GOOD”.

Not only do people say evil is good, but they say that God takes pleasure in those who do evil things.

What is EVIL? 

Secular Dictionary Definitions:

1) Morally objectionable behaviour.
2) That which causes harm, destruction or misfortune. (Violence in action or words, bullying, defrauding, scheming, crafty, murder, hatred,
3) The quality of being morally wrong in principle or practice. (Stealing, lying, cheating, being unfaithful, lustful).
4) Having the nature of vice. (Drug dealers, pushers, prostitution, human-trafficking).
5) Having or exerting a malignant and malevolent influence. (e.g. “a gossipy malevolent old woman” or “failure or rejection made him malevolent toward those who were successful”)

It’s not hard to find out what EVIL really means from God’s point of view either:

EVIL is not an outward thing, but it’s inward; harming and hurting others or self and ultimately rejecting God by our actions or words. No wonder God gets weary.

So, when men say that something is good, which God has clearly declared is morally wrong, then that is EVIL.

What things do we say are good, when our Conscience (God’s Holy Standards of moral goodness, which is written upon every human heart) is telling us it is morally wrong. i.e. we know we’re going against our own conscience.

1) Abortion: Killing a baby in the womb. It’s murder. Taking a viable human life.

2) Sex: Outside of marriage. The Bible calls this fornication. To have sexual intercourse with another person outside the bonds of marriage (either actual sex or imagined, lusted after). All forms of sex outside of God’s ordained bounds: Marriage between a man and a woman, is perverse  perverted and morally wrong. When out evangelising people give the excuse, “We’re all human” i.e. “We’re human so we can’t help ourselves, we’ve got an inward drive that makes us do it”… That’s just shifting the blame for our moral weakness and propensity to sin.

3) Stealing: Taking things that belong to someone else. Many people today don’t think twice of stealing music, films or other content from the internet. Cheating the Tax Man, Stealing time from the Boss of a big company.  We excuse ourselves by saying, “Everybody does it” or “Surely it can’t be wrong”… We know it’s stealing, taking something that doesn’t belong to us.

That’s just three, but we’re masters of inventing new ways of being evil, doing things we know that God has said is an abomination for Him. No wonder God gets weary with people. With our talk, saying evil things are good and God will like it.

Well that is the first half of the verse, what about the second thing that God gets weary about?

2) BLASPHEMY.

Now, this really get’s God annoyed.

Malachi 2:17 (NIV) You have wearied the LORD with your words. “How have we wearied him?” you ask. By saying, “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the LORD, and he is pleased with them” or “Where is the God of justice?”

“Where is the God of Justice?”

  • God can’t see.
  • God doesn’t care about justice.
  • God won’t hold us to account.
  • God doesn’t exist.
  • God’s not real.
  • God won’t judge.

What is all this? The Bible clearly reveals this is BLASPHEMY… Saying something about God that is not true.

Blasphemy is not just using God’s Name in a wrong way, like saying “OMG” or “Jesus H Christ”…

Evil doers will pay a heavy price one day. Everyone who does EVIL in the sight of almighty God will one day be held to account for it. God shows us very clearly in the Bible that He is concerned about Justice and will one day PAY BACK for the evil everyone does.

John 3:19-20 (NIV)
19  This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
20  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

“But, who does evil?” Answer: “EVERYONE”, we’ve all sinned and fallen short of God’s Holy Standards of Morality.

Romans 3:23 (NIV) “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

In some ways people are right in saying, “We can’t help it, we’re just human” because we are all born in slavery to sin, we will sin and fall short, but God sent Jesus Christ to set us all free from that bondage: even though we’re born with a tendency to sin, God will hold each person, personally accountable.

Romans 6:20-23 (NIV)
20  When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.
21  What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!
22  But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.
23  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

All liars will find their place in the lake of fire. (my friends, that’s serious, even telling a LIE can land you in Hell forever). How many lies do we need to tell before we’ll be judged? It’s like murder, just one lie make you a liar. No amount of good deeds we do afterwards will wash away that lie. It will stain our souls all the way to judgement day, unless it is washed away. There’s only ONE WAY to remove the stain of EVIL from our souls.

That ONE WAY: is through REPENTANCE (Turning away from all evil and sin in your life towards Jesus Christ). FAITH (Putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ: He died in your place on the cross, taking the punishment for all your sins. When you believe that Jesus did this for you and trust that He did indeed die for your sins, then you are ready to be set-free, saved and cleansed). RECEIVE (Receive Jesus Christ as your LORD and SAVIOUR: Tell Him you are trusting that He died for you, that you want to live a holy, good and pure life from now on. You are ready to TRUST Him as both LORD and SAVIOUR.

When you repent and put you faith in Jesus Christ like that, the Bible tells us we’ll receive some awesome gifts from Heaven: New LIFE, Holy Spirit, New desires to live like Jesus, New family of brothers and sisters who’ve also trusted Jesus, New Father in Heaven and Eternal life. Heaven is now your home and the things that once held special appeal to you will become nothing. Everything this world has to offer in comparison to knowing Jesus Christ as Lord pales into insignificance. He puts a JOY into your heart that nothing can take away.

So let’s stop trying to shift the blame onto circumstance, influence, tendency, nature or even Satan. Let’s call what we do, what it really is; SIN, EVIL, PERVERSE and MORALLY WRONG. (When we go against God, we’re wearing Him out with our excuses, we’re boring Him with our shifting the blame, He’s getting ready to meet you on the other side. Let’s stop calling evil good. Let’s stop calling sin good. Let’s get right in line with God’s thinking. The world will go it’s own way, but what about you? Will you decide today to go God’s way?

God’s calling out to you today;

He must have called a thousand times,

You never seem to be home,

at least God can say, “I tried”.

“Hello from the Other Side, I’m waiting for you.”

Be blessed and trust Jesus Christ today,

Don.

 

People say, “God’s Not Fair”

God is Good Always

Daily Spirit & Word: 785: “God’s Not Fair”

That’s what some people say, “God’s not just or fair”

Good morning my friends, you’ve probably all heard non-Christians and atheists say, “How can there be a God when there is so much evil, hatred and injustice in this world?” It’s like they are judging God and therefore reason that they don’t need to bother believing in him.

In our verse today, you’ll note that it was a constant complaint of the Israelites about their own God. “God is not fair”

Listen in to what God is saying in response to them:

Ezekiel 18:25-29 (NKJV)
25  “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair?
26  When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies.
27  Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive.
28  Because he considers and turns away from all the transgressions which he committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die.
29  Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair?

In the Hebrew in which the Old Testament was written, the actual word for “fair” used in these verses was “unequal” referring to the unequal scales. Scales were used to measure grain and they were balance scales, when they were balanced a trade was fair and sealed, it’s done because we can see the scales are balanced, but what they are accusing God of is using unbalanced or unequal scales.

However, the LORD turns their argument on it’s head and accuses / complains back to the Israelites:

“It’s YOU who are not fair” or “It’s YOU Israelites who are using unbalanced / unequal scales”.

Both God and Israel are complaining in our passage.

The People said, “The way of the Lord is not fair”…

God responds, “Your ways are not fair”…

Who’s right?

This verse is repeated three more times in Ezekiel. It is basically God answering Israel’s complaints and setting the record straight.

Complaint about God. “Yet you say, The way of the Lord is not fair.”

First, it accuses God of being unfair. So the people here are accusing God of being unfair to man, of being unfaithful, untruthful, unjust towards them.

Yet when we look at God’s answer: You’ll note it’s because of the wickedness the Israelites have committed they are suffering.

Do not blame God for all the evil in this world; it is not God’s fault.

Think about Syria, the bombing and destruction, and all those poor people suffering; but when they showed a Christian Minister on the News last night, his church was blown to bit, dust and rubble. Most of the Christians had either been killed or had fled Syria. He remained in the land, but he was not screaming at God or accusing God. All he talked about was PEACE. Christians, Jews and Muslims seemed to get along in Syria for many generations, but now, they are killing the Christians and the Jews, they’ve been driven from the land of Syria or they have been murdered and now the Muslims are bombing each other.

Who’s to blame? It’s NOT GOD!

Sometimes, we do the same things as the Israelites: We may not say it out loud, but we might say it in our attitude or in the ways we serve the Lord.

For example: We know God wants us to live a certain way. We pray and ask God for something. He doesn’t respond as quickly as we’d want Him to. So we drag our feet in our Christian service. We become slack in our worship, praise and adoration of God. Just because He’s not doing things the way we want Him to.

We want God to bless our ways, but He wants us to serve Him always.

Also we cry out to God to bestow financial blessings in our lives, while we are tight and stingy when the offering plate is passed in our gatherings.

One of the ways the LORD has decided to test us is in the way we GIVE: It’s also one of the ways that we can and are encouraged by God to TEST HIM…

My friends, if we are FAIR in the ways we serve the LORD, He will OPEN up Heaven into our lives.

It’s NOT God’s WAYS that are unfair, unjust or unbalanced, but our own.

God doesn’t hate us, He loves us so much, and wants to bless our lives, but; death, destruction, cheating and craftiness are man’s ways; so mankind reaps what he sows.

God Speaking: “Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair?”

Let’s determine in our heart today, to be the people God wants us to be.

  • He’s revealed in the Bible: “Love your neighbour as yourself”
  • He’s also revealed: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength”…
  • When God looks at your life today, will He see you being fair or unjust? Will He see you being; loving, kind, generous, faithful, gentle, good and self-controlled?

From yesterday’s teaching, we know that these things are the FRUIT of the Holy Spirit in our lives. If you are struggling in any of these areas, then God’s got some resourses He’s longing to pour into your life today: The fruit and gifts of the Holy Spirit.

I’m praying for all my friends today that God will richly bless you in every way.

I’m also praying you’ll be the joy filled servants of the LORD! That You’ll KNOW God is ALWAYS FAIR.

Psalm 145:17-19 (NIV)
17  The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving towards all he has made.
18  The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
19  He fulfils the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.

God is ONLY A PRAYER AWAY!

Amen!

Don.

Knowing God Better

The Valley of Dry Bones, Knowing God Better

Daily Spirit & Word: 784: Getting to Know God Better.

How to LIVE Forever, without being ‘RELIGIOUS’…

Ezekiel 37:13-14 (NIV)
13  Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them.
14  I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.’ “

Good morning my friends, over the years I’ve met many people who consider themselves to be Christians, but struggle to know God personally. These are lovely genuine and sincere people who’ve done everything, they think, that’s required to get to know God.

  • They’ve repented of their sins, but nothing seems to happen.
  • They’ve asked Jesus to come into their hearts, but nothing seems to have happened.
  • They’ve believed that Jesus has died upon the cross for their sins, but still nothing seems to have happened in their lives, they got no assurance that God is with them and that they are saved from their sins. So what’s missing?

It’s often a case of mistaken beliefs; or misbeliefs.

Some people think they’ve got to do something extra. So they try being even more religious: Praying more, reading their Bible more, attending lots-n-lots of worship. Then they’ll go running around trying all the latest ‘religious’ fads; fasting, all night prayers, revival meetings. They attend courses, and lectures and they’ll even try getting a degree in theology and all because they want to get to know God. They are hungering for the one thing that’s missing, they know something is missing and they know they need it.

My friends, if there was anything you could do to get to know God, then Jesus would not have had to die upon the Cross.

Assurance comes from God: He, Himself, Alone lets you know when you’ve become His child, when the Holy Spirit comes to take up residence in your life; i.e. You’ve been born again of God’s Holy Spirit. From the moment that happens, you won’t need anyone in this world to give you assurance that you are saved, that you are a child of God. You’ll not need to be religious any longer. You’ll be set free from the feeling of or need to be religious to be right with God.

In this little book of Ezekiel the Prophet of God tells us over 30 times: (in different ways) “My People Will KNOW that I AM The LORD” and How will they know it? Because as our verse tells us today: “I will PUT MY SPIRIT IN THEM” When God does that to a person, they KNOW HIM, they KNOW the LORD.

So often we settle for much less than God wants to give us, we stop short at being religious, when God wants us to be filled to overflowing with Himself in the person of the Holy Spirit. Once we understand that, then all of Jesus other teachings begin to make more sense. We’ll see that because of and with His indwelling power and help, all things become possible for those who believe and trust in and rely upon the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus, talking about the Holy Spirit, told the woman at the well about the FOUNTAIN within, welling up… LIVING WATER…  Awesome! John 4

So my friends, a word from the LORD today: It’s God who puts His Spirit in you. When He does, you will KNOW Him.

And when you worship, it will be IN SPIRIT and TRUTH… John 4.

How do I get God’s Holy Spirit?

Ask, Jesus tells us, “Ask and it shall be given unto you”… (Matthew 7:7, Luke 11:9)

Ask, Jesus tells us, “How much more with your Heavenly Father give the HOLY SPIRIT to those who ask HIM”… (Believe and Trust). (Luke 11:13).

If you’ve;

  • believed that Jesus died upon the Cross for your sins.
  • that He rose again from the dead,
  • that He ascended into Heaven,
  • that He commands all people to repent and believe that Good News,
  • that He wants you to receive Him as LORD of your life,
  • that you’ve turned from sin in repentance and trusted in His death upon the cross,
  • oh my friends, you are READY: Now ask, receive by faith the Holy Spirit that God the Father wants to give you.

Be assured, He will come: He will make Himself KNOWN in your life, you will KNOW God.

THE FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

When He comes, He’ll begin to produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit in your life;

  • LOVE (For God and others),
  • JOY (much more and deeper than simple happiness, it’s a deep and lasting JOY in the LORD),
  • PEACE (Fear begins to dwindle when you’ve got the Holy Spirit),
  • PATIENCE (You’ll experience a degree of tolerance with other people, with situations, with your own desires and wants, they’ll change and you’ll begin to want what God wants),
  • KINDNESS (You’ll find yourself wanting to be generous with your time, your money, your self),
  • GOODNESS (You’ll want to be morally good, all the old habitual sins will become distasteful for you. You’ll hate what you used to like),
  • FAITHFULNESS (You’ll love being faithful to your promises, and feel bad when you can’t keep them. You’ll be faithful to friends, family, church leaders and brothers and sisters in Christ),
  • GENTLENESS (You’ll discover and NEW gentleness and desire to show mercy to those who don’t even like you),
  • SELF-CONTROL (You’ll experience a NEW degree of POWER to say no to; anger, bitterness, rage, temptation, etc)

 

It’s God who does these things in you, it will be a Super-Natural-Spiritual FREEDOM….

It’s God who puts His Holy Spirit in you: He also gives wonderful amazing SPIRITUAL Gifts… Receive them!

My friends, who doens’t want the FRUIT of the HOLY SPIRIT?

Get to know God Better today, by receiving God, the HOLY SPIRIT by Asking Father God…

It’s not about being more religious, but calling out in FAITH, and believing the PROMISES of God.

Happy, Happy Day,

Don.

 

(NOTE: Go back and re-read Ezekiel chapters 28-39 and you’ll see just how much God wants His chosen people to know Him and how he’s going to do it through many different means, to bring them to the point and realisation; it’s through death to self and rising to new life in Christ Jesus in the POWER of the HOLY SPIRIT.)

 

Jesus Warns Of The Dangers Of Hell

The reality of Hell

Daily Spirit & Word: 783: Jesus Warns About The Dangers Of Hell.

Some people ask, “How can a loving God send people to Hell?”

Some people say, “It seems like the Bible is contradicting itself. If God is a God of LOVE, how could He send people to Hell?”

Most people will say today, “I don’t believe in a God who sends people to Hell? My God wouldn’t do it”

Well, it begs the question: Will God, who is loving, kind and forgiving send people to Hell?

Those people who say such things are right, their ‘god’ wouldn’t, but the God of the Bible tells us that His angels will.

The Bible’s answer is “YES!”

Jesus answer is “YES, He most certainly will.”

TEARS IN YOUR EYES:

Someone cautioned me once, “Don if you are ever going to teach or preach on the subject of Hell, do it with tears in your eyes”… I’ll never forget that, I didn’t quite fully grasp his meaning at first, but after years of working with people for Jesus, I can see what he means. It’s getting God’s heart for people. Knowing God and His love for people. His desire that He doesn’t want a single soul to end up in Hell and the reality that most people will be going there, because they reject Jesus and the Gospel. It does make me cry.

You see it’s only modern man who has a problem with a judgemental God: The Bible reveals God in fullness; His love, His Justice and His mercy.

Previous generations didn’t seem to struggle with it as much as we do.

In our modern society, we view all forms of PUNISHMENT as evil. We should NEVER hurt another individual, because it’s UNLOVING to do so. (Quite right, there are other ways to help people see the seriousness of their crimes, than merely punishing them). However, God is not like us. His ways are not our ways. He is kind, gentle, loving, forgiving, generous, but He’s also full of rage and anger against sin and rebellion. He hates it when people hurt each other.

And we would most certainly agree that we must be PEACEMAKERS wherever we can be an influence for Good in this world.

However, it was Jesus who said,

Luke 12:4-5 (NIV)
4  “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.
5  But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”

It’s a dreadful, fearful, horrible thing to fall into the everlasting arms of God who is angry with your sins. That’s who we should be afraid of seeing with sin still in our lives.

Jesus wanted His Disciples to be serious about their own sin, in this life:

When we look at our passage from the Bible today from Mark’s Gospel: We’ll see just how serious Jesus viewed SIN and it’s consequences.

The SIN Jesus is alluding to is the Sin of Pride in life: Thinking they are better than others, this only leads to strife, competition and rivalry between each other.

Remember the CONTEXT: (Go back just a few verses to see what Jesus is talking about).

Mark 9:33-41 (NIV)
33  They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?”
34  But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.
35  Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
36  He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them,
37  “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”

38  “Teacher,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”
39  “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “No-one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me,
40  for whoever is not against us is for us.
41  I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.

The Disciples had been arguing with each other about who was the GREATEST…. Jesus had a little child come into the room, He took the child to himself and said, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”

“… John, the beloved Apostle, thought he was doing the right thing, told a man to stop driving out demons in Jesus’ name, He got a rebuke from Jesus…

Unfortunately, if you also read on in Mark’s Gospel, you’ll see they didn’t get this teach or the warning: Because they’re still trying to have the best place Mark 10: Peter and John’s request. (More about that later).

So we come onto our own passage today: SIN, HELL, Danger…

My friends, Jesus is again teaching His own Disciples about: Strife, Rivalry, amongst themselves, He’s not going to be with them forever, so He must get this point home and into their heads in the most serious and pointed way he can… So Jesus warns them of the consequences of this kind of SIN: It’s going to be HELL for you… Unless…. Unless you CUT IT OUT of your life.

Mark 9:42-50 (NIV)
42 “And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.
43  If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.
44
45  And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell.
46
47  And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell,
48  where ” ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’
49  Everyone will be salted with fire.
50  “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”

(Notice: The NIV leaves verses 44 and 46 blank).

Mark 9:42-50 (NKJV)
42  “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.
43  If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched–
44  where ‘Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.’
45  And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched–
46  where ‘Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.’
47  And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire–
48  where ‘Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.’
49  “For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt.
50  Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.”

My friends:

“Their worm does not die”: The soul is eternal. Once you are born you will live forever in eternity: Either in Heaven or in Hell.

“The FIRE is NOT Quenched“: The fires of Hell are Eternal.

Some modern theologians are not happy with ETERNAL Punishment in Hell. They, again, believe that their “god” wouldn’t send anyone to hell forever. Perhaps if there is a Hell, then it will only be for a short time of purification. Then the prisoners in hell will be released into Heaven. Well, these ideas sound fine and tolerant and kind, but they are not true or ultimately loving. Because, people are not bothered about death, the love of life is diminished. If hell is not real, then there would be no point in Jesus dying upon the Cross. If there are no consequences for sin, if hell is not real, then Jesus Father must be very cruel indeed… However, if hell is real, and Jesus did die so we could be set free from sin, then God is the most loving being… He is! Hell is real! Jesus did die for the sins of the whole world. However!

That’s not what Jesus thought or taught though: Jesus is God and He clearly warns of the dangers of being thrown into hell. For Jesus, once you are in Hell, there’s no escape, there’s no way out of hell. Hell is forever.

Again Jesus warns us whom we should fear:

Luke 12:4-5 (NIV)
4  “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.
5  But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”

The soul is eternal, once you are born into this world, your soul lives on forever. There are two places we will go when we die; one is to be with the Lord forever in Paradise, Heaven. The other is eternal Hell and tormented by Satan.

The reason we’ll get into Heaven: Not because we’re good or have done enough good. Why? Because just ONE sin will be enough to keep us locked up in Hell forever. The only reason anyone will ever end up in Heaven is if they’ve Trusted in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour: Having had their sins removed by His death upon the Cross.

The reason we’ll get into Hell: If we die in our sins. We’ll be carrying our sins with us, and the weight of our sins will pull us all the way into Hell forever.

Luke 12:4-5 (NIV)
4  “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.
5  But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”

To those who say, “It’s not loving to talk about Hell” I think Jesus would say, “It’s not loving to not warn people of the Danger of Hell”…

We’d all agree that Jesus was the most loving person who ever walked the earth; yet Jesus had very strong words for His own followers, warning His own Disciples of the Dangers of Hell: Causing one of these little ones, who believe in me, to sin… You’d be better off having a large mill-stone tied around your neck and be cast into the sea, than to face God having caused someone to sin.

Notice the parts of the body Jesus focused upon:

  • Hand:
  • Feet:
  • Eye:

When I preached this yesterday, I pretended to blame my hand for causing me to sin, “You silly hand, why did you make me do that? It’s all your fault hand, you made me do it” No! We can’t blame our hands, that is not what Jesus is saying … He was using a kind of Jewish humour, but the POINT was: Sin is very serious indeed. It will take you all the way to Hell. (I did the same for my feet and eyes)…

Oh how we need to stop blaming other things for the sins we commit; it’s not our environment, our upbringing, our genes, it’s us, it’s me who sins. I do it when I give into temptation, when I’m not being self-controlled, when I’m influenced by Satan or demons. We’re tempted to sin when we give into our desires.

All sin is rebellion against God: It’s going against our conscience: It’s breaking at least one of God’s Ten Commandments. Sin stains our souls and that stain cannot be removed by trying to be good.

Fire & Salt:

Jesus said, at the end of this message:

Mark 9:49-50 (NKJV)
49  “For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt.
50  Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.”

You will experience the fire: Fire is a form of purification: Even though you will go to Heaven if you’ve believed in Jesus and trusted Him as Lord and Saviour: You will experience a judgement:(The Believers Judgement 2 Corinthians 5:10) It will be like one escaping through the flames.

Note: This is not the same judgement as unbelievers: We who’ve trusted in Jesus, will not be judged like that. We have already passed from death (Hell) to life (Heaven). Our place in Heaven is secure, but we will be rewarded for the good we have done and purified from any remaining, un-confessed sin. John 3:13-21.

You will be singed (scorched with fire): the amount you will be singed will be determined by how much sin you are carrying since you came to know Jesus Christ as Lord.

Keep Short Accounts With God:

You must repent of sin right now: you don’t know if you are going to die tomorrow. I don’t want to see lots of people that I know and love, in Heaven with singe marks all over their souls.

When you repent, you will once again be on fire with love for the LORD. It makes me cry so much when I think of all those lovely Christian brothers and sisters who’s lives have been overtaken by sin. Yes they will probably be saved, if they are truly born again of the Holy Spirit, but Jesus didn’t die just to forgive us our sins, He also wants us to experience the abundant life now. You will never experience the fullness of the abundant life as long as you are hanging onto your sinful choices.

You can’t serve God and serve your pleasures: you will hate the one and love the other.

So my friends, get right with Jesus, repent and trust Him again. Turn from sin in your life and return to the LORD.

What happens when SALT looses it’s ability to savour?

I told the story of a trip to Southend on Sea: How I walked up and down the seafront with Julie. The smell of salt in the air only enhanced the smell of the fish-n-chips cooking. When someone walked past carrying fish-n-chips in a paper bag and it smelled strongly of vinegar… I just had to have some 🙂

The man asked me, “Do you want salt and vinegar?” It was a strange question to me, I couldn’t imagine eating fish-n-chips without salt and vinegar… “Oh yes please, lots of salt and vinegar”… However, when I put one of those chips into my mouth, it was bland, no salty taste… I put another in, the same thing. I went back and asked for more salt… Nothing… The salt had lost its ability to savour… I’d never experienced that before… Salt that wasn’t salty…. That’s what we’re like when we purposefully walk away from Jesus and choose to live in sin.

“Have SALT in yourselves”: AND “be a peace with each other”… Jesus didn’t want His followers falling out. He didn’t want us to be in competition with each other… He wants LOVE. He wants UNITY…

How’s your unity and love for your brothers and sisters in Christ?

Have an AWESOME week with Jesus Christ.

  • I don’t want to see any of my friends with a large millstone around their necks and struggling in the deep sea.
  • I don’t want to see you with no hand, feet or eye.
  • I don’t want to see you in Heaven with singe marks on your soul.
  • I don’t want to see you falling out and falling over each other.

Oh my friends, let us get closer to Jesus today. Admit our need for His forgiveness and walk with Him in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Finally, believe in Hell: It will give you a wake-up-call. It will give you a desire to see others being saved by Jesus. It will enable you to live a life of freedom in Christ Jesus. Hell is real, Jesus believed it, taught about it’s reality and warned His closest and most dearly loved followers about it.

Quotes: In a world of psychic hotlines, horoscopes, Wicca, and alternative spirituality, Christians must be able to share their beliefs effectively. They must proclaim clearly, consistently, gently, and lovingly, the possibility of heaven and the warnings of hell.

Apologist Peter Kreeft addressed the fact that ignorance or denial of the biblical teachings about hell comes often from within the church. “Of all the doctrines of Christianity, hell is probably the most difficult to defend, the most burdensome to believe, and the first to be abandoned.” P. Kreeft and R. K. Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1994), 282.

 

Staying On Track With Jesus

How powerful you are as a Christian is determined by how close you are to Jesus Christ

Daily Spirit & Word: 781: Don’t Get Sidetracked.

Staying On Track With Jesus

Over the summer we visited lot’s of historical sites, one was the Bluebell Railway. We took a trip on an old steam-train and it was awesome. So many childhood memories flooded back into my mind, things I thought I’d forgotten. Just the smell of the smoke evoked memories of the old railways in Edinburgh and day-trips to Kinghorn and Burnt Island in the 1960s and of course the Forth Railway Bridge.

On the Bluebell line, trains would sit and wait on a sidetrack whilst another train passed, we observed the old fashioned way they changed the tracks by hand, pulling a lever. It got me to thinking about our relationship with Jesus, and how when something happens it is so easy to get sidetracked in our walk with Him.

Getting sidetracked is so easy. As you begin a lifetime of following Jesus, it is important to understand that whatever you do for Him will only be a reflection of the relationship you have with Him. If you want to do great things just like Jesus’ Disciples and the Apostles, and I’m sure you do, then you need to have a great relationship with Jesus like they did. If you want to have a ministry for Jesus that is strong, your relationship with Jesus must be strong.

Getting back on track is just as easy: Jesus is only a prayer away.

Acts 3:1 (NIV) “One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon…”

After Pentecost, full of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles maintained a daily routine of prayer. They were keeping close to Jesus by gathering for worship and prayer.

Oswald Chambers was a man others recognized as being abandoned to God. He was a Scottish itinerant preacher and Bible college founder. In his early forties he died far away from home in Egypt of a ruptured appendix while ministering to the troops during WWI. His meditations on the Christian life collected in the daily devotional classic “My Utmost for His Highest” have enriched generations of Christians. He deeply understood the essential nature of maintaining a close relationship with Jesus.

J.C.Ryle an Anglican Evangelical Bishop. Knew about Daily Prayer and wrote some of the most powerful books to keep you close to Jesus. I read through a portion of his works every single day whilst at Theological College. It was a tough time, because I had to read so much garbage from liberal theologians and ordained men who didn’t know Jesus personally, but this sound man of God kept me on track with my own walk with Jesus.

Selwyn Hughes: Wrote “Everyday With Jesus”. I got into reading those little daily devotionals when I was a very young Christian in the 1980s, and I can testify they kept me going on track with Jesus. Every day I’d pick up my Bible and the little booklet and read, pray, praise the Lord. Soon I realised it’s much more than reading, but listening and talking with Jesus.

How you serve Jesus is simply an overflow of your time with Jesus.

So my friends, the main thing about Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain with Jesus, and the character, power and zeal you’ll have is a by-product of that relationship. That is all God asks us to look after, and it is the one thing that is being continually besieged by all the things that will try and get us sidetracked.

You’ll see, because it’s easy to justify not spending quality time with Jesus, but you’ll also see that not spending time with Him will be equally evident.

STAYING ON TRACK:

The most important thing you will ever do as a Christian is: SPEND TIME WITH JESUS DAILY.

It’s a KINGDOM PRINCIPLE, PRECEPT and PRACTICE.

Your own responsibility in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ to maintain your own personal relationship with the KING. Why? Because nobody else can do it for you. The best question you can ask your brother or sister in Christ is this, “How’s your walk with Jesus?” or “Are you meeting with Jesus every day?” Nothing else really matters, because what we do for Jesus will be shown by how close we are to Him.

I’ve met many Christians who’re struggling with basic things, I’ve counselled so many, but when we take a closer look at how they are spending time with Jesus daily, we’ve found that’s the one thing they’re not maintaining, so problems come. We’ll avoid so much heartache and troubles if we just keep closer to Jesus. He’ll warn us when things are coming our way. He knows the future. He knows the past. He knows everything. You have the privilege of coming to the sourse of the best NEWS you’ll ever hear every day.

But more than that; Jesus wants to talk with you too. He’s waiting for you every day. When you get up and go to Jesus, He’s waiting for you.

How’s your walk and time with Jesus going?

Living for Jesus flows out of your relationship with Jesus.

WARNING: We often get it the other way around.

Notice that the “with Jesus” is the basis of the “for Jesus.”

So often we Christians get so caught up in what we are trying to do for Jesus that we totally overlook the source of power for anything we can do for Jesus, which comes out of who we have become by spending time with Jesus.

I’ve made the mistake so many times of forgetting Jesus. It’s as if we’re serving the LORD but forgetting to involve Him in what we’re doing. Never forget it is Jesus you are living for and serving.

YBH: Yes but HOW?

How do you spend time with Jesus?

It’s not about “Saying Prayers”… “Reading a BOOK” … etc…

If you’ve ever been in a significant relationship, then you’ll know that the strength of your feelings of love, devotion, care and concern are dependent upon how close you feel towards that other person. So many times I’ve heard from couples, “We’ve just drifted apart emotionally”… It’s so true. We stop caring. We stop being concerned about them. We begin to live for ourselves. If that’s true in our earthly relationships, then it’s also true in our Spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ. You’ll notice over time that you just don’t care if you don’t spend time. A wake-up call is coming your way if you’re living your Christian life like that.

So you’ll stake everything on maintaining the most important relationship you’ll ever have in life; the one with Jesus Christ.

Make and Keep A TIME with Jesus:

Acts 3:1 (NIV) “One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon.”

Here’s how many Christians do it:

Fix A TIME that’s right for you: I do it first thing every morning. And so did many of the powerful men of God in the past, but I’m aware that might not be the best time for everyone. But FIX a TIME to be with Jesus every day. Don’t let anything push that time with Jesus out of the way. Treat it like an appointment with the Queen or President or Prime Minister. It’s your appointment with the KING of Kings.

Pray, Read God’s Word, Pray, Praise, Sing, Pray, Listen, Meditate upon what you’ve just read; Pray in the Scriptures, Ask Jesus questions about what you’ve just read. Worship and sings songs based upon what you’ve just been reading in God’s Word. Use YouTube and Google to search out songs related to your Bible theme. (The JOY of the LORD is my strength). Read about the Saints who’ve gone before you and how they got on FIRE for Jesus, but more importantly, how they maintained that fire and stayed on-track with Jesus.

Keep a prayer / devotional journal: Write things down. It’s amazing how Jesus brings you back to a prayer you’ve written and shows you how He’s answered it.

As you spend time with Jesus you will be able to do so much for Jesus.

It’s amazing what you can learn from a trip on an old fashioned steam train, I’ll never forget my trip on the Bluebell Railway and what it taught me about staying on track with Jesus.

Have an awesome week my friends.

BTW: by-the-way, we’ve got our Monthly Prayer Meeting tonight at 7.30pm in St Luke’s Church: I’ll be sharing more about the MOST IMPORTANT THING in Christianity. Be blessed in Jesus.

Don.

 

Who’s That Knocking At My Door?

When Jesus calls us, it's to repentance and faith in Him alone

Daily Spirit & Word: 776: Who’s that knocking at my door.

Good morning friends, I was awakened by a strange noise in the house this morning at 4.30am. It startled me out of a weird dream. In the dream I was back in Plymouth and some kind of strange earthquake was happening, I saw a bus falling over on it’s side and buildings shaking and some falling to the ground. People had their mobile phones out taking pictures to capture the scene and share on social media. Do you know what that noise was that woke me? It was a knocking at my door, but when I got to the door there was no one there. I was up now so decided to read some of God’s Word and this is what I read.

Romans 10:16-21 (NIV)
16  But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?”
17  Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
18  But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did: “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”
19  Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says, “I will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.”
20  And Isaiah boldly says, “I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.”
21  But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”
Who’s That Knocking At My Door?

If “faith comes by hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” then why didn’t the Israelites respond? Who knows, but they didn’t.

Then follows a series of question from Paul: “DID THE ISRAELITES HEAR THE MESSAGE?”

He answers each time with “Of course they did, but they REJECTED it”…

When someone is knocking at your door what do you do?

  • Do you sit there and ignore it?
  • Do you get up and listen at the door to what they have to say?
  • Do you open the door to the one with the message?

It’s The Insurance Man

Years ago my mum and dad had an insurance policy, the man would call around to collect the insurance money every week. There were quite a few times that my mum didn’t have any money to pay the installments, so she’d tell us to hide and stay quiet until the man goes away. The man would be knocking at the door. He’d be shouting through the letterbox “It’s the Insurance Man”… We didn’t dare move a muscle. I’ve been scared of Insurance Men since I was a child 🙂 LOL A few times the man could hear there were obviously people in the house, because you can’t keep seven kids quiet for very long. Or sometimes they’d pretend to go away and then once we’d all started talking the letterbox would fly open and he’d shout, “I can hear you in there, open the door”…

My friends, those Israelites didn’t open the doors of their hearts to God.

He called upon them many times and in so many different ways.

They might have been there listening to the message, but they didn’t respond.

Isaiah tells us, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people”…

God is also holding out his holy hands to you today.

He’s calling you with the Good News of Jesus; “Come to me” said Jesus.

Jesus is not an Insurance Salesman, but He’s offering freely to each and every soul “Eternal Assurance: You can be SAVED from Hell if you’ll just repent and trust in Me”…

When we hear the Good News and don’t respond, it’s like knowing someone is at the door with a message that is so important for us, but we’ve got to open the door to respond to that message.

  • It’s no good knowing Jesus can save you, if you don’t respond in faith and receive Him as your Lord and Saviour.
  • It’s no good knowing Jesus died for sin, if you don’t trust in Him and His death on the cross was for your sins.
  • It’s no good knowing Jesus was raised from the dead and believing it all to be true, if you will not repent of your sins and receive Him into your life.

He’s knocking every day, but have you opened up the door of your heart to Jesus?

Be Earnest And Repent

Revelation 3:19-22 (NIV)
19  Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.
20  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 him, and he with me.
21  To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.
22  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Jesus is knocking my friends, so open up the door of your heart afresh today.

If there’s something in your life at this moment more precious to you than Jesus, you need to let go of it, because there’s NOTHING, nothing, absolutely nothing, that’s more important than your eternal welfare.

Once you open that door to Jesus, then and only then, will all His promises be yours: Abundant life (John 10:10), New Birth (John 1:12, 3:1-22).

Who’s That Knocking At Your Door?

It’s Jesus Christ: Open the door of your heart to Him today: Be earnest (sincere, heartfelt, solemn, clear,) and repent: Turn from living your life your way and begin to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit by turning to Jesus for forgiveness, cleansing and new life. Amen!

Have an awesome weekend.

Don.