Daily Archives: January 25, 2017

January 25, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

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Jan. 25, 2017 |

BLOOMBERG

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed past 20,000 for the first time as stocks around the world extended a rally after corporate earnings reignited investors’ optimism in economic growth. Bonds sold off with oil.

President Donald Trump plans to unveil actions on national security starting Wednesday that are expected to include steps toward building a wall on the Mexican border and limiting refugee inflows to the U.S., moving to fulfill key promises he made during his election campaign.

Prime Minister Theresa May promised to put Britain first in trade talks with U.S. President Donald Trump this week, as she seeks to give the U.K. a leading role in world commerce after Brexit.

FBI Director James Comey, who managed to anger both Republicans and Democrats during the presidential campaign, was asked to remain in his post by President Donald Trump and has agreed to stay.

AP Top Stories

Six more bodies have been retrieved from an Italian hotel devastated by an avalanche nearly a week ago, media said Tuesday citing local authorities, with 17 people still missing. Twelve people are now confirmed to have died after disaster struck the Hotel Rigopiano in the mountains of central Italy.

The Russian parliament on Wednesday passed the second reading of a controversial bill to decriminalize some forms of domestic violence. The State Duma voted 385-2-1 to eliminate criminal liability for battery on family members that doesn’t cause bodily harm. The bill that makes battery on a family member punishable by a fine or a 15-day day arrest has yet to be approved in the third reading.

Gun rights activists aided by the National Rifle Association are suing Massachusetts over its firearms laws, saying the state’s assault weapons ban is preventing law-abiding residents from buying and possessing some of the most popular rifles in the country, as well as most standard-capacity magazines.

A helicopter ferrying an injured skier off the slopes slammed into a mountainside in central Italy Tuesday, killing all six people aboard in a new tragedy to hit a region already hobbled by a series of earthquakes, paralyzing snowfall and a deadly avalanche.

At least eight people were dead and 14 injured as Somali security forces ended a siege by extremist fighters who stormed a hotel in the capital, police said. Four al-Shabab attackers were also killed in the attack on Dayah hotel, which is often frequented by government officials.

A couple in central Florida was charged with four counts of animal cruelty Monday after a fire at their home killed 45 cats, five dogs, two raccoons and a macaw.

Iraq’s prime minister on Monday ordered an investigation into violations of human rights and other abuses purportedly committed by government troops and paramilitary forces battling the Islamic State group to retake the city of Mosul.

You can already buy just about anything you need at Walmart, and now the mega retailer is going to start selling something you probably never expected: cars. Yep, the country’s biggest store chain will provide car-buying services at 25 of its largest stores in Texas, Arizona,

Israel has approved 2,500 settler homes in the occupied West Bank, officials said Tuesday, marking a major settlement expansion following the election of US President Donald Trump.

Gambia’s parliament on Tuesday revoked a state of emergency imposed last week by former President Yahya Jammeh shortly before he fled into exile, as the tiny West African country slowly recovered from its political crisis.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Ted Poe reintroduced a controversial bill that allows governors to bar refugees from entering their state.

Lawmakers introduced a bill in both houses of Congress Tuesday that would prevent the president from launching a nuclear first strike without a congressional declaration of war. A policy that was long debated – but never seriously pursued – during the Obama administration has now become anything other than abstract after the election of Donald Trump.

A 14-year-old girl broadcast her death live from the bathroom of her Miami area foster home as she made a noose and attached it to the shower door frame to hang herself, authorities said.

BBC

A 14-year-old girl broadcast her death live from the bathroom of her Miami area foster home as she made a noose and attached it to the shower door frame to hang herself.

Police searching a prison in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Norte say they have found three unfinished escape tunnels. The discovery comes just days after at least 26 inmates were killed in a riot at the jail in the city of Natal.

The Indian government has said it plans to measure the height of Mount Everest for a second time to assess whether it changed as a result of the 2015 Nepal earthquake.

WND

The House passed legislation on Tuesday that would permanently codify existing law banning the use of federal funds for abortion services.

Days into Donald Trump’s administration, heads are finally beginning to roll at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Two notoriously corrupt employees in Puerto Rico were fired this week, indicating that more may be on the way.

Norovirus outbreaks across the country are bringing misery to millions of families and even forcing some schools to close. Experts say the infectious disease is one of the most contagious, hitting hospitals, cruise ships and schools first.

Students enrolled in a world religions course this semester at Texas Christian University must attend a mosque service as part of the class. The field trip was scheduled to take place on Good Friday – one of the most holy days for Christians – observed as the day Jesus Christ was crucified.


Top News – 1/25/2017

Life, but not as we know it: Scientists engineer first semisynthetic organism with three-base-pair DNA
Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) claim to have created the first stable semisynthetic organism with extra bases added to its genetic code. The single-celled organism is also able to continually replicate the synthetic base pair as it divides, which could mean that future synthetic organisms may be able to carry extra genetic information in their DNA sequences indefinitely.

Pardon me: Navy sailor in jail for submarine photos pleads for mercy from Trump
A former Navy sailor imprisoned for taking photos inside a submarine has sought a pardon from President Donald Trump, who, as a candidate, often cited his case as unjust. Supporters of Kristian Saucier, 29, say the one-year sentence he drew last summer was overly harsh in light of treatment afforded former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over her illegal private email server, and former President Obama’s granting of clemency to Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning, who leaked classified information.

Suicide bombers are using babies to avoid detection
Babies are terrorists’ newest weapon, Nigerian officials warn. Female suicide bombers carrying infants set off explosive devices in Madagali on Jan. 13 after they were let through a security checkpoint where they were mistaken for civilians, the BBC reported. The women killed themselves, two babies and four others.

Lieberman: ‘In the next conflict—we will not stop until a white flag is raised’
At a conference held by the Institute for National Security Studies on Tuesday, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that the IDF’s orders are to “go in full force.” “If the other side doesn’t yield and raise a white flag, we don’t stop.”

Trump To Sign Executive Order Restricting Immigration From Seven Countries
Having taken on the Keystone pipeline and America’s struggling manufacturing sector in a flurry of executive actions on Tuesday, moments ago Reuters reported, citing several congressional aides and immigration experts briefed on the matter, that on Wednesday Donald Trump will sign several executive orders restricting immigration. The president is expected to sign the orders at the Washington headquarters of the Department of Homeland Security, whose responsibilities include immigration and border security.

Mexico Warns It Is Ready To Quit NAFTA If Trump Crosses “Red Lines”
Under relentless pressure from President Donald Trump, Mexico is said to be ready to discuss changes to trade rules about a product’s country of origin to try to avoid a disruptive fight with the United States over commerce. As the two countries begin a difficult new relationship, Mexico sees possible common ground with Trump on the “rules of origin” of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that binds the two countries and Canada, Reuters reported. However, as AFP adds, even before the talks started, Mexico has drawn red lines ahead of the negotiations with Trump’s administration, warning it could quit the talks and a major trade pact if the discussions hit a wall, no pun intended.

Israel plans more than 2,500 new settler homes to start Trump era
Israel announced plans on Tuesday for 2,500 more settlement homes in the occupied West Bank, the second such declaration since U.S. President Donald Trump took office signaling he could be more accommodating toward such projects than his predecessor.

Police: Man whose drug sentence commuted by Obama is slain
The Federal Bureau of Prison moved the remaining inmates from a Michigan halfway house Tuesday after a man whose drug-related prison sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama was fatally shot there by two men with assault-style rifles who sought him out.

U.N. ‘racing’ to prepare aid for civilians ahead of battle for west Mosul
The United Nations said on Tuesday it is “racing against the clock” to prepare emergency aid for hundreds of thousands of endangered civilians in Mosul with an Iraqi army offensive looming to oust Islamic State from the western half of the city.

Decision looms on Assange extradition to Sweden
Swedish authorities are getting closer to either indicting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on rape charges stemming from an incident in August 2010 or letting it drop, Fox News has learned.

U.K.’s May Faces Brexit Revolt as Lawmakers Challenge Her Power
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is battling a rebellion from her own lawmakers which threatens to complicate her talks over leaving the European Union.

Disgraced newsman Rather thumps Conway for ‘alternative facts’
Disgraced former anchor Dan Rather knows a thing or two about “alternative facts.” So, in a sense, Rather, 85, was the perfect guest for Chris Matthews’ “Hardball” on Monday. But in an ironic twist worthy of an Alanis Morissette lyric, the veteran newsman – who once used forged documents as the basis for a politically damning report about former President George W. Bush – took President Trump’s counselor Kellyanne Conway to task for her language defending Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

Christian University to Send Students to Mosque for ‘Religious Experience’
Students enrolled in a world religions course this semester at Texas Christian University must attend a mosque service as part of the class. The field trip was scheduled to take place on Good Friday – one of the most holy days for Christians – observed as the day Jesus Christ was crucified.


The Briefing 01-25-17

Ultrasound as “stealth warfare”? Pro-abortion article defies science, rationality, and morality

Solving the world’s problems or part of the problem? World Economic Forum meets in Davos, Switzerland

The post The Briefing 01-25-17 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.


Top Headlines – 1/25/2017

  • Reignited ‘Trump trades’ help world stocks hit 19-month high (Read More)
  • Trump moving forward with border wall, weighs refugee cuts (Read More)
  • Trump’s ‘America First’ lets China play world leader (Read More)
  • High Tariffs on China, Mexico Wouldn’t Guarantee U.S. Jobs (Read More)
  • Trump warns he’s ready to ‘send in the Feds’ to Chicago (Read More)
  • How Russia sold its oil jewel: without saying who bought it (Read More)
  • UK PM May says she will publish ‘White Paper’ setting out Brexit plan (Read More)
  • UBS Says Dollar to ‘Roll Over’ Amid Trump Spending, Tax Cuts (Read More)
  • Wall Street Is Hiring … in Florida (Read More)
  • Beijing’s Anti-Pollution Effort Falls Hard on Villagers Used to Cheap Coal (Read More)
  • ‘1984’ sales soar after Trump claims, ‘alternative facts’ (Read More)
  • Cisco snaps up AppDynamics for $3.7B right before its IPO (Read More)
  • Greece’s Tsipras Insists on ‘Not One Euro More’ of Austerity (Read More)
  • Americans Are Flipping Houses Like It’s 2006 (Read More)
  • Turkey’s Erdogan plans to act rapidly on constitutional reform bill (Read More)
  • Has the World Reached Peak Productivity? (Read More)
  • Novartis Considers Spinning Off Alcon Eye-Care Unit (Read More)
  • Lead levels fall below federal limits in Flint, Michigan: state (Read More)
  • Extremist gunmen storm hotel in Somali capital, 8 killed (Read More)

Trump administration to review $221 m. payment to Palestinians in Obama’s last hours

Emboldened by Trump, Israel Approves a Wave of West Bank Settlement Expansion

In break from Obama, White House keeps mum as Israel expands settlements

UN condemns Israel’s West Bank settlement plans

PA: New settlements strengthen terrorism

Trump’s unquestioning support could lead Israel to disaster

Move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem? Now’s not the time.

Trump turns noncommittal on Jerusalem embassy move

US said to reassure Palestinians embassy move is off the table

Jerusalem mayor: Donald Trump is “serious” about moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem

IDF preparing for Trump’s embassy decision

Europe blames Israel for Gaza’s humanitarian situation

EU report accuses Israel of ‘systematic killing’ in Gaza

IDF shells Hamas outpost in retaliation for shooting incident

Lieberman: ‘In the next conflict—we will not stop until a white flag is raised’

Police probe of Israel’s Netanyahu widens: report

London’s Muslim mayor urges zero tolerance for hate crimes after anti-Semitic incidents

Israel advises citizens in Egypt’s Sinai to leave, cites attack risk

U.N. appeals for further $4.6 billion for Syrian refugees

UN should continue to oversee Syrian peace process, says envoy

Jihadists in Syria launch assault on rebels attending peace talks

Iraqi PM: Eastern Mosul is ‘fully liberated’

Former CIA director: US must keep military option in Iran open

Saudi Arabia warns destructive computer virus has returned

Suspected US drone strike kills 3 alleged al-Qaida in Yemen

Somalia: Gunmen storm hotel in capital after car bomb

Suicide bombers are using babies to avoid detection

Trump Properties Around The Globe Just Became Priority Terror Targets, Experts Say

Trump to sign executive orders enabling construction of proposed border wall and targeting sanctuary cities

Trump to order construction of US-Mexican border wall; reportedly to suspend refugee program

Mexico ready to quit NAFTA if US talks fail

US back in rally mode, lifting S&P, Nasdaq to records

Two journalists covering inauguration protests face felony riot charges

Lawyers claim DC police made wrongful arrests on Inauguration Day

Secret Service looking at agent who suggested she wouldn’t defend Trump from bullet

Trump says he will ‘send in the Feds’ if Chicago doesn’t reduce homicides

‘1984’ sales soar as ‘alternative facts’ and Trump claims echo Orwell’s dystopian world

‘Psychological Vaccine’ May Protect Against Fake News, Alternative Facts

U.K.’s May Faces Brexit Revolt as Lawmakers Challenge Her Power

China says prepared to lead global economy if necessary

Driverless buses arrive in Paris

Bus-Size Asteroid Buzzing Earth Tonight Stars in Slooh Webcast

Mysterious ‘booms’ heard around San Diego County

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Inarajan Village, Guam

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Isangel, Vanuatu

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Lata, Solomon Islands

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Panguna, Papua New Guinea

Bogoslof volcano in the Aleutian Islands erupts to 30,000ft

Colima volcano in Mexico erupts to 16,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 15,000ft

Bagana volcano in Papua New Guinea erupts to 10,000ft

Europe chokes under freezing smog

Air pollution in London passes levels in Beijing…and wood burners are making problem worse

Trump administration tells EPA to cut climate page from website: sources

Trump administration tells EPA to freeze all grants, contracts

Trump bans EPA employees from giving social media updates

Bird flu found in flock of 10,000 pheasants in Lancashire

Trump set to make Supreme Court choice this week, short list down to three

Republicans, Democrats Prep for Clash Over Supreme Court Nominee

House votes to permanently ban taxpayer funds for abortion

Rep. Steve King Files Federal Pro-Life Heartbeat Bill: ‘If a Heartbeat Is Detected, the Baby Is Protected’

The latest battlefront in the abortion wars: Some states want to require burial or cremation for fetuses

Christian University to Send Students to Mosque for ‘Religious Experience’

Knights of Malta head has ‘agreed’ to resign after dispute with Vatican

China Forcing Churches to Conform to Communist Agenda: Watchdog Report

Florida Pastor Forced to Flee Naked After Parishioner Finds Him in Bed With Wife

Jerry Falwell Jr Embraces Prosperity Impastor, Paula White, calls Discerning Christians “Pharisaical” and “Self-Righteous”

Bill Johnson, IHOP, and the ‘Passion Translation’

Eddie Long Declared ‘Person of Unimpeachable Reputation, Integrity’ by Georgia Senate

Juanita Bynum Defends Eddie Long, Calls for Mercy; Says She Prayed for Late Preacher and Victims

Pro-Life Marches, Media Agendas and The Greatest Need in America!

Investigation Captures Planned Parenthoods Nationwide Admitting: ‘We Don’t Offer Prenatal Care’

US House Votes to Permanently Ban Taxpayer Funding of Abortion

Doctor-assisted suicide could save Canada up to $139 million each year, Alberta study suggests

Trump promises ‘major investigation’ into alleged voter fraud

Posted: 25 Jan 2017 07:01 AM PST

President Trump announced Wednesday that he will be asking for a “major investigation” into alleged nationwide voter fraud — a day after his press secretary…
Will Your Church Pray for You-Know-Who?

Posted: 25 Jan 2017 06:45 AM PST

For the first time in eight years, progressive congregations throughout the United States will find themselves under a president who is opposed to many of…
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Investigates ‘the Role the Church Plays’

Posted: 25 Jan 2017 06:34 AM PST

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been meeting with religious, school and business leaders in Texas — not to give a speech on new technology but…

State Department Blocks Transfer of Funds to Palestinian Authority

Posted: 25 Jan 2017 06:29 AM PST

In a stunning reversal, the U.S. State Department froze $221 million designated by former President Barack Obama to the Palestinian Authority on his last full…

One out of every three Californians wants to secede from the U.S.

Posted: 25 Jan 2017 06:22 AM PST

A recent poll from Reuters/Ipsos reveals that one out of every three Californians wants to secede from the United States. Many of the those who…
Old U.S. enemy threatens ‘war’ if Trump moves embassy

Posted: 24 Jan 2017 09:17 PM PST

A major nemesis during the Iraq War is warning that if the U.S. moves its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as President…

Mysterious ‘booms’ heard around San Diego County

Posted: 24 Jan 2017 09:11 PM PST

Several people reported hearing two large “bangs” and felt the earth shake just after 3 p.m. Tuesday in San Diego. “Was there an earthquake that…
DEVELOPING: Trump ready for construction of border wall and targeting sanctuary cities

Posted: 24 Jan 2017 09:07 PM PST

President Trump is planning to sign executive orders on Wednesday enabling construction of his proposed border wall, and targeting cities where local leaders refuse to…
Trump To Unleash Immigration Directives, Temporary Ban Coming Refugees

Posted: 24 Jan 2017 09:02 PM PST

President Donald Trump is expected to sign executive orders starting on Wednesday that include a temporary ban on most refugees and a suspension of visas…
Stocks Surge On Trump Policies

Posted: 24 Jan 2017 08:58 PM PST

Wall Street investors were back in rally mode Tuesday, pushing the S&P 500 and Nasdaq to new records and lifting the dollar against the euro…
10th Century BC Wall Evidence of King David’s Battle in 2 Samuel 8:13

Posted: 24 Jan 2017 01:29 PM PST

Archaeologists have excavated an ancient wall dating back to the 10th century B.C. in southern Israel’s Arava desert region, which some experts say alludes to…
What Trump’s Decision to Move Embassy to Jerusalem Would Mean

Posted: 24 Jan 2017 01:16 PM PST

(Reported By Josh Siegel) The Trump administration is undecided about relocating the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a campaign promise that…
Senior Secret Service agent suggests she wouldn’t take ‘a bullet’ for Trump

Posted: 24 Jan 2017 01:08 PM PST

A senior U.S. Secret Service agent posted Facebook condemnations of President Trump during the past seven months, including one in which she said she wouldn’t…
Saeed Abedini: Trump’s Administration Is Fulfilling Old Testament Prophecy

Posted: 24 Jan 2017 09:19 AM PST

Pastor Saeed Abedini says the Trump administration is fulfilling Old Testament prophecy. The pastor who was persecuted in Iranian prison for nearly four years points…

Our Time is Short

Read: Recommitting Your Life To God and Jesus Christ – Restoration and Forgiveness With God and Jesus Christ (Updated Version)


What is The Gospel?

God made everything out of nothing, including you and me. His main purpose in creation was to bring him pleasure.

The chief way in which we as humanity do this is through loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

Instead of this, we have sinned against our loving Creator and acted in high-handed rebellion.

God has vowed that he will righteously and lovingly judge sinners with eternal death.

But God, being merciful, loving, gracious, and just, sent his own son, Jesus Christ, in the likeness of man to live as a man; fulfilling his perfect requirements in the place of sinners; loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

And further, his son bore the eternal judgment of God upon the cross of Calvary, as he satisfied the eternal anger of God, standing in the place of sinners. God treated Jesus as a sinner, though he was perfectly sinless, that he might declare sinners as perfect.

This glorious transaction occurs as the sinner puts their faith (dependence, trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ as their substitute. God then charges Christ’s perfection to the sinner, and no longer views him as an enemy but instead an adopted son covered in the perfect righteousness of his son.

God furnished proof that this sacrifice was accepted by raising Jesus from the dead.

God will judge the world in righteousness and all of those who are not covered in the righteousness of Christ, depending on him for forgiveness, will be forced to stand on their own to bear the eternal anger of God.

Therefore, all must turn from sin and receive Christ Jesus as Lord.


Do You Know Him?


What Is the Gospel?

There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the gospel to you when they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the gospel.

The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it –or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.

The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead – so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith–and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him–and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.


The Gospel In A Nutshell

Now, with regard to this rule of faith—that we may from this point acknowledge what it is which we defend—it is, you must know, that which prescribes the belief that there is one only God, and that He is none other than the Creator of the world, who produced all things out of nothing through His own Word, first of all sent forth; that this Word is called His Son, and, under the name of God, was seen “in diverse manners” by the patriarchs, heard at all times in the prophets, at last brought down by the Spirit and Power of the Father into the Virgin Mary, was made flesh in her womb, and, being born of her, went forth as Jesus Christ; thenceforth He preached the new law and the new promise of the kingdom of heaven, worked miracles; having been crucified, He rose again the third day; (then) having ascended into the heavens, He sat at the right hand of the Father; sent instead of Himself the Power of the Holy Ghost to lead such as believe; will come with glory to take the saints to the enjoyment of everlasting life and of the heavenly promises, and to condemn the wicked to everlasting fire, after the resurrection of both these classes shall have happened, together with the restoration of their flesh. This rule, as it will be proved, was taught by Christ, and raises amongst ourselves no other questions than those which heresies introduce, and which make men heretics.

Tertullian, “On Prescription Against Heretics,” Chapter XIIl


What Is the Gospel?

This post is adapted from the tract “What Is the Gospel?” by Greg Gilbert.


A Message from God

What exactly do Christians mean when they talk about the “gospel of Jesus Christ”? Since the word “gospel” means “good news,” when Christians talk about the gospel, they’re simply telling the good news about Jesus! It’s a message from God saying, “Good news! Here is how you can be saved from my judgment!” That’s an announcement you can’t afford to ignore.

Why Is the Gospel Good News?

So, what is the good news about Jesus Christ?

Since the earliest Christians announced the good news about Jesus, it has been organized around these questions:

  1. Who made us, and to whom are we accountable?
  2. What is our problem?
  3. What is God’s solution to our problem?
  4. How can I be included in his solution?

Christians through the centuries since Christ have answered those questions with the same truth from the Bible.

  1. We are accountable to God.
  2. Our problem is our sin against him.
  3. God’s solution is salvation through Jesus Christ.
  4. We come to be included in that salvation by faith and repentance.

Let’s summarize those points like this: God, Mankind, Jesus Christ, and Our Response.

God

The first thing to know about the good news of Jesus is that “in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). Everything starts from that point, so if you get that point wrong then everything else that follows will be wrong. Because God created everything—including us—he has the right to tell us how to live. You have to understand that in order to understand the good news about Jesus. To understand just how glorious and life-giving the gospel of Jesus Christ is, we have to understand that God is also holy and righteous. He is determined never to ignore or tolerate sin. Including ours!

Mankind

When God created the first human beings, Adam and Eve, he intended for them to live under his righteous rule in perfect joy—obeying him and living in fellowship with him. When Adam disobeyed God, though, and ate the one fruit that God had told him not to eat, that fellowship with God was broken. Moreover, Adam and Eve had declared rebellion against God. They were denying his authority over their lives.

It’s not just Adam and Eve who are guilty of sin. The Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Sin is the rejection of God himself and his authority over those to whom he gives life.

Once you understand sin in that light, you begin to understand why “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). That’s not just physical death, but spiritual death, a forceful separating of our sinful, rebellious selves from the presence of God forever. The Bible teaches that the final destiny for unbelieving sinners is eternal, active judgment in a place called “hell.”

But . . .

Jesus Christ

The word “Christ” means “anointed one,” referring to anointing a king with oil when he is crowned. So, when we say “Jesus Christ,” we’re saying that Jesus is a King!

When Jesus began his public ministry, he told the people, “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the good news!” As Jesus died on a cross, the awful weight of all our sins fell on his shoulders. The sentence of death God had pronounced against rebellious sinners struck. And Jesus died. For you and me!

But the story doesn’t end there. Jesus the Crucified is no longer dead. The Bible tells us that he rose from the grave. Jesus’s rising from the grave was God’s way of saying, “What Jesus claimed about who he is and what he came to do is true!”

Our Response

What does God expect us to do with the information that Jesus died in our place so we can be saved from God’s righteous wrath against our sins? He expects us to respond with repentance and faith.

To repent of our sins means to turn away from our rebellion against God. Repentance doesn’t mean we’ll bring an immediate end to our sinning. It does mean, though, that we’ll never again live at peace with our sins.

Not only that, but we also turn to God in faith. Faith is reliance. It’s a promise-founded trust in the risen Jesus to save you from your sins. If God is ever to count us righteous, he’ll have to do it on the basis of someone else’s record, someone who’s qualified to stand in as our substitute. And that’s what happens when a person is saved by Jesus: All our sins are credited to Jesus who took the punishment for them, and the perfect righteousness of Jesus is then credited to us when we place our trust in what he has done for us! That’s what faith means—to rely on Jesus, to trust in him alone to stand in our place and win a righteous verdict from God!


Ravi Zacharias explains the gospel in two minutes:


The Gospel on 5 Fingers

The five main components of the gospel can be remembered on 5 fingers of one hand. Here they are:

1) Jesus’ birth
2) Jesus’ life
3) Jesus’ death
4) Jesus’ resurrection
5) Jesus’ ascension

Obviously each point can be elaborated on depending on how much time you have. Here’s the short version:

1) Jesus’ birth – Jesus, God himself, the creator of the universe, the Messiah, became a human being – took on flesh, and was born of a virgin.

2) Jesus’ life – Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience to his Father. Though he was tempted in every way as we are, he never once sinned.

3) Jesus’ death – on the cross, Jesus himself took all our sins and paid for them. God the father counted all our sins to Jesus as if he himself had personally committed them. Then Jesus bore God’s wrath towards sin – the punishment we deserved – as a substitute for us.

4) Jesus’ resurrection – within 3 days, Jesus rose physically from the dead, proving that his sacrifice for sins have been accepted by God, since the punishment for sin was death. Jesus was seen by numerous people after he rose including 500 at one time (1 Corinthians 15).

5) Jesus’ ascension – Jesus ascended physically into heaven where he reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords. And someday he will return to the earth.

That’s the gospel, the good news, and if we believe in Jesus Christ and this good news and call upon him he will save us from our sins and give us eternal life.

That’s a simple way to remember the gospel – five fingers. Even a child can do it. So ask God to give you opportunities to share his good news today.


Please take the time to watch this clip, so that you might understand the authentic Gospel


This is the Gospel:

Friend, God is holy. There is a God in heaven who has created you and me, and He is the authority over both of us. He is perfectly holy. “In Him is Light, and there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). And the problem with that is that if we want to have fellowship with God, we have to be light and no darkness at all. And yet here’s the problem: we are darkness. We are sinful. We’ve all broken His law. We’ve all lied, stolen, we’ve all looked with lust, we’ve all been angry with our brothers in our hearts. We’ve all fallen short of the glorious standard of perfection that God requires (Rom 3:23). And there’s nothing we can do about it. No amount of works, no amount of contrition, no amount of bad feelings, no amount of church attendance, no amount of Bible reading, no amount of evangelism can earn forgiveness of our sins and the righteousness which God requires (Titus 3:5; cf. Isa 64:6).

And yet God is gracious, and He loves us, and as His creatures He wants to display His glory in us by rescuing us from that. And so He sent His Son—God in the flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ—to be born as a helpless little baby (John 1:14; 3:16; Col 2:9). God of the universe, Sustainer of the universe, Himself being sustained in the womb of a teenage Hebrew girl, and upholding the world by the word of His power (Heb 1:3) while He is upheld by the nutrients from her own body! Unspeakable! And in great humility, He grows up with the growing pains of life in a fallen world, though He Himself never being with any sin—without sin entirely (2 Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15; 7:26). And He lives a perfectly righteous life. The way that you and I have failed to live before God—the way that we have failed in thought, word, and deed, and fallen short of God’s glory—Christ never did. Not even a thought. He loved God, His Father, perfectly. He always walked in perfect righteousness. He lived the life that you were commanded to live, that I was commanded to live, that we failed to live. He lived that perfect life that God is worthy of.

And not only did He live for us, He died for us. He went to the cross. Our sin demanded death. Our sin demanded eternal punishment. Our sin demanded wrath—just wrath exercised on us for eternity (Rom 6:23). But because of the infinite worth of Christ’s person, He was on that cross. And on that cross, God exercised upon Him the full fury of His own anger (Rom 3:24–26; 2 Cor 5:21; Gal 3:10–14), that was rightly due to me and rightly due to you, and that you will experience if you don’t turn from your sin and trust in this Messiah. Christ was born, lived, died, and was raised (1 Cor 15:3–4). And He rose from the grave after being dead, demonstrating His victory over sin and death.

And now God promises that if you turn from your sin, if you repudiate all that you are and all that you were and all that you love, and you turn away from a life of pursuing sin—and if you repudiate not only your bad works but your good works, if you turn from trying to earn your salvation by all the good deeds that you might want to do as a moral person—if you turn away from all of that (Acts 17:30–31), and you trust in Christ alone for righteousness (Phil 3:7–8; cf. Rom 3:28; 10:4), God promises that He will forgive you. He will have treated Christ on the cross as if Christ lived your life. And He will then treat you, justly and legally and righteously, as if you lived Christ’s perfect life of righteousness (2 Cor 5:21). And you can be saved to know the God you were created to love and enjoy. You can have the fullness of joy, the eternal pleasures that are at the Father’s right hand in heaven (Ps 16:11), and begin even now, because eternal life is to know God (John 17:3).

Friend, would you repent? Would you turn from your sin and trust in this perfect Savior to avail for you before God, to pay for your sin and to provide your righteousness?


A Gospel Presentation

God is Holy

The Bible teaches that the entire universe was created by God. And that God who has created everything has spoken to humanity in the Bible. And the Bible tells us that a fundamental characteristic of God is that He is holy. 1 John 1:5 says, “God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” That’s a way of saying that He’s entirely pure. God’s character is one of perfect moral uprightness. He is the essence of all that is good—so much so that, as the verse says, He can have absolutely no fellowship with “darkness”—no fellowship with that which is not perfectly holy, righteous, and pure.

God’s righteous character was expressed in the law He gave to Moses and the Israelites. You’ve heard of the Ten Commandments. They summarized the perfection of God’s character. These laws were directives for how people who were in a proper relationship with God must act.

We are Sinful

The problem is: all of us are sinful. We have all broken God’s law. All humanity has “gone astray like sheep, and each one of us has turned to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6). We’ve tried to live our lives without God, according to our own standards, in our own ways. Whether we’re drug addicts and murderers, or white collar, well-to-do, upstanding citizens, we do what we do because we want to do it, with no consideration for God and what He would have us to do. The Bible calls that sin. It is the missing of the mark, the falling short of God’s standard of righteousness.

And in your heart of hearts you know you’re a sinner. I don’t know anyone who would say that they are perfect, even by their own standards. Ecclesiastes 7:20 says, “There is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.” And if God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all, then in order to have fellowship with Him, we’d need to be perfectly holy like Him. But we’re not. Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We are stained by the “darkness” of our sin. And this is a problem, because if darkness can’t dwell with light, and we’re darkness and God is light, we’re cut off from a relationship with Him. We become absolutely incapable of doing the very thing we were created and designed to do: to enjoy a relationship with our Creator.

There is a Penalty for Sin

But it’s not just that we and God can’t be friends. There’s a penalty to be paid for sin. The Bible tells us that that penalty is death, Romans 6:23: “The wages of sin is death.” But the death that Paul talks about there isn’t just physical death. It’s not like we pay for our sins by going out of existence. The death talked about in that verse is a spiritual death. This is hell: eternal conscious torment. Jesus Himself calls it “a furnace of fire,” where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:50).

The idea of hell grates against the sensibilities of modern people, because nobody thinks they’re really bad enough to deserve something like eternal torment. They might admit that they’re not the greatest of people, but surely they don’t deserve that. But their reasoning is skewed. The punishment for sin isn’t merely measured by the sin itself. In other words, while there are qualitative differences in the experience of divine punishment, murder, lust, and lying all receive the sentence of an eternity in hell. That’s because punishment for sin is measured by the One sinned against. All sin is fundamentally a sin against God, and He is infinitely holy. Therefore, sin against an infinitely holy God demands an infinite punishment. That’s why the punishment is so serious: because God is actually that righteous.

And so the bad news is that we’re sinful, separated from God, and doomed to spend eternity in hell. There’s nothing we can do about it. We can’t simply tell God we’re sorry and we won’t do it again. What would you say about a judge who let a guilty, convicted criminal go free because he was sorry and said he wouldn’t do it again? You’d call him an unjust judge. But God is a perfectly just, perfectly righteous Judge. God’s justice demands that sin be punished, and the only payment is eternal spiritual death.

God Became Man

But the Good News is: God saw the miserable condition of humanity, and took pity on us. He knew that there was no way we could ever earn our way back to Him. We could never pay for our sins. But just when man was absolutely hopeless, when we were all doomed to spend eternity in hell with no way to pay our penalty, God the Father sent His Son to the earth on a mission. He was miraculously born to a virgin. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit miraculously conceived Jesus in Mary’s womb. And so being conceived by the Holy Spirit, Jesus was God. And being born to a human being, He was human. This is the greatest mystery in the universe. As finite human beings, we can’t entirely wrap our minds around this, but it’s true: Jesus was fully God and fully man.

He lived for 33 years on the earth. He grew up just like every other child. He became a carpenter like Joseph, His earthly father. The great difference, though, between Jesus and every other human being, was that He never sinned. Never once did He ever break God’s law. He always loved God with all His heart, soul, mind, and strength in everything He did. He never sought satisfaction outside of the Father Himself. He never disobeyed His parents, He was never selfish, He never spoke sinful words. In a word, He lived the life that you and I should have lived, but failed to live. He lived a life totally worthy of God, a life that was purely “Light,” like we said before, with no darkness at all.

Jesus Paid the Penalty

And because He was perfectly righteous, He was fit to be the substitute for sinners. The Bible records for us that the Jews plotted to kill Jesus because He preached a message that was very different to the religious establishment of His day. It was against the Jewish law to put people to death, so they sought help from the Romans, who were the governing body in Israel. Because the governor, Pontius Pilate, feared that the people would riot if he didn’t give them what they wanted, he agreed to crucify Jesus.

At the same time, Scripture also tells us that God sent His Son to die this way. It was all part of God’s plan. God used the sinful desires of the Jews and the Romans to accomplish something for His own good purpose. On the cross, Jesus suffered for sins. But He didn’t suffer for His own sins. He had no sins. He lived an entirely perfect life. No, on the cross, God “caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.”

The verse right before that, Isaiah 53:5, says, “He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.” What was happening on the cross was: God was carrying out the punishment against my sins—i.e., the pouring out of His wrath—on His innocent Son. Jesus voluntarily laid down His life in order to pay the penalty for sins. On the cross, God treated Jesus if He lived my life. And because I believe in Him, He treats me as if I lived Jesus’ life. See, because God is perfectly righteous, the only way to get to heaven is to be perfectly righteous. But because Jesus was perfectly righteous, and traded places with me on the cross, the perfect righteousness I need to go to heaven is His righteousness applied to my account.

After Jesus died, God miraculously raised Him from the dead three days later in order to show that He was satisfied with His sacrifice. Jesus was dead, but then He came back to life! It was a miracle. The Bible says God did this to “furnish proof to all men” that this message is true (Acts 17:30-31).


Law or Gospel — Which comes first?

Sometimes in life, the question is posed to us, “Which do you want first — the bad news or the good news?”

In response to this question, some choose to hear the good news first. It appears they desire to be thoroughly overwhelmed with the positive before getting their dose of the negative.

Others choose differently. They would rather hear the bad news first, get it out of the way, and put behind them their wonder and worry. Then, after processing the ramifications of the bad news, they hope to soothe the pain an end the conversation on a good note with positive vibes.

Well, Scripture does not offer us options. The Bible makes the choice for us, and it chooses to present the negative before the positive. The Bible declares bad news before declaring good news. It first presents the holy, wise, beneficial and condemning Law, then it publishes the “good tidings of great joy” or the Gospel. (Is. 60:1-2)

Understanding God’s Law

God’s Law was first presented in the opening chapters of Genesis. Some of it was stated; all of it was written upon man’s heart. Adam and Eve were to be entirely holy and obedient. They were to worship God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, all the time. Whether they ate, or drank, or whatsoever they did, they were do to it all for the glory of God. As image-bearers, they were to keep up God’s image. As men and women created in his likeness, they were to be like God. Vocationally, they were to enjoy and steward the garden and all God’s creatures. Relationally, they were to love one another and populate the planet. Ceremonially, they were to enjoy and glorify the Lord by walking with him in the cool of the day and never eating from the forbidden tree. These were some of their obligations, and as long as they performed perfectly they were guaranteed life in the family and kingdom of God.

However, things soon went from glorious to ghastly. Outside of them, they experienced the testing of God and the temptation of Satan. Within them they chose to question God’s truth, wisdom, and affection. Then, drawn away by their own lusts and enticed, they followed their internal sinful inclinations and externally ate of the forbidden fruit. Therefore, the holy, wise, and beneficial Law became a harsh taskmaster. It showed them the standard, showed them their guilt, and plagued their consciences. It encouraged them to hide, fear, and religiously self-medicate. It declared them wicked, separated from God, at enmity with God, and deserving of death, and it promised this for both them and their children. Yes, the Law of God promised to give them that which they deserved. It promised to pay them based upon performance, and this proved to be very, very bad news.

Understanding God’s Gospel

God, through the Law declared to Adam and Eve who they were, what they had done, and what they had justly earned — condemnation. Then God mercifully, graciously, and lovingly went to work. He performed on their behalf and promised them an eternity of undeserved blessings:

He predetermined to love his enemies.
He sought out his enemies while they hid from him in fear.
He called to the man and woman who vainly had self-medicated themselves.
He promised to rescue them and their children; they would be removed from Satan’s family.
He promised to do so by means of a special Son – one to come who would be fiercely bitten yet ultimately victorious.
He promised to damn the Evil One.
He then covered or clothed Adam and Eve by means of his ceremonial sacrifice.
He perfectly performed for and made promises to them who had performed so wickedly for him.
Friends, are we seeing the difference? The Law presents our duty to perfectly perform, and it only results in bad news. For there is none who keep all the Law, all the time, both internally and externally. However, the Gospel is not like the Law. The Gospel presents not our duty to perform for God, but it presents God’s performance and promise for us. Through the Law we lose our credentials to be a part of God’s family and enjoy his kingdom. Through the Gospel we gain credentials that cannot be earned or lost.

A Great Illustration

Perhaps nowhere is the distinction better seen between Law and Gospel than on Calvary’s cross. On that day, the Law had placed a criminal beside Jesus. There he was guilty, vile, dying, hopeless, and still hurling insults at the Son of God. He was getting that which he earned and deserved. He was being treated justly and fairly. His payment was based upon his performance, and he had hell to pay. The Law had nothing good to say to the thief on the cross. But then God went to work; Jesus granted the Law-breaking criminal complete pardon, intimate communion, and never-ending paradise. These blessings were not based upon any labors of his own, but only based upon the performance and promise of God. These blessings were not earned; they were a gift. A divine swap occurred. Jesus (The Law Keeping Man) received that which he did not deserve so that the thief (The Law Breaking Man) might also receive that which he did not deserve. And this is a fantastic picture of the Gospel. Communion with God that was lost by man seeking to keep the Law, was granted to man as a gift of God.

Responding to the Gospel

Therefore, how should we respond to the Gospel? While believing in divine sovereignty, what is our human responsibility?

Let us make the Gospel our Gospel. Along with the Apostle Paul let us call it “mine.” The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit offer this gift to you. They command you to receive it and enjoy it. If you find yourself with faith, willing to repent and receive, call out to Jesus in prayer right now. Call Jesus, “My Jesus.” Call Jesus’ righteousness, “My Righteousness.” Call Jesus’ Gospel, “My Gospel.” (Rom. 2:16; 2 Tim. 2:8) Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. As a matter of fact, if you draw near to God, it is only because he has already been drawing nearer to you.

Let us not water down the Gospel. This is always our tendency, to add human works to the sufficient work of Jesus Christ. Friends, re-read the letter to the Galatians. If we must perform, it is not Gospel. If we must labor, it is not Gospel. If it involves our works, it is not Gospel. If it is conditioned upon us in anyway, it is not Gospel. If it is a contract, it is not Gospel. If it can be lost, it is not Gospel. The Gospel represents the unilateral work of God on behalf of men. The Law ought never be divorced from the Gospel, but it must never be confused either.

Let us celebrate the Gospel. William Tyndall wrote of the Gospel, “It makes a man’s heart glad, and makes him sing, dance, and leap for joy.” It is the best of news. It means we can sabbath. It means we can boldly approach the throne of grace with confidence. It means we are seen as Christlike image-bearers. Give God the celebratory praise he deserves. He has labored perfectly on your behalf, give him reverent and radical praise and worship.

Let us not be ashamed of the Gospel. (Rom.1:16) Paul wrote, “Woe if I do not preach the Gospel. (1 Cor. 9:16) He wrote, “How beautiful are the feet of those who spread the Good News.” Friends, just as Adam and Eve were to physically reproduce, we are to spiritually reproduce around the world. This is our mission. This is our great mission. This is our Great Commission. Let us be humble, for we cannot make someone believe. Let us be zealous, for God has a tendency to honor those who labor hard. And let us become flexibly relevant in order to better spread the Gospel. (1 Cor. 9:22-23) As Gospel-lovers and Gospel-beneficiants, let us do that which is Lawful and bring in the Gospel-harvest.

Then, let us live Lawfully in accordance with the Gospel. Now that we have been saved from having to perform, let us perform. Yes, with Gospel-eyes, let us look at the Law and enjoy practicing that which is holy, wise, beneficial, and worshipful. Living in the power of the Gospel, let us enjoy becoming more and more like Jesus — the Author and Finisher of our Faith. And when we look at the Law, let us not get frustrated and despondent. Instead, let us glory in the Law, for there is the description of who we are in Christ today, and it also shows us all we will be in glory tomorrow when our old flesh is finally exterminated.

Bottom line, the Law shows us how to perform for God, but the Gospel shows us how God performs for us. This is radical. This is crazy. This is beautiful. This is truth.


Our Response

And now, God promises that…

  • if you acknowledge that you are a sinner—that you have broken His law,
  • and if you admit that there is no way that you could earn His favor and His forgiveness,
  • and if you purpose to turn away from your life of sin and commit your life to Him,
  • and if you trust in Jesus’ righteousness alone for your acceptance before this holy God,

…then He will have treated Jesus as if He lived your life, and will treat you as if you lived Jesus’ life. You will be saved from the penalty of your sin, and will be able to enjoy fellowship with God forever in heaven, and even fellowship with Him starting now.

In other words, if you believe that you’re a sinner and deserve God’s punishment because of your sin, but you also believe that God sent Jesus to endure that punishment in your place, and that His sacrifice is the only way you can be forgiven, then God promises that He will forgive you and you will be saved. You’ll know the God who created you.

Don’t Waste Your Life

God designed your soul. And He designed you so that, just as a car engine is designed to run on gasoline, you’re designed to run on Him. He is what life is about. All of the disappointments, discouragements, and uncertainties of your life find their resolution in Him. And all of the satisfactions, fun experiences, and joys of life find their consummation in Him. Everything good in our lives is like a trail of breadcrumbs that leads us to the feast of God Himself. And everything bad in our lives is a reminder that life lived apart from knowing God in Christ is not the way it was meant to be.

And I also don’t want to see you waste your life. God created us for the purpose of rightly knowing and worshiping Him. That’s the meaning of life. That’s where true happiness and satisfaction are found. When you don’t live your life for that purpose, you waste it. So many people go through life seeking that happiness, but never find it because they don’t know what life is really about. I don’t want that for you. I don’t want you to suffer God’s wrath eternally for your sin. I want to spend eternity in heaven worshiping God with you, praising Him for how gracious He was to forgive our sins because of Christ’s sacrifice.

Receive Forgiveness

So would you receive Christ? Would you acknowledge your sinfulness before God and admit you can’t do a thing about it? Would you turn from your sin, and seek to live your life in submission to Jesus Christ? Would you trust in Jesus alone for your righteousness before God? Would you join me in worshiping the God we were created to know?

Source


Ready to start your new life with God?

Who do you think that I am?

With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.

Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more


Resource Links

CanIKnowGod.com is a website inspired by LifesGreatestQuestion.com, with new content, images, audio and video that will help you understand more about who God is and how to know Him. The site is mobile responsive and has an infinite scroll which makes for a very user-friendly experience. After you indicate a decision on CanIKnowGod.com, you are directed to a page that details what it means to have a new and transformed life through Jesus Christ. There’s even a Facebook page for daily updates, encouragement and scripture sharing.

Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!

30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.

New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.

Jesus Booklet
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


The Perseverance (Security) of the Saints

Notice all the Scripture references!

It is not just a handful of texts that teach the perseverance of the saints: the entire gospel sustains and confirms it. The Father has chosen them before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), ordained them to eternal life (Acts 13:48), to be conformed to the image of his Son (Rom. 8:29). This election stands (Rom. 9:11; Heb. 6:17) and in due time carries with it the calling and justification and glorification (Rom. 8:30). Christ, in whom all the promises of God are Yes and Amen (2 Cor. 1:20), died for those who were given him by the Father (John 17:6, 12) in order that he might give them eternal life and not lose a single one of them (6:40; 17:2); he therefore gives them eternal life and they will never be lost in all eternity; no one will snatch them out of his hand (6:39; 10:28).

The Holy Spirit who regenerates them remains eternally with them (14:16) and seals them for the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13; 4:30). The covenant of grace is firm and confirmed with an oath (Heb. 6:16–18; 13:20), unbreakable like a marriage (Eph. 5:31–32), like a testament (Heb. 9:17), and by virtue of that covenant, God calls his elect. He inscribes the law upon their inmost being, puts his fear in their heart (Heb. 8:10; 10:14ff.), will not let them be tempted beyond their strength (1 Cor. 10:13), confirms and completes the good work he has begun in them (1 Cor. 1:9; Phil. 1:6), and keeps them for the return of Christ to receive the heavenly inheritance (1 Thess. 5:23; 2 Thess. 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:4–5).

In his intercession before the Father, Christ acts in such a way that their faith may not fail (Luke 22:32), that in the world they may be kept from the evil one (John 17:11, 20), that they may be saved for all times (Heb. 7:20), that their sins will be forgiven them (1 John 2:1), and that they may all be where he is to behold his glory (John 17:24). The benefits of Christ, which the Holy Spirit imparts to them, are all irrevocable (Rom. 11:29). Those who are called are also glorified (8:30). Those who are adopted as children are heirs of eternal life (8:17; Gal. 4:7). Those who believe have eternal life already here and now (John 3:16). That life itself, being eternal, cannot be lost. It cannot die since it cannot sin (1 John 3:9). Faith is a firm ground (Heb. 11:1), hope is an anchor (6:19) and does not disappoint us (Rom. 5:5), and love never ends (1 Cor. 13:8).

Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Holy Spirit, Church, and New Creation, volume 4 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2008), 270.


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God Hates Deceit

According to blogger and author Tim Challies, “God reserves words like ‘hate,’ ‘abomination,’ and ‘despise’ to describe the sins for which he has the greatest revulsion. In his series on the things God hates, Challies delves into God’s hatred for deceit. Deceit, he says, “is the natural condition of those whose hearts are in rebellion against God.” Moreover, “deceit is a sure sign of our depravity.” In this installment, Tim Challies walks us through what it looks like when a person is in rebellion against God. He writes:

The Bible leaves no doubt that God hates deceit. Three times in the book of Proverbs he states it bluntly. In Proverbs 6 we read a list of “six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him,” and two of them relate to deceit: “a lying tongue” and “a false witness who breathes out lies” (17, 19). Proverbs 12:22 echoes the theme: “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who act faithfully are his delight” (Proverbs 12:22).

Zechariah adds that God hates the kind of deceit that takes shape in false oaths, saying, “do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the LORD” (Zechariah 8:17). As we assemble the evidence, it becomes clear: God hates any concealment of the truth, any denial of the truth, or any misrepresentation of the truth.

View article →

The Early Symptoms of Spiritual Danger

I can still recall the conversation although it took place more than three decades ago. A shocked friend asked, “Have you heard that Sarah is no longer a Christian?” What was so alarming to my friend was that Sarah had been one of the most influential, and apparently fruitful, members of her Inter-Varsity group. What would those who had been influenced by her witness to Christ say, or do? Would they be shaken to the core and now doubt their own Christian faith? After all, the person who had pointed them to Christ no longer trusted Him.

On occasion, we wonder if an individual really has been converted. And sometimes we have an inexplicable, ill-defined sense that something is missing. But we cannot read the heart. Even so, we hear of friends—whose faith we never doubted—turning away from Christ.

Apostasy is the old, vigorous word to describe this abandonment of Christ. The New Testament church was familiar with it. It was a major concern of the author of Hebrews. That is why he wrote the often-discussed words of Hebrews 6:4–6:

Those once enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, become partakers of the Holy Spirit, tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the coming age—if they fall away cannot be renewed again to repentance.

Some in the early church thought that the phrase “cannot be renewed” meant that those who stumbled could not be received back into fellowship. But our author does not have the penitent in mind. Rather, he is thinking of those whose hardness of heart blocks the way to the Cross and proves irreversible.

It has been said that there is no more powerful or detailed description of the true Christian in the New Testament than in the words of Hebrews 6:4–6. That is surely a breathtaking statement in the light of what is said about the first readers a few verses later. The author is confident of something “better” in them—the very things that accompany salvation (6:9). The implication is that, however powerful the experiences described in 6:4–6 may be, these are not the definitive marks of a Christian. They may be present when genuine faith is absent. In fact, Hebrews is telling us that which is possible to experience without actually being a Christian.

Something must be missing therefore from this list of influences and experiences. What Hebrews has already said about an earlier generation brings it to light: “the gospel was preached … to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith” (Heb. 4:2 NKJV). There was no real trust in Christ, the crucified, risen, and reigning Savior.

The truth and the power of the gospel were experienced. But “experience” in itself is not regeneration unless gospel grace penetrates into the heart. Hebrews 6:4–6 makes no mention of the crucified One being trusted and sin being rejected. Rather, despite rich spiritual experiences, heart unbelief and rejection of Christ, crucifying Him ourselves, are grimly possible.

The solemn fact is that none of us can tell the difference between the beginning of backsliding and the beginning of apostasy. Both look the same. So what are the tell-tale signs of this sickness unto death? Are there early symptoms that might alert us to our spiritual danger?

Hebrews 6:8–12 suggests three things we should look out for:

First, we should look for the presence of “thorns and briars” (v. 8). Here Hebrews echoes the words of our Lord in the Parable of the Soils. In some soils (hearts) the good seed of the Word is planted and seems to take root. But in fact the soil is infested with weeds that strangle the fruit of the good seed. “The cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Mark 4:19 NKJV).

Second, we should look for the absence of “things that [always] accompany salvation” (v. 9). What are these “things”? They are, surely, the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22–24). Paul interestingly contrasts verbally the fruit of the Spirit with the works of the flesh. These marks of grace are the natural outcome of regeneration. Furthermore, the Cross has a central place in such a life, for “those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions” (Gal. 5:24 NKJV).

The third thing is perhaps the most alarming: The failure to show “diligence” and a tendency to become “sluggish” (vv. 11–12). Earlier the writer had warned how easy it is just to “drift away” (Heb. 2:1). But this drifting happens slowly, and it often goes unnoticed.

Yes, apostasy happens. Sometimes the catalyst is flagrant sin. The pain of conviction and repentance is refused, and the only alternative to it is wholesale rejection of Christ. But sometimes the catalyst is a thorn growing quietly in the heart, an indifference to the way of the Cross, a drifting that is not reversed by the knowledge of biblical warnings.

So perhaps a personal health check is in order. And today would be the wisest time to do it.

This post was originally published in Tabletalk magazine.

Bill Johnson, IHOP, and the ‘Passion Translation’

Bill Johnson at Onething 2016

Bill Johnson spoke at Onething 2016.

The New Apostolic Reformation‘s most influential leaders continue to quote from the “Passion Translation“–despite the fact that this translation is no translation at all. Rather it completely rewords Scripture, making it falsely appear that the Bible supports New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) teachings. Especially disturbing is the fact that well-known adult pastors and teachers–who should know better–are promoting this so-called translation among Christian youth.

Recently, the Passion Translation was praised at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri, before thousands of young adults gathered for the annual Onething conference. NAR apostle Bill Johnson–senior pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, California, and a featured speaker at the conference–called the Passion Translation a “great translation.” He then cited Simmons’ translation of the book of Proverbs in support of the NAR teaching that Christians are called to “reign in life” and to bring heaven to earth by revealing divine solutions to solve society’s problems. (In the NARmovement, Christians must submit to the leadership of present-day apostles and prophets to fulfill this calling.) Watch Johnson promote the Passion Translation here, starting at 0:34:45.

Though disappointing, it’s not surprising that Johnson would promote the Passion Translation, as he’s one of its official endorsers. But it’s another thing to have this NARBible promoted on stage at the International House of Prayer (IHOP). One wonders where IHOP founder Mike Bickle stands on the Passion Translation. The thousands of youth who look to Bickle as a Bible teacher would be served well by him publicly denouncing this unreliable “translation.”

To learn more about problems with the Passion Translation, read my four-part series, A New NAR Bible, or see my co-authored book God’s Super-Apostles.

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Holly Pivec is the co-author of A New Apostolic Reformation?: A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement and God’s Super-Apostles: Encountering the Worldwide Prophets and Apostles Movement. She has a master’s degree in Christian apologetics from Biola University.

Source:  Bill Johnson, IHOP, and the ‘Passion Translation’

How to Find a Biblical Counselor

Where do you turn when you or someone you care about is hurting?

Finding a biblical counselor who will minister God’s truth to you in Christ’s love is vital. If you are searching for a biblical counselor, I recommend that you visit the following biblical counseling organizations.

  • ABC (Association of Biblical Counselors) maintains a list of vetted biblical counselors that you can find at The Biblical Counseling Network.
  • CCEF (Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation) can be contactedat intake@ccef.org for information regarding CCEF trained biblical counselors. You can also visit their Counseling Services page to get counseling through CCEF directly.
  • IABC (International Association of Biblical Counselors) maintains a list of certified biblical counselors. Their list is searchable by states and includes 8 countries. You can visit it at Find a Counselor.
  • The ACBC (Association of Certified Biblical Counselors) maintains a list of certified biblical counselors. Their list is searchable by zip code. You can visit it at Find a Counselor.

You can find these lists and additional information about finding biblical counseling help at the Biblical Counseling Coalition’s Find a Biblical Counselor Page.

While ABC, CCEF, IABC, and ACBC work diligently to screen any ministry or individual in their list:

  • It is important for you to personally research the church, ministry, or individual listed.
  • If you search these recommended links and find a biblical counselor in your area, please exercise due diligence and contact them with pertinent questions.
  • The Biblical Counseling Coalition’s Confessional Statement is a good starting place as you seek to find a qualified biblical counselor who is a good match for your convictions.
  • I also recommend the ABC’s document: Questions to Ask When Choosing a Counselor.

Source: How to Find a Biblical Counselor

Bible Society believe they are “celebrating” the bible by partnering with Hillsong?

We as Christians should be able to trust the Bible Society. But unfortunately their ongoing support for well known false teachers and and their movements should give the body of Christ great cause for concern.

The LiveLoveLead Society versus the bible-wielding Tanya Levin over the mole’s Hillsong

This year marks the 500th year of the Protestant Reformation. For the past year we were anticipating that these organisations and movements would take full advantage of this opportunity to captilise on the Reformation, Martin Luther and the bible being produced for the common man.

The Bible Society has stumbled by yet again partnering with Hillsong and in their “stumbling” will cause others to stumble.

Romans 16:7 “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.”

We are clearly told in Scripture that it is unacceptable…

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Jerry Falwell Jr Embraces Prosperity Impastor, Paula White, calls Discerning Christians ‘Pharisaical’ and ‘Self-Righteous’

According to the Polemics Report:

Jerry Falwell Junior ascended to the stage while a chant originating on the Jerry Springer show of “Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!” came from the crowd. He would then introduce the Word-of-Faith impastor, prosperity gospel teacher, and former mistress of Benny Hinn, and do so as though she were a sister in Christ.

Falwell would then go on to interview White’s third husband, who is a musician for the rock band, Journey, and who replaced her second husband – pastor Randy White – just a few years ago. White’s rockstar husband, Jonathan Cain, spoke of God’s anointing on his music career, and credited Jesus with his success. Cain’s musical career, with which he credits God, includes songs with lyrics like…

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How seeker-friendly churches hurt America

Such seeker-friendly churches typically try to appeal to the unchurched by giving short shrift to the hard sayings in the Scriptures and the firm, fixed, and unalterable moral standards that are found there. This is because they fear seekers will find them too harsh, too difficult, and too out of phase with contemporary culture. Because such controversial truths might run seekers off, it’s best to avoid them entirely and talk endlessly and exclusively about how nice, kind, and understanding God is.

January 25, 2017: Verse of the day

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The Final Lament

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. (7:24–25)

Paul’s final lament is even more intense than the others. He cries out in utter anguish and frustration, Wretched man that I am! Because this person describes himself in such negative terms, many commentators believe he could not be speaking as a Christian, much less as an apostle. If Paul was speaking of himself, they argue, he must have been speaking about his preconversion condition.

But the Scottish commentator Robert Haldane wisely observed that men perceive themselves to be sinners in direct proportion as they have previously discovered the holiness of God and His law. In one of his penitential psalms, David expressed his great anguish of soul for not being all that he knew the Lord wanted him to be: “O Lord, rebuke me not in Thy wrath; and chasten me not in Thy burning anger. For Thine arrows have sunk deep into me, and Thy hand has pressed down on me. There is no soundness in my flesh because of Thine indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities are gone over my head; as a heavy burden they weigh too much for me” (Ps. 38:14).

Another psalmist expressed distress over his sin in words that only a person who knows and loves God could pray: “Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice! Let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If Thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, and in His word do I hope” (Ps. 130:1–5).

Paul next asks a question to which he well knows the answer: Who will set me free from the body of this death? He again makes clear that the cause of his frustration and torment is the body of this death. It is only a believer’s body that remains subject to sin and death.

Rhuomai (set … free) has the basic idea of rescuing from danger and was used of a soldier’s going to a wounded comrade on the battlefield and carrying him to safety. Paul longed for the day when he would be rescued from the last vestige of his old, sinful, unredeemed flesh.

It is reported that near Tarsus, where Paul was born (Acts 22:3), a certain ancient tribe sentenced convicted murderers to an especially gruesome execution. The corpse of the slain person was lashed tightly to the body of the murderer and remained there until the murderer himself died. In a few days, which doubtless seemed an eternity to the convicted man, the decay of the person he had slain infected and killed him. Perhaps Paul had such torture in mind when he expressed his yearning to be freed from the body of this death.

Without hesitation, the apostle testifies to the certainty of his eventual rescue and gives thanks to his Lord even before he is set free: Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! he exults. Later in the epistle he further testifies, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18). Frustrating and painful as a believer’s present struggle with sin may be, that temporary earthly predicament is nothing compared with the eternal glory that awaits him in heaven.

Because Christians have a taste of God’s righteousness and glory while they are still on earth, their longing for heaven is all the more acute: “We ourselves,” Paul says, “having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body” (Rom. 8:23; cf. 2 Cor. 5:4). On that great day, even our corruptible bodies will be redeemed and made incorruptible. “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,” Paul assures us, “the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. … The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:52–53, 56–57).

Paul’s primary emphasis in the present passage, however, is not on the believer’s eventual deliverance from sin’s presence but on the conflict with sin that torments every spiritually sensitive child of God. He therefore ends by summarizing the two sides of that struggle: So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

In the poem Maud (x. 5), one of Tennyson’s characters yearns, “Ah for a new man to arise in me, that the man I am may cease to be!” The Christian can say that a new man has already arisen in him, but he also must confess that the sinful part his old man has not yet ceased to be.

MacArthur New Testament Commentary

January 25, 2017: Daily Devotional Guide Collection

January 25

It Doesn’t Seem Right

For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I preach notthe gospel! For if I do this willingly, I have a reward.

1 Corinthians 9:16–17

 

There is a story of an old missionary who was returning home from Africa. He was on the same ship with President Teddy Roosevelt who had been in Africa for a big game hunt. When the ship docked in New York, great crowds greeted the president, but the old missionary and his wife walked off the ship unnoticed.

“It just doesn’t seem right,” said the missionary to his wife in a rather bitter tone. “We give our lives in Africa to win souls to Christ, and when we arrive home, there’s no reward or anyone to meet us. The president shoots some animals and gets a royal welcome.” As they were praying before they went to bed, the missionary sensed that the Lord was saying to him, “Do you know why you haven’t received your reward yet? Because you’re not home.”

That’s what Paul had in mind in his spiritual service. He didn’t want to receive superficial or temporal acclaim. He was willing to wait until he went home—his ultimate home—to receive what God had promised him. Are you willing to wait?[1]


January 25 Diligently Preserving Unity

“Being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Ephesians 4:3

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The unity of the Spirit must be earnestly maintained by humble, gentle, patient, loving Christians.

Today’s Scripture spells out the goal of the worthy walk: the unity of the Spirit. Jesus prayed for Christians “that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me” (John 17:21). Our witness to the world depends on our unity as believers.

The world is full of discord, animosity, bitterness, and resentment. If in the midst of the world there is an oasis of unity and harmony, people will wonder what we have. Then we have the opportunity to say, “This is what Christ can do.” The world needs to see that the church is not just another social club, but an institution of God, supernaturally born, supernaturally sustained, with a supernatural destiny.

Our unity depends on the virtues we have been studying this month: gentleness, patience, and forbearing love. Without them, unity is impossible. In addition, our unity requires diligence. The word translated “diligent” in Ephesians 4:3 carries the ideas of both zeal and urgency: “Let’s work on it, and work on it now.” We need full dedication. But don’t say first, “I’ll head the committee” or “I’ll make the posters.” This is a personal passage, and if you want to hurry and start working on unity, you need to start in your heart. Commit yourself first to walking worthy by matching your life with your theology.

I am grieved by all the disunity and discord in the church today. One of the main causes is the focus on denominational distinctives—what divides us. We should instead focus on biblical distinctives—what unites us. We need to humble ourselves and learn to love each other. That won’t happen by starting a global ecumenical movement, but it will happen when we become what God wants us to be. Working at unity is a full–time task that demands maximum dedication and obedience from every Christian.

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Suggestions for Prayer: Pray that God would unify His church around the world, and that He would begin with you.

For Further Study: Read about the unity of the early church in Acts 2:42–47 and 4:32–37. What characterized those believers? ✧ Which of their characteristics do you need to work on?[2]


JANUARY 25

A VAST DIFFERENCE

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

It is possible to grow up in a church, learn the catechism and have everything done to us that they do to us, within reason. But after we have done all that, we may not know God at all, because God isn’t known by those external things. We are blind and can’t see, because the things of God no man knows but by the Spirit of God….

We imagine that we can handle it by the flesh, and we do handle it by the flesh—the Lord lets us do it. We can hold the creed and not know God in His person at all. We can know the doctrine and not know spiritual things at all. The fearful consequence is that many people know about God but don’t know God Himself. There is a vast difference between knowing about God and knowing God—a vast difference!…

So it is that the human being can know about God, can know about Christ’s dying for him, can even write songs and books, can be the head of religious organizations and hold important church offices—and still never have come to the vital, personal knowledge of God at all. Only by the Holy Spirit can he know God. COU019, 025-026

Lord, it is humbling to consider the possibility that I could know all about You, and yet not know You personally. Impart Your Spirit, Lord, that I may truly know You. Amen. [3]


January 25

Believers’ Temptations Similar to Jesus’

The tempter came and said to Him … Then the devil … Again, the devil … —Matt. 4:3a, 5a, 8a

Our temptations are similar in kind to what Jesus faced. First, Satan tries to get us to distrust God’s providential care and solve our own difficulties by our own strength and cleverness. Second, the devil will tempt us to presume on the Lord’s protection by having us willingly place ourselves in danger’s pathway, where we can meet all kinds of physical and spiritual harm. Third, he appeals to our selfish ambitions in hopes we might grasp after God’s promises in our own strength. The apostle John mentions these same temptations: “All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world” (1 John 2:16).

Those three major sources of temptation are all around us, so how do we resist? Consider the man who trained his dog by placing a piece of meat in the center of the floor. Whenever the dog tried to take the meat, its owner swatted it and said, “No.” Before long the dog learned to associate the swat with “No” and simply left the meat alone when it heard the word. Finally, whenever the meat was placed on the floor, the dog would not even look at the meat, but instead at its master, waiting for his word of approval or denial. In a way, this illustrates how we must deal with temptation—keep our eyes on the Master rather than the temptation, and wait for His command.

ASK YOURSELF
One of the grandest things about heaven will be the freedom of living without the burden of temptation or the inclination to obey it. Till then, what can you do to keep your “eyes on the Master,” resisting Satan’s attempts at deception and destruction? Pray for sharper, surer spiritual eyesight.[4]


January 25 Understanding Your Calling

“I pray that … you may know what is the hope of [God’s] calling” (Eph. 1:18).

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The hope of your calling is grounded in God’s promises and in Christ’s accomplishments.

In Ephesians 1:3–14 Paul proclaims the blessings of our salvation. In verse 18 he prays that we will comprehend those great truths, which he summarizes in the phrase, “the hope of His calling.”

“Calling” here refers to God’s effectual calling—the calling that redeems the soul. Scripture speaks of two kinds of callings: the gospel or general call, and the effectual or specific call. The gospel call is given by men and is a universal call to repent and trust Christ for salvation (see, e.g., Matt. 28:19; Acts 17:30–31). It goes out to all sinners, but not all who hear it respond in faith.

The effectual call is given by God only to the elect. By it He speaks to the soul, grants saving faith, and ushers elect sinners into salvation (John 6:37–44, 65; Acts 2:39). All who receive it respond in faith.

The hope that your effectual calling instills is grounded in God’s promises and in Christ’s accomplishments (1 Peter 1:3), and is characterized by confidently expecting and yet patiently waiting for those promises to be fulfilled. It is your hope of final glorification and of sharing God’s glory when Christ returns (Col. 3:4). It is a source of strength and stability amid the trials of life (1 Peter 3:14–15). Consequently it should fill you with joy (Rom. 5:2) and motivate you to godly living (1 John 3:3).

As you face this new day, do so with the confidence that you are one of God’s elect. He called you to Himself and will hold you there, no matter what circumstances you face. Nothing can separate you from His love (Rom. 8:38–39)!

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the security of your salvation. ✧ Ask Him to impress on your heart the blessings and responsibilities of your calling. ✧ Live today in anticipation of Christ’s imminent return.

For Further Study: Joshua’s call to lead Israel was not a call to salvation, but it illustrates some important principles for spiritual leadership. You might not see yourself as a spiritual leader, but you are important to those who look to you as an example of Christian character.

Read Joshua 1:1–9 and then answer these questions: ✧ What were the circumstances of Joshua’s call (vv. 1–2)? ✧ What promises did God make to him (vv. 3–6)? ✧ What did God require of him (vv. 7–9)?[5]


JANUARY 25

SPIRITUAL READINESS

The end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

1 Peter 4:7

 

When the Bible says that God is calling a special people out of the nations to bear the name of His eternal Son, I believe it—and His name is Jesus!

Our pious forefathers believed in spiritual preparation, and they said so. They saw themselves as a bride being prepared to meet the Bridegroom. They regarded this earth as the dressing room to outfit themselves for heaven.

The evangelical church has come through a period when nearly everyone has believed that there is just one prerequisite to readiness: being born again. We have made being born again almost like receiving a pass to a special event—when Jesus returns, we whip out the pass to prove our readiness.

Frankly, I do not think it will be like that. I do not believe that all professed believers are automatically ready to meet the Lord. Our Savior Himself was joined by Peter and John and Paul in warning and pleading that we should live and watch and pray, so to be ready for Jesus’ coming.

 

Dear Lord, help me to “act out” my faith today with seriousness and passion. Enable me to give spiritual guidance or encouragement to someone who is hurting.[6]


JANUARY 25

OLD THINGS PASS—ALL THINGS BECOME NEW

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

2 CORINTHIANS 4:7

The Christian who has dedicated his life to God and has shouldered his cross need not be surprised at the conflict in which he at once finds himself engaged. Such conflict is logical; it results from the nature of God and of man and of Christianity!

He will, for instance, discover that the ways of God and the ways of men are not equal. He will find that the skills he learned in Adam’s world are of very little use to him in the spiritual realm. His tried and proven methods for getting things done will fail him when he attempts to apply them to the work of the Spirit. The new Adam will not surrender to the old Adam nor gear His new creation to the methods of the world. God will not share His glory with another!

The true Church of God, the company of the forgiven and regenerated, is a marvel and an astonishment in the eyes of the old creation, a perpetual sign of the supernatural in the midst of natural things.

The Church is a sheet let down from heaven, an interposition of something unlike and dissimilar, a wonder and a perplexity which cannot be understood nor explained nor gotten rid of. That about her which yields itself to analysis by the historian or the psychologist is the very thing that does not signify, the earthen vessel in which the precious treasure is contained.

The treasure itself transcends the art of man to comprehend! Those who follow on to know the Lord discover that old things will pass away and all things will become new![7]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 36). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[2] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[3] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[4] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 33). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[5] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 37). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[6] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[7] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.