Friday, February 20, 2009

God's Testimony

Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today and forever! (Hebrews 13:9)

What are you struggling with? Whatever it is, God has anointed Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit and power (Acts 10:38), and he has given us this same power and authority over all the works of the enemy, through his name, if we can only believe! (Mark 9:23) Our faith is the only prerequisite for receiving God’s deliverance. Is it gambling? Alcohol and/or drug addiction? Pornography, adultery or other sexual sins? Is it sickness or disease? A broken marriage? Whatever the problem, for this reason was “the Son of God manifest, that he may destroy the works of the devil” (I John 3:8)

Jesus is the deliverer, and he is the only deliverer! Many years ago God delivered me from a serious alcohol and drug habit, among other things, and counselors told us that “Once an alcoholic and/or drug addict, always and alcoholic and/or drug addict.” But that is not the truth! Glory to God! God will restore our health, our lives, our dignity and honor, and remove the label of sin from us forever! (Psalm 103:112, Micah 7:19)

For “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away and all things have become new!” (II Corinthians 5:17)

My friend, call upon the name of the Lord while there is yet opportunity! (Isaiah 55:6)

Allow me to tell you a true story that happened quite a few years ago:

There was a brother in the Lord (which I'll call "Joe" for the sake of this story) that used to go door to door with the gospel message, for he had a burning desire for souls. We also had a prayer group on Friday nights, which Joe would normally attend, but on this particular Friday night he showed up visibly distraught. When pressed for information, he proceeded to explain...

Several months before that, he had gone to an older couple’s home and presented the gospel to the man, who apparently was unsaved. He had asked the man if he would be interested in eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, and the man had replied, “Maybe some other time,” and sent Joe away. Joe was not one to give up easily, however, and he decided to return to the man's home several months later.

When Joe arrived on the property, the man was doing some yard work outside in his front yard, and he approached him and they began to talk. Joe asked him once again if he would be interested in hearing about Jesus Christ, at which point he waved his hand and shook his head, “No, no…" But this time the man never finished his sentence, instead he clutched his chest and fell down on the ground and died, right there at my friend's feet! Understandably, Joe was shook up for awhile after this, and I asked God about it… “Did you kill him?” I asked.

But the Holy Spirit reminded me of the parable in (Luke 12:16-20) concerning a rich man that had stored up goods for many years, but was not rich toward God. He had built barns and filled them with food, and then had said to himself, and I paraphrase, “You’re set up for life! You don’t have to worry about anything, so eat, drink and be merry!” (Luke 12:19) But God told him he was being foolish…

“…Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee…” (Luke 12:20)

Some translations and cross-references translate, “This night shall they require thy soul…”
I believe that this is more accurate, but either way, the question of who is doing the “requiring” can be found in light of Luke 9:56 and Hebrews 2:14...

“For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”

“…that through death he (Jesus) might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.”

God called this particular rich man a fool, because he didn’t invest in what was truly important, and when the “time of reckoning” came, the man lost it all.

In the case of Joe's experience, Satan had required this man’s life, as he had a right. The man had faithfully "served him" (the devil) all of his life, and he legally belonged to him. Nevertheless, God restrained him from taking the man’s life until he had received one last chance to make a decision in regard to Jesus Christ, but when he rejected the “life-preserver,” so to speak, the enemy took what was rightfully his.

Only after we are born-again do we become children of God. Before that point we belong to the devil as a result of Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden, and are subject to his authority. (II Timothy 2:26, John 8:44) Satan is a merciless master, and will take a person, use them for his own purposes, and then throw them on the trash heap of life (or death).

You see, Jesus Christ is our deliverer, our Saviour! God is not creating problems in the world, he has the solution! He sent his Son that we might be saved, not condemned! (John 3:17) We have an enemy that seeks our destruction, but God loves us and has a wonderful plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11), and no matter where we’ve been, whom we’ve been with, or what we’ve done, God will receive us if we come to him through faith in the Son of God, and commit our lives to him.

If Adolph Hitler were to receive Jesus Christ before he died, he would be in heaven right now, and if Mother Teresa tried to earn her salvation through good works, and never submitted to the righteousness of God (Romans 10:3) through faith, all of her good deeds would be in vain, and her soul would be in hell. Sound surprising? Yes, it is, but it’s true!

God's Kingdom is a spiritual Kingdom, and flesh and blood cannot inherit it, neither can the unrighteous (I Corinthians 6:9-10, 15:50). But praise God! He has given us his righteousness through Jesus Christ, to all who believe! (Isaiah 54:17, Romans 3:22)