What Shall Separate Us From The Love Of Christ?

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written, “For Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:35-39

When He Offered Up Himself

For such an High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for His own sins, and then for the people’s: for this He did once, when He offered up Himself.  For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.
Hebrews 7:26-28

Jesus Christ; Crucified Only Once

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.
For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: but that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
Hebrews 6:4-8

The Grace Of God Teaches Us

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
Titus 2:11-15

I Will Boast in Nothing Except the Cross of Jesus Christ

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.  And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
Galatians 6:14-16

The Good News Preached to Abraham

Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.  And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, “In thee shall all nations be blessed.”  So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
Galatians 3:6-9

That I Might Preach Jesus

For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: and profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.  But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
Galatians 1:13-17

The Light Has Shined

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.  For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:3-6

Because He Lives

Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?  But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.  Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.  For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.  But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.  For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
1 Corinthians 15:12-22

Christ the Power of God

For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.  For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:  but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
1 Corinthians 1:21-24

I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy…

What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.  For He saith to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”  So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.  For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, “Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew My power in thee, and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth.”  Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth.
Romans 9:14-18

By the Righteousness of The One

Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.  For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.  Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 5:18-21

The Righteousness of God Revealed

So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
Romans 1:15-17

He learned obedience by the things He suffered…

So also Christ glorified not Himself to be made an High Priest; but He that said unto Him, “Thou art My Son, to day have I begotten Thee.”  As He saith also in another place, “Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec,”  who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared; though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him; called of God an High Priest after the order of Melchisedec.
Hebrews 5:5-10

Change Is Possible For All

I remember an episode of Bonanza from years ago. It seems there was a man who had been in prison, and Ben was giving the man a chance, after getting out, and someone made the comment, “One bad apple spoils the whole bunch” to which Ben replied, “We are dealing with a man, not apples”. What ever happened to shows like this, where change is possible.

In seeing episodes of “Law and Order” and hearing comments on news shows like Fox and Friends, and them making comments such as, “Child sexual abusers cannot change” it certainly gives no hope. I must agree that left to ourselves, there is no hope. We are a depraved people.

The answers to the following questions will show how big of grace you believe God has:
1. Can God save and change a murderer?
2. Can God save and change a rapist?
3. Can God save and change a kidnapper?
4. Can God save and change a sodomite/homosexual?
5. Can God save and change a child molester?
6. Can God save and change a parent killer? (This one could fit with the first.)
7. Can God save and change a God/Christ-hater? and

8. Can God save and change you?

Now how will you answer that?

Here is the Bible’s answer –
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.    1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Notice the “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!

All who come to Jesus are changed by the power of the Holy Spirit given to all who have called on Jesus as Lord and Savior.

He Only is My Rock and My Salvation

My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.  He only is my rock and my salvation: He is my defence; I shall not be moved. Psalm 62:5-6

The following is from John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible of Psalm 62 verses  5 and 6.

My soul, wait thou only upon God,…. Be silent and subject to him, acquiesce in his providences, rest in him patiently and quietly, wait for his salvation; See Gill on Psa_62:1; perhaps some new temptation might arise, and David’s soul began to be uneasy and impatient; for frames are very changeable things; and therefore he encourages it to be still and quiet, and patiently wait on the Lord, and on him only:
for my expectation is from him; or “my hope”, as the Targum; the grace of hope is from the Lord, and the thing hoped for is from him; he is the author and the object of it; and his word of promise encourages to the exercise of it; or “my patience”; as the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions. The grace of patience is from the Lord; the means of it is his word; and it is exercised, tried, and increased by afflictions sent and sanctified by him; and “expectation” is nothing else than these graces in exercise, a waiting patiently for things hoped for Old Testament saints expected the first coming of Christ; New Testament saints expect his second coming; and all expect good things from him in time and eternity; nor shall their expectation fail and perish; and therefore is a reason why their souls should wait only on the Lord.

He only is my rock and my salvation,…. See Gill on Psa_62:2;
he is my defence; these epithets of God are repeated, to strengthen his faith and hope in him, and to encourage a patient waiting upon him;
I shall not be moved; neither greatly, nor at all; his faith gets fresh strength and rigour, the more he considers God as his rock, salvation, defence, and refuge; See Gill on Psa_62:2.

For God to be your rock and salvation you need to come to Him by way of the cross of Jesus Christ. On the cross Jesus paid our debt that we could not pay and have everlasting life, Jesus was buried taking away our sin, our guilt, our condemnation and death, then Jesus came out of the grave alive forever more. Come to Him. Call on His name in faith and repentance.

The Redeemed

But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for He shall receive me. Selah. Psalm 49:15

Every man, woman, boy and girl is condemned to an eternal, excruciating death. Unless there would be a Mediator step in and pay the price of our sin. We are all born into this world condemned by sin, spiritually dead, and seemingly without hope.

Many people try to redeem themselves by good works. Many of those same people think they have lived a good life therefore God owes them an eternity with Him. They just work themselves into Hell and eternal damnation, because they do not believe God’s word.

The Psalmist says that it is God who will redeem my soul. When Isaiah the prophet saw the LORD, high and lifted up, he fell on his face  crying “Woe is me. I am undone. I am a man of unclean lip and I dwell in the midst of people of unclean lips, for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5). It is God who convicts and convinces us of sin, and it is He who draws us to Himself in humility and faith.

God receives us only through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, His burial and resurrection. In His death He has paid the sin debt of all who will believe Him.

O will you hear Him today? You are not good enough to please God. All our goodness, and righteousnesses are as filthy rags to God (Isaiah 64:6). Only the righteousness of Jesus Christ can redeem us (2 Corinthians 5:21). He has paid the price. Will you receive Him?

…The Days of the Upright…

The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. Psalm 37:18-19

This is one of the most comforting and encouraging of the one hundred fifty Psalms.

While we know that the LORD is all knowing (Omniscient), it is great to know that He cares for those who are His even in, and especially in times of darkness of evil.

I will share today from Spurgeon’s  TREASURY OF DAVID…

“The Lord knoweth the days of the upright.” His foreknowledge made him laugh at the proud, but in the case of the upright he sees a brighter future, and treats them as heirs of salvation. Ever is this our comfort, that all events are known to our God, and that nothing in our future can take him at unawares. No arrow can pierce us by accident, no dagger smite us by stealth; neither in time nor in eternity can any unforeseen ill occur to us. Futurity shall be but a continual development of the good things which the Lord has laid up in store for us. “And their inheritance shall be for ever.” Their inheritance fades not away. It is entailed, so that none can deprive them of it, and preserved, so that none shall destroy it. Eternity is the peculiar attribute of the believer’s portion: what they have on earth is safe enough, but what they shall have in heaven is theirs without end.

“They shall not be ashamed in the evil time.” Calamities will come, but deliverances will come also. As the righteous never reckoned upon immunity from trouble, they will not be disappointed when they are called to take their share of it, but the rather they will cast themselves anew upon their God, and prove again his faithfulness and love. God is not a friend in the sunshine only, he is a friend indeed and a friend in need. “And in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.” Their barrel of meal and cruse of oil shall last out the day of distress, and if ravens do not bring them bread and meat, the supply of their needs shall come in some other way, for their bread shall be given them. Our Lord stayed himself upon this when he hungered in the wilderness, and by faith he repelled the tempter; we too may be enabled not to fret ourselves in any wise to do evil by the same consideration. If God’s providence is our inheritance, we need not worry about the price of wheat. Mildew, and smut, and bent, are all in the Lord’s hands. Unbelief cannot save a single ear from being blasted, but faith, if it do not preserve the crop, can do what is better, namely, preserve our joy in the Lord.

I pray you know the All Knowing, All Present, All Powerful One through His Holy, Righteous Son Jesus who died on the cross for our sins, was buried and He rose again, proving the word of God to be true including every word He has spoken. Jesus is the Son of God, God the Son.

The Eye Of The LORD

Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy;  To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.  Psalm 33:18-19

It is very comforting, encouraging, and motivating to hear the above words of David. One of my favorite verses of the Old Testament is found in 2 Chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him.” and I know in its text it is telling king Asa what he is missing out on due to his rebellious heart.

For those who have a perfect heart toward God; those who fear Him and hope in His mercy, He will deliver from horrible eternal death in eternal torment, and give them food to eat when things are hard.

Now, whose heart is perfect toward God? Those who look to God through His Son Jesus, who took our place on Calvary’s cross, dying for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again. When we realize our lost, and hopeless estate, and call on His name believing in His finished work we are delivered from death, and can know that His eye is ever upon us perfecting, protecting, and providing our every need.

The work God starts in us, He will finish (Philippians 1:6).

High Esteem for the Word of GOD

My foot hath held His steps, His way have I kept, and not declined.  Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.   Job 23:11-12

How important is food to you? Most of us in the United States of America eat three meals a day and without fail. We know there are many children and adults in this nation who do without far too many days, and that should not even be happening here.

How important is the word of GOD to you?

Job says in the above verses that holding to His steps, walking in His way, obeying His commandments as more highly esteemed than even his necessary food.

Why should we highly esteem the word of GOD? Why do we highly esteem our food we eat  every day? It is necessary for our sustenance, for life, for living in this world. I we do not eat food we grow weak, sickness sets in, and eventually we die. The same is true for our spirit and soul as well.

The redeemed spirit and soul of man will desire the word of GOD, hunger for it, will be one of our highest desires to know and grow in faith in the Lord our God and Savior. Through the word of God we learn about God, His love, mercy, grace, righteousness, holiness and justice. We learn of His sending His Son Jesus; and when we start in the book of beginnings we learn the book is about God loving the world that He would send His Son to die for the sins of the world.

If you do not have high esteem for the word of GOD, for reading, studying, and for personal application of the word in your life, you are most likely not His.

Trust the Lord Jesus Christ, believe Him, repent of your sins calling on His name and He will hear you. Through faith in Him you will have a high esteem for what He says.

He died for our sins on the cross, was buried, and He rose again. Believe Him.

In Bad Circumstances

Then said his wife unto him, “Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die.”  But he said unto her, “Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this did not Job sin with his lips. Job 2:9-10

In bad circumstances? Are you suffering from some sickness, disease, financial chaos, family issues that are tough? You are not alone.

Job was a man whom God proclaimed, that Job was “perfect and upright” and that he feared God, and shuns evil (Job 1:8; 2:3). Yet if we look at his life he suffered unlike any man or woman ever has, or ever will; with one exception being that of God’s only begotten Son who died on the cross for the sins of the world.

Let us look at the above two verses from Job two. It concerns his wife who is unnamed in the book. Her faith was evidently unlike that of Jobs. Job and his wife had lost their ten children, though they were evidently grown. They had died in a great wind storm (Job 1:18-19); and that would be quite sorrowful to any mother and father.

“Why don’t you just curse God and die”, was the wife’s response. That probably cut to the heart of Job, but in faith he responds, “You speak as one of the foolish women. Shall we receive good at the hand of the Lord, and not hardship as well?”

It would hurt the heart of a man who loves his wife, and he seeing her as a woman of faith as well, to have her come to him and say what Job’s wife said.

The past two years have been very difficult for many  people. Having lost loved ones that in our minds seems too soon. “They were so young. They didn’t deserve to die.” That is really one of those statements that come from pain of sorrow, but holds no authority.

Did Job’s children deserve to die? “It is appointed unto all people once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). So we are all going to die. It is not in our purview to know how or when anyone dies, including ourselves.

Some very somber thoughts, I know. Let us think about this for a moment. You do not know when you will die. You do not know when your spouse will die; or when a single one of your children will die. So what can we do?

The One I spoke of earlier who suffered worse than Job, is the One who loves Job and you and me.  We can be ready to meet death without fear. Without fear of when or where it will take place, and without fear of where we will spend eternity.

When you receive God’s free gift of grace in salvation through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ death is defeated, and you will have everlasting life.

Are you in bad circumstances? Call on the name of the Lord.

The Scepter of the King

Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king’s house, over against the king’s house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house.  And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre. Esther 5:1-2

The Agagite Haman was seeking to destroy the Jews who were in the provinces of the Mede/Persian empire. Haman hated the Jews probably for at least two reasons. Haman was a descendant of the king of the Amalekites in 1 Samuel 15 who was Agag.

Samuel had given Saul, the king of Israel, word to destroy all the people, and all their livestock and to keep nothing. Saul had disobeyed the command from God’s servant, thus from God. Thus it came down for Samuel to kill Agag. Evidently someone of Agag’s people escaped death that day and thus we have Haman trying to destroy the Jewish people of the  Mede/Persian empire. Read the book of Esther for the second reason. It involved Mordecai.

Esther had not seen the king for a month, and Mordecai sends her a message that she needed to act in defense of her people; remember  Esther is a Jew as well. She needs to approach the king on a busy day, and she puts on the proper attire, and she has called for Mordecai, and other Jews to fast and pray. Though the name of God is never used in Esther, He can definitely be seen.

Esther breaks protocol for visiting the king. He life hangs in the balance. She comes through the door of the palace. The king sees her, has mercy on her and holds out his scepter to her, which grants her privilege to enter without further fear. She touches the top of the scepter in recognition of the favor she has been granted.

Though God may be silent, He is still Sovereign in all.

It is by the grace and mercy of our King Jesus that He gave us the scepter of His cross, and anyone coming to Him in faith believing Him and touching that cross, believing in His death for our sins, His burial, and resurrection will live eternally in His presence. That scepter of the cross is still held out to all who will come to Him.

 

 

Confession and Repentance

And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers.  And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.  Nehemiah 9:2-3

The people who had returned to Jerusalem, first with Ezra, and with Nehemiah a few years later had finished the task which they had came to do. Ezra’s task was to rebuild the Temple; Nehemiah’s task was to rebuild the wall.

Both of the jobs were completed. The wall had been rebuilt in 52 days (Nehemiah 6:15) and they were celebrating by reading the Law of God. People wept because of their sins. When was the last time we wept over our sins against God; and believe me they are quite numerous. These people spent a whole week in reading Scripture, hearing the word of God, and confessing and repenting of their sins.

What happened first? They separated themselves from “all strangers” that means their foreign wives and children, all alliances that had been made with foreigners, especially buying their goods on the Sabbath.

Then, they confessed their sins and the sins of their fathers who had caused them to stray away from God and led to their captivity of seventy years in Babylon.

When their sins had been dealt with then, they worshiped the Most High and Holy, Holy, Holy God.

None of this took place without the reading of God’s word and hearing it; doing it.

Confession of sin and repentance is needed by God’s people today. John the apostle wrote, “If we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Fight For Your Brethren

And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, “Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.” Nehemiah 4:14

Nehemiah had a passion for Jerusalem and the returning captives from the captivity. Ezra had already come and was in the process of rebuilding the Temple and had been for a few years before Nehemiah arrived.

Sanballat and Tobiah were two who opposed the work of the now free people of Israel, and they had threatened, and tried with all they could do to stop the work of God. One thing godless people who hate God and His work through His people need to know and to realize is that once God sends His people with a passion for His work, it will not be stopped.

When threats come from without or within it is a good word to hear the words “Be not afraid” and then put your hand to the work with your tools in one hand and your weapon of self defense in the other (Nehemiah 4:16-18).

They fought for themselves, for the brethren, and for the cause of the LORD God Most High, awesome and holy in all His ways.

We Christians today must remember what the apostle Paul said, “The weapons of our warfare and not of the flesh, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4), and many times, much of the time these strongholds are within ourselves.

Be not afraid, stand and fight the enemy. How we stand will be a stand for the brethren too.

The ultimate battle was won when Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, He was buried, and He bodily arose and came out of that grave alive forever more. Believe Him, repent of your sins, calling on His name and you become a victor.