Pressure

“Then saith He unto them, ‘My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me.’ ”  Matthew 26:38

We humans experience pressure. It is called stress. Those of us who know Jesus as our Lord and Savior believe Jesus to be fully God and fully Man. We recognize Him as flesh and blood human, of the race of Adam just as we are.

I have for many years struggled over this scene of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and have heard and been taught for years that Jesus was asking to be delivered from the cross. In recent years I have settled this in my own heart and mind, and I believe it is Scriptural.

I see many times that the gospels mention Jesus having His eyes set on Jerusalem near the final days of His life. That meaning He had His eyes set on paying our sin debt. That is one reason I cannot fathom the idea of His praying to be delivered from dying on the cross.

The verse above settles it for me. “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death…” and that looks to be what He is going to pray about when He says, “Let this cup pass from Me”.  He was pressured by what would be too early a death right there in Gethsemane.

I believe the Father answered His prayer and gave Him the physical strength to make it to the cross where He fulfilled the Father’s will dying for my sins, your sins, and the sins of the whole world.

Taken

“Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”  Matthew 24:40-41

The above verses are from Jesus’s Olivet Discourse or the Sermon of Olivet. Jesus is answering the questions asked by Peter, James, John, and Andrew (Matthew 24:3 and Mark 13:3). The questions asked were at least two, but I call it three questions – 1. “When shall these things be?”,;  2. “What shall be the sign of Your coming?” and 3. “What is the sign of the ending of the age?”

The first question is answered in verses 4 – 14, and is referencing the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem that would take place in 70 A.D. and is also a reference to the beginning of the “time of Jacob’s trouble” referenced by Jeremiah 30:7.

Verses 15 –  28 are probably speaking of an event and time that have yet to happen, in the midst of the “time of Jacob’s trouble” for the making of the righteousness of the people called Israel.

Verses 29 – 35 speak of our Lord’s second coming and making of things right on earth declaring that not one word which God has spoken will fail to come to pass.

The verses shared above (40 and 41) may speak of the taking of some out of the way who are not believing, and leaving the believing one to live in the kingdom.

The whole point our Lord Jesus is making is that we all need to be ready for He is coming. We do not know the day or the hour; so we must stay in touch with Him through prayer the reading, study, and application of His holy word in our daily living.

Jesus died for our sins, was buried in a borrowed grave, and He arose alive and forever lives interceding for us, before our Father.

Faith of an Outsider

“When Jesus heard, He marvelled, and said to them that followed, ‘Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ ”  Matthew 8:10-12

This Roman centurion was over a group of men that was about 100 in number. He knew authority when he saw it; and he saw Jesus as a Man with authority, so he knew he could trust Him with the healing of his servant.

Jesus in His words of the centurion’s faith was words of applause. It was a greater faith than He had seen among His own people; especially the Jewish leaders of their religion.

There is much the Christian needs to hear in the words of Jesus.

The first one I see is this; Just because you say your a Christian, yet do not believe the word of god, does not mean you are a Christian;

The second one that I see is, that judgment awaits all who claim to know Jesus, yet do not live according to His word, starting with believing what God says of His Son, and what the Son says of Himself; and

The third, just a thought; the judgment for a professor that does not possess the Spirit of Christ [God] is not His (Romans 8:9), and will be judged more severely.

It is better to be an outsider of the religious, yet believe the word of God, than to be a religious insider and miss God completely by not believing His word.

In closing these thoughts be sure you have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus shed on Calvary’s cross for the sins of the word, believe Jesus died, was buried, and that He rose again (Romans 10:9-10).

 

 

The Nazarene

“And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, ‘He shall be called a Nazarene.’ ”  Matthew 2:23

The writing of Matthew, the gospel writing, is particularly filled with the quotations from the Old Testament showing how the birth and life of Jesus Christ are the fulfillment of those prophecies. It seems that there are nearly twenty references to the old writings of the prophets within the first three chapters of the evangelist.

Why would that be important? Since God is the one who verbally inspired the prophets preaching and writing, then He is greatly moved to declare to us that He will fulfill every jot and tittle of Scripture.

What is especially notable of the above verse in Matthew is probably referring to Isaiah 11:1;

“…And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots…”

where the stem or something insignificant, called out. Nazareth is not even named in the Old Testament so an insignificant town. Jesus coming from Nazareth called a Nazarene, seeming so insignificant, but becoming the “Branch” of our salvation.

A reading of Isaiah 53 might bring this together a bit, especially  verse two…

“For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.”

Jesus, being called, “The Nazarene” was a distinct fulfillment of the prophets which foretell His coming, the Messiah, the Christ. His birth, His life, His death, burial, and resurrection were all foretold by the Old Testament prophecies, and came to pass just as they were written and spoken.

Believer, we can rest assured that, just as all Scripture concerning His first coming were fulfilled; then, we can trust that those concerning His return, His second coming will also be fulfilled. Are you ready?

Sneaky and Condemned

I was reading in Jude this morning and was reminded of the study I did in this epistle about 13 years ago. I found the study and I share these thoughts from verse 4 again in 2021 because it is still true today.

“For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jude 4 (NKJV).

Hopefully most Christians have noticed that there is a whole lot of religious rhetoric in the world and most of what you will see on what poses as “Christian Television”. The aim of many in these supposed ministries is not the promotion of the glory of Jesus Christ, but to fill their pocket books, and tell you things like, “If you are sick you have sinned”. They may not be so brash as to say that as clearly as that, but that is what they mean.

These are apostates. They actually hate the truth of Jesus Christ. They deny Jesus Christ by changing the meaning of His death on the cross, and will tell you things, such as, “On the cross Jesus was just a little wimp who couldn’t do anything.” The truth of that is that the victory of Jesus was the cross. It was on the cross where Satan, and Hell and sin were defeated. During that three hours of darkness there was the greatest war which has ever taken place; that ever took place in eternity. Jesus was and is the Victor because after He was laid in a borrowed grave He came out alive showing the victory of the cross.

The men and women who proclaim that your life should be without sickness, you should always be victorious, and always have a full bank account; and if you don’t you have sinned; are liars and are following their father the devil. They are deceivers and antichrist.

Beware of those teachers who call on you to give money to them, “And you will be blessed a hundred fold”. Jesus warned,

“Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, ‘I am Christ’; and shall deceive many.’ ”  Matthew 24:4-5

Now, these apostates may not be actually saying they are Christ, but they are denying the very power of Christ, and His cross. When you deny the power of His cross you deny Him.

These teachers are condemned people. They will have a place in eternity, but not with Jesus Christ. Be aware of false teachers. Believe the Word of God, and trust Him.

Who is born of God?

Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth Him that begat loveth Him also that is begotten of Him. 1 John 5:1
Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?  Verse 5
He that hath the Son hath life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.  Verses 12 – 13
And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.  Verse 20

As I was reading the first epistle of the apostle John I noticed once again the important emphasis he puts on Jesus Christ as the Son of God. The title of this post is “Who is born of God?” That is a question we all must answer, and know ourselves. Are you, have you been born of God?

In chapter 5 verse 1 John writes “Whosoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” and he goes on stating that to love the Father (the One who begat), is to love the Son (the One who is begotten). If we love the Father we will love the Son; and on the other side too; if we love the Son we love the Father. These are the one’s who are born of God.

We learn in the five verses above too, that Jesus Christ the Son of God is the One who overcomes the world, and through Him we do too. In Him we have life, and without Him is no life. Without life in Him there is only death. Through Jesus Christ and Him alone can we have the true assurance of eternal life, and we can know quite well that we will live with Him eternally.

In knowing Jesus we receive understanding from Him knowledge of who He truly is. In Christ Jesus we are in the True God, and have eternal life. The moment, by grace through faith, you turn from your sin to Christ calling on His name for salvation you receive eternal life.

Who is born of God? If you have not been born of God will you call on Him today?

You Follow Me

“Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on His breast at supper, and said, ‘Lord, which is he that betrayeth Thee?’ Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, ‘Lord, and what shall this man do?’  Jesus saith unto him, ‘If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou Me.’ ”  John 21:20-22

The Lord Jesus, recently resurrected from the grave, has told Peter how he is going to live, and how he is going to die. Then Peter begins to think about “that other guy”. We know “that other guy” is John; he is the one who leaned on Jesus’s breast at the meal and the last supper.

Now, Peter’s question is not without the likeness of many people of all ages, including yours truly. “What about Joe?” or we may ask, “What about Jan?”, “What are You going to expect of them?” “Lord, You sent Joe to Hawaii. Why don’t You send me to some place like Hawaii?”

The Lord’s answer to Peter was, “You follow Me”. That is His answer for you and me as well.

Our personal relationship with the Lord involves me going where the Lord leads me. I am to follow Jesus, and not be distracted where He might send you, Joe or Jan.

Light

“Then Jesus said unto them,
‘Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.
While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.’

These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.” John 12:35-36

Light is wonderful to have. Without light we would be stumbling around in the dark. Light shows us danger in our path, the way ahead, and even is a source of life.

Few people clean under their beds, and if you take a light and shine it under the bed you will see all kinds of dirt and dust. Light exposes the things that are hid in darkness. Jesus is the Light of the world. He has told us so in John 8:12 and John 9:5.

Because Jesus is the Light of the world many hate them because they do not want their evil hearts to be exposed, because their deeds are evil (John 3:19). I pray that your sin has been exposed and your condemnation, and that you have turned your heart away from sin to Christ Jesus.

Jesus also said to those who believe on Him, “You are the light of the world” Matthew 5:14. When we have put our faith in Him, we are His light in this dark world.

Hear God’s Words

“He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” John 8:47

Jesus was spending time telling the religious leaders of their unbelief. They claimed to love Moses and the Law; also claiming to be children of Abraham. Though they were biological descendants of Abraham Jesus was confronting them concerning their spiritual connection with Abraham. They had none.

The message from Jesus for us today is this. Just because you were born in a Christian household does not make you a Christian. A friend of mine once told me this, “God does not have any grandchildren.” Those who believe in Him through the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son Jesus are sons and daughters of God – born again by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-10).

The evidence you are a child of God is clearly explained in Jesus’s words above. We hear His word and do them. We believe His word and put them to work in our lives.

How about you? Have you been born again? Do you believe the word of God concerning what He has said about Jesus His only begotten Son? If you do not, then you are not a child of God, but a child of wrath, and doomed eternally.

You can call on the name of Jesus right now, turning from sin and unbelief, to the Lord Jesus Christ believing Him.

God Does Not Condemn You

“For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”  John 3:17-19

The truth of the matter is we were all condemned through the sin of Adam and Eve while they were living in paradise. They had it made and chose to believe the lie of the serpent rather than the One who walked with them in that beautiful paradise.

Because they chose to sin against God they condemned the whole race of Adam – that is you and me. Since that sad day every child ever born into this world is in a condemned state, spiritually dead, separated from God, and headed to an eternity separated from good and from God, to a burning eternal fire.

For Adam and Eve God sent the means of redemption through the shed blood of innocent animals (possibly lambs) a covering for their sin. For us today, He has given us His Son Jesus Christ.

For all who will believe on the name of Jesus Christ, believing that He died on the cross for our sins, that He was buried, and that He rose from the grave bodily we can have eternal life with Him. There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). God does not condemn; He delivers us unto eternal life.

Will you call on His name today, believing Him? He will hear and He will deliver you from condemnation.

All Things Must Be Fulfilled

“And He said unto them, ‘These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Me.’ ” Luke 24:44

Jesus spoke the above words after walking with a couple of His followers to Emmaeus. He has at this point been seen by others who are His followers, and reminds them of the importance of His life, His ministry and His death, burial and resurrection.

When Jesus speaks of the “law of Moses”, “the Prophets”, and “the Psalms” He is speaking of the whole Old Testament, and every prophecy which was written.

There are many prophecies of Jesus that have not been fulfilled. We can rest assured that since the prophecies of the first coming of Messiah are fulfilled, and He died just as the prophets said (consider Isaiah 53), then we can know and be assured that those concerning His coming again will be fulfilled in every detail.

All things must be fulfilled just as it has been spoken.

Son of David, Son of God

“Then certain of the scribes answering said, ‘Master, thou hast well said.’ And after that they durst not ask Him any question at all. And He said unto them,
‘How say they that Christ is David’s Son? And David himself saith in the book of Psalms, ‘The LORD said unto my Lord, ‘Sit Thou on My right hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.’ David therefore calleth Him ‘Lord,’ how is He then his Son?’ ”  Luke 20:39-44

In the Hebrew teaching of doctrine the Christ or Messiah would come as the Son of David. Psalm 110 is the reference to which Jesus is quoting, and He asked the question, “How is He then his (David’s) Son?”

In the Psalm Jesus refers to David calling Him, “…my Lord”, and the Psalm clearly quotes the Father (the LORD), saying “…My Lord” to His Son. Jesus was and is the fulfillment of this prophecy from the sweet Psalmist of Israel, and His being the Son of David, and the Son of God.

Have you heard the voice of Jesus calling unto you, “Come to Me” and have you called on His name?  He is the One who died for our sins, He was buried and He rose from the grave. He lives forever and forever, and by faith in Him  we do as well.

Look Who Comes to Jesus

“Then drew near unto Him all the publicans and sinners for to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, ‘This Man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.’ ”  Luke 15:1-2

The lesson Jesus teaches  following the above words was to all who would and will hear. There are so many that will not hear the words of life which Jesus speaks, that they continue on the path that leads to eternal destruction and Hell.

Those who came to Jesus that day were ones whom the religious leaders, and most of the Jewish population despised and hated. The were Jews who were working for the Roman government collecting taxes from their fellows Jews. Many considered them as traitors. That is the “Publicans” in verse 1.  They came to Jesus and to hear Him. Levi other wise known as Matthew was one who followed Him.

“Sinners” would most likely include the murderers, thieves, adulterers, child molesters, rapist, and all the outcasts of this society, and society of 2021. These came to Jesus. Many heard Him, followed Him and have eternal life.

Jesus still calls all who are lost, no matter what your sin might be, to come, hear Him, and choose to follow Him doing His word, walking His way and doing His will.

Call out to Him for salvation. He will hear you.

Those Who Hear the Word of God

“And it came to pass, as He spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto Him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bare Thee, and the paps which Thou hast sucked.’ But He said,
‘Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.’ ”  Luke 11:27-28

More than once in all of Scripture are the words of the Lord giving great blessing on those who read and hear the word of the Lord. One of those places is in the above verses; another is Revelation 1:3. The Psalms are full of the blessing on those who love the word of God – especially Psalm 119.

No person is more blessed than the one’s who will hear the word of the Lord and keep it. It must begin in what the word says about God’s only begotten Son Jesus, the sin of Adam kind, and the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, His burial and resurrection.

You have not began to hear the word of the Lord if you reject that Jesus is indeed the Son of God, God the Son.

Will you hear Him today?

Have You Not Read The Scripture?

After the parable of Mark 12:1-9 Jesus said,
“And have ye not read this Scripture; ‘The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner: this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?’ “  Mark 12:10-11

.Jesus always has a good, even a great question or questions for His accusers. Jesus knows the Scriptures. He is the One who inspired, and gave the Scriptures. Since He gave them to us it is fitting and very proper and a means of the Christian’s growth in the faith of Christ to read them, hear them and do them for His glory.

The parable in verses 1 through 9 is a parable of those who rejected a land owners son, killing him, so that they might be the ones who would inherit the land, since the land owner only had one son.

The scribes and Pharisees, the hypocrites did have the sense to realize the parable was about them, and their rejection of God’s Son who was speaking to them – though they were too blind to see Him as the Son of God.

Do you read the Scriptures? If you are a Christian they are for you and your growing; being conformed into the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). When you know and love Jesus you will read, know, and love His word. You will also see that His word reads you.

Jesus is the “Cornerstone” which the builders rejected. He is rejected by them so that others might be saved and come to the truth of who Jesus is. He is the Son of Man, the Son of God and God the Son who willingly laid His own life down on the cross and was crucified, dying for our sins, was buried, and three days later He rose again and is calling you to Himself. Call out to Him turning from your sins to the Lord Jesus Christ, and He will hear, and He will save you giving you eternal life.

Death and Resurrection

“And He began to teach them, that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.”  Mark 8:31
“And as they came down from the mountain, He charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of Man were risen from the dead.”  Mark 9:9
“For He taught His disciples, and said unto them, ‘The Son of Man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill Him; and after that He is killed, He shall rise the third day.’ ”   Mark 9:31

Three times in two chapters Jesus tells them. How could they have missed it? There is one way and maybe two or three, but Jesus taught the disciples clearly that He was going to die at the hands of evil, and that on the third day He would rise again.

The first way they could have missed is because of their preconceived ideas of what the Messiah was supposed to do. The second way it was missed; not by the disciples but by the religious leaders was their unbelief. The third way it was missed by many, and this would include Judas Iscariot, just plain ole selfishness and greed.

Do not miss the fact, the truth of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He was and is the Messiah of Israel and of the whole earth. If you miss this truth, you will miss out on eternity with Him.

Demons and Swine

“And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. And when He was come out of the ship, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped Him, and cried with a loud voice, and said, ‘What have I to do with thee, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure thee by God, that Thou torment me not.’ For He said unto him,
‘Come out of the man, unclean spirit.’
And He asked him,
‘What is thy name?’
And he answered, saying, ‘My name is Legion: for we are many.’ And he besought Him much that He would not send them away out of the country.
Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. And all the devils besought Him, saying, ‘Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.’ And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.
And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done. And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. And they began to pray Him to depart out of their coasts. And when He was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed Him that he might be with Him. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him,
‘Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.’
And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.”  Mark 5:1-20

I believe that Jesus Christ had the power to cast demons into swine; and that He has the power to do so today. As He has said many times,

“He that has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Jesus, Anger, and the Sabbath

“And He entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they watched Him, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath day; that they might accuse Him. And He saith unto the man which had the withered hand,
‘Stand forth.’
And He saith unto them,
‘Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? To save life, or to kill?’
But they held their peace. And when He had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, He saith unto the man,
‘Stretch forth thine hand.’
And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.”   Mark 3:1-5

The skill and wisdom of Jesus always amazes me. The way He challenges His challengers; the hostile challengers; of His words and life is truly awesome. Just because someone does not like what He says or does, does not deter Him from going ahead and doing what He was going to do in the first place; and He does it with authority and power.

I always take note of verses, also that tell of Jesus having anger, and of those where the word is not used, but also where He displays anger; for instance the two times He drives the money changers out of the Temple with a whip He made Himself. They had defiled His house.

Anger is not always a bad emotion. What makes you angry? That guy or gal that cut you off in traffic? That one in the check-out at Walmart that was rude and nasty to the associated checking them out? Is that really a good anger? Not at all. If it makes us angry to see someone rudely treated, then let’s compliment the one that was just treated that way.

Jesus had earlier in chapter 2 of Mark said the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. I suppose that is for all the laws of God. They are given to aid and to help us realize our evil plight in life, not to provide hindrances for good deeds.

When we come to Jesus, trusting Him as our Lord and Savior all the law is fulfilled in Him. We are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-10). It was provided for us by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Call on the name of the Lord Jesus, believing that God has raised Him from the dead, and you shall be saved (Romans 10:9-10).

We Don’t Know When, So Be Ready

“Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh.”  Matthew 25:13

None of us know the time of our death. Neither does anyone know the time of the Lord’s second coming.

Just as one must be prepared for dying we need to be prepared for the coming of the Lord. One is closely associated with the other.

Please understand. It has been said that there are only two things which are certain in the life; and that is death and taxes. We all will die in this physical body. The heart will beat its final beat; and we will breathe our final breath. Are you ready?

The greatest preparation we can make for death is to call on the name of Jesus when we realize that we are lost, condemned, dying law breakers, headed to eternal judgment. Calling on Jesus who bled and died on the cross as the ultimate payment for our sin, and was buried carrying away all our sin, our shame, our guilt and condemnation, and then He rose from the grave justifying forever those who will come to Him.  See Matthew 26 through 28.

When you call on His name you are then prepared for death and for the coming of the Lord.

A Set Mind On His Destination

“And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them,
‘Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify, and the third day He shall rise again.’ ”   Matthew 20:17-19

Many of us when we are going on a trip in our cars or trucks have a destination; a certain place we are going. There are times on vacation traveling especially when we set out for that destination and do not want to stop until we get there. It is, however, a good thing for us to take in some of the sights, and visit other things as we go.

Jesus came into the world; He came unto us with one set destination in His heart and mind. What was that destination? It was to glorify the Father by fulfilling all the things concerning Himself in Scripture. To begin with that was to go to Jerusalem and die for the sins of the world, upon  a cruel, old rugged cross; taking the sins of the world upon Himself, becoming sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), and taking the judgment from Holy God that should have been our own.

Before the cross He shares at least three times with His disciples that He must die, and that He will rise again. He did. He is alive forever more.

Call on the One and the only One who can redeem you from your sins. Call on the name of the Lord, confessing Him believing that God has raised Him from the dead, and you will be saved (Romans 10:9-10). Make this your destination – eternal life.

Loosing and Binding

“Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  Matthew 18:18

To be honest with you, I am not real sure of the power of these words and the authority that goes with it. It does seem greatly connected to prayer because the verse following has Jesus saying, “That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.”

Jesus also gives to Peter this same authority in chapter sixteen when Peter tells Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” What He gave to Peter He gives to all who follow Him here  in these verses. That is also Christians for this generation of 2021.

I remember a few years ago when I was still driving a school bus, as I was nearing my first pick up; I was greatly burdened for my wife. She was sick, with a fever, a cough, and she had just a few years previously recovered from heart aorta surgery, and gave us a scare in the hospital.

I began to pray out loud, verbally and with great authority, that came only from the Holy Spirit,  and I was really overwhelmed by the power of the Spirit. The prayer was a short one, and I do not remember the words that were said, but I do remember saying something about binding her sickness and casting it from her. When I closed the prayer I had a great peace. I made it to my first stop, picked up the students and took them to school.

When I got home my wife was recovered. No more fever, and no more cough. I thanked and praised the Lord.

I still am not sure of the power and the authority of those words to bind and loose, but I still want to learn, and practice the works of the Spirit of God, and give Him all the glory.

That Which Defiles

“And He called the multitude, and said unto them,
‘Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.’ ” Matthew 15:10-11

When Jesus said this He was addressing the hypocrisy of the religious leaders who had no heart to do His will, but their own. They knew the law but used it for their own ends and means.

Jesus was really revealing their hearts. Their hearts were vile, and evil, and with their mouths they defiled themselves. Further on in chapter 10 and in verses 16 – 20 Jesus explains His words above. All that is evil comes from the heart and is greatly expressed and exposed by the mouth.

Let us be swift to hear the word of the Lord, and in hearing it apply it to our lives beginning with the gospel of Jesus Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection; and receiving the change of heart that comes only through the new birth.

With the new birth of the Spirit we receive a new view of life and living, and an ever increasing faith in Him. With the new birth we also receive a new mouth or new vocabulary; if you will.

Knowing Jesus and His Father

“At that time Jesus answered and said, ‘I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in Thy sight. All things are delivered unto Me of My Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.’ ”  Matthew 11:25-27

It is a blessed thing to know Jesus and the Father, His Father. If you know the Father you know the Son, who is Jesus Christ. If you know the Son you know the Father. You cannot know One and not know the other.

The Father reveals to those who will receive Him with that child like faith, that Jesus is the Son of God. The Son reveals the Father to those who receive Him.

Let me leave some references: 2 John verses 8-9;  1 John 5:1, 10-12.

You can say that you love God, believe in God, and shout it from the highest mountain, yet die in your sins and perish if you deny that Jesus is God Incarnate. He is of the Father, loved by the Father, and through Him we love the Father.

Jesus died for us, was buried, and He rose again. He loves you and is calling you to Himself. Repent of your sins calling on the name of Jesus and He will hear you and He will deliver you giving you eternal life.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-17

To give assurance of deliverance from the “Day of the Lord” [which is a day or darkness]; and that we should not be troubled by the trials we go through.

INTRODUCTION:
Just how are we to know when the “Great Tribulation” or “The time of Jacob’s trouble” begins? There are some distinguishing signs which show us. There are some who teach that the Church will go through the ‘tribulation’. If so, why did Paul write verses one and two of this chapter? There were teachers [false teachers] teaching that the Church would go through this time of trouble, even then, and were even saying they were already in it. Not only was their teaching bad enough, but they were signing (forging) Paul’s name to the letters saying this was his teaching.
In this chapter Paul tells how we can know, and if the lost would pay attention, even how they can recognize the “Day of the Lord”. There must be something that begins the “Time of sorrow”. Paul says there will first of all be a great apostasy [falling way]. This will happen among many who profess Christ as Savior, but have only joined a club (Church membership). There has never been any relationship with Christ, no joy of salvation, no hope for life, and no exciting expectation of Jesus Christ return. The falling away will occur – I believe – because the Church will endure a time of purification [persecution] and the reprobate Church members will flee from the fire.
Of course there is not much need for the Church to know, because the “Day of the Lord” will begin the day Jesus calls out to us from the clouds (the heavens), “Come up here.” If you know the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior you need not fear the “Day of the Lord”.

“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 (KJV)

There is going to be a gathering of the Church. It is stated quite clearly in verse one.
The Church was clearly troubled. They had been troubled by false teachers, and false letters from those teachers, by forging Paul’s name. In doing so they were confusing the people in the Church, and hoping to gain something for themselves. These teachers, and letters were telling the people that the “Day of the Lord” had already come, and they were living in it.
This false message contradicted what Paul was teaching. Paul’s clear teaching, and the Bible’s teaching is that the “Day of the Lord” is a time of great trouble, sorrow on the earth. The day is marked by a sudden disappearance of a certain group of people – namely the Church. Those fundamental, Bible believing, Jesus worshiping, “Blessed hope” watching, born again people will be taken out of the way in order for the progressive way of thought to prevail, and lawlessness to have its way.
The word of “Christ” in verse two is literally the “Day of the Lord.” Though Paul is not saying it was at hand, but that the false teachers were saying it.

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” vv. 3-4

This letter was written partly to warn them against the deceivers. Deceivers have a way of robbing people of their hope, joy and peace. Do not let anyone deceive you.
The “Day of the Lord” is not the “Rapture of the Church”. “The day of the Lord” will not begin until after the rapture, or the “Catching away of the Church”; the “falling way” apostasy (which could occur before the rapture) due to persecution; and the revealing of the “Man of sin” (or Anti-christ) which will follow the rapture.
The apostasy is a rebellion against all that is godly. It will even involve professing Christians who do not know Jesus. They are Christians only because their parents were, or they were “Born in a Christian home”; not due to the new birth in Christ Jesus. These will see Jesus as any other religious leader. This christianity to them is only a religion of choice just as the others. Being a Christian is in fact a personal relationship into which one is called in – chosen by God; the Living God, and it is the only way to eternal life in Heaven.
The apostasy is in affect a militant uprising against all that is pure and for all things that are against God, Jesus and His Church. There is even today, an attempt to silence the Church and the Word of God; especially in the public forum; private owner businesses, and in political debate.
There is also, “the man of sin”, also called the “Son of perdition” who will be revealed, probably, very near to either side of the rapture. Jesus mentions “The son of perdition” in John 17:12. He was in the person of Judas Iscariot the betrayer. This man who will come on the scene will exalt himself, call himself “God”, and will sit in the temple of God – this in the city of Jerusalem. This man will be revealed as the Evil one when he breaks his covenant with Israel three and one half years into the tribulation period. His first introduction will be as a man of peace, and seeming ability to end world economic, religious, and environmental problems (See Revelation 6:1-2). He will be a world ruler.

“Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?” v. 5

These were things Paul had spoken to them about when he was with them. This is only a gentle nudge to call to remembrance what they had heard.

“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He who now letteth will let, until He be taken out of the way.” vv. 6-7

It is not yet time for the “Son of perdition” to be revealed. Really, only God knows when that time will be. When God removes the restraints, then and only then can this deceiver who is also the “Anti-christ” have a free hand.
That raises a question. Who or what is the restraint? Whoever or whatever it is must be the greatest power in all the Universe. He is like the wind; unseen, but you can hear Him at work; you can feel Him touch the cheeks of your soul; you hear His still, small, sweet voice, and you can see His effects upon the lives of people. It is a Person who is restraining. Yes! It is the Person of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God.
There is already, and has been since the garden of Eden; the working of iniquity. When the presence and power of the Holy Spirit is gone iniquity will have a free hand for a while. The Holy Spirit is present and powerful in the Church which is being sanctified by Him for the glory of Christ Jesus. Since Jesus said, “I will not leave you Comfortless” (John 14:18), then He will not leave the Church here without His Spirit (the Comforter). The restraining of the Holy Spirit will continue until the Church is stolen away from this earth, “As a thief in the night.”

“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming…” v. 8

After the Spirit of God is removed with the Church, the son of perdition the Antichrist, who is the devil incarnate (counterfeiting what Jesus did), will be revealed.
Notice, though, Paul’s encouraging words, “…Whom the Lord will consume…” (See Revelation 1:16; 19:11-21). This, of course, will take place after he deceives the people of the earth; the ones who had rejected the truth of the Lord Jesus.
Out of the Lord’s mouth comes a sharp two-edged sword. The two-edged sword is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12). The “Breath of His mouth” referring to the work of the Spirit and the Word. The glory of the Lord is His brightness at His coming.

“…Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” vv. 9-10

The son of perdition will come in the power of Satan. Remember Satan is only a created being, a creature. He will use signs, and miracles to deceive the nations (Revelation 13:13-14). These “Miracles” will have the influence to deceive only “Those who are perishing”. These are people who will have heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but had no use for God, His Spirit, or His Word. They are people who are independent of God, and depend solely on themselves.

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” vv. 11-12

Because they refuse to love the truth God will cause them to believe the lie. Even today when someone hears the message of the gospel, and rejects it just one time; his/her heart will grow a little harder toward the gospel. Each time they hear and reject it the chances of their being saved grows weaker. To say again: That is so even in this day of grace.
God can at any point in the Christ rejecters life harden the heart. When God hardens the heart it is late, very late for saving grace, and very near to judgment. Do not harden your heart. Believe and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior before it is too late.
This seems – in its context – to apply to those who have rejected “the truth” after the requirement of the “Mark”. Only those receiving the “Mark”, ie. rejecting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will receive this “Strong delusion” believing “the lie”.
These are also those who, “Had pleasure in unrighteousness” (See Romans 1:18-32). They worshiped and served the creature [self] rather than the Creator.

“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: whereunto He called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” vv. 13-14

We should all be thankful for God choosing us for salvaation – if indeed we have been chosen. How we are chosen, just as all believers are: 1.) Set apart by the work of the Spirit; and 2.) Believing the truth.
It is done by the gospel, and for the purpose of obtaining the glory of Jesus.
These messages to the Thessalonians are as much a part of the gospel as the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Receive, and believe the whole gospel or perish.

“Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.” vv. 15-17

“Stand fast” or do not be shaken from – do not be moved from your stand of faith.
“Hold the traditions” is not speaking of religious man made traditions, but truths of God’s Word. Paul is here saying to pass along what I have written to you as being from God – it is Scripture. Pass in on from your generation to the next generation, and on to the next, and the next.
Man made tradition most often goes against the Spirit’s intent of Scripture, and we are to shun those. Many times though we want to hold to these and forsake the Scriptural tradition. God forbid.
There is comfort in heeding the Word of God. We find comfort in His grace, knowing that in Him we have everlasting life.
Our lives are to be established in good words and works; established in God and His grace.
Are your works done to glorify Jesus, and to reflect His image to a condemned, dying, and lost world? Does the lost world look at you and me and see comfort peace, or fear and torment?
May the words of this hymn be also our lives:
“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
May the lost, condemned world see Christ, and His love, peace, joy, and all the fruit of the Spirit of God in us and know that something is missing in their hearts and lives…
The “Day of the Lord” is not for those who believe, but for those who do not believe. In this is comfort. Believe!

2 Thessalonians 1:1-12

To show that the suffering we endure for our faith is evidence of righteousness, and that contrary to what some believe judgment awaits all who reject God and His Gospel.
INTRODUCTION:
When your hope has been dashed, and smashed to pieces what do you do? Most times we give up, or not, and push forward. We say, “What is the use? Jesus is coming soon I can quit my job; I can quit trying to lead people to Jesus. He is going to come and all this just won’t matter anymore.” God forbid that we feel this waay, and worse practice these thoughts and feelings.
The Church at Thessalonica was praised by Paul for their faith and love. The last verse of 1 Corinthians 13 mentions faith, and love. Why did Paul not recognize and admire their hope? They had lost hope. At least some of them had quit their jobs thinking, maybe saying, “What is the use?” Some false teachers were telling them they were already in the “Tribulation period”. Their faith and love; they had plenty; but hope had been lost in the persecution they were experiencing, and because of the false teachers and their teaching. When your hope is taken away there is just not much left worth living for. Paul is writing to reestablish hope in them.
Sometimes hope is dashed when we look and see evil prospering. God will have His day on the evil wicked of the world. They will not be able to stand the judgment of the wrath to come.
We who are in Christ Jesus, need not lose hope. The very evidence of our endurance in the midst of persecution is evidence of God’s righteous judgment. He gives endurance to those who are His – He strengthens us to persevere to the end (Matthew 24:13).

“Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:1-2 (KJV)

This is the same introduction as the first letter, therefor, not too much need to comment, except to say Paul was very high on the grace of God. He depended on it. His life, and ours must depend on it for eternity.

“We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; so that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure…” vv. 3-4

Paul has noticed something missing at Thessalonica – hope. They were quitting, just giving up. The persecution they were experiencing even affected their work – their way of making a living. Those who owned businesses were being shunned because of their faith [We would call it a “Boycott”].
They needed hope. Hoe is the life-blood of progress. People who have hope can accomplish just about anything. The only hope for mankind – all of humanity – is faith in Jesus through whom God gave the gift of salvation – eternal life. If we understand hope; hope is the motivation of faith and love.
People who are without hope – especially a Church that is without hope is dead or dying. We preach and teach that Jesus is coming soon, but where is our hope? If we had hope, would we not be telling everyone to get ready? At least as many as we possibly can? Understand, our hope – “The Blessed hope” – is not wishful thinking which has no substance. Faith is the substance of our hope (Hebrews 11:1). God said it, I believe it, so that settles it. One I like better than that one “God said it; that settles it whether you and I believe it or not.” Our hope as Christians is backed up with what God has said; His promises and prophecies will not fail.

“Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer…” v. 5

God uses persecution to build us and make us stronger in faith, and to root out those without faith. Those who endure persecutions because of their faith show the “righteous judgment of God”, and those who do not persevere show it as well. God truly knows those who are His.
Many complain about trials and persecutions in their lives, but does an athlete complain about running till his/her legs ache, lifting weights until his/her arms hurt? If a mountain climber does not hurt he probably has not climbed a mountain for a while. We can think, “Well these people voluntarily do that.” A-men. Do not we the people of Faith volunteer as well? If we are to be strong in faith let us face the weights, the running, and the mountains for the glory of our God, and His righteousness.

“…Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you…” v. 6

Those who fall away are many times the very ones who will cause the faithful trouble. There are some who seem to remain faithful to the Church, but never endure any persecution, because they live outside the Church like everyone else. They are trouble to the Church, whether they actually lift a finger against her or not. It is a righteous act for God to cause them trouble.

“…And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels…” v. 7

While the rest of the world will be suffering from God’s judgment the Church will be at rest. During that period of seven years we will be in the presence of our Lord and Savior enjoying His glory. Where will you be when He comes?

“…In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power…” vv. 8-9

In Hebrews 10:31 the word of God tells us, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.” Hebrews 12:29 says, “For our God is a consuming fire.”
Just as surely as Jesus is coming for His Church, He is coming also to take vengeance on the unbelieving – those who obey not the gospel. Many cannot see a loving God doing this. This loving God made a way possible for unholy men and women to become holy, and the unbelieving spit in His face, stomped His blood under their feet, and still proclaim with much hate toward Him, “I don’t need that. God is love. He won’t cast me into Hell.” If this holy, loving God will not cast unbelievers into Hell, then His Word is not trustworthy, there is not salvation, and there awaits nothing but damnation for us all.
Notice the forms of judgment mentioned: Flaming fire, Vengeance, Punishment, Everlasting destruction, Separation from the presence, glory, and power of the Lord.

“…When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” v. 10

What glory that will be when He is glorified in us. What is that glory? That others believe Him through our faith and testimony.

“Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power: that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” vv. 11-12

Hope can often be restored by letting people know you are praying for them, and how you are praying.

How was Paul praying? 1.) That God would count you worthy of this calling; 2.) Fulfill the good pleasure of His goodness; 3.) The work of faith with power; 4.) That Jesus name be glorified in you; 5.) You in Him; 6.) According to His grace; 7.) Fulfilled through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, and His coming in the clouds.

It is solely by His grace. There is no other way of salvation.

We can rest in God’s grace that He will deliver us from the wrath to come, when we are in Christ. We have that hope, that promise in Christ Jesus.

If our lost loved ones, friends, and neighbors die in unbelief there will be no rest for them. After Jesus comes, any hope of salvation is gone.