Archive for the ‘Good news’ Category

Gospel Verses

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

I’ve been enjoying this list of gospel-related verses. Perhaps you will be blessed and more burdened for souls through reading them as well.

Genesis 1:1: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Genesis 6:8: But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
Exodus 12:13: And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
Deuteronomy 32:29: O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!
Job 12:10: In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.
Job 14:10: But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?
Job 36:18: Because there is wrath, beware lest he take thee away with his stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee.
Psalm 1:6: For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Psalm 8:4: What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
Psalm 14:1: The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
Psalm 19:1: The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
Psalm 22:1: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
Psalm 22:16: For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
Psalm 23:1: The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

(more…)

113. Who is Mary?

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

A little girl asked me recently, “Is Mary God?”

It sickens me to think that churches today could be giving this impression to little children like this one. Of course, these churches are likely not saying Mary is God. That’s not in their creeds or statements of faith. Yet I know enough to know that actions may speak louder than words, and churches of today treat Mary like a god. This little girl’s question may be evidence for that. From what I have witnessed and heard, Mary is often worshiped, prayed to, and revered in churches of today, even over the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. How tragic! People are placing their faith in a woman who has no greater power or authority than you or me, rather than in the all-powerful, all-wise Creator and Savior of the world! They stand upon ancient tradition rather than the infallible, eternal Word of the living God. It is this Word that tells us who Mary really was. She was Jesus’ mother, who gave birth to the Christ as a virgin. She was godly, but not perfect. She acknowledged her need for a Savior, and that all generations would call her blessed. Blessed by who? We see she was blessed by God to have the great privilege of bringing Jesus into this world. This is the highest honor the Holy Scriptures give to Mary: she is called “favored” and “blessed.”

What words did Mary speak about Jesus? She told some servants at a wedding, “Whatever He says to you, do it” (John 2:5). What did Jesus say about Mary, when she was wanting to speak to Him and the crowds were all around Him? He said, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers? …whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:48-50 ESV). The Lord didn’t exult His mother above others; rather he emphasized the importance of our relationship with God over physical relationships, including the relationship to His earthly mother.

Oh world, wake up! You stand upon sinking sand, all you who pray to a Mary who cannot save or give you help. Come to Jesus, and live!

Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 ESV).

“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all” (1Timothy 2:5-6 ESV)

110. Three Mountains in Hebrews 12

Friday, March 13th, 2015

I thought I would share with you my contemplation of three mountains in Hebrews 12:18-24.

In this passage, we note two mountains representing concepts of tremendous significance: Mount Sinai, and Mount Zion. Mount Sinai represents law and the old covenant. Mount Zion represents grace through a new and better covenant.

You will remember the experience of the children of Israel when they first received the law at the foot of Mount Sinai. Moses went up into the fiery mountain and received the law and the two tablets of stone from God. When he came back down from the mountain, the people were already breaking the very commandments they had just promised to keep, resulting in fearful judgment (Exodus 24; 32). With the intercession of Moses, the nation was spared (Ex. 32:11-14).

But where is Mount Zion, and what happened there? In the Old Testament, the term “Zion” is linked with Jerusalem, the city of David. Many times it is linked with victory, glory, and divine presence and favor. Hebrews 12:22, the term Mount Zion symbolizes the location of “the heavenly Jerusalem.” This is the place God has promised to bless. This is the place to which God’s Lamb will return, and this is the place where the King of kings will reign in all His glory in a future day. The Hebrew writer links it with the church’s position of grace, in contrast to Mt. Sinai’s law.

The contrast in Hebrews 12 is clear, and the physical contrast brings out some spiritual differences between law and grace. Let’s consider them briefly.

At Mount Sinai, we read “Moses exceedingly feared.” It was a place of dread, a fearful place. There was an all-consuming fire, the symbol of the awesome holiness of the God of the universe, a God who must judge sin. A whirlwind and violent earthquake shook the mountain, showing the tremendous power of the unapproachable, unseen God.  A holy God must have holy requirements: thus, at Sinai, duty was demanded. The law brought fear, because it displayed a holy God who required absolute holiness in His people, a holiness which they could not live up to. The character of God was in stark contrast to a sinful people. Lightning flashed, and thunder rolled as God spoke from the mount. The mountain was shrouded in darkness: God was hidden from human view, and death was declared with the blast of a trumpet for any man or beast that would even touch the mountain where God came to meet with one man, Moses. When God commenced to speak to the people, they could not bear to hear the words of such a holy God and cried to Moses for him to speak to God on their behalf.

Come now to Mount Zion, the mountain of grace. What a contrast! If at Mt. Sinai, there was fear and dread, at Mt. Zion we find peace, for Jerusalem means city/foundation/possession of peace. “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 8:1). If Sinai brought darkness, exposing the sin of the people, and obscuring God from mankind, at Mount Zion we find light, and access to the very throne room of God (Rev. 21:23). “Now are ye light in the Lord” (Eph 5:8). “We have boldness and access with confidence” (Eph 3:12). If Sinai displayed the all-consuming fire of God’s holiness and the warning of certain death, Mount Zion displays the all-sufficient cleansing of the water of the Word and the blood of God’s Lamb. If Sinai shook with the power of an omnipotent God as if it could fall at any moment under the Almighty, Zion stands in an unshakable, eternal kingdom. If at Sinai the people were bound by duty to keep the whole law, or die, at Zion there is rest in the all-sufficiency of the work of Christ to cleanse from all sin, bringing eternal life to the thirsty soul (Rev. 21:4). Finally, if at Mount Sinai the people could not bear to hear the words of God, at Mount Zion, the very Word of God dwells with men (Rev 21:3). He spoke and said, “I will come again, and receive you unto Myself.” He speaks the words of eternal life. To receive His word is to receive life, and in place of a whirlwind of divine fury, we receive, within, the Spirit of God in all of His transforming power.

Two mountains. Two stark contrasts. “But,” you say, “you spoke of three mountains.” And that I did. For without the third mountain, we would have no way of getting from Mount Sinai to Mount Zion. The valley is too deep. The passage is impossible. We need Mount Calvary.

Was Calvary truly a mountain? Christ was crucified outside of Jerusalem, and we have already considered Jerusalem as being located on Mount Zion, so I think the term is appropriate. It is the mountain of divine provision and substitution, where Abraham gave up his only son to God and God provided a substitute for his Isaac (Genesis 22:2). It is the mountain of divine sacrifice, where David offered to God a sacrifice to put away the plague of sin (2 Chronicles 3:1). It is the mountain of the divine presence, where Solomon built a sanctuary in which the LORD dwelt (2 Chronicles 3:1).  (More on that here.)

Mount Calvary takes us from Mount Sinai to Mount Zion. It is the bridge between sinful mankind and a holy God. At Mount Calvary we find the answer to man’s problem that he has had ever since Adam’s fall: the problem of his sin.

Calvary’s dread purchased our peace (Luke 22:44). Calvary’s fire purchased our healing (Lam 1:13; John 19:28; Isaiah 53:5-6). Calvary’s dark separation purchased our union to God, bringing us into His marvelous light (Psalm 22:1-2; Mark 15:33-34; 1 Peter 2:9). At Christ’s death, the earth shook and the rocks were split (Matt 27:51) as the Author of Life went into death to take our place and offer us life. Calvary’s duty purchased our deliverance from the bondage of sin and provided eternal rest (John 19:30; Titus 3:5; Heb 4:10). We hear unforgettable words from Mount Calvary: words of distance–“My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”– and words of grace, “Father, forgive them.” Yes, Mount Calvary transports us from Mount Sinai to Mount Zion. This Mediator had the power to deliver us from judgment (Heb 12:24). What grace! What love!

The character of our God has not changed. He is still a consuming fire (Heb 12:29). But thank God, by His infinite grace the veil separating us from God was rent at the cross. We can now enter into a relationship with Him in which we are enabled to serve Him acceptably, not now out of duty, but out of devotion as our hearts overflow in love to the Savior who did so much for us.

Have you arrived at Mount Zion? Have you been to Mount Calvary? Sinai’s terror is the lot of all those who reject the Savior and refuse to hear His voice. Mount Zion’s rest is the bliss of all those who bow to Him as Lord and accept Him as their own Savior. “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3).

96. A Tremendous Contrast

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (Matt. 4:8-10)

He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (Rom. 8:32)

The devil offers the world and its pleasures in exchange for a person’s soul. He’s always ready to make a deal if it will lead to mankind’s demise. In contrast, Christ offered Himself to save our soul. His going was not dependent upon our receiving His gift, but those who do receive Him, share in His glory forever (John 17:22).

Satan’s motive is pride: he has absolutely no care for those he has enslaved. In contrast, Christ’s motive is love: He was willing to give Himself for those who were enslaved by sin and take their place.

Satan desires glory out of pride. He wants to be like God (Isaiah 14:14). God has intrinsic glory– that is to say, it is His by virtue of who He is. He desires glory from mankind because it is His own and He will let none steal it (Isaiah 42:8), and because of His love. He longs to bless us and feel the appreciation of our hearts for all He is and does for us, as a Father who cares for His children.

Satan promises a moment of pleasure. God promises an eternity of abundant life.

87. Who touched Me?

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Luke 8:40-48

The crowds were surrounding Him, jostling Him, constantly bumping into Him. Yet suddenly, the Savior says, “Who touched Me?”  The crowd denies it, though just seconds before they had obviously been coming into contact with Him. Yet this was not the Savior’s interest. Someone had touched the hem of His garment, and she had been instantly healed of her illness. She is unnamed, but singled out in the Word of God as one who had the touch of faith.

Millions today go to church every week. They chatter about this, that and the other thing, and perhaps hardly listen to the message that is given. They crowd into the pews and enjoy the entertaining music. They jostle the Savior and bump into Him religiously, even giving generously. Yet among the crowd, the Lord’s voice can still be heard, centuries after that occasion near the Sea of Galilee: “Who touched Me?

Many deny it. They deny it in their unholy thoughts, in their daily talk, in their fruitless walk. Yet one by one, the Savior is still saving those who reach out in faith to receive the forgiveness that they have for so long longed for. The church’s doctors couldn’t cure them, the crowd certainly didn’t help them. Only the Son of God could bring light and life into their souls. Yes, still there are those who place their faith in the Great Physician; who simply and solely reach out and receive the gift He has offered, surrendering to His Lordship and acknowledging His grace to an unworthy sinner.

Who touched Me?

Have you?

84. “Faith works”

Friday, August 10th, 2012

— from The Bible Answers by Harold Smith

QUESTION : If salvation is by grace alone and not by works, then couldn’t Christians live any old way they wish?

ANSWER: Salvation is clearly defined in Ephesians 2:8-9 as being by grace (on God’s part) through faith ALONE (on our part) and “not of works lest any man should boast.” The following verse states, “For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works…” (Ephesians 2:10). Grace alone saves, but grace is never alone. Salvation is not by works BUT IT WORKS.

We have too many professing Christians who have a salvation that DOES NOT WORK. Paul could say, “I am what I am BY THE GRACE OF GOD” (1 Corinthians 15:10).

Salvation is like a person that has a plumbing problem. They know nothing about plumbing. They are absolutely incapable of fixing it, but they know a plumber that they believe can fix it. Their confidence in him is so high that through their faith in him they call him to fix it. They do no more. They leave it all to him. If when he is finished the plumbing works then their faith in him produced it, for had they not called him in it would still be the same.

A person has a sin problem. Their life is all messed up. They cannot straighten it out. They are absolutely helpless (Romans 5:6). So they call in a Saviour. They trust in Him to do for them what they cannot do for themselves. He comes in and the life begins to work right. He is able to save to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25). So the plumber comes in and the plumbing works. The Saviour comes in and the life works.

If you have a salvation that does not work it is NOT THE SALVATION THE SAVIOUR PROVIDED. It is a reflection on the ability of the Saviour to profess salvation and live habitually in known sin. Good works have nothing to do with saving; but it is the evidence that we are saved. Titus 3:8: “…that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.”

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12 NASB).

72. How’s my heart? (Part I)

Monday, May 7th, 2012

A properly functioning heart is essential to the life of our body. In a spiritual way, the state of our heart is also paramount in our lives for God. I would like to consider the role and effect our heart has in various periods of our lives.

Part I: Life’s beginning: the heart’s role in Rebirth

The Heart and Repentance

Spiritual life begins with the heart. God’s Word must touch my heart before I become serious about my need for salvation. It must reach into my inner being and make me aware of my sinful condition before God and need for forgiveness. On the day of Pentecost, Peter stood up and preached a message that “pierced to the heart” of the listeners, as they understood that their sins had nailed the Son of God to the tree, and they responded in deep distress, “what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37 NASB). A repentant heart is first necessary before rebirth can take place.

The Heart and Salvation

The Philippian jailer asked the same question, “What must I do to be saved?” in Acts 16. The response Paul and Silas gave to him was “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). Paul writes in Romans 10:10 that it is “with the heart one believes and is justified…” (ESV). Faith is believing God, but it is not a simple acceptance of a few facts in the Bible.  Faith must be from the heart. It must come from the being of the person, a connection made with the living God, resulting in a life that is transformed. It is a faith that acknowledges I am a guilty sinner, but Jesus died for me, and I accept Him as my Lord and Savior. A person who believes God to salvation is never the same again. A believing heart is essential for salvation.

The Heart and Transformation

When a person is saved, they are a different person. God places His Holy Spirit within them, and they have a new desire to please God. Hebrews 10:16-17 says, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” A changed heart is the result of salvation.

(to be continued)