Thursday, November 5, 2015

              By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.

    Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to Repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For Godly Sorrow worketh Repentance unto Salvation not to be repenteth of but the sorrow of the World worketh death.” (2 Cor. 7: 10).
      According to the Holy Bible, there are two kinds of sorrow! St. Paul had seen them both manifested in the lives of people, some in a good way and others in a detrimental way!  Most people would not understand the difference between the two, but 'Men of God' who preach the Word of God see the difference immediately.
      SAUL of Tarsus was a man filled with untamed hatred and disgust toward the followers of Jesus of Nazareth, who had been charged with blasphemy by the Jewish Sanhedrin and chief priests, and put to death on a Roman Cross!
     Saul was guilty of blasphemy, hatred and murder. As an enforcer, he persecuted believers in the Jewish Messiah. Many were compelled to blaspheme the name of Jesus, and some that refused were stoned to death!
      What a change took place in his heart when He met the glorified Jesus Christ on the Damascus Road! Hearing a loud voice, saying: “Saul, Saul, why persecuest thou Me?” he cried out: “Who art Thou Lord” and, “What do you want me to do?”
      The proud, self- righteous Pharisee was broken in spirit and for three days reflected on his encounter with the Glorified Christ, which left him blind. For three days and nights he prayed, neither eating nor drinking anything. Without doubt, as he thought of all the evil things he had done he must have experienced deep sorrow for persecuting Jesus and His Gospel.
     His SORROW turned into REPENTANCE and then JOY when his eyes were healed and he was baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit! Immediately, his view of Jesus of Nazareth changed and shortly thereafter his world view was radically altered. He no longer sought to humiliate, harm or kill people who disagreed with him but became a caring and loving man, who was burdened for lost souls and spent the rest of his life rescuing the perishing, healing the sick and blessing the poor!
      The Bible states: “And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
      “And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose and was baptized. And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.” (Acts 9: 17-20)
     There are two kinds of SORROW; one brings repentance and the other death! Godly sorrow for sin causes a person to seek forgiveness from our loving Heavenly Father, while worldly sorrow ends in depression, heartbreak and sometimes suicide!
      Godly sorrow, as painful as it is, allows us to re-examine our lives and experience a bitter sorrow for offending God and our fellowman. The next step is to ask for forgiveness and receive God's approval and the gift of eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord! The joy that comes in knowing that we have been forgiven and are free from condemnation, is a natural outcome of godly sorrow for sin!
     Receiving Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour removes the doubts, fears and condemnation which sin had brought to us. The marvellous gift of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit brings further blessings of security, and a desire to be used of God in a greater sense heightens our joy of serving Christ!
     Unfortunately, Satan has blinded the spiritual eyes of the masses of humanity who still sit in unbelief, pride and spiritual darkness. The Bible declares: “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world bath BLINDED the MINDS of them which believe not, lest then light of the glorious gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
     “But we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor.4: 3-6)
      St. John wrote: “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 sins. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
      Again the Holy Scripture states: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with God the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. And He is the propitiation (covering, expiation, satisfaction) for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 1:7-10; 2:1,2)
    The vicarious (substitutionary) death of Jesus Christ on the cross in our stead SATISFIED the wrath of God against sinning mankind and opened the door to a glorious reconciliation between Creator and man! As sinners throw themselves into the loving arms of God and embrace His Son as their personal Lord and Saviour, their sins are washed away and their names are recorded in the Lamb's Book of Life! (Rev.20: 12)
     The Bible states: “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom.3: 23; 6: 23)
                     SIN IS TRANSGRESSION OF THE LAW!
     The Bible states: “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts; but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the name of the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Tim. 2: 21, 22)     
    SIN IS REAL, says famed psychiatrist Dr. Karl Menninger. The highly-acclaimed psychiatrist is distressed by modern society's failure to understand that many of man's problems are caused by sin.  It annoys him to hear people discuss morality without so much as mentioning the word "SIN".
    Menninger believes that in order to raise civilization's moral tone and deal with depression, anxiety and worry, people must learn the root cause of their problems.
     And the root cause in many instances is a person's unwillingness to take responsibility for his own actions, but rather lay the blame on someone - or something else!
   Several decades ago, George W. Cornell of the Associated Press (AP) wrote a column titled ‘Word Sin Disappears, But Remains A Fact’ in which he quoted at great length Dr. Karl Menninger’s beliefs on this subject.
   “He says the realities of personal guilt and sin have been glossed over as symptoms of emotional illness or environmental conditioning for which the individual is not considered responsible, but he adds: “There is sin…which cannot be subsumed under verbal artifacts such as ‘disease’, ‘delinquency’, ‘deviancy’There is immorality. There is unethical behaviour. There is wrong doing.”
      Cornell states: “He calls for a reaffirmation of the concept of sin and of personal responsibility for it. In a new book published by Hawthorne called ‘Whatever Became of Sin?’ he declares: “If the concept of personal responsibility and answerability for ourselves and for others were to return to common acceptance, hope would return to the world with it.”
     We have the father of psycho-analysis, Sigmund Freud - who was battling his own weird and kinky imaginations and habits - to thank for much of that! The founder of the Menninger Centre in Topeko, Kansas, is seeking to correct the situation by addressing the problem.
      His latest book, Whatever Became of Sin? describes the subject as "a transgression of the law of God; disobedience of the divine will; moral failure...Sin has a defiant, or disloyal quality; someone is defiled or offended or hurt".
      Modern psychiatry often lets people off the hook. And failure to bring offenders face to face with their error could produce a sense of vindication, without coming to grips with the problem; the need to change lifestyles.
      Menninger has successfully treated thousands of clients for more than a half century and has proven that acceptance of responsibility coupled with repentance, often brings freedom from guilt and anxiety. The refusal to confront the problem only compounds it by giving at the very best, temporary relief.
      Thousands of years ago, King Solomon stated: "He that confesseth and forsaketh his sin shall have mercy, but he that covereth his sin shall not prosper". (Prov. 28:13)
      Forgiveness is vital to good mental health. We must forgive others if we expect God to forgive us, as well as being able to forgive ourselves.
    A leading psychiatrist noted that 90% of the mentally ill could be immediately well if they were able to forgive themselves and others and to receive forgiveness!
                      SIN LIKENED TO MATHEMATICS!
      Sin is an Evil Force and the brain child of the Devil. The Evil One is the author and promoter of SIN. Sin is rebellion against Almighty God and His Righteous edicts and judgments. Sin is an abomination in God’s sight and a stench in His nostrils. Sin is a destructive power and a lying agenda whose short shelf life of so-called fleshly pleasure ends in death and Hell.
      Sin is a force which is often likened to mathematics. It adds to your struggles, pain and problems, subtracts from your natural abilities, multiplies your worries, fears and torments, divides your mental capacity, takes away interest from your work, discounts your opportunities of success and squares your conscience!
      Sin BLINDS your spiritual eyes. It BLURS your vision. It BINDS you with chains of lust, greed and hatred. It DEAFENS your spiritual ears. It DEADENS your conscience. It KILLS your physical and spiritual life. If not repented of SIN will take you to an eternal damnation in Hell!
      God’s Word says: “If a man therefore PURGE himself from these he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the Master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” (2 Tim.2: 21)
       REPENTANCE and acknowledging of the TRUTH is God’s gift and affects the recovery from Satan’s bondage for those lured into his Prison House! Satan has purposely set a SNARE for proud, arrogant individuals who have opposed Christ’s Gospel.
      A ‘Man of God’ must be purged from sinful lusts, pride and false teaching. He will then become a vessel of honour and meet for his Master’s use! The Bible states: “The wages of sin is death, but the Gift of God is ETERNAL LIFE, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 6: 23)
    It is difficult for an individual to forgive himself without the assurance that God has forgiven him. That is why the gospel – Confession, Repentance and Forgiveness is so relevant and necessary!
    The Bible states emphatically: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. (1 John 1:9); “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 1:7)
     Some health officials, in explaining their AIDS program, go to great lengths promoting condoms, as well as sexual abstinence. Then they usually add: "This not a moral issue.”  How stupid. Of course, it's a moral issue!
    If our young people had higher morals there wouldn't be a drug abuse, fornication or homosexual problem, putting themselves at risk to the AIDS virus.
    And if people were more moral and stuck with the Bible standard of "one woman - one man", there wouldn't be such a dramatic increase in sexually-transmitted diseases.
     It goes without saying, violence would be almost non-existent and crime, rape and child abuse would drop drastically. The Bottom Line is that: THE WORLD NEEDS A MORAL REVOLUTION! The Bible is always right, correct, inspired and inerrant:  “For godly sorrow worketh repentance unto Salvation not to be repenteth of but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” (2 Cor. 7: 10).
    There is one more thing that is relevant to the subject of Repentance and Salvation and that is the Mercy of God, without which we could not be saved. The word mercy is used 341 times in the Bible. It means lovingkindness, compassion, goodness and favour.
      Dr. Henry Morris delineates between Grace and Mercy: “Grace is most often associated with the Sovereign dispensing of totally undeserved favour and is especially connected with salvation. Mercy is more often connected to the withholding of judgment.”
    The Bible says: “And the Lord passed by before Him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, MERCIFUL and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in goodness and truth; Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…” (Ex. 34: 6, 7)
     “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all expectation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I received MERCY, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to eternal everlasting.
      “Now unto the King Eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Tim. 1: 15-17
                  TO GET INSIDE ANOTHER’S SKIN!
      The Hebrew word for ‘MERCY’ literally means, “To get inside another’s skin.” It means to be completely identified with that person. And that is what Jesus did! This Scripture clearly makes my point:
       “For ye know the GRACE of our Lord Jesus Christ, though He were RICH, He became POOR, so that you through His poverty, might become rich.” (2 Cor. 8:9); “For He hath made Him SIN (sin offering) that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21)                                        When God the Son came down from Heaven to die on a cruel cross, He was incarnated (God in human flesh) and took upon HIMSELF our sins and sicknesses so that we could be liberated from servitude to the world, flesh and the devil! In fact, He became our sins by dying in our place as God’s Paschal Lamb!
      The Good News: The Glad Tidings that Light is Come into a world of Darkness; that Peace has come into a world of Turmoil; that Healing has come into a world of Sickness; that Love has come into a world of Hate; that Forgiveness has come into a world of Sin; that Life has come into a world of Death; that Freedom has come into a world of Bondage; that Slaves are made Free Men through Jesus Christ, the Liberator of the Human Race. 
       And that Light, Peace, Healing, Love, Forgiveness, Life, Freedom, Liberty and Eternal Life is NONE OTHER than JESUS CHRIST, the Eternal Son of God, Crucified for us and Risen from the Dead!
      The One and Only True God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit! In the Divine Economy of God there is NO ROOM for counterfeits or manufactured, man-made gods! The very first of the Ten Commandments that Almighty God wrote with His own finger on two tables of Stone, says: “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20: 3)
      St. Paul set the record straight with these stern words: “…we KNOW that an idol is nothing in the world, and there is NONE other GOD but ONE. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many.)
       “But to us (Believers in Christ) there is but ONE GOD, THE FATHER, of whom are all things, and we in Him; and ONE LORD JESUS CHRIST, by Whom are all things, and we by Him.” (1 Cor. 8:4-6).  God’s Word condemns ‘Chrislam’ as a perversion of the truth!
      The HOLY BIBLE warns Believers in Christ, NOT to join with any pagan religion that denies Jesus Christ as the Son of God and His Father as the true God. If the Muslims who deny Jesus Christ as the only Saviour of the world, or any other heathen religion, want to worship their false gods or deities they can do so at their own peril, but we cannot integrate their false gods with our worship to the ONE TRUE God! Amen.