The Three Crowns

Daily Spirit & Word, 466: The Three Crowns.

No it’s not the pub ūüôā

Nor the united Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Wales.

But the Three Crowns of Glory for the Saints in Heaven: The Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are going to be REWARDED.

Good morning my friends, it’s such a wonderful peaceful morning with fantastic colours in the sunrise. Peaceful, apart from a poorly grandchild crying in the background, but she’s being comforted by her mummy. It’s strange how we can have pain and beauty at the same time. Today I wanted to focus upon what we’ll be wearing in Heaven. Did you know that you are destined to be wearing a crown?

Our Youth Meeting last night was brilliant, we discussed thier values and priorities in life. After a few expected funny answers about what’s important, they eventually arrived at family, but didn’t quite see that God should be their first priority in life. Afterwards they began asking the youth leaders about what they did, if they were happy in their work and how much they earned. I tried to get across that we are all Princes and no matter how much we earn in life or what we do, as believers in Jesus we’re part of God’s ROYAL family. How do I know this? The Bible explains it in many different ways; we become heirs of the Kingdom, but there’s a beautiful description of our royal attire in the Bible that I’m sure your going to love today. Once you trust in Jesus you become Heavenly Royalty.

Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ will receive; Three Different Crowns:

A CROWN OF LIFE:

Revelation 2:10 (ANIV) “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

We can definitely see an increase in EVIL on the earth today; with people being murdered on a massive scale at the hands of people who think they are serving a god. This is nothing new, but was predicted thousands of years ago, but it is also a sign that the Lord is coming soon, because mankind will become even more lawless just before the LORD returns.

The LORD is promising through the book of Revelation, that when we faithfully endure hardship, even to the point of death, we’re going to be receiving an awesome CROWN, the CROWN OF LIFE. Nothing can take your joyful hope away from you, no matter what they do to you, your CROWN is waiting for you in Heaven. Be at PEACE no matter what.

A CROWN OF REJOICING:

1 Thessalonians 2:19 (ANIV) “For what is our hope, our joy, or the¬†crown¬†in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?”

What an amazing statement, the thing that’s going to bring us honour in heaven, one that will make us rejoice for all eternity, is the souls that get saved from God’s wrath and hell, the ones that we’ve managed to bring into a relationship with the King, those we’ve introduced to Jesus Christ who get saved. WOWzer! Remember how the angels rejoice over just one sinner who repents? Well we too are going to be experiencing that same hope, joy and crown; from the people who’ve been saved because of our faithful; witness, testimony, live and love for the Lord and the saints.

A CROWN OF GLORY:

1 Peter 5:4 (ANIV) “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the¬†crown of glory¬†that will never fade away.”

That reminds me of Moses, when he was with the Lord on the Holy Mountain, he shone with the glory of the Lord, but it faded away after a time. The glory we’ll get will never fade away. We’ll be shining with the LORD’S Glory of all eternity.¬†

The LORD’S Crown Jewels:

As a boy I visited Edinburgh Castle and was privileged to see the Crown Jewels of Scotland, I’ll never forget how awesome and so impressive they were. Royalty in the UK is something we take for granted, but people today have lost a sense of how special royalty really is. Years ago you could loose your life if you even looked upon a royal in the wrong way. In the presence of royalty, there was a sense of; power, fear, rule and sometimes¬†benevolent¬†justice. Can you imagine what it’s going to be like to see the King of Kings Royalty? His Crown is a crown of pain and beauty: Thorns that once pierced his head are now His glory for all the souls that have been saved by His precious blood. We may save a few people from Hell and receive some glory and a crown that will never fade away, but Imagine how glorious His CROWN will be.

It’s amazing to think how much the Lord wants us to be in His glory, how close He wants believers to be to Him, even to sit upon His throne with Him and share His glory. This GLORY and the Three Crowns: Crown of Life, Crown of Rejoicing, Crown of Glory give us the incentive we need when things get really tough down here on earth.

Just as a Crown denotes authority and royalty: Jesus Christ wore a crown of thorns, so that we might wear these Three Heavenly Crowns. If you’ve trusted in Jesus then you are a Prince or a Princess of the Heavenly Kingdom. Walk with your head up today ūüôā

Have an awesome Saturday and look forward to the GLORY.

Don.

 

God’s Ancient Gospel Revealed

Daily Spirit & Word, 465: “I WILL Walk In His Ancient Paths”…

The Ancient GOSPEL: How God Saved Precious Souls.

Are not very different to the ways He’s winning, warning and wooing people today.

Good morning my friends, I love the way that bluebells come back every year and seem to get better and better the longer you leave them in the ground. You know my friends, long before the New Testament was completed our ancient brothers and sisters in the faith used the Old Testament to proclaim the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ. When Paul was writing to Timothy, he understood the Spiritual nature and value of the Scriptures. 2 Tim 3:16-17. Therefore today I’m going to show you that picking up a text from the most ancient of the Old Testament books, the book of Job, which is considered by some to be the oldest, we can see that God used the same ways to lead men to the awareness of their need of a Saviour thousands of years before Christ came and how the LORD provided them with a pathway towards Salvation, New Life and a much closer walk with God.

 Our focus text today is from the book of Job.

  • Job 33:14-33 (ANIV)
  • 14 ¬†For God does speak‚ÄĒnow one way, now another‚ÄĒ though man may not perceive it.
  • 15 ¬†In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men as they slumber in their beds,
  • 16 ¬†he may speak in their ears and terrify them with warnings,
  • 17 ¬†to turn man from wrongdoing and keep him from pride,
  • 18 ¬†to preserve his soul from the pit, his life from perishing by the sword.
  • 19 ¬†Or a man may be chastened on a bed of pain with constant distress in his bones,
  • 20 ¬†so that his very being finds food repulsive and his soul loathes the choicest meal.
  • 21 ¬†His flesh wastes away to nothing, and his bones, once hidden, now stick out.
  • 22 ¬†His soul draws near to the pit, and his life to the messengers of death.
  • 23 ¬†“Yet if there is an angel on his side as a mediator, one out of a thousand, to tell a man what is right for him,
  • 24 ¬†to be gracious to him and say, ‘Spare him from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom for him’‚ÄĒ
  • 25 ¬†then his flesh is renewed like a child’s; it is restored as in the days of his youth.
  • 26 ¬†He prays to God and finds favour with him, he sees God’s face and shouts for joy; he is restored by God to his righteous state.
  • 27 ¬†Then he comes to men and says, ‘I have sinned, and perverted what was right, but I did not get what I deserved.
  • 28 ¬†He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, and I shall live to enjoy the light.’
  • 29 ¬†“God does all these things to a man‚ÄĒ twice, even three times‚ÄĒ
  • 30 ¬†to turn back his soul from the pit, that the light of life may shine on him.
  • 31 ¬†“Pay attention, Job, and listen to me; be silent, and I will speak.
  • 32 ¬†If you have anything to say, answer me; speak up, for I want you to be cleared.
  • 33 ¬†But if not, then listen to me; be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.”

WOWzer! You think you know the story of a book in the Bible, then the Lord opens it up by His Spirit and you suddenly observe new depths. You know the story of Job: How he was viewed by the LORD as a righteous man, then Satan came to test Job and was allowed to do so by the LORD. Satan wanted to see how far he would need to go to make Job curse God, but God knew Job’s heart and allowed the test. Remember Satan tests and tempts us to make us fail and fall from God’s Grace. The Lord, on the other hand, allows testing to come, so that we’ll be encouraged, strengthened and grow towards maturity in the Christian faith. God wants us to succeed and pass every test.

 First: God Speaks: (verse 14).

Some people think that God doesn’t say anything today, but as we’ll see from Job, God’s NOT silent, but uses many different ways to communicate with mankind. Job 33:14 ¬†“For God does speak‚ÄĒnow one way, now another‚ÄĒ though man may not perceive it.”

And in those ancient days it was the same; sometimes men could hear and sometimes, like today, they are DEAF. Jesus indicated that this was so too; (explaining the ancient prophesy of Isaiah)¬†Matthew 13:13-15¬†“This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.¬†14 ¬†In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ” ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.¬†15 ¬†For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'”

Yes indeed my friends, God speaks today, as He did in ancient times, but there are hard hearts and deaf ears today, just as there were back then.

But their needs were the same then as they are today:

  1. a) They needed Conversion: Verse 14. (Even if they are unaware of it).
  2. b) They needed Repentance: Verse 17. (Pride says in the heart, “I don’t need God”).

Secondly: God Works The Same Way Today: RANSOM

Though men are deaf to God’s voice in Creation, though they may not listen or respond to an evangelist (Messenger), His heart so longs for men to turn in repentance and admit their need of God, that He’ll use the Ancient methods to turn are heart and soul towards Himself.

a) God Does ALL these things to a man: Job 33:29 ¬†“God does all these things to a man‚ÄĒ twice, even three times‚ÄĒ” He’s doing them again and again and again, to AWAKEN men and women to their need of God.

  1. b) God Speaks in their EARS: Job 33:16 ¬†“he may speak in their ears and terrify them with warnings,” Remember my friends, The FEAR of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.
  2. c) God PAYS the PRICE for their SINS and Transgressions: Job 33:24 ¬†“to be gracious to him and say, ‘Spare him from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom for him'”

Kidnappers: When someone gets kidnapped, the kidnappers ask for a RANSOM, it’s the price that needs to be paid to set the captive free.

It’s the same today, God has found the RANSOM, He paid for mankind’s Salvation in the life and blood of His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ. (WOWzer! Can you see the Gospel in the ancient text today?)…. Jesus Christ has died to set mankind free from Sin, Satan and Death and Hell. This is the very verse that JUMPED out at me as I was reading Job this morning… God doesn’t want anyone to perish and end up going down to the pit of Hell, but everybody to come to repentance, that’s why He’s speaking so much to men and women who will not listen to Him.

 Thirdly: God Wants The Same Thing Today:

God used trouble, hardships, warnings, dreams, visions, revelations, to turn a man from the error of his ways. A life lived without¬†reference¬†to God’s Holy Standards, a life lived without God is a Rebellious state and God wants people to come and confess (admit) their sinfulness, to turn from their wicked ways, be converted, and to receive His Divine pardon and New Life.

Job 33:16 ¬†“he may speak in their ears and terrify them with warnings,¬†17 ¬†to turn man from wrongdoing and keep him from pride,¬†18 ¬†to preserve his soul from the pit, ….”

My friends, our Souls are even more precious to God than they are to us. No one would sell one of their eyes for even £100,000 punds would we? Would you? NO of course not, but why do we exchange our eternal souls for a few moments of pleasure in this life today? God wants to SAVE us more than we want to SAVE ourselves.

¬†Finally: When We’re SAVED by God the REWARDS are the same.

a) The Ransom Price Has Been Paid: Verse 24. Jesus Christ.

b) The Response Required Is The Same: Job 33:27 ¬†“Then he comes to men and says, ‘I have sinned, and perverted what was right, but I did not get what I deserved.” We deserve DEATH & HELL, but God’s GRACE is revealed by the RANSOM price He paid in Jesus Christ.

c) The Reward of LIFE and LIGHT of God’s Glory: Job 33:28 ¬†“He redeemed (paid the¬†ransom¬†price) my soul from going down to the pit (Death and Hell), and I shall live to enjoy the light.’

It’s also revealed in our most famous verses from the New Testament: John 3:16-17.

  • John 3:16-17 (ANIV)
  • 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.
  • ¬†Job 33:26 ¬†“He prays to God and finds favour with him, he sees God’s face and shouts for joy; he is restored by God to his righteous state.”
  • ¬†My friends, when we today HEAR the GOOD NEWS and RESPOND to God’s Voice, we’ll also see the LIGHT. We’ll walk with God for the rest of our lives and for all eternity. We’ll be REDEEMED from the PIT.

God’s Ancient ways ARE the exact same as His way today:

Jeremiah 6:16 (ANIV) “This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.'”

All God’s People today will say, “I WILL walk in His Ancient paths”… Amen!

That fact that the first Believers preached the Gospel from the Ancient Texts of the Bible should be an encouragement to us today, knowing that God’s WORD is the Inspired, Infallible, and Indefatigable WORD of God. Also, God’s Salvation PLAN has always been the same and His Ancient Gospel is Revealed in it’s pages. Praise the Lord! He’s the same, yesterday, today and forever. Amen.

Have an awesome weekend with your GREAT Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Don.

God’s Ancient Gospel Revealed.

 

The Highest Bidder Wins

Daily Spirit & Word, 464: The Highest Bidder Wins.

The Highest Bidder Wins.

Or the things that screams the loudest in our lives often take priority.

Good morning my friends, we had a wonderful evening of Evangelism on the Streets of West Norwood last night. The weather is warming up in the evenings now, so we were quite surprised by the number of people who were prepared to stop and have a chat about; Jesus, faith, the real meaning of Easter etc… The little Easter tract was a real winner too, so my thanks go to a lady from Chatsworth Baptist Church who pointed them out and to Amanda our Church Administrator who printed the labels with Church details. It was really good, because so many people took one as they rushed out of the Station on their way home from work. These little tracts were a great Springboard into Gospel conversations. I think a good springboard is something that enables you to get into ‘spiritual’ conversations quickly.

Once I got back home I began to think about the conversations and it seems to me that people have lots of things in life that are priorities for them, but they are not living according to the list of things they actually value or see as important to them. Quite often the one with the loudest voice is like the highest bidder at an auction, screaming out for our attention and focus.

For instance, the following list are things that might possibly be important to you, what I would like you to do today is put a number from 1-10 in their order of priority for you. One being highest and 10 being the lowest.

  • ___ happy family ____________________
  • ___ successful career ______________________
  • ___ fame/popularity ______________________
  • ___ wealth _____________________________
  • ___ sex _________________________
  • ___ strong relationship with God __________________
  • ___ fun/pleasure/good feelings _____________________
  • ___ good looks ________________________
  • ___ athletic skill ________________________
  • ___ solid marriage _______________________

Having listed them in order of priority for you, now I want you to think of your reasons why? Do it quickly without analysing it too much.

Now, how did you feel as you were asking yourself, “Which of these is the highest priority in my life?”

and “Did¬†what I think should be a high priority turn out to be something I spend a lot of time on during a typical week?”

Most often we find that people value their families and God as highest in their ranking or priority, followed by career or job, but very often they spend little time during the week maintaining these first two critically important aspects of their lives.

Don’t feel crushed if that’s you today, because you are not alone. You see my friends, what is important in our lives reveals our heart’s desires, but what we do about it and how we prioritise our working / living week is something only we and the Lord will be able to sort out. Remember where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

  • Matthew 6:20-21 (ANIV) 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

¬†Today’s Verses From God’s Word:

John 9:4-5¬†“As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no-one can work. 5¬†While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

As long as it is day, we must do the work of our Father in Heaven. Remember, Jesus said, “YOU are the Light of the Word”… We can’t keep hiding our light, we must shine brightly for Jesus and let others see His glory through our lives.

I love the little letter of James, he’s just so straightforward and forthright.¬†James 4:13-17¬†“Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”¬†14 ¬†Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.¬†15 ¬†Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”¬†16 ¬†As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil.¬†17 ¬†Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”

If you’ve got time then please also read; The Parable of The Talents; Matthew 25:14-30 (Printed at the end of today’s message)..

It seems to me that we’re all very busy doing things that aren’t even high on our list of priorities in life, we’re overwhelmed with pressures of work and finance, therefore family and God get pushed much further down the list of things to do on a daily and weekly basis. We long to be better husbands and wives, and worshippers of the Lord, but because we fail to prioritise these things in the order they should be we live with a constant feeling of guilt and often shame a well.

It’s TIME to be set-free from these traps my friends. God wants to be FIRST in your life, when we do put him first it’s amazing just how much time we’ll then find for everything else that’s really important to us. Below I’ve listed some really good books to help us find priorities in life, I’m sure you’ve probably got some more that you’ve read, please share them with everyone in the comments section below.

God bless and have an awesome Thursday with Jesus, but Don’t let the one who shouts the loudest rule your life. As a believer in the Lord Jesus we must listen out for¬†the voice of the Holy Spirit and He’ll guide you and show you what should be highest priority for you and Him today.

Be at PEACE!

Don.

P.S. I’m sorry this is late today, I’ve had to spend time with my daughter and her children having breakfast. It was fantastic, she’d cooked sausages, bacon, eggs, tomatoes and beans, toast etc… Yummmmy. The Children were great fun to be with and eating around the table together is always great. Aminata read me a story from her school-book before she got ready for school. Family really does come a very close second to time with Jesus. God bless my friends. Don.

 Good Books and Helps:

Here is a list of good books that will help you to Prioritise your life after God’s patterns for righteous living.

  • ¬†How Now Should We Live?: by Chuck Colson (Tyndale House Publishers). This insightful analysis of culture challenges Christians to live their faith in a hostile environment.
  • Meeting the Jesus Challenge, Real Life… Real Questions… Real Jesus: by Len Woods (Standard Publishing). This book, the third in a series of four devotionals tied to The Jesus Bible (Tyndale Publishing House), it helps people rise to the Jesus challenge. You’ll be challenged to watch Jesus in action, to listen to his teachings, and then to obey what Jesus tells you to do. The third section takes a close look at priorities and values, answering the question, “How does life change when we view it from Jesus’ perspective?” The challenge here is for people to seek first Christ and his kingdom.
  • Ordering Your Private World: by Gordon McDonald (Thomas Nelson Publishers). McDonald teaches that time and talents are gifts to be carefully invested and he provides biblical principles to help care for the inner self.
  • Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: by Stephen Covey (Simon & Schuster). This business world classic and top ten seller for over a decade takes people from dependence to independence and finally to interdependence in relationships. It provides helpful counsel on choosing priorities and sticking with them.
  • Who Switched the Price Tags?: by Tony Campolo (Word Publishing). Campolo challenges readers to risk more, reflect more, and do things of lasting value. To get the most out of life, we must put first things first.

Also I love Rob Parsons and his books on family life and getting it right from a Christian perspective: His Website: Care For The Family: http://www.careforthefamily.org.uk/

The Parable of The Talents: Matthew 25:14-30 (NIV)

  • Matthew 25:14-30 (ANIV)
    14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them.
    15 To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.
    16  The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more.
    17  So also, the one with the two talents gained two more.
    18 ¬†But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
    19 ¬†“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.
    20 ¬†The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’
    21 ¬†“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
    22 ¬†“The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’
    23 ¬†“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
    24 ¬†“Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.
    25 ¬†So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
    26 ¬†“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?
    27  Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
    28 ¬†” ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.
    29  For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.
    30 ¬†And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

 

Behold The Lamb of God

Behold The Lamb of God.

John The Baptist's Powerful Testimony: The Water, the Lamb, the Dove and the Son of God.
John The Baptist’s Powerful Testimony: The Water, the Lamb, the Dove and the Son of God.

Daily Spirit & Word, 447: John’s Powerful Testimony.

Four Symbols

The Water, Lamb, Dove and the Son of God.

Good morning my friends, today we’re gathering on the first Sunday of March to worship the Lord with an truly amazing focus on Jesus, looking at Him through the Magnifying Glass of John the Baptist. Let’s jump right in and read God’s Word;
  • John 1:29-34
  • 29 ¬†The next day John saw Jesus coming towards him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
  • 30 ¬†This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’
  • 31 ¬†I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptising with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”
  • 32 ¬†Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him.
  • 33 ¬†I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptise with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptise with the Holy Spirit.’
  • 34 ¬†I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”
As a Magnifying Glass makes things BIGGER: So John’s Witness about Jesus makes Him much BIGGER for each and every one of us today. Here’s HOW!
You know my friends, there is nothing more powerful to lead others to Jesus Christ than by our own witness or testimony of who Jesus Christ is: both to us and to the world. That’s what John the Baptist¬†revealed¬†in his own life and it’s what Christians can reveal to the world today.
We’ve observed the POWER of this fact in the face of debate and doubt: Whilst out on the streets witnessing, we’ll come accross many people who’ve got strong arguments and reasons for not believing in God or Jesus, but after trying to debate them on an intellectual level for a while, we’ve seen how just one or two words brings those strong defences, (These are the Castles they built to hide from God) intellectual and moral doubts come crashing down. When we say, “I know God because I’ve met God personally through Jesus” there’s¬†absolutely¬†nothing they can say. Apart from thinking, either we’re mad or deluded or we’re telling the truth. There is POWER in personal testimony, that’s what John the Baptist brings us today.
John gives us FOUR vary powerful symbols;

1) The Water:

John’s message was: “Repent and Be Baptised for the forgiveness of Sins.” (Baptism means to submerse, to sink to go under, to go down¬†underneath¬†and into the water).
Baptism was something people always did to themselves, but this was very strange, now a man came calling people to come to him to be washed in running water, to be cleansed of their sins. But first John said that people must REPENT.
The people at the time knew what John meant, but we’ve don’t have the same understanding of God’s Word, the Old Testament. He was calling the people to come back to God’s ways, God’s will revealed in the Law and the Commandments. Repenting is simply acknowledging we’ve failed and fallen short of them, turning away from sin and desiring God’s cleansing from Sin. (Sin is the Transgression of the Law of God).
Washing in Water was always a symbol of RITUAL CLEANSING. Baptism = Repentance and Forgiveness / Cleansing from Sin.

2) The Lamb of God: “Behold the Lamb of God”

John was saying, “Behold” which means LOOK PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT I’M POINTING OUT.
Who takes away the sin of the world.
In Israel: The Jews sacrificed pure, innocent and spotless lambs, this was God’s given symbol of purification. The blood of the lamb was to show that their sins had been washed away, but that sin has a price, “The wages of sin is death”… The Lamb died in the place of the people, because sin must be paid for.
Imagine that, an innocent, pure little lamb: The people would most surely have the same feelings for little lambs that we have today. They are cute, lovely, innocent, spotless and cuddly: But they needed to die to pay the price for their sins. seems cruel and barbaric to us today, but God was showing the people something about SIN. How much it hurt him and how serious sin was to him.
Now John was saying something awesome: Just like people would wash themselves to purify themselves, so Israelite People would bring their own lambs to be slaughtered. It was their identifying with their own sin. It’s like saying to God, “It was me, I did it, now I bring this little lamb to suffer in my place”… Now John is telling the people, God is Himself providing the Lamb for Sacrifice: Jesus would be God’s Lamb who would be sacrificed to take away the sins of the whole world. His precious blood would pay the price for the sins of everyone. He was God’s pure, spotless and sinless Lamb.

Why? The Bible tells us why: John 3:14-18
14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,
15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
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.¬†

3) The Dove:

For many thousands of years, since the time of Noah, the Dove has been well known as the international symbol of PEACE. Often depicted carrying a leaf in it’s mouth.
After the flood, that destroyed every sinful human being apart from Noah and his family, when the waters receeded Noah sent out some birds to find land, the dove finally returned to Noah carrying an Olive branch in it’s mouth. This meant the end of God’s wrath, the flood abated and PEACE with God was restored. He’d finished his work of¬†cleansing / PURIFYING¬†the earth from Sin.¬†Water: Now the earth was appearing again and the¬†Dove¬†brought the symbol of God’s¬†Peace.
My friends, when the Holy Spirit came down from Heaven and entered Jesus, He came in the form of a Dove. Notice what John said though, The Dove came down and rested on him and remained upon Him. The Holy Spirit NEVER left Jesus again.
John said about Jesus; “The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptise with the Holy Spirit.”
Jesus was and is the one who sends the Holy Spirit into the hearts of everyone who comes to Him in Repentance seeking the forgiveness of their sins.¬†He died upon the Cross as God’s Lamb¬†to take away those sins. He now gives the Holy Spirit to each and every person who TRUSTS in His death upon the cross, that it was for their sins. His precious, spotless, innocent and holy life-blood poured out on the cross for your sins.
Jest like the Holy Spirit remained upon Jesus, so the Holy Spirit will be with the New Believer forever. He’ll fill you and give you what John said here, “FIRE”… Fire = Zeal for God. Love for God, Devotion to God, Dedication to God’s ways. That’s the FIRE it means the ability to live in such a way, that your life will be pleasing to God.
The Holy Spirit really is a symbol of PEACE between mankind and God. That God was finished with the punishment Jesus had taken all the punishment necessary for SIN and now God was sending the Holy Spirit to reveal the True PEACE between the believer and God. The PEACE in your heart is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.

4) Testimony (Witness).

John the Baptist said, “I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”
WOWzer! What a powerful witness. “I’ve seen” and “I testify”…
My friends, John saw the DOVE (He’d been given a message and a method of getting people ready for Jesus coming: Repent = turn back to God away from sin. AND be baptised to be PURIFIED from those sins) NOW after years of getting people ready, he finally saw what God had told him from Heaven. “When you see the Spirit come down and remain upon him, he is the one who will baptise with the Holy Spirit and fire”…. I’ve seen Him, this is the one, this is the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ is the SON of God.
And as I said at the beginning, there is nothing more powerful than personal testimony, personal witness, personal knowledge: “I’ve seen Jesus, I know Jesus, I’ve been with Jesus” What has Jesus done for you?

A Christian’s Personal Testimony:

Witness about Jesus: What He’s done for you:
He’s forgiven my sins (How did that make you feel).
He died for me (How does it make you feel how Jesus died for your sins).
He came into my life: Now tell people what your life is now like with Jesus, in comparison to what life what like without Jesus.
He filled me with His Holy Spirit: Now tell people what it’s like being full of the Holy Spirit. How you know the PEACE of God.
Tell people: “Behold Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the SIN of the World.”
With this POWERFUL testimony, what Jesus came to do, what Jesus has done for you, you can go out and be confident that God will use it to bring others to the same faith and confidence that you have in Jesus Christ. Knowing Jesus Christ personally is all the training you need to become a powerful EVANGELIST to lead others to Him.

Today we’ve seen FOUR Powerful Symbols:

These Make for a VERY POWERFUL TESTIMONY.
  • The Water:
  • The Lamb:
  • The Dove:
  • The Son of God:
What’s the Water For? Repentance and Forgiveness (Cleansing & Pruification).
What’s the Lamb for? Paying the Price in Blood for Sins.
What’s the Dove for? Assurance of PEACE within each and every Repentant Sinner who receives Jesus as Lord.
What’s the Son of God for? He’s the Lamb, He’s the giver of the Holy Spirit, He’s the one who paid the price for sin.
Remember:

John 3:16 “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.”

¬†Why do we need a Personal Testimony like John’s? Because God has revealed just how precious each soul is, that He doesn’t want anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. So He’s given you a task of spreading this Good News of Jesus to everyone and He’s given you a personal encounter and filled you with His Spirit to accomplish the task. If you’ve not got this FIRE (Zeal) to share Jesus with others, then there’s something wrong with your faith. God’s LOVE compels us to share with others what He’s given to us: So share Jesus today.
Have an awesome Sunday my friends.
If you’ve never done so before, can I encourage you today to come to Jesus Christ; Repent and seek His forgiveness, know that He’s paid the price for all your sins upon the cross and turn to Him now. He’ll give you the gift of the Holy Spirit as a way that you can know that you’ve been forgiven, your place in Heaven is secure and you are living a PEACE with God forever. Come NOW is the Day to be SAVED from Sin. Come today is the day of Salvation from sin.
Don.

Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Do All Religions Lead To God?

Daily Spirit & Word, 441: “Do All Religions Lead To God?”.

 

Do ALL Religions Lead To God?
Do ALL Religions Lead To God?

Daily Spirit & Word, 441: Do ALL Religions Lead To God?

Questions & Objections to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Good morning my friends, I thought I’d start a week thinking through some of the common objections and questions that people have, give or say when we are out sharing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We go out each week onto the streets of London and we talk to all kinds of people. London, believe it or not, is a very ‘religious’ place, because almost every week we encounter folks who follow lots of different religions and faiths. This makes sharing Jesus challenging, exciting and sometimes perplexing, but definitely always interesting, because people have strongly held beliefs. But there are many we come across, probably the majority, who believe in God’s existence, but don’t follow any one particular path or religious sect.

London is a VERY religious place.

The reasons for that are many. London is a hub of peoples from all over the world so many come with their own religious traditions; we’ve got people from Poland who tend to be nominal Roman Catholics. I say nominal because they are normally baptised as babies, but don’t continue to follow the faith or do so quite sporadically. Chinese people who follow Pagan ancestral worship, Buddhism and some Christians (these are the folks we’ve met, but I know there are many more religions in China). We’ve met Muslims from many nations and they’ll even say to us; “We must be tolerant of one another, because we all worship the same God”… But we’ve met other Muslims who believe that ‘Allah’ revealed through the teachings of their Prophet Mohammed is the only way.

So to answer the question: Do All Religions Lead To God? We first need to consider the statement is normally given in response to our sharing about Jesus with folks. You see we don’t normally get to the point of someone saying “All religions lead to God” immediately, it comes after we’ve talked about Jesus or the Christian faith for a while. The reason people are responding with the statement is because they are like a fish wriggling on the fishing line. When you catch a fish with the bait of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they normally put up a strong fight, sometimes all the way, until they are landed safely on the bank and in the net. They’ll often-times only give up the struggle when you’ve knocked them on the head with a fisherman’s knock ūüôā But we don’t do that with those we hope to win to Jesus.

When you catch a fish on the hook baited with the Gospel, they’ll normally put up a fight. No fish wants to be landed ūüôā

What’s the REAL problem for the FISH that’s wriggling against the tug of the Gospel? We’ve normally presented the Gospel of Jesus Christ by that stage, and though they can see and understand the good news of Jesus, they’re still not prepared to come to the Saviour. They’ve understood what Jesus did upon the Cross and how He died there for their sins, because we’ve taken time to show a person how¬†they’ve offended against a Holy God by breaking His commandments. They’ve admitted to themselves, that they’d be in deep trouble if they were to die and face a Holy Just and Righteous God on Judgement Day. We’ve shown them that Jesus is the answer to the dilema of sin, He’s the solution for Mankind’s SIN problem. But they want it to be more open than that, their thinking is; “It’s too narrow, it’s too dogmatic, there must be another valid way of being saved other than Jesus or the vast majority of people in the world will be condemned to eternal torment in Hell”…

Also, they’ve been raised in an Education system that devotes a great deal of time and teaching on being tolerant of other people’s faiths and beliefs, the end result is that we’ve raised a few generations of people in the UK now, who believe there is NO one way, that all faiths must be respected and that ultimately leads to the majority thinking that all faiths MUST¬†lead to God.

Some believe that being ‘Sincere’ in what you believe is what’s most important to God. They believe that a genuinely ‘sincere’ person will be welcomed into Heaven, because they’ve been sincere about the religion they’ve been taught since a baby.

There is also a big problem of not wanting to offend family, friends and country; If they were to accept that Jesus is the only way to God, they’d loose out big time, some would be rejected or shunned by those they love the most in life, if they trusted in Jesus Christ. In some places in the world they would be in danger of loosing their lives if they converted to Christianity from another religion.

So they’ll say, “All religions lead to God”: because they don’t want to offend others, they want to appear open-minded and tolerant or because they want to stick with what’s become familiar or for fear of what might happen to them.

Another abjection to the Gospel we’ll hear often is, “People should be left to choose their own way and make up their own mind”. This is the objection of ‘Free Choice’. Yes my friends we too agree with you on that one, and so does God. That’s why He will not force anyone to accept Jesus. No one can make another person become a Christian; Evangelists can’t neither can; Priests, Popes or Pastors. They can’t make people into Christians just by baptising them in water or by being religious or by making them attend church. God will not force people to be saved against their wills, but He will hold them to account and they will be responsible for their freedom of choice, so we have an human, loving, responsibility to show them the error of this kind of thinking. You ARE free to choose, but you’d better make certain you choose the right one or the right way, because your eternal destiny is at stake.

These arguments and objections to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the fact that He is the ONLY way to heaven are just ways of trying to evade the need of commitment to one way or one person. You can sometimes see what’s happening, the fish get uncomfortable and wriggle harder close to the point of submission and being landed on the shore. Their flawed thinking is that by saying these things it allows them some wriggling room, some way of evading the hard choice of responding and being committed to Jesus Christ.

Therefore, How can a Christian land and net this wriggly fish?
I think it is wise to admit that God can and does give people the light of His self-revelation, to know that there is a God who created everything and that people respond to that revelation by being religious and worshipping. However, what people normally worship in response to God’s self-revelation, is man-made religious rules and regulations. Or they’ll often worship what’s been created by God instead of God Himself: The Bible calls that Idolatry – it’s making a god to suit yourself.

Did you know that the statement “All Religions Lead To God” is a form of idolatry too? Because we’re saying something about the God of the Bible that’s NOT true, in a way we’re making a god that we’re comfortable with, that doesn’t demand too much from us and that ultimately will accept people no matter what they believe.

Does it matter what people believe? Are there others ways of being SAVED from God’s wrath and anger against sin and rebellion apart from Jesus Christ? Is it too narrow-minded to declare that Jesus is the ONLY way of Salvation for human beings today?

DEBATE: It’s good to debate with people and get their viewpoints, it’s interesting to hear what they are thinking in regards to faith and religion and to know what path they are currently following. But when you get to this point and they say; “All Religions Lead To God”… What are you going to say to help them see the error of that kind of thinking?

Remember first; we’re in good company, because the Apostle Paul often debated with people in the streets about faith and trust in the LORD Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself was out and about with the people, doing exactly what He’s called Christians to be doing: Sharing the Message of the Kingdom and how people can know God for themselves today.

Secondly: Admit that what they say would be really nice. If all religions really lead to God, then we wouldn’t be out on the streets telling people about Jesus Christ, because if what they are saying is true, then we could just leave people alone and let them be comfortable with their decision that no matter what you believe, God will let you into Heaven.

Thirdly: The REALITY: Every religion teaches a different way to God, so they can’t ALL be right. You could ask the person who says this too you; “All Religions Lead To God” you can respond with, “That’s really interesting, what teaching in each religion leads people of all religions to the same God?” They’ve responded to me by saying things like, “Most religions offer peace and harmony and tolerance and being a good person” That’s right they do, but is that enough to satisfy God?

You see Christianity teaches that we can never be good enough to enter into heaven, no matter how hard we try.

Some will say that the Ten Commandments revealed in most religions are the way to be saved, but we then gently show people that following the Ten Commandments just leaves every single person on the earth condemned, because no one has ever kept all of them and God’s standards of holiness and perfection are just too hard and impossible achieve. Most religions teachings and that of Jesus on goodness overlap, but Jesus always goes further than every other religion in the world. He says, “be perfect as my father in Heaven is perfect.” None of us can be perfect and we are all left failing and condemned because we’ve not obeyed the Ten Commandments.

Once they understand the difference between Christianity and every other religion, they are ready to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news that Jesus died to make it possible for people of all faiths and none to be saved from God’s wrath and anger against sin. It’s not too narrow to show people Jesus is the only way, when you know that what they are believing will leave them condemned by God and on their way to certain judgement. The loving thing to do is to show people the folly of their thinking; “All Religions Lead To God”, and showing them the TRUTH; “ONLY JESUS CAN SAVE YOU”.

Winning An Argument: My friends, when we engage people with the Gospel, we’re not out to win arguments with people, we’re not going out to brow-beat people into submission, we’re going out to win people for Jesus Christ and His love compels us to reach out and save them. God wants all people to be saved, but He’ll not force them and neither should we. If we win an argument we can loose a friend for life. We’re going out to share and we must depend upon the Holy Spirit to guide us, lead us in conversations, because every individual is different and though they sometimes say the same old things, their thinking and beliefs about them can be as varied as the colours on a black-bird’s wings.

We know that Jesus is the only way, because we know Jesus. He’s revealed Himself to us and brought us out of darkness into His marvellous light. We know that all other religions are false, but we must be gentle with folks who hold fast to the faith of their fathers, who have no faith at all and who doubt the very existence of God. When they say, “All Religions Lead To God”, that’s their safety net, but with gentle persuasion and revelation of truth in humility, hopefully in God’s good timing, they’ll see, they know and they’ll understand that what we were telling them was TRUE.

My friends, look carefully at what Jesus said about Himself being the ONLY way to Heaven.
John 14:5-14
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.
7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.
12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.
14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

And that one day, every KNEE will bow to Jesus.
Philippians 2:9-11
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

You’ll not convince anyone of these truths without first ploughing up their hard hearts with the revelation that comes from sharing the LAW of God, revealed in the Ten Commandments, because they show everyone of every faith that we all need a Saviour. The LAW is a Schoolmaster who teaches us our need for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death in our place upon the Cross for sin.

Don’t be afraid of the objection or statement, “ALL RELIGIONS LEAD TO GOD”, because God will equip you by His Holy Spirit to enable you to demonstrate the folly of that kind of thinking.

Have and AWESOME Monday and a whole week of SOAKING yourself in God’s Word and Truth.
Don.

Can also be read on St Luke’s Church Facebook Page.

Recommended Reading:

For more information on why there are so many religions in the world and an answere to the question; “Do all religions lead to God?” A great source of information is Got Questions Website. Enjoy the extended reading. May the LORD bless you. Don.