14 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Jesus, Himself fulfilled the mission of being the Lords servant to be light for the gentiles, as it was said in...
6 "I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles,
And also on Luke 2:32, when Jesus was presented at the temple.
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."
Jesus expected all of His followers to do exactly the same thing. What good works do people see you and i do, that will give God the glory. Jesus said... “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven”. How is our faith different from everyone else? How do we behave, act, speak...how does it give glory to our Father, and reflect the Son who gave us the perfect example? There has to be a difference, a change, proof of being a new creation.
Before we come to realize what it is to be made new, being that light for people to see. We have to look at why we were saved and from what? We all know that we were called for His purpose! Not because we were good, or that we were already living a holy life. We were far from that. Jesus came to save sinners.
10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."
Jesus came to be born as a man, not merely to provide us an example of a godly living, but to make it possible for us to enjoy an intimate relationship with God. Jesus did for us what we could never do on our own. Remember from last weeks message... "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day”. We lost our relationship with our God, because of sin, that is why He said...”to save what was lost” we were lost, and Jesus was the payment for sin. Let us look at where we came from, and why we were far off with our relationship from our God. We all know the deception in the garden, the fall of man. After the fall things did not get any better. Adam and Eve/s sons, Abel, and Cain. Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. Abel took care of animals, and Cain a farmer, Both brothers at one point made an offering to the Lord, but only one offering was favored...
3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
Abel offered a better sacrifice than Cain did, and for that,
Abel was commended righteous in Gods eyes, as it was said in the book of Hebrews 11. Abel offered the right sacrifice. As it was said, it made Cain angry. Why? They both made an offering, so why did God favor one, and not the other? Lets look at the following verses to best explain, Lets hear God speak...
6 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?
7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."
Basically God is saying that if you were obedient to my command, your offering would have been accepted. But Cain let his anger lead him into a very terrible sin.
8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field." And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
Cain killed his brother Abel, “Let us go out to the field” Cain already planned to kill his brother, it was no accident! This is what the Lord meant when He said, “sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." Sin desired to have Cain, and it did, Cain could not master it. So God cursed Cain for his disobedience. Just like his father Adam. This is where we all came from, a life of disobedience. Of course,again,things did not get any better. We all know the story of the great flood, that wiped out all of mankind.
5 The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.
6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.
Everything about us, “every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time”. Our sins pains the Creator who made us because it stands against His very nature. God will always judge sin, He will not ignore it! This is our God from the beginning, A “Just” God. He will not let sin go unpunished!
It is always good to look back at where we came from, just from what we have seen, we have no escape, were done, our sin brought pain to our God. Just by knowing all of these should give us a sense of humility. We should be down on our knees begging for forgiveness.
Don’t thing that just because this are from the Old Testament, it has nothing to do with us? It has everything to do with us, Man never changed, we cannot change, not on our own!
9 What shall we conclude then? Are we any better ? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. 10 As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."
We are all under sin, “there is no one righteous, not even one”. “There is no one who understands”, understands what? That our God is a Just God, that He will not let sin go unpunished. Is that what we need to understand? Yes! That is our God from the beginning. “No one seeks God”. Why? Because many people make God the they want God to be. Nobody wants the God of the Bible, they make their own god, which is idolatry. “All have turned away, they have become worthless, there is no one who does good, not even one”. This is a hard reality to accept, but its true! This is all from God, the One who knows all things. It is better to know the truth now while we are still alive and breathing. It may hurt, just as the saying goes..”truth hurts”. Its better to receive mercy and forgiveness while we live and breathe, because if we die and never received forgiveness, guess what? There is no more forgiveness in hell! There is no such thing as receiving mercy. Nothing, but torture and pain forever.
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Jesus alone among all that is born in this earth, lived His entire life by the the power of the Holy Spirit, always doing His Fathers will, and never committing a single sin!
Do you remember what God told Cain? “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted”. So what is the right thing to do here, how can i give glory to my God? If God has already drawn you to the Son, that means, that you have been born again. A man named Nicodemus, a Pharisee came to see see Jesus one night asking about the Gods kingdom...
3 In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."
As the conversation goes, Nicodemus replied, i am a grown man, how can i enter my mothers womb again?
5 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
7 You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.'
“flesh gives birth to flesh”, we some what know how that works right? But even with that, God is still the one in control. “Spirit gives birth to spirit”. That is something only God can do.
12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-- 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
It was not our decision to be born again, we were drawn to the Son. God has already planned that before the creation of the world. Sadly, not for everybody, not everybody will believe in the Son. And here is the proof of that...
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
You can say that its your choice, believe or not believe in Jesus. Because it did say “Whoever believes” but remember from last weeks message, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws them”. And from our previous verse, “no one seeks God, all have turned away”. God is the One, and will always be in control, He is the One who decides. Can we make that decision,can we save yourselves? Of course not! Don’t think that we are any better than those people from the Old Testament, believe me we’re worst!
We can learn from their mistakes, they cannot learn from us. We have the Scriptures ( Bible ) and the promised Holy Spirit they did not. That is why we had to be made new, we had to be born again. So that we no longer carry the curse of sin. And to live a life how God wants us to live it, by His will. If the Lord was to ask you the same question He asked Cain...“If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? So, what is “the right thing to do”? How can i please God in this life that will give Him the glory? I want to do what is right, my goal now as a new creation is to please my Lord, to glorify my Lord. How?
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
“to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God”. When we think of sacrifice, whats the first thing that pops in to our minds? The sacrifice that Jesus made, so that we can live, Jesus took our sins on the cross. When you look at the definition of sacrifice, you will see this...
1. an act of slaughtering an animal or person or surrendering a possession as an offering to God or to a divine or supernatural figure
2. an animal, person, or object offered in a sacrifice
3. an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.
Sacrifice has something to do with death or to give up something to a higher more important value. That is why Galatians 2:20 hold a lot of value to a christian.. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me”. We are to offer ourselves, when? Daily, to be what? Holy and pleasing in His sight. Let me ask you again, same question asked of “if you do what is right, will you not be accepted”? What is the command? “offer your bodies as living sacrifices,holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship”. Whats after that? “2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will”. That is Gods commands, that is how we can give God the glory. That is how we can let our light shine, so that people may see. That they may see our good deeds and praise our Father in heaven. Let our light shine, that they may see our good deeds and praise our Father in heaven! That is why we were called, not to continue living the life that we once lived, but to be changed...Our actions, speech all that we do, we have to do it for His glory.
17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
If you look in your Bible, the heading for this chapter is “Rules for a Holy living”. By abiding to His will, being obedient to His commands, is how we can give God the glory. Because it is no longer us who lives, but Christ. “Whatever we do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him”.
That is how we give God the glory...
WHO IS CHRIST ?
15 "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" 16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 17 Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.
As the story goes, Peter confessed Jesus as the Christ:
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" 14 They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
Jesus has no interest in hypothetical views of who people thought He was, regarding His person or work. Clearly He was asking His disciples “who do you say that I Am”? If Jesus was to ask you the same question, what would your answer be?
The many names of Jesus: Almighty, Alpha and Omega, I am, Anointed One, Author, Beginning and the End, Begotten, Beloved Son, Savior Master, Lord, the list goes on and on. But who is Jesus to you? Scriptures tells us that the only way one can truly know Jesus, is if we were drawn to Him by the Father. That is why verse 17 holds a lot of meaning, 17 Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.
It is true, that Jesus did not personally stand in front of us, and say “I am Jesus, your Lord and Savior”. God used someone else to tell us about Jesus. That is why we use the term “sharing the Gospel”. When the gospel was shared, God has already prepared you and i to be given to His Son. The Bible calls it “predestination” If you look up the meaning of predestination, you would read this: the divine foreordaining of all that will happen, especially with regards to the salvation of some and not others.
Basically, God is the One in control, He decides!
44 "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
Charles Spurgeon quoted “ It’s a good thing God chose me before i was born, because He surely would not have afterwards”. This was posted on Facebook by Pastor Doug a while back. ( Show Pic 1 )
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will--
Being chosen before the foundation of the world, “to be holy and blameless in His sight”
“ and in accordance with His pleasure and will”. If this does not blow your mind, then i don’t know what will?
Last weeks message was a little scary right? Its scary at first, but it becomes comforting as we continue to grow in the Lord. Jesus did say that “the fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom”. It is comforting to know, that there are no more secrets of what is about to happen. Its good to know that we are included in Gods plan. God is the author of this life and the one eternal.
When we had our camp we played this game, describe Jesus alphabetically... There was a lot of good answers describing Jesus. But there was one in particular that was a little off, i thought. When it landed on “B” someone said Bible. At first i thought, that was a weird answer to describe Jesus. But that person was right, we would have never known, or how could we describe who Jesus was or what He has done if it wasn’t for the Bible. We would have never known what sin was if it wasn’t for the Bible, or that we needed a Savior named Jesus Christ. Or how we could live a holy life, that we needed to be made new.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 Timothy 3:16
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
“training in righteousness” how could we have known how to do that if it wasn’t for scripture? Or that “God chose us before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless”? So many names that describe our Jesus, again let me as you “who is Jesus in your life”?
6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Three words describing who Jesus is, “the way, the truth, and the life”. The only way a person can come to the Father apart from Jesus, is if that person had lived a sinless life, in thought, word or deed. And we all know that there is no such person other than Jesus Christ, who lived a sinless life. How could we have known that, if it wasn’t revealed through scriptures? Jesus is the only chance a sinner has to be saved! And that is not even the sinners choice. Remember what Jesus said, “you did not choose Me , but I chose you”
When? “Before the foundations of the world”- “in accordance with His pleasure and will”
Another name that we know Jesus to be is our Shepherd, One who takes care of the flock, cares for it, protects it, and keeps it safe in His hands. Here is a very famous Psalm that also holds a lot of Truth!
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
If we have Jesus, we have everything, without Him, we have nothing, we are nothing. “He restores my soul” from what? A life of sin! and “guides me in the path of righteousness” We cannot do that on our own, even if we try our hardest,we cannot, it would be impossible without Jesus. Verse 6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and i will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. “ i will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”! That is Gods promise, we cannot make that promise, it does not belong to us. It comes from the Lord. We cannot always see goodness and mercy when we look ahead, we cannot see our future, but He does. When we look behind us, whenever we think of our past and we see the parts where God rescued us, restored us, then we should be able to see more clearly where God is taking us in the future. He will always be with us to the very end. That is why He said, from last weeks message,”I will prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you with Me, that you may also be where I am” That is you and i dwelling in the house of the Lord forever! “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life”.
"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
We don’t even have to second guess this verse. We know that this is true, He did lay down His life for His sheep. He laid down His life, so that we can live. Live a life that will follow the Shepherd. A life for His purpose, and not ours. So many names to describe our Lord Jesus, but i ask you, who is Jesus to you?
Another known fact about our Savior, is that He is a healer...
23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.
24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them.
35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.
We see a pattern of multitasking here, preaching the gospel, and healing at the same time. These are just a couple of examples regarding Jesus as a healer, there are many more in the Bible, I’m sure you are familiar with the stories. Take a look at verse 36, “but when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like a sheep having no shepherd”.
That’s like us at one point, before we were called by Jesus, we were “weary and scattered” No good shepherd to lead us into still waters, no known promises of a new life. Still lost, still sick from the death of sin. “He was moved with compassion for them” For the believer, i call that the Cross, the sacrifice that Jesus made. He laid down His life for His sheep.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
“by His wounds we are healed” His wounds, not yours, and certainly not mine! And again on 1 Peter...
1 Peter 2:24-25
24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
Just by knowing all these, knowing that an innocent man took all the punishment just so we can live. Be healed from our sins, and be taken care of by the Good Shepherd...Receiving His promises. What can we give Him that can compare to what He has done? Nothing!!!
Jesus paid it all! Who is Jesus to you?
All the names that are mentioned in this message is all good, it all pertains to our Savior. There is one name, two actually that must be in every believers heart, and our brother Thomas said it best, when he said...
28 Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
29 Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
“My Lord and my God!” My Master, my King. The Creator of heaven and earth. The Potter to the clay. My Lord and my God should always be in every believers heart. Not just in our hearts, but in all that we are.
5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
Scripture tells us that, the reason we know how love, is because He first loved us. He showed us the perfect example of what it is to love. “For God so loved the world that He gave us His Son. Jesus is perfect, He’s all that we’ll ever need. We cannot just choose what we want from Jesus, or what name He is known. We have to take all of it. All the names to describe Jesus. He is all of it! Who is Christ to you? He’s my all in all!
8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
I will ask you again, who is Christ in your life? Are we the ones who will bow down at the name of Jesus? The answer, should be yes!!! Jesus was obedient to the point of death, death on the cross, so that we can have life. His command for those who desire to follow Him, “is to pick up your cross and follow Me”. Why? Because He is our Lord and our God, and He is worthy to be followed!
The Lord’s Message
Intro: How important is it for every believer to read the Old Testament? There are many reasons but the most is this is where we get to know God, His character, His power and attributes, His Sovereignty, His promises and many more. In the last book the Lord Jesus is called “Faithful and True” in chapter 19 of Revelation. Now Joshua who succeeded Moses and led the Israelites to enter the promise land just before he died said this to them. “Now I am about to go to the way of the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.” Jos. 23:14
How many promises have you and I have made but unable to fulfill them? How many politicians make promises to gain votes but after getting elected many have amnesia? As a Filipino there was one who promised when we were conquered by the Japanese and lost even the Americans. But a General escaped and promised “I shall return” and he did. Gen. Douglas MacArthur came back after a few years and regained the Philippines from Japanese rule. He is one of those who kept his promise and yet probably not all. But what about God when He promises can He keep them all? Joshua remembered all God’s promises and believed, thus he can say that all has been fulfilled. Now fast forward in the New Testament. By now there are already so many promises that God has made. But are they true to all people. So many posts on Facebook God promises in the Bible but I also notice that not all those I know are even Christians. Will God fulfill those promises to them? Here’s what God promised how He fulfills those promises and to whom. “But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” 2 Cor. 1:18-22
So it is clear that the promises of God are only true to those who are His children because of their union with Christ. But the problem with many Christians is they do not yet know the many promises of God. That’s why I encourage all of us to keep on reading your Bible to know God and all His promises. One of the promises that should keep us from being worried and fearful with the problems happening in the world and even where we are is the uncertainty of the future and the growing presence of evil all around us. Here’s a promise that Jesus Himself gave us.
“Jesus will keep His promise to come back”
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if that were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:1-4
We have looked into this passage last Sunday at the camp but what I am led to focus on today is how do we know when Jesus is coming back? There is no doubt that He is coming back because He is faithful to keep His Word. But what happened to His disciples after He spoke these words. Yes, He did come back for them by taking them to be with Him in heaven. All those who have died with Christ are already with Him in their spirit. But what about us today we either die first or He will take us while still alive to be with Him. Many of us will not experience physical death before Jesus comes back as you know this as the “Rapture.” Although this word is not found in the Bible, theologians named this to mean that we will be taken out of earth in an instant and changed to join the Lord Jesus in the air. Picture an eagle high in the sky and with his eagle eye sees a chick for lunch. He dives and without warning the chick is snatched from the mother’s presence. But how is this revealed and explained to us? The apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Thessalonians. Notice that he calls them brothers. “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall sleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.” 1 Thess. 4:12-18
It is not only for us to know this and not be ignorant but we are to know and use this truth to encourage one another. Why do we need to encourage one another? Because the days are evil and whether we like it or not Christians will experience persecution. When we see this happening today we are forewarned that we are in the last days and with what Jesus has already revealed with the signs of His return. “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-- having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” 2 Tim. 3:1-5
Do you see this already happening today? Aren’t these the news we hear on television, read in newspapers and even in the internet? Aren’t these bad and evil things catches the attention of the viewing public otherwise the news will be boring? Then there are the signs Jesus told His disciples before He will return and the end of that is to come. The three gospel writers reported what Jesus said to make sure that we get every detail. Here’s what Matthew wrote. As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” Matt. 24:3-8
Do we see these happening already today? Before He told them these signs, His disciples called his attention to the buildings at the temple mount. Then Jesus told them that these building will be destroyed and not one stone will be left on another; because everyone will be thrown down. This was already fulfilled when the temple was burned and every block of stone was thrown down the temple mount. This happened when Nero had the temple burned in the year 70 AD and soldiers were getting the melted gold from the blocks of stone then threw them down. I have seen this with my own eyes when I had the privilege to visit Jerusalem. Then after that Jesus pointed them to what will happen in the distant future referring to the end of the age. So here’s what Jesus told them and now to us the signs to watch before the end of the age. As His church we need to differentiate between the end of the age and the rapture. The rapture will happen before the end of the age when Jesus will physically return to earth in His glorified body to rule for a thousand years. I believe that the rapture will happen seven years before the end of the age. The seven years is described in Revelation as the great tribulation and thank God we will no longer be here. There are movies about this focusing on those who will be “Left Behind” after the rapture.
Jesus started with a warning not to be deceived. Jesus said that many will come identifying themselves as Christians who will be preaching in His name but are false prophets and teachers. In the Philippines there is a man who even claims to be the Anointed Son of God, claiming that he is the Christ and has attracted many followers. He has become powerful and rich being the only preacher in the Philippines to have his own private jet and a helicopter. So the question is will genuine Christians be deceived? Yes, but only temporarily as Jesus said. “For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect – if that were possible. See I have told you ahead of time.” Matt. 24:24-25
The chosen and genuine Christians who are in churches under false prophets and pastor are deceived because of the signs and wonders they have seen. I also believe pastors who speak in tongues which have no message to edify the church but only to impress the congregation that they are filled with the Spirit are deceiving many. But the elect will be enlightened by the Holy Spirit and will leave that church.
So what are the other signs of Christ’s return? There are already rumors of war between Russia and Ukraine, and now the threat of China to wage WW III because of US intervention of their invasion of the Spratly Island in the Philippines. Jesus said, “Such things must happen” but the end is still to come. There is now an ongoing war in the Middle East between ISIS and other Arab countries and is spreading to Africa, to Europe and pretty soon to America. This conflict has already happened in the past when God protected His people Israel and made their enemy fight and kill each other. This is the work of the Devil today to conquer and divide and causing them to hate and destroy one another. And this is happening here in America because of the growing racism. What about famine and earthquakes? Famine has been going on in many places in Africa and pretty soon it’s going to happen here starting in California because of the drought. Earthquakes no longer hit the news unless it has killed many people and with high intensity. Mark describes the signs similar to Matthew. But Luke added these. “There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.” Luke 21:11
There was just the epidemic of Ebola and many other diseases. In the Philippines there is now a threat of the MERS brought from the Middle East. Then, there are different fearful events, like the threat of homegrown ISIS. It is reported that they are now all over the US. The UFO has been there for some time but there are other signs from heaven, just last Wednesday Rene showed a video of strange sounds heard by a young man from the Philippines and this was not the first time because this was reported by many countries. There are unnatural phenomenon in heaven.
Then Jesus ended these signs with this “All these are the beginning of birth pains.” What did Jesus mean by referring these to birth pains? Mothers know what this mean, that as the baby is getting closer to its full term she will know when it is about to come out when the birth pains starts to happen. And when the intervals gets shorter it means that the baby is about to come out. In applying this to Christ return, this means that when we see the intervals are getting shorter and closer the end of the age is also about to come. But how does this relate to the Rapture? The rapture will take place seven years before the end of the age during the birth pains. Will we know when this will happen? No, but many have predicted even the exact date when this will happen by false prophets. Here’s what Jesus said. “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” Matt. 24:36-42
What will happen when you and I are taken at the rapture? Thank God He also explains this to us through the apostle Paul, the how and the sequence. “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Cor. 15:51-58
What about you? Do you know for certain that you will not be left behind? The rapture could happen at any time. While you are working in the casino, in your workplace and suddenly your co-worker disappears, while you are checking out at Wall Mart and suddenly the cashier disappears right in front you. You may be driving on your way home and suddenly the car in front of you goes out of control because the driver is gone. And the sad part is when this happen there will no longer be a second chance, because the door will now be closed for Gentiles. “I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved.” Rom. 11:25-26
So if you are not sure that you will be one of those who will be raptured, today is your day of salvation. Come to Jesus. I invite you to come forward, confess your sins with repentance and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. “That is you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved.” Rom. 10:9-10
The Lord’s Message May 31, 2015
Intro: For those who missed the special event last Wednesday one the songs that was sang was from Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the gospel.” I’m glad that we were reminded of this truth because without the gospel we have no hope of spending eternity with God. Before Jesus returned to heaven, He left two ordinances to be faithfully observed by His church, the believer’s water baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Both these ordinances focuses’ in the death of Christ.
In the believer’s baptism, Jesus fulfilled this as God’s righteousness that would picture His death, burial and resurrection. In the Lord’s Supper, we are to remember the life He gave up as a sacrifice in accordance to His Father’s will in order to atone for the sins of man. He was punished for sins He did not commit by being nailed to the cross. After He gave up His spirit and died, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear to make sure He was dead bringing sudden flow of blood and water. So what is the heart of the gospel? Christ was crucified and died. But the gospel was not complete until God accepted His offering by raising Him from the dead. By His death and resurrection, God the Father gave Him all authority to save and to give eternal life. No wonder Paul always start with this truth and never left the focus of Christ as crucified. “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with fear and with much trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” 1 Cor. 2:2-5
With Christ crucified as the center of Paul’s preaching the message therefore was powerful. So then if that was the focus of Paul’s message as empowered by the Spirit, how much more would be the life he were to live when centered on Christ crucified will he not be empowered by the same Spirit? He later wrote this to the Philippian believers just as he did when he came to them and admonishing them. “…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” Phil. 2:12c
So to those who have already been saved, the working out here is not to gain your salvation but to work out what is already yours by living it daily. Here’s the key in living out our salvation by the Spirit’s power in victory to the glory of God.
“Living Daily the Gospel”
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Heb. 12:1-3
But what do you and I struggle with every day? Of course when everything is going well there is no struggle. But with the many temptations to sin which is common to man, unpleasant circumstances, physical sickness, weaknesses, and on top of these, Paul’s experiences that he went through in insults, in hardships, in persecutions and the difficulties in life, how do we overcome these? And what about the temptation Jesus went through and was subjected to? When He was getting successful in the ministry when people were starting to flock to Him, He could have fallen by basking in the glory He received but would fail to do His Father’s will in reaching out to people in the other villages. Jesus never lost sight of the cross that He was to fulfill as the goal of his life. Yet, on the night of His crucifixion, He struggled in agony and pleaded with His Father if there was any other way to avoid the cross because He already knew what He was to go through described in Isaiah 53. But there was the joy that He would receive after the cross if He endures the pain and scorn the shame to sit at the right hand of God. And this He would receive when He fulfills the purpose He came to earth for, to do the will of His Father and bring glory to Him. Thus He was determined in accomplishing. “4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” John 17:4-5
When Jesus prayed this, He has not finished the work the Father gave Him to do. It was only when He was victorious over the Devil and sin when He took all the pain and shame on the cross as payment for the sins of the world, and then He cried out “it is finished.” God the Father was glorified and Jesus received the glory that He had before the world began when God raised Him from the dead. “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil. 2:9-11
What would be the purpose of everyone whom Jesus has saved if they are to follow His example? Shouldn’t it be to live for the glory of the one who saved them? Here’s how Paul summarized it. 15And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 2 Cor. 5:15
Many preachers today present a gospel that is self-serving. Come to Jesus and you will go to heaven and everything will be alright together with all the blessings that you missed out before. They even promise that God will pour out His blessings pressed down and overflowing and enjoy good health. They hide the reality of what it means to be a co-heir with Christ after one is saved by Christ. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Rom. 8:17
Is this the cost of being saved by the gospel? In fact right from the start Jesus said this is what it will cost the one who believes and follows Him. “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” Luke 9:24
Losing one’s life here means having to die to sin and self. At conversion, one has to give up all his sins to Christ for Him to pay. This is Biblical repentance by turning away from all known sins and hating them with a resolve never to do it again. Yet after one’s conversion there may be times when tempted, we succumb to the temptation. That’s why God has given us another provision in order to be restored in fellowship with Him that is temporarily broken by sin. “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
But is there a way of keeping us from sinning especially the sins we have already repented of? When I was a brand new Christian and spiritually immature, the things I did not want to do, I did. I had no power to resist the temptation. Later I found that Paul had the same problem as I continued to read and study the Bible. “…For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Rom. 7:18b-25
No wonder I kept falling and had no power to say no to sin until the Lord revealed to me why I fail because I was relying on my own strength to resist sin. Jesus said. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
Later as I grew in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ there is more to just remaining in Him especially in bearing much fruit. As He drew closer to the cross, some Greeks wanted to see Jesus but He said this to His disciples. Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” John 12:23-26
There are many lessons we can learn from this statement but the most important is His reference to Himself that when He dies He will have many offspring. So how does this apply to us? Again He mentions about those who love their lives will lose it. In contrast those who will inherit eternal life are those who hate their lives. Why do they hate their lives? Because there is nothing good in them as was revealed to David in the Psalms as well as to the apostle Paul. “The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Ps. 14:2-3
And so did Paul when he looked deep inside himself admitted that, ”I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.” Rom. 7:18a
Do you love yourself and your life? If we can only see the full extent of our sinful nature and what we are prone to do, will you not hate it? That’s why when Paul saw himself as revealed to him by the Holy Spirit, what was he willing to do with his sinful nature? Put it to death. By the way our sinful nature will remain with us until our physical body dies. So when one is saved he now has two natures – the divine nature and the sinful nature. So for the Christian how should he live his life? This brings us back to the title of our message, “he lives the gospel daily in his life.” This means that if Christ died for our sins to give us life what must we do with the life of sin brought about by our sinful nature? That old self with the sinful nature must die. Who must decide that? This is an individual act of the will since our spirit is now alive and able to will and choose, either to obey and follow Christ or not. And here’s Jesus’ invitation for us to choose every day. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23
The cross means death and everyone is to take up his cross daily to follow Jesus. And with this decision we are brought back to the gospel by faith that we have died with Christ to our sinful nature and trust that Christ will be the one living in us. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Gal. 2:20
Here’s the word of truth that affirms that this will be true. “Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him.” 2 Tim. 2:11-12a
Is this the way you are living your life daily until He comes? If not, why not start today? It’s never too late and Christ will work through you and bear much fruit for His glory. Isn’t this the reason He saved us, to live for His glory?