Tag Archives: Religion

Doctrinal Treatment of Divorce and Remarriage

This undertaking is the humbling response of my heart to being pierced by the truth of God’s word on the subject matter at hand.

There is no escaping the unpleasantness of this topic; to ignore it is to leave the door open among God’s people by which adultery will be perpetuated and multiplied, and to preach it is to offend a great many in the Church today.

Being aware of this terrible reality, I have elected to preach this message with as much grace as the Holy Spirit gives in Scripture.

The most illuminating truth for me in this study was the reality that the sin of divorce is not divorce itself, but adultery.  Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:31-32 on divorce is the second part of the greater context of His teaching on adultery from Matthew 5:27-32.

Divorce is a mechanism by which adultery is perpetuated and multiplied among God’s people and the whole world.  Divorce perpetuates adultery by the false notion that divorce legitimizes adulterous relationships.  Up to four people can be brought into adultery by one divorce.

If this is true that divorce perpetuates and multiples adultery in this manner, then divorce is far from being innocent; it is a destructive mechanism by which men and women are snared in the sin of adultery and the coming judgment of God.

Therefore, we will devote this doctrinal treatment to the topic of divorce-and-remarriage.

Personal Piety at Home

1 Timothy 5:4 “Let them first learn to show piety at home…” (partial verse)

Every day I spend with the Lord I have become more and more convinced of one thing: personal piety in the home fundamentally supersedes every other matter of religion in our faith.

Mark 7:6-13
Jesus answered them, “Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘These people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. They worship Me in vain,
teaching as doctrines the commands of men. Disregarding the command of God, you keep the tradition of men.'”

He also said to them, “You completely invalidate God’s command in order to maintain your tradition! For Moses said: ‘Honor your father and your mother; and whoever speaks evil of their father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or mother: whatever benefit you might have received from me is Corban’ (that is, a gift committed to the temple), you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. You revoke God’s word by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many other similar things.”

Jesus condemned the Pharisees because they nullified fidelity to God’s commandment for personal piety in the home.  Contrary to what those who are deceiving the flock from the pulpits are teaching, Jesus was not opposed to the Pharisees because they kept the law: He was opposed to them because they invalidated the commandments of God by their traditions!  Does that sound familiar to anyone else who might be looking at the state of churches in the U.S. today and seeing preachers who are invalidating God’s commandments to make room for the latest and trendiest ideas to take the Church by storm?

Here is where the hypocrisy of those who love the praises of men gets exposed:

If you have no personal piety in your private life, then any public piety you show to men is as filthy rags before God.

“White-washed tombs” are the dwelling places of those pierced through with hypocrisy; they are where the woe of those who were inwardly destitute of God but went to great lengths to secure the respect and praise of men abides!

1 Peter 3:7

Husbands, in the same way, live with your wives with an understanding of their weaker nature yet showing them honor as coheirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

It is possible for a man to live a life that is highly respected by everyone in the Church, but yet be so destitute of the personal piety due his wife that even his prayers are hindered before God!  What a terrible thought it is that the strength and power appointed to prayer could be relinquished because personal piety in the home was rejected!

God is not a man that He should judge according to the outward appearance of things.  Even the boldest preacher, roaring from the pulpit on Sunday, if his private life does not exhibit personal piety, will he escape the judgment of God (Romans 2:2)?

I am convinced to the uttermost that personal piety is a true unseen mark of those who have drawn near to God Himself!  It is acquired from God at great personal cost, as gold refined in the fire; it is not acquired by those who are intent on comparing themselves among themselves: personal piety is the mark of someone who is heaven-bent on offering his or her whole life as a living spiritual sacrifice of worship to God.

We must learn to first show piety in the home, where the lusts of day-to-day life wage war against our devotion and dedication to God, before we can do anything else in the kingdom of God.  Therefore, we must learn from God what it means to live a pious life.  If we accept the trends and traditions of men for piety, what are we any more than the hypocrites?

SHOOL OF PRAYER: Daily Bread

                                          By Brad Henderson

introduction

School of Prayer has been conducted by Brad Henderson; Brad is a faithful and close brother serving in the Lords work.

School of Prayer consists of:

  • Daily Bread
  • Our Father
  • The Power of Agreement
  • Thy Kingdom

Brad is currently teaching this series and building upon it.  We are praying for wisdom and revelation from God upon him as he teaches and adds more to this series.

School of Prayer II will address: Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How.

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

  • Matthew 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread….
  • Matthew 6:28-33 God takes care of our physical needs…
  • JOHN 6:48-58 I am the bread of Life

Key study: Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9, & John 6

JESUS FEEDS THE 5 THOUSAND

  1. They were in a deserted place –
    1. There was no food or provision around to feed this great multitude; Psalm 78:19-20, Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?
    2. The disciples seeing this first tried to send them away to get their own food.
    3. Jesus’s response:  “YOU GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO EAT”.
      1. John 21; Jesus said “Peter do you love me? Then FEED MY SHEEP. Peter do you love me? THEN TEND TO MY SHEEP. Peter do you love me? THEN FEED MY SHEEP! 

i.     YOU FEED THEM- A KINGDOM OF PARTNERSHIP; maybe this isn’t Jesus just showing off… maybe this has a spiritual purpose to it… Jesus expected His disciples to feed the multitude in a deserted place… in a place barren of provision…

ii.     Is our daily bread only for US??? 

iii.     How did HE do it?

First, He told His disciples to take of the bread that was already available…

Then they presented it unto Jesus…

And then HE multiplied it…

 

Take of the Bread

Take of the Bread that is already available, present it unto Jesus and HE will multiply it…

If we’re talking about prayer, we take His word and confess it, present it to him, knowing that all the promises of God in Christ are yes and AMEN…!

When we take of the bread of life and present it unto HIM, not only does he feed us, but He will also bless the multitudes, and with it He will also bless the nations… and after He’s done blessing, you’ll still have leftovers…!

The bread of life is never tapped out… It’s in endless supply… Jesus said “I am the bread of life, and He who comes to me shall never hunger…

John 6:35…Give us this day our daily bread…

 

Then come and be filled with the bread of life

Some say if I could just get a little crumb, I could go a long way on just a crumb from the Lord’s table… yet Jesus said the crumbs are for the dogs…

Matthew 15:26-27, Get up off the ground and stop begging for crumbs…You’re a child of the King, and no child of the King begs for crumbs…

He’s prepared a table for you in the presence of your enemies PSALM 23:5, but also in His presence, LUKE 22:29-30, come to the table that’s prepared for you and be filled with the bread of life, the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth….Jesus Christ…(1 Cor. 5:6-8)  He’s not given you the leftover crumbs, He’s given you His own body!

 

What Leaven is your bread leavened with?

 

A KINGDOM LEAVEN

Jesus compared the Kingdom of Heaven to leaven in MATTHEW 13:33, “The kingdom of Heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal until it was all leavened

This speaks of not only the ultimate establishment of God’s kingdom across the face of the earth, but of the inner sanctifying of His power at work within through the Word of His power, the gospel of our salvation….

1Thessolonians 5:23-24 – God Sanctifies us through and through; spirit, soul, and body.

 

A LEAVEN THAT POISONS…

Some seek God for a kind of sustenance, a kind of bread, “give me more wisdom, give me more revelation”, I JUST WANT A WORD FROM THE LORD…”give me give”,  “me give me”.

But the bread they already have (the Word of God) has sat around and gotten stale… they refuse to partake of the bread of life given by Christ, and they seek bread after their own liking. See what happened when Israel fell after this same sin, when she desired bread after her own liking…

 

Psalm 78 (AGAIN) – They wanted bread after their own desire…

2 Timothy 4:3 – They’ll hear what they want to hear, they’ll seek what is after their own desire…

“Having itching ears and an appetite for false prophets and teaching which appeals to their own appetite, they will no longer endure sound doctrine once they run after this kind of leaven.”

Also, Jesus said, “beware of the leaven of the Pharisees” (Matthew 16:5-12). Leaders that are false prophets offer poison by their teaching, and in doing so, as the Pharisees did, they make their converts two fold the children of hell as they themselves are…

 

Look back to Hebrews 5 about discerning good from evil by using the Word…The Bread that’s already given…this is how we can effectively test the spirit behind every teaching…1John..)

Do you want that bread of life daily????

The bread through which you will be sanctified through and through, and by which you shall never hunger again? 

Then there’re some other things we must do daily to prepare ourselves to receive it:

The Gospel of a Great Commission

What we have is a living gospel.  The gospel, though changeless, has remained alive since the beginning.  Perhaps in its age many see it as old and slow, perhaps even decrepit.  But to those few who will hear with faith, and believe with obedience, this aged and living gospel is full of wisdom and very active because it lives within the followers of Christ.

That is why the gospel is neither antiquated nor modern.  It takes the youth and contemporary person and integrates its timeless, ageless, steadfast and eternal character to create something that is, indeed, quite far beyond ourselves.

Today we are the carriers of this great gospel, so let us look at how we must carry it.

A GREAT COMMISSION

I think this term has been used and misused so much that it has lost all meaning in most of our eyes; I was even surprised when I looked at it’s meaning.

A “commission” is the authority to perform a task and carry out certain duties (Oxford English Dictionary, 2009).

The living gospel has a great commission in this sense; for we “are a letter of Christ… not written with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, and not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts. Such great confidence we have through Christ toward God.”

2 Corinthians 3:3-4

The task of declaring the coming of Christ, the message of repentance, and the invitation of salvation has been given to us under the authority of Christ, “sealed by the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption” (Eph 4:30), just as the message we declare is written on our hearts by the Holy Spirit; timeless, changeless, yet still able to cut the flesh to the bone, dividing bone and marrow.

Even when hearts grow cold, the gospel will still melt some so that not all will perish in the day of Wrath, but so that some will be saved:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith.’

Romans 1:16-17

The event often cited as “The Great Commission” is Jesus’ extension of authority to the disciples to offer His salvation to all mankind.   If Jesus had not given them this authority they would not have been able to take these “royal tidings of good news” into all the world as they did.

This event, recorded for us in multiple accounts of the gospel, tells us our first commission:

And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned’.”

Mark 16:15-16

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Therefore go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’

Matthew 28:18-20

Our task is quite simple; we’re to preach the message of good news and make disciples in teaching them to obey every command Christ gave to the apostles.

We trust and hope (this should be understood as different from the commission) in Jesus’ gospel-promise that all who believe and are baptized will be saved.

EVEN MORE LOVE

As if emptying Himself of all power and suffering a crucified death wasn’t enough to demonstrate His love for us, Jesus has now commissioned and commanded His fellow brothers to reach out across the entire globe to preach the message of His good news!  As if to say, “there are no bounds upon my love; there are no lengths too far or depths too deep that I have not crossed for your sake!

If we do not take up this message, then we do not love.  Because Christ suffered for the gospel, so we must also suffer for the gospel!  We’ve been commissioned to with God-like love this grand gospel to every person we meet.

You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellence of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.

1 Peter 2:9-10

As God’s very own possession, let us also declare the excellence of the One who rescued us from the darkness and hopelessness that we were once in.  We have been established as a royal priesthood for the praise and ministry of God!

I would urge each one to consider that statement more carefully; what does it mean to proclaim the excellence of God?

To exhaust every form of praise and worship known to man, whether in singing, in prayer, or even in service, is at least a start.

“He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’”

Revelation 1:6-8

The Alpha and the Omega caused Himself to be bruised and to bleed for our sake; therefore, we too, if we are going to follow Him, must also follow in His suffering for the sake of the gospel.

To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.

1 Corinthians 9:22-23

Therefore we wage spiritual warfare with the weapons of our love that are in Christ so that we may win the weak and overcome the strong to save the few who will believe and turn from their wickedness!

Therefore, let us not turn away and “so quickly desert the one who called us by the grace of Christ and turn to a different gospel — which is really no gospel at all.” (Galatians 1:6ff)

THE CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGE FOR A CHANGELESS GOSPEL

The expectation of the return of Christ is the beginning of our faith; for if He does not return, there can be no salvation.  If there is eminence for the Day of Wrath, there is no judgment and no need for Christ.  And if this day were not approaching soon, there would be no urgency.

There are many mediums and needs for dispersing this message; some may declare His gospel online and create a platform for encouraging believers and equipping them for the task at hand, while others will go into prisons, hospitals, orphanages, and disaster areas to bring relief and example the love of Christ to the hurting so that some may see Christ and turn to follow Him. Still others take up missions and go to strange lands for these tasks and purposes.

What is known is that all will suffer for His sake.  Many will lose friends and family and be cast aside as strangers by those who brought them into the world because they would not accept the name of Christ.  Often suffering insult and injury, being taken advantage of without seeking justification, so that by any means necessary, Christ may be made known.

Even being cast aside by some who declare themselves to be of Christ because they made themselves a faux-christ to worship in seeking blessing, but being themselves unwilling to suffer for Him.

They preach a modern day circumcision, one of justification without cost; taking even the form of Gospel (that is, salvation apart from our merit) and denying the Truth that Christ preached (that is, obedience in Love).

Take it further:

  • Psalm 130:1-3
  • Nahum 1:6
  • Malachi 3:2
  • Luke 1:1-4
  • John 20:30-31
  • Acts 8:4
  • Romans 12:3-8
  • 1 Corinthians 3:5-15; 9:22-23
  • 2 Corinthians 11:1-6
  • Galatians 1:6-10
  • Ephesians 4:4-16
  • Colossians 4:5-6;
  • Hebrews 2:14-15; 5:12; 13:22
  • 1 Peter 2:9; 3:15; 4:10-11

Gospel Love

Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the Good News of God. ‘The time has come,’ He said. ‘The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the Good News!‘”

Mark 1:14-15

Our good news is the Kingdom of God: the Kingdom invitation is “Repent and believe the good news!”  

In fact, this message of repentance and faith is the foundation of hope for the Church; what I mean by that is that we place all our trust in this message that says if we repent of our sins and turn from them, and believe with all our heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, then when he returns we will be saved.

And it has been this way since the beginning.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth

John 1:1,14

The enemies of God did not expect it; the foes of Truth mocked it; the children of God did not understand it.  Yet God magnified His glory by dwelling Himself in the flesh and suffering among us so that he could remove the veil of flesh that has hindered mankind from knowing Him.

It was through this marvelous act that we have been reconciled to God through Christ as Jesus overcame the enemies that held us in bondage and set us free in the Truth.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which you were called in one Body; and be thankful!  Let the Word of Christ dwell richly within you…

Colossians 3:15-16

The good news is that Jesus Christ is our shepherd (John 10:11, 17-18).  Therefore, just as He followed the commands of His Father exactly, so also has He made us His Church and filled us with His Word, the Holy Spirit, and taught us to live as He lived.

THE LIVING BODY OF THE GOSPEL

This is why we are the living embodiment of the Gospel for all mankind.

As living Gospels we testify of deep mysteries and truths that are beyond the grasp of the flesh: “…but the greatest of these is Love” (1 Cor. 13:13).

It was God’s love that Jesus should die on the cross, which neither the enemy (Satan) nor the teachers of the Law (Pharisees and Sadducees) could understand.

But so that the scriptures could be fulfilled,

The cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God!  For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.’”

1 Corinthians 1:18-19

Therefore, the proceedings of this article will focus on one of the foremost elements of the gospel; love.  It is the thing that confounded and dumfounded the generation that Christ came to, and it is something that still eludes many today, who either reject or distort His great love!

Generous Love

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life

John 3:16

and

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. So we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and IN TRUTH

1 John 3:16-18

let us see that,

Those who had received [Peter’s] words were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.  They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles teachings and to fellowship; to the breaking of bread and to Prayer.

Acts 2:41-42

so

Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe…. and all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need

Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people.  And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.”

Acts 2:43-47

The gospel declares God-like Love and, indeed, it declares God-love.

The followers of Christ are followers of God-love; therefore, to deny His love is to deny Him.  To change God’s love and mold it after our own ways is to completely reject the Gospel and mold a new Jesus, one that is not the Christ.

This Gospel love fills the followers of Christ to the brim.

If you re-read Acts 2:43-47, look at the various ways that they were filled with love:

  • Their love was full of awe for God.
  • Their love was full of devotion to His teachings.
  • Their love was full of fellowship and the sharing of bread.
  • Their love was full of prayer.
  • Their love was full of community and generosity.
  • Their love was full of gladness and sincerity of heart.
  • Their love was full of praise for God.

God is the source of this love that caused them to be overflowing living gospels.

In them the scripture was true which says, “Love never fails.

They received a great revelation of the gospel, which gave them insight and understanding into love.  All of these virtues; awe, devotion, generosity, community, sincerity, and praises grew in the fertile soils of faith, hope, and love.

Greater Love

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and IN TRUTH

1 John 3:18

The love of the living gospel knows no bounds!  It is not confined to words alone, but it abounds in action and flourishes in Truth.

This is why Christians pour out mercy, kindness, charity, and grace upon beggars and sinners, the condemned and the homeless, the weak and the sick, the destitute and the wicked, the liars and the thieves, kings and rulers of all the nations.  All this we do in Truth, never corrupting or distorting the Love of God, never removing the conviction of the Spirit, but always to restore everyone who will accept our love to God.

The whole world see’s our love, if indeed we love.

Therefore, let our love be first of all pure.  Let it be holy and righteous; not distinguishing between the rich and the poor but let it light the path for every sinner to repentance and reconciliation.

This is why it cannot delight in unrighteousness; rather, it delights when the unrighteous are made righteous, just as also our Father does not delight in the destruction of the wicked, but rather desires that they repent and turn from their sin (Ezekiel 33:11).

Love in Action

Love feeds the poor and does not turn them away (Mt 25:36-38; Jn 21:14-19; Rm 12:20).

The world will know the love of Christ if it feels it first.  Love that cannot be physically felt is empty, and the world knows this.

Therefore, let the world feel our love on the first front, that is the physical realm of suffering.  We should be servants of the poor and displaced.  In our love we must be patient, and let our love grow in patience.  Even when patience is lacking, love learns patience.

If our love is jealous, then it is not love.  Instead, our love should be kind and gentle, full of meekness, just as the Word says, “Blessed are the meek”. There is no boasting or arrogance in love, only a humble and joyful submission and pouring out of itself for others.  Love is forgetful, as it does not count wrongs.

Because our love is from Christ, it is of Him.  For this reason love does not rejoice in unrighteousness and deceit.  It takes no pleasure in wickedness or suffering.

So we listen to the Word as the Word instructs us in Love:

If I… do not have love… I have become nothing…. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor… and do not have love, it profits me nothing. 

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant.  It does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own and it is not provoked, nor does it take into account a wrong suffered. 

It does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the Truth; love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8

I hope that we will not dismiss this as an ideal entirely out-of-reach, but rather, understand that we must grow into this love in maturity as we grow into Christ.

The Great Exhortation To Love

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.  Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly.  Do not be wise in your own estimation. 

Never repay evil for evil to anyone!  Respect what is right in the sight of all men.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. ‘But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Romans 12:10-21

We must learn brotherly love, this gospel love, as if serving the Lord Himself (v10-11).

In embracing the entire Body, that is the Church, we are free to receive from all the Spiritual gifts bestowed upon her.  This leads us in a full knowledge of the hope that we have in Jesus Christ and produces an abundant love that rejoices all the more in Christ!

We should become practitioners of hospitality and allow our blessings, in whatever measure we have them, to flow out in abundance as we master our craft of love (v13).

Let us become blessings and reject cursing and embrace blessing even those who curse us (v14).

Jesus’ love was demonstrated not only in His tender care of the needy, provision for the poor, and miracles for the sick, but also in blessing those who cursed Him and ultimately laying down His life for the enemies who wanted Him dead!

We should join our brothers, whether in rejoicing or weeping, with unity of mind and join even the lowly upon this earth because we know the Love of Christ.

No one who repays evil for evil practices the Love of God.  We’ve been freed from the flesh through which we practice evil, now we live in the Light and must practice righteousness in peace with all men so far as it depends on us.  We do not seek revenge because we fear the wrath of God, which is surely to come upon all the unrighteousness of man.

In all things, we are not overcome by evil but we overcome evil with good.

Summary

This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.  As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you… Now, little Children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.

1 John 3:25, 27-28

Now, we who have the anointing of the Holy Spirit, let us embrace this all the more and be in need of instruction from no one as the Holy Spirit Himself teaches us all things!

Abide in Him, walk in the same way that Jesus walked, showing Love to everyone we come across.  In this way we will have confidence and not be afraid when He returns!

Take it further:

  • Isaiah 53:5-6, 10-11
  • Matthew 25:36-38
  • John 21:14-19
  • Acts 2:17-21, 39; 16:31-40
  • Romans 12:6-21
  • 1 Corinthians 9:22-23
  • 2 Corinthians 11:1-3
  • Galatians 1:6-10
  • Colossians 4:5-6;
  • 1 Peter 2:9; 3:15; 4:10-11

The Gospel: Salvation and Hope

The Gospel Declared

The gospel has been heralded for many ages in God’s Word and it has been the summation of His revealed will since the beginning.  With extreme specificity God declared through His prophet Micah His word saying,

“‘But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah (lower Bethlehem), Too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.’”

Micah 5:2

A prophecy that came 500 years before Christ was born declared to us exactly what would happen, just as it did.

God cast the first shadow of prophecy at the fall of man when he said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between her seed and your seed; He shall bruise you on the head and you shall bruise Him on the heel.” (Genesis 3:15).

Even more specific is the shadow of prophecy given when God declared through Isaiah, “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him and by His scourges we are healed.  All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused our iniquity to fall upon Him!” and “By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities”

Isaiah 53:4-6 and 11

Making Known the Way of Repentance, Faith, & Reconciliation

At the summation of the age, Jesus brought one central message to the people:

Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’

Mark 1:14-15

This message of repentance had been proclaimed by the prophets of old since early times and rejected by most, much to the demise of the men of old, because “their hearts were always far from God” (Isaiah 29:3), but the people failed to receive reconciliation because of their cold hearts.

But God declared through His prophet Jeremiah that, “‘I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’” (Jeremiah 31:33).

Therefore, Christ came to make every provision to man so that reconciliation could be made (through Him) in the hearts of God’s people.  By His provision Paul declared “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Col 3:16).

Knowing the victory at hand and the judgment to come, Christ declared “repent and believe, for the Kingdom of God is at hand” so that reconciliation might be had.

The Light of our Reconciliation

Although He existed in the form of God, He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

For this reason, also, God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11


At the great cost of emptying Himself of all majesty and humbling Himself, Jesus forged and authored the path into the Kingdom for us; now He has been exalted and is the victorious King.  Before Him every knee will bow and every tongue will confess.  This is inextricably intertwined within the gospel; the gospel cannot be separated from this message.  And this is a good thing, for our King is the victor!

So we, as His followers, servants, and brothers, should also have this attitude in ourselves that we would humble ourselves to the point of death in anticipation that we will be seated in the Heavenly places with Christ Jesus the Lord.

In this way God has broken the barrier that separated man from Him.  God has endured humility, emptiness, agony, and death itself for a short time so that He could descend to man because man could not ascend to Him.

The Great Love of God

We should see clearly so that no one being surrounded by darkness, trial, and despair would despair to the point of losing hope and therefore doubt the love of God!

What man is innocent of insulting and scorning God?  Who has not spat in His face?

Have you ever tried to exploit the grace of God, gloried in the glory of God for yourself, or boasted in the flesh that is not yours to boast in?

But all of this is for the glory of God so that His love might be known to abound all the more!  Even as we were cruel and spat upon His gift (that gift is a perfect and innocent Son who endured ridicule and death for our sake), He Himself would be shown to be just and merciful when He forgives us our debts and reconciled us into His presence!

Like a parent that feels the scorn of a child that turns away to follow after a life that is dishonorable and disgraceful to the parent, so we have insulted God.  Like children that declare “you are not my father. Rather, your enemy is my father”, so all the world has done when we turn away from God to follow after Satan.

Like a parent that feels the deep pain of seeing his children fight and destroy one another, being consumed by greed and bitterness, so God has endured these things as a patient Father to restore His children in proper love.

There is no one that is righteous; not even one.  No one understands God or seeks Him. They have all turned aside and become dead” (Issaih 55:8-9; Romans 3:10ff).

Perfect love God has demonstrated to us with patience as He has worked to bring restoration, reconciliation, salvation, and hope to His children.

Therefore, “consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:3).

God’s act of love endured such great darkness, trial, and hostility so that we would not grow weary and lose heart!  He perfected our faith so that we would not lose faith.  To God be praise and glory forever and ever, AMEN!

A Gospel of Salvation and Hope

Reconciliation in Christ goes beyond “touch not, taste not, and handle not”.  It becomes a real, firm, and powerful liberation that reconciles the hearts of God’s people to Him and changes them inside out.

God said that he would place reverence in our hearts (Jeremiah 32:40) and seal us with the Spirit as the sign of His covenant (2 Corinthians 1:22) so that we would become living testimonies for Him (2 Corinthians 3:3).  When we see the witness of the scriptures declaring the out-pouring of the gospel and do not see this growth in our own life we should pay attention to this warning sign so that we can repent before the Day of Judgment comes.

So what is the way to this reconciliation?  This grand message of reconciliation and redemption is the gospel of salvation and hope.

What is our salvation?

In short, Jesus Christ lifted the veil of human flesh and saved us from three dooms: sin (Romans 3:23), death (Gen 2:17), and the eternal punishment of hell (Luke 16).

No matter who you are, living in a sinful world is not pleasant.  We have been conditioned to deal with sin, in fact, to even expect and anticipate it.  However, the doom of sin becomes apparent to every person that has been betrayed by a spouse, cheated and ruined by greed and envy, been caught in a perilous cycle of addiction and pain that has ravaged their life and relationships and left them utterly empty and void.

The doom of death is terrifying to anyone that has been faced with it, whether or not you have lost loved ones and been totally and utterly shaken, or you are approaching this fate yourself and must come to grips with the limitless uncertainty that is facing you.  The sting of death was sin (1 Cor. 15:56), and ever since that first sting, death was laying hold of all mortal flesh without mercy or exception until Jesus Christ.  Those who have been sealed in Christ are patiently waiting as death is the last enemy to be overcome (1 Cor. 15:26).

Hell and its doom, whether or not you believe in it, exist as the ultimate destiny of doom.  Reserved for the punishment of sin and the continuation of death (which represents the absence of life), this destruction is, perhaps, the most bitter of them all to man.

The efforts of Satan have tried to do away with sin and hell.  Through various methods, we have many people who count sin as a finished element that is no longer imputed (on anyone) and they teach that Hell either does not exist or is not an eternal location for human beings.

I defer to Jesus in Matthew 24:50 and Luke 16, and to Paul in Romans 6, Galatians 5 regarding these issues.

For the sake of brevity in this post, I will simply say that removing these elements from the gospel is a shameful and wicked practice that is done to falsely weaken the gospel in an attempt to render it irrelevant to the modern age.

For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith’

Romans 1:16-17

The power of the gospel is the power of Christ to “rescue us from the domain of darkness and transfer us into the Kingdom of Christ” (Col 1:13) and to effect salvation from sin, death, and hell.

And what is our hope?

The hope in Christ that sustains us is in His complete victory and return. Without His victory, we are doomed and our salvation is null and void.  Without His return, we are stuck in limbo waiting for a salvation that will never come.

Jesus destroyed the works of Satan and took back the keys of death and hades (Revelations 1:17-18, 1 John 3:8).  He cast the enemy down from Heaven and claimed all authority (Revelation 12:12). Although Satan is real and works with fury and wrath in these final hours to consume anyone that lets his or her guard down (1 Peter 5:8), our hope is in Christ to sustain us so that we will not despair to the point of hopelessness.

And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment

Hebrews 9:27

“‘And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Matthew 24:30 & 50b

Summary

Jesus Christ came and sent out His disciples to offer repentance and forgiveness of sins to all people (Mark 1:14-15, 1 John 1:5-9).  He suffered death and rose again conquering sin and death and taking the keys of hades (Revelation 1:17-18).  He destroyed the works of Satan (1 John 3:8) by bringing redemption to His people and “transferring us into the Kingdom of light” (Ephesians 1:7 & Colossians 1:13).  By His death and resurrection we have become new creations, born again by the water and the spirit and set free from the bondage of sin (John 3:3-5; Romans 6:8-11; Galatians 3 & 5).

Because of Christ it is said, “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2

Knowing that, “after death comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin for those who eagerly await Him

Hebrews 9:27-28


It is our hope that Christ will return and uphold His salvation in us!  That when that fearful and awful day comes, when all the world will be judged, our judgment will be made without reference to our sin because of the total sacrifice offered by Christ on our behalf!

Take it Further

  • 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, 14-17, 20-29, & 42-49
  • Jeremiah 6:16
  • Revelation 12:12

Redemption

IN HIM WE HAVE REDEMPTION

These are the words that changed the universe forever:

It is finished

With extreme specificity and comprehensive thoroughness, Jesus came and accomplished the will of God on earth to perfection. 

This purpose is so powerfully articulated by Paul’s words,

He emptied himself of all power and took on the form of a slave, coming in human likeness and being found in human appearance, He humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.  Therefore, God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those 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” ~Philippians 2:7-11.

What was it that Jesus accomplished by emptying Himself of all power and putting on humanity?

Jesus told us what He came to accomplish:

Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things.” ~Luke 24:46-48

And the Spirit moved His apostle to write,

In Him we have redemption by His blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight, He has made known to us the mystery of His will in accord with His favor that He set forth in Him as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.” ~Ephesians 1:7-10

Jesus left absolutely no work of redemption undone.  Jesus is everything and all anyone needs for redemption.  What He finished upon the cross no other person could have even approached- but He finished our redemption to the uttermost end- and His redemptions stands by itself as the lone sacrifice acceptable to accomplish redemption for the lost and guilty souls of humanity.

Jesus’ redemption is offered to the whole world:

  • It is for Israel (Luke 1:68; 2:38; 24:21),
  • It is for all peoples (John 3:16; Titus 2:11, 14; Heb. 9:12, 15; 1 Pet. 1:18–19);
  • It saves the Children of God from their sins (Rom. 3:24, 6:3-5; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; cf. 1 Cor. 1:30);
  • It is for our bodies (1 Cor. 15:50-58; Eph. 1:14, 4:30)
  • And it even reaches natural creation itself (Romans 8:22-23)!

MINISTERS OF RECONCILIATION

But all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ, and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation; namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not reckoning to them their trespasses, and having committed to us the word of reconciliation.  We are therefore ambassadors on behalf of Christ, as though God were entreating by us: we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  ~2 Corinthians 5:18-20

Redemption is the heartbeat of the Christian soul and the drive of the Church: I believe that every Christian is entrusted with this ministry of reconciliation- and has the power and authority of the Kingdom of God as ambassadors of Christ to entreat and plead with all men to be reconciled to God!

Here’s how we’re charged as Christ’s ambassador’s to carry out this ministry of reconciliation:

Therefore do not be afraid of them, because nothing is hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light, and what you hear in your ear, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul, but instead be afraid of the one who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 

Do not think that I have come to bring peace on the earth! I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” ~Matthew 10:26-28; 34

REDEMPTION WARFARE

Christ’s redemption and the ministry of redemption that he’s given us has declared war on the kingdom of this world.

He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile all things for Him, making peace by the blood of his cross (through him), whether those on earth or those in heaven.

Colossians 1:13-15, 19-20

Christ’s work of redemption should shape our understanding of what it means to be set apart: His redemption sets us free from the bonds of sin (Romans 6:18 HCSB), washes us clean from our guilt (1 John 1:7) and transfers us into His Kingdom (Colossians 3:13).  We are literally set apart from this world: we no longer submit to the authority of sin, but rather, submit to the authority of righteousness in Christ!

Therefore, as Christ’s holy ambassador’s we proclaim the Word, which is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes.

Spiritual warfare is redemption confronting the bonds of sin and the kingdom of this world.

CONCLUSION

The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil” ~1 John 3:8

What Jesus finished on the cross He entrusted to His disciples everywhere to take into all the world.  Jesus desires that you would entreat the world around you to be reconciled according to the same reconciliation that He has given to you.  The very redemption that you have received is the light of redemption by which Jesus will compel your part of the world to be saved.

The establishment of the Church marked the beginning of the end.  The Church, therefore, lays in wait for the Hope of the return of Jesus Christ our Lord.  In that day, that final hour, He will defeat and conquer Satan according to His Word and Revelation, and establish, forever, the Kingdom that He will hand back to the Father in victory.

Let me exhort you, then, as good stewards of Christ’s reconciliation to build yourself up in your most holy faith and strengthen your knowledge of God.

May the following passages help you as you:

TAKE IT FURTHER

The light of redemption is the new creation, and by that light the “proof of God’s righteous judgment” () is shone into all the world.

  1. Isaiah 53:10-12
  2. Matthew 28:18-20
  3. John 12:31, 46; 14:30; 16:11
  4. Acts 17:30-3
  5. Romans 3:24; 6:3-6; 8:22-23; 13:12
  6. 1 Cor 1:30; 7:23
  7. 2 Cor. 6:14
  8. Galatians 3:13; 4:5
  9. Ephesians 1:7, 14; 4:30; 6:12
  10. Colossians 1:14; 2:15
  11. Titus 2:14
  12. Hebrews 9:12; 10:13-14
  13. 1 Peter 1:18-19
  14. 1 Cor. 6:20
  15. Revelation 1:17-18; 2:13; 12:10,