The Let Us Statements in the Book of Hebrews

Going Deeper with God The Let Us, Lettuce, in the book of Hebrews

Daily Spirit & Word: 701: Lettuce Christians.

The Fantastic Fourteen “Let Us” in the Book of Hebrews.

I had a funny thought this morning, I know, I know, I get them all the time ūüôā I was quickly reading through the book of Hebrews and was struck by the number of time I came across the short phrase “Let us”… Then I remembered how when I was a young Christian I overheard an older, more mature, believer say, “I do wish the minister would stop saying ‘Let Us’ anyone would think we a salad Christians”. It makes me laugh out loud even today.

Then I Googled “Let Us in the Book of Hebrews”... WOWzer! GOOGLE It’s full of Lettuce¬† ūüėõ

So my friends, whenever you hear your Minister in his sermon saying “Let us”… Don’t go rolling your eyes, don’t go thinking to yourself “Here we go again”, because when your Minister says “Let us” he is in GREAT company, for God’s Word is choc-full of “Let us”… It seems to me that God wants those He’s chosen to belong to His family to allow Him to change them into confident and assured children.

He could have given a direct command from Heaven, instead He encourages us in much more gentle tones “Let us” as if He’s involved in it with us.

Here are the 14 “Let Us” Statements from the book of Hebrews.

Dwell upon and think about each one… “I LOVE LETTUCE” ūüôā

Let us in the Book of Hebrews:

1) “Fear,” – Hebrews 4:1.

2) “Be diligent,” – Hebrews 4:11.

3) “Hold fast,” – Hebrews 4:14.

4) “Draw near with confidence to the throne of grace,” – Hebrews 4:16.

5) “leave elementary teaching,” – Hebrews 6:1. (Lettuce Leaves).

6) “Draw near,” – Hebrews 10:22.

7) “Hold unswervingly,” – Hebrews 10:23.

8) “Stimulate one another,” – Hebrews 10:24.

9 & 10) “Lay aside every encumbrance… and run with endurance,” – Hebrews 12:1.

11) “Fix our eyes on Jesus” – Hebrews 12:2.

12) “Be Thankful,” – Hebrews 12:28.

13) “Go out,” – Hebrews 13:13.

14) “Offer up a sacrifice of praise,” – Hebrews 13:15.

Every single “Let us” in the book of Hebrews is like a Divine invitation into the deeper Christian life. When we practice these encouragements, when we’re obedient to them, we are going to be so immensely blessed as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.

So the next time your hear it, don’t roll your eyes upwards, but let your heart be stimulated to KNOW you are HEARING God’s Word of exhortation to do something truly wonderful for Him, but in the doing it’s YOU that’s going to benefit.

Let us turn now to the Lord in prayer ūüôā

I remember once having a “Bring and Share Supper”. We’re encouraged to bring something so that we can all share in a great big meal. When everyone had arrived, guess what we had? Nothing but salad, everyone had brought along LETTUCE and other salad vegetables. It was strange, but I’ve never forgotten our salad fellowship meal. Someone quipped that night, as prayers were offered, “Oh Lord Jesus Christ, we are just a few Salad Christians, Lettuce draw near with faith” Everyone laughed out loud. But we’re closer to Jesus Christ because of it.

But my friends, on this Wednesday morning, half-way through the week, LET US be encouraged to go deeper with Jesus.

  • Let us, Be full of God’s Spirit.
  • Let us, Be doers of God’s Word.
  • Let us, Take Christ’s yoke and burden, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
  • Let us, Go to Him, outside the camp, bearing the disgrace He bore for us.

Prayer: Oh Lord, let us be “Let us” Christians. Amen!

Have a wonderful day with Jesus.

Don.

P.S. Alpha last night was something special. We had the TALK on Faith. We discovered that the word “FAITH” is over used and undervalued, it’s misunderstood and misapplied. People call ‘religious’ people, “Faith Communities”, no matter what religion they come from. You know when you see the proverbial penny drop, well some people last night had that experience. At the end of the evening I said this; “There is a real difference between faith and FAITH”… Faith in Jesus Christ isn’t simply believing that He existed, died upon a cross for our sins, rose again from the grave and ascended into Heaven. That’s NOT saving FAITH, but merely intellectual assent. It’s just acknowledging the facts. However, saving FAITH is when we know all these things are true and then we respond to Jesus by putting our TRUST in Jesus for our SALVATION.

It’s a bit like this. You know that No2 Bus will take you to Brixton, but when the bus comes along, even though you read the sign at the front that says “Brixton”, you know it’s true, the bus has arrived, you see others getting aboard, but something is stopping you getting aboard.

My friends, to get to Heaven you need to exercise SAVING FAITH and put your trust in Jesus. Get aboard, stop doubting, believe that He can carry you all the way to Heaven.

P.P.S: Tonight: Street Witnessing: We’re going out tonight to share the Gospel on the Streets of West Norwood in London. Have you ever gone out to share the FAITH of Jesus Christ? You can come with us. You can be trained to share the Good News the way that Jesus did. Every time I go out, I’m a bit nervous to begin with, breaking the ice with complete¬†strangers¬†is never easy, but from long years of experience of doing just that, I know that Jesus is with me. He gives me His WORD in season for those who stop and chat. I’ve seen Him move upon people by His Spirit. I’ve seen His power at work in people to draw them to Himself. All because we’ve gone out in faith. Come! Come and share, because there are many people who are headed for Hell and don’t know it, their Eternal Destiny is in your hands. Jesus Commanded us to “GO” in His Great Commission. It was a call for every follower of Jesus to go out and share the Good News with everyone. How’s your faith sharing going? Don’t just be a pew-warmer on a Sunday, get your sleeves rolled up and get on with the work, it’s a JOY to share in Jesus Kingdom business of winning souls for Heaven. Sharing the Gospel is the MOST loving thing you could ever do for someone.

If you need ENCOURAGEMENT today.

Here are the Fourteen “Let Us” statements, they are encouraging verses from Hebrews.

(God’s Word is Choc Full of Lettuce ūüôā “Let Us”).

Hebrews 4:1 (NIV) Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.

Hebrews 4:11 (NIV) Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no-one will fall by following their example of disobedience.

Hebrews 4:14 (NIV)  Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.

Hebrews 4:16 (NIV) Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 6:1 (NIV) Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God,

Hebrews 10:22 (NIV) let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

Hebrews 10:23 (NIV) Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10:24 (NIV) And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds.

Hebrews 12:1 (NIV) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Hebrews 12:2 (NIV) Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:28 (NIV) Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,

Hebrews 13:13 (NIV) Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore.

Hebrews 13:15 (NIV) Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise‚ÄĒthe fruit of lips that confess his name.

Did you notice the Lettuce Leaves in Hebrews 6:1? i.e. “Let us leave …”

“I LOVE LETTUCE”

The Fantastic Fourteen “Let Us” Statements in the Book of Hebrews.

 

The Compromised Church

Tolerating Sexual Immorality

Daily Spirit & Word 700: The Church Needs Jesus Christ.

Because Satan Has His Throne Amongst Us Today.

Good morning my friends, don’t you just love the book of Revelation? Some are frightened of reading it, primarily because of themes of the Second Death, like yesterday’s reading. Today we see Pergamum (Pergamos) a Church that tolerated gross error amongst it’s members.¬†
The first letter to Ephesus addressed churches that forsake their first love, the second to Smyrna (Izmir) encouraged those who experienced severe persecution, today Pergamum represents churches that tolerates all kinds of immoral behaviour amongst its members. There are churches like these in every generation of Christianity.
Revelation 2:12-17 (NIV) Pergamum.
12¬†“To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.
13 ¬†I know where you live‚ÄĒwhere Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city‚ÄĒwhere Satan lives.
14  Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality.
15  Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.
16  Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
17  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.

The City of Pergamum (Pergamos):

The ancient city of Pergamos was about 700 miles north of Smyrna (present day Izmir) and 15 miles inland from the Aegean Sea. On the site of Pergamos today sits a town called Bergama, which has a population of about 61,400. However, it has been estimated that in its heyday Pergamos had a population of more than 160,000.
While Ephesus and Smyrna were commercial cities, Pergamos was a cultural and religious center. Four major pagan temples were located there: the temples to Athena, Asclepisus (the god of healing, whose insignia was the entwined serpent on a staff, which is still the medical symbol today), Dionysus (or Bacchus; the wine god. whose wine, music and ecstatic dance frees his followers from self-conscious fear and or care, and subverts the oppressive moral and civil restraints.), and Zeus (which had the largest altar in the world and was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World). Pergamos was an intellectual center with a university that had a library of about 200,000 volumes. That doesn’t seem to be such a large library by our standards today, but remember in John’s day there was no printing press‚ÄĒall books were written by hand and very few ordinary people could actually read.¬†
Therefore we can see that¬†Pergamos was an important city in John’s day because of its religious, cultural, and intellectual influence. However, Jesus has quite a few words to say about that great City and it’s Christians.¬†We’ll delve into some of those things that were happening in Pergamum; first Jesus commends them and their faithfulness, being true to the name of Jesus Christ. You know how you feel when someone pays a genuine compliment, when they acknowledge your hard work and devotion? Well, they’d suffered a great deal for the Lord Jesus in Pergamum. Those early Christians suffered a lot for their faith. I’m often left wondering how I would cope under such circumstances, yet we are fast approaching a time when genuine faith and belief in Jesus is becoming very difficult indeed. Pergamum’s Christian Community is commended by Jesus.
Pergamum: The letter is written to specific Christians in time, yet it also applies to Christians and churches in every generation. Pergamum’s Christians tolerated IMMORALITY: Our own Church, the Church of England, has a large number of members who want to tolerate sexual perversion too, to support those who practice Homosexuality, to promote them to become Priests and Bishops. Whilst we must all love people and help them in their struggles with all kinds of temptations and fleshly pulls, I wonder what Christ would write to the Church in England today? Their argument is; the Bible was written in a time and context, a culture when these practices were not tolerated, but they are very wrong indeed, as we can see from our text today and the history of Pergamum. Sexual perversion was rife in the time of the Apostles, and they, inspired by God the Holy Spirit, condemned it as abhorrent to God. They didn’t mince their words either. There are some in Anglicanism today who also argue that the Bible doesn’t teach us homosexuality is wrong, how they come to that conclusion is bewildering, a twisting of the Word of God. Because any plain reading of Scripture clearly reveals God’s anger at this kind of perversion. God’s appeal is not to culture or tradition or even reason, but to His Creation Ordinance: i.e. His original intention for human beings. Man is not made (Created) to lie with another man as one lays with a woman. No wonder so many people today don’t like Genesis and the Creation account in Scripture. If we can discard God’s Creation and replace it with a Big Bang Theory, then everything is up for grabs. If God didn’t Create the Universe and it just happened by some kind of cosmic accident, then we’re our own masters of our destiny. The phrase “I am the master of my fate, I am the Captain of my soul” becomes the motto of our generation, and sadly it has become such. Just like the old crooner Frank Sinatra who boldly sang; “I did it my way”, so the world and many in our church today want to sing the same song; “I want to do it my way”… Let’s keep trying with all our might to do it Jesus way.
Pergamum wasn’t just rife with homosexuality, but all kinds of sexual immorality, just as the Church in the world is today. ¬†
Jesus didn’t say “I have this one thing against you Christians in Pergamum” No, He said, “I have a few things against you” then Jesus goes onto explain what they are and warns them, that if they don’t renounce and repent they’re going to experience His double-edged sword. (Remember that double-edged sword? It comes out of His mouth: that is a weird picture in my head, but John the Apostle saw it in his vision of Jesus). The Double-Edged Sword: can cut you to the bone. It judges the thoughts and inclinations of the heart.¬†

Satan:

Twice in Verse 13, Christ reveals that Satan dwells in Pergamos. He says this city is even where Satan’s seat is. Imagine that a City where Satan has his throne? There is no doubt this is referring to the fact that Pergamos was the center of Pagan worship and also promoted Emperor worship. Pergamos was a place where you could “take your pick” of the gods. Like Woolworths used to have all kinds of sweets and you just pic-n-mix what you fancy. Imagine then the offence Christians became in the nostrils of the people of Pergamos. They dared to declare that Jesus Christ was the ONE True God and the Only Saviour of mankind who demands total and exclusive obedience, that following Him would mean sexual and moral obedience in life, this would certainly provoke severe persecution in John’s day, just as is it beginning to do in our own time here in the UK. Satan wants to drive the followers of Jesus into hiding by bringing persecution: how’s he doing today?
Remember the Bible warns us that Satan is not in Hell yet, that will happen later as we shall see in Revelation. However what does it tell us about Satan?¬† 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV) “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” He’s real, he’s around, he’s looking to pull you away from Jesus.
Tomorrow we’re going to go further with Pergamum: Their¬†Holding to the Teaching of Balaam:
But today, think about your Church, what is Jesus telling us to be like today? 
His desire has not changed, Jesus wants a PURE Bride ready for His return.
James 1:21-22 (NIV)¬†“Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent, and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.¬†22 ¬†Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
How? Don’t tolerate moral filth in your own life. Don’t be tempted. Don’t give into your old sinful and fleshly nature and it’s evil desires for self-gratification.¬†
How? Flee Sexual Immorality:
1 Corinthians 6:17-20 (NIV) “But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.¬†18 ¬†Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.¬†19 ¬†Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;¬†20 ¬†you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body.”
PRAYER: Oh Lord Jesus Christ, just like Isaiah, we live in a time when all kinds of immorality are accepted as ‘normal’ for human beings, yet You have called us to live such good lives among the people of this world. I’m praying today Lord for all who follow You, we need another mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We need a revival in our land. We need it personally and in our fellowships. Oh Lord bring your Church closer to You. Help us in our weakness. Give us the power to live every day for You Lord” Amen!
Your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit.
Be ONE with the LORD in Spirit.
Have an awesome day with Jesus.
Don.

What is the Second Death?

The Lake of Fire and The Second Death

Daily Spirit & Word: 699: The Fear Of Death.

The Second Death = The Lake of Fire.

A few days ago I wrote about the second of seven letters to churches in Revelation, the one to Smyrna, present day Izmir in Turkey. At the end of that short letter was the theme “The Second Death” which I didn’t touch upon. The Second Death is the major theme of the whole book of Revelation.

Remember that Jesus has nothing bad to say about that Church in Smyrna, can you imagine Jesus having nothing bad to say about you? Anyway, there is an encouragement to overcome, and if you overcome there is no fear of the ‘Second Death’.

One thing I know for sure is this, “Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die”… Until death is looming, nobody really gives it a second thought.

Here’s a nice song from Alison Krauss listen as you read.

Questions: What is the “Second Death”? and what does it mean to “Overcome”? “How can I be sure that I will not taste the second death?”

Revelation 2:8-11 (NIV)
8¬†“To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.
9 ¬†I know your afflictions and your poverty‚ÄĒyet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
10  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.
11  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.

What is the Second Death?

Well the first death is what we all go through. It’s a fact that 10 out of 10 people die. Unless of course Jesus returns before you die. We’re all going to die. Many / most people are quietly getting along with their lives today, not giving their first death a second thought. Most people burry their heads in the sand like the proverbial¬†Ostrich, pretending there is no danger…

“Bury Your Head In The Sand:”

This comes from the supposed habit of ostriches hiding when faced with attack by predators. The story was first recorded by the Roman writer Pliny the Elder, who suggested that ostriches hide their heads in bushes. Ostriches don’t hide, either in bushes or sand, although they do sometimes lie on the ground to make themselves inconspicuous. The ‘burying their head in the sand’ myth is likely to have originated from people observing them lowering their heads when feeding.

The notion is that the supposedly dumb ostrich believes that if it can’t see its attacker then the attacker can’t see it.

I’ve observed that in two year old toddlers, who think that when they hide their face or eyes you can’t see them. My grandson Karamoko loves the game of hiding things and me pretending I don’t know where it is.

People are a bit like that Ostrich though, they pretend to themselves that they are never going to die.

I’ve heard a lot of Pop Songs with that theme in them… “I’m going to live forever…” Most young soldiers don’t believe they are going to die. The Royal Marines believe they are the “Crem-de-la-Crem” of fighting forces, that’s drummed into young recruits, it helps them to believe they are invincible and will not die.

So if people are not scared by the prospect of the first death, why would they ever be afraid of the second death?

Jesus warned people about the Second Death.

Matthew 10:28 (NIV)¬†“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Your soul is eternal, it cannot be killed, it will never die. It’s part of you that lingers from God’s Original Creation: Adam and Eve were made to live forever, God didn’t intend for them to die, ever, but because they sinned against God’s Command, Death came into Creation and Adam and Eve eventually died physically, but their soul lives on to this day. Every human being since Adam and Eve have been infected with the same disease called sin, and it’s because of sin that human beings die. However, that first death is not the end, there is a kind of second death, the death of the soul in Hell. It doesn’t mean that even there we cease to exist, but we are as good a dead eternally in a place that’s been reserved only for Satan and His army of Demons, fallen angels. No human being was ever intended by God to go to Hell forever, in fact that’s why God sent His Son Jesus into this world, to save mankind, so that no one would ever end up in Hell. The only people who will taste the second death in hell are those who die in their sins, those who’s sins have not been washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ.

You see my friends, it’s Sin that brings the first death and sin that brings the second death. If we die still contaminated with sin in our life, then God cannot allow us to contaminate His Holy Heaven.

Rotten Chicken:

I love the illustration of this: You buy some bits of chicken from the Supermarket, six pieces of Chicken breast are ok, but one bit of chicken smells a bit off. You ask your wife to have a sniff and she confrims, “It smells off”… Would you then put that piece of chicken in the fridge with the good pieces of chicken? Of course not! Why? Because it would “CONTAMINATE” the other good bits of chicken. My friends, it just makes sense that God will not allow a contaminated sinner to enter His Holy Heaven, because we’d contaminate Heaven.

Jesus The Just Judge:

Jesus will not allow a sinner into Heaven because He is also a Just Judge.

Most people think that the Second Death is nothing to worry about. They believe they’ll go to Heaven because God is loving and kind and will forgive them in the end. But what does Jesus say? “be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” BE AFRAID… It’s healthy to have such a fear of Jesus / God that we’re ready to repent of our sins. Because one day, Judgement is coming. Be sure of that my friends.¬† Hebrews 9:27 (NIV) “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face¬†judgement,…”

Jesus is the just judge and He’s not going to allow any sinful person into Heaven. How do we know this?

The Second Death:

It is a scary prospect. Having a healthy fear of death and the second death is good for your eternal soul.

Check to BE SURE: “Are YOU in The Faith”?

My friends, when was the last time you checked to BE SURE, BE CERTAIN, to KNOW that you are in the FAITH of Christ?

2 Corinthians 13:5-6 (NIV) Examine Yourself.
5 ¬†Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realise that Christ Jesus is in you‚ÄĒunless, of course, you fail the test?¬†6 ¬†And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.

Recently I had an appointment with the Doctor, it was a routine exam for men over 50. A kind of MOT to examine me to make sure I was fit or not. It’s good for Christians who believe they are saved to check now and again to be SURE and CERTAIN that they are walking with Christ today as they did when they first trusted Him as Lord.

Paul says, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith”… Notice he says it twice: “Examine yourself” then “Test yourselves”… That tells me we can be deceived. We can fool ourselves. Just like those who act like the proverbial ostrich who pretend they are not going to die, some people so love ‘religion’ they’ll fool themselves into believing they are Christians when they are not. They are what the Bible calls “FALSE CONVERTS”… or “Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing”… They look and act like sheep, like God’s flock, but they are not converted, they are not born again, they are not one with Christ, they don’t have Christ as Lord or as the Good Shepherd of their lives. FALSE CONVERTS sometimes don’t know they are false, that’s why Paul encouraged the Corinthians to check to see if they are in the faith. Are you sure you are in the faith of Jesus Christ?

Here’s HOW to be sure you’ll not taste the SECOND DEATH.

Here’s HOW to be CERTAIN you’ll pass from death to life.

Here’s HOW to be sure and certain you are IN the Faith of Jesus Christ.

A) Acknowledge you have sinned and broken God’s Commandments.¬†This is crucial to beginning a walk of faith with Jesus. Acknowledging that you are a sinner. That you know everyone who has sinned will be condemned to Hell because they’ve broken God’s Commandments and have become contaminated with sin. That God will never allow a contaminated sinner into his holy heaven.

How have we sinned? We’ve broken God’s Commandments.

The Ten Commandments: Exodus 20:2-17.

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. You shall not make idols.
  3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  5. Honour your father and your mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet.

1 Corinthians 6:8-11 (NIV)
8  Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.
9  Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
10  nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
11  And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Acknowledging that you have sinned is the first step to Salvation.

Romans 3:22-24 (NIV)
22  This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,
23  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24  and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

B) Repent: Turn away from sin. Sin is rebellion against God. It’s living life your own way (DIY)… Frank Sinatra “I did it my way”… Notice his second name “SINatra”… It’s sinful to live your life as if God doesn’t exist. When you live your life as if God’s not real or as if He’ll just wink at your sin and let you into heaven is only fooling yourself. Every sinner will be punished forever in Hell. But God doesn’t want that, He wants you to turn and be forgiven for every sin.¬† 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV) “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Unless you repent you will perish in Hell.

Luke 13:3 (NIV) “I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
Luke 13:5 (NIV) “I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

Jesus said it twice… Repent or Perish in Hell.

The real idea behind REPENTANCE: is to have a strong desire to begin to live God’s way instead of your own way. To live a righteous and holy life from now on. It’s to have a desire to be ‘good’. We don’t have the power yet to be good, but it wanting to live like Jesus that God is looking for. Do you have that desire today?

C) Confess: Confess your sins to Jesus. Don’t just admit you’ve sinned, tell Jesus how you’ve sinned. How you’ve broken His commandments: The lies you’ve told, the things you’ve stolen, the lusts you’ve had, the things you’ve been coveting, how you’ve been disobedient to your parents, how you’ve not put God first in your life. Confess those sins to Jesus.

D) Receive Jesus Christ As Your Lord:

As soon as you believe in Jesus, Admit you’ve sinned, Repent of your sins and Confess your sins to Jesus, then you are ready to RECEIVE Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. He’ll come into your life and make you into a new person. You’ll become a saint: Sanctified and set apart by God the Holy Spirit. You’ll receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and that will enable you to live the full and abundant life that Jesus promised to all who received Him as Lord. John 10:10.

Now receive Jesus by faith: “Lord Jesus Christ, I come to you, I believe that you died upon the cross for all my sins. I acknowledge that I have sinned by breaking your Commandments, I know that if I don’t receive your forgiveness I’m doomed to spend eternity in Hell. I know it would be the just punishment and penalty for all my sins. I repent of all my sin, I turn away from living my life for myself and want to live from this day forward for You. I believe that when you died upon that Cross You died in my place taking my punishment and paid the price for my sins. Today I receive you as my Lord and Saviour. Please come into my life as Lord and send the Holy Spirit to give me the New Birth. Help me to live every day from now on for You Lord Jesus. Amen!

The Second Death:

The Second Death is the Lake of Fire: Reserved for Satan and all who die in their sins.

Revelation 20:14-15 (NIV)
14  Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.
15 ¬†If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

My friends, the Second Death holds no fear for those who have tested themselves to ensure they are in the faith of Jesus Christ, they have crossed over already from Death to Life Eternal.

John 3:36 (NIV) “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

The Real Danger:

The DANGER is that there are some who say “I believe in Jesus” as if that is enough to ensure Heaven. It’s NOT, because even the Devil believes in Jesus. Simple “Belief” is not the same as SAVING FAITH. You need to also; Repent and Receive Jesus as Lord of your life. You’ll know if you’ve done that if you’ve received the Holy Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit is growing in your life today. i.e. You have more peace today than you did when you first believed in Jesus. More; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are the fruits of a holy life with Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.

2 Corinthians 6:1-2 (NIV) “As God’s fellow-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.¬†2 ¬†For he says, “In the time of my favour I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation.” “Repent or Perish”…

If You’ve Failed The Test:

“What happens if I fail the test, if I’m not in the faith of Jesus Christ?”

If you say you “Believe in Jesus” but your life has not changed, there are no obvious fruits of repentance, then you’ve probably failed the TEST of 2 Corinthians 13:5-6 (above). Keep believing in Jesus, but also; confess your sins, turn from sin in repentance and receive Jesus Christ as Lord. Because once your receive Him you will be Born Again:¬† John 1:12-13 (NIV)¬†“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God‚ÄĒ¬†13 ¬†children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”

Once you are Born Again you will begin to produce the fruit of repentance, the fruit of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Holy Spirit will be evident in you as you live for Jesus.

  • Once you KNOW Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour.
  • Once you KNOW you’ve been born of the Spirit.

Then (And ONLY then) the Second Death is nothing at all to worry about, because you are ONE of those who have already overcome. Praise the Lord! Your salvation is not dependent upon your own goodness, but the goodness of Jesus Christ living in you. John 15. If you receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour after repenting and believing in Him, then your name will be written in the Lamb’s book of life.

What’s sobering for me on this Monday morning is this: If anyone’s name is NOT in the Lamb’s book of life, then they will be thrown into the lake of fire and experience the second death with Satan and all His Demons forever. That’s a horrific thought, God doesn’t want anyone to perish and no one in their right minds would want anyone to spend eternity in the Lake of fire. Let’s snatch as many as we can from the flames licking at their feet. Who do you know who isn’t SAVED yet? Share the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus with them soon.

Today is the DAY of Salvation.

Have an AWESOME week with Jesus.

Don’t FEAR the Second Death if you are IN Jesus.

Be sure and certain your own name is written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Trust in Jesus Christ today.

Don.

 

Foolishness of D.I.Y. Faith

Boast ONLY in the Cross of Jesus Christ

Daily Spirit & Word: 698: Boast Only About Jesus.

What a DAY of D.I.Y. Taught me.

Good morning my friends, I had a wonderful day-off yesterday. Over at my daughter’s house, I was put to work on DIY. I don’t know how you feel about DIY, but I don’t relish the thought. However once I get started it’s quite good fun. Of course I was shadowed by my two year old grandson, Karamoko. He¬†had his tools all ready too, but once he saw my new electric screwdriver, he wanted to play with that. I’ve never seen a kid so enthusiastic about helping with DIY, he loves toolboxes, tools, carrying, lifting heavy things and putting screws in. He also loves to watch “Bob the Builder”… He’s going to be absolutely brilliant at DIY one day soon. He helped me; put up a curtain rail, take apart a huge table, put together a new table, take apart his old cot and put together his brand new big-boy’s bed. He learned about taking care of the small packages of screws, following instructions, being careful with sharp things and how two are better than one.

DIY: Means “Do It Yourself”… As is my weakness or strength, I followed a rabbit trail yesterday and again this morning. The rabbit trail I’m talking about is Bible Study. Yesterday I wrote about us not being able to pull-the-wool over God’s eyes and how “God cannot be mocked” from Galatians 6. Well, I kept on reading and this little verse jumped out at me. It’s a bit like Karamoko going through the toolbox and finding an interesting item that he’s never seen before. You know what question he always asks don’t you? “What’s this Papa?” next “What’s it for Papa?”… Then I’ll have to say, “Here Moko, let me show you”…

Here’s what the LORD gave me to share from His Toolbox with you today.

Galatians 6:14 (NIV) “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

“May I never boast”: Truth is we all LOVE boasting. We long for others to know how brilliant we are, don’t we? Paul is not talking about the normal things in life here, he’s talking about boasting about how morally good he is or isn’t. The young Church in Galatia had been infested with Judaizers, Christians who wanted to keep the Jewish ceremonial laws and to belong to Christ at the same time. They were known for their boasting about it too and there was a real danger that some of the believers, who were young Christians, might be influenced to emulate their folly. That why Paul exclaimed, “Oh foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you?” Galatians 3:1.

NOTE: Judaizers is a term for Christians who insist that their co-religionists should follow the Law of Moses as well as being committed to Jesus Christ.

Their thinking was that because they kept the Jewish laws, they were like a kind of elevated Christian, a super Christian, better than ordinary Christians who merely trusted in the Grace, Mercy and Love of Jesus Christ. They boasted about the fact of how ‘religious’ they were and how observant of Jewish customs, traditions and laws.

You know my friends,¬†religiosity¬†counts for NOTHING in practical Christianity. It’s foolish to try and be ‘more’ religious. If you want to be a better Christian, and to be honest we all need to be better at following Jesus, don’t get more religious, get closer to Christ Himself.

That verse from;¬†Galatians 6:14 (NIV) “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” reminded me of another similar teaching the LORD has already given to us.

Jeremiah 9:23-25 (NIV)
23 ¬†This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches,¬†24 ¬†but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.
25 ¬†“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh‚ÄĒ

WOWzer! Did you know that verse from the Lord’s toolbox? Now we can see what Paul was talking about can’t we? No wonder he declared:¬†Galatians 6:14 (NIV) “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

You see my friends, Paul had been very ‘religious’ and he now counts all his religious knowledge, experience and understanding as rubbish, dross, empty and foolishness in comparison with knowing Christ Jesus as His Lord. That’s why he only wanted to boast about the Cross of Jesus. Not only that but, he couldn’t boast about Himself or his religious observance, because it didn’t bring him closer to God, it pulled him further and further away from God. Why? Because religion is DIY faith in Jesus and His Cross means “He did it for me”… It’s not our goodness that we’re trusting in, but the goodness of Jesus Christ.

Here’s is Paul’s argument about this in full, this is what he said to the young Christians in Philippi who were being troubled by Judaizers too.

Philippians 3:1-11 (NIV)
1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.
2  Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh.
3 ¬†For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh‚ÄĒ¬†4 ¬†though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more:¬†5 ¬†circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee;¬†6 ¬†as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.
7  But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
8 ¬†What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ¬†9 ¬†and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ‚ÄĒthe righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.¬†10 ¬†I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,¬†11 ¬†and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Question: Why would anyone who’s been saved by God’s Grace, Mercy and Kindness go back to being religious? Answer: They wouldn’t, couldn’t, but only FALSE Converts would think there is anything in being ‘religious’. Once you KNOW Jesus personally, it’s like being an unfaithful husband or wife to try ‘religion’ again to make you righteous in God’s sight. It’s DIY religion.

Going back to Judaism or the Law of Moses is a DIFFERENT faith entirely from that of following the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s a DIY religion, you will be depending upon your own goodness not Christ’s. The reason it’s foolishness is because NO ONE, nobody will be declared righteous by observing the LAW. Romans 3:20. Because we all fall short, we all break God’s law and when we do, we’re contaminated with SIN.

So it’s no wonder Paul and the LORD got so upset when the Galatians, Philippians and many others began to practice ‘religiosity’ all over again.

Empty ritualistic religion will never save anyone, it’s a DIY faith.

  • Let’s be very careful that we boast ONLY in the Cross of Christ.
  • Let’s be JOY filled as we remind others that we’re NOT GOOD, because we’ve broken God’s Laws.
  • Let’s be EXCITED by the fact that Jesus alone is GOOD and He is the only way for mankind to be SAVED.

Galatians 6:14 (NIV) “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I can see that there are times when I think I’m better than others at keeping the faith, help me always only to boast in the Cross of Jesus, His goodness, His love, His strength and the fact that I’m only saved by Your Grace, kindness and goodness and that You’ve drawn me to Yourself so that I can know You, the true and living God. Forgive me¬†Lord¬†for the times when I’ve been tempted to DIY my faith instead of relying upon the Holy Spirit to keep me from falling. Amen! Thank you so much for practical D.I.Y for when we’re doing the ordinary things in life, we can learn so much about the Spiritual aspects of life with You. Amen!

Have an awesome weekend with Jesus my friends.

You can learn a lot from¬†grand-kids¬†and DIY can’t you ūüôā

Don.

 

A Postcard From Heaven

Jesus is communicating at a heart to heart level

Daily Spirit & Word: 696: A Postcard From Heaven.

Jesus Knows What You Are Going Through.

Revelation: Letters to the Seven Churches; Smyrna.

Good morning my friends. With three couples we had another session of Marriage Preparation last night in Church, we were chatting mainly about communication, levels of communication. How there are five levels of conversation ranging from Hello: Which says very little at all, then sharing facts (it’s raining), then sharing of Views (I know it’s going to be sunny later), then sharing of Thoughts (I think I like the rain), then sharing of Feelings (when the rain splashes on my face it makes me feel awesome), then sharing of the Heart (How does the rain make you feel?). As we chatted it soon became obvious that there was a need to be sharing and communicating at a heart level more in all our relationships. When we share at a heart-to-heart level we don’t need to say very much at all.

In our second letter from Jesus to the Churches, you’ll observe that He doesn’t say very much at all to the church in Smyrna, it’s like a Postcard to the Persecuted Church, but we must bear in mind our LORD Jesus is communicating at a Heart-to-Heart level: He’s skipped over saying “Hello” and “I know this” and “I think this” and “I feel this” to “This is what it is”…

Revelation 2:8-11 (NIV)
8¬†“To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.
9 ¬†I know your afflictions and your poverty‚ÄĒyet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
10  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.
11  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.

Such a short letter to a church that’s undergoing severe persecution, but within such a few words so much is communicated. It’s like a well crafted line on a Valentines Card to a LOVED ONE: “Roses are red, violets are blue, storms may blast, but I’ll always love you”…

Jesus is encouraging those poor, poverty stricken, faithful under trial, persecuted and suffering believers. He wants them to know that He KNOWS. He sees everything that happens under the sun. He even sees into the Heavenly realms and knows all about Satan’s tactics to bring those brothers and sisters down.

Keep in mind as you go through the book of Revelation the whole counsel of Scripture. Within the pages of the Bible believers are warned by God, by Jesus and by the Holy Spirit that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces of evil in the Heavenly realms. We might just think we’re going through trouble, because trouble is natural, earthly, but most trouble is stirred up by Satan to “Afflict” the saints on earth.

  • Remember how Satan came to Adam and Eve? They were in the Garden of Eden (Paradise) with everything they could ever need.
  • Remember how Satan came to Jesus in the Wilderness? He was in a Desert Place with nothing.

Satan will come and tempt you, when you are in plenty or in want in your life. There is no place on this earth, no circumstance that he will not use to try to get at you. Once you are a follower of Jesus, then Satan takes note of it and begins to attack you, trying to tempt you, trying to stop you following Jesus Christ. No one is exempt. If Satan can come and try and tempt Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who Created the Universe, then my friends, he is going to come and try and tempt you too. He hates the fact that you’ve been saved and are following Jesus.

Verse 10: “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer” is a real encouragement to me today.

There’s NO NEED to BE AFRAID. Because you’ve got Jesus watching, you’ve got the Holy Spirit empowering, as Jesus did in the wilderness and overcame, you’ve got a Heavenly Father who loves you and cares for you and is watching out for you. He has promised that NOTHING in all Creation will be able to snatch you out of His all powerful hands. Submit yourselves to Him who is able to keep you from falling. Amen!

Verse 10: “I will give you the crown of life”… My friends, the gift of Eternal Life is waiting. Keep going!

NOTE: In the letter to Ephesians Revelation 2:1-7 yesterday, the promise at the end was: “I will give the right to eat from the tree of live, which is in the Paradise of God”… Today it’s “I will give you the crown of life”… Awesome promises from our Blessed Lord Jesus.

Like a Postcard To A Persecuted Church.

Like a Valentines Card Communicates His Heart.

You might be tempted to think: “They were going through all that trouble and hardship and that’s all that Jesus has to say to them, surely He could have encouraged them just a little bit more?” My friends, when you are communicating at a Heart-to-Heart level as Jesus does, you don’t need to say very much at all. Just as a Postcard reveals beautiful place and that everything’s going well. Just like a Valentines Card communicates the heart of LOVE: My friends, Just ONE WORD from the LORD will be enough to sustain you and keep you. Seek the LORD whilst He may be found.

Be blessed in Jesus today, be full of the Holy Spirit and you will be able to stand your ground against the enemy. Put on the whole armour of God (Ephesians 6:10-20).

BTW: Please, remember the levels of communication and try to get further than levels 1,2 and 3 to 4 and 5. Commune with one another at a Heart-to-Heart level.

LOVE: In Jesus,

Don.

NOTES: On Smyrna.

From The Commentary by J. Vernon McGee.

Smyrna is the martyr church, the church that suffered martyrdom for Christ. The word Smyrna means “myrrh” and carries the meaning of suffering.

The city of Smyrna is still in existence in our day. It has a Turkish name, Izmir, which may lead you astray, but it is the same city. It has been continuously inhabited from the time it was founded. I have been there; in fact, we stay in Izmir when we visit the sites of the early churches in that area. It is a commercial city. There are those who have told us that Izmir will soon be larger than Istanbul. It will certainly be a larger commercial center. There is a tremendous population there. The modern city covers so much of the ruins of ancient Smyrna that you are apt to miss the beauty which was there.

I have taken some pictures of it and use them as slides in an illustrated message. I try to point out the beauty of that harbor. It is very large and one of the most beautiful harbors that I have seen. In fact, Smyrna was one of the loveliest cities of Asia. It was called a flower, an ornament, and it has been called the crown of all Asia. The acropolis is located on Mount Pagos. In fact, the early city that goes back to about 2000 B.C., a Hittite city at that time, was built around the slope of Mount Pagos. Later Alexander the Great had a great deal to do with building it into the beautiful city that it became. There were wide boulevards along the slopes of Mount Pagos. Smyrna was called the crown city because the acropolis was encircled with flowers, a hedge, and myrtle trees. The city was adorned with noble buildings and beautiful temples — a temple of Zeus, a temple of Cybele (Diana), a temple of Aphrodite, a temple of Apollo, and a temple of Asclepius. Smyrna had a theater and an odeum, that is, a music center — it was the home of music. Also it had a stadium, and it was at that stadium that Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna and student of the apostle John, was martyred, burned alive in A.D. 155.

In Christian literature, Smyrna means “suffering.” The Lord Jesus, in His letter addressed to the church there, said that He knew their sufferings and their poverty. He had no word of condemnation for them or for the church at Philadelphia. They were the churches that heard no word of condemnation from Him, and it is interesting that these two cities, Smyrna and Philadelphia, are the only two which have had a continuous existence. Their lampstand has really been moved, but there are a few Christians in Izmir. Although they are under cover, they have made indirect contact with us when we have been there. They do not come out in the open because Christians are persecuted even today in modern Turkey.

Thru The Bible with J. Vernon McGee.

 

How’s Your First Love

Revelation Letter to Ephesus forsaken first love

Daily Spirit & Word: 695: Letters to the Churches.

How’s Your First Love?

Good morning my friends, after Sunday comes Monday. Do you sometimes get those Monday Morning Blues? You know the feeling, the weekend has been great, but it is over and it’s back to work as usual. Sometimes life can become¬†repetitive¬†and mundane. We’ve got the endless rounds of politics, elections, and horrible slandering of politicians in the News. European exit or stay campaigning. Who to believe? ¬†Perhaps we’re hungering for something new, something bright, something cheery, some really great NEWS to burst forth into our lives, news that will make the whole world so happy that they’ll just stop in their tracks and get along with one another and seek the common good of everyone. Imagine a world like that, a world without war and rumours of war. A world without disasters or disease or even death. Imagine a world where people really did love and care for each other. Wouldn’t that be outstanding? What would it take for the world to become more like the way the LORD Created it to be?

Of course we do see glimmers of it, real kindness and care from people who don’t hog the limelight. Generous people who give so much of their time and talents to a world that doesn’t even care or notice. Even in the face of blatant ingratitude, there are people who don’t even seem to count the cost to themselves and just keep on giving and giving. My wife’s a bit like that, I’m just so blessed to have a wonderful woman who really knows how to LOVE and not count the cost. Perhaps one day, like the man who was recognised many years after the war for his efforts to get hundreds of Jewish children over to the UK from Europe, away from the threats of Nazi death camps. That story made so many people cry with his selfless dedication and the risks that he took to SAVE those children. I think what moved us all was the children and grandchildren of the ones he’d saved, because without him none of them would be around today. Yes my friends there are glimmers of real HOPE in the world today.

As we reflect upon Jesus’ Letters to the Churches in early first century of Christianity, can you imagine what it must have been like for them receiving a letter from Jesus Christ?

I’m also wondering what Jesus would say to me. What would he say to you? What would He say to your Church or your leadership? Let’s take a little sneaky-peak into what Jesus wanted to say to those first Christians living in Asia all those years ago.

Revelation 2:1-7 (NIV) Jesus Message to the Christians in Ephesus. 
1¬†“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands:
2  I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.
3  You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
4  Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.
5  Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
6  But you have this in your favour: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

Do you remember what the Seven Stars and Seven Lampstands represented? (See the end of Chapter 1 of Revelation).

My friends, Jesus is walking amongst those churches, their leaders and every Christian. He’s not stopped walking amongst us also. Nothing is hidden from His sight. Nothing in all Creation. He knows everything.

Jesus reveals to John that He KNOWS all about those brothers and sisters in Ephesus.

He KNOWS their;

  • Deeds,
  • Hard work,
  • Perseverance,
  • Intolerance of wickedness,
  • Testing the Apostles, to see who’s true or false (We hate it if someone calls someone a ‘false prophet or false convert’ today don’t we, but right judgement of people is obviously a very high priority for our Heavenly Enthroned Risen and Alive Lord Jesus Christ.).
  • Perseverance is mentioned again (Verse 3)
  • Enduring hardships because of Jesus Name (The Christians in Ephesus were persecuted terribly in the first century). But they didn’t grow weary because of it.

Jesus really does KNOW these brothers and sisters in Ephesus. They have a great deal to commend and encourage. However, Jesus goes onto remind them of something critical to their walk with Him: They had forsaken their first LOVE! i.e. their DEVOTION to HIM as LORD. How had they done that? Jesus doesn’t go into the details, isn’t that so like Jesus, He knows but he’s not telling anybody how they’ve fallen, but the fact that He knows they have would have hit them so powerfully, because it’s obvious from everything else that Jesus says that once the really did love Him with all their hearts.

Imagine getting a letter from Jesus today and He said that about you?

You are very religious, you do great works, you even persevere under great trials, but you have FORSAKEN Me… oH WOWzer! How convicting, how terrible… Could it really be¬†true¬†that we can be all those things and yet not be walking with Jesus?

Notice: Jesus’ Compassionate Way:

Have you stopped to consider the gentle and compassionate way that Jesus reveals their spiritual condition and the danger they are in unless they turn once again to Him in true repentance?

He first Commends them with a deep knowledge of their TRIUMPHS, then rebukes them for their FAILINGS, then Encourages them once again for their practical righteousness. Now all they need to do is TURN back to Him and He’s promising them amazing rewards; access to the Tree of Life.

“I have this against you, you have forsaken your first love”.

It’s like Jesus is counselling a young married couple who’ve gone through a real testing time in their relationship. I’ve known many a marriage be tested to the point of breaking because of financial difficulties, unfaithfulness or communication breakdown. It makes one or both of the parties believe that they’d be much better apart, their once burning love for each other has dimmed to a¬†smouldering-wick. Or like a B&Q long-life light bulb, that’s meant to last a life-time, but only last a few months, before it begins to turn on very slowly and then you’ll notice just a little orange glow instead of bright white-hot light. So many marriages are like that because of the way we live our lives at break-neck speed. But so is our walk with Jesus, it suffers because we’re trapped in a lifestyle that demands so much of our time and attention, devotion to Jesus suffers as a result: “I have this against you, you have forsaken your first love”

Just as a married couple can be shown how to re-kindle their passionate love for one another, by getting them in touch with the feeling they once felt for on another at the beginning of their relationship. So Lord Jesus is calling the Ephesian Christians to come back to their FIRST LOVE. He’s encouraging them to REMEMBER. “Remember the height from which you have fallen.” The Christians is Ephesus were once so on fire with Love for Jesus they were ready to give their lives in His service.

What happens when we forsake Jesus?

Our passion for close communion with Him slowly dies.

  • I feel Jesus is asking me today “Donald, do you really love me like you did when you first came to trust me?”
  • It’s like Jesus is saying, “My love for you has not diminished, but where’s your passionate love for Me?”
  • It’s like Jesus is saying to me; “I know ALL that you are doing for Me and I think that’s just great, but where am I in all of it?”

You see my friends, we serve a RISEN Saviour, He’s in the world today, I know that He is LIVING whatever men may say, He’s right beside me, He’s inside me, He’s closer than a brother, He’s kinder than the Auntie who loved you no matter what you did. Jesus wants you back. He wants you to LOVE Him more than anything else in this world.

Prayer: “I want to thank you Lord Jesus for the gentle way you remind me to stay close to You as a first order priority in all that I do. Everything else is dross compared to knowing You Jesus. Amen!” “O Lord Jesus, I’m also praying for all my brothers ans sisters in Your Kingdom Family, that they too will have their FIRST LOVE rekindled, so they’ll want to be close to You always. Amen!”

Sometimes, we Forsake Jesus, because other loves creep into our lives, then slowly but surely we find that we’re not as passionate or on fire about Jesus or His desires or His likes or His wishes.

He’s calling YOU back to Himself. Keep going with the great things you are doing for Jesus, but LOVE Him first, the REWARDS will far exceed any sacrifice you have to make when you forsake this world and the pleasures it offers.

How’s your first love?

Have an awesome week with Jesus.

Don.

 

A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever

Revelation Beauty Joy Increases

Daily Spirit & Word: 692: Meeting Increases Joy.

A Thing Of Beauty Is A Joy Forever.

Good morning my friends, when we all heard the joyous news that my grandchild was born, everyone gave a great thumbs-up on Facebook, they liked it. However, even my own heart leaped for joy at hearing she’d been born, but I’ll tell you now, nothing prepares you for that moment when you meet the baby and can hold it in your arms. She’s just soooo cute and cuddly and tiny.

I believe it’s the same with Jesus Christ, it’s so amazing when we finally get it; the Good News of the Gospel, but can you imagine the JOY you are going to experience when you finally get to meet with your Lord Jesus?

John Keats said, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever, it’s beauty increases; it will never pass into nothingness”.

So it is with God’s Word and the Book of Revelations: It’s gets more glorious and beautiful the more you read, understand and feed upon, because it’s God’s Living Word.

We’ve been going through Revelation (slowly), but we’ve just read in chapter 1 about the Vision of Jesus that John saw and how after seeing it he fell down in fear and trembling and worshipped Jesus, but Jesus reached out his hand, put it upon John’s shoulder and gave him this command. “WRITE”… John must have been so overjoyed to meet the RESURRECTED LORD, but Jesus had something He wanted John to do: WRITE about this experience and revelations.

Revelation 1:19-20 (NIV)
19 ¬†“Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.
20  The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

  • Write: What you have seen.
  • Write: What is happening now.
  • Write: What will take place later.
  • Write: About the Seven Stars and their meaning.
  • Write: About the Lampstands and the Churches they represent.

WRITING: Why is ‘writing’ it down so important to Jesus?

There’s something about writing that’s different from speaking. When you are speaking it’s immediate, but when you write something, it takes a lot more consideration and concentration of the thought processes. Also, writing enables you to plan what you are going to say, how you are going to say it and you can choose your words very carefully.

It seems that Jesus wanted John to get this COMMUNICATION OF HIS REVELATION EXACTLY RIGHT.

But we must bear in mind that John, didn’t only use his natural ability, but was at the same time, filled with and inspired by God the Holy Spirit: Remember, he’s already told us “On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit”…

So the Revelation that the Seven Churches and every Christian down through the ages that have had access to God’s Word have¬†received¬†is, very carefully constructed, assembled and communicated Just the way that God wants it. NOW are you ready to receive it?

  • It’s from Jesus whom we can trust.
  • It’s from John, Jesus’ beloved Disciple and ancient, faithful Apostle, whom we can also trust.
  • It’s from the Holy Spirit of God, who had so filled John the Apostle, who’d already written his Gospel, 1, 2 and 3 John. We love those writings because they are filled with encouragement and light.¬†

So now are you ready to receive, believe and trust-in and respond to Jesus Revelations: in this Book of Revelation?

Once we’ve met Jesus, the beauty touches our soul and the JOY increases every single day. Praise the Lord!

Meet with Jesus, every DAY and your Joy will increase, your light with shine brightly for Him.

Have an awesome day with Jesus.

Don.

 

Get Your Personal Revelation Of Jesus

Revelation Jesus Christ

Daily Spirit & Word: 688: “Don’t Be Afraid, It’s Me, Jesus”

You Need: “A Personal Revelation Of Jesus.”

Good morning my friends, well, it was a FALSE ALARM, Stephanie is still waiting and so are we, the baby didn’t come last night. Ahhh… It won’t be long though! You know that WAITING on something helps us to learn to be PATIENT.

Today we’re back with Revelation and John is describing the Vision that he had of Jesus. The words that John used to describe his vision of Jesus reveal that Lord in Heaven looks like: A King in¬†Splendour, A High Priest and A Judge.

Revelation 1:12-18 (NIV)
12  I turned round to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands,
13 ¬†and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man”, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash round his chest.
14  His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.
15  His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.
16  In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
17 ¬†When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.
18  I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

When John, who was “In The Spirit” heard the thunderous / trumpet like sound, he’s telling us what we’d all instinctively do; He turned to see who it was that was speaking so loudly. This is reminiscent of the rumbling thunderous sound that Moses and the People of Israel heard when the Lord was on the Mountain and Moses ascended to receive the Ten Commandments. Of course we know it was the SAME voice speaking. In contrast it’s different from the “Small Quiet Voice” King David heard.

The Seven Golden Lampstands: Remind us of the Tabernacle with it’s golden lampstand and Seven lamps that were meant to be lit every day by the Priest. Here in Revelation we’ll see that they represent Seven Churches, but even those churches are representative of every Church / Christian down through the ages. (See Also: Exodus 25:31-32, 37). You’ll note that the Lampstand in the Tabernacle on Earth was just one with seven lamps on top, this lampstand represented the Unity of the Tribes of Israel. However, in Heaven they are individual Lampstands and they represent Churches in Heaven. We are to keep shining our light for Jesus Christ in this world, our light is shining in Heaven too.

The Son of Man: “Someone “Like A SON of Man””… We know from both the Old Testament and Jesus own revelation in the Gospels that this is Jesus. He was God whilst he was on the Earth, but He looked just like everybody else, like the son of an ordinary man. i.e. John is telling us, though He looked like a human being, there was something very different about Him. We’ll see that too, because how many ordinary men do you see carrying Stars in their hands or having a sword coming out of their mouth and feet like molten hot metal or a face as bright as the sun in all it’s brilliance? Ezekiel 1:26 and Daniel 7:31. However, Jesus is in Heaven just like a human being. He’s like us but very different. He’s the same Jesus who walked and talked and touched unclean people to make them whole again. He’s the same Jesus who’s hands were pierced by nails. However, we’re going to see He’s also very different in Heaven.

The Dress of the Son of Man: “dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash round his chest.” Who¬†else¬†do we know who dresses like that? Of course it’s the High Priest and Kings. The Golden Sash is like the Priest’s Girdle which was worn high and under his breast. The Gold represents Royalty.

Jesus is not just sitting on a Throne in Heaven: He’s our Great Hight Priest and Our Advocate (Lawyer) with the Father (1 John 2:1) I read somewhere that, “In Heaven Jesus is doing more for us every day, than He did for us upon the Cross” I know that sounds strange, but Jesus is continually coming before the Father on your behalf. He’s the High Priest and His Sacrifice upon the Cross is a constant reminder in Heaven that He paid the price of all your sins. Now He pleads your cause with the Father. That’s how we can approach the Throne with boldness, we’re completely covered in the Righteousness of Christ.

White Hair and Blazing Eyes: Those eyes sound so scary don’t they. I’ve seen movies with creatures with blazing eyes, but the LORD’S blazing eyes are eyes that can SEE everything. He knows everything. His Holy Eyes are on FIRE.

NOTE: John is describing the whole person: His clothes, His movement (Amongst the Golden Lampstands) What Jesus is holding: Stars (He’s the Creator of the Universe and holds all things and keeps all things. Jesus continually keeps Creation in check. His maintenance of His Creation is continual). He describes his face, his hair, his eyes, his mouth… WOWzer! John wants you and me to know EXACTLY what he saw, and was instructed by the Lord Jesus Christ to write it down.

NOTE: Even though John falls down on his face, Jesus reaches out and touches him

Revelation 1:17-18.
17 ¬†When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.¬†18 ¬†I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

Imagine how John must have felt, the same Jesus that he’d been with, ate with, listened to and watched upon the Earth is now Glorified and say those words to John “Do not be afraid”. It reminds me of Jesus words to the Disciples who were afraid when they saw Jesus walking upon the water, “Don’t be afraid, it’s me”… He’s saying the same thing to John here, “John, don’t be scared, it’s me, yes I’m different looking, but it’s me”…

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.

Jesus tells John “I AM the first and the last, I AM the Living One; I was dead, and behold I AM alive for ever and ever”…

WOWzer again! Jesus is ALIVE in Heaven: He’s not some ghost or spectre, He really is LIVING, ALIVE and today people on the Earth can truly know and experience the Living Christ.

It was awesome the first time I knew that Jesus was alive. It was before I was a Christian, before I ever submitted to Him as my Lord. It was 1984, I’d been attending church in order to get my child baptised. I didn’t want anything for myself, but if this God was real, I wanted the best for my child. I was shocked, frightened and startled to discover that Jesus Christ really is ALIVE and Knows all about me. I knew Jesus was alive, but it took me a long while to come to Him in Faith and Repentance and to receive Him as Lord of my life. It took about a month after my first revelation, but I knew Jesus was alive. When I received Him as my Lord, I was in no doubt whatsoever what I was doing. Peace and Joy flooded my being, when Jesus was in me, it was as if the whole earth had been renewed. I saw things in a very different way and appreciated the smell of wet mud, it was beautiful to me.

My friends, just like John, Paul, Peter and countless thousands of others, you too can MEET the Living One: The one who was dead and is ALIVE for ever and ever. When you get your own personal revelation, that you KNOW Jesus as Lord, Saviour, Master, Friend, you will NEVER doubt. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. My own faith sprang to life when I heard Jesus being preached, I KNEW He was alive and real long before I submitted to Him as Lord. Don’t leave it too long before you say to Jesus, “I know you died upon the Cross for my sins, I repent and ask forgiveness and receive You Jesus as my Lord”…

My friends, do you know that becoming a Christian today, as it has always been, is not about coming to church, getting baptised etc, it’s all about coming to Jesus Christ. Knowing that He’s alive and submitting to Him as Lord of your life. Then going to church will be your delight. Missing church is a heartache for someone who really KNOWS Jesus. Because, we KNOW that when we gather together with other brothers and sisters in God’s Family, Christ Jesus Himself comes into our midst in wonderful ways. When you KNOW HIM, you are in Him and He’s in you. So don’t get religious get Jesus. Turn now in repentance and faith and trust Jesus as your Saviour today.

Have a great day; The words that jump out to me today are “Don’t be afraid, it’s me, Jesus”…

Don.

P.S. I’m singing this great old Hymn now. It’s one that’s touched my life so many times. It’s OLD but brilliant.

He LIVES: “I Serve A Risen Saviour”.

I serve a risen Saviour
He’s in the world today.
I know that He is living,
Whatever men may say.
I see His hand of mercy;
I hear His voice of cheer;
And just the time I need Him
He’s always near.

Chorus:
He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.

2

In all the world around me
I see His loving care,
And though my heart grows weary,
I never will despair;
I know that He is leading,
Through all the stormy blast;
The day of His appearing
Will come at last.

3

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian,
Lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs
To Jesus Christ the King!
The Hope of all who seek Him,
The Help of all who find,
None other is so loving,
So good and kind.

The Best Pick Me Up EVER

Rivers of Living Waters Holy Spirit

Daily Spirit & Word: 687: The BEST Pick-Me-Up EVER.

“In The Spirit”.

Good morning my friends, yesterday was awesome. We’re looking after three of our grandchildren and it took its toll on Granny last night, she fell asleep as Aminata was chatting away. Sometimes we forget that we’re getting older and things that we took for granted years ago, take more out of us today.

In life we’re constantly looking for that life TONIC that will pick-me-up. Some look for it in natural substances, that’s why Health Stores are doing so well; Vitamins, Herbs, Seeds, Nuts, Berries, Leaves etc… Some are turning to toxic substances; drugs and drink. Drugs give an addict a high (initially) but then they’re constantly in search of that first high again, but when drugs gets hold of you, it never delivers the expected results. Basically, drugs are a LIE from Hell. Because Satan is a liar and the father of lies, God has revealed that “He is a thief who only comes to steal, kill and destroy” (John 10) In the end these substances will poison our bodies and leave us even more shattered than ever.

However, today you are about to discover the UNLIMATE pick-me-up, the best discovery of all time: It’s the Holy Spirit. God Himself living in an individual. With the POWER of the CREATOR inside us, what else can happen but pick us up from the dust, the dirt and the mire. His pick-me-up takes us way beyond Earth into the Heavenly realms and often we just don’t want to come back down again.

Revelation 1:10-11 (NIV)
10 ¬†On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet,
11 ¬†which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”

John tells us that on Sunday (The Lord’s Day) He was “IN THE SPIRIT”…

If ever there was a loaded¬†phrase¬†in the Bible this is it. Of course there are many countless others as well, but “In the Spirit” what does that mean? My friends, just like my daughter Stephanie, who’s expecting a baby any moment, this phrase is PREGNANT with meaning. Once we understand it, we’ll also want to be “In The Spirit” as much as we can. However, unlike drugs that don’t deliver that expected HIGH ever again, the Holy Spirit constantly takes us to brand NEW Heights.

By that stage in his life, John was a very old man, he seen so many wonderful things. John had been with Jesus and had witnessed the most incredible miracles, he’d met Jesus and touched Him after the¬†Crucifixion, but it seems that the LORD has saved the best until the last few moments in John’s life.

His Circumstances were DIRE: He was a Prisoner on a Prison Island. He’d suffered a great deal at the hands of the Romans, but NO MATTER WHAT your circumstances are or will be, God can come in and give you a REVELATION of Himself that will TRANSPORT you above anything. No pain or suffering can keep you from being “IN THE SPIRIT”.

If you’ve ever watched “Shawshank Redemption” (The Great Prison Escape Movie): There’s one phrase that sticks out above all the others in the movie, “They can’t take away your mind, they can’t stop you using your imagination”… The great thing about being “In The Spirit” is that it’s NOT imagination, it’s NOT self-will, it’s NOT tapping into that secret power within or the hidden potential within human beings, but it’s making a connection with the Creator Himself. The Holy Spirit floods your inner-man / woman. He fills you with the LOVE of God. I don’t know why Christians don’t seek this filling every single day.

Once you get “In The Spirit” you are going to experience a Pick-me-Up like never before.

BUT what does John the Apostle mean by “In The Spirit”?

To discover that, we’re going to take a trip back to some of His other writings and parts of the Old Testament. We’re going to see that John explained it before and that others experienced what he did, hundreds of years before he was born.

Right at the Beginning of His Gospel, John was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write about Jesus and how when we “RECEIVE” Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, we are BORN OF THE SPIRIT or BORN AGAIN: John 1:10-14, John 3. When that happens we become part of God’s Heavenly Family forever. Of course to get ‘Born Again’ it’s not simply believing in Jesus; i.e. that Jesus is real or about Jesus mission or even who Jesus is: The Messiah, The Saviour of Mankind… Even the Devil believes these things, but he’s not born of God’s Spirit. So it must mean more than simple ‘belief in Jesus’… Before we can receive Jesus, we must believe in Him as the Scriptures have said: i.e. We must acknowledge our need for God and for His forgiveness. We must turn in Repentance and Faith to be forgiven. Once we do that, then we’re ready to RECEIVE Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

John 7:37-39
37 ¬†On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.
38 ¬†Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
39  By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

When we put our trust and faith in Jesus as the Scriptures have said, then the streams of living water will flow from within him. Awesome! The streams come from within: I.E. The Holy Spirit living inside us will flood our being.

That’s what John meant by “Being In The Spirit”¬†Revelation¬†1:10-11. Belief in Jesus as He is REVEALED in SCRIPTURE: He is God’s chosen lamb, the sacrifice for our sins, to set us free from sin and death and to give us Eternal life.

Where does it say that in the ‘Scriptures’? Hundreds of years before Jesus or John the Apostle in the book of Isaiah the Prophet. In many ways, Jesus is revealed; His Virgin birth, His life, what He came to do, why He came to do it and How His life would end, but also how His death would not be the end. Isaiah Prophesied all these things.

Isaiah’s Prophesies About Jesus:

  • Born of a Virgin (Isaiah 7:14).
  • Galilean Ministry (Isaiah 9:1-2).
  • Heir to David’s Throne (Isaiah 9:7, Isaiah 11:1, 10).
  • His way prepared by John the Baptist (Isaiah 40:3-5).
  • He will be spat on and struck (Isaiah 50:6)
  • Will be lifted up (Isaiah 52:13).
  • Will be disfigured by suffering (Isaiah 52:14, 53:2).
  • Will make a blood atonement for sin (Isaiah 53:5).
  • Will be rejected by men (Isaiah 53:1,3).
  • Will bear our sins and sorrows (Isaiah 53:4-5).
  • Will be our substitute (Isaiah 53:6, 8).
  • He will voluntarily accept our guilt and¬†punishment¬†for our sins (Isaiah 53:7-8).
  • The Gentiles (non-Jews) will trust in Him (Isaiah 11:10).
  • Will be silent before His accusers (Isaiah 53:7).
  • Will save those who trust in Him (Isaiah 53:12).
  • Will die with transgressors (Isaiah 53:12).
  • Jesus will heal the¬†broken-hearted¬†(Isaiah 61:1,2).
  • God’s Spirit will rest upon Him (Isaiah 11:2).
  • Will be¬†buried¬†in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9).
  • Will judge the Earth in Righteousness (Isaiah 11:4,5).

All of these Prophesies and many, many more about Him, were fulfilled in Jesus birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension.

Once we believe in Jesus, as the Scriptures have said, when we put our Faith and Trust in Him, turning from sin to be cleansed and forgiven, then and only then can the new birth take place and we’re away “In The Spirit” streams of living water flow from within us…. “Oh LORD, fill me afresh with Your Holy Spirit right now, I need Him”….

Do you want to be “In the Spirit” NOW?

Don’t simply say, “I believe in Jesus”, my friends, so does the Devil. Instead, turn from your sin, receive Jesus as Lord, be born of His Holy Spirit and believe in Him as the Scriptures have said, then you will be filled, it will be like a “river of living water”… That’s what it means to be “In The Spirit” … What a Pick-Me-Up that will be today. Amen!

Don.

 

Encouragement From Your Brother John

Revelation 1:9 John, your brother

Daily Spirit & Word: 683. Courageous Endurance.

Encouragement from our Brother in the Faith, John the Apostle.

Good morning my friends, when we’re suffering for the faith of Jesus Christ, if we keep in mind our constant hope, to be with the Lord in His Kingdom forever, then we’re going to endure great hardships with gratitude and¬†thanksgiving¬†in our hearts. Why?¬†Because¬†Jesus never promised us it would be easy, but that if we follow Him, we will be persecuted.

Revelation 1:9 (NIV) “I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.”

On Wednesday I had the wonderful privilege of leading a family to faith and trust in Jesus as Lord. It was amazing, definitely a God appointment. There were obstacles to overcome though. Four people, in very humble circumstances, received Jesus as Lord. We sat on the floor of their one roomed flat. A mother, two sons and a girlfriend came as they were to Jesus. I’ll tell their story (with permission) later.

Notice in the Revelation verse above, John is not preaching down to those seven churches that Jesus had told him to write, to; “Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.” No, John is identifying with them all in five ways:

  1. I am your brother.
  2. I am your companion in suffering
  3. I am your fellow in God’s Kingdom.
  4. I am with you practising patient endurance.
  5. I am, like you, suffering for preaching the Word of God and giving testimony of Jesus.

This Was Not Ivory Tower Preaching:

Nobody likes it when someone who is¬†privileged¬†or has a life of ease tells people who have nothing how to patiently endure their hardships. Why don’t people like it? Because a person who has everything, doens’t know what life is like with nothing.

It’s a bit like our Government Ministers who are living in luxury and with a great salary,¬†proclaiming¬†they are going to cut the benefits that the poorest people in society receive. Not only that, but they cut the taxes that the richest people pay. Where is the fairness in that? They tell the poor people, “Get a job” then you won’t need benefits. However, the wages that the poor receive for the jobs they take, don’t cover their living expenses. So the poor get poorer and the rich get richer.

No wonder those on benefits resent our Government’s unfair policy.

I think that’s why Jesus chose fishermen and outcasts to be His closest Disciples, because they’d been through hardships, they knew what life was like with nothing. One time Jesus followers had been fishing all night and had caught nothing. Imagine working hard for no wages? They knew what it was like to struggle and to suffer, so when they preached the Gospel, the people knew they were ordinary men once, just like them. They were not drawn from high-society, not many were of noble birth or princes or entrepreneurs, not many of Jesus Disciples were born with a silver-spoon in their mouths.

No my friends, nobody likes to hear a message about endurance, if the one delivering it is not a¬†partner¬†in the suffering as well. John had to endure great hardship for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was in EXILE on Patmos because of the Word of God and His Testimony about Jesus Christ. Because he wouldn’t stop preaching, they sent him to a lonely island and imprisoned him there, but did that stop John? No! God’s ways are far higher than our ways. The Lord had planed that exile for John long before the Authorities had even thought about it. Nothing takes God by surprise my friends. Everything you go through in life, God knows about it in advance.

You might end up marooned on an Island like John. I hope not, but if you have to endure any hardship for Jesus, it’s not the end my friends, it just might be a new beginning. An opportunity to serve the Lord in a different way.

The Words Endurance: It was originally an expression in Greek for the pressure a large stone could exert: I.e. Like a mill-stone on wheat. Imagine you are a grain of wheat and you see the great mill-stone rolling your way, there’s no way to escape, you’ve just got to bear the crushing pressure. Will you survive? My friends, in Jesus, in His Kingdom, we can and will endure anything for His sake.

You may be experiencing great pressure because of your faith in Jesus Christ today. We are, because society is becoming increasingly intolerant of those who have a sincere desire to follow the teachings of Jesus and live according to the principles of God’s Word. Why? Because they’re bringing us into conflict with a world that wants to go it’s own way instead of God’s way. The world has chosen to uphold detestable lifestyles as good, and is now coming down hard on those who don’t comply or agree.

Think about how the world has chosen to play around with human eggs, thinking that a fertilised egg is just an¬†embryo¬†or a¬†foetus¬†instead of the truth, it’s a baby. It might be a very small baby, but when an human egg is fertilised by sperm, then life has begun. We are forbidden from killing babies by God’s Word and indeed for any form of murder. Now if you show people pictures of aborted babies you are the one who’s classified as an extremist or being too dogmatic.

You might find that you are in a prison one day, like John, for proclaiming God’s Word and giving Testimony about Jesus. Don’t be surprised when that happens, because my friends, God is not. He has warned that in the last days, things would take a turn for the worse.

Matthew 24:12-14 “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,¬†13 ¬†but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.¬†14 ¬†And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

When John Said Endure Patiently: He LIVED it Himself.

Revelation 1:9 (NIV) “I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.”

He, John, was a living example of what Peter talked about: 1 Peter 3:14-17 (NIV) Suffering For Doing Good:
14 ¬†But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.”
15  But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
16 ¬†keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.¬†17 ¬†It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

My friends, Don’t FEAR what the world FEARS.

  • Endure hardship.
  • Preach the Gospel.
  • Teach Jesus Word.
  • Make Disciples.
  • He’s with you, through everything, endure to the end.

One last thing; Here’s what to do if you are facing hardships for the faith:

Hebrews 12:1-4 (NIV)
1  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
2  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
4  In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

When the Going Gets Tough.

The Tough Get Going: In Jesus.

Praying that you are going to experience the closeness of Jesus throughout all your trials. Don’t grow weary or loose heart, but instead persevere and endure with patience and joy in the Lord, and don’t stop preaching or teaching what Jesus commanded my friends, keep snatching souls from the flames licking at their feet. Amen!

Don.

Link: Christian Concern For Our Nation: 

Here you’ll discover what we can do, when we face unjust opposition and persecution for the faith of Jesus Christ.

Christian Concern: