Following Jesus Comes With Risks


THE RISK OF FEAR –

Many people today are refusing to acknowledge Jesus in their lives because of the fear of other people’s opinions.

They are ashamed to be associated with Christ Jesus in public but attempt to confess Him when they find a need for Him when chaos is breaking loose in their lives.  Jesus describes them in Matthew 15:8 – “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” [NIV]

Everyone who comes face to face with Christ (via media, radio, tv, internet, church, Preacher, blogger, etc.) must do one of two things concerning Him.  Either confess Him or deny Him.  There’s no neutral ground.

During the final few months of Jesus’ life, He traveled from Galilee to Jerusalem along with His followers where He was crucified.  On their journey, Jesus gave them some very important teaching regarding DISCIPLESHIP.

That brings me to our Bible study and the risks involved in following Christ.

LUKE 12:8-12 (NIV)

[8] “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God.  [9] But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.  [10] And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.  [11] “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say,  [12] for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

WARNING…NO HELMET SYSTEM CAN PREVENT CONCUSSIONS OR ELIMINATE THE RISKS OF SERIOUS HEAD OR NECK INJURIES WHILE PLAYING FOOTBALL…”

Schutt Sports, a major supplier of football helmets for the National Football League (NFL), on their website page has inserted a WARNING LABEL and goes on to give information on the symptoms for concussions and concludes with these words:  TO AVOID THESE RISKS…DO NOT ENGAGE IN THE SPORT OF FOOTBALL.

At least this company is honest about the RISKS involved in playing football.

Similarly, the Bible is honest about the RISKS involved in following Jesus.

Paraphrasing, the Bible says, “To avoid the risks of discipleship, don’t engage in following Jesus!”

DISCIPLESHIP IS GOING TO COST YOU!

Following Jesus means opening yourself up to opposition, ridicule, resentment, harm, injury, and even death!

During Jesus’ ministry, He experienced growing opposition and persecution even from His half-siblings–His own family (Mark 3:21).  He noticed that His disciples were becoming increasingly fearful–even standoffish in some cases as they saw what was happening to their teacher.

So, He used His disciples not to FEAR people, but instead to FEAR and REVERENCE God knowing that God cared for each one of them (Luke 12:47).

Then He urged His DISCIPLES to acknowledge Him before men.

I’ve found it interesting when pastors today give an invitation for accepting Jesus as their Savior at the end of Sunday Services with “every head bowed,” [‘no peaky’] and proceeds to encourage the hand raisers to “acknowledge Jesus as Savior before men”!

How does one do that?  And if they don’t do as suggested, what then?

The analysis of ACKNOWLEDGING Christ Jesus before others have both a positive and negative aspect.

I’ve always voted when asked for the “positive” first before the “negative”.

Jesus said in verse 8,  “whoever publicly acknowledges me before others…” 

Jesus puts our relationship to Him in an eternal perspective.  I like the way the Amplified Bible reads:

“Whoever declares openly [speaking out freely] and confesses that he is My worshiper and acknowledges Me before men, the Son of Man also will declare and confess and acknowledge him before the angels of God.”

“ACKNOWLEDGE, DECLARE, PROCLAIM”…the point lies in doing it “before men”!  And if we acknowledge Him before others here on earth, then that will lead to Him acknowledging us before the tribunal of heaven.  WOW!

The Bible says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” ~ Romans 10:9 (NIV)

To DECLARE Christ Jesus before others mean that we do ALL THESE THINGS, whatever we do, whether it’s at work or at school or at home or at play, we do it ALL for Jesus.

Jesus’ PROMISE –

When we confess Christ before men, then He will declare us at the Last Day.

What a precious promise that is for every believer!

On the day we die, as we stand before Almighty God, everything about us will be revealed.  All our past sins–even those that are secret–will be exposed.  Each one of us will be condemned by God’s Law, condemned by our sin, condemned by our conscience, condemned by Satan himself.  We will stand before God without HOPE.

BUT…and this is a glorious “but”…if we’ve acknowledged Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior on earth, then Jesus will rise up in our defense!  He will tell the Father and all the angels that we belong to Him by faith.

He will tell the tribunal of heaven because of our FAITH in Him because we’ve received the gospel because we’ve acknowledged Him on earth.

He is acknowledging to all in heaven we belong to Him!

His MERIT covers ALL our faults, our iniquities, our sin and we must be accepted into heaven because of what He has done for us.

Not Acknowledging Christ Before Men Comes With Recompense.

This is the negative aspect of not declaring Christ before man.  Jesus said in verse 9,  “…he who disowns and denies and rejects and refuses to acknowledge Me before men will be disowned and denied and rejected and refused acknowledgment in the presence of the angels of God.”  [AMP]

What does it mean to “deny” Him before men?

It means that we don’t stand with or for Jesus.  It means that we don’t acknowledge that we’re Christians.  It means that when people speak against Christ and Christianity in our every-day-world, we remain silent, making excuses for all the reasons why we shouldn’t acknowledge Him.

“I don’t want them to think I’m a religious nut!”

You can add to this list, I’m sure.

Jesus says that if we don’t acknowledge Him we DENY Him!

And if we “deny” Him, He will “deny” us!

The Principles Laid Down In Acknowledging Christ Before Men –  (Luke 12:10)

VERSE 10 is a difficult verse to understand at first.  That said, I find TWO PRINCIPLES that come into play here.

There’s SIN that’s FORGIVEABLE (Luke 12:10 (a)).

I think Philip Ryken, president of Wheaton College and author explains it best when he said, “To speak against the Son of Man is to speak against Jesus Christ without fully understanding who He is or what He has done.”  This isn’t the full and final denial as illustrated by Judas in verse 9.  Nevertheless, to speak a word against the Son of Man is SIN.  But…and here’s the good news…it is a SIN God can and will forgive.

Almost all Christians spoke a word against Jesus before coming to saving faith in Him.  But as soon as we fully understood who He was and what He did, we repented of what we said and received forgiveness from Him.

There’s SIN that’s UNFORGIVABLE (Luke 12:10 (b) ).

Here comes the “BUT”–“…but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”  This is where there’s been some misunderstanding.

What does it mean to “blaspheme” against the Holy Spirit?  What does this one particular sin, this one blasphemy, make it impossible to repent and be forgiven?  What about blasphemy against the Son of God, or God the Father, or angels, or Scripture, or the church?

Why only blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?

I think it’s because of the unique and decisive role the Holy Spirit plays in our salvation.  If we look to God the Father and then turn from His glory and embrace sin, that’s bad!  If we look to His Son, Jesus, who He sent into the world and then have turned away from His glory and embrace sin, that’s doubly bad!!

But in either case, there’s hope–the Father has planned redemption and the Son has accomplished redemption.  This redemption is outside of ourselves and available to us as long as we repent of our sin and turn back to Christ in faith.

But it’s a unique and special role of the Holy Spirit plays in our lives to apply the Father’s plan and Son’s accomplishment of it to our hearts.

It’s the Holy Spirit’s work to open our eyes, to grant repentance, to make us beneficiaries for all the Father and Son have done for us.

John Piper gives this definition for the Unforgivable Sin:

The unforgivable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is an act of resistance which belittles the Holy Spirit so grievously that He withdraws forever with His convicting power so that we are never able to repent and be forgiven.

Sometimes people worry they have blasphemed against the Holy Spirit and have committed a sin that’s unforgivable.  The fact that a person is worrying that he or she might have blasphemed is an indication that he or she hasn’t done so.

A person who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit is so vehemently opposed to Christ that he believes Jesus is from Satan.  And that sin will not be forgiven!  [See Mark 3:20-35]

The Risk of Hostility in Persecution – (12:11a).

“And when they bring you before the synagogues and the magistrates and the authorities…”

Jesus was preparing His disciples for persecution.  It was going to be inevitable that persecution was going to come.  In fact. this happened shortly after Jesus. death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven when Peter and John were arrested and hauled before the Jewish Sanhedrin (Acts 4:1).  The apostles were often arrested for their faith in Christ Jesus.

But Help Is On Its Way! – (12:11b-12:12)

[11b]  “…do not be anxious [beforehand] how you shall reply in defense or what you are to say.  [12] For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour and moment what [you] ought to say”  (AMP).

Although Jesus’ promise was particularly directed to the apostles, it also applies in principle to ALL disciples (followers) of Jesus Christ.

We can trust the Holy Spirit to help us whenever we speak for Jesus. 

You may feel inadequate or ill-prepared or not very knowledgeable of God’s Word.  That’s not the point! It’s the matter of telling what you know about Jesus in a personal way and pray that the Holy Spirit will take what you say–however inadequate it may be–to do His saving work in other peoples lives.

Finally, Taking A Stand for Jesus Christ.

God is calling His disciples–that’s you and me–to take a stand for His Son Jesus!

Acknowledge Him, declare His name with your lips that He is Lord and Savior of your life.

He is calling you to live for Jesus and speak for Jesus in your home, in your office, in your playground, in your neighborhood, and in your school.

And remember, when you do so, you have the glorious PROMISE that Jesus will take a stand for you on the day you appear before God in heaven.

____________________________________________

CREDITS ~

Commentary:  The Power to Risk in the Cause of Christ/John Piper quote – Desiring God.com

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP); or where noted in the text or images.

Photos/Images:  Google Image Search – copyrights may apply.

 

When Someone says “BUT,” Start Listening!

“HAVE I CROSSED THE LINE?  HAVE I COMMITTED THE UNFORGIVABLE SIN?”

I’ve heard these questions from people over the years, asking what the “unpardonable or unforgivable sin” is and there are some strange interpretations floated out there of what it is.

Today, if you look around, you’ll find groups who WORSHIP God the Father only, not believing that JESUS IS GOD.  And, some groups focus on JESUS only.

This might be the most ridiculous thing you’ve read or heard–BUT, You can’t worship the Father and not the Son and you would be right!  

But you see, we can be critical of such groups, but if we’re not careful, we might end up in the same boat.  All to often, we put little value upon the Holy Spirit who is one of God’s THREE equal persons.

WHOEVER MAY BLASPHEME AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT – Mark 3:28-30 

the-unforgiveable-sin-mark-3-2230-feb-17-2013-21-638

Charles Spurgeon once wrote:

“Common too common, is the sin of forgetting the Holy Spirit…the Church will never prosper until more reverently it believes in the Holy Spirit.”

SO…What is the “UNPARDONABLE SIN?  Didn’t Jesus say, “All sins will be forgiven?”

Let’s put things in context by looking at what was happening at the time.

Christ Jesus was performing miracle after miracle, healing physical diseases as well as the demon possessed.

People were amazed at His teaching and the works He performed and His popularity was growing at an alarming rate.  This troubled the RELIGIOUS leaders of the day, who also witnessed what Jesus was doing.

Those who witnessed these mind-blowing events responded in one of two ways:

  • Some were amazed and saw it as proof that Christ was the “promised One,” the Messiah.  Matthew’s account reaffirms the reactions of the people, in Matthew 12:23:

“And all the [crowds of] people were stunned with bewildered wonder and said, This cannot be the Son of David, can it?”

  • Others accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of “Beelzebub”. Beelzebub may be a variant of Baal-zebub (2 Kings 1:2-3).  This is the name of an ancient Philistine idol, meaning “the god of flies”.

The “BUT” (s) in Scripture.

A wise man once said that when someone says “but,” start listening, for the part prior to the “but” is the setup.  The part after the “but” is what the person really came to say.

Let me toss this thought up in the air for a moment.  Jesus didn’t say that the RELIGIOUS leaders, the Scribes, had committed the “unforgivable sin.”  What He was saying was “BUT be careful, because you are about to cross the line.” (v. 29)

This wasn’t about what they had done, BUT what they were in danger of doing.

So far we read and see that:

  • They had rejected the witness of Jesus’ words.
  • They had rejected the witness of Jesus’ works.
  • BUT…they had NOT rejected God’s final witness, the HOLY SPIRIT, not yet anyway.

The Holy Spirit at this point in time, had not yet come.

The ONLY unforgivable sin is to REJECT the witness of the Holy Spirit and accepting Christ Jesus.  The Holy Spirit comes to CONVICT us of our sin and CONVINCE us that we need SALVATION.

Jesus is saying to these men, “If you treat the Holy Spirit like you do Me…If you reject Him like you do Me, you will NEVER be forgiven.”

The reality of it all is this:  IF you treat the nudging of the Spirit with a closed mind and closed heart, you’ll NEVER receive forgiveness…even though it is offered to you.  It is the SIN OF REFUSING forgiveness!

HERE’S WHAT JESUS WAS SAYING–God reached down to fallen man, in an act of LOVE, to redeem them.

In Old Testament times, God witnessed to men through His miracles and special revelations and through His prophets (Hebrews 1:1).  But man killed the prophets; stoned them and refused to listen.  We rejected them!

So then, you might say that FIRST, God came.

Then God, in a SECOND act of LOVE, sent His One and only Son (John 3:16).

During the days of Christ, He Himself was God’s witness of SALVATION to the world.

Today, the Holy Spirit is God’s WITNESS to the hearts of mankind.

  • He bears witness of Christ (John 15:26).
  • He convicts men of their lost condition (John 16:7-11).

HOLY SPIRIT IS GOD’S FINAL CALL!

Every time a person REJECTS His witness/conviction, he moves one step closer to eternal judgment and condemnation.

In study this past week, I remembered the story about the guy who was given a WARNING that a flood was coming.  The news report went out and the people of the community were told to evacuate ASAP!  This man refused to listen and leave, saying “GOD WILL RESCUE ME!”  Then a police car came and he refused it…then a boat came and he still refused…then a helicopter.

"BUT, if you won't listen, you'll drown!"
“BUT, if you won’t listen, you’ll drown!”

When he stood before God after DROWNING, he demanded to know what happened:  “God, how could you do this to me?”  God simply said, “I sent a police car, a boat and a helicopter and you refused each one.”

God Came & People Rejected Him…

JESUS came & people rejected Him…the Holy Spirit is last to come.

I recently read this pastor’s comment:  “The HOLY SPIRIT is not greater than…He’s just later than the Father and Son” [ Pastor Bill Purvis].

The “whosoever wills” and the “whosoever won’ts” 

hqdefault

We live in a wonderful world of GRACE.  The BIBLE is clear on that.

Through the preaching of the Word and the WITNESS of believers, the Holy Spirit CONVINCES people their need for a personal relationship with Christ Jesus.

He calls all who will LISTEN and He SAVES all who choose to RECEIVE His offer, the GIFT OF SALVATION.

God is PATIENT “BUT”…eventually, TIME IS UP!

Here’s the terrible truth…No one knows when God will give His last invitation.

I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to write this Blog-study in the Gospel of Mark during the Christmas Season; when hearts are tender and open to the Spirit of God.  Whenever a person puts off receiving Jesus, they are in danger of rejecting God’s final invitation.  If you are struggling with the question of “the unpardonable sin,” wondering if you have “crossed the line,” you haven’t yet committed it.  The unforgivable sin occurs when a heart is so cold and hard toward God and His Spirit, that you have no feeling.  You could care less anymore.

“Crossing the Line” – A Story by Dr. Jerry Vines.

This story I’m about to tell you is about a man who crossed this line and committed the unforgivable sin.

The man told how he would sit in church every Sunday and when the invitation was given to come forward and accept Christ as Savior, he would have such a heavy sense of conviction.

One day he walked out of church with a plan.  He said “God, I hate feeling this way and I don’t ever want to feel like this again.  I will make you a deal right here and now.  If you leave me alone and never speak to me, I will never call on you.”

Around 20 years later, the man told Dr. Vines that so far he had kept his side of the deal; he had yet to call on God for anything, including SALVATION.  He told Dr. Vines that God had kept His end of the deal as well.  He never called on him since and he was happy with that arrangement.

THAT’S CROSSING THE LINE…

Maybe you’re thinking that you are 99% sure you’re SAVED…you are just not convinced.  Let me add this to your thinking if that’s you:

99% SURE IS 100% LOST!

You can be 100% sure right where you are…

In front of a Computer Screen…

On the Commuter Train with your Smartphone or Tablet…

Wherever you might be reading this.

You CAN be 100% sure right now!!

“For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life” ~ John 3:16 (AMP).

 


CREDITS –

Biblical Commentary, Mark 3:20-35 @ Sermon Writer.com

Harper’s Bible Dictionary “Baalzebub”, pg. 86

Photos:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations Used:  Amplified Bible (AMP), unless noted in text.

 

HEARTS OF STONE REVEALED

“Does GOD Have A Bad Memory?”

After my last Blog-post (Plugging Into the “Eternal”!),  regarding the question “Can a Christian lose their salvation?”, another question then arose:  “ISN’T THERE A BIBLE VERSE ABOUT THE “UNPARDONABLE SIN?”  So here we are once more, attempting to answer an often misunderstood and questioned verse in Scripture.

The “BUT’s” In Two Bible verses Matthew 12:31,32 AMP.

JESUS says,  [31] “Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy (every evil, abusive, injurious speaking, or indignity against sacred things) can be forgiven men, BUT blasphemy against the [Holy] Spirit shall not and cannot be forgiven.

[32] And whoever speaks against the Son of Man will be forgiven,  BUT whoever speaks against the Spirit, the Holy One, will not be forgiven, either in this world and age or in the world and age to come.”

Don’t you just love it, when someone uses the word “but” in a sentence?  “I know I told you that I could do [such and such], BUT…something has come up and I can’t attend.”

The Online Dictionary defines the word But – used to introduce something contrasting with what has already been mentioned.”

I capitalized and bold typed the word “but” in Matthew 12:31, 32 for this purpose–Jesus made a declaration, then introduces something contrasting to what was said.

The Scene That Precedes These Words of Jesus: Matthew 12:22-30

A man who was both blind & mute has just been healed.  Matthew tells us that the man was also possessed by a demon and that Jesus ordered the demon out of him.  Once the demon left, the man was able to see & speak.

This should have been a time for great rejoicing, because the man could see the faces of loved ones and friends.  He could now see the sunrise and sunsets and all the beauties of nature.

BUT…it wasn’t a time of celebration for everyone for the hard-hearted Pharisees were upset by what Jesus had done.  They couldn’t deny His miracle, but they could attempt to explain it away.

So they said,  “This Man drives out demons only by and with the help of Beelzebub, the prince of demons” (Matt. 12:24).

Then JESUS responds to them by saying they should have learned by now that JESUS isn’t a good one to challenge to a debate.  He always won!

This time is no different, and JESUS makes some solid arguments in His behalf.  He says, “If Satan drives out Satan, he has become divided against himself and disunified; how then will his kingdom last or continue to stand?” (Matt. 12:26).

Then JESUS Issues A Warning!

Matthew 12:32:  Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven,  but whoever speaks against the Holy One, will not be forgiven, either in this world and age or in the world and age to come.”

JESUS is saying here that the SIN against the Holy Spirit is unforgivable, not because the Holy Spirit is greater than the Father…greater than the Son, but because the Holy Spirit is later than the Father and Son.

WHAT IS THE “UNPARDONABLE SIN” OF WHICH JESUS WARNS?

At the time that JESUS was speaking, the Jews had their own teaching about the Holy Spirit.  According to Jewish teaching, the Holy Spirit had two supreme functions:

#1.  Holy Spirit brought God’s truth to men and women; the Holy Spirit was God’s instrument in helping us come to know God’s will for us.

#2.  Holy spirit enabled men and women to recognize and understand God’s TRUTH when they saw it.  The Holy Spirit works upon the heart & minds of man.

So, man needs the Holy Spirit to receive and recognize God’s TRUTH.  Putting it another way, Holy Spirit is working on us to BELIEVE in Jesus Christ, to bring us to accept Him, our Savior & Lord.

An important principle we can’t forget!  “What you don’t use, you lose!”  

This is so true in almost every area of our lives.

TRUE PHYSICALLY – Failing to use and exercise certain muscles (how well I know this principle), will weaken and become unusable.

TRUE MENTALLY – What we’ve learned in school years ago is forgotten because we haven’t used them in years [ex. foreign languages, conjugating verbs, etc].  The knowledge we once had has long since gone because we did not exercise and make use of it.

The Pharisee’s Heart and Minds.

We can also lose the ability to be moved or changed by God’s goodness & truth when Holy Spirit presents it to us.  This is the STAGE to which these particular Pharisees had come.

1.  The Pharisees know the Scripture (But still lost-not saved!).

2.  The Pharisees formally prayed in public… often, because that was what man expected them to do.

3.  The Pharisees went to church every time they had the chance (still not righteous).

And yet, they had so long been blind and deaf to God’s guiding hand; insisted on their own way of doing things; they had come to a stage of their lives that they couldn’t recognize God’s truth and goodness when they saw it.  Not even in a MIRACLE!

They could look at God’s goodness and call it Satan’s evil…

They could look at JESUS, the Son of God, and call Him the devil.

Whatever the UNPARDONABLE…UNFORGIVABLE SIN is…it has to do with the idea of A SIN

A SIN AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT–

That is what the Bible says–and the Bible clearly says “every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven” (verse 31).  

So, the “unpardonable sin”  isn’t a kind of sin.  The Bible says any SIN you can name (adultery, murder, the angry fist in god’s face, impatience, lying, cheating, stealing) will be forgiven IF…we come confessing (1 John 1:9).

There are, no “ifs”, “but’s”, or “maybe’s” attached to Jesus’ Promise–

The “unpardonable sin” must be a continual rejection of the Promptings of the Holy Spirit. 

The UNPARDONABLE SIN   is not the first step you take or the second step you take.  BUT when God calls you, and you keep going persistently AGAINST Him, it is possible for the mind to become callused and the heart becomes hardened; you no longer HEAR GOD’S VOICE.

Does all this mean that everybody that denies God’s voice and doesn’t hear His promptings has committed the “unpardonable sin”?  Not at all!

There are many people who don’t listen to God’s voice today, feel that their heart is pretty hard, but at some stage of their life some dramatic event comes into view and they turn to God.

But is it possible, according to God’s Word,  to enter into a STATE OF SIN; you keep on sinning, and sinning, and sinning–habitual sin–your heart turns into stone, not because the Holy Spirit stops calling–He keeps on calling, but you can’t hear anymore!

Something to Remember…

2856407085_ece25fe731If you keep hardening your heart, and you die suddenly [in your sleep, a car accident, etc.], if you’ve hardened your heart up to this point…you have REJECTED the Holy Spirit.

The Final and Complete Rejection–

“Blasphemy” against the Spirit is the final and complete rejection of Jesus Christ.

This SIN is a denial of the Spirit’s message and the rejection of the Lord’s deity.

JESUS made it clear from the beginning that ALL SINS can be forgiven; but God can’t forgive the REJECTION of His Son.

It is the Holy Spirit who bears witness to Christ Jesus and convicts the lost sinner.  When it all come down to it; the ONLY SIN where there is NOT FORGIVENESS, is the SIN for which no forgiveness is wanted!

The Pharisee’s Condition Presented in Matthew 12…

Over time, they hated and hardened their hearts against JESUS, for them there was no turning back.

They witnesses an Awesome Miracle…

They make a Baseless Accusation…

They heard an Undeniable Answer…

BUT, they were GUILTY of the UNFORGIVABLE SIN!

SALVATION is denied them, not because it wasn’t offered, but because they have PERMANENTLY REJECTED the message given by the Holy Spirit.

THE MESSAGE:

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life”  (John 3:16 AMP).

But there is MORE GOOD NEWS!

JESUS came to deliver forgiveness that is available to everyone!

The ever flowing waters of the Well of Life is always available to those who desire to come and quench their thirst.

I always have an old Hymn Book close to my computer to USE for reference in my Blogs.  The lyrics (and the tune) became renewed in studying for this  particular POST:

There is a fountain filled with blood

Drawn from Emanuel’s veins;

And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,

Lose all their guilty stains.

If you are reading this Blog-post and there are SINS ON YOUR HEART–if you have been considering the Gospel–then don’t put it off another minute!  Each time you hear an invitation and don’t respond, your heart grows a little harder.  As long as the Gospel of Jesus has an effect on your heart, there is still hope.

 

“Payday Someday”

“Now Enoch, who lived seven generations after Adam, prophesied about these people.  He said, “Look, the Lord is coming with thousands of His holy ones.”  ~  JUDE 1:14

The Invitation Is Given–

Dr. R.G. Lee came to Moody Bible Institute, where he preached his famous message, “Payday Someday” to a crowd of about 4,000.  During his lifetime, he must have delivered that same message over a 1,000 times.  I had one pastor say to us, “I’m going to keep preaching about this topic until you all get it!”

On this particular day, after giving the sermon, he gave an invitation and three hundred people came forward to receive Christ.  After about twenty minutes of extending the invitation, turning to the president of Moody Dr. Culbertson and said,  “I never close a service while souls are still coming”–then turning the invitation over to him.

Dr. Culbertson urged the continued singing of the invitational hymn and another hundred or so came forward.  Finally, he turned the invitation over to Dr. Ironside, pastor of Moody Church and hundreds more responded.  All in all, 600 souls were gathered in to Christ following Dr. Lee’s sermon.

“Payday Someday” is a message people need to hear today.  Dr. Lee’s message must have been much like the message the prophet Enoch delivered:

To execute judgement upon all, and to convict all the ungodly

of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way,

and all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.

~ Jude 1:15 ~

The ONLY NAME
The ONLY NAME

The Only Name–

JESUS, it’s the only name people take in vain.  The only name people swear by…

— The ONLY NAME that stirs up hate and venom…

— The ONLY NAME which produces love in the hearts of many who speak it…

— And it is the ONLY NAME that can SAVE US!

“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved”  (Acts 4:12 NAS).

No one says, “What in Allah’s name is going on?”  No one texts,  “OMB” for “Oh My Buddha”.  These facts help prove the case of Christianity is…THE TRUTH, and all else is false.  Only JESUS’ NAME has the power and punch behind it to matter.

The Reformed and The Transformed–

“The truth hurts and the truth helps, but truth is never neutral.”

1.  No one ever tells an enemy to ‘go to purgatory‘–there’s no impact in saying so…no truth in that non-existent place.

2.  People try to tell their enemy to ‘go to hell’…a place they supposedly don’t believe exists!

The Free Dictionary gives the following definitions:  REFORMED– “Improved in conduct or character; the removal of faults or abuses.”  TRANSFORMED– “To change markedly the appearance or form of; to change the nature, function, or condition of…”

For over 2,000 years, the name of JESUS not only reformed alcoholics, but transformed them.  And there’s more:

Purified prostitutes/ made liars tell the truth/ turned haters into lovers/ turned wife abusers into docile men/ made whore-mongers faithful/ cleaned up cursing mouths/ has saved souls from hell.

Every other religion on earth has this in common: their founder is today…DEAD!  BUT I can testify: “I serve a RISEN Savior” and that’s why…it is The Only Name!

What’s In A” Name”?

The following EXERCISE was suggested in a piece written by Toni Arden-Richey and Jody Deuisch Moore:

I was recently in a group of graduate students, and the facilitator started by having everyone introduce themselves to the group.  She instructed us to think about our name, and tell the group a story about your name.  It could be how you “got” your name, who named you what and why, or even how your name may have had a positive or negative influence in your life or in the life of someone closely related.  It is amazing how much some people will reveal themselves simply by talking about your NAME.

Philippians 2:10:

“that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.”  (NIV Bible)

No one will escape that “Name”!

A person doesn’t have to say God’s Name and then attach ‘damn’ after it–to take God’s Name in vain.  What do I mean when it is said, “taking God’s name in vain”?

Anytime, and I mean “anytime” we speak ‘flippantly’, in a way in which we are not talking about Him the way we are supposed to reverently, in truth–that is “taking God’s name in vain”.

Have you ever heard someone say, “Jesus Christ”, and it is obvious they’re not honoring Him in saying it?  Ever called down a person like that?  I HAVE.

If someone spoke of your wife/husband/mother’s name in disgust or in insult, would you defend them?  Have you ever defended your Father in heaven?

Wanna put someone in their place kindly, but effectively?

Years ago, I was playing tennis with a good friend of mine on a hot afternoon.  After missing his backhand shot after a long volley, he shouted out, “JESUS”!  Without thinking if the words that were about to come out of mouth were “kindly”, I yelled back across the net:  “I didn’t know you even knew my Jesus?  He is a close friend of mine too.”  

As my friend went to retrieve the tennis ball, he replied “Yeah, I get your point” and the match continued on.  Was he offended by my comments? I don’t think he was, but I was offended at him using my Lord’s Name JESUS in vain.

The Name of the Lord is Sacred–It Is a Holy Name!

At that NAME–

Angels bow down.

Demons tremble.

Satan has to flee.

We even honor and show respect to names of military generals: MacArthur, Patton, Schwarzkopf, and others.

And When It Comes To Opening Doors…

The name Trump may open doors of finance, Einstein may open doors of brilliance, Michelangelo may open doors of art,  but the NAME OF JESUS will open to you the doors of heaven:

Romans 10:13: 

For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.

Psalm 8:1:

O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!  You have set Your glory on the heavens.”

Psalm 111:9:

He has sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant to be forever; holy is His name, inspiring awe, reverence, and godly fear.”

NAMES Are Very Significant to All of Us:

The Bible says,  a good name is better than great riches.  

Let me give you some names and then you call out to yourself, the first thing that comes to mind:

—  Judas

—  Thomas

—  Hitler

—  George Washington

What do you think about when you hear the name of GOD?

The Bible has over 300 names of GOD.  That’s because it’s impossible to capture the full character of who He is in one attempt:

Gen. 22 – Jehovah Jirah:  The Lord will provide.

Ezk. 48 – Jehovah Shammah:  The Lord is there.

Jer. 23 – Jehovah Sidon:  The Lord our righteousness.

Exodus 6 – El Shaddai:  The Lord is sufficient.

Exodus 15 – Jehovah Rapha:  The Lord our healer.

Exodus 17 – Jehovah Nissi:  The Lord our victory.

Judges 6 – Jehovah Shalom:  The Lord our peace.

Genesis 14 – Jehovah Elim:  The Most High God.

Matthew 1 – JESUS…there’s just something about that name!

JESUS IS:

The insatiable appetite of the TRUTH, the Trueness of LOVE, the Victory of GRACE, the Visibility of God.  It’s the honey to the taste, harmony to the ear, healing to the soul.

“CHRIST” is His messianic name; He is the Christ, the name that we wear as CHRIST ‘ians.  It’s a special privilege but an awesome responsibility.  Don’t wear the name and not be willing to back it up!

Christianity Is Not Like a Jacket…

It’s like taking JESUS’ name in vain, to casually wear it like a jacket that you can put on or take off, depending on who you’re with at the time and place where you’re at!

The  “CURSING GENERATION”:

We live today in the midst of the most cursing generation in all of human history.  It used to be that profanity was done secretly.  This is not so today.  Now it is heard on the radio, on television, and in the movies.  Movie ratings don’t reveal Christian ‘back-turning’ when the letter L”[Language] is listed.  It is often mentioned and put-off in conversation, “At least they didn’t us any ‘F-bombs’.”

Atheists say ‘hell’ all the time and claim not to believe in it.  Some say hell, and expect to go there, no problem.  And some have been saved from it, yet still say it…what a mockery, what a sad revelation about how many Christians are today.

Getting Back to JUDE’S Warnings, His Prophecies–

 ONE DEFINITION:  Remorse is the state of the truly repentant believer.

But I believe it goes far beyond just saying, “I’m sorry Lord I used your name in vain”.  Or, “I am sorry I cursed out the person in the  car that just cut in front of me.”

REMORSE is but the beginning.  TRUE REPENTANCE… is a change in direction of a habit, or a pattern developed over a period of time.  It is like walking north on a hiking trail and finding yourself down the wrong path.  So you turn 180 degrees and head due south; not NE, NW, W, E… but you turn back to the opposite direction you were headed.  That’s TRUE REPENTANCE!

Not so the ungodly…

JUDE 1:16 (ASV):

“These are murmurers and complainers, walking after their own lusts (and their mouth speaketh great swelling words), showing respect of persons for the sake of advantage.”

While we’ve always had those around us who blasphemed God, they will evidently increase in number as we approach the end of the age.

JUDE tells his readers,  “But you must remember, beloved, the predictions which were made by the apostles (the special messengers) of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).  They told you beforehand,  In the last days (in the end of time) there will be scoffers [who seek to gratify their own unholy desires], following after their own ungodly passions”  (JUDE 1:17-18 AMP).

I think that they’re already present.  The blatant public use of our Lord’s wonderful name is evidence that we are in the Last Times!

Payday

Those, the ungodly, who use profanity or speak blasphemy have no idea of their actions in fulfillment of biblical prophecies.  Nor do they realize that when the Lord returns, it will be “payday today”  for them.

Is there something we can do as true believers today?

JUDE  said in verses 22-23:

“And refute [so as to] convict some who dispute with you, and on some have mercy who waver and doubt.  [Strive to] save others, snatching [them] out of [the] fire; on others take pity [but] with fear, loathing even the garment spotted by the flesh and polluted by their sensuality.”  [Zech. 3:2-4]

TODAY’S PRAYER:

Dear heavenly Father, I never cease to be amazed at the unending of Your mercy, patience, grace, and forgiveness.  Thank You for SAVING me and “to the uttermost who came to God through [Christ]” (Hebrews 7:25)–even those who blaspheme against You.  Please give me boldness to speak to those who use Your name in vain and live after their own lusts that they, too, may be forgiven of their ungodly deeds before Jesus comes again.  In His name I pray.  AMEN.

If we truly believe when we pray this prayer…as a result, someone we know will escape “payday someday,” gradually gaining the victory over the habits of his old nature.

*[Recommended Post by The WORD Detective on PROFANITY: WATCHING OUR WORDS! – posted on June 14, 2012]