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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Disciples of Christ

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26-27)

It seems then, that no one can be saved. If we interpret all of this at face value, there’s really not much to be said: It’d be nearly impossible for me to hate my family, nor am I suicidal (I don’t hate my life, in other words), and bearing a cross is an unappealing thought to any and everyone, I’m sure…

The thing is though, we shouldn’t take this at face value. Jesus is speaking metaphorically here: He’s using the most extreme examples possible, to tell us, in essence, we have to be willing to give up everything for Him. The question then, is, are we willing to? Jesus gave everything for us, but are we willing to do the same? If we aren’t willing to, it’s time we asked God to make us willing.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
3 Comments

Posted by on July 30, 2012 in Willingness

 

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Today’s sermon.

Charity's blog

Hi, today the pastor preached on Mark 14 and he had 2 main points.

1. Show a difference in how you live

2. Give a reason as to why you live differently

The first one is that we should live differently than unbelievers, people should see a difference in our lives as to how we live. We should live differently because Jesus came down from heaven, and He changed us completely from being sinners who were stuck in sin to Christians who were saved by Christ.

The second point is that we should tell people the reason as to why we live differently from unbelievers. We should tell people that we are Christians and that the reason we act differently is because we are Christians. Jesus died for us and we are saved, we should tell people that we are Christians and that is why we are different from unbelievers.

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Mortality

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:1-5)

Jesus is giving a little look at our own mortality here. He’s saying, in modern language: ‘the Galileans that were killed, did they do anything worse than all of Israel? The people on which the tower fell on and killed, were they worse than everyone, and so “deserving” of an early death? No, they were just like everyone else. And unless you repent, you too will come to the same fate.’ He’s making us look at time different; He’s making us look at time like God looks at time. i.e., making us see that it doesn’t matter if we live one, or one thousand years, we will all die.-Regardless of how good or bad we were in this life, we will all die. And, unless we repent, we will then die a second time, this time a Spiritual death.

This still holds true today. At any moment, a “tower” could fall on us. But Jesus has provided a way for us to live, even after we die. I hate to sound like a corny, “It’s the end of the World!” preacher, but it’s true that we could at any moment, simply die. But Jesus has provided a way for us to live forever, through His death and Resurrection. Through His blood, we can live. So let’s obey Jesus’ call, and repent, and submit to Him.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
 

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The Unforgivable Sin, P.2.

Hello again!

(Though I have talked on this topic before in a previous post, I believe that particular post was rather confusing. Thus in this post, I aim to make what I was attempting to say rather more clear.) This is what God gave me today in His word:

And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. (Luke 12:10)

The person who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. That’s a pretty scary thought, as it seems to imply that if we “blaspheme the Holy Spirit”, it won’t matter whether we were formerly saved or not, we will not be forgiven. And it is true, that this one sin will not be atoned for, even by Jesus’ blood… But, let’s take a closer look at what exactly the unforgivable sin is.

What does it mean to blaspheme the Holy Spirit? Well, first we need to understand what it means to “blaspheme.” Blasphemy is the act of reviling, or execrating God. (Now, remember the Trinity here; three different parts, or personalities, of the one God.) But how would this reviling take place with the Holy Spirit? Well in order to understand, we now also need to have a correct of what the Holy Spirit’s reason for coming to Earth is: to lead us to Jesus and His death for us, and then later, to give us various gift/s that God has apportioned for us. Thus, to revile the Holy Spirit, would mean to ignoreor even try to hinder, the work of the Holy Spirit.–i.e. To bring us to our knees before the cross.

So then, there is only one sin which will never be forgiven, and that is the sin of never coming to Christ. All sins are forgiven us when we come before the cross, but we will never be forgiven if we never come.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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Cleansed by Blood

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him, so he went in and reclined at table. The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner. And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? (Luke 11:37-40)

Jesus has died to take our greed and wicked nature from us, and so what was said to this Pharisee can never be said of a child of God. However, it is possible, even somewhat common, for Christians to somewhat neglect their Spirit, in favor of attempting to earn “brownie points” with God by doing good works. Obviously “good works” in of them-self are perfectly fine, but it’s when we attempt to earn favor with God, and neglect to keep our Spirit pure (I’ll explain what I mean by that in a minute), that there’s a problem.

When we sin, it’s defiling to our Spirit. We could do a thousand good works, a hundred thousand, even a billion “good works”, and it still wouldn’t account for one sin.–Imagine trying to clean a stain with a dirty rag, and you’ll get a good idea of the effect that good works has on the stain that sin always leaves in our Spirit. Which is precisely why we cannot sin, and expect to be able to clean it up some how by doing good of any kind. There is only one thing which can overcome the stain of sin, and that is the blood of Jesus! Our efforts, our good works, are nothing. We can’t possibly hope to ever erase the stain of even one sin, much less the thousands that we’ve accumulated over the years. No, our only hope is in Christ.

The point being this: let’s not grow to be like the Pharisees were.-Seemingly clean and spotless on the outside, but inwardly rotting away. Instead, let’s turn to Jesus, ask Him to take away our desire to sin, and cleanse us in His blood.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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The Sign of Jonah

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word

When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. (Luke 11:29-30)

Jesus knew that they wanted Him to perform; to play the part of the magician, a give them some sign from Heaven. Now, correct marketing technique would’ve demanded that Jesus give them a sign. After all, the crowds were starting to increase! This was surely the perfect time to take advantage, show them a miracle, and then make them all disciples… But Jesus is no marketer. Jesus, unlike several pastors of today, doesn’t preach appeasing messages. Rather, He lovingly calls them an evil generation, and tells them that no sign will be given to them, except for “the sign of Jonah.”

So, now not only is He lovingly bemoaning the state of affairs of the crowd around Him, Jesus is now also throwing Jonah in on top of it all. But, what exactly is this “sign of Jonah” that He’s talking about? Well He clarifies somewhat in the next verse, “For as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.” Jonah lay for three days (and three nights) in the belly of a large fish, before being spit out, alive, on shore, where upon He proceeded to preach life to a doomed people.–The sign of Jonah, is that by one man’s “dying”, many more will live. And this is exactly the sign which He later gave, when He was killed so that we may live.

The point is this: Jesus doesn’t market Himself, and neither should we. We should give the Gospel out, not force it out.–Also, Jesus can use everything to further the spread of the Gospel, including the Old Testament (e.g., This case here with Jonah), so we shouldn’t discount something (i.e. The Old Testament) as not being useful, simply because we don’t see its use right away.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
2 Comments

Posted by on July 25, 2012 in Delivered Through Love

 

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Unclean Spirits

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.” (Luke 11:24-26)

We’re given an example here. An example, which we most all take care doesn’t end up happening to us. See, the person described here didn’t do anything “wrong”, per se. The unclean spirit left, and so the person described here got there act together.-They cleaned up their life, and put everything in order. But the “house”, is still empty. The person cleaned things up, but didn’t do anything to prevent them-self from being taken right back in by the unclean spirit. And so, when the “unclean spirit” comes back, it brings with it seven others.

But what could this person have possibly done differently? After all, the person seems to have done everything right: he stopped sinning in that particular area, got things together, and seems to be doing pretty okay… The only problem is, he left the door open. You can never leave the door open, and expect “unclean spirits” to simply pass it by. There are two things that this person should’ve done, and which we should do:

  1. The person should have closed the door! By “close the door,” I mean that s/he should have cut of their access to the sin in question, and in doing so, the person would have also cut off the demon’s ability to get back in.
  2. The person should have filled their house. By this, I mean they should have replaced the unclean Spirit with Jesus. It’s impossible for temptation to go where Jesus already is.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
 

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