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.

 

Being Great In God’s Kingdom

if you want to be great in God's kingdom, learn to be the servant of all

Daily Spirit & Word: 780: Being Great In God’s Kingdom.

If You Want To Be Great In God’s Kingdom,

Learn to be the Servant, Slave, Minister (Deacon) of Everyone.

Good morning my friends, I’ve been on holiday for a few weeks now, I’m learning afresh what it means to be a SERVANT of Jesus Christ.

We stayed in a Hotel that trains students to become Hotel Managers etc… The whole focus of the place was on SERVICE, giving the customer the best service… I thought about that, that’s what God’s Kingdom Service is like too, being the BEST SERVANT you can be for Jesus.

It’s not about position, power, prestige or personal glory, but learning to be and striving to be just like Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “…whoever wants to be first must be slave of all” Mark 10:44. And Jesus went onto say, “For even the Son of Man (Himself) did not come to be served, but to serve (Minister, Slave, Servant), and give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45.

Being GREAT in God’s Kingdom: Means being or having a SERVANT Mentality, SERVANT Attitude, SERVANT Character; just like Jesus. Be honest with yourself today, who is it that stands out for you in your fellowship, church, group of Christians that you know well? Who is the most like Jesus Christ in your circle of brothers and sisters in Christ? They will be self-effacing, serving others, others orientated, thinking of others more than themselves.

Far too often in Church (fellowships), we get it so wrong; we think it is all about titles, positions, power, and a great name amongst our brothers and sisters. We want to stand out and be known for our closeness to Jesus. Imagine what it must have been like to be one of the other TEN when James and John approached Jesus to ask to be His right and left-hand men?

Mark 10:35-45 (NIV)
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.”

In the Passage above The Disciples Demonstrated SELFISH AMBITION:

Philippians 2:3-8 (NIV)
3  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
4  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
5  Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7  but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
8  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!

My friends, we are not in competition with one another, we are to seek to make others even better disciples than ourselves. If someone you are leading to Jesus goes onto be even greater in God’s Kingdom than you’ve ever been, don’t get jealous, feel honoured that Jesus has allowed you to be just like Himself. Remember what Jesus said of His own disciples, “You will do even greater things than I have been doing”… What an awesome SERVANT attitude to have, to strive to make others even better than you are. Have I got the same attitude as Jesus?

So if you want to be GREAT in God’s Kingdom; and you should want that my friends, then we must strive to be the servant, slave, minister, deacon of ALL.

Now being a SLAVE or SERVANT is WONDERFUL.

When you get it, you’ll be SET FREE from striving, competition, seeking to be better than others…

This really touched me the other day; From a little book called “Ministry Is”

“Notice that Jesus said real greatness comes from being a “servant” (διακονος) and a “slave” (δουλος). Jesus wanted His young followers to understand that unlike the world system, when it comes to Christian leadership, the measure of real success is service. It is being willing to get dirty in order to benefit others.

Real Christian ministry is not about being over people and bossing them around. It is about getting under people and lifting them up. It is not about getting but about giving. It is not about being served; it is about serving and sacrifice.

If Jesus’ words were not enough, He wanted them to consider His example. After all, if Jesus Himself left His high position to serve and sacrifice for us, shouldn’t we, as His disciples, do the same?

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45)

Jesus is God. Prior to coming to Bethlehem, He had existed in heaven throughout all eternity. As God, He was the richest, most powerful being in the universe. Angels served His every need. Yet, when He came to earth, He did not come to be served but to serve.

Jesus did more than come to serve. He also came to give, and not just a convenient, comfortable amount. He gave it all. He gave His life in order to provide a ransom for our sins. ”

Ministry Is…: How to Serve Jesus with Passion and Confidence.

—Quotes on Kingdom Service—

If you don’t want to serve, you don’t want to be in the ministry.

—David and Warren Wiersbe

You say you’re a servant of Jesus Christ, show me your scars.

—John Macarthur

God is not necessarily looking for leaders, at least not in the sense we generally think of leaders. He is looking for servants (Isa 59:16; Ezek 22:30). When God finds men and women willing to be molded into his servants, the possibilities are limitless.

—Henry and Richard Blackaby

Ministers are servants who lead and leaders who serve.

—David and Warren Wiersbe

Being Great in God’s Kingdom: Is about getting down and dirty in order to lift others up higher, so they will be cleaner and more pure and …

My friends, Jesus was God, but he took the form of a servant and came to earth to give His life.

Have you noticed in Rugby when there’s a line-out for a throw in, some in the line will lift one of their fellows up higher to catch the ball. That’s what Kingdom Service is like, enabling others and lifting them up in order to win the prize.

Prayer: O Lord, help me today to be more like You. I want to be great in Your Kingdom, but I don’t want to be in competition with others Lord. Help me to live in such a way that I’ll be able to lift others higher and even closer to You. I want to be making dust by being busy in Your Kingdom Service. Amen.

Have an awesome day my friends, Ministering for Jesus and God’s Kingdom.

Stay close to Jesus, be full of the Holy Spirit and let’s make some DUST by our Kingdom Service today, Amen.

Don.

Dave said, “I once spoke at a church that was exploding in growth by reaching public university students with the gospel. I was somewhat surprised to see several obviously postcollege age adults diligently serving the students as they arrived. The pastor of the church pulled me aside and commented that the cheerful man carrying the chairs was the city manager, the smiling gentlemen at the door welcoming every guest was a downtown lawyer, the grinning man taking the offering was a distinguished professor, and the happy lady running the nursery was a nurse. Each was also a member of the leadership team.

Unlike some churches that nominate and vote on deacons in a sort of popularity contest, they had a different approach. They chose those who were the greatest servants. The pastor said that they looked for “a cloud of dust” and selected the ones who were so actively serving that they left “the cloud” in their wake. ”

Ministry Is…: How to Serve Jesus with Passion and Confidence.

 

Forgotten and Forgiven

What God chooses to forget, your sins. What God chooses to Remember, your good deeds

Daily Spirit & Word: 777:

Divine Forgetfulness.

What God Forgets & What God Remembers.

Good morning my friends, my holiday has begun. A time to relax, unwind and be renewed. Of course we don’t need holidays to do that, but it feels good to be having a break of sorts. One thing I cannot do is have a break from my quiet time with Jesus; prayer, praise, worship, Bible study and meditation every day. If I’m BLESSED (777) is a good number 🙂

Can’t quite believe that DAILY SPIRIT & WORD is 777 today.

What’s DS&W for? After a 40 Day Bible Study (and sharing on Facebook), I decided to keep going, to keep sharing, to encourage Christians, to build up the Church, to strengthen faith and to lead others to faith and trust in the LORD Jesus Christ.

As a young Christian (Born Again in April 1984) I used to love reading “Every Day With Jesus” by Selwyn Hughes. However, it wasn’t long before my hunger wasn’t satisfied by Hughes’ offerings, brilliant, encouraging and insightful though they were. You see I was reading more of the Bible and being fed by the Holy Spirit as I read and studied myself. Not long after that my study took on a new shape and form by reading and studying “Celebration of Discipline” by Richard Foster… I learned the secrets of Biblical Fasting, Biblical Confession and Repentance, Biblical Meditation and Biblical Prayer. I began to keep a daily journal and record my thoughts, insights from Scripture and prayers. It’s often amazing looking back over the years of prayers, and seeing how the LORD has been so faithful and has answered so many. What strikes me more than anything though, is that He doesn’t always answer in the ways that I’d expected or wanted at the time, but I can see clearly that I must trust HIM, because He knows what’s best and has the future and past available to Him; nothing surprises God. I’m so thankful that He didn’t give me what I wanted, how I wanted, at the time that I wanted it.

He’s been working on my soul to bring it in line with His plan.

Jesus has a wonderful plan for your life too and when you think clearly about what God wants, and how His Divine memory works, you’ll be astounded.

He NEVER Forgets Your Hard Work:

Hebrews 6:10 (NIV) “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” Jesus said something similar in His parable of the Sheep and the Goats, “When you did it for the least of these, you did it for Me”… Awesome.

Matthew 25:31-46 (NIV) The Parable of the Sheep & Goats.
31  “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.
32  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
33  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34  “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
35  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
36  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37  “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
38  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
39  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40  “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
41  “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
42  For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
43  I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44  “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45  “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46  “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

No my friends, God’s Divine REMEMBRANCE or Holy Memory: Extends to all the GOOD things you do for Him.

NOTE: Remember though, that Good Works cannot SAVE YOUR SOUL, they just prove to you and the world that you’ve been saved by Jesus. We do good works because we are grateful servants, because we’ve been loved, blessed and forgiven by Jesus. We do them not to earn a place in Heaven, that’s already ours because we’ve trusted in Jesus. However, if our FAITH and TRUST don’t then move onto action and good works, we prove that our faith and trust in Jesus wasn’t genuine. If we’re not going about doing good like Jesus as His followers, then we are not saved at all.

However, God remembers you good works, He rewards your Kingdom Labour. He tells us that by doing good we’ll be storing up treasure for ourselves in heaven that will last for all eternity. How RICH are you going to be in Heaven? Have you been busy doing good whilst you can down here on the Earth? Invest in your Heavenly Dwelling Place; that really is your KINGDOM RETIREMENT PLAN: Heavenly Kingdom Investments (Good Works that you keep secret, just between you and God). If you boast about the good things you’ve done for and towards others down here on Earth, then you’ve just taken some of that Heavenly Investment and used it for your earthly glory. So my thinking is, don’t boast about your good works, God will never forget, He keeps a Divine and Holy Record book and will reward you in Heaven. He NEVER forgets.

But What Does God Forget?

He FORGETS your sins.

You’ll be rewarded for your good works done in secret, because God always remembers.

But what’s even more amazing and astounding is that God will forget your sins.

Isaiah 43:25 (NIV) “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”

Hebrews 8:12 (NIV) “…For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

Psalm 103:11-13 (NIV)
11  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
12  as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13  As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;

Oh my friends, how we NEED to get this TRUTH into our hearts, minds and souls today: God chooses to FORGET your sins.

When you truly REPENT and turn away from sin and turn to the LORD for His forgiveness, He really does forgive and cleanse you from every sin, then FORGETS them. He chooses (Somehow) to forget your SIN. I don’t know how God does that, but when you get to heaven and look in His RECORD BOOK of your life, when it comes to your records of sins you are going to see just BLANK pages, because once you truly repent they’re forgotten, forgiven, wiped clean. God will remember your sins no more.

What does that make you feel like? It makes me feel like dancing. It makes me want to serve the LORD with gladness. It make me want to jump and leap for JOY. All my sins are washed away when I turn in complete repentance to Jesus. Of course it took Jesus to die upon the Cross to make this possible, but once you’ve trusted in Jesus, God sees you as completely clean from all your sins. AWESOME!

FORGIVENESS FEELS GOOD

As I was reading that Hebrews verse above, I was encouraged (by the Holy Spirit) to keep reading in context.

WOWzer! God’s written His LAW on the Hearts of EVERYONE… Instead of on tablets of stone, instead of needing to remind children of God’s law, He’s now (under the New Covenant) written His LAW (The Ten Commandments) upon the hearts of every human being, so they KNOW RIGHT from WRONG. When we do wrong, our Conscience will be screaming out to us, don’t do that, God doesn’t like it. When we choose to be obedient, we’ll sense the Holy Spirit’s POWER within and His JOY in our hearts.

Hebrews 8:10-13 (NIV) The New Covenant (New Testament).
10  This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
11  No longer will a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.
12  For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
13  By calling this covenant “new”, he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and ageing will soon disappear.

WOWzer! It’s so encouraging that the LORD Remembers your Good Works, but Forgets your Sins (Bad works, deeds)… He chooses to forget them all, but we MUST TURN in true repentance and put our faith and trust in Jesus. Stop trusting in your own goodness and get right with God by confessing your sins. Once you do that He’ll wipe your records clean in Heaven and you are given a brand new start with a fresh new LIFE. He’s got so much good that He wants you to be busy doing every day for Jesus.

Keep; loving, forgiving, helping, serving, praising, witnessing, leading people to Jesus, encouraging, strengthening, refreshing others with the gifts that the LORD has bestowed upon you.

Live it for Jesus today, Amen!

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.

 

Sitting At A Table

Faith Sharing on the Streets of London

Daily Spirit & Word: 775: Sitting at a table chatting…

Hearing The Good News

Romans 10:17 (NIV) “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”

Imagine you’re sitting at a table with a friend you’ve not seen for years and two men come up to you and begin to talk about Jesus? Well that’s what happened last night outside Knowles of Norwood Pub in West Norwood, London.

Knowles of Norwood Pub, West Norwood. London.
Knowles of Norwood Pub, West Norwood. London.

As we were walking along sharing the Good News with folks last night (27th July 2016), we came to Knowles of Norwood. The pavement is wide and there are tables outside for customers to sit and have a nice drink. We got chatting with a few customers and we were able shar the Gospel with two men, then moved along to the next table and began to chat with another two. They were smartly dressed professional looking gentlemen. We gave them a Ticket to Heaven tract and asked them if they believed in Heaven. One did, but the other said he wasn’t sure there was a heaven or even a God. We got chatting about the possibility and he said, “I’m agnostic”, we then said, “Oh, you’ll love our Atheist Test then”… We gave them one and began chatting through the test, but they politely said, “We’ve not seen each other in a long time and we’re here just to catch-up tonight”. We apologised for the interruption, but my companion David said, “That’s OK gents, we’ll be back in about half an hour, if you’re ready to talk then, we can chat”… We heard them laughing out loud as we walked away.

So we went down the road, sharing Jesus with a few more folks, having great Gospel conversations along the way. As we turned around and proceeded back towards the table about 3/4 of an hour later, they were still seated chatting away. We asked them, “Have you caught up now? We’re back with Jesus”… They laughed and one said, “You know guys, my mum is a Born Again Christian, and she’s been praying for and trying to convert me for ages. I’ll definitely read all this stuff you’ve given me”… We’d given them three different tracts, one Ten Commandment Coin and a “Thank you for chatting” card. I replied, “Perhaps this is Jesus wake-up call, we don’t know how much time we’ve got left: The BIBLE is Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth: read that too, God bless you guys”… As we walked away I heard the Agnostic saying to his friend, “Those guys are persistent and funny”…

We met another man called Mark, he’d recently come over from Jamaica and we could see conviction coming over him as we shared. He knew the Gospel, said he believed in Jesus and knew all about the choice he needed to make, but was not ready yet. When we asked why, he said, “I don’t really know”. Then we asked, “Is there anything we can pray for?” He said, “I need a job, I’ve been looking for ages but can’t find work”… We prayed right there on the streets for him that the LORD would direct him to a job and that he would glorify God when he saw this answered prayer. When I asked him, “Do you own a Bible?” He said, “Yes and I read it most days”… I said, “That’s fantastic, do you know the Lord will be speaking to you through His Word?”… He said, “He definitely does”… Praise the LORD!

You know my friends, sharing the Gospel of Jesus can be; fun, friendly, full of faith and Spiritually forceful.

A Person is SAVED by: Believing in Jesus and by Confessing Him as LORD, but they can only do that once they’ve heard the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, FAITH comes by Hearing the Good News. 

Romans 10:7-15 (NIV)
7  “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).
8  But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming:
9  That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
11  As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”
12  For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,
13  for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
14  How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
15  And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Romans 10:17 (NIV) “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”

We’ve got to leave some things up to the LORD, because He said that “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of the Lord”… Pray that He’ll continue to draw these three men to himself by the Holy Spirit, pray that everyone we shared with last night might be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of their minds, hearts and wills. Amen!

I’m praying for you all too, those of you who know Jesus Christ as Lord! That you will be active in sharing your faith in Jesus with those who don’t yet know Him as Lord. Don’t give up, be persistent, be persuasive, trust in the LORD that once you’ve shared the Good News, He will continue to draw people to Himself. Remember, faith comes by hearing the Good News, but we’ve got to go out and be obedient to Jesus command to share it.

Don.

 

A Change of Mind

Christians preaching Christ Good News in Damascus

Daily Spirit & Word: 774: A Change of Mind.

Good morning my friends, I know many of you have children on holiday from school and find it difficult to find time to read for long periods, so here’s a very short thought for today.

We’ve probably all observed Goldfish in a tank, they swim in one direction, then suddenly all change direction and go another way. I love watching fish, but that’s what we need in this world, to be that one fish that suddenly turns and goes in another direction, perhaps the rest will follow. Decide today to follow Jesus.

Acts 9:20-30 (NIV)
20  At once he (Saul) began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.
21  All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who caused havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?”
22  Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.
23  After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him,
24  but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him.
25  But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.
26  When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple.
27  But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.
28  So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.
29  He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him.
30  When the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.

WE NEED A NEW MIND…

A change of mind.

We see this supremely in the life of St Paul (Saul) in the passage above.

  • One day he’s spouting murderous thoughts and running around arresting and imprisoning Christians.
  • A few days later he’s preaching the Gospel (The Good News of Jesus Christ FEARLESSLY).
  • What brought about his complete change of mind?
  • An encounter with the risen Lord Jesus Christ.

WE NEED AN ENCOUNTER WITH JESUS.

When we meet with Jesus, just like St Paul, our minds are going to be RENEWED. We’re going to begin to think like Jesus, because we too will receive the mind of Christ through the indwelling Holy Spirit. We too will begin to SPEAK UP for Jesus Christ.

Romans 12:2 (NIV)  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is; his good, pleasing and perfect will.

WE NEED A RENEWED MIND:

Then just like St Paul (Saul of Tarsus) we will be TRANSFORMED.

So God’s Making us into TRANSFORMERS 🙂

Imagine being able to; test and approve what God’s will is?

Imagine being able to know what His; good, pleasing and perfect will is?

“He’s TRANSFORMING ME”

By His Holy Spirit, He’s making me like Jesus.

Could you imagine going to Damascus today and proclaiming the Good News of the LORD Jesus Christ? They’d probably want to kill you too, just as the Jews did St Paul. However, he preached Jesus fearlessly, will we? Will we be so transformed by Jesus that in our place, where we live, we begin to speak up for Jesus? It’s a scary thought for many Christians, but that’s what the Holy Spirit in us will be prompting us to do.

Let our minds be changed, renewed, growing every day, to become more and more like Jesus.

Have an awesome day with Jesus.

Don.

P.S. Last night’s (27/7/2016) street evangelism was AWESOME!

In West Norwood London, a few of us went out onto the streets to share Jesus Christ with the crowds; we did it through giving out tracts, sharing the Gospel, praying for folks, and all along the way enjoying singing the song, “I’ve got my mind made up and I won’t turn back, because I’m going to see my Jesus some day”…

P.S. Once Paul was converted, he gained new enemies, they seemed to always want to take his life, to stop him preaching and proclaiming that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah), that Jesus is the Son of God (God), speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.

As long as Paul was belonging to the world, the world loved him as one of it’s own.

John 15:18-27 (NIV)
18  “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
19  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
20  Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
21  They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.
22  If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin.
23  He who hates me hates my Father as well.
24  If I had not done among them what no-one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father.
25  But this is to fulfil what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’
26  “When the Counsellor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.
27  And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

My friends, as long as you belong to the world, the world will love you as one of it’s own, however: As soon as you are converted, as Paul was converted, the world hated him and it will hate you too, because you no longer belong to the world, you are not of this world, your new citizenship is in Heaven, you are a member of God’s household, you are His ambassadore to this world, you’ve become a new creature in Christ, you are now a Saint, this world is NOT your home any more.

So you will proclaim Christ, just as Paul did, the Holy Spirit of Truth will motivate you to share Him. Then whenever Christ is proclaimed, the world is judged because of sin, it doesn’t want to hear that message, so it tries to squash the message of the Gospel:

  • By watering it down,
  • By making it into a religion,
  • By killing those who proclaim the true Gospel,

Satan: is the force behind all worldly efforts to silence the true Gospel of Jesus Christ: That men (mankind) are sinful, they’ve broken God’s commandments, without Christ there is no remedy for mankind’s sins, we cannot make ourselves clean and fit for heaven, because sin contaminates our souls, so the only way to be cleansed is by the blood of an innocent and pure sacrifice, something had to die in our place so that we could be saved. Jesus Christ, God’s one and only son is the full and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. So that everyone who believes that He died for their sins, who repents of sin and trusts in Jesus’ death, will be SAVED.

Now it’s no wonder that Satan and the world influenced by him, doesn’t want that message spread about too much. He’ll try and squash it, water it down, pervert and bend that message, so that as many as he can, he’ll take to hell with him.

There’s nothing worse that whole hosts of people calling themselves ‘Christians’ who’ve never been born again or come to Christ, broken and guilty and confessing their sins. Satan loves it when the ‘church’ if filled with false-converts, filled and convinced they’re saved by a false or partial perverted Gospel message. The watered down Gospel is this; “Just believe in Jesus name, and ask him into your heart”; no reasons are given for why a person needs to come to Christ, no sin, no hell, no judgement, no repentance, no receiving Christ as LORD. That’s the false Gospel that many are believing today. They are NOT SAVED yet, but don’t give up, because they can be.

However, my heart breaks at the thought of the countless thousands who’ll end up in hell, having believed and lived by this false Gospel message. Jesus died in order that many would be saved, let’s spread the true Gospel message and save as many as we can whilst there is still some time left before Jesus returns in Judgement. Amen!

 

 

 

Do You Want To Follow Jesus?

The Cost of True Discipleship, Denying Self, Taking Up Cross and Following Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word: 773: Do You Want To Follow Jesus?

It’s going to be costly.

If you do want to follow Jesus, then there are some things Jesus told us we must do.

Good morning my friends, when we eventually give in and surrender our souls to Jesus Christ, what’s next? Jesus said, “Follow Me”, but there are some requirements for following Jesus; Denying Self, Taking Up Your Cross, Living For Jesus… The Christian life is a purposeful and self-sacrificial one.

Matthew 16:24-25 (NIV)
24  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
25  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.

Mark 8:34-35 (NIV)
34  Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
35  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it…”

Luke 9:23-25 (NIV)
23  Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
24  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.
25  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?

In three of the Gospels; Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus reveals HOW we are to follow Him by: Denying Self, Taking Up Your Cross and Following Jesus.

Here follows an explanation of Jesus requirements:

In the first few centuries the people we know today as Christians were first called “People of the Way” or “Followers of Jesus”… How they were known by non-Christians reveals a lot about how Jesus had transformed their lives. They were living in such a way that people were impressed by their total dedication to Jesus.

1) Jesus Said You Must Deny SELF:

Denying self requires us to give up anything that we would want, desire or crave that would or could hinder our doing the will of God. Many things we do are not morally wrong, but they might not be what God wants us to be doing. Many things we do are innocent, but perhaps they’re not in God’s plan for our life.

NOTE:

  • Denying Self: What it doesn’t mean: It does not mean that, if we want something, it is necessarily wrong.
  • Denying Self: What it does mean: It means we must take our wants and desires down from off the throne of our life and place The Lord Jesus Christ and His will as the governing power in our lives. When you follow Jesus you make Him your Master, King, Boss, Ruler… Once He’s ruler He’ll set your free to follow His will and guide you into His life and plan by the Holy Spirit.

There is room in your life for only one master (Matthew. 6:19-24). It means it’s either you who’s in charge of your life or Jesus. If God is to rule in your life, then your will, desires, wants, etc, must be made subservient to His. We must be willing to give up anything in life in order to please God. This is the teaching from the whole Bible, not just these few verses in Matthew, Mark and Luke’s Gospel.

Romans 12:1-2; Matthew 6:33; Luke 14:25-33; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15.

2) Take Up Your Cross Daily:

What does Jesus mean? The Jews were quite familiar with the CROSS even before Jesus’ crucifixion. They’d probably all seen people crucified, the Romans deliberately positioned crucified rebels along the roadways so people could see them as they passed by, it was a stark and horrible reminder of who’s on the Throne, who’s in charge, who’s the BOSS.

Many people will say things like “It’s my cross this bad back or arthritus” they think that “Take Up Your Cross” means bearing burdens of illness or suffering hardships for the Lord. I’m sure there are some hardships we will need to go through as Christians (God tells us they are for our character development and to give us faith and hope), but there is a fuller meaning to “Take Up Your Cross Daily” if we consider the context of those passages.

(1) What is a cross for? It was not just a burden to be carried along. Your Cross is far more than that, it was an instrument of death and total sacrifice.

(2) Jesus said take up our cross and follow Him. He carried a cross and we must carry our cross and follow Him. But where was He going with His cross? He had just told His Disciples that He was going to die. Now, if they want to be His followers, they must be prepared to die too.

(3) In the very next verses Jesus said we must give our lives for Him.

(4) Then He asked what good our lives would be to us, if we loose our souls at the judgment throne of God.

So, “taking up your cross” refers to giving your whole life to Jesus, just as Jesus himself was about to do on His Cross, He was going to give His life as a sacrifice for us and for our sins.

Taking Up YOUR Cross: is a total dedication of your life to Jesus Christ. Our whole life is given over into His service in anything He says. This will lead us to willingly, (of our own volition; not being forced or against our own will) purposefully, determinedly,  denying self.

Following the Lord Jesus Christ then requires us to live as He lived His life (1 Peter 2:21; Matthew 10:34,35; 1 Cor 11:1).

Only Luke’s Gospel adds “take up your cross daily” (Luke 9:23). There is a sense in which Christians must give their lives to Jesus every singl day.

NOTE: This doesn’t mean we must commit suicide for Jesus: He’s NOT talking about physical death. This is very important, we’re to LIVE for Jesus, by DYING to self.

There are times when Christians have died for Jesus at the hands of others, such as recently in Iraq and Syria, when they refused to deny Jesus, ISIS murderers killed those Christians. Sometimes Christians do give their lives willingly for Jesus, but in the context of these passages, Jesus is talking about living for Him, following His teachings and it was to be a daily sacrifice of self to do the will of Jesus instead of what we’d want or normally, habitually be doing.

  • Whatever He wants with my life is what must be done with it.
  • Whatever I want does not control my life; be sure you’re not addicted to anything. Is there something you feel you can’t live without?
  • What I want no longer matters, but I give myself for Him, just as He gave Himself willingly for me.

Even Jesus struggled with what was about to happen to Him on the Cross (Remember the sweat of Gethsemane?) despite the fact His human nature did not want to have to do it. Compare Romans 12:1-2; Galatians 2:20; 1 John 3:16-18; Matthew 6:19-33; Galatians 5:24; Romans 6:6-23; 2 Timothy 2:11; 2 Corinthians 4:11; and Ecclesiastes 12:13.

The determination to give our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ in this kind of self-sacrificial, taking up your cross service, is called “repentance”.

When you are REPENTING: You determine to turn away from your own will and live your life to please the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s not possible to be SAVED without this kind of repentance. We cannot be saved until we’ve made Jesus BOSS, KING, RULER of our Life: There’s room for only one master: Is Jesus really the KING in your Heart?

For some people it takes TIME to make Jesus King: Others do it instinctively the moment they know Jesus died upon the Cross for their sins. For most it’s a progressive dying to self and living for Jesus. The Christian life really is a journey, but make sure Jesus is your KING today.

My friends, this is why repentance is so important in coming to Jesus. If you’ve responded to a Gospel message that simply says; “Invite Jesus into your heart” without talking about TRUE repentance from sin and from living for yourself, then there won’t be any salvation. Jesus will say to you on the Day of Judgement: “Depart from Me, I never knew you”… It also explains why so many people are not truly Jesus’ disciples today (whether or not they may claim to be His ‘Christians’): because they are not willing to live this life of total dedication to Jesus Christ as their LORD.

There’s a saying, “If Jesus is not LORD of all, then He’s not Lord at all”…

Is Jesus really your KING? You’ll know if’

  • You are willing to Deny Yourself (Living for Jesus).
  • Are you willing to take up your Cross Daily? (Die to Self).
  • Are you Following Jesus’ teachings? (Daily learning to be obedient to Jesus’ teachings). 

A wonderful lady in our fellowship in St Luke’s Church said, “I love the Hymn ‘I surrender all”, but I want to change it to, “I surrender nearly everything”. What she was telling us was, I want to give my whole life to Jesus, but I’m sure there are some parts I want to hang onto myself. “Lord help me to want to “Surrender All”…

3) Follow Me:

The next few verses then helps us understand Jesus’ point about denying self and taking up our cross and following Him, it also strengthens the application.

Matthew 16:24-28 (NIV)
24  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
25  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.
26  What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
27  For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.
28  I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

If someone claims to be a ‘Christian’ but still holds or clings to his old life, if it is so precious to himself that he wants to use it to please himself, to do what he wants, to do his own will, and accomplish his own purposes, rather than denying self, taking up his cross and serving God, then Jesus teaches us that person will, in the end, at the judgement, lose his life for all eternity. WOWzer! That’s a stark and stunning warning from Jesus Christ.

However, if anyone who loses his life for Jesus’ sake; i.e. who gives it in service and self-sacrifice to Jesus Christ by denying himself, as described fully above – then be assured of this my friends, such a person will save their life by gaining the awesome gift of eternal life.

True Repentance: Is coming to Jesus Christ and making Him the KING of your own life.

Is Jesus Your KING?

Who’s your King? Is it you or is it Jesus?

There can be no greater or clearer teaching anywhere in the Bible of the full meaning of being a true disciple or follower of Jesus Christ.

So will you (of your own volition and free will), Deny Yourself, Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus Christ as Lord?

 

The Free Gift

Cost Jesus Everything to give us the FREE gift of LIFE

Daily Spirit & Word: 770: Jesus Invitation Is Free.

See The Kingdom Of God… The FREE GIFT…

Luke 9:20-27 (NIV)
20  “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”
21  Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone.
22  And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
23  Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
24  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.
25  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?
26  If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
27  I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”

A banker or investor will take risks, but they’ll only take a calculated risk. God will invest in you in accordance with the faith you are ready to use.

The Kindness Of God: The Free Gift Of Salvation.

A Sunday School Teacher wanted to show his class how free the gift of Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is.

So he felt prompted to give someone his solid silver watch; given to him in his retirement. He took it from his pocket and offered it to the eldest boy in the class.

He said, “It is yours, if you will take it.”

The little boy sat and grinned at the teacher. He thought he was just joking.

So the teacher offered it to the next boy, and said, “Take my watch: it is yours.”

The little boy thought everyone in the class would laugh at him, if he held out his hand, so he shook his head.

In the same way the teacher went around almost the whole class; but not one of them would accept the free gift of the silver watch.

However, when he came to one boy and held out the watch, he grabbed it immediately and shoved it into his pocket with a smile on his face.

Suddenly the class erupted in laughter, but the teach stopped them and said to the boy who took it, “You can keep my watch” He returned to his teaching seat, the whole class were amazed.

He said to the class: “I am so thankful that just one boy in my Sunday School Class has believed me and now owns my watch. Boys to you believe me when I tell you that Jesus will save you, He will come into your life and give you new life when you believe in Him, turn from sin and receive Him as Lord?”

When you trust in Jesus, just like the watch, which must be wound up every day, so you must take care of your own Salvation by coming back to Jesus every day to be refilled with Holy Spirit.

Son he said, “Take good care of your new silver watch. Wind it up every day, but not too much or you’ll break the spring.”

The rest of the class looked on in amazement; and one of them said, “Teacher, you don’t mean that the watch is his? You don’t mean that he doesn’t have to give it back to you?”

The Teacher said, “It is his watch now, he doesn’t need to give it back to me.”

The boy said, “WOW, it really is free”… “Oh, if I had only known that, I would have taken it too!”

The Sunday School Teacher said, “There was only one silver watch, but Jesus offer of Salvation is free for everyone, will you take that offer of new life with Him?”

 

 

I had a picture of deep, rich soil and God investing in that soil, He’s expecting a return on His investment. (The Parable of the Sower).

The seed that falls on the other three soil types; they are a bit like Venture Capital. Risky, but sometimes those risky investments pay BIG dividends for those willing to take a risk.

God takes a RISK when He offers Salvation Freely to ALL.

When seed falls on rocky ground, it grows up and looks good for a short while, but watch out, when the sun comes up and scorches the plant, it’s going to wither and die, because it has no root, it’s roots don’t go down into deep rich soil and it can’t get the moisture that it needs to survive. (Too often Ministers are trying to prop-up shallow soil hearers, rocky ground hearers and hard-soil (path) hearers, they get exhausted and worn out doing this, but they should instead be tending, supporting and investing their time and energy in those who’ve been receptive to the Word of God, and are producing a good crop.

My friends, keep winding-up your faith, it’s FREE: You didn’t earn it, God gave it to you for free, it’s yours to keep forever, but look after it.

  • Jesus said, “If any man follows me, He must obey my commandments”
  • Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

It is a DAILY walk with Jesus. We’re not to be Sunday Christians, but DAILY followers of the LORD Jesus Christ. It’s a costly walk, it begins and ends with the offer of Salvation, Free to us, but costly to Jesus. Then we prove we are His followers when we begin to walk in His teachings daily.

Prayer:

I’ve been praying far more for people lately. The LORD was guiding me and I’m now taking RISKS in Prayer. When someone says something NEGATIVE, I’ll listen, then chat around the complaint, then say; “Let’s pray about that right now”… I’m going to be taking everything to Jesus. When someone tells me they are hurting or feeling ill or tired or weary or upset; then I’ll say, “Let’s pray about that right now and get God on your case” …

Evangelism:

I’ve learned from Ying Kai: He said, “I’m not going to ask permission to share the Good News, because I’ve already been given all the permission I need, God has told me to go out and share the Good News, for too long we’ve been suckered by the politically correct world, asking people permission to share Jesus, we don’t need that permission, because God has given it to us.”

Also, people don’t want to know, they’re happy with their life of sin, so if you ask permission you are going to get a lot of rejections. If you don’t ask for permission, then you can preach the Gospel to many more people. You’ll be able to get the seed of hope into their hearts.

Last night, outside Knowles of Norwood:

A new pub in West Norwood with tables outside, there were three ladies sitting enjoying a drink in the Summer warmth. I gave them an invitation to our “Oh Happy Day Festival”. They seemed interested, so I gave them a Ticket to Heaven… I said, “Here’s a FREE Ticket, it will get you into Heaven”… They all laughed, I asked them, “Are you going to Heaven?” Someone said, “I don’t believe in Heaven, but another said, “I believe God will let everyone in because Jesus died on the Cross so we could all get in”… “WOWzer” I said, “That’s amazing, do you really believe that?” She said, “No, but If it’s true then we’ve got nothing to worry about”…

I said, “There’s a little test we’ve got that will show you if you’ll get in”   I gave them a Ten Commandment Coin, they all took it and were looking at the commandments. I said, “Those Commandments are like a mirror, they show us what we are like on the inside, and they are the measure God will use to detect our goodness to qualify for Heaven.”

“Do you think you’ll be good enough to enter into Heaven?” Well, to cut a long story short, we went through the Commandments and they all admitted they were liars and thieves… They said, “It’s getting a bit serious, but thanks for telling us.” I said, “Wait, before I go, let me tell you the GOOD NEWS, do you know what God has done so that you won’t go to Hell?” “He sent his Son Jesus Christ to die, as you have said, but it’s not automatic, we’re not all just saved, we’ve got to believe in Him and turn from our sins, seeking His forgiveness, then receive Him as our Lord in this life, before we die.”

I asked them, “Does that make sense to you ladies?”, they said, “Yes it does, thanks so much” I gave them all a card with a dog with big ears (they giggled and thought the dog was cute) and thanked them for listening. They laughed when another member of our team came along and offered them another card…

My friends, Evangelism is FUN if you will just take the risk and share Jesus with folks. They’ll thank you when they see you in Heaven.

From now on I’m going to be sharing Jesus without asking permission. However, there is a balance to this: We should always be gentle and humble in our approach. We should show respect and let people go if they want to end the conversation. It’s just we’ve been a bit too polite for too long, Jesus gave us permission to share, let’s get bolder and share a bit more.

With respect:

Evangelism FEARS:

  • FEAR: Not knowing what to say,
  • FEAR: Not knowing enough,
  • FEAR: Not getting a good reception or being rejected,
  • FEAR: Not getting the response you’d hoped for,

 

It’s not what you know but who you know that you are sharing. You are not sharing KNOWLEDGE but JESUS… Knowledge puffs up,

It’s not the amount that you know, but the greatness of the one whom you have trusted that you must share; Jesus is LORD.

Last night we had a few people on our team who’ve only been Christians a very short while. It was good, because we met a man who’d just come out of prison, who was a new convert to Jesus, but was struggling with smoking and pornography in his life. We were able to share with him, encourage him and pray with him. He was so open and honest and ready to turn to Jesus Christ. As we prayed for him, he began to cry. It’s good to share Jesus!

It’s not about how the message is received, that’s not up to you, your task is to share with EVERYONE. It is NOT dependent upon how it is received. In fact we should share it with those who don’t want to know, because you never know, that SEED that you sow into the soil of their heart may lie dormant for a few years, but after a while, they will be brought back to the that point and remember what you said to them…

Sinners will not come into the LIGHT on their own, they HATE the light, because they know their DEEDS are EVIL… John 3:17-24…

My friends, those sinners are; trapped, bound, blind, deaf and frightened… Have pity on them, and bring the LIGHT of Jesus Christ into their lives by going with Jesus to share the Good News that they can be set free from sin and darkness.

Thought: “Well done, good and faithful servant, but you are only doing what’s right, you don’t deserve praise for doing what you should be doing anyway, but you will be allowed to continue to serve the master even more, because you have proven to be worthy, He will continue to invest in you”

Chicken Feed:

I know today’s teaching is a bit like Chicken Feed: Too many disjointed thoughts, stories and sayings of Jesus. I did it on purpose my friends. Read it again and you’ll see, there’s method in my madness. LOL.

If you’ve ever watched chickens eating, some will eat one kind of grain and leave the others, then another chicken will come and eat the grains left by the others. You take the bit of today’s teaching that applies to your life and let God give you nourishment from it. Amen!

Finally:

Jesus loves you, has a plan for your life, go and share Jesus. He gave you the gift of eternal life freely, so you must give it away freely too. It’s like a precious silver retirement watch, but there is NO retirement in the Kingdom of God, we don’t let the watch wind-down, we keep it wound-up every day and let it tell the time: “Now is the day of Salvation, Now is the day of Repentance, we get one life then we face the judgement. Turn and Believe in Jesus Christ, He’ll give you the gift of life freely”.

  • Jesus offer of LIFE is FREE: But it cost Him His LIFE to give it to us.
  • Jesus offer of LIFE is FREE: But He tells us to take up our Cross Daily and Follow Him…
  • Jesus offer of LIFE is FREE: But He Commands us to Go and share it with others… Share the Good News of Jesus.

Use the FREE GIFT of LIFE Jesus has given to you.

Have an AWESOME Thursday.

Don.

 

The LORD is my Shepherd

no fear in death when Jesus is the Good Shepherd

Daily Spirit & Word: 765: The LORD is My Shepherd.

The Lord is MY Shepherd:

Good morning my friends, it was such a wonderful privilege to conduct the funeral of one of the oldest saints in St Luke’s Church, June Bailleau. She died in full assurance that Jesus Christ was her Good Shepherd. So we could celebrate her life and be comforted with the assurance she’s gone home to be with her LORD forever. There were awesome testimonies about June, the kind of woman she was, her dedication to the Lord, her love and service in church and community, but most importantly how she longed for everyone she knew to come to the point of knowing Jesus for themselves. She wanted me to proclaim the Good News of Jesus at her funeral. So I did, here’s the message that I gave.

A few days before she died, June couldn’t speak clearly, but she mouthed the words of this Psalm perfectly from memory as I read it out to her.

SCRIPTURE READING: Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters, He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou anointest my head with oil; My cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

I just love the way that King David has used the imagery of a Shepherd and his flock to describe the CARE and COMFORT which every one of God’s sheep can experience. However, it’s not just a group of sheep, but an individual sheep, my friends, Jesus wants to take the greatest care of your life too.

He begins by describing the comfort and care of His Lord for him in life.

He sums up all of God’s care in one phrase, “I shall not want.”

“I shall not want”

King David LACKS NOTHING, because his Shepherd cares for all of his earthly needs.

Let’s Look at the ways the Shepherd Looks After His Sheep in this LIFE:

  • He Leads me besides still waters: Jesus said, “NEVER THIRST AGAIN” & “Calmed the Storms” & “Walked on Water”…
  • He makes me lie down in green pastures: “NEVER HUNGER”

John 6:35 (NLT) “Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

These two phrases tell me Jesus is concerned about my earthly existence as well as what follows next, my SPIRITUAL life.

  • He leads me in paths of righteousness: “I AM The Way, The Truth and The LIFE: No man comes to the Father except through Me” John 14:6.

How does the Good Shepherd lead us? With His ROD (Rod of correction: A small rod that shepherds would use to prod the sheep and keep them on the right path) With HIS STAFF (The STAFF is a bigger stick that shepherds would use to rescue the sheep when they got into difficulty).

My friends, Jesus is caring so much for those who become His sheep today. He disciplines, prunes (Luke 15, John 15) He guides (John 16-17 by His Holy Spirit).

LOOK AT THE WAY THE GOOD SHEPHERD LOOKS AFTER HIS SHEEP IN DEATH:

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is not just concerned with our life down here on the earth: When we’re going through the doorway of death, He’s right there with His sheep too.

DEATH: King David’s Shepherd doesn’t ABANDON Him through death, so he goes on to describe the Lord’s presence in death.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me.”

Passing through death, David says, is like walking through dark shadows. That would normally be very frightening indeed. I’ve been called out to people who are just about to die and they are petrified, scared to death of dying. They call on a minister out of FEAR: I always come to them and proclaim the Gospel: When faced with DEATH people always REPENT of their sins.

Going through DEATH for everyone of us  is not pleasant experience, that’s why nobody wants to die.

However, if we are one of God’s Sheep, when we do pass through the dark shadow of death, there is NO FEAR…

Here we are COMFORTED with this TRUTH: That our LORD JESUS Christ, The Good Shepherd, who provided for all our earthly needs in life, is also with us as we pass through the dark doorway into ETERNITY.

For those who are passing through DEATH with Christ, there is NOTHING to FEAR: Why? Because Jesus is right there with us.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me.”

 

HOW DO WE GET JESUS TO BE OUR GOOD SHEPHERD?

WHILE THIS PSALM ASSURES US THAT GOD IS WITH US AS WE PASS THROUGH THE SHADOW OF DEATH, IT DOES NOT TELL US HOW THIS HAPPENS.

King David was specially chosen by God, he was unique and had amazing experiences of God in life and knew and trusted God. But it wasn’t until Jesus came to this world, that ordinary people could also have that same kind of assurance.

One thing I am assured about June Bailleau is this, She KNEW JESUS as her Good Shepherd. She’d repented of her sins and trusted Jesus as her Lord. She loved the LORD, and would be singing His praises until her last breath, which I can testify that she did.

Well, Jesus described Himself as the Good Shepherd:

He said,

John 10:10-11 (NIV)
10  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
11  “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Notice The LINK: The Good Shepherd: The LORD is MY Shepherd.

Jesus died on the CROSS for the Sheep. “The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep”…

John 10:14-15 (NIV)
14  “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me, (June KNEW Jesus)
15  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep. (June was assured Jesus had given His life for her).

Jesus is the Good Shepherd: He lays down His LIFE for the Sheep.

But why? Why did Jesus need to give His life for the Sheep? 

It’s because without Jesus DEATH on the CROSS: We would all still be in our sins, we would be frightened on our way through the DARK SHADOWS of DEATH. We most certainly would be frightened.

ALL HAVE SINNED: God’s WORD, The Bible, tells us clearly, “ALL HAVE SINNED”… 

YBH: Yes! But how?

We’ve all broken God’s Commandments: Lied, Stolen, Cheated, Disobeyed Parents, Murdered (Hated), Not kept the Sabbath, Not put God first in our lives.

God’s Commandments reveal just how much we’ve all sinned. NO SINNER can enter into the Kingdom of Heaven: If we were able to creep into Heaven with our sins still on us, we’d contaminate Heaven.

We THINK We’re Good Enough: Most people think they are ‘good enough’.

I’m reminded of a time when as a young Electrical Mechanic recruit waiting to be drafted to my first ship, having finished my courses, I was put to work on the Royal Navy Pig Farm: About 40000 pigs to look after: It’s a very smelly affair. You’d only need to be with those pigs for a few minutes and you’d begin to smell like them. After working with the pigs I’d take a shower, spray myself with deodorant and put on clean clothes. Then going to the Dining Hall with all the other Sailors, we’d line up to get in. There was a Petty Officer at the Door: He was controlling the entrance, letting in a few at a time, there were hundreds of us. I noticed there was something strange happening in the queue, there was a gap in front of me and a gap behind, I didn’t take any notice, but when I eventually got to the front of the queue, the Petty Officer said, “Go and get a shower, you stink, you can’t come into the Dining Hall smelling like that”… I was so embarrassed, I’d had a shower, sprayed myself with deodorant and thought I smelled clean, but the stench of the PIGS was still on my body.

My friends, I thought I was clean enough, I thought I could get in, I’d cleaned myself up: Oh My friends, there are so many people who’re hoping that they’ll be GOOD ENOUGH to get into Heaven when they pass through the dark shadow of death. They’ll be sadly shocked, because, JUST ONE SIN in your life: Will contaminate your SOUL and you’ll be unfit for Heaven for all eternity.

It’s my experience from going out to share the Gospel with folks on the streets every week, people who don’t go to church, people who are not religious, that they do believe in Heaven and they think they are going to be good enough to get in. My friends, we’re encouraged by God’s Word not to fool ourselves: No SINNER can get into HEAVEN.

Listen to what God’s Word tells us: DON’T FOOL YOURSELVES…

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NLT)
9  Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, 10  or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.
11  Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God (HOW?) by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Don’t FOOL YOURSELVES: We may think we’re ‘good enough’ but the Bible, God’s Word, reveals that JUST ONE SIN will keep us out of Heaven.

Like Adam and Eve, who were banished from God’s presence for ONE SIN, so we too will be sadly shocked and embarrassed to discover, we can’t get in.

Thankfully that same passage that tells us not to FOOL OURSELVES, and lists those who can’t get in, it also reveals who can.

It’s those who’ve made Jesus their Good Shepherd.

1 Corinthians 6:11 ” Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God (HOW?) by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

 

  • When you TURN: In Repentance (Turn away from Sin) Confess your sins to Jesus.
  • When you TRUST: In Christ’s DEATH Upon the Cross, paying the price for your sins. (The Good Shepherd can become your Shepherd today).
  • When you RECEIVE Jesus Christ: By and act of Faith you say “Jesus, I believe you died upon the Cross for my sins, I repent of those sins (Name them, renounce them, and leave my life of sin) I turn to You Lord and I receive You as my LORD, My Shepherd, Come into my Life and be my Lord today. Amen!”

When you Turn, Trust and Receive Jesus Christ: You will be saved, your sins will be washed away, you’ll be made holy by Jesus Christ’s death and precious blood, you’ll be made right with God and you’ll be free to enter into Heaven. When you die you will not FEAR. When you pass through the Dark Shadows of Death, because Jesus become your Good Shepherd, He will be your Shepherd and He will be with you too.

ALL FEAR IS GONE:

When Jesus Christ is YOUR Good Shepherd.

 

JUNE KNEW Psalm 23 by HEART: June KNEW Jesus as her Good Shepherd: The LORD of her life.

You can cry out with confidence as June Bailleau has done countless times in her life, she knew it by heart, just a few days before she died, she mouthed the words;

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”

You’ll have such a confidence that Jesus is your Good Shepherd, that you’ll KNOW you are just going to go through THE DARK SHADOW of DEATH, you won’t be afraid, because Jesus will be with you, and then once you’ve passed through, you’ll be with Him FOREVER.

You will receive the Gift of Eternal Life:

Death has lost it’s sting, when Jesus is your Good Shepherd.

John 3:13-18 (NIV)
13  No-one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven, the Son of Man.
14  Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up (Jesus died on the Cross),
15  that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. (Those who TRUST that His Death was for their sins).
16  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
17  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
18  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

It’s NOT ENOUGH to KNOW that Jesus died for your sins: We can all believe that easily enough, but we must TRUST IN Jesus Christ. i.e. Trust that He will forgive you, cleanse you and give you new life, by an act of faith.

It’s like a man called Charles Blondin: A World Famous Tight Rope Walker.

He would walk across the Niagara Falls with a wheelbarrow. Back and forth (17 Times: Even Blindfolded). Then He asked the Crowd, “Do you believe that I could push a person in a wheelbarrow across the falls?” The Crowd responded “Yes”.

Charles Blondin asked, “Who’s going to get into the wheelbarrow?”

The Crowd was silent… He famously pushed his own mother across the falls in that wheelbarrow. She trusted in her own Son, enough to get into that wheelbarrow.

My friends, we’ve got to GET Jesus into Us if we are going to be SAVED: Will you TRUST the Son of God? Will you Receive Jesus Christ as your LORD today? He’ll take you across the Dark Shadow of Death all the way to Eternity with Him in Heaven Forever.. Trust Him.

Have you made Jesus your Good Shepherd yet?

Believe, Repent, Receive, LIVE….

Turn, Trust, Receive Him Today: And you will have HIM with you through life and through that doorway of death too. Amen!

I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and wonderful weekend.

Looking forward to gathering on Sunday with the Saints in St Luke’s Church,

Don.

 

You Can’t Argue With God

Judging Others, STOP, Look at your own heart first,

Daily Spirit & Word: 764: You Can’t Argue With God. 

Part 4: Psalm 139: God’s Righteous Judgement. 

Good morning my friends, today I’m back into Psalm 139 with the final episode in our adventure. What a Psalm this is!

I’d encourage you to keep reading and re-reading the whole Psalm, you’ll soon see there’s a progression in King David’s thinking; He’s moving on from;

1) God’s Knowledge of Us: He knows me completely.

2) God’s Presence Everywhere: You can’t get away from God.

3) God’s Creative Genius: He Made Me Wonderfully.

and finally

4) God’s Just Judgement: I Can’t Argue With God.

Let’s read together the final part of Psalm 139:19-24. 

God’s Righteous Judgement.

Psalm 139:19-24 (NIV)
19  If only you would slay the wicked, O God! Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!
20  They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.
21  Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you?
22  I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.
23  Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

King David begins this section of the Psalm with the thought, “If only you would slay the wicked, O God!” It’s as if King David is judging God.

How he hates those who are wicked and sinful in his own time. Like he’s telling God something He doens’t know 🙂 How foolish.

It’s right for us to hate what the wicked and sinful people of this world do. We’re horrified when we hear as we did the other day, of how ISIS (Islamic State) have brutally treated women, men and children. Murder, rape, torture and brutal treatments. Forcing women into slavery. It’s horrific! “If only You would slay the wicked”… We might cry that out to The Lord God as well. However, when we cry for God’s JUST JUDGEMENT we’d better be very careful, because if God is going to be judging them, then He’s also going to be judging us as well. So we must remember that God HATES all forms of sin: to Him lying, stealing and lust as just as bad as murder and rape. God has NO FAVOURITES and one day He’s promised that ALL SINNERS will find their place in the lake of fire. Judgement Day is coming, but give thanks to the LORD that He’s waiting patiently for those who will REPENT.

I’ve heard many encouraging stories of Muslims, disturbed by the brutality of ISIS, who’re now coming to faith and trust in Jesus Christ, because they see in Christianity a PEACE LOVING people, who’re not motivated by hatred, but by forgiveness, kindness, gentleness and generosity. They’re intrigued by it, and the LORD is also giving many Muslims visions and dreams about Jesus Christ. They’re coming into God’s Kingdom. Praise the LORD!

So when we’re tempted as King David was to cry out to the Lord to slay the wicked, let’s also follow his train of thought right to the end of the Psalm, “Search ME, O God, and know MY heart; test ME and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive (sinful, rebellious) way in ME, and lead me in the way (The way of Righteousness, the WAY of Holiness, the WAY of Jesus) everlasting.”

If we’re completely honest with God and with ourselves, we’ll see that we’re not all that we think we are. We’ll acknowledge our own need of His rich grace, kindness and mercy. It’s so easy to be pointing the finger at others, looking a how they are failing, watching to see them stumble and fall from God’s grace. It’s even possible to HATE their sins, because we’re not sinning like they are. We can look and say, “What they are doing is horrendous”, but excuse our own little excursions from God’s holy standards.

Jesus gave a very humorous illustrations:

“Take the PLANK out of your own eyes, before you remove the SPLINTER in your friend’s eye”. Matthew 7:1-6.

It really is true that we’re sometimes blinded by our own self-righteousness. (See also Romans 1:1-16 God’s Righteous Judgement).

Remember Jesus teaching about the Pharisee and the Tax Collector: It was the Tax Collector who went home justified in God’s sight, because he was repentant and humble. Luke 18:9-14.

THE HAND:

When you are tempted to point your finger at someone, because of their “sinfulness”. Stop and take a look at your own hand, because there are three fingers left and they’re all pointing right back at you.

  • The Father: Genesis 6:6. 
  • The Son:  Mark 3:5; Luke 19:41
  • The Holy Spirit: Ephesians 4:30.

The NEXT TIME:

The next time your feeling a bit self-righteous or someone in your fellowship or church gets up your nose, think, “O LORD, look at my own heart…” It funny how the little things that others do really bugs us, but let’s give them some more grace, forgiveness, mercy, kindness and patience. After all, the LORD has been so patient and kind to me…

God will ALWAYS Judge Righteously: We can’t point the finger at God and say, “Why are you not doing something about those wicked people?” as if it’s His fault. He’s the ONE who’s going to be doing the judgement of all of us, not the other way around. Neither can we point out what others are doing wrong and get off the hook ourselves. Remember how much the LORD has forgiven you for all your sins. So let’s get down from our High Castle or our High Horse or our Ivory Tower, and get onto our knees and ask Him humbly, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

I started off by saying “You can’t argue with God”, but we can and we do. Jesus said, “I AM The Way and The Truth and The Life” So my friends, let’s stop pointing fingers at God and others and get right ourselves. We, those who’re following Jesus today, need a PERSONAL REVIVAL of Holiness, Faith and Righteous Living. We need to be full of the Holy Spirit to enable us to walk just one step on Jesus way of life. Let’s get full to overflowing again today. Amen!

Thy Kingdom Come: Amen!

Don.

KNOWING GOD PERSONALLY (The Spirit Filled Life).

Psalm 139: Part 1: God Knows Me Intimately.

Psalm 139: Part 2: God Will NEVER Let Go of My Hand.

Psalm 139: Part 3: God Made Me Wonderfully

Psalm 139: Part 4: God Is A Righteous Judge: I can’t argue with God.