The Amazing Husband

Revelation 21:9 – “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”

Christians are the “Bride of Christ.” In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul gives us an analogy of the marriage according to the law. However, believers are not under the law but under grace: Romans 6:14 – For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

Romans 7:1 – Or do you not know brethren, (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? (Verse 2) For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. (Verse 3) So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if the husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. 

(Verse 4) Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another, even to Him who raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.

We all were married to the law before becoming a believer, but after we believed we died to the law and are free to marry another, Jesus. Always remember: Satan is called the accuser of the brethren and will try to use the law against us. That is why it is so important for the Christian to know the difference. Paul spent his life trying to get people to understand this.

The husband, under the law, is the one always pointing out what is wrong and then points to the right way. The law is overbearing, fault-finding, and critical and always judging. So, how do we as believers become married to Christ?

The marriage is till death do us part, according to Romans 7:1, where it says, “The law has dominion over a man as long as he lives.” So how do we become free to marry someone else? God is the one that came up with this brilliant plan: We die to self! When we die to self, we are free to be married to another.

We are buried with Christ in water baptism and raised to live in Christ and Christ in us – this makes us married to another – Christ. However, there are things we need to understand about our first husband.

The Law Cannot Justify

The law cannot justify us in the sight of God: Romans 3:20 – Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:28 – Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

There are too many that teach: Yes, we are saved through faith by grace, then they put the “but” in there, saying, “But in order to keep your salvation and be justified and live holy, you also have to keep the law.” Not so! There is no “but.” Paul had to continually deal with this.

Paul dealt with a group in the book of Galatians that were telling new believers that they still had to be circumcised in order to keep their salvation.

Galatians 3:1 – O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? (Verse 2) This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by hearing of faith? (Verse 3) Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?

If we weren’t good enough according to the law to begin our salvation, then how could we ever expect to perfect it after we were saved?

Grace plus law is heresy, false doctrine. Here’s why: You reduce Christianity to the same level of every other religion in the world when a person does that. This does not mean that we skip over the moral laws that God has set in place that will never change.

First, we have to remember that Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship. Every religion in the world teaches “works.” They all require the person to “do” something in order to be in right relationship with God, and some don’t have the same God. Christianity is the only one that is faith-based in Jesus Christ that will make a person in right standing with God. Christianity is a relationship with God by His grace through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. None of the others believe that.

The Law Cannot Empower Us 

The law does not give us the ability or power to do the right thing. It can only show us how far we miss the mark. We die to self in order to produce fruit to God by staying attached to the vine, Jesus. Jesus is the husband that gives us fruit.

Galatians 2:21 – I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain. If we could have been righteous by the law, why would Jesus have had to die on the cross?

Breaking strongholds in our lives can only come through Jesus Christ. Even though we knew that it was wrong to steal, covet, lie, and murder, before we came to Christ, did it stop some from doing these things, even though there was a law against it? However, after becoming a believer, did we have the ability to stop doing what is wrong or against the law. Yes, to an extent for some, while others are still working through some tough strongholds.

Is it not much better to be married to a “person,” than to be married to a “list” of do’s and don’ts ?” We all were married to the law as the first husband. After receiving grace and dying to self we are married to our second husband, Christ. So, here’s the problem many Christians have in understanding this: They are trying to empress their second husband, by keeping a good relationship with their first husband. (Try that in the natural with an ex-husband and see how well that works out.)

Love Can Empower and Justify

Who is love? God is love! God can justify and God can empower! One time in Scripture, Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment. He responds by saying, “Love!” “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself!” Love is the strongest governing force in the world! The entire law is wrapped up in what Jesus said. 

Some don’t like to teach on grace because they think it will give the people a free pass to sin and then they can just ask for forgiveness. No, grace does not produce sin, it produces righteousness. They think if they teach a bunch of “don’ts” then they won’t sin. We, as a society have all kinds of laws, but does it stop people from breaking them? No, it sure doesn’t.

God’s laws are the opposite of what we think: God says for us to give and He will multiply; if we want to have authority, then get under authority; if we want to live the abundant life that Christ died to give us, then we have to die to self. The law doesn’t produce holiness, grace does. Grace produces love and love is what will govern the Christian life.

So, what gives sin its strength? What causes sin to get stronger? 1 Corinthians 15:56 – The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. The more a person hears the teaching on law, the more sinful people will get. The more a person is under rules, rituals, and regulations instead of “relationship,” the more they will try with all their might to follow those rules, rituals, and regulations. However, a person can only do that for so long and when they mess up they give up. What is sad is that the person may “back-slide” for a time, but when they return and repent, they are still sitting under the rules again and start all over trying to be good on their own.

When we become believers, we are married to Christ, so don’t go back to your first husband because that husband did not die for you, your second Husband did! His name is Jesus the Christ!

 

 

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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.