Tag Archives: cross

The True Christmas Message: Sin Kills, The Gospel Saves

cross-saves2aRevelation 2&8

To Thyatira, from the Son of God who has eyes like a flame of fire and feet like burnished bronze. Because I am the Son of God I search not just with my eyes but also my heart and I find that which is profitable but not that which is beneficial. I commend you for the love you have for others and how faithful you have been to My Church. You work tirelessly for the poor just as I did. Your works now are greater than when you began and for that you are to be commended.

However, I see a glaring sin. In fact, you have lived with this sin for so long that your eyes are clouded to its impact upon your flock. You no longer call sin sin but have bought into the lie of love the sinner and hate the sin and that is true. However, hate demands action and you have not taken that step. Instead, your actions reveal that you have fallen like King Ahab to the ways and mores of Queen Jezebel, an outright idolater. She has taken captive your mind and swayed you to offer sacrifices of my children to the idol god Baal. It would be better to put a millstone about your neck and throw you into the sea than to allow her to lead and teach. I love you and that is why I have been so patient with her and you. But, my patience will come to an end. Her message kills because it denies Me. Be careful lest you be judged along with her by my penetrating eye.

Father, may Your eye reveal to us where we have accepted that which you call an abomination. May we hold fast to the truth that only through the blood shed on the cross can one be saved.

All scripture is taken from the FREE online Bible Study Tool of Bible.org 

 

 

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The Power of the Resurrection

resurrection-21Cor 15 The Power of the Resurrection

The Resurrection is the key to the life of our Savior who lived, died, and rose again. Without it, there is no hope, no future and no reason to believe. It is because of His death that he became a life-giving spirit that is given to all who believe. It is because of that death, burial and resurrection that one day we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in the moment, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. This mortality will put on immortality for the Master Tailor is in the business of sewing us into the beautiful tapestry of the image of Jesus Christ. We are being conformed to His image and it is because of this we can sing with the choirs of heaven. And it is because of that truth Paul could say to the Corinthians who were concerned:

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!  So then, dear brothers and sisters, be firm. Do not be moved! Always be outstanding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Jesus is no longer “on” the cross. He has become victorious “over” the cross and He is our anchor for our souls. A

 

Are You Sure of Your Destiny?

luke 23 destiny2a“people are appointed to die once, and then to face judgment,”[Heb 9]. Our question is: are you prepared for your entry into eternity? In Luke 23, we are presented with three candidates for us to observe and determine ours.

First on our list is Barabbas, an insurrectionist and a murderer. He is incarcerated in a prison awaiting his sure sentence of death. As he sat waiting could he hear the crowd led by the religious leaders calling for his release? Did he know that his life would soon take an abrupt turn? Did he know that the religious leaders and the crowd offered an innocent man named Jesus to face the cross that was slated for him? We wonder and only in eternity will we know his thoughts, his actions before and after. Only God knows his destiny.

Second, are the two criminals who were also led with Jesus to the Golgotha hill and there nails would pierce their bones. They both heard Jesus cry out “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” Yet only one would enter eternity forgiven for he cried out remember me when  you enter your kingdom. Jesus heard and promised that would be true. His forgiveness for his sins was washed away on that day.  The other would enter a Christ-less eternity. He neither feared God or man.

Your destiny is assured—either heaven or hell. If you are like Barabbas, bow the knee now for life is uncertain. If you are like the thief on the cross who railed on Jesus, think what lays ahead for you. If you are like the thief that sought forgiveness you can be assured of this promise: you will be with Christ in heaven/paradise. What is your destiny?

 

1Thess 4 “Practical Holiness”

1thess 4 holy living3a“Indeed, the more sanctified the person is, the more conformed he is to the image of his Savior, the more he must recoil against every lack of conformity to the holiness of God.” [Jn Murry]. We can recoil but how do we stay on top of this desire for holiness and then live it out practically? Even though Paul received word that the new babes in Christ were standing firm he knew that the wiles of the devil would not fade away for he is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Therefore, we need some practical ammunition to withstand his work and Paul outlines it in three simple steps which if applied will help us to be “more persistent [in our] yearning for the attainment of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus…”

First step is to recognize that this step towards is holiness is attainable because we have been anointed with the power of the Holy Spirit. Secondly, we can live it as we minister to the brethren by living a quiet life, minding our own business because the unbelievers are watching and taking note of the change within us. Thirdly there is no reason to fret about the Lord’s return for even Jesus while in his humanity told the disciples it was not for them nor him to know but only the Father. When the catching away happens we will be suddenly without warning be caught up to be with Jesus and our loved ones in the clouds. From that point on we will assuredly be with the Lord forevermore.

Beloved, “Therefore stay alert, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come…” [Mt 24]

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Scripture from: https://lumina.bible.org

“Honoring God with the Heart”

ImageWhen you read the word “defilement” what images come to mind? Is it some picture of a far off land and people searching through the dump looking for food? OR Is it some picture of a church with people dressed in their finest taking communion who have yet to take this step: Psa 51:2 Wash away my wrongdoing! Cleanse me of my sin! Or this one: 1Co 11:28 A person should examine himself first, and in this way let him eat the bread and drink of the cup. No matter which picture comes to mind, Jesus has a word for all of us: it is not the outward life but the inward life. If ever there were a picture of outward purity but inward defilement it is the hypocritical Pharisee…note it is not the Pharisees of the time of Jesus but it is the Pharisee within all of us. It is then that the words of Jesus should pierce our hearts and that we begin to look and see what He sees. He sees we have escalated traditions to the above inspired scripture. That was the problem of the first century Pharisees and why Jesus took such offense at them.

Wisely the Pharisees sought to protect Israel from the false prophets and teachers that they may never have to do another “lap around the wilderness” or Babylonian captivity again, but in their quest they had closed eyes to see and closed hearts to hear. Thus Jesus points them to their practices of washing and Corban (which is to set aside a gift to the temple which cannot be touched until an appointed time even if a need arises to care for one’s parents) to show them the true defilement is as Isaiah said: this people honor me with their lips but their heart is far from me. Their outward practices had become so ingrained that the washing of hands superseded the washing of the heart. Both Moses and Jeremiah pleaded with the people to do that step before they began to worship. Deu 10:16 Therefore, cleanse your heart and Jer 4:14 “Oh people of Jerusalem, purify your hearts .”

Today as we continue our journey to the cross let’s take time to do a spiritual heart check. Will you examine your hypocrisy as I also have to do? Where have I or you set aside what is good as Corban but have yet to set aside our sin?

“Honoring God with the Heart”

ImageWhen you read the word “defilement” what images come to mind? Is it some picture of a far off land and people searching through the dump looking for food? OR Is it some picture of a church with people dressed in their finest taking communion who have yet to take this step: Psa 51:2 Wash away my wrongdoing! Cleanse me of my sin! Or this one: 1Co 11:28 A person should examine himself first, and in this way let him eat the bread and drink of the cup. No matter which picture comes to mind, Jesus has a word for all of us: it is not the outward life but the inward life. If ever there were a picture of outward purity but inward defilement it is the hypocritical Pharisee…note it is not the Pharisees of the time of Jesus but it is the Pharisee within all of us. It is then that the words of Jesus should pierce our hearts and that we begin to look and see what He sees. He sees we have escalated traditions to the above inspired scripture. That was the problem of the first century Pharisees and why Jesus took such offense at them.

Wisely the Pharisees sought to protect Israel from the false prophets and teachers that they may never have to do another “lap around the wilderness” or Babylonian captivity again, but in their quest they had closed eyes to see and closed hearts to hear. Thus Jesus points them to their practices of washing and Corban (which is to set aside a gift to the temple which cannot be touched until an appointed time even if a need arises to care for one’s parents) to show them the true defilement is as Isaiah said: this people honor me with their lips but their heart is far from me. Their outward practices had become so ingrained that the washing of hands superseded the washing of the heart. Both Moses and Jeremiah pleaded with the people to do that step before they began to worship. Deu 10:16 Therefore, cleanse your heart and Jer 4:14 “Oh people of Jerusalem, purify your hearts .”

Today as we continue our journey to the cross let’s take time to do a spiritual heart check. Will you examine your hypocrisy as I also have to do? Where have I or you set aside what is good as Corban but have yet to set aside our sin?

The Church at Colosse….chapter 1

ImageIrving Jensen has been like a mentor to me over the years and his study guide on Colossians is by far one of his richest. In the first lesson Jensen gives a task: Write a list of the good traits which you think a local church should exemplify. After you have completed your study of 1:1-12, go back to this list and see how the Colossian church rated.

 Paul knew about these precious saints that he had never met through word of mouth and the testimony of Epaphras. This dear saint came to Rome and shared with Paul, now in a Roman prison under guard, who they were. From that we read Paul’s desire for them as believers in Christ.  

Paul’s list that he had gleaned from Epaphras: They had faith in Christ, They had love for all the saints [the setting apart of the individual as one of the company whom God,] They have a hope laid up in heaven vs 4 and an inheritance in the light vs 12 [1Pet 1:4 that is, into an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is reserved in heaven for you], The gospel message has borne fruit within their midst and continues to bear fruit;, once strangers/enemies of God but now reconciled to Him through Christ; therefore Christ is in them, the hope of glory.

Now Paul turns from who they are to what his prayerful desire is for them: God to fill them with the knowledge of His will [In the broadest sense, the will of God is the whole purpose of God revealed in Christ. Dr. Constable]; God would give them spiritual wisdom and understanding [“‘Wisdom’ and ‘understanding’ probably should not be treated separately but should be looked on as expressing a single thought, something like practical wisdom or clear discernment.” Dr. Constable];

And now the “why”… They might live worthily; Please the Lord; Bear fruit; Grow in the knowledge of God; and Display or show to the world: patience, steadfastness and joy.

Back to the first question: The church at Colosse was rich beyond measure.  If you rated your church how do they stack up against the Colossians?

They were rooted and grounded in Christ but we will see that their roots were being attacked by the enemies of the cross. This is why we need this book today! Today we are seeing the very foundations of our churches being stripped by those who espouse a gospel that is works plus grace or a gospel of “feel good, a gospel of intolerance for the things that are the very bedrock of our faith.” Many are sliding down a slippery slope of worldliness. As Paul prayed for this church, may we stop and pray for our churches and for their message to be true to the Word of God, true to the simple gospel message and true to Christ? For it was because of Christ. who is the very image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all,  the Creator, the Alpha and Omega, the head of the church, the reconciler through the blood He shed on the cross that both they and we are “who we are, who we need to be.”