Fear Not Christian, but Rejoice!

Our heart shall rejoice in Him Psalm 33:21

by Charles H. Spurgeon

Blessed is the fact that Christians can rejoice even in the deepest distress; although trouble may surround them, they still sing; and, like many birds, they sing best in their cages.  The waves may roll over them, but their souls rise to the surface and see the light of God’s countenance; they have a buoyancy about them which keeps their head always above the water, and helps them to sing amid the tempest, God is with me still.  To whom shall the glory be given? Oh! To Jesus-it is all by Jesus.  Trouble does not necessarily bring consolation with it to the believer, but the presence of the Son of God in the fiery furnace with him fills his heart with joy.  He is sick and suffering, but Jesus visits him and makes his bed for him.  He is dying, and  the cold chilly waters of Jordan are gathering about him up to the neck, but Jesus put His arms around him, and cries, Fear not, beloved; to die is to be blessed; the waters of death have their fountainhead in heaven; they are not bitter, they are sweet as nectar, for they flow from the throne of God.  As the departing saint wades through the stream, and the billows gather around him, and heart and flesh fail him, the same voice sounds in his ears, Fear not; I am with thee; be not dismayed; I am thy God.  As he nears the borders of the infinite unknown, and is almost affrighted to enter the realm of shades, Jesus says, Fear not, it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.  Thus strengthened and consoled, the believer is not afraid to die; nay, he is even willing to depart, for since he has seen Jesus as the morning star, he longs to gaze upon Him as the sun in his strength.  Truly, the presence of Jesus is all the heaven we desire.  He is at once

The glory of our brightest days;

The comfort of our nights.

 

 

 

 

Grace and Truth: The Impacts of John 8:11 – Part 1

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

There are so many lessons to be gleaned from this passage, a truly powerful example of grace and truth that Jesus has provided us.  In this verse is Jesus’ reply to a woman, accused of adultery, that has been brought before Him by the scribes and Pharisees.  In that day, those found guilty, according to the Law of Moses, would be stoned to death (there was no mention of the man in this story), but this would mean going against the authority of Roman Law, under whom they were governed.  It was in essence a catch-22 situation that these men were trying to place our Lord in.  In response to the men, Jesus first continued writing on the ground as though He didn’t hear them (can you imagine the look on their faces!).  Then as though answering on His own terms when He felt so inclined Jesus said, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” John 8:7 NKJV and proceeded again to write on the ground.  Now I don’t know about you, but I’m sure at this point if a third party was observing this, they would’ve been completely floored.  Here are the “religious” leaders being spiritually convicted by the King of Kings.  The men, one by one, began leaving the scene until Jesus was alone with the woman and He raised up and said, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” To which she replied, “”No one, Lord.” John 8:10-11 NKJV

Now think about what just happened here.  These men were attempting to trap Jesus between the religious code of the Mosaic Law and the political rule of the Roman Empire.  Jesus’ declaration to the woman was multi-faceted.  He neither upheld the Law of Moses nor went against the law of Caesar.  His response showed that there was now a new choice, one not under the law, but under the grace and truth of Jesus Christ.  As the Apostle Paul reaffirms in Romans 6:14 NKJV, “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”  The power in Jesus’ response cannot be understated, “Neither do I condemn you.”  What beauty we as sinners can find when we fall before Jesus, burdened by sin, “casting all [y]our care upon Him, for He cares for us [you].” I Peter 5:7 NKJV To know that Jesus takes our sin and offers back grace in return, if we only receive Him as our Savior.

But there’s a second part to Jesus’ response, one of equal importance.  He offered grace, but followed with the truth of His command, “Go and sin no more.”  So too is this the case for us as sinners when we have received grace through our faith in Jesus, we are charged to sin no more.  Just as we discussed in the post  A License to Sin, our new birth in Christ requires us to abandon sin.  As we accept the free gift of grace, we must give up the old sinful flesh.

Too often we are quick to make the argument that once we are saved there’s nothing more to be done.  This is true for our salvation, the work was done on the cross by Jesus and through that work we are justified. Romans 3:24 Just like when we were newborns physically we needed nourishment for growth, so too is this the case when we’re born again spiritually.  We gain nourishment from the Word of God and grow out of our old self. 

So with our focus on grace, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast” Ephesians 2:8-9 we must be careful no to forget to live the truth, “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!” Romans 6:15

 

Prayer: Do you long for Jesus’ words of grace? Bow before the cross and ask repentance for your sins, believe in Him and accept Him as Lord and Savior of your life.  If you’ve already accepted Christ as Savior, but are not living in truth, what’s holding you back?  Turn it over to the God and pray that He renews you in Him.

Additional Study: James 2:26  John 14:15  James 4:17

The Sanctity of Marriage: Defile Marriage = Defile the Body of Christ

Few things in our society are as politically charged and divisive as the homosexual debate.  As many states continue to review legislation to determine the legalization of marriage and some churches, mired in apostasy, declare days of prayer and studying the Bible (ELCA) to form their position, there are a few Biblical truths that we need to uncover to understand what’s at the root of this pervasive sin.  Typically in a biblical response to homosexuality we hear (or use) scriptural references to Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”  This verse lays the foundation early on in the Bible of man and women joined together in marriage as we read later on in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”  While the language of these passages seems clear and straightforward, why is it that society and even churches refuse to recognize this truth?  Jesus emphasizes these verses in Matthew 19:4-5, “And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?  There can simply be no debate on this issue as the scripture is crystal clear.  But still the worldly perversion of marriage persists.  Still the debate will rage on to the point of calling it a “hate crime” (see Christian Post article link below) if you stand firm on the Biblical truths defined above. 

But why is this?  Some of you might be reading this post and thinking, “What’s the big deal?”  Just let everyone be happy and spend their lives married to whom they love.  The problem with this logic is that God created marriage as we read earlier in Genesis.  Therefore no man, no government (state or federal), no principality has any authority to destroy it.  Matthew 19:6 “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”  There is the authority of God in His Word.  In context Jesus is referring to the Pharisees challenge of divorce, but more can be read from it because if God has joined man and women together in marriage then there is no compromise on this issue.  No multiple spouses, no same sex, no endorsement of divorce.  1 Man and 1 Woman for life. 

Now let’s briefly examine why the opposition to this passage exists, why churches are questioning biblical truths, and why the passages above will soon be labeled as hate speech.  As shocking as this might sound, it’s all part of Satan’s plan to defile the Body of Christ, or the Church Body as a whole.  If you can’t see the strategy in this, then I pray that God opens your eyes to it.  This issue alone, as though it were possible, will seek to destroy the truths of the Bible, turn churches against each other, and draw lines between true repentant believers in Christ and those who merely claim His name.  Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”

Jesus used marriage as a beautiful symbol of His relationship with His people, or Church.  He is the Bridegroom and we as His chosen are the Bride.  One example of this symbol is found in the Parable of the Wedding Feast in Matthew 22:1-14 and again the Parable of the Wise and Foolish virgins in Matthew 25:1-13.  In fact, the Apostle Paul emphasizes this symbolism in Ephesians 5:23-25, “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.  Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her”.  Again the analogy of marriage as it relates to Christ and His Church.  When Satan, through the wretchedness of the world, attacks these truths he is using the guise of “tolerance”, “equality and equal rights” and those who oppose are merely expressing “hatred”.

The truth is this, God created marriage between a man and woman to be holy, in fact, to be a sanctifying relationship before Him.  It was so perfect that Jesus used this to describe His own relationship between Himself and the church.  Therefore it cannot be twisted and turned into a perverse relationship and those who do so and those who condone or endorse it are defiling the Body of Christ.

http://www.christianpost.com/article/20090626/christians-say-hate-crimes-bill-is-not-what-you-think/index.html

http://apprising.org/2009/06/rev-megan-rohrer-on-gay-rights-movement/

Ephesians 4:15 "Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ"