Sunday, August 31, 2014

Second Chances

This afternoon my wife and I decided to take a drive and look for someone to share the Gospel with. After cruising for about an hour, we saw a man carrying a back pack and bedroll walking through town. We stopped and asked him if he wanted a ride to the nearest mission. He said he was actually walking to the nearest truck stop (which we later discovered was about 30 miles away).


I said we would take him to the mission and that I was interested in getting his story. He was agreeable to that.

He is from California and has several siblings, a lot of them whom he has not met. He was in the foster care system, moving from home to home, for most of his growing up years. As a result of this he had been introduced to several “faiths.”

His mother died a few years ago, and as a result of the loss and not understanding how God could let this happen, he took to the road and has been there ever since, trying to make sense of life.

We explained to him how sin had entered into the world through Adam and as a result death had entered into the world. We live in a corrupt and dark world where bad things happen. Not to take away from the pain he was going through, we also explained that Jesus was a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. He could understand what he was going through.

He wasn’t sure what to believe about Jesus, our condition and the remedy.

We asked him if he agreed with God that he was a sinner. He said he did. We asked him if he believed Jesus paid the penalty for his sin at the cross. He said he did. We asked him if he believed Jesus had risen from the dead. He said he wasn’t sure.

I knew from this that he wasn’t ready to receive Jesus. Only if Jesus has risen from the dead can we be saved.

We prayed with him and asked God to open his eyes to the truth. We shook his hand and told him it was a pleasure to have met him. He got out of the car at the mission and we drove away.

I felt as if this opportunity to share the Gospel had been incomplete. I realized I could have explained to him how it was that Jesus was raised from the dead. I prayed about that and repented to God that I could have said more.

My wife and I stopped at a Burger King to have a bite to eat, about 3 miles from the mission. As I was looking out of the window, I saw the man walk into the gas and shop across the street.

The God of second chances. I realized he had made the decision to leave the mission and walk to the nearest truck stop. My wife and I left Burger King and gave him a ride to the truck stop.

On the way I explained to him how it was that Jesus was able to rise from the dead. Sin entered the world through Adam and as a result we are all sinners. Death entered the world through sin and as a result we all die.

But Jesus is without sin. In Romans chapter 1 we are told that it was by the Spirit of Holiness that Jesus was able to rise from the dead. Since Jesus had no sin, death was not able to hold Him.

He still wasn’t ready to receive Jesus as his Savior.

I told him it had been a pleasure meeting him. If he decides to receive Jesus as his Savior, I know I’ll see him again, even if not here.

But if he chooses to remain separate from God, then we won’t meet again.

Pray for him. Pray that God would open his eyes by the Holy Spirit to the truth and that he would make a decision for Jesus.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Deceived

In my previous post I wrote about Jesus opening up the gates of hell that have kept people imprisoned by deception and releasing the captives. During this past week I have been thinking of those who have been deceived and their reaction to finding that out. So I’m writing this post in the hope that those who are set free will run to God as a result of His mercy to them.


Revelation 12:9, “And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”

I know someone who came out of a religious organization very disillusioned and angry at God as the result of discovering that they had lied to him, that he had been deceived.

The reason for my writing this post is a few days ago I was reading that there is an exodus from a religious organization as the result of people realizing they have also been deceived. My concern is the reaction I saw in the person who became angry with God. This caused him to walk completely away from God, and I don’t see that as the appropriate reaction.

We see in the Scripture above that Satan is the deceiver of the whole world. You have been deceived, and I have been deceived. Welcome to the fallen human race that has been under to the control of the evil one.

1 John 5:19, “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.”

But let what has happened to you be the reason for you to run to God with thanksgiving that He thought of you enough to deliver you from deception and destruction and lead you to a knowledge of the truth. His purpose in that is that He wants you to be forgiven and delivered from judgement and to receive eternal life from Him and an inheritance with Him. And to receive this hope from Him is simple.

Jesus carried your sins to the cross, was crucified and paid the penalty for your sin, taking them out of the way. Colossians 2:13-15, “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”

Jesus died and was buried, but on the third day He was raised from the dead by the Spirit of Holiness. There is no sin in Jesus, therefore death was not able to hold Him. Romans 1:4, “and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.”

He wants to credit His righteousness to your account, the righteousness that God demands and only Jesus can provide. Romans 3:21-26, “But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified (declared righteous) freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies (declares righteous) those who have faith in Jesus.”

In a simple prayer, if you ask Him to apply this to your life, He will do it. He will adopt you as His child, seal you by His Holy Spirit, and give you the guarantee of eternal life with Him. John 1:12-13, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”

It’s that simple.

That’s the good news. You don’t have to work to be in right standing with God. Jesus did everything needed to make the way for you to be saved from judgment. Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Lift Up Your Heads, O You Gates; Be Lifted Up, You Ancient Doors, That The King Of Glory May Come In (Psalm 24:7)

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I (Jesus) am?”


Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. (Matthew 16:15-18)

For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. (Mark 4:22)

Meditating in recent days about what Jesus meant when He said that the gates of hell would not prevail against the fact that He is the Christ, the Son of the living God, I’ve come to somewhat of an understanding, at least in part, of what that means.

When we think of gates, we think of trying to keep something in, and trying to keep something out. In this case I think of the gates of hell being used to keep people in bondage to deception and keep the truth that would save them from destruction, out. We read in 2 Corinthians 4:4, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” That is very sad, and will not end well for those who are not delivered from this.

But Jesus said that the gates of hell would not be successful in keeping its captives from hearing the truth that He is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus said that what is hidden from the eyes of the unbelievers is meant to be made clear to them.

So, with the age of the internet, and with the emergence (coming into view, existence, or notice) of the cultic and occultic movements, I find myself praising God because I can see the gates of hell being torn down. In order for these movements to gain notoriety they have to open the gates. When they open the gates, the truth is able to get in and captives are being set free.

And all these emerging groups have their own goals. For some it is to gain more money. For some it is recognition. For some, as in the Satanic movement, it is insanity.

I remember watching a boxing match a couple of years ago where one opponent was knocked out in the middle of the third round. He came to just as the name of the victor was to be announced. He stood up and raised his hands, walking over to be recognized as the victor. It was pretty ridiculous really. Everyone knew he had lost the fight. Do you remember the fight I’m talking about? No? That’s because that fight never happened. If you have ever watched a boxing match you know that one man knows he is the one who has been defeated, and the other man knows he is the victor.

Colossians 2:15 says, “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he (Jesus) made a public display of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” It’s insane for the devil to go about and claim himself to be victor, because he has already been defeated. And it is insane for anyone to be part of a Satanic group to believe him and to believe that somehow they will prevail against God as well. And it is insane for anyone to think, as in cultic movements, that somehow you will be able to side step the cross and make it into heaven some other way.

But in all of this, the age of the internet and the emergent movements, Christ is being preached. Paul says in Philippians 1:18, “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.”

The gates are open. Christ is being preached. People are searching and asking questions. Praise God. Keep asking questions. Proverbs 8:17, “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” Jesus said in Matthew 7:7 and 8, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

So, if you are one of the ones who has been held captive to deception, since the gates have come down, the Lord is giving you an opportunity to hear or read and receive the truth and by His grace be saved from judgement.

There is nothing you have done that He will not forgive. Matthew 3:28, “I (Jesus) tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them.”

You and I both are sinners by nature and as a result objects of God’s wrath. But Jesus went to the cross to pay the penalty for our sin and take out of the way what separates us from our God. He was crucified, died, was buried, and rose again on the third day by the Spirit of holiness. He wants to credit His perfect life to your account and become in you the righteousness that God demands. Ask Him to do this and He will. Then God will adopt you and seal you by His Holy Spirit and will give you the guarantee of eternal life. He will make you stand firm in Christ. He will raise you up in the presence of Jesus and you will not be found lacking, you will be complete in Christ.

He will be your hope.

God, thank you that you have opened the gates. Thank you that what was hidden from the captives eyes is now being disclosed to them and they are receiving salvation from you. Thank you that you are proved right when you speak. Thank you that the gates of hell will not prevail against the truth the Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What in Hell is Going On?

Gods Covenant With Abram (Genesis chapter 15):


After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision:

“Do not be afraid, Abram.

I am your shield,[a]

your very great reward.[b]”

2 But Abram said, “Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit[c] my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”

4 Then the word of the LORD came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” 5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring[d] be.”

6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

7 He also said to him, “I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.”

8 But Abram said, “Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?”

9 So the LORD said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.”

10 Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. 11 Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.

12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. 13 Then the LORD said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. 14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. 15 You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. 16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”

17 When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. 18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi[e] of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates— 19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”

The significance of this covenant that the Lord made with Abraham is very important. During Abraham’s day if two men made a covenant, they would cut animals in half and walk between them, signifying that if either of them broke the covenant, that person would end up like those animals. What is amazing is that as Abraham expectantly prepared for the Lord and himself to walk between the animals, that the Lord caused Abraham to go into a deep sleep. And then the Lord Himself walked between the animals alone, signifying that He would take responsibility for both parties. In other words, if the Lord defaulted, He would end up like the animals, if Abraham defaulted, the Lord would end up like those animals.

This covenant that the Lord made with Abraham was confirmed by the Lord 430 years prior to the Law being introduced (Galatians 3:17). We find in Scripture that the Law was added so that trespass would increase, so that when we recognized our sinfulness we would be led to Christ who went to the cross and payed the penalty for our sin. He went to the cross alone and ended up like those animals. He took responsibility for us and paid the penalty for us because we couldn’t keep our side of the covenant. This is the Covenant of His blood that Jesus tells us about. So anyone who comes to Jesus and agrees with Him that they are a sinner, thanks Him for paying the price for their sin, and asks Him to give them eternal life, He will do that.

Ephesians 1:13 and 14:

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

This brings me to the title of this blog post: What in Hell is Going On?

2 Corinthians 4:4, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

I was thinking this morning about all the “ism’s” in the world today. Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, Buddhism, Muhammedism, and all the other “ism’s” out there. There is really no difference between any of these, except for the wrapper they come in. What they have in common is keeping people blinded to the covenant Jesus wants to make with a person. They reject that only He could pay the price and they teach we have to approach God through the Law. In their pride they are eager to walk in between those animals with the Lord. The problem is that they will end up like those animals because we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. You see, God in His grace would not allow Abraham to walk in between those animals because it would have meant the end of Abraham. Abraham would have ended up breaking covenant and would have been destroyed as a result. And anyone attempting to approach God on their own merits will end up the same way.

Deuteronomy 5:29

“Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever.” Have you kept all of His commands all the time? Neither have I. That disqualifies us from things going well for us forever. But if Jesus paid the penalty for our sins, took them out of the way to never hold them against us again, and credited us with His righteousness, then wouldn’t we be qualified? Yes. Trusting in what Jesus did for us will qualify us for things to go well with us forever.

Hebrews 7:18-19:

“The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.”

The Law is not able to make us perfect. Only Jesus can, by taking our sin out of the way and never holding it against us again and by filling our account with His righteousness.

What is going on in hell is that the Devil wants to prevent you from coming to Christ and embracing His grace toward you by keeping you focused on the Old Covenant of the Law that cannot save you from judgement. If he can do that, then he can destroy you.

In our culture we like to embrace religious diversity. We talk about how beautiful it is. It is good that God has given people freedom of choice, but it’s important to understand the consequences of those choices. And there are really only two choices. Will you continue to reject the free gift of salvation that Jesus is offering you and seek to approach God through the Law (which Jesus set aside)? Or will you trust in Jesus alone to save you from judgement?

1 John 5:12

“He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

Saturday, July 27, 2013

False Prophets and Their Motivation

The most basic need a person has is revealed to us in Proverbs 19:22a, "What a man needs is unfailing love..."  Whether a person realizes this or not, it is what the Scriptures teach us.  But we know there is an issue that gets in the way of our having this love that does not fail.  It's sin.  So what can we do about that?  God has set eternity in the hearts of men.  We know we are seperate from Him, and we long to be with Him.  But we find that the wages of our sin is death, or eternal seperation from Him.  We know that we don't have that unfailing love.

But what if there was a way to change that?  What if there was an answer?  There is.  And only one answer.

God chose to satisfy the demand of His justice and extend His unearned favor toward us through His Son Jesus. 

Almost 2,000 years ago Jesus, the Son of God, God Himself, the Creator of all things, chose to bear the penalty for your sins and for mine.  He chose to remove what seperated us from Him.  So He was crucified, not for His own sin, because He was sinless, but for our sin.  He died and rose again from the dead on the third day by the Spirit of holiness.  Romans 1:4, "who through he Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord."  You see, it is because of a person's sin that that person is held captive by death when he dies.  But Jesus was able to rise from the dead because there was no sin in His own life by which death could hold Him.

He is waiting.  He did it for you.  All you have to do is ask for forgiveness and the gift of life.  And He will not turn you away.  At the moment you ask Him, He will take away your sin (that by which death could hold you down), credit His righteousness to you so that you also will rise from the dead, adopt you as His child, seal you by His Holy Spirit, and give you the guarantee of eternal life.  That's it.  That's all you have to do.  That's the only thing you can do.  That's the simplicity of the Gospel. 

This now brings me to the topic of this post: False Prophets and Their Motivation.

I can't say that I have dug real deep into the doctrines that some preach, whether religious or otherwise.  But I can say that through study of the Scriptures (the Bible), I have found in Scripture some very basic common denominators concerning false prophets and false teachings.

When someone is in the business of finding those who create counterfeit money, they don't study all of the counterfeit currency out there to do this.  They spend their time studying the real thing, and then what is counterfeit is noticable.  Then they are able to track down the counterfeiters and prosecute them.

God prosecutes counterfeit teachers and those who pass counterfeit teachings as well.  Without repentance, the sentence is far greater than what someone would receive for counterfeiting currency here.  Paul says in Galatians 1:8, "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned."

You see, in the Scriptures, specifically in the Apostolic letters, we are told about the simplicity of the Gospel and what a person needs to do to inherit eternal life.  But in some religions and movements the teachings are different than what is taught in the Scriptures.  Why are there some who are willing to preach falsehoods to others (false prophets) and to hold those who follow them captive to their false teachings?  What is their motivation, and what is behind it?

Let's start with what, or who, is behind it.  Jesus said in John 10:10a, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy..."  The devil is the thief, who comes to steal from you, kill you, and destroy you.  And the demons work for him.

1 Timothy 4:1 says, "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith (the Apostolic teachings in the Apostolic letters) and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons."

So the false prophets abandon the sound doctrine of the simplicity of the Gospel found in the Apostolic letters and teach things taught by demons who are out to steal from you, kill you, and destroy you.

What is the motivation of these false prophets? 

2 Peter 2:1-3a, "But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you.  They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves.  Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.  In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up."

So false prophets motiviated by greed will exploit you by teaching doctrines of demons who are out to steal from you, kill you, and destroy you.

How are demons able to destroy you?  Galatians 1:8 and 9,  "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned.  As we have already said, so now I say again:  If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted (the gospel Paul is talking about here is the gospel taught in the Apostolic letters), let him be eternally condemned."  Demons are able to destroy you by keeping the truth from you so that you will not submit to the gospel and be saved.  By presenting a different gospel to you and making you feel and believe as if everything is okay, while you are presently under condemnation and don't realize it. 

There is only one way to be saved, and that's Jesus' way.  Through the simplicity of the Gospel taught in the Apostolic letters.  A person cannot be saved from judgement by following a doctrine that is contrary to the teaching of the Scriptures.  Whether a person follows the wrong way knowingly or unknowingly, the outcome is the same:  eternal condemnation.  Proverbs 14:12, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death."

False prophets, whether religious or non-religious, by their greed seek to exploit you.  And they use doctrines of demons to do so.  Why?  Because they can't exploit you by using the truth.  Jesus said in John 8:31a, 32, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."  The truth will set you free, but with their lies they can put you into bondage and keep you there.

False teachers strive to get your money, and the devil strives to keep your soul.  Jesus came to give you life, and life more abundantly.  False teachers disregard the Scriptures, especially the Apostolic letters that tell there is good news for you, and keep you from the Scriptures as well.  But you have a choice.  Read the Apostolic letters for yourself.  Ask Jesus to save you from judgement, and He will, keep your money and walk away from these false teachers.

How can we be sure we can rely on what the Scriptures say?

Hebrew 1:3, "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by the power of His word."  If Jesus' word had not been able to endure, all of creation would have ceased to exist.  So, the one who sustains all of creation by the power of His word has also been able to keep the true gospel from being lost.  He's holding you responsible to compare what you have heard with His word, the Scriptures.

What are some of the false teachings that contradict Scripture,  the reliable Word of God?


1.  Jesus is not God.

     John 1:1a, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
     John 1:14a, "The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us."
     Romans 9:5, "Theirs (the Jews) are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry
of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised!  Amen."

2.  Jesus didn't create us and all of creation.

     John 1:2, "Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made."

3.  There are many ways to heaven and many who can get you there.

     John 14:6, Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father
     except through me."

4.  You have to work or pay money to get into heaven.

     Ephesians 2:8 and 9, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from
yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast."
     Romans 11:6, "And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer
be grace."

5.  There are those who are equal to God, or that Jesus is subservient to others.

     Philippians 2:9-11,  "Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the Name
that is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on
earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of
God the Father." 

And these are just a few. 

    





Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Stones Will Cry Out



Luke 19:37-40, When he (Jesus) came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen. 

"Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!" 

"Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" 

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!" 

"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."

The Scriptures tell us that there is nothing new under the sun.  Today, we see those who want God's children to be silent.  They have taken prayer out of the schools.  They have taken the Ten Commandments out of our courthouses.  They are on a crusade to remove anything that has to do with the cross of Christ, that which testifies to the suffering our Lord went through to purchase eternal life for those who would ask.  They want the children of God to stop spreading the Gospel and leading others to eternal life.  They want us to believe that the Bible, the Scriptures, are myth.

But, the stones will cry out.

As I was thinking about it today, archaeology cannot lie.  Archaeology must bear witness to the history that was there.  I don't believe there is any scientist or reasonable person who would deny that.

There is an arcaeological find outside of Jerusalem, the Palace of King David (1000 BC) that is proving out the Biblical accounts.  This is undeniable. 

http://www.ibtimes.com/king-davids-palace-discovered-archaeologists-israel-photo-1352231

Now, those who want to reject Christ and teach others to do the same, must find a different avenue.  This one of proclaiming the Bible to be myth has been proven wrong.

For those who want to look at the facts, the facts of the Scriptures and the facts born out in history and archaeology, Jesus is still waiting.  Ask Him, who died for you and then rose from the dead, to apply to you what He has done.  To forgive you of your sin and give you eternal life.  He will do it.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Identity Crisis

After dealing with some issues in my own life a few days ago, I believe the Lord put it on my heart to deal with what I see as an identity crisis in our world today.  An identity crisis among those who don't belong to Christ, and an identity crisis among God's children.  I will write about unbelievers first, and then about believers in the Lord Jesus.

Now, when I write about those who don't know Jesus, it will seem harsh, because in reality it is harsh.  One of the verses that stands out with me is Isaiah 66:6, "Hear that uproar from the city, hear that noise from the temple!  It is the sound of the LORD repaying His enemies all they deserve."  It seems to me that when the time comes for the LORD to deal with His enemies that it will be so severe He will not even let His own children watch.  This is more than harsh.  This is terrifying.  It should not be anything anyone would want to face.  But some will face it.  Why?

When Adam and Eve disobeyed God they died spiritually.  They became separated from the Spirit of Life.  They became spiritually dead.  They became by nature objects of the wrath of God, worthy of judgement.  As a result, the whole human race became by nature separated from the Spirit of Life and objects of wrath worthy of judgement.    Jesus said to all of us in John 8:44a, "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire."  I don't believe that when Jesus spoke this that He was wanting to insult or degrade.  I believe He was stating a fact.  We are the result of the work of Satan in the Garden of Eden that caused all of us to rebel against God and be separated from Him.  That is our identity.  It doesn't matter the color of our skin or our social or economic status.  Our identity is that we are of our father the devil facing judgement.  That's who we are.

But Jesus is the remedy.  He came for the purpose of providing hope where we have no hope, peace with God where we had no peace.  A good future when we had a horrible future.  He came to give us a new identity.

Jesus went to the cross for the purpose of receiving that judgement for us on Himself.  To pay the penalty for our sin and to take it out of the way so that it would be, before God, as if we had never sinned.  And then to credit us with His performance.  As God's Son Jesus never sinned.  That's why He was able to rise from the dead.  Death could not hold Him because He was sinless.  He took our sin out of the way and wants to credit to us His perfection.  Do you want that from Him?  Do you want Him to take your sin out of the way, credit His righteousness to you, adopt you as one of His children and give you a sure future with Him?  Ask Him right now and He will do it.  Romans 10:13, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."  Then you will belong to Christ, and 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"  If you ask Jesus to save you from judgement, then you will become a new creation.  You will have a new identity.  You will then be a child of God, no longer facing judgment.

Now, for those of us who are already in Christ, who have already asked Jesus to save us from judgement, we need to come to more of an understanding of who we are in Christ.  I know that in my own life, and in the lives of those I talk to, we have a lot to learn.

I believe the sins and issues in our lives stem mainly from not understanding our identity and what God has done for us in Christ.  Below, I'm going to list some of the truths about us, and would like to encourage you, along with myself, to become well acquainted with these.  We have a lot of negative thoughts about ourselves and believe them.  We need to displace the untruths with the truth of God's Word.  Paul tells us in Romans chapter 12 verse 2 that the way to transform our lives (or to have victory over the sins in our lives) is to renew our mind.  We are new creations in Christ.  The things that used to be true of us are no longer true.  But before I list those I would like to deal with the most basic, foundational truth that you and I need.  That need is for a love that does not fail.  Proverbs 19:22a, "What a man desires is unfailing love;".

Will God's love ever fail you?  Is it possible to lose that position you have in Christ and as a result no longer be in a position to receive God's unfailing love?  Doesn't God say that He will meet all of our needs in Christ (Philippians 4:19)?  This is our most basic need, and I believe God has already fully met this need, forever, in Christ.  I know there are some who preach we can lose our salvation, but I don't believe the Scriptures teach this.  In Romans 8:37-39 Paul tells us that nothing in all of creation can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  I know there are some who would say, "except you."  I don't know if I would get into the habit of adding to what God has said.  It doesn't say "except you," in this passage.  In John 10:28a Jesus says, "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish."  I was reading online, "Eternal Security of the Believer," by Dr. Harry Ironside, So He says, “I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish.” He puts no conditions around that promise, “They shall never perish.” The word “perish” is in the middle voice, so that if rendered literally in English, you would have to make two words of it, because we do not have a middle voice. The words “perish” and “destroy” are the same in Greek. “I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never destroy themselves.”  So, since God promises to never leave us, since God says nothing in all of creation will be able to separate us from His love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord, and since Jesus said He will not allow us to destroy ourselves, then what we have is God's love that will not fail us.  That is our most basic need that God has met for us in Christ.

So from that foundation we need to counteract the negative, untrue things about ourselves that we've been taught or the devil or the world system, or others, want us to believe about ourselves.  Now I'm going to list below some of the truths in Scripture about who we are in Christ, and hope that you, along with myself, will take maybe one of these a day and meditate on it.  And I believe that the victory we are hoping for in our lives will be seen as a result of our transforming the way we think.  And for those who have just asked Jesus to save them from judgement, these truths are true of you as well.  Meditate on them.  God has done a great thing in your life.

WHO I AM IN CHRIST

I am God’s child John 1:12

I am Christ’s friend John 15:15

I have been justified Romans 5:1

I am united with the Lord (one spirit) 1Cor.6:17

I am bought with a price; I belong to God 1Cor.6:19-20

I am a member of Christ’s body 1Cor. 12:27

I am a saint Eph. 1:1

I have been adopted as God’s child Eph. 1:5

I have access to God through the Holy Spirit Eph. 2:18

I have been redeemed and forgiven Col.1:14

I am complete in Christ Col.2:10

I AM SECURE

I am free forever from condemnation Rom. 8:1-2

I am assured that all things work together for good Rom. 8:28

I am free from any condemning charges against me Rom. 8:31-34

I cannot be separated from the love of God Rom. 8:35-39

I am established, anointed and sealed by God 2Cor. 1:21-22

I am hidden with Christ in God Col.3:3

I am confident that the good work He has begun in me,

will be perfected Phil1:6

I am a citizen of heaven Phil 3:20

I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a

Sound mind 2Tim 1:7

I can find grace and mercy in time of need Heb 4:16

I am born of God; the evil one cannot touch me 1John 5:18

I AM SIGNIFICANT

I am the salt and light of the earth Matt 5:13-14

I am a branch of the true vine, a channel of His life John 15:1,5

I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit John 15:16

I am a personal witness of Christ’s Acts 1:8

I am God’s temple 1Cor 3:16

I am a minister of reconciliation for God 2Cor 5:17-21

I am God’s co-worker (1Cor 3) 2Cor 6:1

I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm Eph 2:6

I am God’s workmanship Eph 2:10

I may approach God with freedom and confidence Eph 3:12

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens Phil 4:13

Me

The lists above come from research done by Neil T. Anderson.  He has written several books, two that have been very helpful to me:  "Victory Over the Darkness," and "The Bondage Breaker."  Following are a few more that I have discovered in 2 Corinthians.  Search the Scriptures.  There are more that God wants us to discover.

God comforts you in all your troubles.  1:4

Our hope is firm in Christ.  1:7

God will continue to deliver us.  1:10

You will be boasted of in the Day of our Lord Jesus.  1:14

All of God's promises are yes in Christ.  1:20

God makes you stand firm in Christ.  1:21

God set His seal of ownership on you.
God put His Spirit in your heart to guarantee what is to come.  1:22

God always leads you in triumphal procession in Christ.  2:14

You are the aroma of Christ.  2:15

You are ministers of a new covenant.  3:5

You reflect the Lord's glory.
You are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory.  3:18

You are God's minister.  4:1

You carry the gospel of Christ.  4:6

You will be raised in the presence of Jesus.  4:14

Inwardly you are being renewed day by day.  4:16

God built an eternal house for you in heaven.  5:1

The Holy Spirit is a deposit to guarantee you what is to come.  5:5

You are in Christ.
You are a new creation.
Your old nature is gone.  5:17

God did this.
You are a minister of reconciliation.  5:18

You are an ambassador of Christ.
God makes His appeal to the world through you.  5:20

Jesus, though rich, became poor so that you could be rich.  8:9

God has richly blessed us.