When the LORD calls you to do something for Him, expect opposition.
Good morning my friends, when you do a good work for the LORD you can expect opposition. If you are of the world, the world will accept you as one of it’s own, but if you are a Citizen of Heaven, working for another KING, then this world and it’s king (Satan) can never accept you and you are going to be opposed, persecuted and sometimes martyred. However, far from being in a position of weakness and fear, we’re going to be encouraged today to see that we can be God’s awesome power of LOVE in this world.
Opposition comes in many forms, but how can we react to opposition, no matter what form or guise it come in?
Let us take Nehemiah as one of our examples of what to do when opposition comes, and we’ll look at what God’s Word tells us about persecution and opposition for Him and for the Gospel.
An Example of how to proceed when your work for the LORD is opposed, ridiculed or hindered.
Nehemiah 4:1-23 (NIV) 1 When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, 2 and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?” 3 Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones!” 4 Hear us, O our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. 5 Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders. 6 So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart. 7 But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the men of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. 8 They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. 9 But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat. 10 Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the labourers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.” 11 Also our enemies said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.” 12 Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us.” 13 Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. 14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” 15 When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to his own work. 16 From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armour. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah 17 who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, 18 and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me. 19 Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. 20 Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!” 21 So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out. 22 At that time I also said to the people, “Have every man and his helper stay inside Jerusalem at night, so that they can serve us as guards by night and workmen by day.” 23 Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water.
When you get busy for God, opposition will inevitably raise its ugly head. So no matter how GOOD the thing that you are doing is; be it a service for the poor people of this world or proclaiming the Good News of Jesus or taking a moral stand. Like Nehemiah discovered, when you do something for the LORD, the world (influenced by Satan) hates it with a vengeance, and will oppose you. However, they are not really opposing you, they are coming against your God, who’s called you to that task.
But we must bear in mind what it is that’s driving any form of opposition:
Ephesians 6:10-13 (NIV) When Opposition Comes: Be strong in the LORD and STAND.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
11 Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
13 Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Read the FULL ARMOUR OF GOD Eph 6:14-20).
We must not resort to worldly ways of reacting to opposition:
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV) 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
So how should we react to opposition?
Think and Act Like Nehemiah.
Who was Nehemiah? His name means “the comfort of Jehovah.” His purpose and calling by the LORD really was a worthy one; He was instructed by the LORD to reconstruct the walls of the city of Jerusalem and in the process to rebuild the faith of the people of Israel. Yet, as soon as he began, Nehemiah was confronted by the dreaded opposition. So don’t be surprised by opposition, instead; expect it.
When you get busy for God and the expected opposition comes, the first ingredient that will lead to success is PRAYER. “But we prayed to our God,” the Bible says (Nehemiah 4:9). Prayer was a key ingredient in Nehemiah’s spiritual life (1:4). When OPPOSITION came, Nehemiah looked up to Heaven first taking captive those opponents of God’s word with Spiritual weapons, before he persisted in the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s wall.
When you get busy for God and opposition comes, the second ingredient that will lead to success is PERSISTENCE. Prayer is not a substitute for working at what you’ve been called to do. So often people will retreat and just pray, but you’ve been called to more than prayer. Instead, know that PRAYER preceeds PERSISTENCE. When opposition comes don’t just carry on regardless, get down to prayer first and then carry on regardless. PRAYER is a PRELUDE to PERSISTENCE. For the God’s Word says; “Nehemiah took their thoughts captive (He used Spiritual Weapons) Nehemiah 4:4. “…the people worked with all their heart.” (Nehemiah 4:6).
I don’t know who said it first, but whoever it was, this thought encapsulates the KEY INGREDIENTS when opposition comes; “I pray as if everything depended on God. Then I work as if everything depended on me.” I love that saying, we’ve got to PRAY and WORK at what we’ve been called to do. (See James Faith and Works).
When you get busy for God and opposition comes, the third ingredient that will lead to your spiritual success is THE POWER OF HEAVEN. When confronted by the fear of the people, the fear of man, the fear of looking like a fool, the fear of failure; then Nehemiah 4:14 says that Nehemiah arose and spoke to the people about the power of God, and about the purpose of their work. When we are reminded of the purpose to which God has called us, and the power with which to accomplish that purpose, then we will be encouraged to move on toward the completion of our task.
So simply remind yourself of God’s calling and purposes: To share the Gospel, to help the poor, to cure the sick, to make disciples, to follow the teachings of Jesus, to live by them and if need be to die for them. Remember also the POWER of HEAVEN, the Weapons are not worldly, we take our stand against opposition with the Armour of God in place: Ephesians 6:10-20. And bear in mind; Jesus is with you always. Holy Spirit has filled you and equipped you for this work for the LORD.
When you know and experience the POWER you will keep going at what He’s called you to do.
Yes my friends, you will experience all kinds of opposition to what you’ve been called to do by the LORD: Demonic and Worldly OPPOSITION: Expect it, and react like Nehemiah the prophet and the LORD Jesus Christ.
Get down to PRAYER,
Get up to WORK by being PERSISTENT,
Get into the POWER of Heaven.
Through prayer and persistence with the power of Heaven, you will be able to overcome any of those troubling opponents.
As one great preacher has said,
“You’ll be able to turn those stumbling stones into stepping stones”
… Your troubles can be turned into triumphs.
“Satan trembles when he sees, the weakest Christian upon his knees.”
Have a blessed Saturday with Jesus.
For most people it’s a rest day, to be with family and friends, but remember Jesus is your BEST BFF (Best Friend Forever).
So make and appointment and keep it with Him first. Then no matter what happens today, you’ll be ready. Amen!
Daily Spirit & Word: 783: Jesus Warns About The Dangers Of Hell.
Some people ask, “How can a loving God send people to Hell?”
Some people say, “It seems like the Bible is contradicting itself. If God is a God of LOVE, how could He send people to Hell?”
Most people will say today, “I don’t believe in a God who sends people to Hell? My God wouldn’t do it”
Well, it begs the question: Will God, who is loving, kind and forgiving send people to Hell?
Those people who say such things are right, their ‘god’ wouldn’t, but the God of the Bible tells us that His angels will.
The Bible’s answer is “YES!”
Jesus answer is “YES, He most certainly will.”
TEARS IN YOUR EYES:
Someone cautioned me once, “Don if you are ever going to teach or preach on the subject of Hell, do it with tears in your eyes”… I’ll never forget that, I didn’t quite fully grasp his meaning at first, but after years of working with people for Jesus, I can see what he means. It’s getting God’s heart for people. Knowing God and His love for people. His desire that He doesn’t want a single soul to end up in Hell and the reality that most people will be going there, because they reject Jesus and the Gospel. It does make me cry.
You see it’s only modern man who has a problem with a judgemental God: The Bible reveals God in fullness; His love, His Justice and His mercy.
Previous generations didn’t seem to struggle with it as much as we do.
In our modern society, we view all forms of PUNISHMENT as evil. We should NEVER hurt another individual, because it’s UNLOVING to do so. (Quite right, there are other ways to help people see the seriousness of their crimes, than merely punishing them). However, God is not like us. His ways are not our ways. He is kind, gentle, loving, forgiving, generous, but He’s also full of rage and anger against sin and rebellion. He hates it when people hurt each other.
And we would most certainly agree that we must be PEACEMAKERS wherever we can be an influence for Good in this world.
However, it was Jesus who said,
Luke 12:4-5 (NIV) 4 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”
It’s a dreadful, fearful, horrible thing to fall into the everlasting arms of God who is angry with your sins. That’s who we should be afraid of seeing with sin still in our lives.
Jesus wanted His Disciples to be serious about their own sin, in this life:
When we look at our passage from the Bible today from Mark’s Gospel: We’ll see just how serious Jesus viewed SIN and it’s consequences.
The SIN Jesus is alluding to is the Sin of Pride in life: Thinking they are better than others, this only leads to strife, competition and rivalry between each other.
Remember the CONTEXT: (Go back just a few verses to see what Jesus is talking about).
Mark 9:33-41 (NIV) 33 They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” 34 But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. 35 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” 36 He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
38 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” 39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “No-one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40 for whoever is not against us is for us. 41 I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.
The Disciples had been arguing with each other about who was the GREATEST…. Jesus had a little child come into the room, He took the child to himself and said, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
“… John, the beloved Apostle, thought he was doing the right thing, told a man to stop driving out demons in Jesus’ name, He got a rebuke from Jesus…
Unfortunately, if you also read on in Mark’s Gospel, you’ll see they didn’t get this teach or the warning: Because they’re still trying to have the best place Mark 10: Peter and John’s request. (More about that later).
So we come onto our own passage today: SIN, HELL, Danger…
My friends, Jesus is again teaching His own Disciples about: Strife, Rivalry, amongst themselves, He’s not going to be with them forever, so He must get this point home and into their heads in the most serious and pointed way he can… So Jesus warns them of the consequences of this kind of SIN: It’s going to be HELL for you… Unless…. Unless you CUT IT OUT of your life.
Mark 9:42-50 (NIV) 42 “And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck. 43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. 44 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. 46 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, 48 where ” ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’ 49 Everyone will be salted with fire. 50 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”
(Notice: The NIV leaves verses 44 and 46 blank).
Mark 9:42-50 (NKJV) 42 “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea. 43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched– 44 where ‘Their worm does not die,And the fire is not quenched.’ 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched– 46 where ‘Their worm does not die,And the fire is not quenched.’ 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire– 48 where ‘Their worm does not die,And the fire is not quenched.’ 49 “For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt. 50 Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.”
“Their worm does not die”: The soul is eternal. Once you are born you will live forever in eternity: Either in Heaven or in Hell.
“The FIRE is NOT Quenched“: The fires of Hell are Eternal.
Some modern theologians are not happy with ETERNAL Punishment in Hell. They, again, believe that their “god” wouldn’t send anyone to hell forever. Perhaps if there is a Hell, then it will only be for a short time of purification. Then the prisoners in hell will be released into Heaven. Well, these ideas sound fine and tolerant and kind, but they are not true or ultimately loving. Because, people are not bothered about death, the love of life is diminished. If hell is not real, then there would be no point in Jesus dying upon the Cross. If there are no consequences for sin, if hell is not real, then Jesus Father must be very cruel indeed… However, if hell is real, and Jesus did die so we could be set free from sin, then God is the most loving being… He is! Hell is real! Jesus did die for the sins of the whole world. However!
That’s not what Jesus thought or taught though: Jesus is God and He clearly warns of the dangers of being thrown into hell. For Jesus, once you are in Hell, there’s no escape, there’s no way out of hell. Hell is forever.
Again Jesus warns us whom we should fear:
Luke 12:4-5 (NIV) 4 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”
The soul is eternal, once you are born into this world, your soul lives on forever. There are two places we will go when we die; one is to be with the Lord forever in Paradise, Heaven. The other is eternal Hell and tormented by Satan.
The reason we’ll get into Heaven: Not because we’re good or have done enough good. Why? Because just ONE sin will be enough to keep us locked up in Hell forever. The only reason anyone will ever end up in Heaven is if they’ve Trusted in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour: Having had their sins removed by His death upon the Cross.
The reason we’ll get into Hell: If we die in our sins. We’ll be carrying our sins with us, and the weight of our sins will pull us all the way into Hell forever.
Luke 12:4-5 (NIV) 4 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”
To those who say, “It’s not loving to talk about Hell” I think Jesus would say, “It’s not loving to not warn people of the Danger of Hell”…
We’d all agree that Jesus was the most loving person who ever walked the earth; yet Jesus had very strong words for His own followers, warning His own Disciples of the Dangers of Hell: Causing one of these little ones, who believe in me, to sin… You’d be better off having a large mill-stone tied around your neck and be cast into the sea, than to face God having caused someone to sin.
Notice the parts of the body Jesus focused upon:
When I preached this yesterday, I pretended to blame my hand for causing me to sin, “You silly hand, why did you make me do that? It’s all your fault hand, you made me do it” No! We can’t blame our hands, that is not what Jesus is saying … He was using a kind of Jewish humour, but the POINT was: Sin is very serious indeed. It will take you all the way to Hell. (I did the same for my feet and eyes)…
Oh how we need to stop blaming other things for the sins we commit; it’s not our environment, our upbringing, our genes, it’s us, it’s me who sins. I do it when I give into temptation, when I’m not being self-controlled, when I’m influenced by Satan or demons. We’re tempted to sin when we give into our desires.
All sin is rebellion against God: It’s going against our conscience: It’s breaking at least one of God’s Ten Commandments. Sin stains our souls and that stain cannot be removed by trying to be good.
Fire & Salt:
Jesus said, at the end of this message:
Mark 9:49-50 (NKJV) 49 “For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt. 50 Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.”
You will experience the fire: Fire is a form of purification: Even though you will go to Heaven if you’ve believed in Jesus and trusted Him as Lord and Saviour: You will experience a judgement:(The Believers Judgement 2 Corinthians 5:10) It will be like one escaping through the flames.
Note: This is not the same judgement as unbelievers: We who’ve trusted in Jesus, will not be judged like that. We have already passed from death (Hell) to life (Heaven). Our place in Heaven is secure, but we will be rewarded for the good we have done and purified from any remaining, un-confessed sin. John 3:13-21.
You will be singed (scorched with fire): the amount you will be singed will be determined by how much sin you are carrying since you came to know Jesus Christ as Lord.
Keep Short Accounts With God:
You must repent of sin right now: you don’t know if you are going to die tomorrow. I don’t want to see lots of people that I know and love, in Heaven with singe marks all over their souls.
When you repent, you will once again be on fire with love for the LORD. It makes me cry so much when I think of all those lovely Christian brothers and sisters who’s lives have been overtaken by sin. Yes they will probably be saved, if they are truly born again of the Holy Spirit, but Jesus didn’t die just to forgive us our sins, He also wants us to experience the abundant life now. You will never experience the fullness of the abundant life as long as you are hanging onto your sinful choices.
You can’t serve God and serve your pleasures: you will hate the one and love the other.
So my friends, get right with Jesus, repent and trust Him again. Turn from sin in your life and return to the LORD.
What happens when SALT looses it’s ability to savour?
I told the story of a trip to Southend on Sea: How I walked up and down the seafront with Julie. The smell of salt in the air only enhanced the smell of the fish-n-chips cooking. When someone walked past carrying fish-n-chips in a paper bag and it smelled strongly of vinegar… I just had to have some 🙂
The man asked me, “Do you want salt and vinegar?” It was a strange question to me, I couldn’t imagine eating fish-n-chips without salt and vinegar… “Oh yes please, lots of salt and vinegar”… However, when I put one of those chips into my mouth, it was bland, no salty taste… I put another in, the same thing. I went back and asked for more salt… Nothing… The salt had lost its ability to savour… I’d never experienced that before… Salt that wasn’t salty…. That’s what we’re like when we purposefully walk away from Jesus and choose to live in sin.
“Have SALT in yourselves”: AND “be a peace with each other”… Jesus didn’t want His followers falling out. He didn’t want us to be in competition with each other… He wants LOVE. He wants UNITY…
How’s your unity and love for your brothers and sisters in Christ?
Have an AWESOME week with Jesus Christ.
I don’t want to see any of my friends with a large millstone around their necks and struggling in the deep sea.
I don’t want to see you with no hand, feet or eye.
I don’t want to see you in Heaven with singe marks on your soul.
I don’t want to see you falling out and falling over each other.
Oh my friends, let us get closer to Jesus today. Admit our need for His forgiveness and walk with Him in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen!
Finally, believe in Hell: It will give you a wake-up-call. It will give you a desire to see others being saved by Jesus. It will enable you to live a life of freedom in Christ Jesus. Hell is real, Jesus believed it, taught about it’s reality and warned His closest and most dearly loved followers about it.
Quotes: In a world of psychic hotlines, horoscopes, Wicca, and alternative spirituality, Christians must be able to share their beliefs effectively. They must proclaim clearly, consistently, gently, and lovingly, the possibility of heaven and the warnings of hell.
Apologist Peter Kreeft addressed the fact that ignorance or denial of the biblical teachings about hell comes often from within the church. “Of all the doctrines of Christianity, hell is probably the most difficult to defend, the most burdensome to believe, and the first to be abandoned.” P. Kreeft and R. K. Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1994), 282.
Daily Spirit & Word: 745: After Pentecost: The Power to SAVE Souls.
WOWzer! WOWzer! What an awesome Pentecostal Open Air Baptism Service we had.
Good morning my friends, it really was awesome. I got up early yesterday so that I could both write and get the Baptism pool ready. I wanted to encourage you before I went out. Oh my friends, I feel so blessed by the Lord. You know, we’ve got an AWESOME family of brothers and sisters in Christ. Everyone came together yesterday to make it so special for those taking steps of commitment to Jesus. Thanks so much to David, John and Ben who got up very early and came to help me sweep, clean and build the baptismal pool. It was a sacrifice of pillow time 🙂 Thanks Amanda, who’d prepared song sheets and Bible notices in advance. Thanks to Robert, Celestin, Isaac and the worship team, even Abi and Rebecca joined in…. every one of you are AMAZING. But you all know who I’m most thankful for: The LORD Jesus Christ, He was with us. It was a costly service for us all in terms of time, talents and treasures, but even more so for Him.
Because before PENTECOST, there was a cost: Someone had to die before we could experience heaven in our hearts.
Jesus died upon the Cross for us.
He didn’t stay dead though, Jesus rose again back to life from the dead. He’s alive NOW! Enthroned in Heaven, but you can receive Him into your life today.
He sends the Holy Spirit upon everyone who believes that His death was for their sins, who repents of their sinful rebellion against God and turns in faith towards Jesus Christ to receive Him as Lord, then in faith and obedience gets baptised into the Name of; Father Son and Holy Spirit, to become a Follower of Jesus, a Disciple who seeks to live from that day forward in obedience to Jesus’ Commands and Teachings.
Did you know that Peter explained all this to the Jews and converts to Judaism gathered in Jerusalem that day: He told them HOW TO BE SAVED from their own corrupt generation.
Acts 2:36-41 (NIV)
36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
41 Those who accepted his message were baptised, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
On that first Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit fell on all the Followers of Jesus, it was Peter who stood up and preached. What Peter said to them broke their hearts and they were convicted and pleaded with Peter and the other Apostles to tell them what they should do next, how they could be saved from God’s wrath and anger because they had killed the Messiah. Peter explained, and told them how to be saved: they had to repent of their sins and believe on Jesus Christ. They would give proof of the sincerity of their repentance and faith by being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, publicly doing so identified them with their Messiah and Lord and Saviour; Jesus Christ. That baptism would signal that their trust in Jesus death was for their sins, their sins would we washed away.
My friends, it was on the first Day of Pentecost that a person could be saved ONLY by repenting and believing on Jesus Christ. Only then could they too receive the promised gift of the Holy Spirit for themselves (Gal. 3:2, 14), and this promise was for both the Jews and the “far off” Gentiles (Eph. 2:13-19). For ALL whom the Lord our God will call. He’s calling ALL Peoples, all over the Earth to have faith and trust in Jesus Christ. He’s pulling men to Himself through the Holy Spirit, even before you go out and witness to them. Do you believe that’s the Father’s Heart?
The Promise of the Holy Spirit is FOR ALL:
You, your children, your family, your friends, everybody who knows you: Your OIKOS.
My wife’s getting tired of me going on about OIKOS. She said, “If I hear it once more I’ll OIKOS you”… LOL.
But that’s the Father’s HEART: To save your complete family and bring in the whole company of those who know you follow Jesus, He wants to SAVE Them ALL.
Do you believe it’s the Father’s HEART: To SAVE everyone who knows you are a follower of Jesus? Everyone, you love, your Father in Heaven loves even more than you.
So What’s NEXT?
We’ve finished our Week of Prayer: But please DO NOT STOP praying for all those who’ve yet to trust in Jesus.
Keep praying for your OIKOS List; until they are ALL SAVED. God wants to SAVE your friends and family.
Who’s ON Your OIKOS List?
List them again by name before Jesus.
Think about their lives: What’s going on with them? What’s their problems? What’s their heart-desires? What’s their deepest need? And talk to the LORD for them.
Next: Do something LOVING for your OIKOS: give them a gift, do a good thing they are not expecting, show them Jesus’ LOVE is in your heart.
Next: Purposefully bring up something about Jesus, don’t ASK their permission, just share something. Even if they’ve rejected it before, do it again. Shown them that you are NOT going to give up on them, even if they’ve given up on God.
Finally: Remember, it’s their ETERNAL wealfare that you are most concerned about, their DESTINY is not looking good if they don’t trust Jesus. Get a handle on Hell and that will motivate you to endure rejection. Remember, anyone who’s not trusted in Jesus yet is BLIND and DEAF, they don’t know what they are rejecting, they can’t hear yet, because Satan has both blinded their eyes and deadened their ears. However, Holy Spirit POWER can break through into their darkness and let them see the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Keep going back for more: You didn’t put your faith in Jesus the first time you heard the Gospel, so give them LOTS of opportunity. Even if they reject it three or four times before they come to faith. Share a little bit more of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. The Holy Spirit will be drawing them to faith and trust in Jesus.
PRAY: For yourself that you’ll STAY FULL of Pentecostal Power to reach out and SAVE others for Jesus. You need the Holy Spirit every day, you need Jesus presence and power in you, so ask Father God to fill you afresh every day in order that you can live in His will to save others.
Be blessed my friends, and live every day in Pentecostal Power and Presence of the Holy Spirit, knowing that Jesus is with you always. Entreat your Heavenly Father for your friends, family and followers. Be obedient to Jesus commands and tell them HOW to be SAVED in this, their own, corrupt generation.
P.S. Pray for me, I’m shattered now 🙂 But I want to keep going for Jesus.
Daily Spirit & Word: 711: Why Did Jesus Need To Die?
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free”
He came to set us free from sin, self, Satan, God’s wrath and the Judgement to come.
Without Jesus Christ’s death upon the Cross, we’d still be; in our sins, rulled by self, slaves to Satan and sin, objects of God’s wrath and anger against sin and ripe for His Holy Judgement to come.
If we submit to Christ as Lord and turn from sin and experience His Salvation: Then we’ll escape and be set completely free.
Galatians 5:1 (NIV) “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
Enslaved: Yesterday, before we set out on the Good Friday Walk of Witness, I arrived early at church to pick up the crosses we carry and was waiting for David and John who’d agreed to carry them. As I waited there was a man who’d arrived to get some food at the Foodbank. He was a regular visitor, but I’d never shared the Gospel with him before. We’d been chatting about lots of normal stuff, the weather, the sunshine, winter and Springtime being his favourite time of the year. I asked him if he knew what day it was. He looked puzzled and said, “It’s Friday?” I said, “Yes but what Friday?” He said, “Foodbank Friday”… We both laughed our loud. I asked, “Graham, were you aware that today is one of the most holy days in the Christian year? It’s called Good Friday, do you know why?” He answered, “Oh yes, that’s when Jesus died on the Cross”…
“Do you know why Jesus died Graham?” I asked. He said, “I don’t know, it was a cruel thing to do, because I know that Jesus was a good man”…
I said, “Jesus died for you and me Graham, He took our place on the Cross, but do you know why?” He said, “I don’t know why Jesus would die for me”…
Then I took Graham through God’s Commandments one by one, it was at that point in our conversation that David arrived. Then we both continued to witness to Graham. I think I was on the 3rd Commandment by that stage. “Blasphemy: Taking the Lord’s Holy Name and using it as a swear word: Saying OMG or Jesus in a conversation when you are not praying to Him, but using it instead of a swear word”
Do you know what Graham said?, “I’d never do that, I’d never Blaspheme Jesus or God”… He was blissfully unaware that he’d been doing it from the moment that I met him and began talking with him. So I gently pointed it out to him and he was genuinely shocked. He said, “So I’ve been blaspheming when I say Jesus Christ or Jesus H Christ or Jesus?” I said, “Yes Graham, it’s using God’s Name in an unholy way”…
You know some people, trying to be nice, think that saying “Jesus Christ” or “Jesus” is better than saying F—k or Sh-t… it’s less offensive and you can get away with it, but it’s taking the Holy Name of God and using it as a swear word. It’s taking the God who gave you life and bringing Him down to an disgusting level of a dirty swear word. That’s why it’s Blasphemy. You know that Commandment? Exodus 20:7 (NIV) “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. “
David and I led Graham to an awareness of his need for Jesus Christ on Good Friday. We encouraged him to turn from his sin in repentance, letting go of sin and trusting in Jesus, and be saved from God’s wrath to come. To trust in Jesus and His love, when He gave His life upon the Cross, taking our place and dying for us. Graham thanks us for showing him why Jesus needed to die upon the Cross. Yesterday was a Good Friday for Graham.
We then picked up the Crosses and walked to Tulse Hill to meet everyone for the walk of witness. It brought fresh meaning to Jesus statement and command, “Take up your Cross daily and follow Me”…
Have an AWESOME Easter Weekend.
Note: Graham was enslaved by sin and he didn’t even realise it. There are so many, countless thousands, who are unaware of their need of Jesus Christ. They are trapped in all kinds of sin and wickedness that offends a Holy and Righteous God, they are storing up His wrath for the Day of Judgement. They don’t know why Jesus needed to die upon the Cross, but it was for our FREEDOM that Christ has set us free. Jesus wants to set people free today. So let’s be prepared at all times to share the Greatest News they are ever likely to hear, they’ll thank you when they meet you in Heaven.
Praise the LORD for Gospel conversations.
Praise the LORD for Good Friday
What a walk of witness too, so many came from all over West Norwood, Dulwhich and Tulse Hill. I’m praying now that next year we’ll have to close off the road because of the multitude of souls walking for Jesus. Amen!
Good morning my friends, this is part of the Sermon I preached yesterday in St Luke’s Church.
I began by asking everyone present: “Put your hand up if you believe in God”. Almost everyone did. I said, “Put your hands down, now put your hand up if you don’t believe in God” Only a couple of people did.
Then I asked, “Put your hand up if you believe in the Devil, Demons or Demonic” most people did. Then I asked “Put you hand up if you definitely don’t believe in Satan or Demons”, and quite a few hands were raised.
What do you believe about Satan? Is he a real person? The Bible assumes that you’ll believe he’s real.
Mark 5:1-20 (NIV) 1 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man lived in the tombs, and no-one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. 4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No-one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. 6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!” 8 For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!” 9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. 11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. 14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16 Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17 Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region. 18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
‘The Demons who Possessed a Man’
The Doorways of Danger.
Good morning everyone, we’re back with Mark Chapter 5 today. As we’ve been going through Mark’s Gospel, we’ve observed Jesus Power and Authority: over nature: Stilling a Storm. Over Sickness: Healing people of all kinds of diseases. We’ve observed that Jesus had supernatural knowledge: He even knew what people were thinking. Today, we’ll observe that Jesus also has Power and Authority over “The Supernatural Forces of Evil in the Heavenly realms”…
Demons Are Real: Satan is a Real Person with an Army of Demons (Fallen Angels).
MISTAKE: Sometimes people make the mistake of believing they are equal in Power: A bit like ying-and-yang: They balance each other out. Not so, God is not equal with anyone or anything. Jesus was God on Earth, this is most fully demonstrated in this account in Mark’s Gospel today: Because Jesus could COMMAND the Demonic forces (there were at least 2000 pigs that were killed that day). No wonder that man’s condition was so severe.
Demon possession was a common theme in the Bible and Jesus and others were casting out the demons.
From this account we learn some valuable things about Satan, Demons and the power and authority of Jesus Christ.
1) You discover that demon possession is possible.
We live in sceptical times, and many people try to explain away the Bible’s ‘spiritual’ and ‘Supernatural’ elements: Miracles, Holy Spirit, Gifts and Angels, Devils and Demons. (Because they are unscientific and can’t be proven by empirical evidence).
People are much more sceptical about Satan, Demons than they are about: Life after death (nobody wants to die, and we all want assurance that there is more after death). Near Death Experiences: Angels and Miracles. Why? The first step to not believing the Bible is to say in your heart, “This cannot be true”. I’ve done that myself… I found it very difficult to believe many things in the Bible, even after coming to faith in Jesus. They are just so fantastical, so amazing, so weird. But after 32 years of being a follower of Jesus, a Christian, I’m more convinced today than I was at the start, that you can TRUST God’s Word 100%…. Demons, Devils, Satan and Demon Possession are real.
Are You Sceptical About Supernatural?
We have in the Bible many clear accounts of demons being cast out of people. If it were just one incidence, then I think we could be forgiven for thinking that they may have mistaken some kinds of sickness for fanciful thinking that a demon had entered a man. But, even the writers of the Bible, 2000 years ago distinguished between epilepsy (dropsy) and demon possession. Jesus differentiated between sickness, disease and demon possession.
Men try to explain away the supernatural phenomena in the Bible in many ways:
Jesus walking on water (Scientifically Impossible) = Therefore, there must have been Sandbank below the surface.
Red sea parting = it must have been a shallow estuary (an earthquake probably caused the sea to recede, just before a tsunami hit the Egyptians).
Dead people being brought back to life = they were not really dead, but in those days they didn’t have the equipment to detect life.
One thing it’s hard for people to explain away in this account is that the demons who were driven out of the man, then entered into the pigs and 2000 pigs that ran down a hill and killed themselves. Why at the moment of Jesus casting out a demons did the pigs do that?
For this man: It couldn’t have been; epilepsy, frenzy or madness. Because you cannot pass these ailments onto pigs (not 2000 of them). This man was possessed by what the Bible describes as a legion of demons, because they were many. (A Roman Legion had between 4000 and 6000 men: But note that the Bible didn’t exaggerate the number of pigs, just 2000 of them).
However, though we know Satan, The Devil and Demons are real, we can’t see them, so we don’t know a lot about them.
2) Just because you don’t understand everything about demons and the devil, don’t be disbelieving.
We’ve Mistaken Many Things in History:
There were some who believed you’d fall off the edge of the world if you strayed too close to the edge. Christopher Columbus New World Discovered… Put an end to that… However, if people had been reading their Bible properly, they’d have known that the World wasn’t flat at all, but Spherical:
Isaiah 40:21-22 (NIV) Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? 22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. (The Earth’s free float in Space was only discovered last Century by Albert Einstein.)
God’s Word, The Bible states: The Universe had a beginning (Genesis 1:1; Hebrews 1:10-12). Starting with the studies of Albert Einstein in the early 1900s and continuing today, science has confirmed the Biblical view that the universe had a beginning. The Universe is expanding. When the Bible was written most people believed the universe was eternal and in a fixed state. This was Albert Einstein’s view and theory until he observed space through a new powerful telescope, he had to re-write his theory. Only in the last 100 years has Science proven they were all wrong, but that the Bible was correct all along. Science calls it the Big Bang, the Bible tells us God Spoke and Light came into the Darkness. God spoke and matter formed. Scientific discover just goes to prove the Supernatural Inspiration of God’s Word and the fact that for thousands of years man had been mistaken.
– There were people who believed that the human body would disintegrate if it went into space: It didn’t.
– There were people who believed that steam engines were terrible, and people would die if they went on them, they reasoned that the human body wasn’t designed to travel a super-speeds of 30 miles an hour.
– You cannot see electricity, but you believe in it.
My friends, you can travel to the ends of the earth, go into space, ride on a train and you will get an electric shock if you stick your fingers into a socket; AND you can get possessed by demons. Let’s not make the mistakes in the Spiritual Realm that we’ve made in the Earthly and Universal.
♥VAn African Tribal Chief didn’t believe in Ice until he was brought some by a missionary: He gave his life to Jesus afterwards. It’s just as foolish not believing in devils, just because you have had no direct experience of them.
Since we’ve made too many MISTAKES historically, and held mistaken beliefs about so many things, don’t be mistaken about Demons, the Devil and Demonic: They are REAL, perhaps one day Science will confirm it too, let’s hope they are not too late for humanity.
My friends, Long experience, 34 years, of reading the Bible almost every single day, has shown me that it can be fully trusted and believed. I have been involved in the ministry of casting out demons, and I can tell you they are just as real today as 2000 years ago. I’ve seen their destructive force on men and women, in their families and personal life. They are still out to “Steal, Kill and Destroy” your joy, peace and security. That’s their mission from the Prince of Demons: Satan.
What are they like? Well the Bible tells us clearly.
From Mark Chapter 5. We can see their intention for everyone they Possess.
3) Landlords: Many of you have experience of good and bad Landlords. Satan is a horrific Landlord.
You can see in this account of Demon Possession, that demons are painful, powerful, and destructive landlords (owners of the one possessed).
A) Demons Are Painful: The pain and misery they caused that poor man. His life was terrible, he was naked, homeless, friendless, wretched, bleeding, unattended, hurting, crying out in pain, rushing around in the graveyard, places of the dead, restless and cutting his own body with sharp stones. Why would anyone in their right mind behave like this? They wouldn’t, but he not just or simply mad, he’s possessed by Demons that want to destroy him and cause him pain.
Yes demons will do all of that to anyone they possess. They are painful landlords.
Jesus said: John 10:10 ‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.’
♥V The devil and his demons want to destroy & steal God’s Creation, us: We also see that Jesus wants to give us life & renew your life, to give you abundant life. He died to make that life possible.
♥V Hell: When you look at the horrible, horrific condition of the demon possessed man you get a powerful picture of what hell will be like for all who end up there: naked, hurting, cutting self, homeless, torment and in fear, in darkness.
B) Demons Are Powerful:We forget at our peril and danger that Satan has millions of beings subservient to himself. He led 1/3 of heaven in rebellions when he was cast out from God’s presence. He is a Powerful Landlord.
However, he is not as powerful as Jesus, Jesus is God; but we shouldn’t underestimate his power, authority and nature: He does want to steal, kill and destroy. But he’s no match for Jesus’ Power and Authority or the Authority, Power and New Nature that Jesus gives to everyone who puts their faith and trust in Him.
Satan is the active force in the world systems that one day will produce an anti-Christ who will oppose God openly. A one world government under his power and dominion. It’s obvious that this is the way the world is blindly heading.
In The Satanic Controlled World: Godly things will become illegal the Bible warns us: And it’s happening already here in Great Britain.
OFSTED: Want to inspect every Sunday School: To ensure we’re not radicalising children. That’s good, right? Nobody wants ‘radicalised’ children. However, they also want to ensure we’ve got a balanced Sunday School Curriculum, that we’ll promote and teach British Values. (My friends, British Values are not the same today as Bible Values or Christian Values). E.G. Bombing Syria: Jesus never said, “Bomb your enemies”… He tells us to forgive our enemies, to bless your enemies, do good to those that hate you… He doesn’t tell us to take away State Benefits for the poorest in society and give Tax cuts to the richest people. No my friends, Jesus tells us to look after widows and orphans, to take care of the weakest members in our society, to LOVE our neighbours. God wants us to welcome aliens and strangers, wanderers in the land. “Don’t be afraid to welcome strangers”… Practice good hospitality. This is God’s way of treating people.
British Values: What British Values are we to teach our children? Only the ‘nice’ ones… I’ve no doubt we’ll soon have an approved Government curriculum that we’ve got to ensure is communicated to Sunday School children. I’m not even going to mention; same-sex-marriage which God clearly teaches is contrary to His will for human beings.
Satan is at work in the Governments of this world today, they a pushing forward Satan’s agenda, to destroy society, community and human beings. How? By advocating and promoting the things that God hates. However, his time is coming, when he along with all his demons and fallen angels will be cast in to the lake of fire. Hell has not been Created yet, but when God is ready Satan’s end is certain. Satan is Powerful and influential, but he’s not as powerful or as influential as God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
C) Demons Are Destructive: Lastly, in looking at what kind of Landlords Demons are, we see from our account in Mark today that the Demonic is Destructive.
They only wanted to kill the man, why or how that poor man survived is beyond our understanding, but perhaps his will was not completely subdued or broken. (He came running to Jesus and fell at his feet). And perhaps he was resisting the evil spirits, that’s why he was screaming and in torment. It might be that’s why he screamed at night in the tombs.
We can see how destructive those Demons wanted to be with the man, because as soon as they entered into the weak willed PIGS, 2000 of them rushed over a cliff into the lake. You can be certain that is what the Demons wanted to do to the man. Jesus warns us in many places in His Word, that Satan wants to do the very same things with you and me.
Finally Don’t Give The Devil A Foothold:
We don’t know why this man got Demon Possessed. We don’t know what he was playing with before it happened.
But we do know that there are DOORS of DANGER: Places we should avoid, because Satan is a legalist, he’s legalistic, he can only gain entry, like a Landlord with proper notification. He can only come in if we allow him in.
Ephesians 4:17-32 (NIV) 17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. 20 You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21 Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. 25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbour, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
All of the above are DOORWAYS of DANGER: They can allow or give Satan permission to enter.
Even if we have innocently, naively or foolishly entered into these things. Or of our own wilful disobedience: We need to renounce these unholy and shameful things and seek God’s forgiveness and cleansing. When we’re playing with sin, we’re cracking open the doorway and giving the Devil a foothold into our lives: These are the Doorways of Danger: Unwholesome talk, anger, slander, lying, stealing, unforgiveness, hatred, jealousy, rage, greed, sexual sins, sensuality, feeding the fleshly nature, backbiting, coveting what others own, cheating in life, unfaithfulness, disobedience to authorities and parents, etc, etc, etc… We’re experts and finding new ways to rebel against God’s Commandments, but they are all Doorways of Danger. Don’t give the Devil a foothold into your life. Jesus came to set us FREE.
To summarise:Satan and Demons are real, and they are painful, powerful and destructive. They must not be played with and we must renounce all participation either voluntarily entered into or foolishly deceived.
The Lord Jesus Christ: Has POWER over the Demonic Forces of Evil: They are not equal in any way. He commanded the Demons and they had to submit to His authority.
He also gave you that same Power and Authority: When you Believed in Jesus Christ, Repented of your sins and Received Him as your Lord and Saviour. Have you really done all that? Believed, Repented, Renounced, Received? Then you are FREE.
John 10:10 Fullness of life, Jesus’ abundant life, are yours. Jesus gives you the same rights as the Son of God. (John 1:12-13).
Jesus’ Perfect FREEDOM:
John 8:31-36 (NIV) 31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” (They’d been invaded by the Romans, dominated by a foreign power, and they still thought they were free. But Jesus wasn’t talking about Political freedom, but Spiritual freedom). 34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it for ever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (Because when Jesus sets you free from sin, you are free from Satan’s bondage to sin, you are free to live as God’s child, that freedom cost Jesus his life, so that we wouldn’t need to loose ours).
Jesus came to SET YOU FREE:Completely FREE from Satan and His Demonic forces.
How to get your FREEDOM BACK: Renounce: Repent: Confess: Receive: Live…
Renounce: Those shameful secret sins. (Pornography is rife in our Society). Anger is festering inside people. Hatred is lying in wait. Jealousy: Bitterness. Rage (Car rage, explosive anger) these are signs that not everyting is OK in our land. Satan is having a ball or a time with the people in our land. Renounce: And BE Set FREE by Jesus Christ.
Repent: Turn away from ALL that your Conscience is telling you is wrong for you. Listen to the voice of your Conscience. You’ll know: That lying, Stealing, lusting, hatred, gossip, slander, back-biting, etc these are ALL Sinful: They may give the Devil a foothold into your life.
1 Peter 5:5-11 (NIV) 5 Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility towards one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
CONFESS: Confess all know sin: This is not too difficult because the Holy Spirit will make you aware of sin in your life. He doesn’t do this to make you feel ashamed, but so that you’ll know what’s separating you from the fullness of life God wants you to have. Be open with God, Confess your sins to Him out loud… Confession is admitting how you’ve sinned against God.
RECEIVE JUSUS: Humble yourselves. Receive Jesus Christ as your LORD: Live your life for Him. (He’s a much better Landlord than Satan) His yoke is easy, His burden is light… (Satan’s is; heavy, hard, unbearable, tortuous, wearisome and deathly).
SATAN: He’s a legalistic, legalist, once you open the door, He’s just waiting to come on in. He’s got YOUR permission. He can’t come in without permission. Don’t open the Door to Satan: If you have or as soon as you become aware of sin in your life: Renounce, Repent, Confess and Receive Jesus forgiveness and renewal of the Holy Spirit. Do it quickly, do it today. Get FREE with Jesus help.
JESUS: God, wants to give you a FRESH START: Humble yourself under God’s mighty hand, that He may life you up in His time.
Jesus Christ: Has POWER to Set you COMPLETELY FREE FROM EVIL TODAY:
“If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed”… John 8:36… Notice the “IF”…
There are a few people in the world today who want God to PROVE Himself to them first, but my friends, He’s God. He’s not about to take orders from high-minded human beings that He’s created. He’ll never prove himself to a proud human being. However, a person who sincerely wants to discover if God is real, a humble human being, will find out the truth; That’s God’s PROMISE and God cannot tell lies.
Deuteronomy 4:29 (NIV) “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
Jeremiah 29:12-13 (NIV) 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Can you imagine the JOY that Demon Possessed man experienced once he’d been set free? He wanted to follow Jesus, but he was told by Jesus to go and tell his family, friends and neighbours what God had done for him. Yesterday in St Luke’s Church we heard how Gemma had been set free by Jesus, not from Demons, but from the jaws of an alligator as she was sinking to almost certain death. Joy at knowing you’ve been set free transforms your life.
My friends, you can discover God is real and alive today, more real and more alive than you ever imagined. Satan is real too, but He’s not as powerful or influential as God. So stop doubting and believe, call out to God from a sincere heart, seek Him and you will find Him when you seek with all your heart. This is how you can prove to yourself that God is Knowable today.
Our Father, Who art in Heaven,
Holy is Your Name,
Your Kingdom Come,
Your will be done,
On Earth, As it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who’ve sinned against us,
Lead us not into temptation,
Deliver us from evil,
For Yours is the Kingdom,
For Yours is the Glory,
Forever and Ever, Amen.
Your Kingdom Lord, In my life, as it is in Heaven.
Lead me not into temptation,
Deliver me from evil.
For Yours is the Kingdom.
The POWER and The Glory. Amen!
You can be FREE, but that freedom is not automatic: You must; renounce, repent, confess and receive the Lord Jesus Christ, turn and trust in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation from sin and freedom from Satan’s power. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who has laid down His life for His sheep.
That man, possessed by demons, ran and fell at Jesus feet. Something in him made him run to Jesus.
My friends, will you run to Jesus Christ this morning? Run and fall at His feet… He can and will set you FREE today.
I’m praying that anyone who reads this today, may find that perfect and complete FREEDOM that only Jesus Christ can give. Amen.
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—yet 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.
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—unless, 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.
You shall have no other gods before Me.
You shall not make idols.
You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Honour your father and your mother.
You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
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— 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.
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—yet 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,
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.
Watch the Video: The Ashers Bakery Couple: The McArthur’s at the end of this page.
Good morning my friends, yesterday it was a privilege to conduct the funeral of a lovely man George Donald Smith. A wonderful husband, father, neighbour and friend to many people. May he rest in the peace of the Lord Jesus. Did you know that God wants us all to prepare for the time we’re going to be with the LORD forever? So, over the next few days I’m going to be studying the book of Revelation and letters to the Seven Churches in Asia Minor given by the Apostle John.
Why Revelation? Because I believe The LORD has led me to this.
Why? I’m still working on that, but at the outset I believe Revelations is speaking directly to every Christian who loves the LORD Jesus today. And our world is rushing headlong into the coming of the Glory of the return of our LORD Jesus Christ. He’s coming soon!
It is probably true that some of the prophecies in Revelation contain three elements; fulfilled in the past, about to be fulfilled in the near future, and to be fulfilled in the far distant future (but bear in mind it was written almost 2000 years ago, so that far-distant future may be referring to our present age).
John was given the visions and messages to deliver to the churches in Asia, and they were referring especially to some of the things that were happening during John’s lifetime, or in the immediate future after the Revelations had been delivered; much of the book is dealing with events in the coming ages after John was given his Revelations.
Situation: John was in exile on the Island of Patmos. He was the beloved disciple, he was exiled there because of his proclamation of the Gospel. He was a very old man.
Here is part of John’s Introduction:
Revelation 1:9-18 (NIV) 9 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. 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.” 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.
“I AM THE LIVING ONE; I WAS DEAD, AND BEHOLD I AM ALIVE FOREVER”
WOWzer! Just imagine hearing the LORD utter these awesome words.
SYNOPSIS (Overview) OF THE BOOK OF REVELATIONS.
Before delving into any study of the book of Revelation, it’s essential to try and grasp an overall perspective of the book. This will aid understanding. It’s like viewing a forest on a little screen broadcast from a drone hovering over the forest. You can see what the drone sees, so you can navigate your way through the thickest of forests. Revelation is a deep book, like a dense forest, but with this overview, you’ll be able to work out where you are going, the obstacles and the route you can take.
The book may be divided into a series of visions, some of which are partly or wholly veiled (the meaning and application are unknown, therefore we cannot be dogmatic about it), others are comparatively clear in their teachings.
Two EPOCHAL EVENTS should especially be kept in mind in studying the visions.
The birth of the male child, regarded by many as the incarnation of Jesus Christ,—Revelation 12.
The sounding of the seventh trumpet,—Revelation 11:15, which heralded His world-wide victory.
It is not always possible to tell just where one vision ends and another begins. But for convenience they may be studied under various numbers, according to the viewpoint of the student.
Introduction and promise to obedient readers,—Revelation 1:1-3.
Salutation of John and of the glorified Christ,—Revelation 1:4-8.
Of the glorified Christ,—Revelation 1:9-16.
His command to write to the seven churches,—Revelation 1:19.
The message to the churches, chapters 2-3.
To Ephesus, the backslidden church, persistent in service, strong in discipline, but with love growing cold,—Revelation 2:1-7.
To Smyrna, the poor but truly rich church, facing a period of persecution,—Revelation 2:8-11.
To Pergamos, the church of evil surroundings, steadfast, but infected with heresy,—Revelation 2:12-17.
To Thyatira, the church of good works but harboring a false prophetess,—Revelation 2:18-29.
To Sardis, the dying church,—Revelation 3:1-6.
To Philadelphia, the weak but faithful church,—Revelation 3:7-13.
To Laodicea, the lukewarm, self-satisfied church, boasting of her wealth while poor and miserable and blind,—Revelation 3:14-22.
Recurrent thought, the promises to overcomers.
Second Vision: Partly Veiled. Chapter 4
The vision of God in heaven upon His throne, the creator of the universe, receiving the worship of the living creatures and the four and twenty elders,—Revelation 4:1-11.
The opening of the seven-sealed book by the Lamb, the singing of the New Song, and the universal worship of the Lamb. Conjectural interpretation-Christ in His redemptive office alone can unlock the deepest divine mysteries.
The opening of the six seals, (veiled),—Revelation 6:1-17. There have been many widely different interpretations; it is not worthwhile to add another. One clear lesson,—Revelation 6:9-11, the saints tested by divine delays. See Divine Delays, 3607.
Third vision: Partly Veiled. Chapter 7
Suggested thought, God’s protection of His chosen people,—Revelation 7:1-8.
Fourth Vision. Chapter 7: Comforting assurances
The innumerable host of the redeemed,—Revelation 7:9-10.
The means by which they appear in God’s presence,—Revelation 7:13-15.
Their activities and eternal felicity,—Revelation 7:15-17.
Fifth Vision: Partly Veiled. Chapter 8
Momentous event, the opening of the seventh seal, causing silence in heaven.—Revelation 8:1.
Possible explanation: that all the harps and the voices of the angels were stilled by the fact that during the period of the seventh seal Christ was to leave for His earthly mission.
This is not purely imaginary. The fullness of time was evidently approaching-“There shall be delay no longer,” (Revelation 10:6). If this conjecture is correct, here in Revelation 8:1 we are at the very sources of the divine plan of salvation, and we shall see the events focusing toward the birth of the man child in the twelfth chapter.
In Revelation 8:3-4 the thought appears to be that the prayers of the saints are ascending to God for the coming of the messianic kingdom. (So we should be praying that Jesus Christ would come very soon to rule and reign upon the Earth).
Then follows a veiled portion of the vision, the sounding of the six trumpets in chapters 8 and 9, apparently announcing impending judgments.
Sixth Vision: Partly Veiled. Chapters 10-11
We can say no more than that the events seem to be moving forward toward the great consummation. This is indicated by the announcement of the mighty angel (Revelation 10:5-7), that there shall be delay no longer, but that the good tidings spoken of by the prophets are about to be fulfilled.
Among so many different opinions it is hazardous to suggest any interpretation of the “little book” in Revelation 10 and the “two witnesses” in Revelation 11. Possibly as these immediately precede the vision of the birth of the male child in Revelation 12, they may refer to the prophetic period prior to the coming of Christ.
In our studies we suggest that Revelation 12-20 contain partly veiled visions connected with the great Messianic conflict.
Seventh Vision. Chapters 12-13
The great epochal event, the birth of the male child, Christ, and the simultaneous manifestation of the Satanic powers arrayed to destroy Him.
The justification for this viewpoint is that during Christ’s earthly life the powers of darkness were in frenzied activity. Note the attempt of Herod to destroy the child, the testing and tempting of Jesus Christ in the wilderness, the numerous cases of demoniacal possession, and the malignant persecution of the religious Pharisees, Saducees and Civil Authorities under King Herod which resulted in Christ’s crucifixion.
We are not seeking to give any detailed interpretation of the mysteries but to call attention to the spiritual weapons by which the victory was to be won (Revelation 12:11).
Eighth Vision: Partly Veiled. Chapter 14
Without strained interpretation it is possible to regard this chapter as a prophetical summary of the coming conflict between the Lamb and His enemies,—Revelation 14:1-13.
If this view point is accepted, in the first five verses the one hundred and forty-four thousand would represent the ancient worthies of the old dispensation.
The opening up of the world-wide missionary campaign,—Revelation 14:6-7. See World-wide Missions, 2379. The preliminary announcement of the final victory (Revelation 14:8-11). The blessedness of the holy dead,—Revelation 14:12-13.
Ninth Vision: Partly Veiled. Chapter 14
The harvest and vintage of grapes,—Revelation 14:16-20.
Tenth Vision: Partly Veiled. Chapter 15
The early victors and their song,—Revelation 15:1-4.
The Seven Angels and the golden bowls,—Revelation 15:5-8.
The outpouring of the seven bowls of wrath,—Revelation 16:1-21.
Eleventh Vision: Veiled. Chapters 17-18
The doom of Babylon, the harlot city, and the enemies of the Lamb whom He shall overcome.
Twelfth Vision. Chapter 19
The hallelujah chorus in heaven celebrating the spiritual victory,—Revelation 19:1-6.
The marriage of the Lamb,—Revelation 19:7-9. See Christ the Bridegroom,
Christ, the spiritual conqueror upon the white horse, smites the nations with the sword of the Spirit,—Revelation 19:11-16.
Partly veiled. The beast and the false prophet and their allies overcome by Christ. See Christ the Victor.
Fourteenth Vision: Partly Veiled. Chapter 20
The binding of Satan,—Revelation 20:1-3.
The first resurrection,—Revelation 20:4-6.
Satan loosed and his evil activity,—Revelation 20:7-9.
The doom of Satan, the beast, and the false prophet,—Revelation 20:10.
The last judgment,—Revelation 20:11-15.
Fifteenth Vision. Chapters 21-22
The new heaven and the new earth.
The holy city, a type of the church, the Lamb’s wife.
Paradise restored. Distinguishing marks of the river of life,—Revelation 22:1; the tree of life,—Revelation 22:2; removal of the curse,—Revelation 22:3; the beatific vision and the divine impress upon saints,—Revelation 22:4; eternal day and saints’ dominion,—Revelation 22:5.
The last teachings, faithful and true,—Revelation 22:6; emphasize the speedy coming of the Lord,—Revelation 22:7; God only to be worshiped,—Revelation 22:8-9; character tends to final permanence,—Revelation 22:11; the last promise,—Revelation 22:14; the last invitation,—Revelation 22:17; the last warning,—Revelation 22:18-19.
Benediction and prayer,—Revelation 22:21.
PROMINENT PEOPLE: The Lamb of God, at last victor over all allied powers of evil (mentioned about thirty times), Four Living Creatures, Twenty-four Elders, 144,000 Jews, the Two Witnesses, Satan, Beast of the Sea, the False Prophet, the Great Harlot, Angels of Heaven, Saints of Heaven, John.
The PROMISES / REWARDS to Those Who Overcome (The ones who live the victorious Christian life).
Spiritual Food : Revelation 2:7
A New Name : Revelation 2:17
Authority : Revelation 2:26
Robes Of Righteousness : Revelation 3:5
A Memorial Pillar : Revelation 3:12
Enthronement : Revelation 3:21
An Eternal Inheritance : Revelation 21:7
The Lord Jesus is cheering you onto victory in the Christian life.
He is encouraging you to remain faithful: Just like the young couple in Northern Ireland, the now infamous Asher’s Bakery Case (see little video): who took a stand for their faith and refused to produce a cake from their Bakery for the wedding of a gay couple. They felt their faith in the Lord would be compromised and if they’d gone ahead they’d be condoning something they believed to be sinful. It’s been very costly for that young couple, they’ve come under attack from; the media, the courts, the establishment, those in society who think everyone should support gay rights to marriage. The faith once delivered to the saints makes it clear that Homosexuality is a sin: praise the LORD for this very brave young family. They’ve stood together throughout their ordeal. Pray for their upcoming appeal case. No matter what the outcome, thank the LORD. Determine in your heart that you will live in accordance with God’s Word revealed.
I hope you’ve found the overview helpful my friends. If you’ve just skipped down the page to the conclusion, can I encourage you to take the time to re-read and dwell patiently over the outline. When you’ve taken the time to read through the OVERVIEW: Just like the view a drone and give whilst hovering overhead a dense forest, I hope you can see that John was given an AWESOME privilege and responsibility to record the things he’d seen in visions on the Island of Patmos. The Holy Spirit and the visions of the LORD ensured the words recorded are contained in the final book of the Bible. These WORDS of Jesus Christ are POWERFUL for every Christian today: Helping us all to remain steadfast in the face of hardships, attacks and the headlong rush into God’s final days of the Creation.
When I first became a Christian I was afraid to read the book of Revelation, it was a bit scary to me, but then the LORD showed me in prayer one day; “It’s my WORD, my WORD is useful in many ways and this book is going to help you stay close to Me”…
Have an Awesome Day with Jesus.
(P.S. I’ve been feeling a bit poorly Sunday and yesterday, had to struggle through a funeral, shivering last night with a flu fever and my body aching with man-flue, but the LORD woke me up early and got me into His WORD again today. Praise be to our LORD and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen!).
Asher’s Bakery Couple:
Ashers Baking Company’s General Manager Daniel McArthur, and his wife Amy, speak out ahead of their appeal on Wednesday 3 February 2016. Please keep them in your prayers.
My friends John and Kathy Butler wrote on Facebook yesterday: “We arrived home from a walk at Burrator (Burrator Reservoir on Dartmoor in Devon) with the grandchildren this afternoon when Kathy realised she no longer had her mum’s wedding ring. We drove back to the first of several stops where the children were playing and started to search without any hope.
Kathy found it sitting in a very muddy puddle just near the edge glinting at us!!”
Have you ever come close to loosing something very precious to you?
In this message today we’re going to see three groups of people:
The Pharisees: Who hated Jesus and plotted his downfall. Accuse Him of being Possessed by Satan.
The Family of Jesus: His mother Mary and his brothers. Moved with genuine concern thinking Jesus was mad.
The Crowd in the House: Who were sitting around Jesus, lapping up His teachings.
We’re going to see that how we respond to Jesus is crucially important: Because ONLY those who LOVE Him will be the ones who are SAVED. We’ll know that we LOVE Jesus, if we are being obedient to the Commands of God, they’re no longer commands, but promises for our abundant life.
We’re back with the Gospel of Mark again today:
In previous Chapters Mark has been building a wonderful picture for us about who Jesus is, and why He had come: We’ve seen Him debating with the Pharisees (The Religious Leaders of Jesus time). We’ve noted that He selected 12 out of the many thousands who were following Him, designating them Apostles (Sent ones: to preach, teach, heal and deliver).
Today, we discover that Jesus is in a house, with so many people that it gets impossible for Him to even eat.
Whilst Jesus is busy; healing and teaching, his family arrives, they’ve come to get their precious Son. Also another group of the old adversaries have arrived the Pharisees, they’ve not come to save Jesus, but to condemn Him even more.
Mark 3:20-35 (NIV) 20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” The Pharisees Arrive: 22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.” 23 So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27 In fact, no-one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house. 28 I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. 29 But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.” 30 He said this because they were saying, “He has an evil spirit.”
The Family Arrives: 31 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.” 33 “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. 34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
Beelzebub: Who is Beelzebub?
Beelzebub means Lord of Flies: The god of Ekron. “The Dung God.” Imagine that, they’re accusing Jesus of being filled with the Demons of the Dung god.
The Pharisees are here again 🙂
They’re accusing Jesus of being Demon Possessed.
Jesus knew what they meant (Satan) so he explained it in a Parable to them:
Divided Kingdom: We’ve seen it in History: Greece, Rome, (Empires crumble from corruption / division within). A divided KINGDOM cannot stand for very long.
Divided House: We’ve all see how families fall out and they don’t stand for long: Kardashians. Earthly families that fall apart. Normally over something small: An inheritance, money, finances, jealousy, anger, arguments, etc… A divided house cannot stand.
Divided Person: Satan Opposing Himself: Nah! That’s just dumb. Foolishness of the Pharisees. But we also see this in earthly terms too: a person who’s hell bent on self-destruction: through drink and drugs. Last week I gave the example of Amy Winehouse: Hell bent on self-destruction. She succeeded. Such a sad loss for all who knew her, but ONLY Jesus could have saved Amy Winehouse.
After explaining the parable Jesus turns around their accusation: He’s not filled with a Demon Spirit, but the Holy Spirit and now they are guilty of committing the unpardonable sin: by accusing Jesus of being filled and moved by a Demon Spirit they’re Blaspheming against God the Holy Spirit.
Blasphemy: Blasphemy is a serious sin: “The LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain”
Exodus 20:7 (NIV) “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”
Have you ever said; “O God!” or “OMG” or “Jesus Christ”?: When you hurt your toe, couldn’t get parked, stuck in traffic, arguing with someone when you are angry? Even in those situations using God’s Name in any format: It’s still Blasphemy. I don’t believe that if you are filled with the Holy Spirit you’ll ever take God’s name in vain and not know about it, how serious it is. At best, It hurts your relationship with God. At worst it cuts you off from Him if you do it knowingly.
But to Blaspheme against the Holy Spirit is a sin that can never be forgiven. Verse 29.
What does this mean? Blaspheme The Holy Spirit.
It’s to know God and His purposes and yet still be in opposition to Him.
If you’re still feeling guilty for your sin: You are OK.
You love Jesus, but still fail and fall: You are OK.
Your guilty conscience proves there’s room for repentance; and getting right with God again.
However: If you say that you know Jesus: And are Opposed to Him: You are definitely on dangerous ground.
I believe that it’s possible to be forgiven every sin: Apart from this one.
My Friend: A Young Christian: In RN Got home on leave to find his wife had been cheating on him. He Cursed God. Felt that he had committed the unpardonable sin. For over a week he avoided our early morning prayer gatherings. He eventually came back one day, but he was unusually quiet: We were reading Psalm 40 and then we began praying. I was praying in tongues: I looked up and his face was streaming with tears. He burst into tears and let it all out. (Tongues are good sometimes). He confessed to shouting at God. Said some terrible things to Him. He thought God wouldn’t forgive him, he’d been pleading but had no peace. But after coming to prayer and hearing God’s Word: Even though He’d got angry with God. Now he knew that God had forgiven him.
He was hurting: He had believed that once he became a Christian, then everything would be sunshine and roses in his life. Now he finds his wife had cheated on him. He was broken: He was mistakenly convinced that everything in life would be easy now. He cursed God, because he had believed a lie, But he came back to Jesus. Do you want to know what a man on fire is like? From that day on he told everybody about Jesus and many more sailors came to faith. A life forgiven is a life transformed.
The Blasphemy: Against the Holy Spirit: Is KNOWING: Jesus, His Person, His purpose and deciding to oppose Him. It’s going against God’s Holy Spirit.
Being angry with God: Is not the unpardonable sin, but we may still need to repent and ask for His forgiveness.
(Note: The Psalms are full of people who are hurting and shouting out to God about their predicament in life).
Mother’s And Brothers Arrive: Verses 31-35:
They made a mistake: Instead of going in themselves to see Jesus, they send someone else in.
Loosing Something Precious: You’ll go looking for it. Like my friends with the Wedding Ring.
When you are about to loose or have lost someone precious: You’ll move heaven and earth to get them back.
Jesus is precious to His family too: His mother and brothers had come to get him; propelled by love and genuine concern.
They are GENUINELY worried about Him: “People were saying, “He’s lost his mind”, “Your son has gone mad”…. His family were not opposed to Jesus, but were only moved through caring concern: We all know they needn’t have worried. Jesus was OK. But they made a genuine mistake through loving concern.
How many times have we made a mistake about Jesus? Not understanding Him, Not following Him the way He wants us to?
We know from the Bible that Jesus was close to His mother Mary and his borthers; She was there at the Cross as her precious son died. His own brother James becomes a key leader in Jerusalem after Jesus’ death on the Cross. It was only a mistake, but through genuine love.
What Jesus said is surprising: “Who are my mother and brothers?” Verse 33.
Imagine that, what an insult it could have been to his family outside the house that day, but Jesus was teaching the crowd.
He looked around the room: At the people gathered there: and answers his own question: “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” Verse 35.
You know something my friends, we KNOW that we KNOW Him if we LOVE Him.
You know something else my friends, we KNOW that we LOVE Him if we are living in obedience to God’s will.
Jesus said, “If you truly love me, you will obey my commands”… It’s a PROMISE: You will obey my commands.
Jesus also said, “Come unto me … my yoke is easy (Commands), my burden is light (not difficult)… You’ll want to be obedient to Jesus when you’ve come to Him in faith and received Him as LORD. Only then is the obedient life possible, through the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit, Jesus gives us the POWER to live the loving obedient life.
One more Question:
How are you getting on at doing God’s will today?
How are you getting on a living the Christian life?
Are you living in accordance with the will of God?
OK, I know that’s three questions 🙂
If you are NORMAL: Then there will always be areas in your life that God is working on.
You are always going to be, until the Lord returns, “A Work in Progress”…
God has made you into a Saint: The moment you trusted Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
God is making you more Saintly: Day by Day.
He will finish the good work He began in you. (Philippian 1:6).
Philippians 1:4-6 (NIV) 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
If you LOVE Jesus: You are His FAMILY:
You are very precious to Him.
He said about those who love Him; “I’ll never leave you, nor forsake you”…
Family might abandon you, friends may leave you and let you down, but Jesus never will leave you.
There are THREE Possible Positions to be in regarding Jesus today:
Opposition: Like the Pharisees.
Mistaken: Like Jesus Family.
Family: Like those around about Jesus; who prove they LOVE Him by being obedient to God’s Commands. God’s will.
Which position are you in today?
Have an awesome week my friends.
Stay close to the Vine: John 15
Stay full of God’s Holy Spirit: Ephesians 5:18.
Further Study Today:
Being Filled With God’s Spirit:
God is the God of FREE REFILLS.
I heard about a Clergyman who told his children in McDonald’s they can have only one coke. Because he couldn’t afford to keep paying for a refill. However, on holiday in America you can keep coming back and filling your glass again and again as much as you like.
The Holy Spirit is a bit like that; you get filled with the Holy Spirit once you trust in Jesus, but you need to keep being filled with the Holy Spirit every day.
First things first: you don’t come to Jesus apart from the Holy Spirit. In Titus 3:4-6, we’re told that God “saved us, not because of works done by us… but by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ…” You can’t become a Christian without the Holy Spirit.
And when you become a Christian you don’t receive 2/3 of God, as if the Holy Spirit comes later. 2 Corinthians 1:22 and Ephesians 1:13 tell us that the Holy Spirit seals us and guarantees that we belong to Jesus. When you put your trust in Jesus Christ, the Spirit seals you.
But in Ephesians 5:18, Paul commands the church to “be filled with the Holy Spirit”. The English language doesn’t quite do justice to Paul’s intent here. In the Greek, this command is a present imperative, indicating that this isn’t speaking of a onetime filling, but rather a regular pattern of being filled. So “go on being filled with the Holy Spirit” is more like it.
This makes some of us nervous, but it was normal language in the New Testament. In Luke 4:1, Jesus is described as being “full of the Holy Spirit”. In Acts 4:8, Peter is “filled with the Holy Spirit”. In Acts 9:17, Ananias lays his hands on Saul so that he can be “filled with the Holy Spirit”. Barnabas is described as being “full of the Holy Spirit and faith” in Acts 11:24.
And lest you point out that all these references just mention one person one single time, look at the three separate instances in Acts when the disciples are said to be “filled with the Holy Spirit”. First, in Acts 2:4 they’re “filled…” and begin to speak in tongues. Second, in Acts 4:31 they’re “filled…” again. And then in Acts 13:52 they’re again “filled with the Holy Spirit and with joy”.
Why else would Jesus describe the Holy Spirit as “rivers of living water” (John 7:38) and not a pool? A river is a constant flow whereas a pool is a dormant supply. God reconciles us to himself through Jesus, and by the work of the Holy Spirit, and then longs to continue to fill us and fill us and fill us again. He really is the God of FREE refills, but we NEED Him every single day.
Go on being filled with God, the Holy Spirit today my friends.
Daily Spirit & Word, 627: The Importance Of Persevering:
When Witnessing To Professing Believers In Jesus.
2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
Good morning my friends, it was with great joy we returned from the battle for souls, sharing the Awesome Good News of Jesus on the Streets of West Norwood last night. It is a battle and each encounter leaves you feeling strength has been sapped from you. Our battle is NOT against flesh and blood, Ephesians 6:11-12 “Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
But why were we so filled with the joy of the Lord?
Because we won battle after battle last night.
But before we went out, we really took to heart what God’s Word tells us about our need for Jesus and for His strength and power and presence to be in us. Zechariah 4:6 “… ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.”
Out Of The Darkness: Into The Light:
You know something my friends, sharing Jesus enlightens not only those we share with, but also we ourselves. We come face to face with our motives for witnessing, our heart’s desires and our own shortcomings and limitations. It reminds us afresh just how much we need Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit in everything we attempt for His glory. We go out in His strength and we come back rejoicing. However, if we were to go in our own strength, in the strength of the flesh, we would have returned with our battle banners trailing in the dirt and our armour stained with blood.
We must go out recognizing our own weakness and lack of ability to do anything unless the Lord goes out with us.
Charles Spurgeon said, “He will only reap that corn, the seed of which was sown from heaven, watered by grace, and ripened by the sun of divine love.” From Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Devotional for 4th November.
Secondly, we were witnesses of what the Lord was doing in the lives of those we shared with. How He had already prepared people’s hearts for the Gospel last night.
The Gospel really does open the eyes of the blind: for many we met last night professed a belief in Jesus almost immediately, but as we continued to witness, through discernment and the gift of the Holy Spirit, we could see quite clearly they’d gotten into ‘religion’ without coming to a true faith and trust in Jesus Christ. So many had attended church, but had stopped short of going the whole way to trust in Jesus for themselves. However, initially, they were so blinded by their own self-assurance that they didn’t seem concerned at all about their own eternal welfare, thankfully the LORD was and He was ready to open their eyes.
As we chatted, we asked this simple question: “Do you think God will allow you into Heaven?” and to some others, “Have you been good enough to get into Heaven?” to which their answers were a resounding “Oh yes!”. When we asked “Why?” We then knew instantly they were not trusting in Jesus for Salvation, but themselves and their own goodness. More than that, they had a standard of goodness that was far below that of the Lord Jesus Christ. Most thought that their own good deeds would far outweigh their bad deeds and that God would look at their whole life and see they were more good than bad. Sadly we could see they had been trusting in a false Gospel, which gave them a false assurance.
It’s a common misconception amongst church going people today, that if they “try their best”, then God will just wave them through into glory in Heaven. How often have we heard on the streets, “I try my best to be good”… Of course we should try our best, but we should never rely or depend upon our own goodness to get into Heaven.
My friends, Satan loves it when people are kept in the darkness about their spiritual condition before a holy and righteous God. Yes God is loving and forgiving, but He’s also just and in His righteousness, He must punish every single sin. Sin has it’s wages and God is so faithful that He must give sin it’s due. If anyone was to appear before Him, trusting in their own goodness, their good works, He would then simply show them their SIN and turn them away from Heaven. (No SINNER can enter into the Kingdom of God).
Helping People SEE their NEED for Jesus:
So Through The Right Use Of God’s LAW: We, with the inward working of the Holy Spirit, bringing the Conscience back to life, in those we witnessed to, we used God’s LAW (Revealed in the Ten Commandments) to show a person their NEED for Jesus.
Romans 3:9-20 9 What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. (We’ve ALL sinned and fallen short of God’s Glory). 10 As it is written: “There is no-one righteous, not even one; (Nobody is good enough in themselves for Heaven). 11 there is no-one who understands, no-one who seeks God. (We can only come to God if He pulls us to Himself). 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no-one who does good, not even one.” (Even the best things that we do are tainted by some kinds of selfish motives). 13 “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practise deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” 14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 ruin and misery mark their ways, 17 and the way of peace they do not know.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” 19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. (those who are “under the law” are anybody who is yet to trust in Jesus Christ). 20 Therefore no-one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.
It’s through the LAW of God: The Ten Commandments, that we become CONSCIOUS of our SIN.
i.e. Our Conscience comes back to life again and we can see sin for what it is: rebellion against God.
Let’s just look and see if that’s true?
What do you call a person who commits murder? “A Murderer”. How many murders do they need to commit in their lifetime to become a murderer? Just ONE. It’s the same with every other Commandment of God.
If we’ve told just one lie in our life, then we’re liars in God’s sight. He’s declared, “No liar can enter into the Kingdom of God”.
If we’ve stolen something, no matter what it’s value in the eyes of the world or who we’ve stolen it from, just one act of stealing makes us into a thief. God has declared, “No thief can enter into the Kingdom of God”…
Just one act of disobedience by Adam and Eve brought God’s curse of DEATH upon the whole human race and banishment from the Garden of Eden forever.
That’s just a few of the commandments: God sees the sin of lust as adultery. Saying “OMG” as Blasphemy. And we all know that no adulterer or blasphemer can enter into God’s Kingdom don’t we?
Every truly born again believer knows that in and of themselves, they are not good enough for Heaven and never will be or can be. Why? Because a converted and Holy Spirit filled person knows that even ONE SIN will keep a person out of Heaven for all eternity. We know that to enter the Kingdom of God we must be cleansed from all sin and made pure, holy and righteous by Jesus. No amount of “trying our best” can remove past sins.
Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
It’s like getting a Tattoo: it’s the indelible ink-stain of sin that cannot be removed by human actions.
Most People: (Who don’t know the LORD) Initially object that this is too black and white. They state, my god is not like that. I believe in a god that forgives sins. (So do we, but there is only ONE WAY that those sins can be forgiven, and it’s NOT by trying harder to be good enough).
However, what they are actually doing is putting their faith in a god of their own making, the Bible calls that idolatry. It breaks the second of God’s Commandments “Not to make an Idol and bow down to it”. Their idol is a god that just winks at sin like an unjust earthly judge who can be bribed. No my friends, God is much more Holy than everybody realises. The God who inspired Holy Scripture said, “NO SINNER CAN ENTER INTO GOD’S KINGDOM” He cannot wink at sin and just allow people into Heaven with sin still upon their souls. God’s punishment for sin is banishment from Heaven to a place that He’s reserved for the Devil and his Demons.
The Good News:
Thankfully, once a person is fully aware of their spiritual condition, they are in the right place then to receive the Good News of Jesus Christ.
It’s not true, that everyone is aware of how much they’ve sinned. We know that from weekly experience of sharing the Gospel on the streets in London. In fact nearly everyone we meet thinks that deep down they are ‘good enough’ for heaven. It’s only when we take the time with them to gently show them God’s standards of holiness through His Commandments. Those Commands really are like a Schoolmaster who teaches us our need for Jesus cleansing and forgiveness.
Galatians 3:24 (KJV)“Wherefore the law was our schoolmasterto bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”
They are then ready for the Good News of Jesus: That God doesn’t want to punish anyone, but that everyone might be saved by Jesus Christ. It’s why Jesus came into the world: God wants everyone to come to REPENTANCE.
1 Timothy 1:15 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.”
HOW DOES JESUS SAVE SINNERS?
Jesus took the place of every sinner upon the cross. He died in our place. His death sets us free from God’s wrath and anger against sin.
Romans 5:8-9 (Two of my favourite verses in the Bible). 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!
Jesus can save anyone from their sins and deliver them from God’s wrath and anger against sin.
But we must do something to be SET FREE from God’s wrath against our sins.
We must TRUST in Christ’s Death & Turn to Him in Repentance and Faith to Receive Him as Lord.
It like coming to this understanding:“Father God, I know now that I’ve broken Your Commandments and I’ve sinned against You, I’m a sinner in Your sight and deserve Your just punishment for my rebellion. I also know that Jesus Christ, Your One and Only Son, died in my place upon the Cross. I now turn to You Lord Jesus and ask for your forgiveness. I confess my sins to You Lord (Name them) and I turn away from all sin in my life (repentance). I receive You Lord Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. Please Lord, come into my life and give me the promised New Life. Let me be born again by Your Holy Spirit and become a child of God so that I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He is my Heavenly Father. Amen”
A person must see and understand: (Even a ‘churchgoing’ or ‘religious’ person).
A) That they’ve sinned against God. B) That they need His forgiveness to enter into Heaven. C) No amount of ‘good’ works or deeds can bring that forgiveness. D) That Jesus Christ has died upon the Cross in their place, taking their punishment and paying the price of sin. E) That they need to turn to Jesus in repentance and faith and receive Him as Lord. F) When they do all that, then God will grant them New Life in Christ, New Birth of the Holy Spirit and Eternal Life. G) They’ll also be members of God’s Family forever. He will be their Heavenly Father. They will be His children. Saints forever. H) Begin to live the new life in Christ: Pray, Worship, Read God’s Word, Gather with Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Share the Good News of Jesus Christ with others who don’t yet know Him as Lord. I) The Holy Spirit: Also will give them Heavenly gifts to enable them to serve God as He directs them.
A Christian is SET FREE from Sin:
Romans 6:22 “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.”
When you are set free from sin’s ability to control your life, you are set free in Jesus to be like Him: Holy, and this leads to an assurance that you have received the gift of eternal life.
A Christian is DEAD to SIN:
Romans 6:2 “By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”
Last night was so awesome, no wonder we returned with banners flying high (not literally), but full of the JOY of the LORD.
We met a man and a woman last night, who I initially thought were father and daughter, but they’d just, at that moment, met each other after not seeing each other for over 20 years. It was amazing! The woman and man were so thankful after our conversation about the Lord.
She had been trusting in her own way to Heaven. He was a lapsed Roman Catholic who never attended church, but believed he was going to Heaven because he’d been baptised as a baby. We took the time to go through the Commandments with them and what an amazing, eye opening time it was. They both could see and understand their need for Jesus Christ. The woman even after that said, “I’ve got my own beliefs and I’m going to try my best in my own way”. Sherrie said to her “Can I just say something, I want to say this gently and respectfully, but you are trusting in your own way instead of God’s way.” She simply nodded in agreement. She responded, “I don’t think that our meeting up tonight was an accident” and continued to explain they’d not seen each other for over 20 years and how she knew she’d never be able to forget what God had just spoken to her. With warm handshakes they both thanked us so much for taking the time to stop and talk with them about the Lord. Awesome!
Share the Good News, go out in your weakness and He will fill you with His strength and you will return with banners flying high. Who knows, you may even reap some of the seeds that have been sown in their hearts by the Divine hand of Glory.
BTW: In the past when someone said, “I’m a believer” I would just say, “Praise the Lord”. Now, sometimes, the Lord prompts me to just check to see who it is they are actually trusting in; Jesus or themselves for their Salvation. More often than not these days, the LORD opens up the can of worms, empties them out and fills them with His own LOVE. Because there is ONLY ONE WAY to get into Heaven and that’s through what Jesus Christ has done to make us pure and ready for it.
BTW: Every truly born again believer will not be annoyed that you want to check they are trusting in Jesus, they’ll thank you for it, pray for you and encourage you on your way. Don’t forget to encourage them too, to share Jesus regularly.