Turn Back To God

Turn Back To God

Luke 22:32 “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

The concept of “conversion” is mentioned in the Holy Scriptures at least 14 times. The basic meaning of the term is a turning or returning to God. This implies a turning away from sin and a turning to God. Repentance and putting faith in God are corresponding synonyms to conversion.

The theological basis for conversion lies in the truth of the “atonement.”

Although man lapses into sin, the truth of the atonement remains. When men turn to God in repentance and faith, the effects of the atonement – reconciliation and forgiveness – avail.

The apostle Paul expresses the act of conversion in this way: “…turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;”…1 Thessalonians 1:9. Also, “To open their eyes (the Gentiles), and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” (Jesus) …Acts 26:18.

Jesus instructed Peter to get back into ministry after he repented of his denial. If Jesus had not given Peter this command, many people might have doubted that Peter should be in a position of leadership. Indeed, Peter himself must have doubted whether or not he was fit. After Jesus’ resurrection, the Lord again admonished Peter three times to serve Him by ministering to His sheep.

In the context of Luke 22, Peter’s faith was shaken and he denied the Lord but did not reject Him. Jesus’ admonition to Peter was that when he turned back again to Him (converted), he was to strengthen the brethren.

Advertisements

A New Revelation Of Love

A New Revelation Of Love

John 13:34 “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”

Jesus previously stated that all the law and the prophets were dependent on loving God first, and then loving your neighbor as yourself. These truths were already in the law but people missed them. So, this commandment was not new in the sense that it had never been given before, but it was brought to the forefront and given new meaning through the example of Jesus. Jesus not only loved His neighbor as Himself, He loved us more than Himself.

John, the apostle who wrote this gospel, later wrote about the new commandment of love. No doubt, he received his inspiration from this teaching of Jesus. John wrote, “Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth”… 1 John 2:7-8. He then goes on to speak of loving one another.

 

This commandment, or the revelation that God gave to man through His Word, wasn’t new, but was never clearly seen by men because of the darkness that separated them from God. In the light of Jesus’ life, the darkness was removed and the old commandment of love became new through the example of Jesus in a way that mere words could never express

We Are Complete, Only In Him

We Are Complete, Only In Him

Matthew 26:28 “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

The principle of the Old Covenant was “do” and you shall live. The principle of the New Covenant is “it is done,” and includes redemption, reconciliation, righteousness, and sanctification. The work is finished! We are complete in Him!

If the Old Covenant had no defects, there would have been no attempt to institute another… Hebrews 8:7. In the Old Covenant, men found themselves unable to abide in its agreement, for it was based upon a man’s performance.

The new agreement, however, is based totally upon God’s grace. Under the Old Covenant, men approached God through a priest, while under the New Covenant, we have direct access to the Father through Jesus Christ. Under the Old Covenant, a man’s sin led to his death while under the New Covenant, God is merciful to our unrighteousness. Under the Old Covenant, man could not be cleansed of a consciousness of sin while under the New Covenant, our sins and iniquities are remembered no more, and our guilty consciences are cleansed.

Prior to salvation we are incomplete and there is a constant striving in every person to satisfy their hunger. Through the new birth we are complete in Christ and our hunger now should only be for more revelation of what we already have in Christ.

In the same way that Jesus had the fullness of God in Him, we also have the fullness of Christ in us. That makes us complete or perfect in Him, that is speaking of our spiritual man. Our born-again spirit is identical in righteousness, authority, and power to Christ’s spirit, because our born-again spirit is the Spirit of Christ… Romans 8:9. It has been sent into our hearts crying “Abba, Father”… Galatians 4:6.

Escape Condemnation

Escape Condemnation

 Matthew 26:2 “Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.”

In Israel, crucifixion was a common sight. This practice was first mentioned in scripture as one used by the Egyptians… Genesis 40:19. Anyone hung upon a tree was accursed by God according to the Mosaic law… Deuteronomy 21:22-23.

Failure to obey the law brought on the curse. Praise God that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by bearing the curse for us. Now, through Christ, we will never receive any curse from God even though we still disobey the law in some way. Justice was satisfied when Jesus died for the law that we broke, thus paying the prescribed penalty and bearing the curse.

There is no condemnation awaiting us from the law; for we died in Him.

A Christian who still walks in condemnation is being condemned by the devil or himself. It’s not God who condemns us… Romans 8:34. It is the law that brought God’s adverse sentence against us.

When the government condemns a building it is declared unfit for use and must be destroyed. Likewise, when Satan condemns us, he makes us feel unfit for use and ready to be destroyed. Since the Christian is no longer under the law, he should no longer be condemned or feel unfit for use. We have been accepted by the Father through Jesus.

God convicts of sin but He doesn’t condemn… Romans 8:34. Conviction is solely for our profit with no malice, while condemnation includes punishment. Satan is the one who condemns the Christian, but the Holy Spirit has given us the power to escape that condemnation.

How to Esteem Others More Than Self

How To Esteem Others More Than Self

 Matthew 25:40 “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

When a kind act was done to someone in need, Jesus said it was done unto Him. The Lord deeply feels our hurts. When someone is neglected, Jesus says He is also being neglected. We have a high priest who is touched by the feelings of our infirmities… Hebrews 4:15. When we hurt, He hurts. When we are blessed, He is blessed. The God of the universe is intricately involved with every detail of our lives.

How can we esteem others better than ourselves when really we think we are better than others? Some people are better athletes than others. Some are better businessmen than others. Some are better speakers than others, and so forth.

First, we need to recognize that our accomplishments don’t make us better than others. There is a difference between what we do and who we are. Better performance does not make a better person. A person’s character can be severely wanting even though his performance is good.

Secondly, to esteem someone better than ourselves simply means to value them more than we value ourselves. To some that may seem impossible, but it isn’t.

That is exactly what Jesus did. If Jesus, who was God in the flesh, 1 Timothy 3:16, could humble Himself and value our good above His own welfare, then we should certainly be able to do the same. It can happen when we die to self and live to God.

If we think only about ourselves, we will be selfish. If we get out of self and think more about the benefit of others than the benefit of self, then we will be selfless. It’s a matter of focus.

Get Ready For Jesus

Get Ready For Jesus

 Matthew 24:38 “For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,”

Jesus is prophesying that just as in Noah’s day, people will be dominated with the temporary affairs of this life instead of eternal spiritual truths, when Jesus returns. Before our Lord’s second return, there will be plenty of signs to show that the time is drawing near, but few will heed them. Preoccupation with the affairs of this life can dull us to the spiritual realm.

The Lord kindly but seriously, points out the urgent need to be ready for His return. In the same way that a thief comes when people are the least prepared, so our Lord will return in a time when people are not looking for Him.

This is not because our Lord desires to surprise everyone and see how many He can catch unprepared. On the contrary, He is urging us to be watchful so that we will be prepared. Jesus gave us the signs of the end times to help us be prepared. He is simply prophesying that there will be a condition of apathy in the latter days that will tend to lull even the faithful to sleep if they don’t take heed to His words.

Believers will not be assembled on a mountaintop somewhere waiting for the Lord’s return. They will still be going about their daily routines. The Lord told us to “Occupy till I come”… Luke 19:13. We should be ready for the Lord to come back at any moment, yet work as if His return was still far off.

Guard Against Deception

Guard Against Deception

 Matthew 24:4 “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.”

Deception can be avoided or else Jesus would not have said, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” Satan can only deceive those who allow him to do it.

Ephesians 6:11 tells us to “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Putting on the whole armour of God will protect you from the deception of the devil. Just wearing part of God’s armour will not fully protect you. Many Christians have been running around with the helmet of salvation on but nothing else. There is more to overcoming the devil than just being saved. We have to understand our righteous position in the Lord. We also must possess faith, know the Word, and understand the gospel of peace.

The Christian life is a constant struggle against Satan, who is trying to corrupt us. Most Christians are aware of the warfare, but they don’t know where the warfare is occurring. The battle is in our mind. Just as the serpent didn’t come against Eve with brute force, but rather used words to deceive her, likewise Satan tries to corrupt us through thoughts contrary to the gospel. Satan’s original tactic was deception and that is still his method of operation today.

One of the characteristics of children is that they are easily deceived. They are gullible. One of the things that must take place to move from childhood into sonship is spiritual discernment. This comes from being grounded in the Word of God.

The way to recognize deception is not to analyze all the false claims but rather to become so familiar with what is genuine that a counterfeit will be easily recognizable. Anyone who is truly grounded in the Word of God will not be deceived.

God’s Mercy Is A Gift

God’s Mercy Is A Gift

 Matthew 23:23 “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”

One of the ways that God’s goodness is revealed is by His mercy. We may describe mercy as the readiness of God to relieve the misery of fallen creatures. Many times, mercy is called compassion or lovingkindness. It is expressed toward the sinner because of the misery that sin has brought upon him.

God’s mercy to the believer is revealed by God taking away the misery of sin’s consequences through the New Covenant of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Mercy is not something merited or earned, but a gift, as the apostle Paul states, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to HIS MERCY He saved us,…”…Titus 3:5.

Paul speaks of the heavenly Father as “The Father of mercies.” The word father is used many times in scripture as an originator or as a source of something. For example, the devil is called the father of lies (Jn. 8:44), i.e. he is the author and originator of lying. Likewise, our heavenly Father is the author, originator, and source of all mercy. Each time that mankind cried out in faith, God’s mercy reached out and met their need.

God is said to be rich in mercy because of His great love wherewith he loved us… Ephesians 2:4, and to have a throne called grace whereby we may come and obtain mercy. God wasn’t motivated to save us through pity or a sense of obligation as our Creator. He was motivated solely by love. God loves us.