Be Single-Minded

Be Single-Minded

 John 21:21 “Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?”

Jesus had just told Peter to follow Him. However, Peter wanted to know what the Lord had planned for John. Instead of Jesus answering Peter’s question, the Lord told him that what He had in store for John was none of his business.

Satan diverts many people by getting them preoccupied with what others are doing for the Lord. Comparing ourselves with others, whether we come out better or worse, is unwise… 2 Corinthians 10:12. We need to be so single-minded following the Lord, that we don’t look to the right or to the left to see what others are doing. It doesn’t matter if we are doing as much to serve the Lord as someone else. The question is, are we doing all that the Lord wants us to do?

Singleness of purpose and vision is a necessity to victorious Christian living. James said that if we try to master many things we will fail… James 3:1. We have to set priorities and focus on them.

The scriptures teach that memory can be a powerful force for good in our lives. It is always good to remind ourselves that we were once apart from God’s saving grace. It is an antidote against pride and self-righteousness. A person who remembers what he used to be will have a clearer understanding of who he is now. We have to cultivate our memories by meditating on the great things God has done for us and spoken to us.

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Minister The Good News

Minister The Good News

 John 20:21 “Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”

The dictionary states that to reconcile means to re-establish friendship between; to settle or resolve, as a dispute. The key to reconciliation is to effectively deal with the enmity, ill will, hatred, or hostility that caused the dispute, etc.

The enmity between man and God was sin. God took the initiative to remove this barrier through the means and agency of Jesus Christ, thus leaving man and God as friends once again.

We have received the ministry of reconciliation. That means we are in the ministry of reconciling people to God. Much of what people call the gospel today is actually alienating man from God. True, we need to show people their need for God to get them to receive His forgiveness and reconciliation, but the angry and bitter attitude some people have when confronting the sinner, is not correct.

Imputing people’s sins unto them was not the way God used Jesus to reconcile the world unto Himself. We should not focus on the problem of sin, but on the answer of God’s grace… Romans 5:20.

When you read a newspaper, you read about things that have already happened. They are not reporting prophecy. They are reporting the news. So our real job as ministers of reconciliation is to announce the good NEWS, which is an accomplished fact – that sin has already been dealt with through the person of Christ. We should say, “Now we beseech you, be ye reconciled to God. Change your mind and believe the gospel so that you may partake of what has already been done on your behalf.”

Let God’s Peace Lead You

Let God’s Peace Lead You

 Luke 24:36 “And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.”

Just as every sport has disputes that must be settled by the officials, the peace of God is the umpire that settles all disputes as to what the will of God is for our lives. We must learn to listen to and heed the peace of God in our hearts.

God’s peace is something that every born-again believer has. It’s a fruit of the Spirit. That peace is always umpiring; we just don’t always pay attention. How many times have you acted contrary to the peace in your heart and afterwards, you experience disaster? You say, “I never did feel good about that.” That was the peace of God umpiring, but we chose to play by our own rules.

There are some things we can do to facilitate the peace of God umpiring in our hearts. First, consider ALL the options. Many wrong decisions have been made because not all the options were considered. Don’t let fear rule out God’s possibilities. Next, use your imagination to explore what will happen with each choice. You should be able to discern a greater peace as you consider the option the Lord would have you take. That is not to say that there will be total peace with any of the choices. In your spirit there will be total peace over the right choice, but we aren’t always totally in the Spirit and it is not unusual for some turmoil to exist. Just as an umpire has to make a call, be bold enough to follow the direction that gives you the most peace.

The rudder on a ship can’t go any direction until the ship is moving. The ship doesn’t have to be going full steam ahead for the rudder to work, but it does have to be moving. Likewise, we have to act before the peace of God will give us perfect direction. Even if you make a mistake, you will have made it in faith, trying to follow the peace of God in your heart. The Lord can bless a wrong decision made in faith from a pure heart, more than He can bless indecision… Romans 14:23.

Value Christ Higher Than Self

Value Christ Higher Than Self

 Matthew 28:9 “And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.”

Self-denial is embraced by much of Christianity today. Historically, self-denial has always been a big part of false religion. Most religions of the world teach an abasement of self, but they do it as penitence in order to obtain salvation. This is not the denying of self that the Bible advocates.

True self-denial as the scriptures promote is not self hatred or masochism, but rather an enthroning of Christ above self. We have a new identity in Christ that replaces the old self. We don’t deny self in order to obtain salvation, but it is a love response to what Christ has already done for us. He gave His all for us and we willingly give our all back to Him.

Denying self in an attempt to earn salvation is most always motivated by guilt and characterized by rigid rules. True Christianity, on the other hand, is not the observance of rituals, but a relationship that produces holiness as a fruit and not the root of salvation.

Holiness doesn’t come from the outside and work its way inside. When we are born again we become righteous, and we work that holiness out into our physical lives.

Trying to destroy the power of self through harsh laws actually arouses and strengthens sin. Christians must not let life become a set of rules, but rather a response to a loving relationship with Jesus Christ.

God Pours Out His Spirit

God Pours Out His Spirit

 Luke 24:49 “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”

John’s baptism was a baptism with water unto repentance for the remission of sins. John preached that the Lamb of God came to take away the sins of the world… John 1:29, but he didn’t administer the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

However, both John the Baptist and Jesus prophesied the church age, when believers would be baptized with the Holy Ghost.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost, but it was not only for these few individuals. Peter said in Acts 2:39, “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” This same power is available to all believers today.

The promise of the Spirit being poured out on “all flesh” is speaking of all manners of flesh or mankind. It is evident that not everyone has the Holy Spirit. Rather, this reveals that the door of salvation and the filling of the Holy Spirit is opened unto Jew and Gentile, male and female, adult, and child.

Many people argue whether or not we are in the last days. Joel prophesied that this outpouring of the Holy Ghost would take place in the last days and Peter said that was what happened here, on the day of Pentecost.

If the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, which happened nearly 2,000 years ago, was the beginning of the last days, then the time must certainly be getting short for us. This should settle the argument for those who believe the Bible. Nevertheless, we can confidently say that this is our last generation. We need to be about our Father’s work.

The Father’s Plan

The Father’s Plan

 Luke 24:21 “But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.”

When the right time came, God sent forth His Son from Heaven in His pre-existent state, into the world. He was born of a woman (virgin birth) and was made subject to the requirements of the law. Jesus was sent at a specific time. The entrance of Jesus into the physical realm was not a random thing occurring at a haphazard time. There were developments that had to take place before Christ could come to earth and redeem man. The Father sent His Son to the earth at the earliest possible time. Anytime prior to the time Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, would have been premature.

His purpose for coming into the world was twofold. First, He came to “redeem them that were under the law.” He did this by perfectly keeping the law, fulfilling it, and paying its curse… Matthew 5:17; Galatians 3:13. Thus, Christ delivered us from the entire system of the law. The Greek word for redeem means “to buy OUT OF the slave market.”

Secondly, Christ gave us the status of sonship with all its privileges. Not only were we redeemed from the bondage of the law, but we were redeemed unto sonship. Many people stop short, only realizing what they were delivered from, not what they inherit. Sure, we need to rejoice that we are redeemed, but we also need to move on, and realize the full benefits of our inheritance.

God created us for Himself but we sold ourselves into slavery to the devil. God bought us back through the precious blood of Jesus Christ. No amount of effort, human works, or man’s own righteousness could bring the divine favor that we needed. It was the actual life of God… Leviticus 17:11, that purchased our redemption.

Christ Is Alive In Us

Christ Is Alive In Us

 John 19:30 “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”

When Jesus cried, “It is finished,” He was not referring to the whole plan of salvation as being completed. He still had to descend into the lower parts of the earth and lead the captives out, Ephesians 4:8-9, as well as come back from the dead and ascend to the Father to make intercession for us … Hebrews 7:25.

Paul made it very clear in 1 Corinthians 15:14 and 17, that if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then our faith is vain and we are yet in our sins.

Why is the resurrection so important? The resurrection of Jesus makes Christianity different from religion because we are dealing with a real, live person, not just principles. Christianity is fellowship with a real person who is alive.

Also, forgiveness of sins is not obtained by a doctrine, but by Christ Himself. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, He can not give salvation to us. However, He did rise from the dead and now He lives forever to make intercession for us … Hebrews 7:25.

It is Christ living in us that gives us power to live a victorious life. If there was no resurrection, there would be no power.

The resurrected life of Jesus is the guarantee of our physical regeneration.

Because Jesus conquered death, the fear and sting of death have been removed for us. This produces great comfort for those who believe.

So, faith in the present ministry of Jesus is essential to true Christianity, and would be impossible if Jesus was not alive. Without Jesus being alive, Christianity would be just another dead religion.

The Veil Is Torn

The Veil Is Torn

 Luke 23:45 “And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.”

The veil spoken of here reached from the ceiling to the floor, from wall to wall, and separated the Holy of Holies from the holy place in the temple. Solomon’s temple was 30 cubits high… 1 Kings 6:2, but Herod increased the height to 40 cubits according to the writings of Josephus, a first century historian. Therefore, depending on what standard you use to convert cubits to feet (there is uncertainty as to exactly what a cubit equaled in our feet and inches), this veil was somewhere between 60 feet and 90 feet high.

It is significant that this veil was rent from top to bottom, Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38. No man could have torn the veil in this fashion. It was definitely God that rent the veil. The time when this veil was rent corresponds exactly with the moment Jesus died.

Hebrews 9:1-9 tells us that the veil separated the Holy of Holies, where God dwelt, from the rest of the temple, where men dwelt. This signified that man was separated from God by sin… Isaiah 59:1-2. Only the high priest was permitted to pass beyond this veil, and only once each year, Exodus 30:10; Hebrews 9:7. This symbolized the Christ who would enter into God’s presence for us and make an atonement.

The moment that Christ died, the veil was torn in two, revealing that the sacrifice had been made and that there is no longer any separation between God and man. Jesus tore the veil, that is to say His flesh… Hebrews 10:20, in two and opened up a new way unto God through Himself.