Salvation Begins Now
MATTHEW 6:10 “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
We do not have to live a beggarly existence here on this earth and just wait till we all get to heaven to begin to experience the benefits of our salvation. Jesus told us to pray “thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” In heaven, He will “wipe away all tears from their eyes;”, Revelation 21:4, so here on earth we can pray and believe to receive “joy unspeakable and full of glory:”, 1 Peter 1:8. Healing, prosperity, and all the other benefits of heaven are ours here on earth to the degree that we can believe and receive them.
It is God’s will to deliver us from this present evil world. The Lord didn’t save us from our sins so we could be “saved and stuck” until we go to heaven. He made provision for our success in this life as well. Our salvation is effectual in this life too, not just the one to come. Some people have relegated all the benefits of salvation to, “when we all get to Heaven.” But that’s not so. Through the atonement of Jesus, we have been delivered from sickness, poverty and demonic control, as well as sin, in this present life. To the degree we believe that, we will begin to experience the physical benefits of our salvation in the “rough now and now,” not just in the “sweet by and by.”
Our salvation is not just “pie in the sky,” but it is victory in this present life. Today believe God to start receiving every benefit of your salvation here in this life, and help others to receive what has been purchased for them also. We don’t have to wait until we get to Heaven.
What’s Your Motivation?
Matthew 6:1, “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.”
The motive behind our gift is more important than the gift itself. Paul said if he gave all of his goods to feed the poor, or if he made the ultimate sacrifice of giving his own life for someone else, and wasn’t motivated by love, his gift would profit him nothing, 1 Corinthians 13:3.
Many Christians give faithfully but never see the hundredfold return that the Lord promised because of wrong motives, Mark 10:29-30. Paul said God loves a cheerful giver – not one who gives grudgingly or out of debt, 2 Corinthians 9:7.
Jesus gave us the key to purifying our motives in this same teaching. He said, “But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:”, Matthew 6:3. Giving in a manner in which you will not receive recognition for your gifts will guarantee that your motives are right and grant you the true joy that comes through selfless giving, Acts 20:24.
Ask the Lord to show you an opportunity today to give a kind word or a helping hand to someone who will not be able to repay you and others will never know about it. This could be a motorist in a traffic jam, a co-worker, a spouse, a child who won’t even notice your kind deed, or any number of other people. Opportunities are all around us.
The Best Defense
Matthew 5:39, “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
Which would you rather have – God defending you, or you defending yourself? That’s the choice that Jesus is offering us here. “Turning the other cheek” is not a prescription for abuse but rather the way to get the Lord involved in your defense.
Many people feel that these instructions of Jesus guarantee that others will take advantage of us. That would be true if there was no God. But when we follow these commands of Jesus, the Lord is on our side. He said in Romans 12:19, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
When we fight back, we are drawing on our own strength. But when we turn the other cheek, we are invoking God as our defense. Once we understand this, it becomes obvious that these instructions are for our own good.
James 1:20, says that the wrath of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God. Regardless of how appropriate our anger may seem, and regardless of how we think our wrath could make a person or situation change, we will never achieve God’s best that way.
When we defend ourselves, we stop God from defending us. It has to be one way or the other. It cannot be both ways. When we turn the other cheek to our enemies, we are loosing the power of God on our behalf. Let God defend you today.
Commandments Leads To Happiness
Matthew 5:32 “But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”
God’s commandments are not intended to make us miserable–they’re meant for our own happiness. Satan’s lie in the Garden of Eden caused Eve to question God’s motives behind His command, Genesis 3:5.
Malachi 2:15 says God hates divorce. God doesn’t hate the people who divorce. He hates the act of divorce because of the damage it does to people. God loves people.
Today, people see divorce as an easy way out of marital problems. But this is based on the misconception that the mate is the problem–which is rarely the case.
People who blame their mate for their problems give in easily to divorce, thinking that a new partner will solve the situation. Yet second marriages have over twice the failure rate of first marriages. That’s because we take ourselves and all our unresolved problems into the next marriage.
You can’t control other people–not even your mate. But through obeying the Lord, you can control yourself and have fulness of joy. God’s commands tell us what will produce true happiness for us.
Matthew 5:29, “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast itfrom thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that]thy whole body should be cast into hell.”
Is Jesus advocating dismembering of our bodies? Quite the contrary. He is drawing on the universal drive within every person of self preservation to make a point. If you value your body highly enough that you would never sacrifice one of its parts, then you should esteem your spiritual well being much higher.
Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve, man’s priorities have been misplaced. Great effort is put into preserving our physical life while our spiritual condition is often overlooked. It constantly gets put on the “back burner” while we tend to more urgent matters of this life.
Yet our physical bodies are just temporary. If we live 70 years or more, that is just a fraction of a second in the light of eternity. Our spiritual man lives forever. The state in which it exists is determined by choices made in this life.
Therefore, choose to make your spiritual condition your top priority. Spend more time on your spiritual well being than you do your physical well being. You and everyone around you will be eternally grateful that you did.
Matthew 5:13 “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”
What is it that will be cast out and trodden under foot of men? Is it the salt, or is it possible that Jesus is speaking about the world? If we as believers lose our preserving influence, then there is no other way for the Lord to save the world. It will be dominated by men.
God flows through His people. It is not our own power that changes people. It’s God’s power in us. but God will not do it without us. It’s a partnership.
Many people spend a lifetime praying for God to move, not understanding that He is going to flow through them. It is not God who is failing to intervene. It is God’s people who are failing to cooperate and let Him flow through them.
Every Christian has God living in them. Therefore we are carrying around other people’s miracles. If we fail to walk in the supernatural power of God, then somone will miss their miracle. We are God’s salt to preserve this putrifying world. Today, get out of the shaker and let the life of God which is in you flow to someone in need.
Ministry In Action
Mark 1:31, “And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.”
How did Peter’s mother-in-law minister unto Jesus and His disciples? Did she sit them down and preach to them? Certainly not. Yet sometimes people think the only way we can minister to another is to admonish them with the scriptures.
Peter’s mother-in-law apparently ministered to them by serving them. The word translated “minister” is the same word that was translated “deacon” twice in the New Testament, and “serve, served or serveth” eight times.
We can minister for the Lord by doing some of the menial tasks that many consider to be unimportant. Jesus said that even a cup of cold water given in His name would not go unrewarded, Matthew 10:42.
Many people are waiting for the important jobs to come along where they can make a big impact or receive a lot of recognition, while they pass by many lesser opportunities every day. But in the kingdom of God, we won’t be given any great opportunities until we are proven faithful in the small things, Luke 16:10.
Today, ask the Lord to show you ways you can minister to others by serving them.
God Looks Inside
John 4:19 “The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.”
This didn’t take any great discernment on the woman’s part. Jesus had just “read her mail”. He told her the most intimate details of her life. Anyone could have perceived Jesus was a prophet after something like that.
This woman suddenly realized that she was dealing with more than just a man. God was speaking to her. What was her reaction? She changed the subject. She brought up a doctrinal issue concerning the proper place to worship–anything to get Jesus’ attention off of her.
We all have a tendency to build walls of privacy around the intimate details of our lives. We are afraid to let anyone, especially God, look inside. But God already knows and He wants all of our heart.
Jesus brought this woman right back to the subject of her personal relationship with God. The place of worship or the forms of worship weren’t important. God was looking for people who would open their hearts–even the hidden parts–for Him to inhabit.
Likewise today, Satan tries to get us occupied with everything except the one thing that counts. God wants us to worship Him in spirit and truth. Anything less than that is not enough.
John 4:14, “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Jesus painted a beautiful picture of salvation in this passage. The salvation Jesus brings is like an artesian spring which doesn’t have to be pumped. It bubbles up constantly.
Unfortunately, not every Christian’s experience matches Jesus’ description. Many people relate more to an old pump which has to be pumped and pumped. Just as a trickle of water comes, they have to rest. They lose their prime. The water stops. Then they have to start all over again.
Yet, Jesus said we would never thirst again. This doesn’t mean that one drink satisfies us forever. But, as we continue to avail ourselves of this water of life daily, we will be constantly refreshed. The well of His life is there, but we must partake.
The dryness in a Christian’s life comes when we substitute other things for the living water that only Jesus can give. Anytime a Christian begins to thirst again, it is not a reflection on the living water that Jesus gives, but rather an indication that we have been drinking from some other source.
“Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation”, Isaiah 12:3.