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Tag Archives: The Gospel

Opening Doors

Today God has given me something in Revelation 3, verses 7 through 8, which say:

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. “‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. (Revelation 3:7-8)

That we do good ‘works’ is not something which is required for a Christian to be saved. Good works have no part in salvation, other than to make it clear that we are indeed saved; if you don’t try stop that robber, or you walk away from a mugging, you need to seriously examine your faith. However, God does still judges our deeds… Not to determine if we’re worthy of His grace, but to see who would benefit most from having a door opened in some area of ministry for them. As He says here, “I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut.”

They didn’t deny His name, and they did good in His sight, thus He rewards them with a more influential ministry. He hasn’t stopped doing that just because some time has passed, either. However, God opening a door for us doesn’t entirely hinge upon us doing good works. God loves to open doors for people to do good works, give them a little shove towards it, then reward them when they actually do those good works. However, what is important for us, is to ‘walk through the door’ when it is opened. We shouldn’t hesitate because we aren’t sure it’s in our best interests, or because we think it will take away from our free times; anything God wants us to do is always in our ‘best interests’.

Knowing if it’s God’s will for us to doing something, though, is a tad harder. That requires discernment. However, a general rule of thumb is this: if it would further God’s kingdom, it’s probably from God.

 
 

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An Omniscient Forgiver

Today God has given me something in Psalm 63, verse 69, which says:

You know my reproach, and my shame and my dishonor; my foes are all known to you. (Psalms 69:19)

God knows everything. He knows what we’ve said, what we’ve done, and what our neighbors have said and done. He even knows what we will say and do. This means he knows everything we’ve ever done wrong; he knows what brings us shame and dishonor. However, the thing about God, is that when he looks at us he doesn’t see all that. He doesn’t see how we’ve sinned against Him, or for that matter how we will sin against Him, He only sees His son, Jesus, hanging on a cross with all of our sin upon Him. Because of this, it doesn’t matter that God knows every sin we’ve ever committed, because when He looks on Christ, He forgives us completely.

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2013 in Delivered Through Love

 

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Becoming Zealous For God

Today God has given me something in Psalm 63, verses 1 through 4, which says:

A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. (Psalms 63:1-4)

I wish it was possible for every Christian to be able to say what David says here. Unfortunately, there are many believers who’ve become like the Church at Laodicea: lukewarm in their faith… Yet, the question has to come, if many believers in today’s World have grown lukewarm in their faith, how is it that someone living in the time of the Old Covenant can be seeking after God to zealously? And more importantly, how can we be as zealous as he was?

Well, David needed God, and was acutely aware of it. Lukewarm Christians still need God, but are often considerably less aware of exactly how much they need Him. By that, I mean that David was frequently fighting real, physical enemies, and He understood that the only means by which his army was going to defeat his opponent’s army, was if God helped him. We, however, are frequently fighting Spiritual enemies. The problem with this, is that Spiritual enemies are far more subtle than physical enemies. If an army is knocking on your door, you tend to notice it. Not only do you notice it, you notice it and (hopefully!) go running to God asking for help. If, however, a prideful thought creeps into your mind, it’s easy just to overlook it. Normally it doesn’t cause immediate concern, and unless you already are seeking God like David did, it’s hardly something that’ll cause you to go running to God. So then, how is it that we can get our-self to not only notice, but indeed run to God when temptation (such as the aforementioned prideful thought) come up? Simply to do as Paul recommends:

By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away! 2 I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:1-5)

When we take our thoughts captive, and make them all obedient to Christ, what we are doing is attempting to make all of our thoughts be about Christ. Now, of course, we can’t hope to perfectly accomplish this while we are still living in physical bodies; we are bound to have sinful thoughts until we get to Heaven. However, making sure that we quickly turn to Scripture to help us when we realize we’re having sinful thoughts, is a very good and necessary habit that we all should form (or else continue to practice as the case may be). More than that though, we should keep in mind always that we wouldn’t be able to do whatever it is we’re doing if it wasn’t for Jesus’ work for us on the cross.

 
 

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The Ransom Price

Today God has given me something in Psalm 49, verses 5 through 9, which says:

Why should I fear in times of trouble, when the iniquity of those who cheat me surrounds me, those who trust in their wealth and boast of the abundance of their riches? Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice, that he should live on forever and never see the pit. (Psalms 49:5-9)

The Psalmist’s point is quite simple: It doesn’t matter how rich you are, you can never buy your way out of Hell. You can be the most wonderful man in the World, or you can be the most hated person on Earth; likewise you can be the richest, or the poorest person to ever live, either way, it won’t make a bit of difference when you die. That’s just a fact of life, we all die eventually and we can’t take what we’ve accrued during our lifetime with us.

However, the Psalmist got one thing wrong. To ransom someone’s life is indeed costly, and no one who is only a man can pay the price for another to go to Heaven. Which is why it took Jesus Christ’s death and Resurrection in order to ransom us. We don’t have to try to buy our way into Heaven, Jesus already paid full price for us. It doesn’t matter if we can’t take anything with us when we die, every Christian is heading somewhere where money and possessions don’t matter.

 
 

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Salvation Throughout History

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD. (Psalms 40:1-3)

David is basically giving us the process of salvation here: First we cry out to the Lord, and He ‘inclines toward us and hears our cry.’ After that, God lifts us up out of the ‘pit of destruction,’ and sets our feet upon the rock (also known as, “the corner-stone,” and, “the stone the builders rejected:” Jesus Christ). From there, He puts a ‘new song in our mouth,’ and we praise Him for all the good He has done for us.

The truly interesting thing about this passage, though, is that it’s David writing it. Someone, who as we just discussed in the previous post, was living in the time of the Old Covenant. So then, how do we understand the two facts in light of each-other? One the one hand, David has outlined for us a beautiful picture of salvation. However, on the other hand, he was living in a time before Christ; a time where the only thing they could know for certain was that if they didn’t obey the law perfectly, they would be doomed to eternal torment.

Well, to answer this, let’s remind our-self of a fact that has always and will be true: It is impossible to always perfectly obey the law, as it is defined by the New Testament (i.e. with anger being equated with the actual act of murder, and lust being equated with the actual act of adultery). So then, given that it’s impossible to perfectly obey the law, how is it that anyone who lived prior to Christ saved? To answer that, let’s take a look at a different Psalm:

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
    in all generations.
 Before the mountains were brought forth,
    or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

 You return man to dust
    and say, “Return, O children of man!”
 For a thousand years in your sight
    are but as yesterday when it is past,
    or as a watch in the night. (Psalm 90:1-4)

God entirely transcends time. The time between David’s birth and Jesus’ death, to us, is very significant. However, to God it is entirely meaningless. He can look back and see Jesus paying for our sins, just as easily as He can look forward and see Jesus paying for David’s sin. David’s understanding of the Gospel was incomplete, but He had faith in the Messiah to come. Thus, he was saved.

 
 

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Our Reasonable Act of Worship

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. (Psalms 34:12-15)

In the previous couple of chapters, and even in the previous couple of verses in this chapter, David has talked about trusting entirely in God. Now he’s talking about ways in which to obey God in day-to-day life; i.e., keeping our tongue from evil, not speaking deceitfully, doing good, and seeking peace.

Of course, it is important to keep in mind that David was living under the Old Covenant, and thus was always attempting to work his way into Heaven. This means, quite simply, that while David is doing these things so he can try to earn the blessing of God, we ought to do them because we know we already have been blessed by God.

Jesus gave up His very life for us, it is thus our reasonable act of worship (see Romans 12:1-2) to offer our lives to Him. David gives us specific ideas on how to not disobey God (i.e. not sinning with our mouth, turning away from evil, etc..), and he didn’t even know Christ! How much more than should we who do know Him be willing not only to avoid disobedience, but to answer when He calls us to some form of service?

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2013 in Delivered Through Love

 

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A Christian’s Prayer, Pt. 2

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD! (Psalms 25:6-7)

God has a perfect memory. He can remember before He even made time, and can remember when He made the first human. A perfect God, with a perfect memory, therefore, should have no problem remembering the myriad of sins every human has committed in his or her lifetime. However, rather than remember our wrongdoings any longer, He sent His son to take on the punishment and guilt of our sin. So now, when God looks at us, He sees perfection.

This was not so in David’s time, as Jesus had not yet come. However, David could still look forward to the prophesied Messiah. And, while we know we are forgiven before we even open our mouths, we still need to ask God for forgiveness when we sin against Him. So many people ask the person whom they have sinned against for forgiveness, and yet neglect (in spite of the fact that any sin against another human is equally hurtful to God) to ask God’s forgiveness.

It’s also important that we pray for forgiveness for our own sake. Any normal Christian feels guilt after sinning, and to a certain extent we should feel guilty; any lapse into sin is a direct insult to the work Jesus has done for us in dying and rising again. However, by praying for forgiveness, our conscience is appeased.

 
 

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