Archives for posts with tag: gospel

crown

Who is Lord? Think about that question. Who is Master and King? Who is on the throne? You know the answer. You have read it in the Bible. The preachers have told you. You could refer to several verses of Scripture that say “Jesus Christ is Lord,” “He is King of Kings.” Academically … intellectually … you know the answer.

Of course, there are people who deny it. They deny the Truth. It is written on their hearts. The preachers and the Scriptures have told them. You have told them, and they still deny the Truth. They are on the broad way to destruction.

Romans 10:8-13
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, [even] in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

9 … if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

What if I believe in the resurrection and say the phrase, “Jesus Christ is Lord,” then does that mean I am on the narrow way to Life? What if He is not on the throne of my life? What if He is not the master who makes all of the decisions about how I will live my life? What if I do not bow to His will in my life? Isn’t that what the word “Lord” means? He is my King, and I would not dare to live my life outside His Law.

9 … if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus …

When I “confess” something, it does not mean that I am just repeating a phrase I learned from a book. It must be true in my life, to be a confession. I can’t just say an incantation to get into heaven. I must forsake my lordship and turn to His lordship. I must turn away from the path to destruction, and turn to the path of Life.

Who is Lord? Think about that question. Who is Master and King? Who is on the throne?

Jesus Christ is Lord.

Who is Jesus? If I believe in the resurrection and confess “Jesus Christ is Lord,” then does that mean I am on the narrow way to Life? We can easily make a list of false religions that claim that Jesus is part of their way of enlightenment. Does it matter which Jesus I believe in? It is easy to see the answer to that question when looking at an extreme case. What if there is a man down the street who claims to be Jesus? Obviously, if that is the Jesus to whom I refer when I confess “Jesus Christ is Lord,” then I don’t have the right Lord. If someone has the same name as you, does that mean they are the same person as you? Of course not. In the same way, when people fabricate their own version of Jesus to serve, they are still lost. Anyone who invents their own god to worship, is serving a false god.

Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

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Believe in Christ. But what must I believe about Christ?

Follow The Way. But how do I find The Way, so I can follow?

Come, drink of the water of life freely. But where do I go to get this water of life?

Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again. What?!

When Jesus compared Himself with the serpent of brass, He used a familiar historical event to help Nicodemus understand. Here is the history, so we can also see the context.

Numbers 21:4-9
4 And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.
5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for [there is] no bread, neither [is there any] water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.
6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.
7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
8 And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

And here is the comparison Jesus made:

John 3:14-19
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

There are a couple of elements to this comparison. Our sin is like the venom of the serpent. We have been mortally poisoned. We are doomed to die because of our rebellion against God. What is the antidote to this poison? Look to Christ crucified. Jesus took our sin upon Himself, then paid the penalty. It is only what Christ has done for us, that can save us. There is nothing we can do but look to Him. This is strictly faith, not works. Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

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brass-snake

Why would anyone want to read about what I do day to day? Well, most people would not. Some people are curious. Some may be considering partnering with us in ministry, so this could be an introduction, to help you decide. Others might already know me and have wondered how I stay so lean. This answers that question. Or they may wonder why my joy and peace do not leave me in stressful situations. This bit of writing should serve for those reasons. I am mainly writing this so I can read it to my children.

Also, even if no one else ever reads this, I think it will serve well as a form of self-reflection. By thinking through what I am doing and why I am doing it, with each of these precious moments I have been given, I can hope and pray that my future choices will be closer to the best priorities.

If any historians happen to be reading this, in hopes of discovering what life was like back in this century, I have a bit of a disclaimer, of sorts. My life does not represent the common activities of this time and culture. Most people consider our family to be quite different from the norm.

Of course, my days are not each alike, so I will not be describing just one day. Rather, the topic will be day to day stuff, when and why. I do not intend to include such intimate details that you will be embarrassed by reading.

DayInTheLifeDayInTheLife

Aesop

Mark 6:4 Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.

In Aesop’s fable, it was proper for the fox to be in awe when seeing the lion. People can seem to become commonplace, especially those closest to us, and the temptation can grow to lose our appreciation and honour due to each human.

How much value does God place on one person? At conception, a precious human life begins. So precious, that it will never end. It is eternal, as ordained by God.

The more we learn about the masterful details of design in creation, the more awe inspiring this pursuit of study becomes. Yet, at the same time, it is easy to see that paradise has been lost, cursed, marred by sin. We can still appreciate those scenes of breathtaking beauty. And those amazing designs remain to challenge our comprehension and discovery.

Each human soul bears the image of God. The astounding design of each person, the elegant complexity of the alloyed spirit, mind, and body, is exceptional. Yet …

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; … (Isaiah 53:6)

A lost coin does not lose its value because it is lost. It is that intact value that motivates us to search for the coin. The higher the value, the more diligent and persevering the search. So, now read the whole verse.

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

The stunning price paid; for each one; for you.

Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

What joy was set before him?

You.

You are worth it … to Him … your salvation … your reconciliation to Him … your fellowship with Him … is His joy!

By no means does this say that you deserve God’s grace. The very definition of grace indicates that it is not deserved. God knows we don’t deserve to be pardoned, yet He also reckons that it is worth it. How much value does God place on one person? God did not value you any less than what He paid.

Yours is a unique life. You are rare; special. The creator of matter says that you matter. Regardless of how close to God you are, or how far from God you are right now, He still holds out His hand to offer a closer relationship with Him.

If you feel angry, then you are angry. If you feel worthless, that does NOT mean you are worthless! If you feel sad, then you are sad. If you feel irrelevant, then that feeling is a LIE! Yes, you are having that emotion, but that does not indicate that you are expendable. Do you see the distinction? Grasping this concept is vital. Feelings and emotions tell you about your state of mind, not your value.

By God’s majestic grace and decree, each soul is due honour, as a fellow human, bearing the image of the Creator.

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keys.png

There are several different areas of your life where you can have success or failure. There is a vast gradient to the levels of reward between two extremes. There are many lessons that you can learn, and apply to each of these areas, in order to become more successful and come closer to your potential in life.

Or, you can be lazy.

Not every failure is the result of laziness, but a key to failure is laziness. A common misconception is that laziness is the easy option. That is far from the truth, since failure is exceptionally hard to endure. There are those who have tried both, or have studied the comparison using some other method, and they will tell you that success is easier than laziness. Do I even need to mention that success is much nicer than failure? Maybe I would need to clarify. If you reached a high level of prosperity, and as a result you were miserable, that is not my definition of success.

Another clarification is in order. There is an important distinction between an event that is a failure and a person who is a failure. When someone makes an attempt, and fails, that is an excellent opportunity for learning. Some lessons can be learned in no other way. A successful person’s life will have many failures. Or, as some said more humorously, “good judgement comes from experience, and experience often comes from bad judgement.” Some begin to welcome failures, while still giving due diligence to keep the cost affordable.

The knowledge we attain, that helps us move toward success, is called wisdom.

James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

It seems that God wants to bless His children with success.

John 10:10 … I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

I can hear the pages of your Bibles quickly turning to:

Job 2:3 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that [there is] none like him in the Earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.

You might argue that Job was a godly man and he suffered great loss, and God said it was not Job’s fault (without cause).

Yes, I agree completely. This goes to show that we cannot judge based on one’s wealth or health. It does not mean that God does not want to bless us. The most extreme example would be Christ dying on the cross. At that moment, from an earthly perspective, He was neither healthy, nor wealthy. Yet, it is beyond the capabilities of human language to express the lofty height of His success, at that same moment.

Another key to failure is selfishness. The surest track to success is serving others, for the sake of their benefit. Not only does selfishness inhibit success, but even if you accomplished some sort of prosperity in the process, your achievement would only accentuate your emptiness.

I am sure you can list several other methods to ensure your life is a failure, but here is the biggest one.

Matthew 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

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milkyWay

Without Excuse

Psalm 19:1-4a
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. [There is] no speech nor language, [where] their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.

Romans 1:20
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

God Doesn’t Believe In Atheists

Throughout history about 10% of the people have claimed to be atheists. But what does that mean? They are saying that there is no God.

The declaration, “There is no God,” is what is known as an absolute statement. To make an absolute statement requires absolute knowledge. Here is another absolute statement: “There is no zinc in New Zealand.” What is needed for that statement to be trustworthy?

A) No knowledge of New Zealand.
B) Partial knowledge of New Zealand.
C) Absolute knowledge of New Zealand.

You are correct, “C” is the answer. To correctly make that statement, I must know everything there is to know about New Zealand … nothing hidden. To say, “There is no God,” and to rely on that statement, I must be all-knowing.

Imagine the total amount of knowledge. If atheist Ivan had just 1% of all knowledge, that would be an incredibly large amount of knowledge for someone to have. Some say that is the sum total of all human knowledge. Now grant him 11%. Even with such vast knowledge, is it possible that, in the 89% of the knowledge that Ivan does not have, that there is sufficient evidence to prove God exists?

If Ivan is reasonable, he will have to say, “Having the limited knowledge I have at present, I believe that there is no God.” In other words, he doesn’t know if God exists, so he is not an “atheist,” he is what is commonly know as an “agnostic.” He is like a man who looks at a building, and doesn’t know if there was a builder.

Does it make more sense to follow the teachings of someone who claims that there is no God, even though there is no way for him to know that, or to see what God Himself has to say?

The Holy Bible is indeed the written revelation of all-knowing God to man. It is our Creator’s message to us, His creatures. The single most important part of this message is the Good News – The Gospel.

The Bad News

In order to understand the Good News, it is greatly helpful to first have some understanding of the bad news.

There are many evils in this world; death, disease, suffering, injustice and so forth. Greed, murder, betrayal and perversion are all justified in the minds of those who compare themselves with someone who is far worse. They lie, steal and cheat while the only limit is their desire to avoid the consequences.

I have sinned and you have sinned. We can’t deny it. We have lied, stolen, lusted and hated. Each and every sin is a rebellion against the Holy God. When Adam ate the forbidden fruit, he was rebelling against God.

The Holy Bible tells us that we all, like the first man Adam, have departed from God’s ways; we have gone our own way. This, the Holy Bible calls ‘sin.’ We have all sinned (Romans 3:23, Isaiah 53:6). God created us, and He will hold us accountable for how we live our lives (Romans 14:12, Hebrews 9:27). God’s standard for holiness is so high that He considers hatred to be as murder (1 John 3:15) and lust equal to adultery (Matthew 5:28). Like Adam, every rebel against God’s Throne deserves condemnation in judgement for sin.

Physical death ends this earthly life. The Holy Bible calls this death a curse and ‘the last enemy’ (Genesis 3:19, 1 Corinthians 15:26). Death had no place in the original, perfect creation – paradise. Death came about because of Adam’s sin, when he, by his actions, told God that He was not needed. Adam was going to be his own god. Sadly, each one of us has effectively endorsed Adam’s action, in ourselves rejecting God Almighty’s rule over us (Romans 5:12).

Mislead By Impostors

It is not just atheists who attempt to block the gate to heaven. Many have been turned away from Christ by false Christians who misrepresent the teachings of God’s Holy Word (2 Peter 2). God knows everything about you, and He still loves you. Please don’t allow the impostors to keep you from all that God has to offer.

The Good News

The Good News is that God has provided a way of escape from the curse of death and the judgement to come. ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ (John 3:16).

Jesus Christ came into the world, born of a woman, to take upon Himself the curse and penalty for our sins. As God in the flesh (Colossians 2:9, 2 John 7, Matthew 16:13), the God-man Jesus lived a sinless life (Hebrews 4:15) and willingly gave Himself to suffer and die for us, in our place (Romans 5:8, 1 Peter 3:18). He took upon himself the severe wrath and punishment we deserved for our sins. His perfect sacrifice is sufficient to pay for the sins of any number of people (Hebrews 7:25-27). And He rose from the dead, proving that He had paid the price and conquered death. Jesus’ death and Resurrection are attested facts of history. Many have tried to explain away the events and have been converted as they considered the evidence.

God offers this free gift of salvation to all who will receive it (Revelation 22:17). He calls upon all to turn away from their sinful ways and trust in what Christ has done for us. There is no achievement, on our part, that can remove our guilt before God (Titus 3:5). Doing good things does not remove our sin. It is only by the mercy of God that we can be saved through what He has already done (Ephesians 2:8-9). If we try to earn God’s pardon, then we are rejecting the free gift He offers us (Galatians).

Whoever spurns God’s offer will suffer His wrath in the judgement to come, of which the Holy Bible clearly warns. This is a terrifying prospect (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9). Jesus spoke much of this, warning people of the danger they faced. The Holy Bible’s book of Revelation uses graphic imagery to depict the dreadful future of those who reject God’s mercy now. This life is your place to decide. Your decision now will touch eternity.

If you want to put off your decision, then please get a calendar and mark the day that you will die. Then schedule in some time just before that, so you can get right with God, before it is too late. As ridiculous as it sounds, that is what people are counting on when they avoid this issue. This is the most important matter in your life, and waiting until later will not only endanger your eternal life, it will also harden your heart (Romans 2:5).

Isaiah 55:6-7
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

You are thinking in your mind, “It is not humanly possible for me to forsake my sin.” That is correct. It is only through God’s strength that you can turn away from evil.

How can I be saved?

If God has shown you that you are a sinner, deserving of God’s condemnation, in need of His forgiveness, then the Holy Bible says that you must have ‘repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Acts 20:21). Repentance means a complete change of attitude — that you agree with God about your sin and about who Jesus is and what He did for you. You now want to live a life pleasing to Him. Faith in Jesus Christ entails accepting who He is, God in the flesh (John 1:14), that ‘Christ died for the ungodly’ (Romans 5:6) and that He conquered death in His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 21-22). You must believe that He is able to save you, and you must put your trust in Christ alone to make you right with God.

If God has shown you your need and given you the desire to be saved, then turn to Christ now. Speak to God, the gracious, merciful Father, admitting that you are a guilty, helpless sinner, and ask Him to save you and be Lord of your life, helping you to leave behind your sinful ways and live for Him. The Holy Bible says, ‘if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.’ (Romans 10:9).

Not Ready?

If you are hesitating, that is a good sign. It means that you have a grasp of the cost. If you don’t think you are ready to make this decision, then I challenge you to pray this prayer, “God, if you are real, then reveal yourself to me.” I dare you. What could it hurt?

Growth

There are two activities that will help you in the new life that you have found.

1) In the Holy Bible there is only one command recorded from Mary the mother of Jesus. She is speaking of her son when she says ‘Whatsoever he saith unto you, do [it.]’ (John 2:5). Jesus Christ is the Word of God (John 1:14). Take Mary’s advice: read the Holy Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and do what it says.

2) Find some Followers of the Way, the Truth and the Life, Jesus Christ, those who hold to the Bible as God’s Holy, Authoritative Word, and ask them to help you as you learn to live as God wants you to live (Hebrews 10:25). Perhaps someone gave you this booklet — that person might be able to advise you in contacting a group of such Christians.

Adapted from materials provided by livingwaters.com, answersingenesis.org and several other Gospel tracts.

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poor

Luke 4:18-19
18 The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

Luke 7:22 Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.

Jesus was anointed to, among other things, preach the gospel to the poor, and that is what he did. The Job Project has the same objective. Gospel literature is a worthy ministry with a powerful impact. The vast majority of the poor either cannot or will not read. So, we are making a free movie, since the poor often can and do watch videos, especially when there is no cost.

There is a ministry called Carpathian Mountain Outreach that hikes into the mountain villages of the Ukraine, sets up a movie venue, invites people to come watch a video, and the villagers come. The video shown delivers the gospel. The Job Project is aiming to make a movie that can be used in this manner and many other ways.

The Job Project movie will be copyrighted, but there will not be any restrictions on how it can be used or distributed. Please feel free to share, upload, download, rip, burn, sell, rent, show to groups, or charge admission, as you see fit.

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