Why Do We Need the Holy Spirit?

Last time, we looked at who the Holy Spirit is. Now, we’ll examine why we need Him by virtue of what He does for all those who accept Christ as their Savior.

1. As we alluded to last time, He is involved along with Jehovah God and Jesus in the creation process of everything. (Jn. 6:63)

In the beginning God (Elohim) created [by forming from nothing] the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void or a waste and emptiness, and darkness was upon the face of the deep [primeval ocean that covered the unformed earth]. The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the waters. Gn. 1:1, 2. AMP

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host. Ps. 33:6 NASB

And, it’s an ongoing process:

You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground. Ps. 104:30 NASB

2. He brings to our realization the state of our sin and the need for salvation through Christ:

“And He when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world (Satan) has been judged.” Jn. 16:8 – 11. NASB

Left to their own reasoning, most people cannot or will not recognize their own sin. We need the help of the Holy Spirit for better discernment concerning the condition of our souls, and to empower us to help the unsaved understand their plight.

3. The Holy Spirit opens our eyes to Christ. See the apostle Peter making the declaration that He is a witness of Jesus and His doings and teachings, to the apostles and all other believers:

“And we are His witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” Acts 5:32 NKJV

“I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear [to hear] them now. But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth [full and complete truth]. For He will not speak on His own initiative, but will speak whatever He hears [from the Father – the message regarding the Son], and He will disclose to you what is to come [in the future]. He will glorify and honor Me, because He (the Holy Spirit) will take from what is Mine and will disclose it to you.” Jn. 16:12 – 14. AMP

In fact, we cannot even begin to see Jesus for who He is nor testify about Him, without the Holy Spirit:

…no one can say, “Jesus is [my] Lord,” except by [the power and influence of] the Holy Spirit.” 1 Cor. 12:3 AMP

4. Along with the blood of Jesus, the Spirit is integral to the process of our redemption, and was promised to us by Christ:

He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we have done, but because of His own compassion and mercy, by the cleansing of the new birth (spiritual transformation, regeneration) and renewing by the Holy Spirit… Titus 3:5 AMP

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. The one who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.” He said this about the Spirit. Those who believed in Jesus were going to receive the Spirit, for the Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified. Jn. 7:37 – 39. CSB

And because you belong to him (Jesus), the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. Rm. 8:2 NLT

…God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through the sanctifying work of the Spirit… 2 Thess. 2:13 AMP

And, it is the Holy Spirit that empowers us to evangelize with regards to that outcome, as our service to the Lord:

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the [Holy] Spirit who is from God, so that we may know and understand the [wonderful] things freely given to us by God. We also speak of these things, not in words taught or supplied by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining and interpreting spiritual thoughts with spiritual words [for those being guided by the Holy Spirit]. 1 Cor. 2:12 – 14. AMP

Furthermore, we also testify our redemption by living out our transformative behaviors – empowered by the Spirit:

…the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control. Gal. 5:22-23. AMP

…walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh. Gal. 5:16 CSB

5. The presence of the Holy Spirit within us forms the space where He can channel Christ through us as well:

May He (Jehovah) grant you out of the riches of His glory, to be strengthened and spiritually energized with power through His Spirit in your inner self, [indwelling your innermost being and personality], so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith. Eph. 3:16, 17. AMP

And that, makes us redeemed children of God as we saw in section 4 above:

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading again to fear [of God’s judgment], but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons [the Spirit producing sonship] by which we [joyfully] cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies and confirms together with our spirit [assuring us] the we [believers] are children of God. Rm. 8:15, 16. AMP

6. The Holy Spirit guides you to your eternal destiny:

…if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Rm. 8:11 NASB

So, we have seen that the Holy Spirit is part of the Godhead that comes to live within us when we accept Christ as our Savior. He is a major part of every aspect of our spirituality, as well as being vital to our very lives – at inception, now, and eternally.

Thank our Lord Jesus Christ for petitioning the Holy Spirit for us, and thank our Creator, Jehovah God, for granting that petition. Thank all three for preparing us for eternity, as we briefly discussed in #4 above, regarding the Holy Spirit baptism. That discussion was very concise due to me trying to keep the length of this post manageable. It requires an in-depth review in and of itself. Next time…

Goodnight and God bless. 

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Who is the Holy Spirit?

That’s right. I said ‘who,’ not ‘what.’ The Holy Spirit is a Divine personage of the Godhead. When Jesus first refers to Him to His apostles, (yes, a ‘Him’), He says this:

“…the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor – Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you.” Jn. 14:26 AMP (Emphasis mine.)

We see too then that the Holy Spirit reveals Christ. See also the apostle Paul’s benediction to the Corinthians:

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Cor. 13:14 AMP

Christ also enumerates the Holy Spirit as one of the tripartite components of the Godhead when He declares the ‘Great Commission’ to His followers:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” Mt. 28:19 AMP

The Holy Spirit is not just a ‘force,’ but He is an actual ‘intellectual’ entity:

…for the Spirit searches all things [diligently], even [sounding and measuring] the [profound] depths of God [the divine counsels and things far beyond human understanding]. For what person knows the thoughts and motives of a man except the man’s spirit within him? So also no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 1 Cor. 2:10, 11. AMP

Furthermore, the Holy Spirit exhibits an individual will, as well as powers, when He (when we ask Him) intercedes for us by strengthening our prayers in a way that far more enhances our petitions:

…the Spirit also helps in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words…He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Rm. 8:26, 27. NASB

This Divine person also resides within the children of God:

Do you not know and understand the you [the church] are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells [permanently] in you [collectively and individually]? 1 Cor. 3:16 AMP

And He also possesses a love-filled personality that is intimately affected by the host whom which He loves, by what they do or do not do:

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [but seek to please Him], by whom you were sealed and marked [branded as God’s own] for the day of redemption [the final deliverance from the consequences of sin]. Eph. 4:30 AMP

If we are pleasing the Holy Spirit, we are doing so by the same way that we please the Father and the Son – through obedience:

For all who are allowing themselves to be led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. Rm. 8:14 AMP

Should we wonder about the divinity of the Holy Spirit, we can return to 1 Cor. 2:10, 11; whereby we see that He knows the thoughts of God, therefore the Holy Spirit knows all things.

Likewise, the Holy Spirit has eternal life, just like the Father and the Son:

…how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal [Holy] Spirit willingly offered Himself unblemished… Heb. 9:14 AMP

Also like the Father, the Spirit is everywhere at once:

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there…If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me… Ps. 139:7 – 10. NASB

The Godhead has been described in a manner the portrays God as the designer, the Son is who speaks the design into existence, and the Spirit gives the creation life:

“It is the Spirit who gives life…” Jn. 6:63 NASB

In addition, the Holy Spirit speaks for Jesus (see Jn. 14:26 above) and for God:

…for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. 2 Pt. 1:21 NASB

Finally, like Christ, the Holy Spirit is divinely equated with God:

“Ananias,” Peter asked, “why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit…? You have not lied to people but to God.” Acts 5:3, 4. CSB

Yet, He is ultimately subordinate to both the Father and the Son, sent to us from both.

The Holy Spirit also grants us spiritual gifts, working in harmony with Jehovah God and Jesus Christ:

Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different activities, but the same God produces each gift in each person. A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good…One and the same Spirit is active in all of these, distributing to each person as he wills. 1 Cor. 12:44 – 7 & 11. CSB

In addition, the Holy Spirit facilitates our entrance into the kingdom of God:

“Truly I tell you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Jn. 3:5 CSB

…if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him [and is not a child of God.] Rm. 8:9 AMP

That facilitation is a gift from the Father and the Son:

Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this [blessing] which you both see and hear. Acts 2:33 AMP

Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts… Gal 4:6 NASB

The Holy Spirit also becomes a protective covering when worldly forces come against us:

If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 1 Pt. 4:14 NASB

Our Holy Spirit is far more than a ‘Ghost.’ He lives in us and God and His Son move through the Spirit and grant us a redeemed life that does not end. Everything that God provides for us is wondrous and grand. Amen.

So, what does the Holy Spirit do? Next time.

Goodnight and God bless. 

The Devastation of Unforgiveness

‘The LORD – the LORD is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth, maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin.’ Ex. 34:6, 7. CSB

As always, God provides us an example to model – this one for forgiveness. Moreover, He also tells us how to access His forgiveness:

“…if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chr. 7:14 NKJV

God demands forgiveness from His children as well. There is a dire penalty laid upon those who don’t:

“For if you forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others [nurturing your hurt and anger with the result that it interferes with your relationship with God], then your Father will not forgive your trespasses.” Mt. 6:14, 15. AMP

The devastation of unforgiveness then, is a situation where your sins are unforgiven, which, if you remain in that state, will receive the ultimate penalty: eternal separation from God and His children. Where you would reside, should you continue in your sins, is with the devil – the one who suggested that you sin in the first place.

So, how do we get to a place where we find ourselves withholding our forgiveness? We get there because someone else hurt us, or we think that they did. Usually, that someone is close to us; otherwise, we wouldn’t care. We perceive ourselves as wounded, and that wound begins to fester and transforms (with some tweaking by the devil) into anger and bitterness.

We don’t confront the offender because we are still reeling from the fact that someone who should care about us has harmed us in this manner. Thus, we never have a chance to clean up what was most likely a misunderstanding. (That’s not to say that there aren’t people who deliberately attack; yet, confrontation is still the answer). 

Then, we feed this wound, and in time it becomes a torment of imagination that far exceeds the original insult. 

Confrontation, done in God’s way, a loving way, serves both parties:

The servant of the Lord must not participate in quarrels, but must be kind to everyone [even-tempered, preserving peace, and he must be], skilled in teaching, patient and tolerant when wronged. He must correct those who are in opposition with courtesy and gentleness in the hope that God may grant that they will repent and be led to the knowledge of the truth [accurately understanding and welcoming it], and may come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. 2 Tim. 2:24 – 26. AMP

Misunderstandings are cleared, wounds are soothed, relationships are restored, all by doing it God’s way, through acting out His word. And, you get to stop playing the victim!

You only withhold forgiveness when you judge; and God gives us a moral imperative against that:

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged…And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?” Mt. 7:1 – 3. NKJV

If we didn’t judge, then we would not blame; subsequently there would be nothing to forgive. 

Judgment is a chronic stream of mental chatter that the devil uses – lies, which if you believe them, will bring you a life filled with dissatisfaction and unhappiness. Within that chatter, you’ll find ‘He did, she did;’ ‘They can’t, I can’t;’ ‘Life is horrific;’ ‘They made me / my life this way;’ etc. What happens? You view your life and others through the lens of your personal preferences – predilections constructed from the afore-mentioned satanic deceptions, that are shaping a false reality. 

You mold your judgments within your self-constructed tunnel vision: images of how you think the world should be. This is all rooted in a blindness that we take on, when we shift our focus from God to ourselves. Ironically, when you judge, the only thing you accurately define is yourself, and you surround yourself with clones of your dysfunctional behavior and your cycles of relationships are simply ‘rinse and repeat.’ 

The tendency to judge is perpetuated by an attachment to being ‘right,’ exhibited by your tenacious clinging to your own point of view as being the ‘gold standard.’ 

When we can suspend judgment, then the burden of self-judgment is also lifted. Only then can we have a space for repentance and forgiveness. 

There are some people who seem to us to be unlovable – ungrateful, unappreciative, cold, cantankerous. Yet, God loves that person, and He wants to love them through you as well; otherwise, He would not have put them in your orbit. 

It’s obvious they are running their own mental schemes as well. Loving them as God loves them, builds your character, gets your mind off of yourself and your expectations, gives the other person a chance to find freedom from themselves, and see an open door to their Creator.

“But I say to you, love [that is, unselfishly seeks the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” Mt. 5:44 AMP

For those people who did actually and purposely cause you injury, forgive them, (staying away from them if a safety issue exists), and remember God’s place in this situation:

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for God’s wrath [and His judicial righteousness]; for it is written [in scripture], “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. Rm. 12:19 AMP

Keep in mind that just because we come to a place where we can see how we have been being and what we have been doing, and how our judgment is antithetical to what God wants for us, we are still human. In spite of our best efforts, we will still sin, we will judge. When our God-given conviction kicks in, so must a new cycle of forgiveness:

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. Col. 3:12, 13. ESV

Sometimes, the tendency to judge is seemingly impossible to turn away from – especially if someone does something that you perceive not to be in your best interest. The truth is, most people are not intentionally injurious. They only know how to exist the way that they are being at that point in their lives, because they believe that behavior is vital for their survival. 

We need to be compassionate towards them, forgiving them for projecting their inner suffering outwards. We just happened to be a convenient target.

When you don’t forgive these ‘injuries’ and the stories that you build around them (your judgments), they hold you in bondage. How does God want you to respond?

…you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise, such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow…reaffirm your love to him. 2 Cor. 2:7, 8. NASB

Our Father in heaven places such a high priority on forgiveness, that He will not even hear your prayers until you make reconciliation with your object of unforgiveness. (Mt. 5:23, 24.) Christ told us to forgive everyone perpetually. (Mt. 18:22)

There is never an excuse for judgment where others are concerned. We are condemned spiritually, and our lives will suffer every time we practice it. 

Forgiveness begins in the mirror. After all, most of the things we don’t forgive in others, are the same things we don’t forgive in ourselves. Without forgiveness, we create a barrier between ourselves and our Creator. 

Forgiveness comes from the heart; it is a Spiritual endowment, completing our relationship with ourselves, God, and all other people. Forgiving is the highest act of giving: where we give our love away, regardless of whether we think it is deserved. After all, who doesn’t deserve love?

Forgiveness emulates the character of the Father and the Son. Christ went to the cross for our forgiveness. When we forgive, we honor His sacred sacrifice – acknowledging that it was enough…

Goodnight and God bless 

You Can’t Have Too Much Jesus

Why? Because He was present at the beginning of time. He spoke into existence all that Jehovah designed, (who designed it with Jesus in mind). And Christ nurtures and maintains the universe, until He returns to usher His Father’s children into eternal paradise. (Jn. 1:1; Col. 1:16, 17; Mt 25:34.)

We can’t have too much Jesus because He came to fill a need that we could not meet – the need to live a sinless life, to be able to pass over death into eternal life. Jesus showed us that it could be done because He did it. Yet He was no ordinary human being. No other person in history was / is able to follow His example.

Praise God for His grace though Jesus Christ. He allowed His children to co-opt His Son’s righteousness so that they appear acceptable to Him through our faith in Christ’s sacrifice:

…be reconciled to God. He made Christ who knew no sin to [judicially] be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we would become the righteousness of God [that is, we would be made acceptable to Him and placed in a right relationship with Him by His gracious lovingkindness}. 2 Cor. 5:20, 21. AMP

In this process, we are forgiven our transgressions, and bolstered in our faith by the resurrection of Jesus, so that we never feel the sting of death:


“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” 
Jn. 11:25, 26. NASB

Jesus was offered for all people when He was on the cross. Yet even when we’ve received Him, the enemy never lets up. However, Christ is always by our side:

“…I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually – regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.” Mt. 28:20 AMP

We were made to give God glory; and Christ came to position us to be able to. We need Him to strengthen us to do so, because we are weak. We fall prey to the devil and his suggestions. Yet if we stay in God’s word, we are walking with Jesus, which opens the door for Him to use us to fulfill our godly purposes:

“My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough – always available – regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” 2 Cor. 12:9 AMP

…the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 2 Thess. 3:3 NASB

We can depend on Jesus. We can reach out when we’ve lost our way. He empowers us to be what God intended us to be. Our focus is changed from the temporal to the eternal as we move and have our being through the eyes of Christ, submitting ourselves to His directives.

In Him was life [and the power to bestow life], and the life was the Light of men. Jn. 1:4 AMP

He will bring me out to the light, and I will behold His [amazing] righteousness and His remarkable deliverance. Mic. 7:9 AMP

You can’t have too much Jesus, because He is the original template for the human heart. When we connect our heart to His we can climb out of our adversities and walk the godly walk that brings truth, peace, joy and love – a love that does not ever let you go:

“I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].” Jn. 10:10 AMP

And that same love brings Him back:

“…they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Mt. 24:30 NKJV

“Surely I am coming quickly.” Rv. 22:20 NKJV

You just can’t get too much of Jesus…

Goodnight and God bless.

Sometimes Your Place in the World Brings You Down

You know what I’m talking about. It happens to all of us when we go through the ‘valleys’ of our lives – when you shake your head in disbelief, despair, fear, frustration, maybe even anger. You find yourself lamenting, ‘Oh God, why me?’ Or worse, ‘Have you left me God?’ 

And yet, God is exactly who we want to reach out to. He is always watching and always ready to help:

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven… Eccl. 3:1 NKJV

In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity, consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that no one can discover anything that will come after him. Eccl. 7:14 CSB

‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not look anxiously about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Is. 41:10 NASB

‘Even to your old age I will be the same, even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; and I will bear you and I will deliver you.’ Is. 46:4 NASB

God is not idly sitting on the sidelines. Whatever is happening in your life, if you are a child of God, (in right relationship with Him), there is a purpose behind it, that many times we cannot fathom. (Is. 55:9) Nevertheless, He is always just a prayer away, waiting to come to your aid to get you through your trials. 

…they cried out to God in the battle, and He answered their prayers because they trusted in Him. 1 Chr. 5:20 NASB

And yes, sometimes it looks like your prayers are not being answered; but that’s where your faith is being tested and strengthened. While you wait, ask the Author of your faith for that strength:

He gives strength to the weary, and to him who has no might He increases power…those who wait for the LORD [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] will gain new strength and renew their power; they will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like the eagle [rising toward the sun]… Is. 40:29 & 31. AMP

“I do believe; help [me overcome] my unbelief.” Mk. 9:24 AMP

The foundation for faith comes from our trust in our all-powerful, truth-telling, ever-delivering God:

“For I am the LORD, I do not change [but remain faithful to My covenant with you]… Mal. 3:6 AMP

Now, we must also consider that some of the valleys in our lives are of our own manufacture – especially when we fall back into the ways of the world. There is always a price to pay:

Disaster pursues sinners… Pr. 13:21 ESV

“With reproofs you chasten a man for iniquity…” Ps. 39:11 NASB

That’s why we want to get those slips handled immediately by going forward in humility to the God whom we have sinned against:

Tremble [with anger or fear], and do not sin; meditate in your heart upon your bed and be still [reflect on your sin and repent of your rebellion]. Offer righteous sacrifices; Trust confidently in the LORD. Ps. 4:4, 5. AMP

The LORD is near to the heartbroken and He saves those who are crushed in spirit (truly sorry for their sin). Ps. 34:18 AMP

The LORD is good and upright; therefore he shows sinners the way. Ps. 25:8 CSB

For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon you. Ps. 86:5 NKJV

And when you are back on track, God starts helping you journey towards your new ‘peak’:

His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning. Ps. 30:5 NASB

God is the only one who can deliver you from your trials, be they your fault or not. There is not any other kind of ‘idol’ (e.g. money or addictions) that can. They only leave behind hell to pay. 

Our Creator knows what He’s doing. Jehovah God has a good plan for each of His children; and as long as they stick with Him, He will make it come to pass. Furthermore, in a way that only He knows, God will dovetail the elements of your experience that were necessary for you to encounter, in a way for you to gain an ultimate eternal benefit:

…God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son… Rm. 8:28, 29. NASB

God’s grace in Christ is forever moving us through our peaks and valleys, toward our eternal redemption to an eternity that is unimaginable. Meanwhile, we need to keep our eye on that prize, and not on the moments of our life’s discontentment. For help in that process, we can lay our sufferings regarding the parts of them that we seem to have no control over, at the feet of our blessed Savior:

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Mt. 11s:28 – 30. NASB

In fact, our entire focus should be on Jesus, and then all the aspects of our life will come together. He is the source of our satisfaction (Jn.6:35), He is the only way to the Father (Jn. 14:6), our doorway to heaven and eternity (Jn. 14:2; 8:51.) and the living Word of God that gives us all the answers and bolsters our faith, (Jn. 1:1; Heb. 12:2.)

We were put on this earth to do certain things that only we can do, to bring Him glory by reflecting it from ourselves to others in those deeds, which ultimately have their roots in loving the Godhead, ourselves and all others. (Mt. 22:37 – 39.) We do that by giving of ourselves in spite of what is going on in the world around us. 

All of a sudden you will notice, that those valleys in life will not be so deep or protracted as your problems shrink in the light of your servitude. And your life begins to take on the unbridled joy of your eternity, where your place in the world can no longer bring you down – because that place is God’s place…

Goodnight and God bless.

Christ’s Foot Soldiers – part 6

So far in this series, we have discussed how to deliver the gospel, what to convey in that delivery, and have handled some of the objections that those we would evangelize to, may toss our way. Let’s press forward in ways to handle three other concerns of those whom we would lead to salvation, as we bring this series to a close:

4. ‘I believe that when you’re dead, that’s it.’

‘The question of whether there is life after death has been pondered since the beginning of humankind. Fortunately, God has richly revealed the true nature of His eternal disposition of the dead. The first thing to get a hold of, is that everyone is resurrected:’

…the dust returns to the earth as it once was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. Eccl. 12:7 CSB

Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake (resurrect), these to everlasting life, but some to disgrace and everlasting contempt (abhorrence). Dn. 12:2 AMP

“…for a time is coming when all those who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and they will come out – those who did good things [will come out] to a resurrection of [new] life, but those who did evil things [will come out] to a resurrection of judgment [that is, to be sentenced].” Jn. 5:28, 29. AMP

‘As we can see, there are only two paths for God’s eternal disposition of resurrected humankind – heaven or hell. The good news is, that you have complete control over which way God renders His sentence.

You can ignore God’s directions for how to live your life, which is living in a form of disobedience (i.e. to commit unrepentant sin). Consequently, as you’ve just seen, you will live out an eternity in God’s contempt, sentenced to exist in His absence, in hell, without love nor any chance of redemption through Christ. Not a good place to be:’

‘Then He will also say to those on the left hand, “Depart from Me you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”’ Mt. 25:41 NKJV

“…to be cast into hell fire – ‘Their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’” Mk. 9:47, 48. NKJV

‘There is no way to dress up the final destination of the devil and his followers. And be certain of this, you are either following God or chasing after Satan. There is no in-between.

So, you could instead make the choice to walk in God’s instruction, most importantly the part about accepting His Son, Jesus Christ as your Savior, so that all the times that you have slipped up, are slipping up, and the times that you will slip up, will not incur the penalty of being eternally marooned as a tormented soul:’

“…through His name everyone who believes in Him [whoever trusts in and relies on Him, accepting Him as Savior and Messiah] receives forgiveness of sins.” Acts 10:43 AMP

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life…” Jn. 3:36 ESV

‘Eternal ‘life’ is a heavenly life. Yes, there is a heaven:’

…the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed… Dn. 2:44 NKJV

‘The ‘kingdom of heaven’ is the same as the ‘kingdom of God’ – a kingdom only open to those who accept Christ. It is a spiritual / inner kingdom on this earth where God’s children dedicate themselves to forward that same kingdom, by filling its ranks.

Yet, it is also a kingdom that we aspire to spend eternity in, in its final manifestation:’

For the outward form of this world [its present social and material nature] is passing away. 1 Cor. 7:31 AMP

…the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth. Eccl. 7:1 NASB

For surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off. Pr. 23:18 NKJV

‘Jesus Himself prepares a place in heaven for every child of God:’

“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” Jn. 14:2 NASB

‘At the end of time, there will be great havoc and wars; yet God will separate His children, (those cleansed by the salvation blood of Christ), from the lawless, and deliver them from the final destruction of earth into His blessed presence. And they shall be transformed:’

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing. Is. 35:5, 6. NKJV

‘Wrapped with new immortal, indestructible bodies:’

It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. 1 Cor. 15:42 – 44. NASB

‘We will be living LARGE in our heavenly home forever:’

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth…the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God…And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people…And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Rv. 21:1 – 4. NKJV

5. ‘Why does a good God allow such injustice, cruelty and suffering?’

‘God did not plan for a world with these conditions. The world He created was a paradise:’

And God blessed them [granting them certain authority] and said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subjugate it [putting it under your power]; and rule over (dominate) the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing…” Gn. 1:28 AMP

The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food… Gn. 2:8 NASB

‘Everything was gifted to Adam and Eve. God also gifted them (and us) with free will. He did that so that they might love Him, because conscripted love is not love. Unfortunately, they used that free will to choose to rebel against God’s authority. Because of Adam’s sin, (the taint of which is carried through all generations), we all die – as God had told them would happen if they made that choice. Thus, the problem is not God, (He’s just being true to His word), it is humankind.

God does not plan anything evil:’

“It is impossible for God to do wrong, and for the Almighty to act unjustly.” Job 34:10 CSB

‘All we had to do was follow God’s instructions:’

“If you want to live securely in the land, follow my decrees and obey my regulations. Lv. 25:18 NLT

‘Why? Because God loves us:’

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 1 Pt. 5:7 NLT

‘God’s hands are tied when we turn our backs on Him, because God will not violate our free will. Therefore, we are left to experience what we bring upon ourselves.

Yet God is loving and merciful as well. He sent Adam and Eve out of the Garden, having atoned for their sins (with respect to its immediate effects upon them), onto a new path for redemption.

However, within ten generations later, humankind rebelled against God again, this time on a global scale. Again, God would not violate their free will to wantonly violate His commands. He left them to their own designs, which ultimately resulted in a sentence of death.

There was only one family of eight people that was following God, led by Noah; which was fortunate for us, because again we behold God’s mercy, when He uses them to give humans a do-over by repopulating the earth from their seed. (Gn. Ch.6 – 10.)

Many generations later, in spite of many human-induced bumps along the way, God preserved His people, creating a seed-bed that would bless all generations all over the world. (Gn. 22:17, 18). He sent them a mighty prophet, Moses, who would lead His children into the Promised Land. Moses spoke for God, who gave him the Ten Commandments to teach the people. Thus, there could be no further confusion regarding how they were to live their lives, nor any excuse for being in violation of them.

Once again, the people rebelled. (Ex. Ch. 32; Dt. 9:24.) Subsequently, an entire generation was denied access to the Promised Land; but God’s mercy never wanes. Their children were given admission.

They too rebelled, over and over. God sent them more prophets to try to turn them back to His ways, and to inform them of the price to pay, if they didn’t. They propped up human kings, trying to usurp His authority. The people practiced pagan rites, including the killing of their own children. For these things, God gave them over to their circumstances – allowing them to be conquered and enslaved. Yet, after a time, He brought His people home.

Still, the rebellion never ceased. The people favored the voice of Satan, (the author of their rebellion), over their Creator. (By the way, the devil was not created to be evil; he chose to be that way). People don’t realize that the enemy hates them:’

And the great dragon was thrown down, the age-old serpent who is called the devil and Satan, he who continually deceives and seduces the entire inhabited world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Rv. 12:9 AMP

…the god of this world [Satan] has blinded the minds of the unbelieving to prevent them from seeing the illuminating light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Cor. 4:3, 4. AMP

‘God has never wavered in His purpose: to wipe out evil and restore the earth to the paradise it was before the wayward people corrupted it, and to fill it with those who love Him for eternity:’

“Now judgment is upon this world [the sentence is being passed]. Now the rule of this world (Satan) will be cast out.” Jn. 12:31 AMP

“…the God of the heavens will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed…” Dn. 2:44 CSB

“…for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure…” Is. 46:9, 10. NASB

“Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them…” Rv. 21:3 NASB

‘Even now, with the majority of the world still resisting God, denying Him and defying His commandments, He sent a final doorway, an entrance into heaven – His Son, Jesus Christ. Our part is to confess our sinful state, repent to the best of our ability, accept Jesus in our heart, and make Him Lord over our lives. Then, and only then, will our slates be wiped clean:’

“I am the [only] Way [to God’ and the [real] Truth and the [real] Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Jn. 14:6 AMP

‘So, is God an unfair God? Hardly…’

The righteous will inherit the land, and dwell in it forever. Ps. 37:29 NKJV

…according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 2 Pt. 3:13 NKJV

6. ‘Christians don’t act any better than non-believers.’

‘Many times, that is unfortunately the case. We all must battle our sin nature, and often, everyone will lose some of those skirmishes:’

…for there is no one who does not sin… 1 Kn. 8:46 CSB

‘Yet, a Christian is acutely aware when they sin, through the conviction of Christ, who mercifully leads them back to Him for confession and repentance. Christ went to the cross so that we might receive His forgiveness for our sins, and be given the grace to avoid an eternity of condemnation:’

We know [with confidence] that anyone born of God does not habitually sin; but He (Jesus) who was born of God [carefully] keeps and protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. 1 Jn. 5:18 AMP

‘It’s a matter of living in God’s grace, doing the best that we can, and Christ will make up the difference.

The important thing to realize, is not to throw that first stone, because we all have to answer to God for our own behavior:’

So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore… Rm. 14:12 NKJV

This to my dear readers: I hope that you feel better-equipped to share the gospel. What a privilege it is, to contribute to the human soul, through serving the living, loving God…

Goodnight and God bless.

Christ’s Foot Soldiers – part 5

Last time, we were looking at responses to theological objections that a potential brother or sister in Christ might voice, (mostly due to having been misinformed). We looked at those who protested that they did not believe in God and / or did not believe the Bible was the inerrant truth of God’s word. Let’ continue:

3. ‘I don’t believe Jesus is God.’   

I understand why you wouldn’t. This has been debated for centuries. So, let’s take a look at what God has to say:

Then God said, “Let Us (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) make man in Our image, according to Our likeness [not physical, but a spiritual personality and moral likeness]…” Gn. 1:26 AMP

‘Note the Amplified Bible’s insertion of a trinity of deities. The New King James translation just sticks with the word ‘Us.’ You might think that God is just referring to Himself in the manner of a royal ‘We.’ Personally, I don’t think so.

Can we conclude that the Son of God was present when humankind was created?

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last…” Rv. 1:11 NKJV [Note that God says the same thing about Himself. (Rv. 21:6)]

“Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” Jn. 8:58 NKJV

“And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” Jn. 17:5 NKJV

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. Jn. 1:1-4. NASB

Clearly, the Son of God is the Word of God; God’s very expression. Unmistakably, He was with God before anything, (including the universe itself), was created. Thus, there was nothing to create Christ with, other than the essence of God Himself. And yet, because God is infinite, He cannot divide Himself without becoming finite. Therefore, the Son of God must be incorporated within the Father.

Does that make Him God? In a sense, (to the best of our abilities to understand the infinite), yes; or at the very least, a definite deified Being. A mere man would not be one who could facilitate all creation. Indeed, the Son of God cannot, at this juncture in the beginning of time, be a man, because flesh and blood cannot inhabit heaven. (1 Cor. 15:50) Therefore, He must be a Spirit.

Note that some religious sects try to explain that God and Jesus are not the same because they read Jn. 1:1 as: …and the word was a god in their own translations of the Bible.(Emphasis mine.) But check this out:

For He has rescued us and has drawn us to Himself from the dominion of darkness, and has transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption [because of His sacrifice, resulting in] the forgiveness of our sins [and the cancellation of sin’s penalty].

He is the exact living image [the essential manifestation] of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible], the firstborn [the preeminent one, the sovereign, and the originator] of all creation. For by Him all things were created in heaven and on earth, [things] visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him [that is, by His activity] and for Him. And He Himself existed and is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. [His is the controlling, cohesive force of the universe.]

…He Himself will occupy the first place [He will stand supreme and be preeminent] in everything. For it pleased the Father for all the fullness [of deity – the sum total of His essence, all His perfection, powers, and attributes] to dwell [permanently] in Him (the Son)… Col. 1:13 – 19. AMP

This is not an ordinary man. Jesus would have to be at least God-like, which this scripture clearly expresses. Neither can we hold up a human being to be our source of salvation:

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” Jn. 14:6 – 8. NKJV

Jesus is essentially saying, “Look at Me, this is what God is like in the flesh.” This is so that we may experience God with our five senses.

Let’s reflect upon one of God’s prophecies:

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Is. 7:14 NKJV

Immanuel means ‘God is with us.” Here is the same prophet, mouthing God’s words:

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Is. 9:6 NKJV

Indeed, God conveyed the Spirit of His Son, (the essence of God), by way of the Holy Spirit, into the womb of the virgin Mary. The rest is history:

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles believed on in the world, received up in glory. 1 Tim. 3:16 NKJV

…looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus… Titus 2:13 NASB

“My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.” For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal to God. Jn. 5:17, 18. NASB

Jesus in fact, said that we must give Him equal honor:

“…all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father.” Jn. 5:22 NKJV

…although He existed in the form and unchanging essence of God [as One with Him, possessing the fullness of all the divine attributes – the entire nature of deity], did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped or asserted [as if He did not already possess it, or was afraid of losing it]… Phil. 2:6 AMP

What must also be considered, is that God demanded in the first of the Ten Commandments that only He is to be worshiped. (Ex. 20:4, 5.) That also forbade any worshiping of angels. (Rv. 22:8) However, Jesus did allow Himself to be worshiped:

Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.” Mt. 14:33 NKJV

Then he said, “Lord I believe!” And he worshiped Him. Jn. 9:38 NKJV

While He was here bodily, Christ raised people from the dead, e.g. Lazarus. At the end of time, He will also give eternal life to all God’s children:

“…everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” Jn. 6:40 NKJV

Again, and again, no ordinary human being could do these things.

Jesus was filled with the essence of God and was separately human. Note the demonstration of His power:

And when He called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. Mt. 10:1 NKJV

Even when Christ went to the cross, He had the power to resurrect Himself:

“…I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it again.” Jn. 10:17, 18. NKJV

For myself then, if Jesus is not God, He is so much like Him that there is no meaningful difference. However, I receive letters from these aforementioned sects that present well thought-out objections. Let’s consider them:

1.     Jesus died; and God cannot die.

My answer is that only the human form of Christ died, and that part, (the perfect man), had to, to pay for the sins of Man. His humanity was trusting His Father to care for Him. It was Christ’s ‘God essence’ that raised Him from the dead (which only God could do), so that the world could be reconciled to His Father.

2.     No one can see God and live.

True. But all the people saw was His human form until His resurrection, when they witnessed His integrative God-Man self.

3.      Jesus was flesh and blood.

Yes, His human part was. The nature of His God-Man self is unknown to us. As we know, He could then appear and disappear at will, yet allowed the apostles to handle Him.

4.     He prayed to His Father. Yes, but that was prior to His God-Man manifestation.

5.     Finally, Jesus was tempted; and God cannot be tempted.

Christ was tempted in His flesh. God wanted Jesus to be humankind’s high priest. The only way to do that was to gain an empathy towards them which could only come by direct experience. His ‘God Essence’ was not involved. God cannot be in touch with sin. This was the only way.

Ultimately, even if the Godhead is considered as one, we must acknowledge, (even if we don’t understand it), that there is some form of tripartite existence within the whole. We see in scripture where God declares Himself as one God (Dt. 6:4; Is. 46:9). We see He and Jesus separately in Daniel’s vision (Dan. 7:14, 14.) and during Jesus’ baptism we see all of the Godhead together but separate. (Mt. 3:16, 17.) Jesus said that He required His Father’s power to accomplish anything, but that was when He was in the flesh manifestation. (Jn. 5:19, 20.) He also said that His Father was greater than Him. (Jn. 14:28) We may consider that in the light of God being the integrative whole of the Godhead, but that’s only conjecture on my part. Finally, we have Jesus’ outcries of anguish on the cross; but, He was experiencing the pain of His flesh, which was the source of His cries. (Mk. 15:34)

And then we have all the aforementioned scripture that infers a closeness between the Father and the Son that we may never understand until our heavenly appointment…

Meet your listener where he or she is at, present your case, and the Holy Spirit will lead them to an understanding.

Goodnight and God bless.

Christ’s Foot Soldiers – part 4

In the first three parts of this series, we looked at how to more effectively deliver the good news of God’s salvation through Christ, a way to frame the message, and how to alleviate some of the most common objections that unbelievers have, which serve as barriers against their receiving the gospel.

Now, let’s examine some of the deeper theological misinformation that our unbelievers may have accumulated. Keep in mind that some people will throw out these ‘big ones’ just to try to throw you off, so that you’ll go away. (Gently persist until they tell you straight up that they aren’t interested.)

If there is anything that you don’t feel you can answer, your response is always this: ‘I don’t know about that, but the Bible has all the answers. Let me ask someone who does know, and then I’ll get back to you.’

Let’s begin:

1. ‘I don’t believe in God.’ (Generally, this is not a ‘faith’ issue, but rather reflects the investment that they have in their sin lifestyle.)

Your answer: ‘Okay. So, tell me what your thoughts are about how this universe got here and the people and animals, etc.’ (Let them finish all their thoughts so that their head is empty and poised to receive what you have to say.)

‘God has put an unction in your heart to seek Him out and has shown you many of His characteristics in His creations. And, good things happen when you look for Him:’

 …that which is known about God is evident within them [in their inner consciousness], for God made it evident to them. For ever since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through His workmanship [all His creation, the wonderful things in the world that He has made], so that they [who fail to believe and trust in Him] are without excuse and without defense. Rm. 1:19, 20. AMP

“The hand of God is favorably disposed to all those who seek Him…” Ezra 8:22 NASB

‘Science would propose the Big Bang theory and the theory of Evolution (90 years ago and 160 years ago respectively) to explain how the universe was formed and how the inhabitants of our planet came into being.

If we are to believe (i.e. have faith) in these, we would have to accept the premise that there was a pre-existing universe that spilled a part itself into nothing and miraculously, our universe was born. None of this can be proved.

We are also asked to swallow the assumption that lightning struck some primordial soup of just the right chemical mix and cellular life was spontaneously created, (something that has never been able to be replicated in a laboratory). The odds of all that happening is one in ten to the 99th power. That’ a 1 followed by 99 zeros; not remotely likely.

Finally, if we are to take Darwin’s evolution at face value, you would have fish becoming land animals and monkeys becoming man. There was a time, eons ago, called the Cambrian Explosion, where according to fossil evidence, there was a simultaneous appearance of a great diverse species of life. That blows away Darwin’s theory.

The only ‘evolution’ that took place is that horses, dogs, man got bigger and stronger, but all species stayed the same. Ducks did not become salamanders. Chimpanzees were related to cavemen, but the last of them died out a quarter of a million years before modern man showed up.

Even in plant life, we don’t see any natural diversification. Plums will not grow watermelons, etc.

Four thousand years ago, the Bible (God’s word) tells us of creation and of many other scientific facts. It describes the sequence of the creation of the universe and of life exactly as science would postulate much, much later. (Gn. Ch 1 & 2) It tells of the nature of the wind currents (Eccl. 1:6), the shape of the earth (Is. 40:22), that the earth hangs in empty space (Job 26:7), and speaks of innumerable stars and the patterns that they have (Jer. 33:33, 31:35).

God speaks of future events that all come to fruition. No other religion does that. Science says that all our laws of physics began when the universe was created, and they too must have been created by a source outside of space, energy, matter and time. Only God fills the bill.

Nothing God has said has ever been proved untrue. Even His laws for living provide for the greatest and highest life. There is no substitute. We can depend upon God for viable, repeatable results. An atheist has nothing tangible to hang his faith upon. For example:’

“For I am the LORD, I do not change [but remain faithful to My covenant with you]…” Mal.. 3:6 AMP

‘Therefore, God is immovable and eternal, (thus, outside of space and time because He created both.) He experiences past, present and future simultaneously because He is the author of them all – omnipresent.’

‘I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God.’ Is. 44:6 NKJV

“God is spirit [the Source of life, yet invisible to mankind]…” Jn. 4:24 AMP

‘As a Spirit, God is boundless, infinite, perfect and eternal – who was existing before anything else did, and He will remain at their end – even to their eternal transformation:’

By faith [that is with an inherent trust and enduring confidence in the power, wisdom and goodness of God] we understand the worlds (universe, ages) were framed and created [formed, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose] by the word of God… Heb. 11:3 AMP

‘Omnipotent.’

2. ‘I don’t believe that the Bible contains the word of God.’

If some did not believe or were unfaithful [to God], their lack of belief will not nullify and make invalid the faithfulness of God and His word, will it? Certainly not! Let God be found true [as He will be], though every person be found a liar, just as it is written [in Scripture], “THAT YOU MAY BE JUSTIFIED IN YOUR WORDS, AND PREVAIL WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED [by sinful men].” Rm. 3:3, 4. AMP

“Heaven and earth [as now known] will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” Mt. 24:35 AMP

“Whoever is of God and belongs to Him hears [the truth of] God’s words; for this reason you do not hear them: because you are not of God and you are not in fellowship with Him.” Jn. 8:47 AMP

‘Everybody would want to connect with God if they realized how much He loved them. However, you cannot connect with Him (or anyone) unless you first build a relationship with Him.

Relationships are borne from learning how to understand the other, and how to tend to their needs and desires. It all involves a process of time, communication and action (based upon what is learned in the communication).

God already knows us. To help us get to know Him, He left us a ‘love letter’ referred to as the Bible, which allows us (using time, communication and action) to build a love relationship with Him.

To address your unbelief, let me unravel why we Christians consider the Bible to be penned in God’s own words…

The Bible came about in a most miraculous fashion: 40 Holy Spirit-inspired men, (meaning God was talking directly to them), from all walks of life, wrote the 66 books that comprise the Bible, over a 1500-year span, in 3 different languages from 3 different continents. Despite these differences, the end result is a cohesive, non-contradictory theme, which each of the books explaining / defining the others in further detail.

It is a remarkable account of the beginning of all things and progresses to their end.

The Dead Sea scrolls prove that the Old Testament has survived its authenticity for thousands of years without corruption. Thousands of letters circulated by the early church fathers, when pieced together, display a 99.9% accuracy for God’s word in the New Testament.

The Bible’s historical accurateness has been proven archeologically – supported by more historical extra-biblical manuscripts than any other book.

No other non-biblical holy scriptures possess prophecies about future events (which came true), as does those prophesied by God in the Bible. This includes many that were made about Christ and His coming.

The Bible possess an inherent ‘rightness’ in its words that brings us into God’s presence, which has inspired people to make it the most translated and best-selling book of all time. In addition, it has withstood atheistic assault for more than 4 millennia, and the truth of God’s word continues to endure.

Jesus Himself testified as to the veracity of the scriptures as being the pure truth of God.

Many scientific facts are revealed centuries before their human discovery. (You, the reader, refer to the first section of this post for your armamentarium.)

Jesus commissioned and equipped His apostles to deliver the totality of the New Testament, to establish the first church, and propagate the gospel to save all souls from destruction.

Finally, and most importantly, when people read the Bible, it changes them – transforming their natural broken state into a higher spiritual plane, meeting all of humankind’s spiritual, relational and moral needs.

That’s why we believe the Bible is the word of God.’

Well, I thought I could cover the ‘big objections’ in one post. Not. Don’t be disheartened. You don’t have to know this material word-for-word; but if you get it in your heart, you will bring glory to God as you do your best to fill the kingdom.

Keep putting on the armor. More to come…

Goodnight and God bless. 

Christ’s Foot Soldiers – part 3

We have looked at how to better deliver the gospel and have examined a sample rendering of the gospel message itself that we might express to our potential brothers and sisters in Christ. Now, let’s scrutinize some of the objections that we might come up against from those who cannot yet see their way to salvation and / or the need for it.

1. ‘I have lived a much too sinful life to expect exoneration.’

This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” – and I am the worst of them. 1 Tim. 1:15 CSB

The apostle Paul (the Holy Spirit – inspired author of the majority of the New Testament), who was at one time a murderer of Christians, and as you can see, the self-declared most dastardly of sinners, was saved by Christ. So, you can be as well. 

In fact, you are exactly who Jesus is looking for:

“…I did not come to call [to repentance] the [self-proclaimed] righteous [who see no need to change], but sinners [those who recognize their sin and actively seek forgiveness].” Mt. 9:13 AMP

And once you have accepted Christ and His salvation, He will never let you go and will keep you wrapped up in His righteousness:

“My Father who has given them to me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” Jn. 10:29 CSB

…to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord… Jude 24, 25. NASB

2. ‘I cannot discipline myself to live that kind of life.’

First, let’s review the consequences of not living that kind of life:

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rm. 6:23 CSB

The good news is that it is not your strength that you have to depend upon:

I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose – I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.] Phil. 4:13 AMP

3. ‘I don’t want to lose my friends.’ 

You can share your salvation experience with them; but your eternal future is at stake, and it must be your primary consideration, before you can be of any help to others. If your friends don’t want to get on board, they can become a liability to your salvation:

The one who walks with the wise will become wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm. Pr. 13:20 CSB

Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. Ps. 1:1 NLT

4. ‘I’m not feeling it.’ 

It’s not about your feelings, but about your faith: 

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: Jn. 1:12 NKJV

However, when you accept Christ, changes will come:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness… Gal. 5:22 CSB

5. ‘I’m a good person. I don’t do bad things.’

For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for the “The righteous shall live by faith.” Gal. 3:10, 11. ESV

The Book of the Law is essentially the ‘Ten Commandments.’ And if we want to be saved by our own efforts, we must obey them all flawlessly for our entire lives. That is not possible for any human being.

“for there is no one who does not sin…” 1 Kin. 8:46 NKJV

In fact, the one who does not believe in God is already in violation of the First Commandment. (Ex. 20:3 – 5).

The whole reason that Christ came was so that you could accept Him as your savior and be cleansed from sin and wrapped up in His righteousness.

6. ‘God is love. He will not judge anyone.’

Well, you are half right:

“The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but will by no means clear the guilty…” Ex. 34:6, 7. ESV

God does forgive sins, but only for those who accept Christ as their savior: 

“…you will die in our sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” Jn. 8:24 NKJV

Regardless of how one wants to believe in their own philosophy, God spells out a real judgment for all peoples:

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory…all the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’…Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’” Mt. 25:31 – 34 & 41. NKJV 

7. For those who have walked away from the faith (usually due bad behavior / judgment from other ‘Christians’ or because they have fallen back into sin). 

You can’t judge God by the way people behave. Unfortunately, they have the free will to mess up; not God’s fault. 

As far as having fallen back into a sinful lifestyle:

Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”

Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” Mt. 18:21, 22. NKJV

Jesus is being metaphorical here. We are to forgive countless times; and Jesus would not ask us to do something that He Himself does not. You can approach Him no matter what you’ve done and receive forgiveness for your sins and to be reinstated in His kingdom,  with earnest confession and repentance. 

(Consider too, an examination of the parable of the prodigal son: Lk. 15:11 – 32.)

8. ‘The Bible doesn’t make any sense.’ 

You’re right:

For the message of the cross is foolishness [absurd and illogical] to those who are perishing and spiritually dead [because they reject it], but to us who are being saved [by God’s grace] it is [the manifestation of] the power of God. 1 Cor. 1:18 AMP

But the natural [unbelieving] man does not accept the things [the teachings and revelations] of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness [absurd and illogical] to him; and he is incapable of understanding them, because they are spiritually discerned and appreciated, [and he is unqualified to judge spiritual matters]. 1 Cor. 2:14 AMP

The Bible only makes since when the Holy Spirit enters you as you accept Christ as your savior, which gives you that spiritual discernment. You know, there are also those who just don’t want to understand it, because they prefer the ways of the world:

“This is the judgment [that is, the cause for indictment, the test by which people are judged, the basis for the sentence]; the Light has come into the world, and people love the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For every wrongdoer hates the light, and does not come to the Light [ but shrinks from it] for fear that his sinful, worthless] activities will be exposed and condemned.” Jn. 3:19, 20. AMP

So, we’ covered some of the most common objections of the flesh. Next time we’ll tackle the big theological objections…

Goodnight and God bless.

Christ’s Foot Soldiers – part 2

Last time we looked at how to increase our ability to facilitate other people’s entry into the kingdom of God by accepting Christ as their Savior – in short, to be better evangelizers. We also examined how to use those enhancements to introduce the gospel to those who don’t feel that they need saving.

Well, what if you approach someone who says that they want to hear what you have to say? ‘Hallelujah,’ is what you’ll probably say to yourself. Still, you don’t want to pass over the spiritual necessities they need to absorb in their heart to consummate their readiness and desire for salvation.

Whoever you’re approaching, keep your gospel-telling conversational, not a fire-and-brimstone monologue. Ask questions that give them openings to tell you what their pre-conceived beliefs are. Lead them to feel that they came to the gospel understanding on their own. That is when people are ready to believe. God can strip their egos later…

Previously, we concentrated on how better to deliver the gospel. Now, let’s spend a little time with the message itself. We might want to open with what it is that we all need saving from:

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. Jas. 4:17 ESV

“…for there is no one who does not sin…” 1 Kin. 8:46 NKJV

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rm. 6:23 CSB

Simple. It’s death! And, we are all found guilty of practicing sin, which leads to it.

Next, we can talk to them about what is drawing their attention to salvation:

He has also planted eternity [a sense of divine purpose] in the human heart [a mysterious longing which nothing under the sun can satisfy, except God]… Eccl. 3:11 AMP

God Himself is clamoring for their attention, because He loves them and wants to spend eternity with them. And He has a plan for that: salvation through Jesus Christ. It is through the blood of Christ that saves us, and the power of the Holy Spirit that brings Jesus to reside in us, when we accept Him as Savior and Lord over our lives.

Jesus came to save us from our sins. In fact, much of His earthly ministry consisted of saving the sinful in His proximity, hanging out with the outcasts.

The veracity of His divinity as the Son of God was demonstrated in His miraculous deeds, His irrefutable gospel, His sinless life, and through His resurrection.

Through Christ, we connect with God the Father, as well as the Holy Spirit, so that we have the Divine Dream Team Triumvirate living within us, caring for us and pointing us in the right way.

Christ died for you, just as much as He died for me and for everybody else. When that happened, Jesus removed all barriers between you and God by becoming your God-connection.

And [at once] the veil [of the Holy of Holies] of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom… Mt. 27:51 AMP

Therefore, believers, since we have confidence and full freedom to enter the Holy Place [the place where God dwells] by [means of] the blood of Jesus… Heb. 10:19 AMP

Thus, you get to know and have a relationship with the all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present, eternal and changeless holy Creator of the universe. That may sound overwhelming, but there are surefire ways to have that happen.

First, God wrote the Bible through the prophets and the apostles, by way of the Holy Spirit. It tells us most of what we need to know about how He feels and what He’s like:

“The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth (faithfulness); keeping mercy and lovingkindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…” Ex. 34:5 – 7. AMP

The other way to know God intimately, is to know His Son, Jesus, who is an exact replica of His Father, one with Him and yet separate in a way in which in our finite understanding, do not fully fathom:

He (Jesus) is the exact living image [the essential manifestation] of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible], the firstborn [the preeminent one, the sovereign, and the originator of all creation. Col. 1:15 AMP

“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” Jn. 14:7 NKJV

Sounds great, huh? God put together this whole arrangement: Himself, His Son and the Holy Spirit, to handle a major problem: to reconcile His children who were lost to Him.

God created a perfect world, a perfect man and wife, and left us a set of perfect commandments to follow, to live a perfect life and stay in right relationship with Him.

But, because the members of humankind want to be masters of their own destinies, to be their own gods, they rebelled against God – beginning with Adam and Eve. That is called ‘sin,’ and as we saw in the beginning, the practice of sin brings death, death in the form of an eternal separation from God and His children.

In His infinite love for all of humankind, God put into action a plan that would save us from our sins. He sent His Son as a Spirit to be born of a virgin and grow to be Jesus the Savior. God worked through Him to bring you the gospel message that you are hearing. Broken down into a nutshell, it is this:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that through Him might be saved.” Jn. 3:16, 17. NKJV

And this is the reason:

“…to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.” Acts 26:18 NASB

Did it work?

And although you were at one time estranged and alienated and hostile-minded [toward Him}, participating in evil things, yet Christ has now reconciled you [to God] in His physical body through death, in order to present you before the Father holy and blameless and beyond reproach _ [and He will do this] if you continue in the faith, well-grounded and steadfast, and not shifting away from the confident hope [that is a result] of the gospel that you have heard… Col. 1:21 – 23. AMP

Perfectly!

It is a gift from God, not something that you can earn. Jesus acquired this gift for you with His life on the cross, taking all the punishment that God would have laid upon all of humanity born throughout time, wiping out all our sins – past, present and future, by exchanging that sinless life for all the lives that would be snuffed out from the ravages of sin.

God’s gift works individually when that person comes to Christ and repents of their sins (i.e. acknowledges he or she is a sinner, exhibits true remorse with the intent to do their best not to repeat them), and to accept Jesus as who He is and what He’s done, and make Him the Lord of their life. Immediately, the sinless righteousness of Christ is transferred to them; and when God looks at him or her, He only sees that righteousness. Their price has been paid for an eternity in paradise…

…the dust returns to the earth as it once was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. Eccl. 12:7 CSB

…I saw a new heaven and a new earth…I also saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God…”Look, God’s dwelling is with humanity, and he will live with them. They will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more…” Rv. 21:1 – 4. CSB

Now, talking to you, my fellow evangelizers: all these scriptures are very apropos in their sequence, but I really put them in for you, to empower you with your truth. Remember, this might be your hearer’s first time for the gospel, so be careful not to overwhelm.

Well, at this juncture, it would be good to dive right in: ‘You’ve seen the vital importance of the salvation of your soul and how to get saved. Will you accept Jesus now? Let’s kneel together and I will lead you through prayer and your salvation will be secure.’

(Time for that sinners’ prayer):

Dear God in heaven, I am a sinner, unable to save myself. I am truly sorry and will do my best not to repeat my sins. But I know that I cannot do it myself. I believe that Jesus is your Son and that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected to pay for all my sins. Please make your Son the Lord of my life, that I may receive your forgiveness and by your Holy Spirit, I ask for Jesus to take residence within me. Thank you for opening heaven so that I may live in eternity with you. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Or something similar. Please, at this juncture, do not let this newbie out into the world. Either follow up with them or connect them to a church.

Be happy. The angels are rejoicing!

I know what you’re thinking, ‘What if they ask me theological questions that I have no answer for?’ We’ll handle that next time…

Goodnight and God bless.