New Year 2017 Getting The Father’s Heart

Lost sinners and Jesus commission to go and seek and save the lost

Daily Spirit & Word: 821

Jesus Of Nazareth.

Getting The Father’s Heart For the New Year.

Psalm 33:11 (NIV)  But the plans of the LORD stand firm for ever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.

Over the Christmas season the TV is quite good, because they show all the old family favourite films. It struck me that the films that seem to stand the test of time are not the ones with fancy graphics or awesome animation, nor is it fast moving scenes, car pile-ups or big explosions, etc, but it is the ones that have really great stories and characters that are convincing.

One such film, I watched again for the umpteenth time was; Jesus of Nazareth. In an early scene Peter was complaining about having to pay taxes to the Romans even after being out fishing all night and having caught nothing, when he got into port he wasn’t convinced that Jesus was the Messiah who could set them free from Roman domination. It showed a reluctant Peter, when asked by Jesus to go out fishing after they’d been fishing all night long, so the other Disciples had to coax him into accepting Jesus into his boat. I’d never noticed before that when Jesus told the story of the prodigal son, he did so in a house full of obvious sinners, Matthew the Tax Collector and Publicans and in the film the story was targeted at a reluctant Peter who was standing outside the door of the house listening. The film portrayed Peter as a belligerent and reluctant Disciple of Jesus, who was being judgemental about Matthew who collected taxes for the Romans.

I’m not convinced that part of the film is authentic, however it did get me thinking about Jesus telling of that story. Who was he targeting? Then I thought to myself, that story applies to every single one of us, so it would also have applied to both Jesus’ Disciples and His opponents, the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

The Prodigal Son: The Lost Son / The Loving Father / The Resentful Older Brother.

Luke 15:17-32 (NIV)
17  “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!
18  I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
19  I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’
20  So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21  “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22  “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
23  Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.
24  For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
25  “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing.
26  So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.
27  ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
28  “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.
29  But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.
30  But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
31  ” ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.
32  But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ “

The Prodigal Son: Who demanded his inheritance before his father had even passed away. Who wasted his inheritance in wild, sensual and sinful living. Who was far away from home and in a desperate state. Who decided to repent and return home again, begging for mercy and forgiveness. Who among us has not been like that Prodigal Son? We’ve all gone away from God on purpose at some point in our lives, choosing to go with our desires, or our feelings instead of God’s way.

The Father’s Response: To run out and greet his wayward son, embrace him, cloth him, bring him home and throw a big party. Every time I hear that story of the Father’s loving heart it brings home to me just how much God really does LOVE everyone, and is just waiting for us all to come back home again to Him.

The Elder Brother: Who was judgemental, outside, refusing to come in, hurt and offended at the Father’s grace, kindness and mercy towards his wayward brother. Refusing to be consoled. (That’s who Peter was in the film), but who among us has not acted like that elder brother? We’ve probably all thought at one point or another, “He doesn’t deserve God’s grace and mercy after what he’s been up to”. However, when we bring it home, back to ourselves, we don’t deserve God’s forgiveness, love and kindness either, it’s all because of His GRACE that we are saved. The fact is God really does LOVE everybody and wants everyone to come to REPENTANCE.

Which one of these characters do you see yourself as being in that story? The wayward son, the merciful, kind and loving father or the elder brother standing outside refusing to join in the celebrations?

  • I’m sure none of us want to be thought of as the Elder Brother do we? Judgemental, Reluctant to celebrated when a sinner repents.
  • I’m sure we can all see a bit of the wayward son in ourselves. We’ve all sinned and fallen short of God’s Holy Standards.
  • I’m sure we’d all like to be just like the Father: Full of grace, mercy, kindness, goodness and love.

But which one are we? Which one are you today?

God is the same, the Bible tells us, yesterday, today and forever.

  • If you’ve wandered away: He’ll welcome you back. Repent and return home to your Heavenly Father.
  • If you’re being judgemental: He’ll come out to you and encourage you to be like the Father. It’s just as much a sin to be like the elder brother as it is to be the wayward son.
  • If you are like the Father today; full of Kindness, goodness, mercy, gentleness, self-control, joy, love, faithfulness, then you’ve got the fruit of the Holy Spirit in abundance. Praise the LORD! Go out and look for both, the wayward sons and daughters of God; He’s longing for you to bring them to their senses and bring them home.

However, if in reading through this little piece, you’ve been pricked in your conscience in some way, then don’t despair of yourself, just get right with your Heavenly Father, do it right now, don’t delay, confess your sins to God and He will forgive you. He will wash you clean and give you a brand new start for the New Year 2017.

I’m praying for all my friends, to be closer to the Lord Jesus in 2017 than they’ve ever been before. Amen!

Here’s hoping you have awesome success in 2017: May you be overflowing with Holy Spirit power to be:

  • More Loving.
  • More Joy Filled.
  • More Peaceful.
  • More Kind.
  • More Holy and Good.
  • More Faithful.
  • More Gentle.
  • More Self-Controlled.

Who among us doesn’t need more of this kind of fruit in our lives in 2017?

I do!
I want it!
I’m praying to Jesus for it.
Praise the LORD!
Don.

NOTES: The story that Jesus told about the Prodigal Son was part of a bigger story in Luke 15:

  • First, a lost sheep (One of a hundred)
  • Second, a lost coin (one of ten) and
  • Lastly, a lost son (one of two)…

Which is most precious to us?

Which is most precious to God?

The people the story is TARGETED at in the Bible are: The Pharisees and the religious teachers of Israel in Jesus time. They would all celebrate a lost sheep being returned to its owner. They would all value a lost coin, even though it was one of ten, but they kept themselves away from lost SINNERS and shunned those, who in their eyes, were completely lost already.

We can all imagine how hard it would be to loose a sheep, even though it’s one in a hundred.

We can all imagine how precious those coins must have been, even though there was another nine to console.

However, imagine having just two sons and loosing one of them, how devastating for any father is that? But when he returns, OH THE JOY… That’s the Father’s Heart.

The Pharisees, much like people in our own time, are MATERIALISTIC: They valued sheep and coins, but thought very little about the value of human life. Especially people who didn’t fit into their moral code of conduct.

The two sons are both Materialistic: The lost son is evidently wayward, but he repents and is restored and celebrated.

However, the materialism in the older son and his resentful attitude only become evident when the LOST son is welcomed back with open arms. He wants a PARTY with his friends. He was thinking about what his brother had wasted (part of his own inheritance)… He refused to coming in and join the celebration.

The Bible makes it clear, the Pharisees and we should have the SAME kind of heart as the Father in the story that Jesus told.

  • Many preachers focus on the Lost Son: to give hope to the parents in the congregation who may have a wayward child, who’s far away from the family and God.
  • Others; focus upon the Loving heart of the Father and His obvious welcome of a truly repentant sinner. That’s what God is like.
  • Others direct our attention to the Resentful Older Brother: How’s our attitude towards those who’ve come back to Jesus Christ after wasting their lives in wild living?

But the thing that jumps out at me afresh today is GETTING the FATHER’S HEART: Jesus wants is all to know what’s going on in HEAVEN: Their is rejoicing and celebration going on in God’s House when just one of us, truly comes to our senses and surrenders our lives to God through His Son Jesus.

Psalm 33:11 (NIV)  But the plans of the LORD stand firm for ever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.

Let’s get the FATHER’S HEART today: Pray for yourself in 2017, that you’ll be filled with the same kind of compassion that Jesus has for those who are far away from God, lost.

Be obedient to the Father’s Heart: Go out and seek and save the LOST: That’s Why Jesus came: To SAVE SINNERS. He’s commissioned every single Christian to be involved in this, the greatest calling, to join Him in SAVING SINNERS. The Holy Spirit is drawing them to Jesus, all we have to do is PRAY and SHARE the Good News. Because FAITH comes by hearing the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Now, we’d all love our churches to be filled afresh with LOST SINNERS wouldn’t we?

Let’s get busy in 2017 saving as many as we can. Hopefully we’ll see a HARVEST of Souls this coming year. Amen!

Be blessed in Jesus,

Don.

 

You Can’t Argue With God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and finally

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

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

God’s Righteous Judgement.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus gave a very humorous illustrations:

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

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

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

THE HAND:

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

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

The NEXT TIME:

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

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

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

Thy Kingdom Come: Amen!

Don.

KNOWING GOD PERSONALLY (The Spirit Filled Life).

Psalm 139: Part 1: God Knows Me Intimately.

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

Psalm 139: Part 3: God Made Me Wonderfully

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

 

 

Where will you find Jesus today?

Where will you find Jesus today?

Daily Spirit & Word; 653:

If You Want To Find Jesus This Christmas.

You’ll need to endure the stink and the stench outside.

Where can we find Jesus today?

Well my friends, you will not find Him in the Holiday Inn, no you’ll still only find Jesus outside in the Stables.

Jesus was always an OUTSIDER:

He wasn’t born in luxury.

Babies today, mostly, are born in the luxury of dedicated and professional care, either at home with trained midwives or in hospital with doctors and nurses, but Jesus was born in a Stable, with the dirt, grime and the filth of the animals in that stable. Have you ever stopped to think of how smelly that stable must have been? He came from the holy odours of Heaven into the stench of a stinky stable. I’ve worked as a stable-boy; cleaning out horses and ponies in Edinburgh for Mr McBride. Those horses really stank, sweeping up the straw was a messy smelly chore. I’ve worked on a pig farm as a young trainee in the Navy, those pigs, though they looked clean and pink, were really smelly. Jesus was born in a whiffy, pongy, minging, stinky stable.

He didn’t live in luxury.

Most people today have warm homes with light, but the Bible tells us that Jesus had nowhere to lay his head. He didn’t have a home that He could call His own (Matthew 8:20, Luke 9:58).

He didn’t die in luxury.

Most people today, when they die, they die with care and dignity, again with professionals looking after their every need. When painkillers are required, they’re available to make the passing bearable. But the Lord Jesus, when He died, He was taken outside of the city, to the rubbish dump (Golgotha was a place outside the city walls of Jerusalem, it was the place criminals were taken to be executed, but it was also the city rubbish dump. As a boy I used to play on one of the biggest rubbish dumps in Edinburgh, it was STINKY there. But where there’s muck there’s often treasure. We found many items that had been thrown upon the rubbish heap, that was very valuable indeed. My sister Doris once found a whole box full of silver, solid silver, watches.  Jesus compared the fires of hell with the fires that continually burned at the rubbish heaps of Golgotha, burning the rubbish of the city.)

My friends, there is still treasure to be found on the OUTSIDE with Jesus.

Jesus was an outsider my friends, His life ended in the disgrace of a criminals death (the Jews knew that anyone who died upon a cross or tree was cursed by God). So even in His death, Jesus was an outsider.

He didn’t get buried in luxury.

Jesus was an outsider in the burial place too: He didn’t have a tomb of His own. He had to be laid to rest in a borrowed tomb, the tomb of a rich man.

If you want to find Jesus Christ this Christmas, then we must go outside too: Just like a SATNAV tells you where to go, so Hebrews 13 gives us the directions to Jesus.

Hebrews 13:11-14
11  The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. 12  And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood.
13  Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. 14  For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.

Just as Jesus HOME was not of this Earth, so this stinky, stench filled Earth is NOT your home, if you are a Christian. You final dwelling place will be the New Jerusalem in the New Heavens and New Earth: Jesus is getting your eternal dwelling place ready for you (John 14:1-6).

Just as Jesus SUFFERED outside the city walls of Jerusalem and from the beginning to end of His life, His was the life of an OUTSIDER, so we must take up our Cross daily and follow the Lord’s example, daring to be an OUTSIDER with Him. He’ll never leave you, but you are called to be different from the people of the Earth who don’t know Jesus as Lord.

How are you called to be different? How are you called to be an outsider?

  • You are to LOVE your enemies. Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:27-36.
  • Do GOOD to those that hate you. Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:27.
  • Be GENTLE and as we were reminded on Sunday in worship: “Let your gentleness be evident to all”. Philippians 4:5-7. Matt 10:16.
  • Be FORGIVING: Jesus as Jesus has forgiven you, so you must also forgive those who’ve hurt you. Matthew 6:14-15, Luke 17:3-4, Ephesians 4:32.
  • Be JOYFUL Always: Psalm 35:9, Habakkuk 3:18, Philippians 4:4.

My friends, Jesus sent His Disciples to be OUTSIDERS in this world, so He’s sending you and me out to be outsiders too. We’re called to be different from everyone else in this world. He wants you to be full of love, gentleness, generosity, goodness, self-controlled, demonstrate kindness, be peaceful and peacekeeping, and be full of joy always.

Do you know why people flocked to Jesus? Because He was ALL of these things, the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit were evident to everyone around Jesus Christ and it was attractive. They were drawn to Him like iron filings to a magnet, like a moth to a flame, like a chocolate-treat to the mouth on Christmas Day.  Oh my friends, He’s calling all of us to Be like Jesus, the world may not love you or welcome your King’s message. Just as they eventually rejected Jesus in favour of Barabbas, but don’t let that make you hard towards sinners, don’t let it take your love or kindness away from you towards them. You determine in your heart right now to be like Jesus was, always ready and willing to stretch-out his healing hands, always on the outside with those on the outside. He’s called you to be an outsider too.

Matthew 10:16 (AMP)
16  Behold, I am sending you out like sheep in the midst of wolves; be wary and wise as serpents, and be innocent (harmless, guileless, and without falsity) as doves.

If you want to find Jesus this Christmas, you’ll have to join Him on the outside. “Let us therefore, go to Him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace that He bore” Hebrews 13:13. He was born with stinky animals, had no place to lay His holy head, borrowed a tomb and died at the rubbish dump. Will you join Jesus on the outside today?

Be blessed and be full of JOY in Jesus,

Don.

 

FAITH is simply taking the first step

Knowing Jesus we need to take the first steps of faith

Daily Spirit & Word: 639:

The Friends V The Professionals.

It’s Possible Through Simple Trusting: To KNOW Jesus Christ Personally.

Good morning my friends, On Sunday at our Thanksgiving Service for the Blessing, Naming and Dedication of four lovely children (asked for instead of baptism), I was preaching on Mark 2 About The Calling of Levi the Tax Collector.

The previous week I’d been preaching about that wonderful account of the Miracle and the Authority of Jesus. In Mark Chapter 2 we find different groups of people; The crowds blocking the way to Jesus, the Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees and the group of faithful friends who carried the crippled man and lowered him through the roof to Jesus.

In the Calling of Matthew we find; Sinners, Tax Collectors and the same group of Teachers of the Law and Pharisees.

I’ve been thinking a bit more about that and praying about how people can be so close to God’s REVELATION and yet be so far away from it.

Those TEACHERS OF THE LAW: THE SCRIBES – You know my friends, those scribes were highly educated men.

History: After the Israelites returned to the Promised Land from their exile and Babylonian captivity, it was the Scribes who were the leaders of the Jewish Nation. The Prophet Ezra was also a Scribe. Their task was to teach, preserve and copy the Scriptures. They were also professional interpreters of the Mosaic Law and administered both its religious and its civil codes. The scribes determined how the details of the law of Moses should be applied to everyday life.

In time, they became the custodians of the so-called “oral law,” which, by Jesus’ time, was already replacing the written law as the rule of life. The Scribes and Pharisees had added many man-made traditions to God’s Law. The scribes were regarded as the authorities on historical and doctrinal matters. They were the nation’s teachers, each scribe having a number of disciples around him. Their power increased after Malachi closed the Old Testament canon and prophecy ceased. The Sanhedrin had a number of them among its membership. They were bitter enemies of Jesus Christ, often you’ll see them portrayed in the Bible as sitting in judgment of Him and finding fault with almost everything He did and said. They were often trying to trick Jesus and trip Him up in His own words. However, they didn’t realise with all their knowledge that they were dealing with God on Earth.

How could people who were as educated as those Scribes, Teachers of God’s Holy Law, be so close to God’s revelations and yet be so far away from understanding who Jesus was, what He’d come to do and why He came to do it? Because almost everything Jesus did and said was prophesied about in God’s Word that they were so ‘expert’ in. Jesus birth and life were all written about by the Prophets of old, they should have known that He was their expected Messiah, Emmanuel (God with us).

Not only should they have known who Jesus was, but they should have welcomed Him, especially after the miracles proved that Jesus had the authority to forgive sins, because only God could do both; forgive sins and heal with just a word. It was so obvious, so how could they miss it?

Perhaps it’s easy for us, because we’ve been giving so much more in the revelation of who Jesus is in the New Testament, but my friends, I’ve known modern EXPERTS who know the Bible much better than I do, who don’t KNOW Jesus personally. They know all about Him, they teach all about Him, they write books all about Him, but they don’t know Him. It becomes obvious when you read what they write and listen to what they say about Him.

It was not the Religious Teachers of the Law, the educated elite, who were commended by Jesus, but it was the common folk, friends of the crippled man, who’d carried him to Jesus and lowered Him to Jesus feet who were commended for their great faith. It wasn’t the Pharisees and Teachers commended by Jesus, but the Tax Collectors and Sinners with whom He sat down to eat dinner with.

It’s strange that knowing lots of things can keep a person away from the Lord. Please don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with study or gaining great knowledge. I love it myself: I love reading about the latest inventions, the innovations in electronics (my first career was an Engineer). There’s nothing more exciting than discovering, examining, looking into, researching, fact-finding, questing for knowledge and understanding; but as far as KNOWING GOD, we may study, but it will come to a point when we must realise that KNOWING HIM is very different from KNOWING all about Him.

To get that kind of knowledge about the LORD, to KNOW Jesus personally, will take DIVINE revelation. He will reveal Himself to you my friends, not because of your in-depth study, but because of your FAITH and TRUST in Him. He’ll show Himself to you. WOWzer!

John 5:39-40 “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, 40  yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”

1 Corinthians 2:1-5
1  When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.
2  For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
3  I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.
4  My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,
5  so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

1 Corinthians 3:18-20
18  Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise.
19  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”;
20  and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”

So my friends, study all you like, but it’s going to take DIVINE REVELATION to actually KNOW Jesus Christ.

It’s foolishness to the ‘world’ (Worldly Wisdom). It always will be 🙂

But it’s NOT intellectual suicide, it takes something else: Faith and Trust.

How do we get that DIVINE REVELATION? 

It’s obvious, we all need to come to Jesus. Oh I wish I could be like one of those four friends and carry you to the Saviour.

For people today, to get Divine Revelation of Jesus it is simply by doing what Jesus told the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law to do in Mark Chapter 2: but they didn’t have ears to hear or eyes to see. To get DIVINE, INWARD REVELATION and KNOW Jesus, we must; REPENT OF OUR SINS.

Mark 2:16-17 (NKJV)
16  And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?”
17  When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

If they’d been open and honest with themselves, they’d have seen that they too were actually sinners as well.

Faith is simply taking the first step, even though you can’t see the whole staircase.

WE MUST ALSO BELIEVE IN JESUS.

  • Who Jesus was: The Son of God.
  • What Jesus came to do: Die upon the Cross for our sins and the sins of the whole world.
  • What Jesus did: Died and rose again from the dead to life. He also ascended into Heaven and is alive now, reigning in Heaven with His Father.
  • What Jesus does now: He sends the Holy Spirit into everyone who trusts in His Death upon the Cross for forgiveness and turns in repentance and faith to receive Him as Lord.

Once we do that, the Holy Spirit will come and give us New Birth (we’ll be born again).

Those TEACHERS of God’s Law and the Pharisees who knew the Scriptures so well, didn’t get it. So my friends, I’ve got a question for you today, think very seriously before answering. To KNOW Jesus is too important to miss, because your ETERNAL destiny depends upon HOW you answer these questions now:

  • Have you repented? (Matthew 21:32; Luke 24:46-48; Isaiah 30:15; Luke 13:3,5; Acts 17:39)
  • Have you believed in Jesus? (John 3:15-20)
  • Have you received Him as Lord? (John 1:12-13).
  • Have you trusted that He died upon the Cross for your sins? (1 Peter 2:24)
  • Have you been born of the Holy Spirit? (John 3)
  • Have you believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord? (Acts 2:38-39; Romans 10:8-17)
  • Have you confessed with your mouth that Jesus is your Lord? (witnessed to others about Jesus).

Check yourself to see if you are IN Christ Jesus and He is IN you (John 14, 15, 17, Chapters).

Check yourself to see if you are IN the FAITH of Jesus Christ: (2 Corinthians 13:5).

My friends, don’t be like those Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees, who knew all about God’s Word, but remained far away from trusting in Jesus Christ, He was their own Messiah, Emmanuel (God with us). You can know Jesus personally today.

Believe, Repent, Receive, Trust, Be Born of God’s Spirit. Amen!

Faith is simply, taking the first step, even though you can’t see the whole staircase.

Don.

 

The Importance of Persevering.

Sharing the Good News with people on the streets of London

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 schoolmaster to 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?”

Conclusion:

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.

Don.

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.

 

 

Come Back Rejoicing.

What would you do with rotten chicken?

Daily Spirit & Word, 622: Come Back Rejoicing.

Preaching The Good News: It’s Fantastic!

Good morning my friends, we came back rejoicing last night after being out on the streets of West Norwood sharing the Good News of Jesus. Though, like our fellow believers throughout the world, we must endure many hardships, our momentary troubles are nothing compared to the eternal joy of knowing that the Lord will use our efforts to save some from certain destruction in Hell.

Acts 14:21-22 “They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22  strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.”

We were joined by Daniella last night, it was her first time out sharing Jesus with folks. She really did come back rejoicing, because she knew she’d planted the seed of God’s Word in people’s hearts. She noted that there were ‘believers’ in Jesus, who were still trusting in their own good works to enter into heaven rather than upon the finished work of the Lord Jesus on the Cross.

The reason we’ve got so many FALSE CONVERTS in West Norwood is because of the preaching in many places of a false Gospel message: It goes something like this, “Do you want to have true; joy, satisfaction, happiness and lasting peace in your life? (Who doesn’t?) Then accept Jesus into your heart and you will be saved”… They then tell people Jesus died for sinners and lead them through the so called “Sinner’s Prayer”. Once people ‘pray that prayer’ they tell them they are Christians and encourage them to get baptised in their church, attend worship and pay their membership fees. Yes my friends, “membership fees”. They gladly do that though, thinking they’re adding to their salvation by paying the price themselves. Then they’ll try and live a good life under the anointing of the Holy Spirit which is dished out by the ‘Anointed Man of God’.

How do we know this? We meet people from these churches every week on the streets. We only need talk for a few minutes to ascertain their true spiritual condition; false converts. Do you know my friends, even false converts overflow with JOY once they hear the true Gospel of Jesus? Why? Because it makes complete sense. They are also shocked that they hadn’t heard that message in their own church before and saddened that they’d been trusting in a false message, sometimes for many years.

MANY CONVERSATIONS:

Last night we got back and shared with each other about the people we’d shared Jesus with; Three Muslim young men, a Buddhist, a son of a Roman Catholic Priest (hardened against and bitter about the message of Christianity), many non-Christians and countless false converts. We also met with some real followers of Jesus from a Portuguese fellowship, and another church in West Norwood. Praise the Lord! We chatted with people at a bus-stop who said, “I’m a believer, but I don’t need to go to church”. Two teenage girls, one who wanted to go, but her friend wanted to stay and chat because her mum was a committed Christian. As we shared the Gospel she knew what she had to do to be saved, but hadn’t done it all. She told us of confessing her sin and asking for forgiveness, but her life hadn’t changed. We were able, in a few short minutes to show how she needed to trust in Jesus Christ and the reasons why. She walked away last night with assurance that when she fully trusts in Jesus Christ she will be saved, also that we’d pray for her poorly mother Denise. (Will you pray for Denise? She’s a real Christian who loves the Lord, shares the Gospel regularly with her daughter, but is too poorly to attend fellowship meetings. A tear came to the young girls eyes when I said, “I’m going to be praying for your mummy”…

I can’t write about all the conversations, but we know the LORD will use every word planted in the dear folks of West Norwood’s hearts last night.

Acts 14:21-22 “They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22  strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.

Yes there were some hardships last night, some people were not interested at all, some took a tract and returned it immediately once they heard it was a Christian message, but be encouraged dear friends, because many more received tracts with joy, some with a smile, some asked for more so they could share them with friends. We had lots of conversations last night that led to a full presentation of the Good News, that’s our aim when we go out in the power of Jesus. Not just to give out tracts, but to engage people with the Good News.

What is the Gospel Message: The Good News that we shared last night?

Quickly: We share how people need Jesus because everyone has sinned against God by going against their own conscience’s alarm bells and breaking His Commandments by; lying, stealing, lusting (adultery), idolatry (making up a God in their own minds that will allow them to get away with sin), being disobedient to their parents. As people hear HOW they’ve sinned against God, then the GREAT NEWS suddenly makes complete sense: Jesus died upon the Cross to take our punishment upon Himself. He died in our place upon the Cross so that we can be saved on the Day of Judgement. God will give us a new heart and a new start in life once we put our trust in Jesus Christ for our Salvation. He’ll also give us assurance of a place in Heaven for all eternity. We’ll gladly serve the Lord with our lives, not because we’re trying to be ‘good enough’ but because of His love and gratitude because of what Jesus did to save us.

(You can read more of what we share by clicking here: THE GOOD NEWS).

We use illustrations to show people how to trust Jesus:

The Parachute: You wouldn’t jump out of a plane without one, because the law of gravity means we’d plunge to our death. In the same way, if we jump of planet earth when we die without a Saviour, then the Law of God means we’ll face His just and righteous judgement for our sins, we’ll be carrying them ourselves and the weight of them will take us all the way to Hell.

The Chicken That’s Gone Bad:

We share with folks that it makes sense that God cannot allow contaminated sinners into His Holy Heaven.

No one in their right mind would put a piece of rotten chicken in their fridge with the good, fresh chicken would they?

We ask people, “If you got home from the Supermarket and found that a piece of Chicken you’d just bought was rotten, stinking rotten. Would you put that piece in the fridge beside good pieces of chicken? They always answer, “No Way!” We ask them, “What would you do with that stinking rotten piece of Chicken?” They always answer, “I’d throw it in the bin”.

So the LORD cannot allow rotten sinners, who’ve broken His Commandments, into His Heavenly Dwelling Place, because we’d contaminate Heaven. God’s Wrath and Anger abides on anyone who tries to enter into Heaven with their sins still on them.

So we need to have our sins removed. The Good News: Only the blood of Jesus Christ, His Death upon the Cross, can remove our sins from us. He died in order that we might be cleansed from ALL SIN. He took our place upon the Cross for our sins.

AND MANY MORE 🙂

You should see people’s faces:

When you open up a person’s understanding, so that they can at last see their true Spiritual condition before God, they’ll be and are amazed at the good news of Jesus Christ. They’ll thank you! They did last night and they do every time we get into a conversation that leads to a full presentation of the Gospel. Non-Christians thank us, back-sliders say, “This is a wake-up-call”, we also cause Atheists to back-slide into belief in God.

But: Acts 14:21-22 “They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22  strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.

We MUST go through many hardships in order that some may enter into the Kingdom of God.

We GO, but we come back REJOICING.

Why? Because, the LORD has been with us. He’s drawing people to Himself. The Holy Spirit is a work in people’s hearts the moment we open our mouth for Jesus. We’ve seen the TRUTH of the Bible’s Teaching: that “FAITH COMES BY HEARING” ( Romans 10:17 “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”

Can I encourage you, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ reading this message today, to GO and share your faith in the Lord Jesus? Everyone needs to HEAR the Gospel, some will be saved, others warned about God’s judgement to come, many encouraged in their walk with Jesus. But GO, because Jesus told you to share His Gospel Message. Go because your own faith and understanding will grow.

Philemon 1:6 “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.”

When we SHARE THE FAITH (The whole Gospel of Jesus Christ) our UNDERSTANDING of it increases. All the good things that we have in Christ make our hearts leap for JOY.

But most importantly GO because, Jesus came into this world to SAVE SINNERS. His hearts desire is that many more will be saved. He died in order that people get saved. He died because of His love for people. Let’s SAVE as many as we can for Jesus sake. Amen!

So Endure The Hardships with JOY.

Be at peace with Jesus today.

Don.

Things that will KEEP People OUT of Heaven.

Revelation 22:14-15 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15  Outside are the dogs, those who practise magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practises falsehood.”

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “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.

Galatians 5:19-21 “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20  idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21  and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 5:5-7 “For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6  Let no-one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7  Therefore do not be partners with them.

NOTE: You can also read this on our Church Facebook Page:

Enduring Many Hardships. Click Here for the Good News Page

The Sinners Prayer: Why we don’t encourage people to “Pray the Sinners Prayer”

 

From The Miracles to The Miracle Maker

Jesus cares and provides fish and bread at the resurrection appearances on the beach

Daily Spirit & Word: 509: From The Miracles to the Miracle Maker.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 25: John 21:7-14.

Good morning my friends, Saturday’s are always so special for me, because it’s the day of; rest and relaxation, a time to be with family and friends, a time to rebuild what the working week has drained out or us. Some of my friends relax so much on Saturdays that they spend the whole day in bed or in their night-clothes relaxing on the couch. Why? Because their working week is so stress-filled or exhausting and demanding, by the time Saturday comes around all they are ready to do is FLOP.

Today we’ll discover the tired, exhausted and hungry Disciples and the Lord Jesus coming to their assistance with a cooked breakfast for them to eat, also that Jesus is your friend and as a friend He comes to you for fellowship: He’s promised to do this many times in His Word, the Holy Scriptures, and today we’ll see the very first time that it actually happened after His Crucifixion and Resurrection from the dead.

John 21:7-14 7  Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.
8  The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.
9  When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
10  Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”
11  Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn.
12  Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.
13  Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.
14  This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Jesus Close Friends Get The Revelations:

The first thing that happens after the Miracle of the catch of fish that didn’t sink the boat or break the nets, was one of the Disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, recognised who it was that told them to drop the net on the right side of the boat. That revelation comes to the one who was closest to Jesus, “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. We know that disciple was John, the Gospel Writer and the very same John who wrote 1, 2 and 3 John and the book of Revelations. How close are you to Jesus today? If you are close like John, then you are going to get a some amazing revelations of the Miracle Maker.

As I pointed out yesterday: Jesus PROMISE is that He will come (John 14) He’ll come and REVEAL Himself to us and in us. He’ll come and have fellowship. He’ll come and we’ll EAT together (Rev 3:20)… It’s Awesome to know this as a TRUTH, but it’s even more awesome when we experience the risen and resurrected Lord’s presence and we get our own REVELATION. Not just once, but regularly. No wonder John wanted to communicate it so clearly throughout his Gospel and all his letter and the book of Revelation. Jesus wants a closer walk with you today and He’s waiting and watching and calling out to you today to come to Him.

It’s been my own experience that the Lord has made known to me that He is present, many times. I’ve had that feeling and knowledge that Jesus is HERE: Whilst washing dishes (I hate washing dishes, but I began to sing praise songs, then suddenly Jesus came, and the task that I was doing seemed so much easier and even joy filled, I was in the presence of Jesus and I began to cry with joy). He’s with us always, of course, from the moment we decided to follow Him as Lord and receive Him as Saviour, but there are times when He manifests Himself and makes Himself more KNOWN. Just like He did with the Disciples in all His resurrection appearances, somehow they didn’t recognise Him immediately, until the right moment when they eventually get the revelation: “It’s Jesus”. As we’ve just read above, that’s what happened to the beloved Disciple John whilst in the boat. Everyone else had their eyes on the Miracle, but John was focused upon the Miracle Maker.

It’s always going to be the friends of Jesus who’ll get the REVELATIONS. This is something that’s true throughout the whole Bible, it’s the friends of God, that He chooses to reveal His secret plans: Moses, David, Abraham, Elijah, etc… So I’m going to ask you that question unashamedly today: “How much of a close friend of Jesus are you?” One of the ways to know is this; how obedient are you being to Jesus commands? (see yesterday’s reading). You see my friends, we’ll also get a revelation of who we are when we come to Jesus. We’ll know that He loves us and we love Him. We’ll know that He loves us, WHEN we love Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. We can only love Him like that with the HELP of the HELPER, the Holy Spirit who indwells every true follower and believer.

It’s the friends of the LORD who’ll get His Revelations.

The Fallen Believer Runs To Jesus:

Notice secondly the impulsive Peter: Every time I read this portion of John’s Gospel, a great big smile comes over my face. I always think “I want to be like Peter” I want to run to the Lord, to be rushing up to Jesus. Upon hearing the news from John, that the person who’d told them to cast the net, the one standing on the shore, was Jesus, you’ll note that Peter does two things:

First: Peter Puts on His Outer Garment:

It’s an amazing few words; “he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off)”. Why did Peter feel the need to put on his outer garments? He’d have been naked from the waist-up: Reminds me of Builders working on site on a hot summer’s day when I was a boy, they’d all be lying around with their shirts off at lunch-time. Peter, had obviously taken it off because working the net was much easier without the clothing getting in the way. However, what was it that made him put it on? Well, many have speculated different reasons, but I believe it was like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, who hearing the Lord’s footsteps in the Garden after eating the forbidden fruit run away and hide. Then the Lord makes clothing for them, for they were naked. It’s SHAME that Peter feels my friends, for he knew he’d sinned when he betrayed the Lord Jesus. When Peter denied the Lord three times and the cock crowed, it was then that he remembered the Lord’s words, warning that he’d deny him. Now Peter is ashamed when he hears John’s words, “It’s the Lord” and tries to cover up his shameful nakedness. He’s aware of his sinful condition before the Holy and Righteous Lord Jesus Christ.

From the Miracles to the Miracle Maker

That shame is what we experience sometimes when we’ve been living in sin. We too want to run and hide ourselves away from the Lord. That’s why so many fallen Christians won’t come back to church, they know that in the company of other believers, the Lord is likely to show up and make Himself known to them. They’d rather stay at home safe from the presence of the Lord.

That shame is also why non-believers refuse to come to the Saviour. It’s because they love sin and they are ashamed and frightened that their evil deeds will be exposed. Of course no sinner would articulate it that way, we only know this by God’s revelation on so many places in the Bible.

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

Peter had to put on his outer clothing to cover up, it was in instinctive thing, something that the Police know when they are interviewing suspects. When someone is guilty, they’ll try and put something in front of them; their hand over their mouth, something between the interviewer and the suspect. So sinners need to try and hide behind something in God’s presence. That’s what Peter was doing when He heard it was Jesus, trying to cover up his sinful, shameful nakedness. Have you ever felt exposed when you heard a Sermon that hits home to where you’ve been sinning in life? I have and I just wanted to hide in the pew. God knows how to get to our hearts doesn’t he, but His purpose in doing so is always to restore us and clean us up so we can be of further useful service in His Kingdom.

However, even though Peter’s natural instinct is to hide his sinful, shameful nakedness, he does something extraordinary next;

Next: Peter Dives Into The Water:

Yes my friends, that’s the sinner diving into the water to get to Jesus faster than the boat is able to carry him. Peter can’t wait for the boat to get to the shore, so he jumps into the water because he’s desperate to get to Jesus. No thought is given to the others who need to tow the net full of fish ashore, now Peter knows that it’s Jesus, all he can do is get to Him as fast as he can.

This is one of my favourite passages in the whole Bible my friends, I just LOVE Peter. Because it reveals part of what happened to me and many other brothers and sisters I’ve known since I started following Jesus. When I realised just how much a sinner I was, how I’d fallen short of God’s Holy Standards, How I’d broken His commandments, there is nothing else that I could possibly do to remove the stain of sin in my soul. None of my good works would balance the scales of God’s Justice, sin must be punished or purged and I knew it. Unless I responded to the call of the Gospel, I knew I was headed for hell. But then I responded the Good News, “I don’t need to suffer God’s wrath and anger against my sins, I could trust in Jesus.” I knew I didn’t deserve Jesus’ forgiveness, but I knew that I could be forgiven, because of Jesus love for me. So many of my friends had turned to Jesus as well, they know they don’t deserve God’s amazing grace, but He gives it freely to all who will come to Him in Repentance and Faith in Jesus Christ. Once I knew what to do, and why I needed to do it, nothing on earth would have stopped me trusting in Jesus Christ for Salvation.

That’s what Peter was doing, He was coming to Jesus as fast as his body could carry him. He know Jesus was the ONLY way to be saved. My friends, I’ve actually seen people RUNNING down to the front of church to give their lives to Jesus, when they Holy Spirit convicted them of their need of The Saviour. I’m going to encourage you to listen to His voice today; to be like Peter, to be like my friends and so many that I’ve seen. I’m going to encourage you to come running to Jesus Christ right now. Don’t listen to your brain, be impulsive and just do it. Come!

From the Miracles of the Catch of Fish and the Un-burstable Nets: Peter comes running to the Resurrected Miracle Maker: The Lord Jesus Christ.

When they get to the Miracle Maker, they find the fish cooking and He’s giving them bread and fish.

Jesus wants to eat with you too my friends, to have fellowship with you. To be in your company and to provide for your nourishment in life. Oh what a glory it is today, to get this awesome awareness that Jesus is right inside you… Word’s can’t explain. But you need to try hard and take your eyes off the miracles and mover from the miracles to the miracle maker.

Imagine though, if your church was to have a fellowship breakfast on the beach with fish cooking on the fire: how many would show up? I’d be in that number as quick as a flash 🙂

Points to Ponder:

  • When was the last time you KNEW Jesus was with you?
  • How quick are you to recognise the voice of the Lord in your life?
  • Tomorrow, we’ll see that after the breakfast Jesus takes Peter aside and has a conversation about His love and devotion. Today let’s ponder on what we’ve been thinking about:

Jesus performs a Miracle in order to reveal Himself to His closest friends, and then because He knows they a tired from fishing all night, Jesus provides a meal of fish and bread for them to eat with Him. He’s right there today with you my friends. He loves you so much and wants you to experience His presence. That means not just knowing about Jesus, but actually getting your own revelation that He’s actually with you by His Spirit.

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus Christ; Thank you so much for who You are, how You reveal Yourself to us and how it happened with the first followers. Please help me to recognise Your interventions in my life quickly, help me not to focus so much on the Miracles that I miss the Miracle Maker, it’s Your face that I long for more than the Miracles You can perform. Help me to realise that being in Your presence is far more precious than anything else that I can have or that will happen in my life. Amen.

Have an awesome Saturday, relax as much as you can, because the LORD needs you tomorrow to Worship, to Fellowship, to Encourage you and build you up and to strengthen one another in the faith. I’ll see you on Sunday 🙂 I hope and pray you’ll get closer to Jesus today. Don.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 25: From the Miracles to the Miracle Maker.