The Power of God’s Words

Those who had come to know Jesus took Him seriously. They had profound respect for Him. They stood in awe of Him as Lord and God. They hung on every word that proceeded out of His mouth. When He even suggested the idea that John could remain alive throughout history and not die until Jesus returned to the earth, word spread that it would be so, because they had come to understand that anything Jesus spoke would inevitably come to pass. They were convinced He could do anything He spoke! They knew that if Jesus said the word, it would be done — would be created, would come into being — just as he said. O how so many have lost this childlike and profound conviction of the Lordship and complete Authority of Jesus!

O Lord Jesus, we stand in awe of You, Lord and God of all. Come and accomplish all that You desire. Speak and it will be done! Command and it will stand fast! Only say the word! And it will be done as you say.

JESUS SAID…

Jesus said to him, “If I desire that he stay until I come, what is that to you? You follow me.” This saying therefore went out among the brothers, that this disciple wouldn’t die. Yet Jesus didn’t say to him that he wouldn’t die, but, “If I desire that he stay until I come, what is that to you?” -John 21:22,23

JESUS CRIED WITH A LOUD VOICE…

Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see God’s glory?” So they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. Jesus lifted up His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank you that you listened to Me. I know that You always listen to Me, but because of the multitude that stands around I said this, that they may believe that you sent Me.” When He had said this, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” He who was dead came out, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Free him, and let him go.” Therefore many of the Jews, who came to Mary and saw what Jesus did, believed in Him. -John 11:39-45

HE SPOKE…

Let all the earth fear Yahweh. Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For He spoke, and it was done. He commanded, and it stood firm. Yahweh brings the counsel of the nations to nothing. He makes the thoughts of the peoples to be of no effect. The counsel of Yahweh stands fast forever, The thoughts of his heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is Yahweh, The people whom he has chosen for his own inheritance.
–Psalms 33:8-12

MOVING BEYOND FLESHLY THINKING…

If we are still thinking of Jesus as a little baby lying in a manger, or even as a little boy debating in the temple, or a 33 year old man walking the earth, then we must stand up and move along.  We must become convinced of Jesus as the everlasting and almighty Lord and God of all Whose purposes and plans transcend time and physicality:

“Even though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know Him so no more.”  –2 Corinthians 5:16

This is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things which must happen soon, which he sent and made known by his angel to his servant, John, -Revelation 1:1
Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, including those who pierced him. All the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. Even so, Amen. -Revelation 1:7
“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.” -Revelation 1:8

“Behold, I come quickly. My reward is with me, to repay to each man according to his work. -Revelation 22:12
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. -Revelation 22:13
I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify these things to you for the assemblies. I am the root and the offspring of David; the Bright and Morning Star.” -Revelation 22:16
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” He who hears, let him say, “Come!” He who is thirsty, let him come. He who desires, let him take the water of life freely. -Revelation 22:17
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with all the saints. Amen. -Revelation 22:21

 

Escape for your life!

We know that it is God’s loving desire that “none should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”  (2 Peter 3:9)

Yet the sad reality is that many in this dying world will reject the hope and salvation held out to them by God, through Jesus, and will perish in their sins. It is a fearful thing to contemplate that sin and hardness of heart toward God can eventually alienate one from God and result in eternal separation from God (i.e. hell).

“Students of the Scriptures are aware that the Old Testament prophets and the writing apostles of New Testament times foresaw and proclaimed God’s coming day of judgment — the consummate settling of accounts between the Sovereign God and his rebellious and sinful creation. How desperately we would like to believe that in the face of coming judgment, that all lost men and women will cry out to God, but such will not be the case: ‘The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent.’ (Revelation 9:20).” — A. W. Tozer

When the angels came to rescue Lot from the destruction of that wicked city Sodom, Lot hesitated and deliberated. He wasn’t sure if he should really flee. Lot told his family about the warning, that the city was about to be destroyed. But the attitude of Lot’s two sons-in-law was, “Our city will be destroyed? You have got to be joking!!!” They were incredulous and thought it was a practical joke. Lot’s wife may have also been unwilling to leave, because she later looked back with dire consequences.

So there they were, in the city that was their home, being told to leave immediately because the city was going to be destroyed in a matter of hours. Really? Are you kidding me? This is all so sudden.  They could not bring themselves to believe it; they were stuck and could not move. In the end, Lot never left the doomed city by his own volition, but rather the two angels took hold of Lot and Lot’s wife and two daughters and forcibly removed them from city. Note that the sons-in-law never made it out.

When the angels managed to get Lot and his family beyond the city walls, their message was clear and direct and delivered in no uncertain terms:

Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, or stop anywhere in the whole valley; escape to the mountains, lest you be consumed.” Genesis 19.16,17

If not for a clear, sustained and even forceful intervention, Lot and his family would have perished in the flaming destruction of that wicked valley along with all the sinful and wicked people who lived there in open rebellion against God and God’s ways.

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. “(Hebrews 10.31)

“For our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12.29)

“Knowing therefore the fear/terror/dread of the Lord, we persuade men.” (2 Corinthians 5.11)

Even if we never talk about it. Even if we are not sure we really believe in it. Even if it sounds like a bad joke or the bizarre tale of a science fiction writer. The Truth is that hell is very real before God. Hell is the inevitable eternal fate of all those who choose to embrace rebellion against God and unashamedly practice sin.

In the story of Lot, the scripture says that God was being “merciful” to Lot when the angels took him by the hand and dragged him out of the doomed city…

“When the morning arose, then the angels hurried Lot, saying, ‘Arise, take your wife, and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the iniquity of the city.’  But while he (Lot) lingered (instead of immediately fleeing), the men (the two angels) seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, for the LORD was merciful to him (Lot); and they (the two angels) brought him forth and set him outside the city and left him there. And when they (the angels) had brought them forth, they said, Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, or stop anywhere in the whole valley; escape to the mountains, lest you be consumed!” — Genesis 19.15,16,17

Today we are afraid of hurting someone’s sensibilities by suggesting that God wants to save them from eternal destruction. Even if we believe it, we keep quiet and try to maintain superficial peace, in hopes that perhaps someone else will come along who can say it without giving offense. But the truth is that God offends people. If we understand what the word “God” means, then we know that what He desires supersedes everything that we desire. He is God, and He has the last say in all matters. If He desires that people everywhere escape desruction by coming to repentance for their hard hearts and sin, placing their faith in His Son Jesus, then there is no resisting the eternal purposes and plans of God. That is His reality and there is no alternative; if we want to be saved from destruction, we will be saved only by believing and embracing His reality. His loving and merciful reality.

Oh how I hope and pray that every jeopardized soul would find a loving friend who will take them by the hand and drag them out of hell’s trajectory, and into the everlasting love and mercy of God though the Gift of His Son Jesus.

The reality that “God alone will decide our eternal fate” is real. Hell is real. Eternal lostness for those who resist God and His ways is real. Hell does not go away just because we are not thinking about it, or because we do not “personally” believe in it. Who does not know that some things are greater than and beyond the control of our “personal” beliefs?  It does not matter what we beleive…if our personal beliefs are not God’s Truth.  The personal beliefs of millions are on a direct collision course with God’s reality.

Oh that we would take the time to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom (Psalm 90.12). Oh that we would respond to the merciful and loving voice of God Who is calling us by name, offering us a way of escape from eternal destruction. Oh come Lord Jesus and soften our hearts that we may hear Your voice and embrace You before it is too late.  Condition us for heaven before we become irrevocably unfit to live with You there!

“…when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, giving vengeance to those who don’t know God, and to those who don’t obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus, who will pay the penalty: eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of His might, when He comes to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired among all those who have believed (because our testimony to you was believed) in that day. To this end we also pray always for you, that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire of goodness and work of faith, with power; that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” –2 Thessalonians 1:7,12

“The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some count slowness; but is patient with us, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” –2 Peter 3:9

“I tell you, my friends, don’t be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom you should fear. Fear Him, who after He has killed, has power to cast into Gehenna/Hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him [God].” –Luke 12:4,5

“Enter in by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter in by it.” –Matthew 7:13

“Now why do you wait? Arise, be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the Name of the Lord.” –Acts 22:16

“Whoever will call on the Name of the Lord will be saved.” –Romans 10:13

“Jesus answered and said to him, Verily, verily, I say to you, If any one may not be born from above, he is not able to see the kingdom/reign of God.” — John 3.3

“For God so loved the world, that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God didn’t send His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. –John 3:16,17

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” –Matthew 7:21

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and don’t do the things which I say?” –Luke 6:46

Man has lost God – by A. W. Tozer

The average person in the world today, without faith and without God and without hope, is engaged in a desperate personal search and struggle throughout his lifetime. He does not really know what he is doing here. He does not know where he is going. The sad commentary is that everything he is doing is being done on borrowed time, borrowed money and borrowed strength — and he already knows that in the end he will surely die! It boils down to the bewildered confession of many humans that they have lost God somewhere along the way. Man, made more like God than any other creature, has become less like God than any other creature. Created to reflect the glory of God, he has retreated sullenly into his cave — reflecting only his own sinfulness. Certainly it is a tragedy above all tragedies in this world that love has gone from man’s heart. Beyond that, light has gone from his mind. Having lost God, he blindly stumbles on through this dark world to find only a grave at the end!

— A. W. Tozer

Living Embrace

Moses had a special life. He spoke to God face to face. He had no book or writing to consult to give him thoughts and ideas about God. Rather, he had God Himself; a living, interactive, real-time, moving, active and animated relationship with God. Moses knew God. Moses heard the Voice of God immediately as God spoke directly to him. Moses saw the glory of God with his own eyes. God drew near to Moses and Moses responded to the Person and Presence of God. And it was out of this ongoing embrace between God and Moses that Moses found himself writing. Moses wrote about his experiences with God. Experiences. Let us never forget that. If anyone has ears to hear and eyes to see and a heart that is tender and yearning to know God, let him/her remember that there were no written words at first. Rather there was, at first, a living, loving real relationship between two persons; between the Person of the Living God and the person of a living man. God loved Moses and made Himself known to Moses in many intimate manifestations.

What kind of relationship do you want to have with God? Will it start and end with words in a book? Or will it start and end with a living embrace? Will we seek to be known by God by feverishly reading more and more, trying to be justified by our own works (see Romans 9.30-33)? Or rather by faith in the works of God? Yes, we must read the Scripture, and reading is good, but reading alone is not enough or all there is. The relationship that God wants us to have with Him is not merely literary, but living. So yes, learn about God in the Scriptures, and be obedient to do the work of God found there (see John 6.29). But also ask God to manifest Himself to you and fill you with His Holy Spirit. Ask God to teach you how to hear His Voice, and keep in step with Him as He moves about and leads you. Draw near to Him and yearn for Him to draw near to you.

Oh Abba Father, please make Yourself known to us. Let us experience You. The longing and yearning in the depths of our hearts is only and always for You. We draw near to You by the Living Way You have made in Your beloved Son Jesus. We ask to know You in a real relationship. Please embrace us as we make our feeble attempt to embrace You. Take us up into Your arms. Let us hear Your Voice. Only say the word! Carry us close and never let us go. Spread out Your Lordship over us. Precious Lover, Father of Eternity, You Who have loved us with an everlasting Love: more than anything else in all the universe, thank You for You!

Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe into Him Whom He has sent.” -John 6:29

Freedom in Jesus

Matthew Henry on Colossians Chapter 2…

“He takes occasion hence to warn them again: “Wherefore, if you be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are you subject to ordinances? Colossians 2:20. If as Christians you are dead to the observances of the ceremonial law, why are you subject to them? Such observances as, Touch not, taste not, handle not,” Colossians 2:21,22. Under the law there was a ceremonial pollution contracted by touching a dead body, or any thing offered to an idol or by tasting any forbidden meats, &c., which all are to perish with the using, having no intrinsic worth in themselves to support them, and those who used them saw them perishing and passing away or, which tend to corrupt the Christian faith, having no other authority than the traditions and injunctions of men.–Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will-worship and humility. They thought themselves wiser than their neighbours, in observing the law of Moses together with the gospel of Christ, that they might be sure in the one, at least, to be in the right but, alas! it was but a show of wisdom, a mere invention and pretence. So they seem to neglect the body, by abstaining from such and such meats, and mortifying their bodily pleasures and appetites but there is nothing of true devotion in these things, for the gospel teaches us to worship God in spirit and truth and not by ritual observances, and through the mediation of Christ alone and not of any angels. Observe,

1. Christians are freed by Christ from the ritual observances of Moses’s law, and delivered from that yoke of bondage which God himself had laid upon them.

2. Subjection to ordinances, or human appointments in the worship of God, is highly blamable, and contrary to the freedom and liberty of the gospel. The apostle requires Christians to stand fast in the liberty with which Christ hath made them free, and not to be entangled again with the yoke of bondage, Galatians 5:1. And the imposition of them is invading the authority of Christ, the head of the church, and introducing another law of commandments contained in ordinances, when Christ has abolished the old one, Ephesians 2:15.

3. Such things have only a show of wisdom, but are really folly. It is true wisdom to keep close to the appointments of the gospel, and an entire subjection to Christ, the only head of the church.”