And Jesus said unto them, “Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. Mark 1:17-18 kjv
Jesus called the disciples to leave their earthly livelihood to labor for eternal things. They left their nets immediately. These disciples did not have a chance to first read the end of the story before making this life changing decision. They did not yet have the confidence that came after seeing the risen Lord, but they had hearts willing to believe and know that Jesus is worth following. Their faith would only be strengthened, and their joy increased as they continued to walk with the Savior.
Is that not what God has called us all to do? Maybe He has has not called us to literally turn in our two week notice at work, but He has called us to forsake our pursuit and love of this world, and to seek and labor for the Kingdom that will never end. What a shame when we have so much more reason for confidence through the testimony of God’s Word yet are hesitant to forsake our “nets”. Let us get up and follow the Lord!
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Romans: 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”
John 1:29 “…Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”
Revelation 22:3 “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:”
What’s the Problem?
These last couple days we noticed that our newborn had a bump on the back of her head. When the doctor saw it she immediately scheduled for an ultrasound to make sure nothing was serious. Thankfully the doctor did not tell us to put a bump on the other side for symmetry or to just buy a hat to cover it up. Nor did she try to pretend that nothing was there. Doctors know that the way to deal with a problem is to focus on removing the cause.
Now apply that idea to the state of this world. The world has symptoms of a major problem. The year 2020 has really made that evident. The symptoms show disease, deception, destruction, confusion, hatred and more. Something is wrong.
Don’t Get Distracted
There is a solution for mankind’s problem. As believer’s in Christ we can’t get distracted focusing all our attention on the symptoms. One good example is politics. Even a perfect political system would never succeed. That is because a sinful heart will corrupt it. Sin in the heart of man is the problem, and that problem is spread into the fabric of his being..
The solution is not found in some new technology. It is not found in an enlightened state of consciousness. There is no new philosophy or any being in outer-space who can come to save us. All of those are just a repackaging of the lie that started in the Garden of Eden. There is nothing new under the sun. History repeats itself, and it keeps showing us that man won’t fix his own situation. If you think “it’s different this time”, then get ready for a re-run. There is no solution found in future things to come. The solution rests in what has past and is finished. Two thousand years ago God sent His Son, JESUS, into this world. He died on the cross at Calvary for our sins and rose again. God provided the solution. People are rejecting Him, but He is their only way out. It is our sin that separates us from the God of heaven, and God sent His Son Jesus to take away the very thing that separated us from Him.
Embrace the Solution
All we need to do is turn to God and seek salvation in Jesus Christ. If you haven’t turned to Him and found salvation, call upon Him now.
If you already know Jesus Christ as your personal savior and know what it means to be saved from sin, then let your conversation be salted with words that point others to the Cross.
(Jesus said) “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” John 10:10-11
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. John 3:36
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12
Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. (Psalm 2:1-3 kjv)
Picture a man standing on the beach facing an oncoming hurricane. With shotgun in hand, he readies to take aim at the approaching storm. That’s sounds ridiculous, but it is no different than what unrepentant sinners attempt against God.
God appointed David as King over Israel and there was a wicked plot to overthrow him. In the same way, Christ has authority over the nations, but a sinful world does not want his rule. We know the end of the story, though, Christ will come and set up his righteousness kingdom.
This is bad news for the rebellion camp. They are plotting a vain thing because the Lord’s judgement will prevail. A better game plan is to recognize one’s sin and find shelter for the day of judgement. The good news is that Jesus, the Righteous Judge, is also the one who can save us from our sins.
“…but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31 kjv)
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 kjv)
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13 kjv)
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. Psalm 1:1-2 kjv
The secret to a happy life all comes down to one simple thing; thoughts. The blessed man delights and meditates on the Word of God, and it brings about the fruit of a righteous life.
I make good headway each day when God’s Word is on my mind. The Spirit works through His Word to produce joy, thankfulness, and wisdom, even in troubled times. If we lack these things, then here is the problem. When we drift from God’s Word, the Lord moves far from our thoughts, and we start thinking with the “wisdom” of those who have no consideration for God or His ways.
This first chapter of Psalms can be taken as a promise. If we delight ourselves in God’s Word, our way will be blessed, but the way of those who have no thought for God will perish.
So many things are competing for our desires and thoughts (especially at home under coronavirus lockdown in front on the computer). Let the Word of God be our delight and meditation, and we can expect the fruits of the blessed life.
Maybe you read this and have no idea what I am talking about. You need to know one thing. The only way that we can have true joy is through Christ. We have all sinned against God and the only way to be reconciled to Him is by turning from sin to Jesus who died for our sins on the cross and rose again. Salvation is a gift. The only way a person can walk in joy and thankfulness is to know one’s sins are forgiven. This is the gift of God. Go to Him and ask Him. If we refuse Him who offers, then we will suffer the consequence of our own way, which is eternal destruction. If we come to Him be faith we receive this gift.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 3:23 kjv)
When I was about five years old I remember throwing mud all over the surface of our neighbor’s car. I still remember the moment they came out and saw what my brother and I were doing. Run for cover! At that moment I did not want to see anyones face, especially my parents. I ran into the house and hid under the bed in the darkness. There was something about looking into my neighbor’s and my parents face that would have intensified the shame and brought fear of punishment.
The Holy Face of God
That is but a taste of what it is to look into the face of God. When Moses asked to see God’s face, the reply was “Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.” God’s holiness is such that even the angels who have no sin still cover their faces in His presence. What does this say about sinful man looking into the face of God. In Revelation 6:15-16 in shows unrepentant sinners getting a glimpse of the face of the Lord. They call to the rocks and the mountain to fall on top of them to hide them from the Holy terrifying gaze of the Lord who comes to judge in righteousness. Some day, before the great white throne, heaven and earth will flee away and there will be no place to hide.
“And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:” Rev 6:16
“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there wasfound no placeforthem.” Rev 20:11
An Amazing Promise
An amazing statement is made in Revelation 22:4 about the redeemed of the Lord in heaven. It says that “they shall see his face”. How can that be?! Praise the Lord for what Christ has done! The Lord has dealt with sin on the cross, cancelling the sin debt, making us righteous through His blood. There is a future promise that when He returns, that those who have trusted in Him will be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Salvation in Christ qualifies us for heaven. Not because of what we did, but because of what He did for us. He has made us whole again. We shall look into His face without the fear of judgement.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” Matt 5:8
What about you?
Are you hiding from the face of God? The Bible says that those who love the darkness live in fear of the light. They fear the judgement of God, and run from Him. And rightly so, for he is the Righteous Judge.
“For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” John 3:20
There is only one way that a person can escape the coming judgement of God, and that is to look to Jesus and believe on His name. On the cross, Jesus took the wrath of God for sinners. By looking unto Him and placing your trust in what He did for us, our sins can be forgiven. Will you look to Jesus today and be saved?
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
The wisdom and foolishness encapsulated in these words. Christ crucified?! How could the promised Messiah be crucified?! The world was not looking for a crucified Savior. It made no sense. It seemed foolish. But to those who believe, it is the power of God to save.
“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isa 53:5)
“…we preach Christ crucified…” 1 Cor 1:23
The message of the cross is the most powerful and important message that a person can hear and preach. It is not man’s message about God, but it is God’s message to man. The cross is God’s plan to reconcile the world to Himself. Trusting in what Christ did on the cross for us is what reconciles us to God., because in His death, the sin debt that separates us from a holy God was paid.
Paul’s ministry was defined by the cross of Christ. In his letter to the Corinthians, he said that the only thing he was concerned about was that the full weight of their hope was on what Christ did on the cross. The reason is because it is THE message. His cross and resurrection is the only thing that can bring forgiveness of sin and qualify us for heaven. This is why Paul spoke so sharply against any other message. Any alteration, misrepresentation, or addition to a simple hope in what HE did for us is cursed. Any OTHER message, no matter how wise is sounds, keeps people from God. Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.
‘And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.’ (John 3:14-16)
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
“This stupid thing!” Phrases like that are heard right before someone does a factory reset on their device. I don’t know about you, but I did that a few times on my last phone. It’s refreshing to clear all the junk and start fresh.
Proverbs 3:5-6 is my factory reset. I can recall vividly several times when I was full of worry, doubt, fear, and bit of hopelessness. Suddenly this verse came to mind*. Instantly I realized that I wasn’t trusting the Lord with all of my heart. I needed to stop following my own reasoning and thought patterns, and start filling my mind with the promises of God’s word. Before I make a decision, I need to consider the Lord’s ways because He promises to direct our paths. He lead us in the way that is pleasing to Him.
Lord, help me to do a daily reset with Proverbs 3:5-6 every morning!
*[Note to Sunday school teachers] When I was 8 years old, my Sunday School teacher made us memorize this verse. It has been a treasure ever since.
Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. (Proverbs 3:7)
The Gospel Message:
If you don’t know what it means to “trust in the Lord”, here is how you can trust Him.
Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ out Lord.” John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth on him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
The Bible says that Jesus came into this world, not to condemn us, but to save us from our sins. Our sin separates us from God because He is Holy. It doesn’t matter how good we think we are or how good we try to be. There is only one way that a sinner can be reconciled with God, and that is by believing in the One He sent into the world, Jesus Christ.
Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. (Philippians 1:28)
It’s God’s Battle
If it were our battle, then fear might be a good idea. It’s the Lord’s battle. Don’t fear those who rebel against His word. They war against Christ, and they will give account one day. We need only rest in Him and walk in His word.
Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word. (Psalm 119:161)
…and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me. (Luke 10:16)
In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. (Rom 2:16)
What do they oppose?
God sent His Son into the world, not to condemn it, but to save it. At the cross, sinners can be made righteous. God provides salvation through Christ’s death on the cross. By believing in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, we can be reconciled to God. Jesus has purchased heaven for us. It is a gift to all who would receive Him. What is there to oppose?
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 6:23)
A Vain Rebellion – A Sign of Their Destruction
The psalmist said that the kings of the earth vainly oppose the God of Heaven. They and all who follow them love their sin and reject His mercy. They would not have God rule over them.
Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. (Psalm 2:1-3)
They perish because of their own willful rejection.
In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; (2 Thess 1:8-9)
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:19)
A Sign of Salvation
Persecution from the world is a sign of salvation. The world rejects Christ. If the world loves us, we might need to examine our loyalties. We rejoice in persecution and suffering because they refine us, and they remind us that we belong to God.
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (2 Tim 3:12)
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (Rom 5:3-5)
The Proper Response
O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously. (Psalm 96:9-10)
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” (Philippians 2:3)
The Lie of the Middle
The Bible says that the “heart is deceitful.” It creates an imaginary neutral ground, where we don’t feel selfish and are exempt from serving others. Really, there is no middle ground. Paul mentions only two options; pride or humility.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
There are really only two options for life; the counsel of the Word of God or the counsel of the wicked; the road to life or the road to destruction. There is Christ as the means of eternal salvation or vain attempts at self-righteousness, which only leads to death. There are no third options.
Jesus said “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” (Matt 12:30)
Serve God or Self
“Follow me” Jesus said. The Lord of Heaven took on the role of a servant for our sake. He suffered and died that we might live. That is our example. There is no space for strife and vainglory following Jesus. There is also no room for the veiled selfishness of neutral ground. We are called to serve God by serving others, just as Christ served us.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)
“For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” (John 13:15)
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”df (John 13:34)
And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled. (Rev 20:2–3)
The Reality of the Enemy
I have heard people say “I bind you, Satan!” All that happens is Satan plays the “peek-a-boo” game. Let’s not fool ourselves, Satan won’t be bound until his day comes. He is no less active than he was when he tempted Jesus in the desert. He is still roaming to and fro looking to steal, kill, and destroy.
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy (John 10:10)
“…your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pe 5:8)
The Range of His Deception
What started in the garden of Eden has expanded to the world. He has blinded the minds of those who do not know God. He doesn’t care what people believe, as long it keeps them from seeing the glory of Christ and finding salvation in Him. Therefore, Jesus commanded us to go and preach the good news of salvation to the ends of the earth.
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (2 Co 4:4)
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations… (Mt 28:19)
Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mk 16:15)
The Right Response
Satan hates God and hates His creation. His days are limited and he knows it. There is one objective on His mind, and that is to keep the lost deceived in their lostness, and that also means keeping believers from being effective for the Gospel. Our response should be to do as the Bible says, to know that the days are evil, redeem the time, and take the gospel light to the world
See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (Eph 5:15-16)
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Co 15:58)
If you died today, do you know if you would go to heaven?
We can know. In fact, without Jesus we can know that we won’t go to heaven. God has provided a way that we can know for sure. Not by trusting in what we can do, but trusting in what He did for you.
All Have Sinned Against God..
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23)
the penalty for sin in eternal punishment
The penalty for sin in eternal punishment, shut out from the glorious presence of the Lord. Hell is a place when people ultimately get what they ask, separation from God and all His goodness. The Bible describes it as a place of torment and suffering.
For the wages of sin is death… (Ro 6:23)
the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; (2 Th 1:7-9)
The Bible says that Jesus came into this world so that we could be saved from the penalty of sin. He, the righteous one, took our sin upon Him on the cross.
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Co 5:21)
The Bible says that all who look to Jesus and call upon His name, believing that He was raised from the dead for our justification, will be saved. You can have your sins forgiven and know that when you die you will spend eternity in His presence.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (Jn 3:17)