Monday, March 5, 2018

             MAN'S ONLY HOPE!
                    By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
      “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the Cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the Preaching of the Cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. But we preach Christ Crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness, but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Cor. 1: 17, 18, 23, 24)
     For many years, the Christian Church has presented the claims of Jesus Christ to be able to save lost souls, heal the sick and liberate the suffering and wounded and granting Eternal Life, on the basis of His shed blood, vicarious death and glorious resurrection.
     With gusto and great fervour, saints of God have preached the Word and written songs, proclaiming the power of the shed blood of Jesus Christ to break every fetter and to set the captives free. Hallelujah!
   In his book, ‘The Cruciality of the Cross’ Dr. Henry Mabie writes: “The Greek word used by Paul in 1 Cor.1: 18, is Logos...” not preaching but “the subject matter of preaching; with the very essence of that which was to be preached; with the Logos of the Cross, which constituted a rationale, it’s Divine reason, a reason which…he declares to be the wisdom of God. This ‘Logos of the Cross’ is conceived by Paul to be the key which unlocks the riddle of the universe, solves all mysteries and reconciles all things.”
     The sacrificial death of the incarnated (God in human flesh) Son of God to redeem the world, is a subject matter so powerful, so magnanimous and so incomprehensible that mortal man can only stand in holy awe at its immensity, enormity and grandiose love that we are left speechless!
     The blood of Jesus Christ which He freely gave for sinful, rebellious and hell-bound, guilty sinners, purges our consciences from all guilt, delivers us from the power of sin and liberates us from Satan and his evil kingdom, for time and eternity!
     And as Dr. Henry Mabie states: “This Logos of the Cross is conceived by Paul to be the key which unlocks the riddle of the universe, solves all mysteries and reconciles all things.”
      I agree one hundred per cent with that analysis and commentary - which is the greatest I have ever heard - but still doesn’t even begin to cover the eternal consequences of the incarnation, passion, death and resurrection of Christ Jesus our Lord, Creator and God!
      St. Paul came closer when He wrote: “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” (1 Cor.2: 9)
      How helpless we are without His indwelling presence and yet how strong when He is moving within us by His awesome power. How amazing that the God of Heaven and Ruler of the Universe would deign to identify Himself with mere earthlings and to dwell within us.
       It has been said that truth is stranger than fiction. It is difficult to understand why so many have been blinded by Satan and coerced into rejecting Jesus Christ, Who gives Eternal Life freely to all who humble themselves and receive Him as Lord and Saviour!
      That men and women endowed with a free will would choose to follow a murderous Liar, manipulating Deceiver and the despicable Enemy of God down the broad road that leads to perdition and Hell is an enigma of the very worst kind! How is it possible that thinking individuals made in the image of God, could become so deceived?
     And yet, Almighty God in His absolute integrity and fairness and knowing the wickedness and cunning of the defrocked and fallen Lucifer, still created our first parents Adam and Eve and placed them in Eden's Garden with a free will to follow good and reject evil!
     After their disastrous fall by committing high treason against their Creator and God, the love of our Heavenly Father drove them out of Eden so they would not partake of the fruit on the Tree of Life and live forever in their sins!
     In His great mercy, God made a way of escape from their sins and the snare of the Devil, through the sacrificial system which pointed to Christ. In passing judgment on the serpent as an accomplice of Satan, He laid out His great plan of salvation which had been hidden in His heart from before the foundation of the world.
      He said: "I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her SEED (Christ); It shall bruise (crush) thy head, and thou bruise His heel." (Gen 3:15)
      This is what we call in theology, the 'Law of the First Mention'! The first mention is of the Deliverer Whom God would send to crush Satan's head. The second is the Virgin Birth of the Deliverer. He is called the SEED of the woman! God's only begotten Son would be incarnated (God in human flesh) to emancipate Adam's fallen race through the sacrifice of Himself, to meet the demands of divine justice in payment for our sins!
      How could anyone with a natural mind, if not inspired by the Holy Spirit, be able to digest these amazing truths? The Bible clearly states: “But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor.2: 14)
      There is a vast difference between the carnal and the spiritual man. And because we have not allowed the Liar any place in us, we can truthfully and boldly declare that God is omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing), omnipresent (everywhere present at once).
     We know that God's Word is incomprehensible (unknowable) and that Jesus Christ is TRUE GOD from eternity and TRUE MAN through His incarnation (born of a virgin) and the Only Saviour of the world.
   St. Paul was not a believer in Jesus Christ at first. He was a blatant blasphemer, injurious and a hater of believers in Christ. That all changed when he met JESUS on the Damascus Road. (Acts 9, 22 and 26).
     He stated: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new. And all things are of God, Who hath RECONCILED us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.
     "That is, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are AMBASSADORS for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." (2 Cor.5:17-20)
      Again he stated: "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory." (1 Cor. 2: 7, 8)
      Here is the real reason so many reject the Saviour Jesus Christ: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
    "For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
     "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone that doeth evil hates the light that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God." (John 3: 16-21)
      Loudly and triumphantly, I make the case for Christ! There is no-one like Him. He is the One and Only Saviour of the world. He is the Great Physician Who heals us from all our sorrows, problems, sins and diseases! He baptizes believers with the Holy Spirit and Fire!
     The Bible says: "He came unto His own and His own received Him not. But as many as received, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." (John 1: 11, 12)
      Believe on Him today and He will give you the power to become His Adopted Child: "Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Heavenly places in Christ.
   "According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:
    "Having predestinated us unto the ADOPTION of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us ACCEPTED in the Beloved." (Eph.1:2-11)
  "But this Man, because He continues ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore He is able also to SAVE them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them." (Heb. 7: 25)
     Dr. Elderheim, a convert to Christ from Judaism wrote: “And still the Cry of the Synagogue comes to us through these many centuries of past unbelief and ignorance: 'Let One Innocent come and make Atonement for the Guilty!' to which no other response can be made than that of the Apostle:
     “Such an High Priest became us, Who is Holy, Harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners and made higher than the Heavens,” (Hebrews 7:26)
      JESUS OUR SUBSTITUTE: “For when we were yet without strength in due time Christ died for the ungodly, For scarcely for a righteous man will one die, yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
      “But God commendeth His love toward us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then being now justified by His blood we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved through His life.” (Rom. 5: 6-10)
      "For such an high priest became us, Who is Holy, Harmless, Undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher hat the heavens. Who needs not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for His own sins, and then for the people: for this He did once, when He offered up Himself." (Heb.7: 26, 27)
     JESUS' ENDLESS LIFE: "For that after the similitude of Melchisedec there arises another priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an ENDLESS LIFE. For He testifies, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec." (Heb. 7: 15-17)
     Jesus Christ declared: "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.
     "And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not, I am the First and the Last: I am He that Lives and was dead; and behold, I AM ALIVE forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of Hell and of Death." (Rev. 1: 8, 17, 18)
      JESUS IS MY LIFE: He said: "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the Vine, ye are the branches:
     "He that abides in Me and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: For without Me, ye can do NOTHING. If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." (John 15: 4-7)
     Again our Lord promised: "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and YE in ME, and Iin YOU. He that hath My commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves me: and he that loves Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him and will manifest Myself to him.
     "Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him and we (My Father and I) will come unto him, and make our abode with him." (John 14: 18-20, 21, 23).
      "I am the LIVING BREAD which came down from Heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
     "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eats My flesh and drinks my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.
      "He that eats My flesh and drinks My blood, dwells in ME and I in him. As the Living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father; so he that eats Me shall live by Me. This is the BREAD which came down from Heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna and are dead: he that eats of this bread shall live forever." (John 6: 51-58)
     After stating that to receive Eternal Life we must eat His flesh and drink His blood, Jesus clearly emphasized that He was speaking about the spiritual experience of becoming ONE with Him and the Heavenly Father, through the Holy Spirit.
     He was NOT advocating eating His actual physical flesh and drinking His physical blood. It was an analogy of the nearness, closeness and oneness of Jesus Christ to His Children through the new Birth!
     It is drawing strength and life from Him Who purchased our Redemption by His atoning work through His intense suffering and vicarious death on the cross.
    "He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement for our peace was upon Him and with His STRIPES we are healed." (Is. 53: 4.5)
     Our Lord Jesus said: "It is the spirit that quickens (makes life); the FLESH profits NOTHING; the words that I speak into you, they are spirit and they are life." (John 6: 63)
      This is the great Mystery that was revealed to St. Paul through the Holy Spirit, namely, Christ entering into the very innermost being of believers at the time of conversion to Jesus Christ!
      He said: "Even the Mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this Mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the Hope of Glory." (Col.1: 26, 27)
      When we received Christ as personal Saviour, He took up His abode in our hearts and lives! By Jesus Christ living within us through the blessed Holy Spirit we automatically receive His life within our being! He gives us His life because He is the Creator and the Life giver! We draw His life into ourselves by becoming a part of Him, as He enters our lives with His Holy Spirit!
     Through our union with Jesus Christ we are protected from the power of Darkness which is seeking to envelope the world. The Blood of Jesus Christ is the only solvent that is able to wash sinners from the filth, stench and corruption - both spiritually and physically - that is Satan's signature plan and strategy! Christ's Victory is Satan's Defeat and our Liberty!
    St. Paul states: "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are Above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things Above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your LIFE IS HID with CHRIST IN GOD. When Christ WHO IS OUR LIFE shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in Glory.
     "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence and covetousness, which is idolatry. For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience."
      Jesus spoke of the Promise of the Father to His disciples before His departure to Heaven. He was referring to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon His band of followers, who would comprise the Church (called out ones) which He would build.
     The HOLY BIBLE says: "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
     "But this He spake of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified." (John 7:37-39)
      What an honour to be filled with God, the Blessed Holy Spirit! To be called by the Holy Spirit, saved by the precious BLOOD of Jesus Christ and filled with that Holy Spirit of Promise and be led by His nail scarred hand!
     The great Apostle to the Gentiles stated: "For in Him (Christ) we live, and move, and have our being..." (Acts 17: 28)
                JESUS IS MY AGAPE LOVE!
      Jesus said: "As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you: continue ye in My love If ye keep y commandments, ye shall ABIDE IN MY LOVE; even as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love.
     "These things have I spoken unto you, that My JOY may remain in you, and that your JOY might be full. This is My commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you." (John 15: 9-12).
      St. Paul testified: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Gal.2: 20)
     St John declared: "Ye are of God little children, and have overcome them (evil spirits): because Greater is He that is IN YOU, than he that is in the world." (1 John 4: 4). Greater is Jesus Christ Who purchased our forgiveness, peace, joy, healing and abundant life through His death on the Cross.
       He ABIDES within us together with the blessed Holy Spirit, Who leads us and gives us the wisdom, strength and power of the Risen Jesus Christ to show forth the love, mercy and grace of God to a lost and dying world!
 Christ's Victory is Satan's Defeat and our Liberty! Amen.