The Reality of Hell

Isaiah's calling, coming judgement, unrepentant Israel

Daily Spirit & Word: 636. It’s God’s Call.

The Ministry of Reconciliation.

Having a deep care and concern for the Eternal Welfare of others.

My voice finally gave up last night, it had been cracking for a few days, but now it’s getting painful to speak. I’ve been told to stop. My wife thinks that’s brill, because now I can just sit and listen to her for ages. But I want to go back to the reading from yesterday in Isaiah 6, where we looked at the Trinity Revealed, but now I want to focus upon the calling of Isaiah and the dreadful message he was entrusted to deliver.

It’s weird, but my granddaughter asked me to play Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” the other day. I played it for them. Then a few minutes later I got into the car to go to a church meeting, guess what was playing on the car radio? “I fell in to a burning ring of fire…”

Isaiah 6:1-13
1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.
2  Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.
3  And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
4  At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
5  “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”
6  Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar.
7  With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
8  Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
9  He said, “Go and tell this people: ” ‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’
10  Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”
11  Then I said, “For how long, O Lord?” And he answered: “Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged,
12  until the LORD has sent everyone far away and the land is utterly forsaken.
13  And though a tenth remains in the land, it will again be laid waste. But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.”

Isaiah’s Calling Came From God: “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

BTW (Who is the “US” in verse 8 above? Answer: see Trinity yesterday’s message)

Have you ever heard someone declare, “I’ve had a call to the Ministry” or “I’ve got my calling”…

We could be left with the impression it’s as if the “calling” is something that belongs to them. However, if we’ve been called by the LORD to do something, then we should always be aware, as Jesus was, as Isaiah was and so many other Biblical Characters were, that it is God’s CALL. It’s HIS from start to finish. Give glory to Him always.

Note: Isaiah Is Convicted of his sinfulness: 

Verse 5 “”Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.””

Isaiah knew enough about the LORD God Almighty, that if a person saw God that person would die, because of His sinfulness. Exodus 33:20. Moses could see God’s glory and God’s back, but he couldn’t look into God’s face and live.

NOTE: The Altar in Heaven: The Altar of Incense: Live coals were taken into the Holy of Holies to burn incense before the Lord.

The Altar is a place of sacrifice: So we must ask the question, what sacrifice had been made in Heaven that could atone for Isaiah’s sins? Who or what died in Heaven? It might just possibly be an indication or prophetic look at God’s own sacrifice for the sins of all mankind: He gave His own beloved Son to die for everyone’s sins.

The Severity Of Isaiah’s Mission and Message:

Isaiah must have experienced an immediate inner change when he had the vision of God in Heaven and when the Angel took the coal from the fire on the Altar and touched his mouth. When he hears the invitation of God, he volunteers immediately to go and serve (6:8). God’s response is also immediate. Note that God does not provide many specific details of Isaiah’s ministry, but the severity of his mission is clear. He is being sent to people who will not listen or respond to him, yet he is to continue his work until their nation is destroyed. God’s just judgement is imminent and it’s coming upon Israel.

NOTE: The Live Coal: Fear of Fire.

When I was a boy growing up in Edinburgh in the 1960’s we had a coal fire. From a very young age I’d watch my father set the fire and help him too. He’d get the crunched-up paper, the sticks, the coal and match to set it ablaze. Sometimes he’d hold a sheet in front of the fire to cause a draught in at the bottom, which speeded up the process of getting the fire going. Then after a while, the coals in the fire would be glowing bright red. What a fire. My dad said to me, “Don’t ever touch a fire, you see those red coals, DON’T EVER TOUCH A RED COAL”. I said, “Why dad, they look like lovely jewels?” He explained, “Because they will hurt you so much and you’ll be in agony. You’ll be crying louder than you’ve ever cried. Remember how much your knee hurt when you came off your bike? This will hurt so much more than that”. I’m so grateful that my dad warned me of the dangers of fire. He put the FEAR of FIRE in me. I didn’t hate my dad when He told me that the FIRE AND THE COALS would hurt me, I was only left with the impression that my dad loved me and didn’t want me to get hurt.

Similarly; When an Evangelist warns of THE FIRES OF HELL he’s only showing how much he loves you. Also that God loves you and doesn’t want anyone to perish in Hell. But burning hell fire is real and it’s reserved for everyone, EVERYONE, who dies in their sinful condition: Why? Because NO ONE CAN SEE GOD and LIVE. My friends, God has warned us in many ways about the dangers of sin and the consequences of sin: Jesus warned us so many times in the Gospels. Hell is real: It God’s punishment for sin, but He doesn’t want to have to send anyone there, but He will. Because of His justice, sin must be paid for.

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

God wants to GIVE YOU ETERNAL LIFE so that you can live forever. 

2 Peter 3:7-9 Warning & Yearning.
7  By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 8  But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9  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.

We hear from Peter about God’s Patience: Not wanting anyone to perish. He’s extending His Divine offer of Grace, Mercy and Forgiveness for as long as we live: However, the moment we die, the time for God’s GRACE has ended. There’s no chance after death for; mercy, repentance, forgiveness.

 NOTE: Jesus Doctrine of Hell: His teaching (that’s what doctrine means).

In Luke’s Gospel we’re given a picture from Jesus of what HELL is going to be like, and it’s NOT a place that you’d want anyone, even your worst enemy, to end up in.

Luke 16:19-31
19  “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.
20  At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores
21  and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
22  “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.
23  In hell (Hades), where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.
24  So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
25  “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.
26  And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
27  “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house,
28  for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
29  “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
30  ” ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
31  “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ “

The Rich Man: In Hell “I am in agony in this fire”.

  • NO WAY OUT: Verse 26: “between us and you a great chasm has been FIXED … nor can anyone cross over from there to us”
  • NO WAY IN: Verse 26: “So that those who want to go from here to you cannot”

Hell is a FIXED State for anyone, everyone, who dies in their sins.

I was at the movies a while ago and noted throughout the movie: EXIT signs, they were bright and clear in the darkness as the movie played. If a fire broke out in the Cinema I’d know how to get out of the fire.

There’s no way out of HELL. No EXIT: It’s as if the EXIT sign has been removed from Hell. (A great chasm has been FIXED).

THE DESIRE TO WARN OTHERS.

Once the Rich man realised his eternal condition, his heart wanted to WARN others, especially his family members.

“I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will NOT also come to this place of torment”…

Once Isaiah was “cleansed of his sins” his desire was to be the one that God would send with His message.

Isaiah, was given a message from God to deliver. It was a WARNING of impending JUDGEMENT. He was to deliver it to a people that would not listen and would not turn to the LORD.

Christians, have been ENTRUSTED BY GOD with the same kind of message: REPENT OR PERISH. TURN OR BURN. THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH. HELL AWAITS THE ONE WHO HAS SINNED. Thankfully many do heed the warning and turn to the LORD in Repentance.

It’s not a nice message to deliver and many shrink from the calling. It’s such a horrific message, that many attempts have been made over two thousand years to WATER IT DOWN (Quench the fire a bit). It’s like asking Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water to cool my tongue. The Church has, instead of warning people, emphasised the benefits of heaven. But unless people KNOW why they need Heaven, they are unlikely to truly REPENT OF THEIR SINS.

Unless or until a person comes to Christ, then Hell awaits every sinful soul.

Jesus warned in His parable: “If they won’t listen to Moses or the Prophets (e.g. the Teaching in God’s Word about God’s Judgement to come), then they wouldn’t listen, even if someone came back to life from the dead to warn them.”

Jesus DID come back from the DEAD: People still won’t listen. However, we’ve been entrusted with God’s message of RECONCILIATION. (2 Corinthians 5:11-21). He wants every believer in Jesus who’s been born of His Spirit to be a PROPHET to the World, God’s Ambassadors who’ll deliver His message of Good News: That no one needs to perish in Hell forever.

2 Corinthians 5:11, 17-21. The Ministry of Reconciliation.
11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men … 17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
18  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
21  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

GOD’S GREAT LOVE: Just as my father, my dad, warned me about the burning coals in the fire when I was a boy in Scotland, so the Church has been entrusted to warn the world about God’s coming day of judgement and punishment in Hell for sin. But I KNEW it was because of my dad’s LOVE that he warned me. It’s because of God’s GREAT LOVE that He’s entrusted us with His message and He’s given us this same calling as Isaiah:

Isaiah 6:8  “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!””

He didn’t know what the message was until he responded to the call.

We know the message, we know the call, we’ve been commanded to go into all the world and deliver God’s message of reconciliation.

Will you Go for God into the world today and deliver His LOVING HEART: His message of reconciliation. Will you WARN people that if we touch the fire it will hurt us? If you’ll do that to warn your own children and friends about earthly fire, surely we should be just as concerned about the Eternal Welfare of everyone on the earth today as well. The Day of Judgement will come, Jesus is coming back soon, let’s save as many as we can. You know BIBLE means; Basic, Instructions, Before, Leaving, Earth. Let’s get God’s message out into all the world, so that everyone has an opportunity to turn in faith and repentance and avoids the punishment of Hell.

Amen!

Don.

 

The Good News of God: The Gospel.

God calls, Satan Tempts, Jesus Preaches,

Daily Spirit & Word: 610:

Jesus Begins Preaching The Good News.

Good morning my friends, today we’re back in the Gospel of Mark: We’re preaching through the whole of Mark’s Gospel. We’re in Chapter 1:9-15 (Jesus begins His public preaching ministry).

Mark 1:9-15 (NIV)
9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised by John in the Jordan. (Notice: no detail about conversation with John as in Matthew).
10  As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.
11  And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
12  At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert,
13  and he was in the desert for forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.
15  “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”

1) GOD SPEAKS TO JESUS.

Before anything AMAZING or Miraculous happens in the Bible, normally God speaks first.

Genesis: Before there was anything, God spoke it into existence.

Before Adam and Eve: God had spoken the plants and animals and all living things into existence.

Before the Fall: God Spoke one word of prohibition: “Don’t touch, don’t eat”

Before Moses went back to Egypt: God spoke to Him from the Burning Bush.

Before Samuel was a Prophet: God spoke to Him.

Before King David was confronted about his adultery and murder, God spoke to the prophet Nathan.

Before Jesus began His Ministry: God spoke to Him and said, ”

Mark 1:11 “And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

My friends, God still speaks today:

He’ll speak to you, through His Word, through dreams, visions and words of knowledge. He’ll speak to you through other people and through circumstances that you are going through.

Recently: One of the Evangelism Team said, “I think the Lord is telling us to go to Brixton”… We prayed about it and agreed to go. However, God confirmed it in different ways: I knew I was running out of tracts and coins, but I’d not ordered any on time. So I prayed and asked the Lord: Give us some things to take: Well as I was getting my bag ready to go, guess what, I found two bags of 10 Commandment Coins: Over a hundred: more than enough for one nigh, and lots of other tracts as well.

God leads, God guides and God Speaks my friends.

What was it God said? Who did He say it to?

Mark records that it was to Jesus God was speaking.

Matthew records that John heard God speaking to Jesus.

“You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

When you know that you are hearing God’s Voice: it give you confidence, comfort, commitment, determination, direction and joy. Jesus went into the wilderness, directed by the HOLY SPIRIT. Today, God calls you to Jesus, He gives you the same HOLY SPIRIT and He’ll guide you into your Ministry. Whatever He determines that is. For it is HIM who gives you gifts. He let’s you KNOW just how much He loves you. How happy He is when we are obedient to His call. He lets us KNOW we are HIS Children.

2) SATAN TEMPTS JESUS:

Just after God spoke, He guides Jesus by His Spirit.

He guides Him into the wilderness to undergo some testing, which He allows the Devil, Satan to tempt Jesus.

Mark is unlike the other Evangelists: He doesn’t go into any detail:

For instance: Mark leaves out the fact that Jesus fasted 40 days, there’s no detail about how Satan tempted Him, or what Jesus did in response to Satan’s tempting. Mark only records the fact of Satan’s tempting Jesus.

When we’re reading Mark’s Gospel: If you’ve read the other Gospels, then you sub-consciously fill in the blanks, you’ve got a mental picture from all the other information the Bible provides about what that TEMPTING meant.

So let’s imagine for a moment; that we’ve never read any of the other Gospels: Why did Mark leave it out. You see the New Testament didn’t come together as one book for a long time after this Gospel was written. His focus was not on the detail, but on the acts that Jesus performed, the things that Jesus did. You’ll notice that again and again in Mark’s Gospel of Jesus. Why? It’s because Mark knew the things that Jesus did, speak loudest about WHO JESUS IS. When we know that, we’ll put our complete trust in Jesus.

He doesn’t go into the detail of things; like Matthew and Luke. (My wife and most women LOVE detail: LOL).

He doesn’t tell us about conversations; like John does.

He merely records the facts of what Jesus did. He paints with powerful picture words: i.e. (Heaven being torn open: Matthew tells us heaven opened and a dove came down, Mark tells us it was TORN OPEN. There’s a FORCE behind the Gentle Dove. We fill in the blanks with our minds.

Application: Satan Tempts Today: When you’ve heard God speaking, Satan will then, quite often come an hassle you too.

It didn’t take long for Satan to come and try and convince Jesus to go his way instead of God’s.

He tried to cause Jesus to doubt God’s Word / God’s Voice. He’ll do the same with you too.

Just after a friend of mine was converted: He had an awesome experience of the Holy Spirit.

A few weeks later, at the Bible study, He was doubting God’s Word: He said, “I can’t believe all these miracles”, but I said, “Pray about it, leave it on the back-burner and just concentrate on what Jesus taught and what the Bible teaches for a while”…

It didn’t take long for my friend to overcome his doubts, the next week he came back, Jesus DOES PERFORM MIRACLES.

It took the miracle of immediate answered prayer to convince him. He believed the Bible 100% after that.

When you’ve heard God speaking, Satan will try and steal it away from you.

  • He’ll try and make you doubt your calling.
  • He’ll try and take you away from God.
  • He’ll do his best to convince you “Life is better without Jesus, God, Church, Fellowship, Bible study, Prayer, Praise, etc etc etc…”
  • All that God calls us to do: He’ll try and convince you to STOP>
  • Why? Because Satan Knows there’s POWER in all the things that God has called us to do. He KNOWS: Once you START obeying God, you’re FAITH will get stronger and it’ll be harder for him to pull you away. He’ll never stop trying though. It’s a Constant Battle for the Saints against our arch-enemy Satan.

On Friday, we met a woman who’d been convinced she didn’t need ‘Church’: However, over time, her faith had dwindled, she’d fallen into sin and an old stammer she had came back to haunt her.

We encouraged her: To know God’s Word concerning gathering together regularly to worship: To get back into fellowship, bible study with others and prayer and praise with brothers and sisters.

Satan had fooled her into thinking, “I don’t need ‘Church'” Oh yes she does my friends. And WE ALL NEED IT TOO.

 

3) Finally, JESUS PREACHES: (The Good News of God).

God Spoke, The Devil Tempted and Jesus Preached.

Jesus had OVERCOME Satan’s attempts to divert Him, to make him walk away from God’s Plan.

Jesus begins to proclaim the Good News.

Notice what Mark tells us:

14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. (Notice again: No detail about why John was put into prison, or how Jesus went about preaching the good news, just the fact that He did).

15  “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”

What was Jesus “Good News”: Gospel:

The TIME has come, The Kingdom of God is Near:

a) The Time Has Come:

Jew were EXPECTING THE MESSIAH. Jesus is declaring, boldly, loudly and clearly: I’m The Expected One. (The one that John the Baptist was telling you about, telling you to get ready for, I’m here)….

b) Repent and Believe the Good News:

Repentance and Belief: This is a KEY Doctrine that will NEVER be taken away until Jesus returns.

For any person to be SAVED: There must be both: Repentance and Belief.

JESUS GOSPEL: TO THE JEWS.

The Gospel Jesus preached was before any of the events of the Crucifixion or Resurrection and Ascension: These are the KEY elements in any Proclamation of the Gospel today.

But when Jesus was on earth, He was preaching mainly to Jews: His Gospel, Good News, was slightly different.

You see the Jews were God’s Chosen People: They were EXPECTING God to speak, to send messengers, who would usher in God’s Kingdom rule. Jesus is declaring to those who knew this: “NOW IS THE TIME: God’s Kingdom is close at hand, it’s near, it’s right here with you NOW”…. So, Repent (Get back to God, get right with God, turn away from sin and unbelief). Believe.

The Gospel For Us:

We know that Jesus died.

We know that Jesus is alive.

So the Gospel Message is: Believe in what Jesus has done on the Cross, Repent from your sins and Receive Him as your Lord and Saviour.

However, before people who are not like Jews can accept that message, we need to plough up the soil of the heart to get it ready for the seed of the Good News to be planted. We need to help people see their NEED of the SAVIOUR before they’ll be ready to receive Him rightly.

Imagine: A farmer going out to sow his seed in an un-ploughed field? He just would not do it. No farmer in his right mind would sprinkle seed on un-prepared ground. Why? Because He knows; the Birds will steal it away. The seed will be ruined.

It’s like casting your pearls before swine. So it is with giving the Good News before they’re ready to receive it.

The Apostles knew it and proclaimed it, the Preachers of Old knew it, we’re re-learning it’s value again today: With God’s help, we need to bring conviction of sin, the consequences of sin, the judgement to come, eternal destiny of all men without Jesus, and then they’ll be ready; Once they know their NEED of Jesus.

Today: People’s hearts need to be prepared, like a farmer’s field, before they hear and receive the Good News or it will be a waste of time, or a perverted Gospel we’ll be preaching.

BUT: What do we see today? People are being given the Good News, before they’re ready to receive it.

The Church tells the world: God LOVES you and Has a plan for your life: My friends, they’ve got their own plans, they love their lives of sin, they don’t want anyone telling them what to do and how to live. They’re happy in their sin.

So Now people are enticed into ‘church’ with words like: come to Jesus and you’ll be happy, you’ll get peace, joy and lasting fulfilment. So people come to that Jesus. They love that message, it doesn’t talk about: Sin, true Repentance, Judgement or Hell. No wonder those churches are full to overflowing. We NEED a ‘real’ Old Time REVIVAL TODAY.

Once a sick patient knows his need of a cure: He’ll be ready and eager to receive it.

Once a sinner knows his need of forgiveness, cleansing from sin and how to get it, he’ll be ready for the cure: The Gospel, Good News of Jesus Christ. How God loved him enough to send His One and Only Son into the world to die upon the Cross for the sins of every sinner. (John 3:16)… Also he’ll be ready for the warning (John 3:18-21).

Before we can give them either: The Good News or The Warning:

We must be gentle, humble and instruct them about their NEED of a Saviour, by showing them HOW they have offended God. We also have an inward ally who’ll help us: Their Conscience (God’s LAW written upon their hearts).

We have a Heavenly Power who’ll be drawing them: The Holy Spirit, who’ll lead them to a Conviction of Sin. However, our part is to EXPLAIN and PREPARE their Hearts for the Good News of the Gospel.  We need to be like the farmer, getting hearts ready for Good Seed of God’s Gospel Message planted perfectly into their prepared hearts.

My friends, it’s so wonderful when you observe people’s faces as they see their need of Jesus. You can physically see as their eyes are opened and they understand the Gospel, it makes sense to them. Not everyone is ready at that instant to Believe and Repent, but their hearts have been prepared, the ground has been ploughed and the seed sown. God’s WORD: Faith Comes by Hearing. God will do His Work.

Conclusion:

God Speaks, Satan Tempts and Jesus Preached.

God calls you today, fills you with His Spirit, to guide you.

Satan still tempts you today,

and Jesus has commanded you to PREACH: Good News, but prepare hearts for the Gospel first.

Go into ALL THE WORLD… The emphasis of Jesus is for everyone of us to “GO”… Let the world know the Good News of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Mark 16:15-20 (NIV)

15  He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
16  Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
17  And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;
18  they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
19  After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.

20  Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

Mark 16:20 (NIV)

20  Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

Let us PRAY: Dear Lord Jesus Christ, thank you so much for Mark’s Gospel message. We can see that just like You, we can Hear our Father speaking today. We know the reality of Satan and how he tries to tempt us away from You and Your will for our lives. We believe that You are calling us all to share the Good News. Please give us the will to be obedient, the desire to share and the wisdom to know when we’re being tempted. Keep us from all evil, give us daily bread, Your Kingdom Come. Amen.

Yesterday’s Street Evangelism in Brixton London.

Brixton Street Evangelism, London.

Daily Spirit & Word: 609: Yesterday’s Witnessing.

Romans 10:14-15 (NKJV) How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15  And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

Good morning my friends. We came back rejoicing last night from our little trip to Brixton to share the Good News of Jesus. Brixton really is a melting pot of humanity, with people from every country, creed and colour. It’s amazing how the Lord seems to test us and leaves the best conversations and encounters till the last few moments of our excursions. We’d been out for about 40 minutes, giving out tracts and trying to engage people, but not many wanted to stop and quite a few didn’t take the tracts. After a while, David, my fellow follower of Jesus said, “Shall we go back to Tulse Hill, perhaps we’ll get better results there?” He’d been sworn at, rejected and was feeling slightly oppressed. It was tempting to just call it a day, to give-in or give-up and go back home, but I said, “No, let’s persevere, let’s keep going, let’s keep praising the Lord, I’m sure Satan would want us to give up, let’s ask the Lord to give us good conversations with folks tonight here in Brixton”.

Well, I’m glad to say that it didn’t take very long, because the very next person was a woman on her way back home. We got talking and discovered she was a Christian, who knew the whole Gospel, who’d obviously trusted in the Saviour. But I felt prompted to ask her about her worship. I said, “Where do you meet with other believers?” She said, “Oh, I don’t go to church, I just read the Bible and worship at home”. I felt so sad for her, imagine having no regular place to gather with brothers and sisters in the faith. She shared about her sad experience of ‘church’ and how she felt judged and disheartened and discouraged by the experience. Although the place was lively, full of young students like herself, it was not very loving or ‘Christian’. She’d also back-slidden and her faith was dwindling, until she began to worship at home. We got to know all about her life, how she’d started to stammer more and put that down to a lack of focus upon the Lord and worrying about what people were thinking about her.

She then encouraged us as she related how our meeting was not an accident, because she’d boarded a bus only to discover that she couldn’t find her bus-pass. Then when the bus had gone, she looked in her bag and found it, but decided to walk and then she bumped into us. It was an amazing time of encouraging her to get into fellowship. What was really awesome was she’d been watching some Christian videos on Youtube that we’d also been watching. She knew all about Ray Comfort and the Evangelism School and had started sharing the Gospel with friends and colleagues. She didn’t live far from our Church so we said that she’d be more than welcome to come and join us for worship or at our Discipleship Fellowship. We exchanged telephone numbers and said our goodbyes after a short time of prayer, right there on the busy streets of Brixton.

The next few conversations were with folks who didn’t know the Lord, but each one was significant in moving them from complete unbelief or indifference to thinking seriously about their life, their eternal destiny and purpose in being here on the earth. Each one encouraged to consider the Lord Jesus Christ and what He came to earth to do: To give His life to save sinners from God’s wrath and anger against sin.

What did I learn from last night’s Street Evangelism?

Don’t give up when the going gets tough. Just keep going in the strength of the Holy Spirit. Imagine how God must feel when people reject Him, the Creator of the Universe.

David said, “In one night, we’ve been abused more than any other time, we’ve been encouraged more and I’ve even been treated to a few people who fancied me” We laughed. Because one lady responded “I don’t want your tract, but I’ll take you any day”… LOL.

On our final conversation for the night, a young lady from France whom we’d been chatting to for about ten minutes about the Lord said, “I’ve really enjoyed talking to you guys, you’re nice” Even though we’d been through the whole Gospel and she was not yet ready to respond. We encouraged her to read her Bible and pray. She said with an assured nod, “I will”.

Whilst out sharing, we need to keep focused upon what the Lord is doing, wait patiently for His leading and respond when the right moment comes.

Even though a few people didn’t want to know, there were many more who took tracts with a smile, some were intrigued, other’s questioned and a few were very interested. Stay focused upon the reasons why you are there: we go out to share the good news of Jesus Christ with people who are; blind, walking in darkness, who are trapped and enslaved by sin and Satan. They need the Lord Jesus Christ to set them free, give them hope and fullness of life and the gift of faith and eternal life too. When we know why we’re out, then all the hassles and lack of response don’t matter, we’re reaching out in obedience to the Lord’s Command to go out with God’s love, gentleness, boldness, anointing and peace; praise the LORD for those who do respond and for those we move closer to trusting the Saviour.

Have an awesome Saturday.

Keep Sharing and Keep Praising Jesus.

Don.

Matthew 4:16-17 “the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” 17  From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

Isaiah 9:2 “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”

Proverbs 20:6 (NKJV) “Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, But who can find a faithful man?”

Romans 10:14-15 (NKJV) How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15  And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

 

The Supremacy of Jesus

Jesus is the Supreme Being in the Universe today

Daily Spirit & Word, 582:

The Supremacy of Jesus Christ.

Good morning my friends, it’s so good to be back with you again. It was a wonderful holiday with Julie; we’ve seen family, visited friends and places around London and taken time to make-and-mend in the house and garden. However, I’ve seen that following Jesus requires that we’re constant with Him. We need Him every day, but why do we need Jesus so much in life today? Are you convinced that you need Jesus? Let’s see what God’s Word tells us about Him: Let’s refresh ourselves with the written testimony about our Lord and Saviour.

Our Bible Reading Today:

Colossians 1:15-23 
15  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. (Born on Earth as a man: The True Image of God)
16  For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. (Jesus is the Creator).
17  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (He sustains the Universe).
18  And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
19  For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, (Jesus was always; fully God).
20  and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (His sacrificial death brings PEACE through His blood).
21  Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour.
22  But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23  if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

Jesus IS The Supreme Being: He IS God.

He said to Philip, “If you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father” John 14:9

In context: to Doubting Thomas’ questions about where Jesus is going.

What more can we say about Jesus?

James Allan Francis (1864-1928). DD (One Solitary Life)

Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman.

He grew up in another obscure village, where He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty, and then for three years He was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put his foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself. He had nothing to do with this world except the naked power of His divine manhood. While still a young man, the tide of public opinion turned against Him. His friends ran away, one of them betrayed Him, one of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth while He was dying—and that was his coat. When he was dead He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend. Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone and today He is the centerpiece of the human race and the leader of the column of progress. I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever sailed, and all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together have not affected the life of mankind upon this earth as powerfully as has that One Solitary Life: Jesus Christ.

  • So Jesus never wrote a book: But today there are more books about Jesus than any other figure in the history of mankind.
  • He only had a handful of followers when He died, but now countless millions name Jesus as LORD and it’s still the fastest growing religion in the world.
  • Jesus splits the History of Mankind: BC & AD…

What more can we say about Jesus?

He is Supreme: But what does that mean to you and me?

1) Jesus Reveals God To Mankind:

Before Jesus came God was just an idea, but upon His arrival upon the earth, He became an ICON (The exact representation of God the Father on the Earth).

We all know what ICONS are:

Take out your mobile phone, if you have one, look at the screen, you’ll see little Icons that represent different things; Calendar, Contacts, Facebook, Twitter, Photos,  etc. You know that these Icons represent all your information; you can just click on one of those Icons and they’ll take you to your desired information, right?

  • If I click Calendar, I can see all my upcoming appointments.
  • If I click Contacts and know where all my friends live.
  • If I click Facebook I can see what all my friends have been sharing with the world.
  • If you come to Jesus, If you connect with Jesus, the ICON of God, you connect immediatly with the Father.

Jesus said:

Matthew 11:27  “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No-one knows the Son except the Father, and no-one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

Look at those words carefully, “No-one knows the Son, No-one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him”… i.e. You can’t KNOW GOD by any other way than by coming to Jesus Christ.

That’s why Jesus said, “I AM the Way, and the Truth and the Life” John 14:6.

It not by reason, but by revelation. You can’t discover God the Father by human reason alone, you’ll never argue a person into the Kingdom of Heaven, they, you and I and everyone needs a REVELATION of God by Jesus Christ, even today.

That’s why Jesus is your ICON: Click / Connect with Jesus and you’ll discover God the Father.

Colossians 1:15 and 19:  “He is the image (ICON) of the invisible God,” and “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him”.

Children Ask: “What does God look like?”

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had schoolchildren come into St Luke’s and ask me that question: “What does God look like?” My answer is always the same, “He’s exactly like Jesus” When Jesus wan on the earth, He said, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen my Father”. “The Only way to see the Father is by coming to me”. Do you want to see what God looks like? Then come to Jesus by faith.

2) Jesus IS the Creator:

Look with me at verse 16 of our Bible reading today:

Colossians 1:16 “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” (Jesus is the Creator).

a) Jesus Is The POWER of His Creation:

John tells us the same thing about Jesus: John 1:3

John 1:3 3  “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”

NOTHING was there before Jesus made it. NOTHING. He made the whole UNIVERSE out of NOTHING.

Now, we can’t do that can we, we can’t make an Egg out of nothing. We can’t even make a mud-pie out of nothing, we need dirt and water to make mud-pies. Jesus made it ALL out of NOTHING.

That’s why Jesus could: Walk on water, make wine out of water, heal the sick and raise the dead back to life again, because in Him is LIFE, He is the Creative POWER behind everything.

Jesus is the Power of Creation, but Jesus is also the Preserver of His Creation.

b) Jesus Preserves His Creation:

Look with me at verse 17 of our reading today;

Colossians 1:17 “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

DARK MATTER: Scientists for years have been trying to discover “DARK MATTER” the missing force in the universe. They call it ‘Dark Matter’ because they can’t see it or even find it, but they know it’s there. My friends, it’s the most massive missing force, but the Bible reveals what that force that keeps the whole universe together is. “It’s Jesus”. He’s the super-glue that keeps it all together. He’s not dark-matter though, He’s the Light of the Universe. He’s the Light of the world. In Him there is NO Darkness at all. “In HIM all things hold together”…

When you are getting married, you cleave to your husband. A husband cleaves to his wife. The CLING (HOLD) together. That which God has joined together, let not man separate. Stuck together forever by God. Jesus holds ALL THINGS together.

c) Jesus is the Purpose of His Creation:

He did it all for Himself.

“It’s NOT about you” We’d like to think the universe revolves around and about us, but let’s get a reality check this morning my friends, Jesus made the whole of CREATION for Himself.

Verse 16:  “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.”

“All THINGS were Created by HIM and for HIM”… WOWzer! That’s an awesome REVELATION isn’t it? Jesus is the PURPOSE of the UNIVERSE. He’s not just the Power of the Creation, He’s not just the Glue of Creation, He’s the Purpose of His Creation too.

3) Finally, Jesus is the RECONCILER OF HIS CREATION.

Let’s remind ourselves of the last few verses of our Bible reading today;

Colossians 1:20-23  “and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (His sacrificial death brings PEACE through His blood).

21  Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour.
22  But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23  if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

Jesus RECONCILED All Things: In heaven and on the Earth.

Do you know what ‘reconciled’ means? It means to bring-back-together again. Be made one with another. To bring into alignment again. Like Iran and the UK opening up the British Embassy in Tehran again. After many years of being without an Ambassador in Iran, Britain and Iran have been RECONCILED. Brought back together again.

A husband and wife: who’d been having difficulties in their marriage, finally got back together, they were RECONCILED after years of struggle and their LOVE is stronger now that it’s ever been.

You and me: If you’ve come to TRUST Jesus as your Saviour and Lord: He has reconciled you to God the Father.

We were separated from God, why? The reading tells us; “because of your evil behaviour”.

Now you’ll get offended; “I’m NOT evil” I can hear the gears in your mind whirring and twirling right now. “I’m NOT evil”… However, the Bible tells us that we ARE until we’ve been RECONCILED by the Lord Jesus Christ.

How are we ‘evil’? What is ‘evil’? Evil is the force behind rebellion and disobedience. We’ve all rebelled against God, we’ve all be disobedient to His Commands.

That’s why we need Jesus: It’s not that He’s just made the whole Creation, the He’s the Power, the Preserver and the Purpose of His Creation, but He’s also the ONLY ONE who could bring His Creation back to Himself once again. He is the only way back to God the Father: That’s why Jesus came to His Creation.

He came and He died: He shed His innocent blood: In order that He might SAVE those that He’d Created.

Conclusion:

My friends, we’ve seen the Majesty of Jesus, but now I want to show the Mystery of Jesus: He came to His Creation to SAVE Mankind.

Isaiah reveals a little secret that we’ve been looking at today;

Isaiah 33:22  “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; it is he who will save us.”

  • Jesus is your Judge: He’s coming back again to Judge the Living and Dead.
  • Jesus is your LAW giver: He gave us the 10 Commandments. So that we could see our need of a Saviour. We’ve failed that Law and will be judged Justly by the LORD according to it.
  • Jesus is the KING: The Lord is your King. One day every knee will bow before Him. Let’s do it NOW before it’s too late and we leave this earth without bowing before the LORD our King whilst we’ve still got a chance.
  • Jesus is the SAVIOUR: “is is HE who will save us”. He died so that you might be saved from God’s wrath.

So my friends, I plead with every single on of you today, be RECONCILED to God. Jesus is the Creator, He is the Power of Creation, The Preserver of Creation, The Purpose of Creation but He’s also the Reconciler of His Creation. Will you be reconciled to God: Come, come to Jesus Christ right now. Don’t wait. Trust Him. Receive Him. Repent and trust the Only Saviour of Mankind today. He’s not Dark Matter, but the Light of Life the Creator who knitted you together in your mother’s womb.

We sang this song today:

“This Kingdom” It’s all about our King Jesus.

Jesus
The expression of God’s love
The grace of God, the Word of God
Revealed to us
Jesus, God’s holiness displayed
Now glorified, now justified
His kingdom comes.

What an Awesome Hymn of Praise to Jesus.

Can we sing it and mean it today?

I’m praying that all my brothers and sisters in Jesus will have an awesome time of worship today.

I’m praying for everyone that I know who has yet to come to Jesus in faith and trust, turning from sin to be saved by Him, the LORD of all Creation.

I’m praying for our Nation today, we need to KNOW Jesus afresh in the UK. We need to know our need of Jesus.

I’m praying for the World today, the world that Jesus made, because the world needs to know the Creator and why He came to the Earth.

I’m praying for Christians today, that they’ll be fired up with the Gospel (Good News: that Jesus wants all people to be saved). That every Christian will be so full of Jesus love that they’ll leak that love everywhere they go.

I’m praying the LORD’S Prayer today: Thy Kingdom Come on Earth as it is in Heaven. Amen!

Have an awesome day with Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Don.

Fix Your Eyes Upon Jesus

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Daily Spirit & Word, 450: Fix Your Eyes Upon Jesus.

Good morning my friends, as we progress towards Easter we’re probably thinking of lots of different things;

  • Easter Bank Holiday Weekend: Means time with family and friends and perhaps the first trip out of the city in months. 
  • Easter Eggs / Chocolate Bunnies: Children love Easter Time with the shops filling up from February tempting them with chocolate eggs filled with goodies. 
  • Easter Hot Cross Buns: these are little spiced buns that, when I was a child, were only sold on Good Friday, but now you can get them most of the year round.

Christian Focus:

For Christians, who love the Lord Jesus, these Secular Easter focuses can be either an annoyance or a distraction, but we could also embrace them and still focus upon the main object of our Devotion: Our Lord Jesus Christ.

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

In St Luke’s Church: We begin our main Easter preparations with;

Palm Sunday: Jesus Triumphal entry into Jerusalem and the joy filled crowds.
The Last Supper: Lord’s Last Supper with the Disciples, where He celebrated Passover with them: We’ll be doing that on Maundy Thursday; We’ll have all the elements of the Passover: Lovely Roasted Lamb, roasted eggs, horseradish, parsley, Charoset (reminding us of the mud and toil of captivity in Egypt), salt (reminding us of the tears and crying out to the Lord in captivity), etc… We don’t follow or focus entirely upon Passover, but on what the Lord was doing at the Passover: With the Bread and Wine. (Come and join us if you’re free).
Good Friday: We don’t have a Good Friday Service, but a Walk of Witness with Christians in West Norwood, London. We gather at 11.45am and walk about 3/4 of a mile to St Luke’s Gardens (We’re blessed that our gardens are already a focus for the town of West Norwood in London and it’s a great witness that there are hundreds of Christians who love Jesus. We sings hymns, songs and praise the Lord, we read from the Bible as we walk, we stop and pray, we bless people along the way and give out Easter Sunday invitations to worship with us. Then we gather to have a warm drink and some lovely Hot Cross Buns.
Easter Sunday: We remember the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the Dead. His death upon the Cross was not the end and His resurrection shows us that Father God was satisfied that the price for sin had been paid in full with Jesus blood and death for everyone who will trust in Him.

How can we fix our eyes upon Jesus today?

I don’t advocate making a statue of Jesus for the Bible tells us not to make Idols nor to bow down to them or worship them. There’s always a danger in making images and statues of the Lord or Mary or any of the Saints, because people begin to focus upon them. We’re commanded by the Lord not to make statues in the Ten Commandments:

The Second Commandment: Exodus 20:4-6 “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

  • So how can we, who want to be obedient to the Lord and His Word ‘fix our eyes upon Jesus’?
    We can do it easily: 
  • We’ve got God’s Word: The Gospel accounts of Jesus trial, cricifixion, resurrection and appearances. 
  • We’ve got Worship: Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs: Songs about Jesus, what He did for us upon the cross. 
  • We’ve got Christian Gatherings: Regular Fellowship Groups. Outreach Groups. Evangelism Groups. Gathering regularly with those who Love Jesus, it won’t be long before you turn to Him in prayer and praise.
  • We’ve got Worship Services: With Preaching and Teaching about Jesus. 
  • We’ve got Prayer Meetings: Monthly and daily prayer.
  • We’ve got Personal Prayer and Worship and Bible Study / Meditation.

Focusing upon Jesus is easy for the Saints when we put our heart, soul, mind and strength to it. But will we? Will you focus upon Jesus? Will you think about the Cross and all that He endured upon the Cross for you?

I want to encourage those who’ve done this in the past, probably many times, to renew their commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. To really FIX your eyes upon Jesus: Think about it, those crowds in Jerusalem; Shouting one week; “Jesus is King” and the next “Crucify”… To dwell upon the LAST SUPPER, the GARDEN of TEARS, the TRIAL of Jesus, the MOCKING He endured, the CRUCIFIXION, the DEATH and the RESURRECTION.

How to Practically FOCUS on Jesus and the Cross: 

When I was a lone-Christian on a Submarine at sea, I used to take a simple wooden cross with me and wear it undeneath my uniform. At times people would see it and sometimes ask, “Ginge (that’s what they called me), why are you wearing a wooden cross?”… It became an amazing stepping stone into conversations about my Lord Jesus. Why a wooden cross? We were not allowed to wear metal crosses. Electricity and metal don’t go well together 🙂 LOL. So with a simple black thread and an two inch cross, I became a witness for Jesus. But it really did help me, because there were times when I was feeling weak, my thoughts would wander, I didn’t have fellowship with other Christians, sometimes just grabbing that cross and feeling it would lead me to pray and worship Jesus in the Engine room or even in the Reactor Compartment. When I fixed my mind on Jesus I’d feel strong again and ready to face the world with renewed conviction and love for those in darkness.

How do you fix your eyes upon Jesus?

Let us do it this year every single day; In prayer, reading God’s Word and gathering and communicating with the saints as much as we can; to encourage and strengthen others in their walk and witness for Him.

What does fixing your eyes upon Jesus do for you? He’ll KEEP you, He’ll nourish you, He’ll wash you clean, He’ll renew your faith and strength and sometimes you’ll experience His awesome miracles, but most of all you’ll have the PEACE of JOY of the Lord in your heart. You’ll know Him and He’ll know you.

Have an awesome day with Jesus.
Don.

Let us fix our eyes upon Jesus.

Hebrews 3:1-6 “Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. 2 He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. 3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honour than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honour than the house itself. 4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5 Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.”

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Behold The Lamb of God

Behold The Lamb of God.

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

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

Four Symbols

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

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

1) The Water:

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

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

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

Why? The Bible tells us why: John 3:14-18
14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,
15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 

3) The Dove:

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

4) Testimony (Witness).

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

A Christian’s Personal Testimony:

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

Today we’ve seen FOUR Powerful Symbols:

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

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

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

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