Thursday, August 26, 2010

We Can Know For Sure

President Harry Truman said: “Only two things are sure in life; death and taxes.” He certainly made a point, but was only partly right. There are more things that are sure, like Judgment Day, Eternity, Heaven and Hell!
Expanding this argument, let me state unequivocally that nothing in life is as sure as the Grace of God! Nothing is as grand, marvellous and unique as God’s prevenient grace toward us! You may ask: “What is PREVENIENT GRACE?”
Plainly stated, prevenient grace is the awesome fact that God in His mercy loved us and reached out to save us before we ever thought of Him or considered serving Him! He loved us and chose us for Himself before the foundations of the world!
St. Paul states: “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.” (Eph.1: 4; 2 Tim.1: 9). Seven hundred years before Jesus came to this earth, God spoke of His grace toward the Gentiles: “I was found of them that sought Me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after Me.” (Rom.10: 20)
The Bible says: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3: 16). It was God reaching out to us, instead of us reaching out to Him!
“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 3:9, 10)
Propitiation, which means ‘mercy seat, expiation’, denotes God’s satisfaction with the death of His incarnated Son (God in human flesh) for the sins of the world, and His resurrection from the dead for our justification! We shout out the good news together with St. John: “We love Him because He first loved us!” (1 John 10: 4, 19)
That is the prevenient grace of God in operation – the unmerited favour of God working out our salvation, before we were born and while we were yet sinners and enemies of His Kingdom! The Bible states: “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for an unrighteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom.5: 6-8)
They are products of the cruel minds of dictators and despots who seek to control people for ulterior motives, such as ultimate power, finances and prestige! In my world travels, I have observed a plethora of gods, goddesses, images and heathen idols. They are often grotesque, ugly and weird, representing pagan gods who supposedly protect worshippers from even more sinister looking, grotesque and ghastly devils!
Muslims worship the god Allah, discovered by Muhammed in the 600s A.D. He is severe and loves only those who love him! Christians worship the eternal God of the universe, who has created us all and cares for us. He loves us with a perfect love, which extends even to those who hate and reject Him!
He is the true Lord God Jehovah, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! (Ex.3: 6; Eph.1: 3)
All so-called gods and goddesses are counterfeits and must be treated as such! The Eternal states: “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no god beside Me. I girded thee (Jacob – Israel) though thou hast not known Me. That they (the heathen) may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside Me. I am the Lord, and there is none else.
“Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker...I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even My hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded. Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God and there is none else.” (Isa.45: 5, 6, 11, 12, 18, 22)
How could anyone doubt the unconditional love of God when you consider the compassionate prayer of Jesus our Saviour to His Father, from the cross? “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them: for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” (Luke 23:34).
He is the God of compassion and love, who forgives the sinner, heals the sick, strengthens the weak and helps the poor! He brings peace to troubled souls, removes spirits of fear, lust and hate and pours in His mercy, grace and health! Blessed be His name forever!
As we humans seek to understand or describe God, we find ourselves lacking proper words. We often get bogged down in the ‘quagmire of ignorance’ in our feeble attempt to communicate the attributes of the ONE who is the fount of all wisdom, knowledge and understanding!
The Bible states: “Have ye not known? Have ye not heard? Hath it not been told you from the beginning? Have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He that sitteth upon the CIRCLE of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a tent to dwell in: That bringeth the princes to nothing; He maketh the judges of the earth as vanity.” (Is.40:21-23)
Twenty seven hundred years ago the prophet Isaiah declared - by divine revelation – that the earth is round. COLUMBUS was a believer and had read the Holy Scriptures. Jesus taught a Spherical Earth: “I tell you in that NIGHT there shall be two men in one bed, the one shall be taken, the other shall be left... Two men shall be in the field (DAY); the one shall be taken, and the other left.” (Luke 17: 34-36)
It was God who led Columbus to the New World, so that the Gospel could be dispensed here. His voyage began the greatest expansion of the Gospel geographically, since the first century A.D.
Although he was a Genoese Jew living in Spain, Columbus felt that his name ‘Christopher’ which means ‘the one who carries Christ’ (to others) was given to him by the Lord!
The Bible instructs: “Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of His understanding.” (Is.40: 28)
APODICTIC is a little - used word that comes from the Greek ‘apodiktikos’, meaning ‘evident without contradictions’. In my opinion, this is the nearest we can come to express what God is like! Everything about God, the Supreme Being and Eternal Sovereign is “evident beyond contradictions”.
You cannot contradict that fact that He is eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, transcendent, merciful, gracious and compassionate!
Who has the credentials to contradict His power, wisdom, omnipresence, transcendence, total goodness, magnificent mercy, prevenient grace and agapè love? The answer is “NO-ONE”!
Certainly not the liberal leftists who teach atheism in our universities, file biased news reports, or pass corrupt and immoral laws, with which to further their godless agenda and usurp authority over unsuspecting people in democratic nations!
CALVARY proves the love of God and His gracious opinion of our great worth to Him! Jesus’ death on the cross was one-of-a-kind. It was ‘Evident Beyond Contradictions’.
The Holy Record affirms: “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 by His life.” (Rom.5: 9, 10).
The Bible states: “Jesus, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name that is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil.2: 6-11).
WE CAN KNOW FOR SURE that God loves us, we belong to Him, our sins are forgiven and the guilt is gone. We know without a doubt that we are “accepted in the Beloved” (Eph.1:6), and that Jesus Christ “will never leave us nor forsake us” (Matt.28:20).
We know for sure that we can be divinely healed (1 Peter 2:24) and led by the Blessed Holy Spirit (Rom.8:14). And we have a home reserved for us in Heaven (1 Peter 1:4). Hallelujah!
In this treatise, I deal with these precious truths: We know God through Christ! God knows us! We can know and identify the true Christians! We know what our future is! We know what must be done to get others to believe!
Our Lord Jesus Christ made these profound statements: “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent.” (John 17: 3); “All things are delivered unto Me of My Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save (except) the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” (Matt.11: 27)
St. Paul wrote: “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.” (Phil.3: 10). “For I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” (2 Tim.1: 12)
“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1: 3,7)
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquorers through Him that loved us.
“For I am PERSUADED, that neither death, nor life, not angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom.8: 35, 37-39).
MARTIN LUTHER stated: “Once upon a time the devil came to me and said, ‘Martin, you are a great sinner, and you will be damned!’ ‘Stop! Stop! said I. One thing at a time. I am a sinner, it is true, though you have no right to tell me of it. I confess it. What next?’
’Therefore you will be damned.’ ‘That is not good reasoning. It is true that I am a great sinner, but it is written, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief,” therefore I shall be saved. Now go your way.”
And the LYING TEMPTOR departed forthwith!
On another occasion, Luther is said to have answered a knock on the door of his home to find Satan himself standing outside. “What do you want”? inquired the Reformer in a stern voice! “I’m looking for Martin Luther” answered ‘old Slew-foot’! “He doesn’t live here anymore!” replied the ‘Man of God’. “Are you not Martin Luther?” asked the ‘Old Serpent’!
Then Luther quoted God’s Word to the ‘Accuser of the Brethren’: “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)
Being confronted with the truth, the devil had to leave! He knows that he has lost, because Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection stripped him of all his power over everyone who believes in Christ’s finished work on Calvary!
The Bible declares: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb.2: 14-15)
HERE IS A GREAT TRUTH: “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.
“And this is His commandment, That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment. And He that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us.” (1 John 3: 20-24)
“And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may KNOW Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is true God and eternal life.” (1 John 5: 20)
Jesus said: “I am the Good Shepherd and know My sheep, and am known of Mine. As the Father knoweth Me, even so I know the Father: and I lay down My life for My sheep” (John 10: 14)
“And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice... My sheep hear My voice.” (John 10: 14-16,27)
“Neverthless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are His. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from evil.” (2 Tim.2:19).
“Hereby know ye the Spirit of God…Ye are of God little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world. We are of God: He that knoweth God, heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
“Hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given to us of His Spirit. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in Him, and he in God.
“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4: 2, 4, 6, 10, 13, 15, 16)
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
“And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that SPIRIT OF ANTICHRIST, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (1 John 4: 1-3)
“THAT THEY ALL MAY BE ONE: as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.” (John 17: 21,23)
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for GOD IS LOVE. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” (1 John 4: 7-9)
“He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar, because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son. And this is the record that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son hath not life.” (1 John 5: 10-13)
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn (THE FIRST IN RANK) among many brethren.
“Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified…
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”
“WHO SHALL SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF CHRIST? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom.8: 28-39)
“According to His Divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the Divine Nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Peter 1: 19)
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1: 8)
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul doth prosper.” (3 John 2); “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know as even I am known.” (1 Cor.13:12)
“For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; although my reins be consumed within me.” (Job 19: 25-27)
“A new commandment I give unto you: That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13: 34-35). That they all may be ONE as Thou Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may be believe that Thou hast sent Me.
“And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; THAT THEY MAY BE ONE, EVEN AS WE ARE ONE: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.” (John 17: 21-23)
“And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the GOSPEL to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
“And THESE SIGNS shall follow them that believe; In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues (Holy Spirit Baptism includes speaking in unknown tongues); They shall take up serpents (like Paul on the Island of Malta); and if they drink any deadly thing (some Pentecostals in Soviet prisons forced to do), it shall not hurt them; they shall lay their hands on the sick and they shall recover.” (Mark 16: 15-18) Ω
Pastor Max prays for the sick in Portugal.