I AM

I AM

(Written by Rhoda Griffin January 16, 2018)

 

I am the bread of life

Sent down from above

Whoever comes to me shall find

I am quite enough

 

I am the light of the world

In darkness I do shine

Whoever follows me shall have

This light and life of mine

 

I am the door of the sheep

To pastures safe and sweet

Whoever enters by me has

Salvation full and free

 

I am the good shepherd

Who lays his dear life down

Whoever hears my voice, I know

And by him I am known

 

I am the resurrection

And the life, that am I

Whoever believes in me shall live

In me he shall never die

 

I am the Way, the truth, the life

The only way to heaven

Whoever comes to God through me

Will find his sins forgiven

 

I am the true vine

You branches rely on me

Whoever abides in me shall bear

Much fruit for eternity

 

© Copyright 2018 by Rhoda Griffin.  Please do not copy or distribute this content without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

The Greatest Gift

The Greatest Gift

Seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus, the prophet said, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given” (Isa. 9:6). That prophecy was fulfilled in the words of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”.

Jesus Christ was God’s Christmas Gift, and God never gives anything but the best! The Bible says in James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights”.

With deep gratitude for this Gift, the apostle wrote, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift” (II Cor. 9:15).

The blessed Heavenly Father gave the first Christmas Gift. Romans 8:32 states, “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?” Salvation is the gift of God.

The Scripture says in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” As we think about God’s glorious Christmas Gift, let’s consider that it was:

An Unsolicited Gift
It wasn’t man who saw his need and asked for God’s help; it was the blessed Father who foresaw our need and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). We get many gifts that we don’t need, but the gift of God, which is eternal life, through Jesus Christ, is a gift every one of us needs.

An Unlimited Gift
Jesus Christ was God’s Gift to the entire world. No one is excluded. “He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world,” states I John 2:2. And Hebrews 2:9 plainly states “that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”

An Unspeakable Gift
Thinking of this wonderful Gift, the Apostle Paul said, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift” (II Cor. 9:15). Rest assured that God never gives anything but the best: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.” (James 1:17). Jesus Christ is God’s unspeakable Gift! He is beyond telling! He is indescribable! He is inexpressible!

An Unchanging Gift
Jesus Christ is God’s unchanging Gift.  Christmas gifts we received several years ago have now become obsolete, but Jesus is always current; He is always new; He never changes. He is the same today to those who trust Him as Saviour as He was to those who trusted Him two thousand years ago! He is perfect, so He cannot get any better.  Also, because of His perfection, he will never deteriorate or disappoint.

An Undeserved Gift
The very fact that salvation is a gift indicates that it is undeserved. If it is earned or deserved, it is no longer a gift. A gift is something offered with no strings attached. Salvation is wholly of grace. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8,9).

An Unclaimed Gift
How sad to imagine that after sacrifice and expense, some gift is unclaimed, some package is unopened! How sad the giver must feel to think that the gift is not wanted! Yet the greatest gift of all, God’s Gift, Jesus Christ, is still unclaimed by millions!

The words believe and receive are used synonymously in the Scriptures. The Bible says in John 1:12, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” To believe is to receive. The Bible word believe means to trust, to depend on, to rely on. To receive God’s Christmas Gift simply means that one must admit that he is a sinner, believe the gospel story that Jesus Christ died for our sins at Calvary, and then trust Him completely.

Written by Dr. Curtis Hutson, adapted and revised by Lucas Griffin

Worship

Worship

(From the notes of Hector Alves (1896 – 1978))

“I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you,”
Genesis 22.5.

In Abraham’s words, spoken as he approached Mount Moriah to offer his son there, we find what worship is and when we worship. While it is true that in chapter 18 he bowed down to the ground before three messengers, our verse is the first use of the word worship in the Scriptures. The “law of first mention” is important. We will always find something concerning our subject in the first time that it is mentioned.

Worship is the exercise of our priesthood. We are built up “a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ,” 1 Peter 2.5. It is a matter of the heart rather than the head. However, it ought to be done in an intelligent manner.

Prayer is not worship. Ministry of the Word is not worship. Service for God is not worship. Worship is not defined anywhere in the Scripture. We associate it with the term worth.  Abraham did not go to Moriah with the express purpose of singing a hymn, or to praise God, although these activities may be expressions of our worship.

We worship in the Breaking of Bread meeting, but it is not the only opportunity for worship in the Christian’s life. No indication is given as to when we take the bread and the cup, and no set form of words is prescribed in the Word of God, but worship leads up to that point in our gathering.

That worship is giving to God, is amply confirmed in other parts of the Scriptures. “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name,” Psalm 29.2. The wise men in Matthew 2 fell down and worshipped, opening their treasures and presenting gifts to the Child (the first mention of worship in the New Testament). When Abraham made this present to God, he gave what he had received from God. All of us know that he got Isaac directly from God as a promised gift. Now he is going to give Isaac back to God, and that is called worship.

We might call worship the overflow of the heart’s appreciation of our Lord Jesus Christ. But, if we got nothing from God from Monday to Saturday, what can we give Him on Sunday? That which occupies us on Saturday night will affect our worship on Lord’s Day morning.

Mary sat at His feet. That is worship. Later we find that same Mary at Bethany, pouring ointment over the Lord’s feet. The house was filled with its odour. I will mention that the seraphims of Isaiah 6 had six wings. With two they buried their faces; with two they covered their feet; with two they flew. That is worship and then service. I question whether one who does not worship is fit for service.

Four features of heavenly worship are brought before us in Revelation 5.6 to 9. (1) “Thou art worthy” — the worshippers were occupied with the worth of Christ. (2) “a Lamb as it had been slain” – they remembered His suffering and shame. (3) “redeemed us to God” – they had been blessed, and God received the glory. (4) they “fell down before the Lamb” —  in Old Testament language, they were inside the veil, shut in with Him and Him alone. Let us learn from these four clauses something of what becomes us in worship.

Finally, in our verse, “[I will] come again to you.” So it is with the gifts which we give to God. We never give Him anything that He does not give back with increase. Abraham offered Isaac and God gave him a seed more abundant than the stars of heaven and the sand of the seashore.

Stephen – The Full Man

Stephen – The Full Man

Written by Donald R. Alves

Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:3), full of wisdom (Acts 6:3), full of faith (Acts 6:5), full of grace (Acts 6:8); and, probably a result of possessing these virtues, he was full of power (Acts 6.8). Power is not an end in itself – it is result of a proper spiritual condition. This man stands as an excellent example of how a Christian can be a force for God.

We cannot excuse our weakness on the grounds that the Spirit has not chosen to fill us. He has, but we can prevent it. We do not acquire the Spirit by degrees. He lives in us and fills us to the extent that we do not extinguish his light (1 Thessalonians 5:19) or cause Him grief (Ephesians 4:30). We who are born again, live in the Spirit; the question is whether or not we are willing to walk in Him (Galatians 5:25).

Ephesians 5:18 is the verse that exhorts us to be filled with the Spirit, and the verse is surrounded by instructions on how to behave so this can be a reality. The chapter does not talk about exotic and sensational experiences of superconsecration; but rather of everyday matters such as walking carefully, not wasting time, being humble, and treating one another respectfully in the home. Stephen must have practised what Ephesians 5 teaches, and that is part of what the Jerusalem Christians meant when they held him to be of good report (Acts 6:3).

Stephen was also full of wisdom. We could expect as much, because when he was asked to serve as a deacon, it pleased the whole multitude, even though he and his fellows were apparently Greeks among Jews (Acts 6:5). 1 Timothy 3 does not require that the deacon be apt to teach, as is required of the elder, but it says he has to be a person of good character and pure conscience. Stephen was able to be fair and understanding at a time when the Lord’s people were sensitive to possible partiality between them (Acts 6:1).

His wisdom was shown not only amongst the Christians but also before the ungodly that railed on him. A lesser man would have answered these fools according to their folly, but Stephen carefully calls them brothers and fathers (Acts 7:2), before he proceeds to show their sinful condition (Acts 7:51). He walked in wisdom toward those outside; he knew how to answer every man (Colossians 4:5,6).

His wisdom showed out in his command of the Word of God, as we see in chapter 7 where he recounts Israel’s history. Stephen must have spoken for fifteen minutes at least, but he limits his message to the Scriptures. A dozen times or more he quotes directly and at all times he gives the sense of the Word, as did Ezra years before. Stephen was wise in applying the Word to his particular audience.

Stephen used the double-edged sword of the Word in such a way that it cut to the heart as soon as he applied the message to Christ (Acts 7:54). He knew Christ as the power and wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:25).

He was full of faith (Acts 6:5). A deacon in the Jerusalem assembly needed great faith to care for the material needs of a group that was growing so rapidly! His faith went far beyond the question of how to feed God’s people. It extended to the valley of the shadow of death, when evil men accused him in circumstances remarkably similar to the trial that led to Christ’s death only a few months before. And Stephen before those evil men? Why, his face was angelic! (Acts 6.15). Then, in the moment of death, this man of faith looked steadfastly into heaven and commended himself to a faithful Creator.

Stephen was full of grace. The King James Version reads in Acts 6:8, “full of faith and power,” but a more common translation is that he was full of grace and power. He was gracious in caring for widows and in doing great wonders and miracles among the people. His speech was certainly with grace, seasoned with salt, when he appeared before the council. And, as Hebrews 13:7 says, consider the end of his manner of life. Stephen leaves the stage of the Church’s written history with a gracious prayer that the Lord would not lay to the charge of his murderers their terrible sin.

God gives grace to the humble and Stephen qualified right to the end. God’s purpose for Stephen, as far as is recorded in Scriptures, was that he wait on tables (Acts 6:2), so that others would be free to preach. Stephen’s fullness of power was manifest among the common people before it was made evident in the council chamber! God’s ways are not ours, and we will never know power in our lives as long as we imagine that we can define our own ministry.

Stephen’s ministry was different from what we would have expected it to be, and brief. Nevertheless he, the first deacon, stands as the ideal fulfilment of the promise in 1 Timothy 3:13, which says that the faithful deacon purchases good standing (before God?) and great boldness (before men?) in the faith.

If you and I were filled with the Spirit, wisdom, faith, and grace, the power would be evident to others even if not to ourselves. Stephen’s light burned brightly and not in vain; devout men lamented his death and then went abroad to continue what he started in the power of God (Acts 8:2,4).

 

© Copyright 2017 by Donald R Alves.  Please do not copy or distribute this content without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

Break Free

Break Free

(By Rhoda Griffin October 2017)

 

I’m standing here again, O Lord

Confessing that same haunting sin

I’ve asked so many times before

I’m asking to be forgiven

How many times will I have to plead

How many times will you intercede

Will you forever find me on my knees

How many times can I be freed

 

I’m praying for a victory

I’m looking for a breaking free

I’m asking for some liberty

I’m hoping for your life to breathe

I want forgiveness, yes, I do

But more than that, I want you,

This time please help me see it through

I need your Spirit to break through

 

No condemnation now, I read,

For those who let the Spirit lead

In You I can walk very near

In you closer I cannot be

Abiding in the Father and the Son

United with the Three in One

Our fellowship has just begun

And so with all the rest I’m done

 

You plead for me before the Father’s throne

And in Your love You won’t let go

 

© Copyright 2017 by Rhoda Griffin.  Please do not copy or distribute this content without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

His Name is Jesus

His Name is Jesus

(Author Unknown)

In Genesis, He is the seed of the woman.
In Exodus, He is the Passover lamb.
In Leviticus, He is our high priest.
In Numbers, He is the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night.
In Deuteronomy, He is the prophet like unto Moses.
In Joshua, He is the captain of our salvation.
In Judges, He is our judge and lawgiver.
In Ruth, He is our kinsman redeemer.
In 1 & 2 Samuel, He is our trusted prophet.
In Kings and Chronicles, He is our reigning king.
In Ezra and Nehemiah, He is the restorer.
In Esther, He is the advocate.
In Job, He is our ever-living redeemer.
In Psalms, He is our shepherd.
In Proverbs & Ecclesiastes, He is our wisdom.
In Song of Solomon, He is our bridegroom.
In Isaiah, He is the prince of peace.
In Jeremiah, He is the righteous branch.
In Lamentations, He is the weeping prophet.
In Ezekiel, He is the man upon the heavenly throne.
In Daniel, He is the fourth man in life’s fiery furnace.
In Hosea, He is the faithful husband.
In Joel, He is the baptizer with the Holy Ghost and fire.
In Amos, He is our burden-bearer.
In Obadiah, He is the mighty to save.
In Jonah, He is our great missionary.
In Micah, He is the messenger of beautiful feet.
In Nahum, He is the avenger of God’s elect.
In Habakkuk, He is God’s evangelist.
In Zephaniah, He is our Savior.
In Haggai, He is the restorer of God’s lost heritage.
In Zechariah, He is the fountain opened in the house of David.
In Malachi, He is the sun of righteousness, rising with healing in His wings.

In Matthew, He is the Messiah.
In Mark, He is the perfect servant.
In Luke, He is the Son of Man.
In John, He is the Son of God.
In Acts, He is the Risen One.
In Romans, He is our justifier.
In 1 & 2 Corinthians, He is our sanctifier.
In Galatians, He is our liberator.
In Ephesians, He is the Christ of unsearchable riches.
In Philippians, He is the God who supplies all our needs.
In Colossians, He is the fullness of God, bodily.
In 1 & 2 Thessalonians, He is our coming king.
In 1 & 2 Timothy, He is our mediator between God and man.
In Titus, He is our faithful pastor.
In Philemon, He is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
In Hebrews, He is the blood of the everlasting covenant.
In James, He is our great physician.
In 1 & 2 Peter, He is our chief shepherd.
In 1, 2 & 3 John, He is love.
In Jude, He is the Lord coming with ten thousands of His saints.
In Revelation, He is the KING OF KINGS AND THE LORD OF LORDS!

Author unknown

 

Blessings for Christians

Five Blessings for The Christian

(Outline by Gordon Stewart)

Colossians  1:12-14

Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.

INTRO:

  • Reminds us how much we have to be thankful for.
  • Five Blessings of the Christian – Are you thankful for these?
  1. FITTED US TO SHARE (Heaven’s blessings)
    • The Blessings
      • What does heaven mean to you? Where is “home”?
      • What are you working for? Treasure in heaven?
      • What are you living for? He rewards what the world doesn’t recognize. (The world only recognizes achievement)
    • The “Fitting”
      • We are not “fitted” by nature
      • We cannot fit ourselves – we come short
      • God does the “fitting” – gift of God
    • FITNESS TEST: What is your ATTITUDE about the future? World only values the “visible” and doesn’t recognize God as a giver.
  1. DELIVERED from an authority (darkness is sin, God is light)
    • Ruler of Darkness’s authority is broken by Jesus Christ
      • Authority broken means no “second death”, no fear
      • Absolute assurance of live; no anxiety
    • EXPERIENCE TEST: Do you know peace?
  2. TRANSLATED (carried over)
    • Under new authority
    • To us, Christ is King
      • We appreciate His victory – in death
      • We acknowledge His supremacy – in future
      • We enjoy his love – in His kingdom of love
    • OBEDIENCE TEST: Do you desire to obey Him?
  1. REDEEMED (not stolen)
    • Price paid: we love to remember Him
    • We are valuable to Him.
      • We glorify God in our bodies
    • APPRECIATION TEST: Am I thankful each day for His grace?
  2. FORGIVEN
    • World lives under guilt: The Christian is FREE
    • All our sins are FORGIVEN

CONCLUSION: If you are not saved, you are missing out! 

What is the Gospel?

What is the Gospel?

 Written by Donald R. Alves

What is the gospel? First, the word gospel means good news.

But, what news? From whom? On what authority? And what does it have to do with me?

Do some people want me to follow a strange religion? Do they want my money? Or is it that they want to offer me nice (and false) things without discovering what I am now and without telling me frankly what lies ahead if I do not pay attention to this news that I need so much?

The great message of the Bible is that God offers you eternal life here, now and forever, by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as your only and sufficient Saviour. The Bible is the only legitimate and fully reliable source of this news. Nothing said here or any place else, no church or human idea deserves your confidence if it is not based firmly on the Bible, the Word of God.

This article has been prepared simply to tell you that good news. The numbers at the end of paragraphs and at the foot of the page tell you where in your Bible you will find the texts quoted in this paper. The text of the English Standard Version of the Bible is presented in italics, like this.

This salvation – here, now and forever, free, without works to earn it, without “doing” or “feeling” – is possible because Jesus, the Son of God, gave His life at Calvary and rose from the dead to take your place. You are a sinner by nature and by what you do. All of us deserve that description. Jesus satisfied God’s holiness and He is 100% holy.

Let’s begin by quoting the Bible: Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God remains on him. [1]

Sometimes we refer to the Bible as “the Scriptures”. Certain men wrote the words that God ordered them to write. Men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. [2]

The Bible is the only document that is entirely inspired by God. At the end of the Bible we are warned against adding to or taking from it. Nobody who has spoken after it was written has been permitted by God to say or change what the Bible says. [3]

There is only one Bible. Basically there are no differences between the translations used by Roman Catholics (or whoever fears God) and those used by evangelicals. The original Scriptures were written almost entirely in Hebrew and Greek. In the various translations to English the translators sometimes used different words, but, if they did their work well, the sense must be the same. Some of these “versions” are reliable but some may not be.

Many editions include notes in the margin or at the foot of the page. These are human thoughts and do not form part of the divine revelation. Some are good and useful, but others are false.

The apostle John wrote: These [signs] are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name; and also, I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. [4]

The Bible is made up of the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old tells how God created the world and also the story of the ancient world. It contains Psalms and prophecies about the Messiah, who is Christ. In the New Testament, which at present is what applies to you most. Many of the Old Testament and New Testament prophecies have already become realities.

As you continue reading, remember that Jesus said: Search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.  Today there are many opinions about the things of God, but all of us must prove our beliefs in the light of His Word. The apostle Paul reminded Timothy: The sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. [5]

Don’t look on the Bible as merely a textbook about science, history or philosophy. We read it reverently, learning truth with a sincere heart and knowing that God does not deceive.

The Holy Scriptures don’t argue about God’s existence. They proclaim that  without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. And, his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. The person who says that there is no God shows that he is blind to the evidence. [6]

Also, there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men. Men’s many gods are idols. No one can understand or explain how only one God can be three persons – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – because we are human, but He is divine. We believe it because the Bible reveals this Trinity. [7]

Do you wish to know more about Him, before we talk about you?

˜            No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. The Lord Jesus was and is God.  [8]

˜            Jesus told a certain man that the things that are impossible with men, are possible with God. [9]

˜            God sees all and knows all. No creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.  [10]

˜            God is Spirit. and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. Read in your Bible about Paul’s visit to Athens. The apostle declared that the God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man.  [11]

˜      God is holy and pure. He hates sin and for this reason we must hold Him in reverence and recognize that He is not like us. Where He is  nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or falseUntil we recognize that He is holy, we will not recognize in truth that we are sinners. [12]

˜      God is love. He does not favour one person over another: He loves the whole world. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends; and, God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us[13]

˜      He will not allow His love to make Him a liar. He offers pardon to every sinner, to save him. Perhaps the most famous verses of the Bible are: God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. [14]

You will probably want to memorize these verses. In any case, continue reading here.

The Bible teaches that men and women are made up of three parts. These are the spirit, the soul and the body. [15]

A person has contact with God by his spirit. Who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? The virgin Mary said: My spirit rejoices in God my Saviour. This proves that the spirit is not merely our bodies’ breath. [16]

Man is conscious of himself and others by his soul. It expresses his personality. The soul does not die with the body; Jesus said: Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. When a person dies the soul leaves the body and continues its eternal existence. [17]

The body is the earthly and mortal part of a person. Peter writes about abandoning the body and Paul says that if his earthly house – his body – decays, he has a house in heaven, given by God. It is clear, then, that we will exist forever. Death is not the end. The body’s death transfers a person’s state to another sphere, and we will see that it may be a place of eternal joy or of eternal woe.

God has given man liberty to act according to his own will. He gave this power to angels as well; they were created to serve Him. The great angel Lucifer, now called the devil or Satan, opposed God’s will and was put out of heaven along with angels who rebelled with him.

Satan is in the world; he is not in hell as many imagine. The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. Satan wants to rule us; he does not want us to obey God’s will. [18]

Man was made free but lost that liberty by surrendering his will to obey sin. He fell into idolatry and his heart was darkened; he practiced immorality and his heart was contaminated; he put off noble thoughts and behaved wickedly.  [19]

However, man’s destiny depends on his own choice. God does not want anyone to be lost; He wants everyone to repent. Every man and woman can choose to obey Him and receive eternal life. Let the one who desires take the water of life without price.  [20]

And you? As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. [21]

Is it correct that we write these things, saying that God has seen all of us as lost sinners? But haven’t we been quoting time and time again from the Bible, God’s message for us?

Some people believe that only crimes and major abuse are sins. However, the apostle Paul states that all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God. Sin is not only doing something that society does not approve of: it is not having God’s spotless righteousness. Every human being is in this sad condition by his very nature.  [22]

Evil thoughts, deceit, lust, envy, evil speaking, pride and foolishness – all these are sins, as are adultery and murder. All these contaminate a person.  [23]

Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. Also, to not fulfill our duty is sin. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.  [24]

The opening chapters of the Old Testament tell us that the first humans, Adam and Eve, lived in innocence and glory, in control of themselves and creation. God held back only one thing: the knowledge of good and evil. This knowledge was represented in a certain tree, and God told Adam clearly that he could enjoy everything except that tree. To take of that tree which was there as a test would not only show them how to do evil, but would also make them do it. The devil deceived Adam and Eve, and they disobeyed. This act was rebellion against God and made them sinners.  [25]

What was the result of sinning? Sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. And, the wages of sin is death. Spiritually, Adam died immediately when he sinned; that is to say, the friendship that he had with God was broken, and he was separated from the divine presence. Physically, he died many years later. [26]

This is the divine rule, even for us. Sin interrupts fellowship between God and man. It brings misery. Sooner or later, it brings physical bodily death also.

The human race sinned in its first parent, Adam, and for this reason the root of sin is in every human being. However, we are not condemned for what he did, but for what we do. What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person, Jesus Christ said, and how true it is. The apostle Paul writes: None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. [27]

By nature, we want to do our own thing, but when God speaks silently to us, we search for the truth. Let us be clear: Our God and Father saves one from the results of sin through His Son. He offers us pardon from the condemnation of sin. No one will be lost because he is a son of Adam, but rather for not having received the salvation that God offers in Christ.

This is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. And, we may add, Jesus, and only Jesus, could say: I am the light of the world.  [28]

Now we will look closer at Him.

Jesus Christ is eternal. He lived in the glory that He had with the Father before the world existed. He was not created; He created all things and controls the universe. All things were made through him … all things were created through him and for him. [29]

God the Father speaks of the Son as being God. Jesus Christ received men’s worship as God the Father did. Thomas called Him, My Lord and my God! And Jesus answered, Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.  [30]

The Son of God came to this world in human form. He was born of Mary, a virgin who conceived by means of the Holy Spirit. Being God, He made Himself a true man, and still is, possessing spirit, soul and body. [31]

He suffered as all people suffer: fatigue, thirst and hunger. He was in every respect tempted as we are, yet without sin.  [32]

However, that perfect life could not save us. He died on the cross of Calvary, and now He lives! He is not a dead Christ, nor a painting on the wall. He is a living, active person, and offers Himself as the source of salvation and peace. Who can forgive sins but God alone?   [33]

The death of the Lord Jesus Christ was unique; there has been no other like it. He said: I lay down my lifeNo one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. He also said: … so must the Son of man be lifted up [on the cross]. He died on purpose so as to redeem humanity. [34]

Christ was offered once – only once — to bear the sins of many. There is no more offering for sin, because the death of Christ eliminates the need for any sacrifice on our part.   [35]

Christ gave up His spirit when He exclaimed: It is finished. In order to be sure that He was dead, a soldier pieced His side with a sword. Blood and water flowed out, showing that Jesus had died. His body was buried in a tomb which was then sealed by Roman soldiers.  However, on the third day the Lord rose from the dead, and his living body came out of that tomb.  [36]

Christ’s resurrection proved that God accepted His death to cancel our sins. When He had risen, He made Himself seen several times, even to five hundred of His followers at the same time.  [37]

After that, He went back to heaven, where He is now, able to save and pray for those that come to God by Him. He is the only true priest, able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them[38]

Jesus Christ said before He died: I will come again. Angels announced: This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven. An apostle wrote: He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him. Christ will come in power and glory to judge those who are not saved. [39]

Now you will want to read more about the good news. The great message of the Bible is that God offers salvation now and forever, by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as your only and sufficient Saviour. He offers it, but you have to receive it.

Salvation means freedom from a personal danger or calamity. A person needs salvation because he or she is a sinner in danger of punishment. All have sinned and have come short of the glory of God. The wages of sin is death. People are lost in their search for peace and happiness, but the Son of man came to seek and to save that which is lost.  [40]

Without Christ, the light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ has not shined on us. The Bible considers such people as being sick. Jesus said: Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. And He said: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners. Perhaps even worse: Whosoever commiteth sin is the servant of sin, and also: Everyone who practices sin is a slave to sinSo if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. [41]

Peter preached: There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Paul expressed the heart of the matter when he said: By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. [42]

Through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. The blood of Jesus Christ cleans us from all sin. Another wonderful verse in the Bible that you will want to memorize is: Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. [43]

How does a person receive this great salvation? Paul preached repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance means more than being sorry for having done wrong. It is to see one’s self as completely lost because each of us is a sinner. It comes before a change of attitude, and before deciding to receive Christ as Saviour. Repentance leads to salvation in Christ Jesus. He said: I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. [44]

The message of Paul in Athens was that God … commands all people every where to repent. Salvation can be only be by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. He promised eternal life to all who believe in Him. This must be true belief and not simply admitting that Jesus died on a cross. It means to have the conviction that He died for each person individually, for me. [45]

It also includes full confidence in the work of Christ, and only Christ, the One who died for our sins and rose again. He was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification. The following verse in the Bible is wonderful: Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ[46]

It is not a question of believing in God, but of believing God when He offers you so great a salvation. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. This is not simply accepting the truth of the gospel; it is taking in all sincerity the salvation that God offers. [47]

Life is like a journey. All humanity divides itself into two groups and there are two destinies. Most people are on the wrong road on the way to perdition. Others, not so many, find the right road, which leads to eternal life. Who goes on a trip without preparation and without knowing where they are going? Each of us must pay attention to what the Lord Jesus said.

Jesus commanded: Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. [48]

One of the roads is wide and many travel on it. God said: All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. This is because we started wrong; all of us were born with the root of sin in us; we continue on the wide road because we want to. No man or woman has not contaminated his or her life in some way.  [49]

People’s opinions do not always agree with this. Solomon wrote that there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. [50]

Jesus told not only of two doors and two roads, but also of two trees and two houses. He said that a tree’s nature determines its fruit, and that the foundation of a house determines its safety in a storm. Bad fruit and a bad foundation are illustrations of people with their confidence for eternity badly placed. Every class of sinners finds space on the wide road!  [51]

Perhaps you will ask why the door to the good road is narrow. Most people are happy with the road they are on, and few look for the truth with all their heart. They allow themselves to be deceived by the evil ways of the devil, who creates much confusion by means of many religions. Christ did not say that there are many roads to heaven. There is only one. The door is narrow because entrance is limited by the conditions that God has made.

The many human opinions are not valid, nor is a “gospel” that paints a road here of continual happiness, comfort, or superficial emotion.

Only Jesus has been able to tell us: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. The apostle Peter states clearly that there is no salvation in anyone other than the Lord Jesus Christ, because there is no other name given to men, through which we can be saved. No one else has given innocent blood as a sacrifice for sin. The person who looks for pardon in some other way shows clearly that he or she does not have faith in the power of Jesus’ blood.  [52]

It is a good thing that at this moment you are thinking about a door with two sides. Jesus said: I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved. Each one of us is outside, without Christ, or we are inside, having entered by faith to receive a new and eternal life.  [53]

The wide road can only lead to perdition, that is, punishment after death. One time the Lord Jesus spoke of two men who died. One of them, called Lazarus, went safely to Paradise, where Abraham was. The other, when he died, went to the torments of Hades, the other waiting place for dead people. When he asked for mercy – we are describing a historical event – he was told that there was a great gulf, or division, between him and Paradise, and it would not be possible to cross from one place to another.  [54]

There is no escape from this condemnation. No prayer, no mass, no mystical ceremony can rescue a lost soul. That man did not want his relatives to be sent to that place, and he asked that they be warned of their danger.

On the fearful resurrection day, the bodies of all who have died without salvation since the beginning of the world will be raised. This is the second of the two resurrections which the Lord Jesus spoke about. The first is to rise to live and this second one is to rise to be punished. An hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out. [55]

The apostle John describes in the following words the transfer of the lost from Hades to Hell: I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. This is the second death.  [56]

This will be the final destiny of all those who do not have Christ as their Saviour. It is called the second death in contrast to being “born again”, or the second birth which is the experience of all those who receive Him for salvation. Each road must lead to its own end.  [57]

But we must tell of the blessed, happy destiny. The person who is born again, or saved, does not fear the future. When that person leaves this life – that is, when the soul leaves the body – he or she goes to be with Christ. Paul said: My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. Jesus said to His disciples: Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. I go to prepare a place for you. [58]

Peter sent a wonderful message to saved people, people who had truly received Christ: The God and Father has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.  [59]

Something marvelous is going to happen, perhaps very soon. Christ will come to the air and will raise the bodies of all the saved people. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. [60]

In this instant the other saved people who are still alive will be taken to heaven without dying, they also being changed. The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.  [61]

They will join in the eternal joy in the heavenly city. Death shall be no more, neither shall there be pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.  [62]

Some readers will ask if purgatory exists. It does not. It is an invention of human religion. The holy apostles never spoke of it.  The Lord Jesus spoke of two roads and two destinies, of Heaven and Hell, but never of purgatory. The rich man who died, of whom you read in Luke 16, had no hope of paying for his sins and then coming out of his place of torment.

The Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins; note, on earth, but not afterwards. It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.  Also, John writes: The Father has sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. [63]

Natural life comes from God, but as a result of sin this life is not eternal: it is mortal. The body dies and the soul is separated from physical life. In addition to the death of the body, God speaks of eternal death. This is the present condition of men and women in their sins, without eternal life. Paul wrote to born-again people in the city of Ephesus: You were dead in the trespasses and sins … but God made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved. Clearly, this is not prolonging natural life; it is a new and spiritual life. It allows us to enjoy fellowship, or warm friendship, with God. [64]

Just as an unsaved man – one who is not born again – is dead spiritually even in life on earth, so a saved man possesses spiritual, eternal, life, here and now. Jesus told Nicodemus, an educated and religious man: Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus had paid attention to his natural life but not to his eternal life. Jesus explained that this had nothing to do with a second natural birth; it is a spiritual experience, the beginning of eternal life.  [65]

We must not continue this explanation of the true gospel without speaking of the Holy Spirit. He is a person. Only He can give eternal life. True Christians are born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. Neither baptism, nor mysterious rites, nor family connections can do this. The apostle Paul wrote a beautiful verse to the evangelist Titus: When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us. … by the renewal of the Holy Spirit. [66]

An important principle in the Bible is that faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. A person may be saved without a preacher, without a priest or a medium, and without entering a church. The Spirit of God does the work in that person. Hear His voice and accept it: Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life[67]

But if someone – you, for example – does not have to do anything spectacular to receive eternal life, what evidence is there to show that he has it?

Faith without works is dead, but true faith produces its good fruit in a person’s life day by day. Christ causes a change in the person who accepts Him. Many people speak against the gospel, but no one can deny that it has made a great change in millions of people.  [68]

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. And, if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself. No one can say that he cannot keep his salvation, because Christ is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them[69]

You must decide. Salvation for eternal life is so important that it demands that each of us consider it seriously. To not decide is to decide to reject it.

Pilate asked: Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ? He washed his hands in the sight of the people in an effort to say that he was innocent of rejecting Christ, but his neutrality condemned him. The Saviour has said: Whoever is not with me is against me. If we do not enter by the door that is Jesus Christ, we are on the wide road if we do not take that step of faith, we are heading for condemnation. [70]

Agrippa answered Paul, after hearing his presentation of the gospel: In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian? But, he put off the decision and never became a Christian. Another Roman governor, Felix, said: Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you. He had conversations with Paul in the following two years, but he never got saved. The devil always says ‘tomorrow’, but that tomorrow never comes. God says ‘today’. He says: Behold, now is the favourable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. [71]

If a person sees the danger he is in, and accepts what God thinks of us, he is close to the kingdom of God. Even so, the principal thing is still missing; it is to accept for himself or herself the salvation which we have explained. For example, a doctor may prescribe the medicine which a sick person needs, but that does nothing if the person does not take the medicine as prescribed, accepting the solution that has been offered. A hungry person may have bread in his hand, but he continues to be hungry until he eats it. Jesus said: I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. [72]

So, the decision is made by putting sincere faith in Christ as your only and sufficient Saviour: The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. [73]

If your decision is negative, ask yourself: How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? The apostle Peter asks: What will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? It is true that he that believes on him (Jesus Christ) is not condemned, but John’s verse also warns us: Whoever does not believe is condemned already. [74]

Victory is certain for the believer, even though Satan rages and unsaved people oppose. Jesus Christ told His own: In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. Paul wrote confidently: If God be for us, who can be against us? [75]

[1]  John 3.36

[2]  2 Peter 1.21

[3]  Revelation 22.18,19

[4]  John 20.31, 1 John 5.13

[5]  John 5.39, 2 Timothy 3.15

[6]  Hebrews 11.6, Romans 1.20, 3.4

[7]  1 Timothy 2.5, Matthew 28.19

[8]  1Timothy 3.16, John 1.18

[9]  Lucas 18.27

[10] Hebrews 4 13

[11]  John 4.24, Acts 17.16 to 34

[12]  Isaiah 6.3, Revelation 21.27

[13]  1 John 4.8, John 15.13, Romans 5.8

[14]  John 3.16 to 18

[15]  1 Thessalonians 5.23

[16]  1 Corinthians 2.11, Lucas 1.47

[17]  Matthew 10.28, 2 Corinthians 5.1

[18]  2 Corinthians 4.4

[19]  Romans 1.21,28

[20]  2 Peter 3.9, Revelation 22.17

[21]  Romans 14.11,12

[22]  Romans 3.23

[23]  James 1.14,15, Mark 7.21 to 23

[24]  James 4.17, 2.8,9, 1 John 1.8

[25]  Genesis 3.6,22, 2 Corinthians 11.3

[26]  Romans 5.12, 6.23

[27]  Matthew 15.18 to 20, Romans 3.10 to 12

[28]  John 3.18,19, 8.12

[29]  John 1.3, Colossians 1.16

[30]  John 20.28,29

[31]  Matthew 1.18, 26.38, Luke 23.46, John 19.38

[32]  John 4.6 to 8, Hebrews 4.15, Luke 4.2, 1 Peter 2.22

[33]  Mark 2.7

[34]  John 10.18, 3.14, 1.29

[35]  Hebrews 9.28, 10.18

[36]  John 19.30, Luke 24.6

[37]  Romans 4.25, 1 Corinthians 15.1 to 6

[38]  Hebrews 7.25, Romans 8.34

[39]  John 14.3, Acts 1.11, Revelation 1.7, 2 Thessalonians 1.7 to 9

[40]  Romans 3.23, 6.23, Luke 19.10

[41]  2 Corinthians 4.4, Matthew 9.12,13, John 8.34 to 36

[42]  Acts 4.12, Ephesians 2.8,9

[43]  Acts 13.38,39, John 5.24

[44]  Mark 1.15, Acts 20.21, Luke 13.3,5

[45]  Acts 17.30

[46]  Romans 4.25, 5.1

[47]  Romans 10.9,10

[48]  Matthew 7.13.14

[49]  Romans 3.12

[50]  Proverbs 14.12

[51] Matthew 7.15 to 29

[52]  John 14.6, Acts 4.12

[53]  John 10.9

[54]  Matthew 7.13, 8.11,12, Luke 16.19 to 31

[55]  John 5.28,29

[56]  Revelation 20.11 to 15

[57]  Luke 13.27, John 3.3 to 8

[58]  Philippians 1.23, John 14.1,2

[59]  1 Peter 1.3 to 5

[60]  1 Corinthians 15.51, 52

[61]  1 Thessalonians 4.16, 17

[62]  Revelation 21.4, 22.1 to 5

[63]  Matthew 9.6, Hebrews 9.27, 1 John 4.14

[64]  Ephesians 2.1.

[65]  John 3.1 to 21

[66]  John 1.12,13, Titus 3.4,5

[67]  Romans 10.17, John 5.24

[68]  James 2.26

[69]  2 Corinthians 5.17, 2 Timothy 2.13, Hebrews 7.25

[70]  Matthew 27.22, 12.30

[71]  Acts 26.28, 24.25 to 27, 2 Corinthians 6.2

[72]  John 6.35

[73]  Romans 10.8,9

[74]  Hebrews 2.3, 1 Peter 4.17, John 3.18

[75]  John 16.33, Romans 8.31

The Lawyer Son

The Lawyer Son

(By Rhoda Griffin)

 

Heaven above held court today,

Some wondered what my Judge would say,

I had a record miles long,

Recording things that I’d done wrong,

Sins of heart and soul and mind,

It all was there, or so He’d find,

My guilt was sure, I knew it so,

And to this court my soul did go.

I didn’t stand a chance, not one,

Excepting for the Lawyer Son,

I wondered if He’d plead my case?

Maybe HE would take my place?

I walked the aisle towards my fate,

Towards the Judge, with no escape,

I stood before His gavelled hand,

Knew where that hammer soon would land.

I could not look Him in the eyes,

The great One judging earth and skies.

Just when I thought my doom had come,

In steps the Judge’s Lawyer Son,

“Hold off the sentence, it must wait!

New evidence has come to light!

This person’s record has been cleared!

She is not guilty, as she feared!

I hold her record in my hand,

And she has met your each demand!

This record stating debts untold,

It says right here, ‘Paid in Full’

This document which lists her sin,

Declares she has been cleansed within!

I could go on, Sir, through each one,

Made right by Me, your Lawyer Son!”

I might have laughed, I might have cried,

In that great court held in the skies.

Who was this man who pled my case,

With nail-pierced hands and loving face?

“How came you by this evidence,

My lawyer Son? Provide the rest!

How can I rightly set her free,

This guilty one for whom you plead?”

“I met Your standards long ago

To clear the name of this dear soul,

I was the one who took her place

The day You had to hide Your face,

Upon the cross I shed my blood

To make this woman right with God,

I was the perfect sacrifice

To cleanse her sins and bring new life,

It is My testament of blood

That I bring now before the Judge,

It’s written here in My own hand,

In Me she’s met Your each demand,

And so with You I now must plead,

You must forgive and set her free!

Her debts are paid, her record’s clear

No longer has she You to fear!”

I waited there with baited breath,

Would God the Judge give life or death?

Were these fresh claims sure evidence

To clear me and prove innocence?

Down came the gavel, raised on high,

“Pardoned!” rang out the Judge’s cry,

My legs gave way with such relief,

I found myself at Jesus’s feet,

“Thank you, praise you, Lawyer Son,

For all the work that You have done,

To pay my debt and clear my sin,

How much I owe You in return!”

I turned to leave, now free to go,

Why He remained, I didn’t know?

But there were other cases there,

More sinners needed legal care,

The thought of Him before the bar

Brings comfort in my final hour,

I know He’s there to intercede,

In each and every hour of need.

I hope you’ve met this precious One!

I hope you know the Lawyer Son!

 

© Copyright 2017 by Rhoda Griffin.  Please do not copy or distribute this content without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

The Cross Of Calvary

The Cross Of Calvary

(Written by Rhoda Griffin 2012)

 

Upon the hill of death it stands

To bridge the gulf twixt God and man

Fixed there by sin and guilt; its span?

The Cross of Calvary.

 

The turning point of history

The meeting place of Jew and Greek

Salvation offered full and free –

At the Cross of Calvary.

 

Upon that cross uplifted high

Stretched out from earth beneath to sky

Hangs One who for our sins must die

On the Cross of Calvary.

 

It stands –  a shelter from the storm

It harbours souls waste and worn

It beacons light to tossed and torn

This Cross of Calvary.

 

© Copyright 2012 by Rhoda Griffin.  Please do not copy or distribute this content without the express written permission of the copyright owner.