Amazing Salvation

Romans 10:13 – For whoever calls upon the name of the LORD shall be saved.

Sozo is a Greek word, but this is our English spelling, and it means: To save, to keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction; to save a suffering one from perishing, to preserve one who is in danger of destruction, to deliver from the penalties of the judgment; to make one whole, spirit, soul, and body.

Salvation Is Eternal

Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 1 John 2:25 – And this is the promise that He has promised us – eternal life. 1 John 5:13 – These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.

Since God is eternal, salvation is eternal. However, when we think of the eternal, most only tend to think of the future. God existed before time. He has always existed and will always exist. “I am that I am!”

Revelation 1:4 – John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, (Verse 8) “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “Who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

That phrase is in Revelation five times and makes it very clear that Jesus was, is, and is to come. That phrase is also repeated by the angels and the elders.

Revelation 4:8 – And the four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”

Hebrews 13:8 – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is the Author of eternal salvation. There is a past, present, and future tense of salvation. Who was, who is, and who is to come. According to the Bible, we have been saved; we are being saved; and we will be saved.

We have been saved from the penalty of sin; we are being saved from the power of sin; and we will be saved from the presence of sin. We have been saved in our spirit; we are being saved in our soul, a work in progress; and our body will be saved one day.

If people don’t understand that they “have been” saved, then they will have an incorrect view that they “are being” and “will be” saved. We have to understand what the Bible says about salvation in the past tense. But when we understand that, “we have been” saved, we will have “peace” in the present and faith for the future!

When people fail to understand that they “have been saved,” they will have pressure from all kinds of things in the present, and will have fear for their future instead of faith.

Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be “Saved!” Justified, sanctified, accepted in the beloved, redeemed and forgiven – all past tense. Salvation is not a goal to be achieved. It is a gift to be received. All through Scripture, it is described as a gift. If we just believed the “past” part of salvation, it takes care of the present and future.

Ephesians 1:3 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who “has” blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, (Verse 4) just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy without blame before Him in love, (Verse 5) having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, (Verse 6) to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.

When we “believed” and “trusted,” we received, past tense. Ephesians 1:11 – in whom also we “have” obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, (Verse 12) that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. (Verse 13) In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,

That is “Amazing Salvation.” We were, not going to be, but “were” sealed with the Holy Spirit. (Verse 14) who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. 

We were bought with a price, and purchased. We are owned by God. How could God ever lose something that He owns? He can’t.

Salvation is amazing; we were washed in the blood of Jesus when we believed; we were justified, right standing with God; and we were sanctified because of Jesus righteousness. We are not “going” to be sanctified, we are sanctified. 1 Corinthians 6:11 – and such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. All past tense when we were saved.

If a person is saved, then there ought to be joy in their life because the present and the future is not going to be lived on their own. We have a mighty Shepherd that watches over us and leads us and promised to never leave us. So why aren’t more Christians joyful in their present life?

Luke 15:4 – “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? (Verse 5) “And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. (Verse 6) “And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ (Verse 7) “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”

So, what do we do when we find something that we have lost? Rejoice! God rejoices with all of heaven when we accept His Son. We were born with looking for favor with God. The first thing we do when we are looking for something and find it, we stop looking for it. We don’t keep looking after we find it!

Do you ever wonder why some people do not rejoice in the time of worship during a service? Either they feel they are unworthy to praise or they are still looking for favor with God. They don’t understand that when they believed, they found what they had been looking for. They need to stop looking for it. However, some only believed in their mind, but not their heart, so they are still looking. They never “trusted.” The sad part is they think they are saved but have never followed through with submission and trust or repentance, for that matter. Some won’t repent, turn away from sin, but if they do, then there will be “rejoicing.” If a person is just going through the motions, living unto themselves, still in charge and have never trusted and submitted to His commands, then they are on the road to destruction.

We are saved by putting our faith and trust in Jesus Christ and when we do that we will be saved!

 

 

 

 

God’s Unchanging Nature

It’s impossible for God to change – immutable. He has no need to change because He is perfect in every way. Numbers 23:19 – “God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? Malachi 3:6 – “For I am the LORD, I do not change; Titus 1:2 – in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.

The Book of Hebrews was written to the Hebrews who knew the law and the covenant and because of that, the writer begins with the foundation that many Gentiles don’t have a clear understanding of.

Hebrews 6:13 – For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, (Verse 14) saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” (Verse 15) And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. (Verse 16) For men indeed swear by the greater, an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute.

(Verse 17) Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, (Verse 18) that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. 

(Verse 19) This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, (Verse 20) where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

So this hope that we have that is based on God, can’t change or lie, anchors our soul. How much better we all would be if we understood that, while going through a storm,  God is our anchor, keeping us steady and not allowing us to sink.

When the Jews take an oath, they have to swear by someone greater than them. When God swore to bless Abraham, there was no one greater to swear the oath by, but Himself. On His own name, He swore by and He said there were two things that cannot change. In verse 17, God says His desire to show more abundantly to the “heirs of the promise”…

Who are the heirs of the promise? Romans 4:13 – For the “promise” that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. (Verse 14) For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect,…

Jesus Is Our High Priest Forever

Hebrews 6:20 – where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 7:17 – For He testifies “You are priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 7:23 – Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. (Verse 24) But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.

There is no possibility that Jesus won’t remain High Priest for those who believe in Him. This is not going to change. Now, look what it says in Hebrews 10: Hebrews 10:11 – and every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sin. (Verse 12) But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God. 

Jesus is our High Priest forever and always. There is no need for any other priest on this earth because they cannot take away sin! If Jesus is our High Priest when things are going good, is He still our High Priest when life takes a turn for the worse? He is and always will be the One we go to in every stage of our lives.

Jesus Is Our Mediator of the New Covenant Forever

This fact will never change: Hebrews 8:6 – But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.

Better covenant and better promises is the New Covenant. The old covenant was given to Moses when the children of Israel came out of Egypt – the Mosaic covenant. So, is the new covenant better? Yes, because the new covenant can do something the old covenant cannot do! It can clean our sin, not just cover it. And when it cleanses us, it can clean our conscience so that we don’t serve God out of “dead works!” A dead work is any work not initiated by God, or a work trying to earn the favor of God.

Hebrews 9:9 – It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience – (Verse 13) For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for purifying of the flesh, (Verse 14) how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Verse 15) And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Hebrews 10:1, 2 – For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. (Verse 2) For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purged, would have had no more consciousness of sins.

Perfect doesn’t mean in our performance, but our position with God. The blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin and cleanses our conscience.

We become what we most focus on. Too many focus on their failures and their sins of the past. Why not put more focus on what Jesus has done and let it wash us clean? It’s called “Grace.” People who are more focused on sin will probably end up doing something that they don’t want to do.

Now, let’s compare the old covenant to the new covenant. God said to Israel that He wanted a covenant with them and there will be My part and Israel’s part. He said I will be your God and you will be My people; I’m going to love you; I’ll protect you; I will provide for you; I will fight your battles for you; and I will lead and guide you. And all the people said yes to that. Then He said, “Here is your part”: Keep the law, the whole law. He wrote it all down in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, which included what would happen if they didn’t obey his commandments. They all agreed, but broke the law the first day.

Here is the new covenant: God said to the individual, “I’m going to love you; I’m going to protect you; I will provide for you; I will forgive all your sins and you will live forever; and I will be your God.” Here is our part: Accept and receive My Son, because He not only died for you, but He kept the law perfectly which made Him the perfect sacrifice for your sin.

When we believe, we enter a covenant through the blood of Jesus Christ. God will never change what it takes to be one of His children. He is a never-changing God and cannot lie. He loves us so much that He sent His Son to take our place for the penalty of sin.

 

 

 

God’s Amazing Righteousness

The enemy tries to get believers to move from grace into works: Romans 4:1 – What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? (Verse 2) For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something of which to boast, but not before God. (Verse 3) For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” (Verse 4) Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. (Verse 5) But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.

Wouldn’t it be great if the whole world understood this? We are sinners; we believe in Christ and the sin is taken out of our account and righteousness is put in it. Too many believe that in order to go to heaven, they need to just be a good person. They think the good, will out-weigh the bad. The only problem with this is that God’s standard is not just being “good,” it is “perfection.” We are not accepted by our standards.

James 2:10 – For whoever shall keep the whole law and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.

Do yo know of anyone other than Jesus, that can keep the Ten Commandments perfectly? Even if they have broken a part of one law they are guilty of all the laws. That is one reason why it is so hard to get the lost to listen to the gospel sometimes, because everyone thinks they are a good person.

If God’s standard is perfection then how do we go to heaven? By believing in the One that was and is perfect – Jesus Christ. Romans 4:3 – For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

What Is Righteousness?

Is a person righteous because they do righteous things, or do they do righteous things because they are righteous? That’s the whole difference between grace and works. Is the person righteous in God’s eyes because they do righteous things?  Does a person do right things because God’s grace made them right with Him?

Our understanding of grace changes everything about life. The way we understand grace will affect how we see God and relate to Him. It will also affect the way we see others and the way we relate to them. It will affect mainly, the way we see ourselves.

So, righteousness is right standing with God. Can a righteous person do an unrighteous deed? Yes, because all of us have done unrighteous things and we are not perfect. We don’t always do what’s right, even since we have believed in Jesus. Now, can an unrighteous person do a righteous deed? Yes, a person who hasn’t been saved can do right things. However, does the righteous deed that the unrighteous do, make them righteous? No. It is not accounted to them, because they don’t believe and have faith in Jesus Christ. The unrighteous person doing the righteous deed is “working” to be called righteous. Believers are righteous by their position, not by performance. We are put in the state of right standing with God by the blood of Jesus!

Did Abraham Earn His Righteousness?

Romans 4:2 – For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. (Verse 3) …Abraham believed God…(Verse 4) Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.

Accounting – Keeping records of credits and debts. So, here’s what it’s saying: To him who works, it is not accounting to him as grace, but a debt. Those that are unsaved think when they “work”, doing good deeds, it is counted to their credit before God. Not so, it is counted as a debt.

If Abraham had done good works to be in right standing with God, then God would have owed him. God did not owe Abraham and God doesn’t owe us because :Isaiah 64:6, says, “All our righteousness are like filthy rags.” That is the way our righteousness is before we come to Christ. We have no righteousness. No matter how good we try to be, it is still not good enough.

Keep in mind: Abraham was not sinless, and neither were we before Christ. So, here’s what happened over 2,000 years ago: God took Christ’s righteousness out of His account and God put the sins of the whole world in Jesus account. That’s why God’s Son was condemned to death, for the wages of sin is death. The Bible says God took the One who knew no sin and made Him sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God. The blood of Jesus erased our sins. Not only our sins, but the sins of the whole world. However, it is up to us, as an individual, to choose if we are going to receive what Jesus did or not. That is why not everyone is saved, some chose not to believe.

People don’t go to hell because of their sin, because sin was already paid for by Jesus. They go to hell because of their unbelief. It’s not enough to just say, “I believe,” and then still live like a heathen, even the devil believes. One has to believe and follow Jesus teachings and those teachings will transform a person’s life when the Holy Spirit comes to reside in them.

So What Did Abraham Do To Obtain Righteousness?

He believed what God said to him and obeyed. John 6:28, 29 – Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” (Verse 29) Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” Belief comes first from the heart, not just the mind. We must believe that God sent Jesus; that He died on a cross for our sins; that He rose again; and is seated at the right hand of God Almighty!

Do you believe?

 

God’s Amazing Grace

How many Christians sit in a church Sunday after Sunday and really don’t understand God’s grace? I once sat in a church for 12 years and never heard the pastor preach on grace. Oh, he might have mentioned it, but it was never preached on. Maybe it was because that particular denomination believed that is a person sinned enough, they could lose their salvation. It was as if the leaders were afraid that if we knew about God’s grace that we would abuse it.

It does matter what a new believer believes and what they are being taught. It also matters whether or not the person continues to feel condemnation and guilt, and they will if they don’t understand what happens at salvation. That church I sat in for all those years was “performance driven.”

God’s grace is what God does and what He did. It was not given because of our effort. So, what does grace do for us? It enables us to live a new life in Christ Jesus and is the unmerited, undeserved, unearned, kindness and favor of God.

Unmerited

Ephesians 2:8 – For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, (Verse 9) not of works, lest anyone should boast.

There will be no boasting in heaven. No one will be saying, “Look what I’ve done to get myself here!” We will be there because of what Jesus did. We know when we first get saved that we did nothing to merit it. But, ten or twenty years later, after all the good things we’ve done for God, somehow we think, “Look at me now!”

That is not how grace works at all. The same grace that saved us, is the same grace that follows us through life – unmerited. Love covers a multitude of sins, but grace covers a multitude of stupidity. We all have done some down right stupid things after we were saved and God gave us the grace to get through it and over it. Grace continues to work in our walk.

Undeserved

We didn’t deserve grace when we first got saved and we don’t deserve it twenty years from now. Romans 3:24 – being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. None of us was or will be good enough to be accepted by God without Jesus. God is a holy God and demands perfection and when His Son died for us, He took our sin and gave us His righteousness. And that makes us able to stand before God clean and accepted, but only because of what Jesus did on the cross not us.

Unearned

Romans 11:6 – And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.

If it is free, it is not earned, otherwise free is not free. If it is earned, it is not free, otherwise earned is not earned. It is one or the other. And if it’s grace, it can’t be earned!

Baker encyclopedia of the Bible explains grace this way: Grace is the dimension of divine activity that enables God to confront human indifference and rebellion with an exhaustible capacity to forgive and to bless.

Satan wants people and churches to argue about what grace means to us, and sometimes people forget that Christ died for our sins and paid the price for those sins in full. Everything that we do for the kingdom of God is because the Father enables us and never lets us go it alone. He is always beside us loving, encouraging, and comforting us to finish the race. Sometimes He carries us when we feel that we can’t go on, so don’t ever forget, “God’s Amazing Grace and His name is Jesus!

The Discipleship Of The Believer

As we grow in our walk, we find that there are “currents” that will arise that try to take us out and away from God so that we stumble. What keeps us steady and on track, is the Word of God.

Mark 4:7 – “And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. (Verse 18) “Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, (Verse 19) “and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

Jesus describes this attack as thorns. This group of people are learning and growing in the Lord, but Jesus said thorns choke the word. What are thorns representing in this passage?

We know from the previous teaching on Symbols that, scorpions and serpents represent demonic forces, but here is a passage that has scorpions and thorns: Ezekiel 2:3 – And He said to me: “Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this day. (Verse 4) “For they are impudent and stubborn children. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD God,’ (Verse 5) “As for them, whether they hear or whether they refuse – for they are a rebellious house – yet they will know that a prophet has been among them. (Verse 6) “And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you dwell among scorpions; do not be afraid of their words or dismayed by their looks, though they are a rebellious house. 

The thorns represent the enemy and we see plainly that rebellion against God causes the enemy to enter a person’s life. Demonic spirits are messengers of Satan. Look what the Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:7 – And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a “thorn” in the flesh was given me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Paul was not rebellious against God, but because God was going to use him in such a mighty way, a “thorn” was allowed to stay to keep Paul from a spirit of pride. Pride and arrogance is also a type of rebellion against God though.

So, right there in Scripture, “thorn” is a messenger of Satan. When people don’t understand the “types” and shadows” in Scripture, they have a hard time getting the true meaning. The Bible will define itself.

Let me show you another Scripture on thorns, but keep in mind that the Promise Land does not represent heaven. There were still enemies in the Promise Land the Hebrews had to overcome. The Promise Land represents the “Christian Life!” And, if you drive the enemy out, you can live where God wants you to live.

Numbers 33:55 – ‘But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall be that those whom you let remain shall be irritants in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land where you dwell. (How clear is that?)

So what areas did Jesus tell us in Mark 4, where the thorns will choke out the word?

The Cares Of This World

1 Peter 5:7 – casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. We were not designed to carry burdens. God calls us sheep in Scripture and sheep are not “burden bearing” animals. What we are supposed to do is lay our burdens at the feet of the Shepherd! Too many lay them, but walk away and pick them back up. We are not to pick them back up and begin to worry about them again. When we lay them at His feet, leave it there and stop talking about it and getting yourself worked up. If you are doing that, then you have never really let it go. 

The Deceitfulness of Riches

1 Timothy 6:17 – Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.

He’s not talking about millionaire or billionaire rich. If a person makes 40,000 a year, they are in the 1% of the world richest. When it says, “Command those who are rich,” that is most Americans, compared to the rest of the world. Visit another country and compare what they lack and what we as Americans have at our fingertips.

Then he says, “Do not trust in riches: 1 Timothy 6:9 – But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. (Verse 10) For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

In other words; Don’t trust in money; don’t desire money; and don’t love money. He’s talking about a “heart issue.” Why? Because we are supposed to trust, desire, and love God. Money can become an idol to some. If we think about it, money will promise what only God can give us. Money is always trying to take the place of God, if we let it. That’s why Jesus told us we can’t serve two masters, man and money.

The deceitfulness of riches is thinking: “I either need God to come through in my finances, or I need somebody to give me some money!” God knows our needs before we ever open our mouth. However, if we have not been a good steward over what He has already given, why would He trust us with more. Just don’t let money become your focus.

The Desires For Other Things

Matthew 6:31 – “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ (Verse 32) “For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. (Verse 33) “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Jesus was saying that the people who don’t know God, seek these things. We as believers know that before we ask, He knows. We are to seek God and His righteousness first and then all these other things will be added. Too many Christians get this backwards.

I remember when God started to show me this verse and what it really meant to trust Him, and I can tell you, that was some of the hardest times I ever went through in my Christian life. However, when He brought me out, and blessed me beyond measure, I had learned to trust in Him, even in the smaller things.

Yes, God gave us the “emotion” passion, but don’t let the enemy turn it into a lust for money and other things of this world. Passion for Christ will drive out the lust for other things. Jesus also warns us that the “lust for other things” can drive out the word of God. It can choke the word like thorns! Be careful and cautious, and stay in God’s Word and let His Word do that work in us!

 

A Relationship With God

Revelation 12:11 – And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

These people overcame the enemy by the blood of the lamb, grace; by the word of their testimony, God’s Word; and did not love their lives to the death, gave their life away to the kingdom of God.

This is for those who are beginning their lives with God: Mark 4:16 – “These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; (Verse 17) “and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately stumble.

What Is Satan’s Plan?

In the first group of seeds that were sown, were the people that heard the word, but Satan came immediately and stole the word, lest they believe and be saved. Now, this group, he is trying to send tribulation and persecution in order to get them to give up.

This always happens to a believer that is just beginning their relationship with Christ. The battle is against God’s word. Satan will try to discourage and throw mockery and accusations against a new believer. This parable starts with the “birds of the air” coming and devouring the seed. In verse 15, of Mark 4, Jesus tells us it is Satan that comes and takes away the word that was sown in their heart.

When we begin with God, we begin to learn the word by reading the Bible, Old Testament and the New. These birds that Jesus mentions, are principalities and powers that do Satan’s bidding. They come to steal the word, and discourage the new believer.

Revelation 18:2 – And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, ‘Babylon the great has fallen, is fallen, and has become a habitation of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!

This is demons, demonic spirits. We have to keep in mind: When Satan fell, a third of the angels went with him and these are the demonic spirits. So, back in Mark, Chapter 4, the birds represent demonic spirits.

Birds represent demons in the Old Testament also: Deuteronomy 28:26 – “Your carcasses shall be food for all the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and no one shall frighten them away. (This was referring to the blessings and curses, if they obeyed God and then if they did not.)

So, if a person that is beginning their life with Christ allow temptations and persecutions of this world to discourage them, they will stumble. If Satan can keep a new believer from reading and starting to understand God’s word, he can cause them to stumble. He tries desperately to keep us from our “Daily Bread.”

But What Is God’s Plan?

This is real simple: God wants us to prosper and bear fruit in every area of our lives. Successful relationships, business, finances, and overcoming the enemy is what He desires for us. However, in order to have this successful life, we have to accept His Word. 

A new believer starts school, so to speak, they learn God’s word and start to understand. Reading and meditating on God’s word starts our journey in the Christian life. If we are going to grow in God, it is going to be up to the believer themselves. No one can make them grow. So, if they never read God’s word on their own, they will be saved and stuck. They will go no further and the birds of the air will bring things their way to cause them to stumble in every area of their lives. Reading and studying God’s word is our responsibility.

There is a Scripture that will keep Satan from stealing the word out of our hearts: Psalm 119:11 – Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. So how do we hide God’s word in our heart? By meditating and memorizing. And, if you constantly meditate, before long, we begin to memorize, because we read or hear it over and over.  And that is “hiding” the word in our heart. When you know what you know, Satan can not steal it!

I cannot stress enough how important it is to read God’s word on your own. Do you want a successful, abundant life, that Christ died to give you? Then meditate on His Word, day and night.

Fellowship With The Lord

In Jesus teaching of the sower and the seed, He shows us there are four kinds of people in this world as it concerns their relationship to God.

The first group is “exploring” God. These are those that have a slit curiosity about God. They might be open to hearing about Him.

The second group is people “beginning” in God. These people have accepted Christ and are beginning their walk with Him. The next group is “close” to God and they are growing in their relationship with Him. Then there is the last group who are “God Centered.”

Mark 4:1 – And again He began to teach by the sea. And a great multitude was gathered to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole multitude was on the land facing the sea. (Verse 2) Then He taught them many things by parables, and said to them in His teaching:

(Verse 3) “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. (Verse 4) “And it happened, as he sowed that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. (This is the first group of people, just exploring God.) (Verse 5) “Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. (Verse 6) “But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. (This is the second group, just beginning.)

(Verse 7) “And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. (This is the third group, growing but have stopped.) (Verse 8) “But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced; some thirty fold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” (This is the God Centered group.) (Verse 9) And He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

For those who have been in church a while, you know what, “Let him who have ears to hear,” means. But for those who are not familiar with this saying, Jesus is talking about “Spiritual Ears.” The Bible will make no sense to those who do not have spiritual ears to hear. You must have a new spirit by being born again – a receptive heart.

(Verse 10) But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. (Verse 13) And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?

In other words: If you don’t understand this one, you can’t understand any of them.” This parable is very important or Jesus would not have said that.

(Verse 14) The sower sows the word. (Verse 15) “And these are the ones by the wayside when the word is sown. And when they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. (Verse 16) “These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground, who when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; (Verse 17) “and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward when tribulations or persecution arises for the world’s sake, immediately they stumble.

(Verse 18) “Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, (Verse 19) and the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. (Verse 20) “But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit; some thirty fold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

So many misunderstand this parable. They think Jesus is talking about people who are never going to come to Christ until the last one. That some would only hear a while and then walk away and that there was only one person that was good.

However, it very clearly says that all hear the word and receive it, so this parable is talking about a “Bad Enemy,” not the people being bad. In this parable He is talking about “growing” and how they grow in their understanding of the word. A new-born grows in their understanding, just as new believers do when they didn’t know much about God.

If there are four groups of people then there is three stages of growing, but none have arrived yet. When we move from “exploring God” to “Beginning in God” it was because of this one “Truth,” “Grace!” These move to “Beginning in God.” We understand Jesus paid it all and we accept that.

People who move from “Beginning in God” to “Close to God,” began to understand God’s Word as the final authority in their life. That truth will also dramatically change a person’s life! There will be a transformation. Once they understand that God’s word is how they will set their standards; run their business; be married; handle finances, it will be their final authority. If God’s word is not the final authority, then they will not move forward.

Then we have those who move from “Close to God” to “God Centered.” This group understands the truth of “Giving!” This is not just giving money. Its giving your life away for the kingdom of God. They understand, “I’m just not here for me.” This is when a person’s life becomes God centered.

They begin to give time, their talents, and their treasure. This is hard for many, but when we commit our finances to God, we are committing our lives. Look at the one’s that are by the wayside in Mark, verses 14 and 15. Satan came immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.

Our heart is the ground that can produce thirty, sixty, or hundred fold, good ground. If a person doesn’t continue in God’s word, yes, Satan can steal it. They will be open to God at that moment, but if you check with them after a while, they are completely closed to what you have to say about God. Lack of understanding will cause a person not to pursue the word any further.

This same parable is in Matthew and Luke. Watch what Jesus says here: Matthew 13:19 – When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. 

Then Jesus gives the reason why we must understand: Luke 8:12 – “Those by the wayside are the ones who hear, then the devil comes and takes away the word of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.”

That very first group of people that are only curious about God have not been saved yet. When they first begin to hear God’s Word, the gospel, they must understand it, then believe, and then are saved. That is why Satan comes to the lost, unbelievers just as soon, immediately, as they hear the Word. He doesn’t want them to understand lest they believe and be saved!

Romans 10:9 – If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe with your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

People make being saved too difficult, but it really is very simple. By faith in Jesus Christ and by God’s grace, you are saved!

 

 

Influence

Matthew 5:13 – “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. (Verse 14) “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. (Verse 15) “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. (Verse 16) “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Jesus tells believers that they are salt and light of the world. Salt and light are an influence into other people’s lives. Even in the Old Testament, all the sacrifices were seasoned with salt.

Leviticus 2:13 – ‘And every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt; you shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt.

Numbers 18:19 – “All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer to the LORD, I have given to you and your sons forever; it is a covenant of salt forever before the LORD with you and your descendants with you.”

Salt preserves and salt is symbolic of eternity. It is symbolic of causing something to continue to last. God calls it a covenant of salt, because He’s going to preserve you, the preservation of the saints. In Psalms and in Proverbs, the Lord says, “I preserve the souls of My saints!” It is God who preserves my soul forever. So, salt symbolizes eternity.

Jesus said, “You are the salt of the world.” Believers are preserving our world from ending; we are preserving our society from decaying. The more you take Christian faith principles and morality out of society, the quicker that society will die and decay. However, it doesn’t look like we have done a very good job of being that influence in today’s society.

Think about this: We allowed prayer to be taken out of our schools; we allowed the 10 Commandments to be taken down off walls; out of sight, out of mind. The quicker you take the “salt”, influence out of something the sooner it starts to decay. However, there are still Christians in schools; still in court rooms; still on school boards; still in city counsel and the state legislative; they are still in all these different areas. And yes, there are still Christians in Washington DC and it is up to those Christians to preserve God’s principle. But it is up to the rest of us to pray for them to make the influence on others.

Some Christians believe that we should stay out of the government, but I don’t believe that is true. Just listen today at the ones wanting to take over individual’s lives with everything from what we can put our thermostat on in our houses to what we should eat. Do you really want a non-believer running your life? Not me!

Salt also makes things taste good. Bad salt is put on the roads to melt ice, but it will also kill the grass, it is good for nothing. But good salt makes God taste good. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

But how does salt lose its flavor? Some interpretations say “savor.” In the Greek, this word translated means “to become foolish,” moron, a foolish person. We are the salt, but if we become foolish, we lose the influence over anyone. Romans 1:21 – because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Verse 22) Professing to be wise, they became fools.

When a Christian does something foolish, they may lose their influence and witness for someone they have been trying to reach. They can lose their credibility and respect of others. Christians can be very hard on other believers that should know better. One also cannot be a “yo-yo” Christian and expect to be a good witness of Christ. One day they are on fire for the Lord and the next, they are back to their old life-style. Once these people lose their witness for Christ they will be like the “bad salt” that is good for nothing.

John 8:12 – Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 9:5 – “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 

John 12:35 – Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.”

Keep in mind, John 12 is when Jesus begins to prepare His disciples for His departure, crucifixion. John 13, He washes their feet; John 14, 15, and 16, is the conversation at the last supper; John 17 is the prayer in the garden; John 18, He is arrested; John 19, He is crucified; John 20, He rises from the dead; and John 21, He appears to His disciples.

In John 12, He was trying to tell the disciples that He was only going to be with them a little while longer and for them to walk in the “light” while it was still light. John 12:36 – “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of the light.”

In other words: Because He is the light, we walk in Him and then we become sons and daughters of Him. When we are truly born again, because He lives in us and He is the light of the world, we then become the light of the world. We become the “body of Christ.” The only light in a darkened world is “You!”

Do you wonder why God would put Christians in a job where they are the only light in that job? Or maybe its our neighborhood. God will and does move us to dark places in order for us to shine some light in that place. However, if we start to blend in with the darkness, we have become “good for nothing.” We have lost our flavor, witness, and influence. No Christian can put their light under a basket and shine.

Salt is an internal influence and light is an external influence. When we go into a dark room and flip on the light switch, darkness disappears immediately! This world we live in is full of darkness and it seems it is getting darker. We can see this in the evil laws that are being passed concerning abortions “rights.” We also see this in defining what marriage is. If we as believers don’t start standing up for God’s standards and principles, this world will continue to decay. Of course though, non-believers want us to keep our mouths shut and just go away.

Let our light shine with kindness and love everywhere we go and watch what happens to those around you. God loves you so let others know He loves them too! It’s not that hard to tell someone that God loves them and wants them to have a better life.

What Hinders People From Being Healed?

If it’s God will to heal us, why then is not everyone healed? One of the reasons is “ignorance.” I’m not calling anyone ignorant, I’m simply saying you can not operate in something that you don’t understand.

Most people are taught and trained to believe that God’s will automatically will come to pass and the person has no authority or power, or say-so in the matter. Things can happen because of ignorance, but it is not an excuse. It’s like the law of gravity. You know if you walk off a ten-story building it will kill you. People are ignorant about some of God’s laws. They don’t know or understand how His healing system works.

That’s one reason, but another thing that will hinder healing is sin. However, let me be very plain, some sickness comes and has nothing to do with what we did to our own bodies or because of sin. I’m simply saying, if we live a life-style of sin, there will be consequences to that life-style.

In John 9, there was an instance where Jesus was coming out of the temple, and His disciples pointed out a man who had been born blind. His disciples said in Verse 2, “Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” The disciples were trying to relate this man’s blindness directly to sin. Jesus answer was that neither of them sinned to make him blind. It’s untrue to say that all sickness is related to sin, but it’s also untrue to say that sin cannot be one of the factors.

Here is an example of where Jesus healed and sin was the factor. In John 5, Jesus was at the pool of Bethesda, and He healed a man supernaturally. There were multitudes there in that place and only one person was healed. Why do you think only one got healed that day? I think it was because the man’s heart was open. Later in the story, the Jews asked this man who healed him and he said he didn’t know. Afterward, Jesus found this man in the temple and told him, “Thou art made whole; sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” Jesus said right there that if the man didn’t stop sinning that something worse than his paralysis would come on him. Jesus tied the result of sickness to sin in this instance. 

Some things just happen naturally because we live in a fallen world, but there are times when sickness disease, or problems can be the direct result of sin. Even in such cases, it doesn’t mean that God is the one who is doing these things to us.

If through sin, people yield themselves to Satan, they are empowering him and giving him opportunity to destroy that life. People pray for God’s healing while not changing that “sin thing,” and by their actions they are allowing sickness to come in.

Another hindrance is believing that you don’t deserve healing. That attitude of false humility is like saying, “I know God can heal, but I don’t deserve it!” Guess what? None of us deserve what Jesus gives to us, so get over yourself! It’s not based on our performance. It’s based on what Jesus has done and our faith is in Him. We all will see healing in our lives if we repent from sinning and quit giving Satan an inroad into our lives.

Another hindrance is negativity and unbelief. Do yo remember reading in Mark 6, when Jesus went to His hometown? The people didn’t respect who He was because they remembered Him as a little boy and a carpenter’s son. The Bible says, “And He could there do no might works, save that He laid His hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief.”

The Bible didn’t say that Jesus wouldn’t do any mighty works, but said He couldn’t. It was because of their doubt and unbelief. This verse is proof that, not because Jesus was limited in any way, but because of people’s unbelief. He did not over-step into people’s lives that didn’t want Him there.

Jesus does want people to walk in divine health, but He will not go against people’s will. God will protect their right to be sick, their right not to be healed. And they cannot get healed off of someone else’s faith no matter how bad you want them healed. Our faith can help them if they are struggling with understanding, but it is going to take “their faith” to do it. There has to be faith on our part.

God is faithful to His word and He does want us healed, but we need to learn to cooperate with Him. He can’t do it for you, He has to do it through you. Our healing will come from the inside of us through faith in Jesus Christ. Can you see yourself healed before it happens? Start agreeing with God’s Word and see what happens.

 

 

Jesus Wants You Healed

Isaiah 53:3-5 – He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. (Verse 4) Surely He borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. (Verse 5) But He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him. And by His stripes we were healed.

Scripture backs up that Jesus purchased healing for us with the stripes that was laid on Him. Why then is it, too many churches today, do not teach that Jesus heals? Do you believe that Jesus wants you healed?

In Mark 2 and Luke 5, Jesus was teaching in a house so crowded that a paralyzed man was let down through the roof by friends and Jesus miraculously healed him. But look at what Matthew says:

Matthew 8:14-16 – Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever. (Verse 15) And He touched her hand, and the fever left her. Then she arose and served them. (Verse 16) When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, (Verse 17) that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sickness.”

These are very powerful Scriptures, but too many Christians have been taught to “spiritualize” them. Some churches just don’t believe in physical healing. Jesus took our infirmities and bore our sickness! This is talking about physical sickness, hurts, and pains.

The Bible goes on to say in 1 Peter 2:24, Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on a tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed.

“You were healed,” is past tense, already done! Yes, Jesus came for the forgiveness of sins, but that’s only part of it, He also came to heal. In the Greek, the word used for “salvation” in the New Testament is “sozo.” But if you look it up, it’s also translated “healed.”

Look what James 5:14, 15 says, “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. (Verse 15) And the prayer of faith will save the sick and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”

The word “save” used there, is the Greek word “sozo,” and it is talking about the sick being physically healed in their bodies. This same word that was translated forgiveness of sins hundreds of times in the New Testament, was also translated to mean “healed.”

When Jesus sent His disciples out in Matthew 10, the command He gave them was to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils, and preach the Gospel. Healing is just as much of what Jesus came to accomplish in our life as forgiveness of sin.

If you are born again, a disciple of Christ with Him living on the inside of you, then you have this same great power and authority to do what these disciples did. 1 John 4:17 – “As He is, so are we in this world.”

God doesn’t teach us some kind of lesson by placing sickness and pain on us. Nowhere in the New Testament can I find where Jesus placed sickness on anyone. All the sick that were brought to Him, He healed. So why do some doubt that the healing that He brings is not for them?

God’s supernatural divine healing is available to all of us and is part of the atonement that Jesus died to produce. You can love God with your whole heart and not believe in healing, and still go to heaven. You’ll just get there quicker because you haven’t learned that walking in health belongs to you.

I get so tired of hearing Christians say, “God doesn’t heal everyone.” Really? Is that His fault? Do you really believe that God wants you sick and full of pain? The biggest problem that people have of not getting healed is that, they want to do it “their way!” They won’t ever go to God until something is wrong; they won’t read His Word on their own; they won’t pray on their own; and they won’t stop saying the opposite of what God’s Word says.

The Bible says to pray, call for the elders of the church, let them anoint you with oil, and not only will your sins be forgiven, but you will be healed. I didn’t write that, God did. Believe and receive or doubt and go without!