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Posts from the ‘Salvation’ Category

YOU ARE CALLED TO ENJOY THE REWARDS OF YOUR ETERNAL LIFE

YOU ARE CALLED TO ENJOY THE REWARDS OF YOUR ETERNAL LIFE

SATURDAY SUNDAY MORNING OF DEVOTIONAL PRAYER AND PRAISE 79

YOU ARE CALLED BY THE WORD OF GOD

YOU ARE CALLED BY THE WORD OF GOD

Good Morning My Dear Brothers and Sisters, as we all continue to enjoy the 4th of July weekend holiday, it is my hope and prayer that in all our doing that we not allow the evil one to steal our joy and the eternal life that has been planned for us.  Therefore, the Lord placed upon my heart to share with you this weekend His benefits of your Eternal Life.

The word “ETERNAL” means without beginning and without end, denoting a continual existence including past, present, and future, as it is applied to human existence, the Bible indicates that the  spirit or soul is indestructible and eventually returns to God who gave it (Eccl. 12:7). This thought is expressed by Paul who attests to God’s overall plan whereby God is “all in all” (I Cor. 15:24-28). Thus, one might well say that eternal life includes the present, or “Today is the first day of the rest of your eternal life.”

Just as there are rewards for followers of Christ, there are judgments of the works of both believers and nonbelievers. Jesus said that all authority to judge the living and the dead is his (John 5:22;17:2; Acts 10:42;I Peter 4:5). In a sense, failure to receive blessings because of failure to ask, asking wrongly, or continued anxiety and fear by not heeding the teachings of the SERMON ON THE MOUNT are all indicative of a present judgment. As the proverbs say, “The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion” (Proverb.28:1) and “the way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble” (Prov. 4:16). As we have seen, Jesus assured his listeners that a follower of his and a doer of his words is assured of having his or her needs met and eternal life, including the glories of the resurrection-life (Mk. 10:28-30).

The New Testament sets out a concept of a gradation of reward for believers based upon their Christian good works (Matt. 16:27), their works being tested as by fire (I Cor. 3:13-15). In this respect, the epistles frequently warn believers against backsliding and the loss of reward.  [Note the six warnings in the Book of Hebrews 3:7-13;4:1-11; 5:11-14; 6:1-9; 10:26-39; 12; also 11Peter 2:20-22]

A righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward (Matt. 10:41), and one who shows compassion in Jesus’ name will not lose his or her reward (Matt. 10:42;Mk. 9:41). Those who reject the Father and the Son will be judged, and punishment will be meted out for the wrongs which they have committed (Col. 3:25).

They are as “cast into outer darkness where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 22:13;24:51; 25:30).   Those who seek after the plaudits of men have their reward (Matt. 6:2). One should enter in by the “narrow gate” to life, for “broad is the way which leads to destruction” (Matt. 7:13-14). Therefore, one should not lay up for himself or herself material treasures on earth, but should lay up treasures in heaven, for “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:19-21).

God is merciful, and Jesus stands at the door and knocks. If anyone hears his voice and opens the door, he will enter and they shall dine together. But there is a reckoning, and the son of man will separate the “sheep” from the “goats. “Those who have helped the less fortunate and have done it for Jesus shall inherit the kingdom. Those who have not helped others have failed Jesus and will receive punishment (Matt. 25:31-46).

The meting out of judgment is portrayed in Revelation depicting God as sitting on a great white throne judging the dead according to their works. The books are opened including the book of life. Anyone whose name is not found in the book of life is subject to punishment.

It is decreed that the enemies of God and mankind be cast into the “lake of fire.” These include Satan, the false prophet, and the beast who has opposed God, death, Hades, and “whoever was not found written in the book of life” (Rev. 20:10-15).

There is also described a new heaven, a new earth, and a new Jerusalem in which there reside only those who are over comers and those who are “athirst of the fountain.” These are given the water of life freely (Rev. 21:1-27). “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (Rev. 22:12-13).

My Brothers and Sisters as we close this lesson for today let me leave you with this last very important note from the Preacher.  He says,  “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, withevery secret thing, whether good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 ESV)

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LIVING FOR CHRIST TRUTH MEETS REALITY

LIVING FOR CHRIST TRUTH MEETS REALITY

WHEN TRUTH AND REALITY MEETS (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

WHEN TRUTH AND REALITY MEETS (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

This week we will be studying Romans 12:1-2, learning how we can live for Christ when Truth meets Reality.  The Bible tells us to know the Truth and the Truth will set us Free.  How we get to that truth will be the basics of our teaching this week.  Here is what Romans 12:1-2 says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  This is the reality of the truth we must come to know if we are to live for Christ.

Now let me share this truth with you as we begin this week in the newness of the Holy Spirit working through us.  There is but one religion, and that religion is the religion of Truth.  There is also but one error, and that error is of self.  Sometimes we allow self to get in the way of Truth.  Where self is, we will not find Truth, where Truth is self is not.  Therefore, let us discover Truth within ourselves about ourselves and move self out of the way and learn to live each day for Christ.  Jesus declared that if any man wishes to be His Disciple, he must deny himself daily.

Finally, let us learn that self is the denial of Truth.  Truth is the denial of self.  As you let self die, you will be reborn in Truth.  As you cling to self, truth will be hidden from you.  Now know this,  “LIVING FOR CHRIST TRUTH WILL MEET REALITY!

 

 

NICODEMUS QUESTION JESUS ON HOW A PERSON CAN BE BORN AGAIN

Jesus and Nicodemus, Crijn Hendricksz, 1616–1645.

Jesus and Nicodemus, Crijn Hendricksz, 1616–1645. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NICODEMUS QUESTION JESUS ON HOW A PERSON CAN BE BORN AGAIN

Good Morning my brothers and sisters, today we continue our teaching on Nicodemus visit with Jesus in the cover of dark and as a teacher finds himself being taught by the Master Teacher. I love this story and I hope you do also.  Now listen up as the truth speaks to your soul.

Nicodemus as a teacher in his own right found himself in an odd position of being taught when he asked Jesus this question: “How can anyone,” said Nicodemus, “Be born who has already been born and grown up? You can’t re-enter your mother’s womb and be born again. What are you saying with this ‘born-from-above’ talk?”  By his own lack of knowledge, Nicodemus was now in for a rude awaken, and Jesus was about to teach him and all of us a lesson in how to be born again that neither he nor we would ever soon forget.

Now as we have studied the scriptures and heard many sermons preached that Jesus was known for his skills as a Master Teacher, and of course Nicodemus was a respected teacher of IsraelNicodemus was part of a group whose prestige had suffered the most because of Jesus popularity.  The Pharisees were the conservatives in Israel.  They held all the Scriptures in high regard.  They believed in eternal life.  They were the ones most people thought would be able to identify the long-awaited Messiah and announce Him to the people.

Unfortunately, the Pharisees had begun to think of the coming Messiah as one who would elevate and honor them when He came.  But Jesus showed no inclination to do this.  Instead, He called all to repentance, even the Pharisees.  He made it painfully clear to the Pharisees that their devotion to Scripture was undermined by their tendency to apply it wrongly and to exalt themselves over others.  Although they had diligently studied the Scriptures, they had not learned the central truths of Scripture: Justice, mercy, and faith (Matt. 23:23).

In this lesson, we understand that Jesus and Nicodemus had a private conversation late one night.  We do not know whether Nicodemus had an appointment.  We do not know what he wanted to say.  Nicodemus came to Jesus, but Jesus guided the conversation from the start.  In effect, Nicodemus took a step in the right direction, and Jesus met him more than halfway.

Nicodemus said to Jesus, “Rabbi, we all know you’re a teacher straight from God. No one could do all the God-pointing, God-revealing acts you do if God weren’t in on it.”

Jesus said, “You’re absolutely right. Take it from me: Unless a person is born from above, it’s not possible to see what I’m pointing to—to God’s kingdom.”  If Nicodemus purpose was to find out for himself whether Jesus was really a teacher from God, he did not have to wait long.  Instead of defending His own credentials, Jesus offered Nicodemus an eternal lesson.

How can anyone,” said Nicodemus, “be born who has already been born and grown up? You can’t re-enter your mother’s womb and be born again. What are you saying with this ‘born-from-above’ talk?”

Jesus said, “You’re not listening. Let me say it again. Unless a person submits to this original creation—the ‘wind-hovering-over-the-water’ creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom. When you look at a baby, it’s just that: a body you can look at and touch. “But the person who takes shape within is formed by something you can’t see and touch—the Spirit—and becomes a living spirit.”

Jesus take no prisoner’s way of teaching had to one of the toughest teachers Nicodemus had ever had to encounter. He allowed Jesus to challenge his understanding.  He did not shrink from revealing his ignorance about the second birth.  He listened.  In spite of the fact that he was a teacher, he was willing to be taught.  Jesus did not disappoint.

Now I ask of you, to join Nicodemus here this night and listen to how a Master Teacher teaches the lesson of our New Birth.  He says, “So don’t be so surprised when I tell you that you have to be ‘born from above’—out of this world, so to speak. You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it’s headed next. That’s the way it is with everyone ‘born from above’ by the wind of God, the Spirit of God.”

Nicodemus asked, “What do you mean by this? How does this happen?”

Jesus said, “You’re a respected teacher of Israel and you don’t know these basics? Listen carefully. I’m speaking sober truth to you. I speak only of what I know by experience; I give witness only to what I have seen with my own eyes. There is nothing secondhand here, no hearsay. Yet instead of facing the evidence and accepting it, you procrastinate with questions. If I tell you things that are plain as the hand before your face and you don’t believe me, what use is there in telling you of things you can’t see, the things of God?

“No one has ever gone up into the presence of God except the One who came down from that Presence, the Son of Man. In the same way that Moses lifted the serpent in the desert so people could have something to see and then believe, it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up—and everyone who looks up to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal life.

When we know the truth, the truth will set us free, and here we can see clearly that Jesus provided Nicodemus with the gospel truth, and Nicodemus was able to see the light that night and experience God’s love from the Master Teacher because Nicodemus character was changed that very night.  What about you, have you seen the light and excepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

NICODEMUS VISITS JESUS UNDER THE COVER OF DARK

 NICODEMUS VISITS JESUS UNDER THE COVER OF DARK 

THE MOON SHINES BRIGHT IN THE BLACK TIMELESS NIGHT (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

THE MOON SHINES BRIGHT IN THE BLACK TIMELESS NIGHT (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

Why did Nicodemus wait until the cover of dark to visit with Jesus?  This is a question that has been debated by scholars for centuries, and unfortunately the scriptures do not give us a crystal clear and compelling answer.  However, what we do know is this, “Nicodemus is a Pharisee at the top of his field. Not only is he a member of the Sanhedrin, he is the most renowned Bible teacher of his day.  We also know that the Jewish religious leaders were divided into several groups.  Two of the most prominent groups were the Pharisees and the Sadducees.  The Pharisees separated themselves from anything non-Jewish and carefully followed both the Old Testament laws and the oral traditions handed down through the centuries.  As a “leader,” he was a member of the Jewish ruling council.  Although the Romans controlled Israel politically, the Jews were given some authority over religious and minor civil disputes.  The Jewish ruling body was the council made up of seventy-one of Israel’s religious leaders.

The question before us is still, “why did Nicodemus wait until the cover of dark to visit Jesus and

Jesus and Nicodemus, Crijn Hendricksz, 1616–1645.

Jesus and Nicodemus, Crijn Hendricksz, 1616–1645. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

what motivated him to come in the first place?”  Under the cover of darkness, this well respected and influential religious man, this prominent national leader of noble decent and inherited wealth, this intellectual man who wielded great religious authority, this designated secret spokesman who represented some of his colleagues from the Jewish ruling council, waits until the cover of darkness to sneak in for a visit with Jesus.  This remains me of the way some of us prefer to do things [under the cover of darkness].

However, this question still rattles our brain, but from what we understand from scripture, we can try and fill in some of the blanks.  First, we know that Nicodemus was both impressed and curious about Jesus and chose to form his opinions about him from firsthand conversation.  Second, it is possible that he did not want to be seen with Jesus in broad daylight because he feared reproach from his fellow Pharisees (who did not believe in Jesus as the Messiah).  Finally, it might not have been fear that brought Nicodemus in the cover of dark; but it is possible that he chose a time when he could talk alone and at length with the popular teacher who was often surrounded by people.

Living in the Darkness of the Night (Photo by Pastor Davis)

Living in the Darkness of the Night (Photo by Pastor Davis)

No matter how we look at this question, how we think about it as it might relate to us, it still remains that Nicodemus chose the cover of dark to visit with Jesus.  However, what Nicodemus did not know are understand was that his own night was blacker than he knew.  He was living in complete darkness and he did not know that truth, was about to be revealed to him.

Now as he sit before the Master Teacher, this is what Jesus tells him, “So don’t be so surprised when I tell you that you have to be ‘born from above’—out of this world, so to speak. You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it’s headed next. That’s the way it is with everyone ‘born from above’ by the wind of God, the Spirit of God.”

Nicodemus asked, “What do you mean by this? How does this happen?”

Jesus said, “You’re a respected teacher of Israel and you don’t know these basics? Listen carefully. I’m speaking sober truth to you. I speak only of what I know by experience; I give witness only to what I have seen with my own eyes. There is nothing secondhand here, no hearsay. Yet instead of facing the evidence and accepting it, you procrastinate with questions. If I tell you things that are plain as the hand before your face and you don’t believe me, what use is there in telling you of things you can’t see, the things of God?

“This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.”

What a tragedy that people have turned away from God’s offer, embracing instead the darkness in hopes of covering up evil actions.  There is probably no more painful moment than when we honestly confront our tendency to love darkness, to twist or withhold the truth.  The Son did not come to judge, but in the light of his character the sharp shadows of our sinfulness stand out.  The people who hate the light are those who want to sin in the darkness.  Evil deeds are revealed by the light, so people who want to do evil must do it in the dark so they cannot be exposed and caught in the act.

According to the context, to do what is right is to come to Christ, the light; the result of coming to the light and living in the light will be clearly seen in believer’s lives.  Christ’s life in us will make our lives able to stand exposure to bright light, for our deeds will be honest, pure, and truthful.  Now we can truly see that Nicodemus was able to see the light that night and experience God love from the Master Teacher because Nicodemus character was changed that very night under the cover of darkness with a meeting with the Master Teacher.

In closing, I leave you with this question, “Are you a modern day Nicodemus, living in the darkness, and seeking answers?”  Know that it is time to open yourself up and be exposed to God’s shining light.  Know the truth and the truth will set you FREE.

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FINDING TRUTH IN THE ETERNAL REALITY OF GOD’S MERCIES

FINDING TRUTH IN THE ETERNAL REALITY OF GOD’S MERCIES

WHEN TRUTH AND REALITY MEETS (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

WHEN TRUTH AND REALITY MEETS (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

 

Brothers and sisters, in light of all I have shared with you about God’s mercies, I urge you to offer your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice to God

THE ETERNAL REALITY (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

THE ETERNAL REALITY (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

A sacred offering that brings Him pleasure; this is your reasonable, essential worship.

MEN PASS FROM SELF TO TRUTH (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

MEN PASS FROM SELF TO TRUTH (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind.

THE LIGHT OF TRUTH (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

THE LIGHT OF TRUTH (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete.  (ROMANS 12:1-2)

LIVING FOR CHRIST TRUTH MEETS REALITY PART 2

LIVING FOR CHRIST TRUTH MEETS REALITY PART 2

THE LIGHT OF TRUTH (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

THE LIGHT OF TRUTH (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

In today’s discussion we will continue to focus our attention on how we are to live daily for Christ by presenting our whole body as a living Sacrifice, because this is how God wants us to live out our lives and the Bible says this to us, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God,to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1 ESV)

Our bodies are the Holy Kingdom of God and that includes our Minds, our Thoughts, our Emotions, our Praise, our Service, it is the entire package of our being.  It is the place the Holy Spirit takes up residents and in order for the Holy Spirit to dwell there continuously we must deny self and allow Truth to become Reality.

How do you understand truth when we allow our negative emotions to take control of our thought process, we speak words that are hurtful and sometimes dangerous to another person’s life, accuse others of thinking more highly of themselves without looking first within ourselves?  Truth is learning to deny self and seek the higher understanding of who God is, who we are and who we are in God.  When we do this we soon discover our own displeasures with our life when we refuse to accept Truth as Reality.  At this point it provides us with an opportunity to re-examine self and place self in its proper perspective for training and future growth in making our bodies holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

In my many years of studying and teaching I have discovered that the hardest thing for a person to do is to let go of self and accept Truth as Reality.  They cling to self by denying Truth, because they believe in self, they love self and really deny truth because truth is too simple for them to wrap their minds around.  It becomes a frighten experience to fully comprehend.  Now I say to you, if you want Truth to be birthed in you, there is only one way for it to happen, and that is, you must let go of self and allow self to die.  It is time that we transform our thinking and begin to live for Christ.

CHILDREN OF GOD, may your day be one of peace, love and joy.  As you live for Christ, allow His blessings to fill you life with the abundantly fruits that He has set aside just for you.  In Jesus name we pray, AMEN!

 

 

LIVING FOR CHRIST TRUTH MEETS REALITY

LIVING FOR CHRIST TRUTH MEETS REALITY

WHEN TRUTH AND REALITY MEETS (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

WHEN TRUTH AND REALITY MEETS (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

This week we will be studying Romans 12:1-2, learning how we can live for Christ when Truth meets Reality.  The Bible tells us to know the Truth and the Truth will set us Free.  How we get to that truth will be the basics of our teaching this week.  Here is what Romans 12:1-2 says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  This is the reality of the truth we must come to know if we are to live for Christ.

Now let me share this truth with you as we begin this week in the newness of the Holy Spirit working through us.  There is but one religion, and that religion is the religion of Truth.  There is also but one error, and that error is of self.  Sometimes we allow self to get in the way of Truth.  Where self is, we will not find Truth, where Truth is self is not.  Therefore, let us discover Truth within ourselves about ourselves and move self out of the way and learn to live each day for Christ.  Jesus declared that if any man wishes to be His Disciple, he must deny himself daily.

Finally, let us learn that self is the denial of Truth.  Truth is the denial of self.  As you let self die, you will be reborn in Truth.  As you cling to self, truth will be hidden from you.  Now know this,  “LIVING FOR CHRIST TRUTH WILL MEET REALITY!

 

 

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