Monday, July 22, 2019

By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
   “Wilt Thou not Revive us again: that Thy people will rejoice in Thee? Show us Thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us Thy Salvation. I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for He will speak peace to His people, and to His saints, but let them not turn again to folly. Surely His salvation is nigh them that fear Him… (Ps. 85: 6-9).
    SIN has made slaves out of men and women who were created in the image of the Eternal GodWhat a tragedy for the human race. Adam and Eve walked and talked with God as His children. After the fall of our first parents, our Heavenly Father sent His only begotten Son to call us back to Him, through His sacrificial death on Golgotha and glorious resurrection from the dead!
    The BIBLE says: “Forasmuch as ye know that we were not REDEEMED with corruptible things as silver and gold…But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was made manifest in these last times for you, Who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.” (1 Peter 1: 18, 19)
    But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” (1 Cor.1: 30); “And from Jesus Christ, Who is the Faithful Witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own Blood, and has made us kings and priests unto God and His Father, to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (Rev. 1:5, 6)
    Redemption was provided by the vicarious death of Jesus Christ for us all. He is our wisdom so that we see clearly His Eternal plan for the redeemed. He has become our righteousness. We rejoice in our Saviour, Who through the BLOOD of the everlasting covenant cleansed us from our sins, sanctified us forever and made us accepted in the Beloved. (1 Cor.1:30; Eph.1:6)
     The Bible says: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding.” (Prov. 9:10). In theology, the ‘fear of the Lord’ is a holy reverence for Him and obedience to His commandments. It means a love for Almighty God and a desire to always please Him. It also means a total hated for evil and sin.  This Holy Reverence for Him translates into a determination to obey Him.
       A case in point, is what happened to Philip when He saw the Risen Christ: “Then saith He to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side, and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said, My Lord and my God.” (John 20: 20: 27, 28). The fear of God makes us Obey Him as Lord and Worship Him as God!
      SIN is when men and women no longer fear God. Their trust, love and reverence for God and His Word has grown cold! Satan has deceived the human race with the same lies that he told Eve in the Garden of Eden: “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ should shine unto them.” (2 Cor. 4: 3, 4)
      The fear of the Lord brings great peace, joy and healing. It is a spirit of belonging to the ONE you love, your Creator, Saviour, Lord and God. The fear of the Lord brings life while the spirit of Fear brings torment and death. God’s Spirit is sweet, peaceful and joyful. Satan’s spirit brings division,  sickness, disease, fear, death and Hell.
       Jesus said: “Fear not; Only believe.” (Luke 8: 50). St. Paul stated: “For God hath NOT given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and a sound mind.” (1 Tim. 3: 10). God’s Word says: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth  is not made perfect in love. We love Him (Christ) because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:18 19
     The Prayer that cries out from God's people for a REVIVAL of righteousness and holiness is greatly needed among us today. In fact, it is the only thing that really matters in this Twenty First Century!
     In his (1948) book, ‘The Fire of God’, Dr. Oswald J. Smith, founder of People’s Church in Toronto, wrote: Evangelism! God’s Answer to this Groaning World. I am not a professional evangelist but I have carried on evangelistic work and I know that the only hope of our day is a new manifestation of the power of God. I have been in countries where I have seen that power in operation and I am confident that we can have here what I have witnessed there.
     “Evangelism is the order of the day, the need of the hour. Without revival, life as we know it, must perish. We must evangelize or fossilize. The very first crusade I had in Toronto lasted for six months without the break of a night, Saturdays included, and generally two or three services on the Sundays…The crowds increased from week to week. Interest was intense and before it was over, many hundreds of souls had been saved, so that the work was greatly strengthened as a result.”
                      THE PREVENIENT GRACE OF GOD!
     The 85th Psalm was written for the sons of Korah not long after the Jews returned from the Babylonian Captivity. Almighty God had put in their heart a strong desire to have Him in their midst again. It is the call of God, known as the prevenient grace of God. It is the Holy Spirit putting a yearning in our hearts to get to know Him.
     This is the STORY of God's people since the beginning of time. Our basic human nature does not want God to rule over us. We want to do our own thing. When we mess up, God comes to our rescue. He puts a strong desire in our hearts to call upon His name; and He is quick to answer. He states: “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” (Is. 65: 24)
      Jesus stated: “No man can come to Me, except the Father draw him.” (John 6:44); “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 the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.
     “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matt.11:27-30).
       Jesus Promised: “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever. Even the Spirit of Truth; Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you and shall be in you. 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 I in you. He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth 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 will come and make our abode with him.” (John 14: 16-18, 20, 21, 23)
    The Holy Spirit has been sent by our Heavenly Father to convict sinners, so they will be responsive to the message of His Son: “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart. I will send Him unto you.
    “And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin because they believe not on Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father, and ye see Me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.” (John 16: 7-11)
      It would be foolish to believe that God doesn't care for the human race. If He does not, WHY did He create us in His own image, in the beginning? And WHY did He send His only begotten Son to pay for our freedom through the shedding of His precious blood? And WHY did He send the blessed Holy Spirit to call us to repentance in order to save, heal and liberate us? And WHY does He adopt us as His sons into His Heavenly Kingdom?
      The Bible states: “Behold, what manner of LOVE the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knowth us not, because it knew Him not. Behold, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when He shall appear we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 3: 1, 2)
        That God loves us is a given! That He cares for us is an understatement. That He is waiting for us to call out His name in prayer, pouring out our love for Him and sharing our great need with Him, is Christianity in operation!  The Bible says: “...For this purpose the Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the Devil.” (1 John 3:8)
      St. Peter writes: “Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, like a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith...But the God of all grace, Who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5: 7-11)
      Our Heavenly Father invites: “Come now, and let us reason together saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool.” (Is. 1:18). Again He admonishes: “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your SINS have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.”  (Is.57:1, 2)
      The Holy Bible states: “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, and saying, Repent ye: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 2:1, 2); “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, Whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and fire.” (Matt.3:11)
      “The next day, John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world… I saw the Spirit descending from Heaven like a dove and it abode upon Him… And I saw and bear record that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:29-34)
                             O LORD REVIVE THY WORK!
       Have you ever been in prayer when suddenly God surprised you with His awe-filled presence? I remember in the early days of my Christian life, I used to pray a lot because of the reality of Christ's Gospel and the authority of His name to perform miracles and win souls. I asked God to make Himself more real to me, so that I would be effective for Him and His cause.
     At the time I was working as a commercial traveller for Swift Canadian. Late one evening in Burns Lake, B.C. there was a knock on my hotel room door. A salesman by the name of Keith had come to see me. He said: Max, I need to talk to you. I was in the beer parlor with some of the guys and I asked, “Where is Max Solbrekken, the Swift’s man?” Someone said, “Haven't you heard that he’s become religious?” I asked, “Aren’t we all religious?” This guy said, “He doesn’t drink or smoke, goes to church and talks about Jesus.”  And I said, “Oh, you mean that kind of religious.”
      He asked me, “Max, what happened to you?”  I answered, “Keith, I saw myself as God saw me. I thought I was a good guy until I had an encounter with God. And that is why I gave myself to Jesus Christ and He gave me a new life!”  He couldn’t hold back the tears. Then he said, “I wish I could see myself as God sees me.”  I answered, “Keith, you can. He will forgive you and save you, as He has done for me.”  Then he said, “No, I can’t.” He said, “Good night” and left. I don’t remember bumping into him again after that!
      On another occasion I was in Burns Lake. I had been fasting and one night while on my knees praying, I felt the awesome Presence of God. I didn’t dare open my eyes, lest I should see the Lord. I crawled into bed, reached up for the light cord to turn off the light. I believe that many Christians have lost the deep sense of God's holiness and treat Him without the REVERENCE He deserves and demands!
     The prophet Habakkuk was in prayer when God showed up. It scared him and he cried out: “O Lord I have heard Thy speech, and was afraid: O Lord, revive Thy work, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.” (Hab. 3: 2).
      He was afraid because God had spoken to him about coming judgment. It shook him up and scared him. He told the Lord that he had heard His voice and that he was afraid. Then he asked for mercy. He asked God to be merciful and instead of judgment, in His great goodness send a spiritual Revival. And send it soon. Don’t allow us to keep sinning until it is too late. O, Lord, revive Your work, in the midst of the years. And Lord, if you must judge us, please be merciful!

                                      QUESTIONS ALL
    Before a genuine Revival of biblical proportions can occur in our churches, our communities and our nation, there are a number of things that must happen and some questions that we all must honestly answer. There is a price to pay that such a revival will break out and Jesus Christ will be glorified among us!
     Prophet Isaiah prayed: “Oh that thou wouldest rend the Heavens, that Thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at Thy presence. As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make Thy name known to Thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Thy presence!” (Is. 64: 1,2). We often pray that Almighty God will rend the Heavens and come down among us as in old time power, however, He has come down among us.
    When the Son of God left His Father's Right Hand and was incarnated to die on the Cross as our substitute, God came down among us. When He raised Jesus Christ from the dead, God came down among us. When Jesus Christ poured out the Holy Spirit upon His Church on the Day of Pentecost, God came down among us.  And when He sends His Spirit-filled Missionaries, Evangelists and Pastors out across the world to proclaim His glorious Gospel with signs, wonders and miracles, He has come down among us!

    Sin is hurtful. It is divisive and destructive. It is the enemy of God and man. It is an affront to God's authority and a transgression of His righteous laws. It is perversion in the highest form. Sin is the creation of Satanic origin and the fruit of vulnerability on the part of Adam and Eve.  It is diabolical at its roots, a stench in God's nostrils and an abomination in His sight.
    In 'Sin an Ugly Three-letter Word', I quote from famed psychiatrist Dr. Karl Menninger's book, Whatever Became of Sin? He 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'.
     Sin brought fear into the world: “And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him: Where art thou? And he said, I heard Thy voice in the Garden and I was afraid, because I was naked and I hid myself.” (Gen.3:3: 9). Fear was unknown before 'the Fall'. Fear is a crippling thing and unknown in Heaven. It was conquored by Christ's Victory over Satan through the 'Blood of His Cross'. The Bible says: “God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind.” (2 Tm.1:7)
     Sin brought death to the human race. God spoke to Adam after his sin of high treason: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, til thou return unto the ground; for out of it was thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Gen. 3: 19).
     Sin separated God from man: “Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of tree of life .” (Gen. 3: 24, 25)
      Sin brought murder into the human family: “And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” (Gen. 4: 8). Sin brings condemnation, guilt and fear. It brings sickness, sorrow, death and war: With sin came also unbelief, condemnation, oppression, fear, hatred, and pain. 
     “The Bible says: “For when ye were servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness, What fruit had ye then in those things ye whereof ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now, being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 6: 20 -23)
    Sin brings separation between families, loved ones and friends for time and eternity: Sin causes infidelity, adultery, divorce which tears families apart. It causes break-up of the home, depression, fears, anger and sometimes suicides and murder! Sin separates loved ones here on earth and also in eternity. Those who receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour receive eternal life, and those who do not are lost forever separated from Christ and their loved ones. 
    “Then shall He say unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. And these shall go way into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (Matt. 25: 41, 46)
     The world was lost in sin, fear, torment and eternal death. Satan the enemy of God and man had perverted the human race with his lies about the Creator, Almighty God. He had tried to subvert the angels in Heaven with his deception.
     The Bible says: “And there was war in Heaven: Michael and his angels fought and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place any more in Heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
     “And I heard a loud voice in Heaven saying, Now is come salvation, and strength and the Kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ; for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the Word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Rev. 12: 7-11)
    The Sovereignty of God demanded punishment for SIN and the CROSS provided the Final Solution! For a time God winked at or overlooked sin in His great mercy and kindness by allowing the sacrifice of innocent animals, lambs, goats and bullocks (also a red heifer) to suffice. When the fullness of time had come, our Heavenly Father gave Himself in His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
   The word propitiation means covering, mercy seat, satisfaction and expiation. Jesus of Nazareth, the only perfect, righteous One had to die to cover and forgive our sins to satisfy the righteous demands of Divine Justice: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God: Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
    “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (satisfaction) through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of them which believeth in Jesus.” (Rom.3: 23-26)
     God's Word states: “...Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission.” (Heb.9: 22); “...For it is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul.” (Lev. 17:11); “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); “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is Eternal Life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 6: 23)
                            WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?
    John the Baptist declared: “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.” Jesus of Nazareth stated: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life. Verily verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live." (John 5: 24,25)
      Jesus said: “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19: 10); “I am the good shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine. As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.
    “Therefore, doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received from My Father.” (John 10: 14-18).
     For a very long time a public CRY was made from the Synagogue. Jewish theologian Alfred Edersheim 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 ever be made then that of the apostle: “For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.” (Heb. 7:26)    – From 'The Temple, its Ministry and Service'
      The Jews knew that all their ceremonial duties and traditional teaching could not free them from guilt and condemnation, so they waited for the Messiah who would take away their guilt and give them eternal peace. Then one day, John the Baptist declared: “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29). The INNOCENT ONE had come, but He was rejected. For thousands of years the Jews had awaited their Messiah but when He came, they rejected Him. Many still sit in spiritual darkness. How sad! There will, however, be a remnant that will believe on Him and be saved. (Rom. 9:27)
     You may ask, “Why did Jesus of Nazareth have to die?”  Adam committed high treason against His Creator and God by obeying the voice of Lucifer and rebelled against Almighty God. The sins of Adam were imputed to the human race bringing God's judgment upon us all. The Bible states: “For when we were without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. But God commendeth His Love toward us, in 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.” (Rom. 5: 6-9)
     When Jesus Christ hung on Calvary's Cross, He fulfilled the Holy Scriptures that said: “But He was wounded for or transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him: and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Is. 53: 5,6)
    The Golden Text of the New Testament shows the love that God the Father and Jesus Christ our Lord has for all the people on earth. His mercy extends to all people everywhere who will repent and accept His love, mercy and grace. Presently, the world's population stands at 7.6 billion. These are souls for whom Jesus Christ shed His precious blood! These are souls for which we, as the body of Christ, are responsible!
    “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. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the WORLD, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3: 16, 17)
    The Bible says: “Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.” (Gal. 1:4)
     “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in Himself: He that believeth not hath made Him a liar: because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (1 John 5: 10-12)
    There was no sickness, disease or death in the Garden of Eden. Sin brought a curse upon the earth that touched every man, woman and child. Jesus of Nazareth, however, broke that curse when He bore that curse for us all: “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us for it is written, Cursed is every man that hangeth on a tree.” (Gal.3:13)
    Our Lord stated: “...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; They shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and thy shall recover.” (Mark 16: 15-18)
    Do you understand the meaning of the born again experience a becoming a partaker of God's nature and the amazing process of adoption into His kingdom? You may ask: “Why is Jesus so special?” and, “What does His death and resurrection mean to me personally?” Those are two very good questions: Jesus of Nazareth was God the Son from eternity who was incarnated in human flesh so that He could bring us back to God. He wanted His Father to be our Father also. Because of the great rebellion of Lucifer the fallen archangel, sin had come into the world.
    Through his deception, lies and hatred for our Heavenly Father and life giver, Satan tempted our first parents to disobey their Maker and God. Through their sin of high treason against their Heavenly Father, they were driven out of the Garden of Eden which He had created for them. Their rebellion plunged the entire human race into a state of unbelief and hopelessness. When the fullness of time had come, Jesus Christ came to planet earth to destroy Satan's power over us and to bring us all back into fellowship with His Father!
     Because the enormity of Adam's sin, Jesus had to die as God's Paschal Lamb, to atone for the sins of the entire world, past, present and future. His precious blood alone brings forgiveness, peace, healing and deliverance to sinful, fearful and dying people across the world today! All honour, praise and glory be unto our precious Lord Jesus, who was CRUCIFIED, but is alive forevermore!
     The Bible declares: “Christ was delivered (to the cross) for our offences (sins) and was raised again for our justification. Therefore, being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 4: 25; 5:1). The word justified means to be declared or made righteous in the sight of God!
      Christ knew about us before the foundation of the world. (Rom. 8:28, 29). He was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. (Rev.13: 8). He was demeaned, blasphemed, beaten and scourged with the Roman cat-of- nine-tails whip and nailed to the cross for us all. Jesus Christ bore our sins, fears, sicknesses, diseases and pains on that cursed tree. His vicarious death purchased our eternal salvation by meeting the righteous demands of Divine Justice by pouring out His pure and precious sinless BLOOD on our behalf.
     “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. 1:4-7)
      Jesus Christ has provided for us a complete salvation which began the moment we received Christ as our personal Saviour and will keep us until we sit down with Him in His Heavenly Kingdom! “For since by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His Coming.” (1 Cor. 15: 21-23)
   “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 us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit (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.
    “For He hath made Him to be sin (sin offering) for us, who knew no sin; that we might be the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5: 17-19, 21); “Grace  be to you and peace from God the Father, and from or Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world according to the will of God and our Father; to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Gal. 1:3-5);
     “In whom we have redemption through His blood. (Eph. 1: 7) ; “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation (lifestyle) received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
    "Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world but was manifest in these last times for you. Who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory: that your faith and hope might be in God.” (1 Peter 1: 18, 19)
    The Bible says: “And  I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” (Rev. 5: 6)
     The Bible says: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself 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 m and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
     “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow o 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: 5-11)
    The first thing that I noticed when I began reading the Holy Bible regularly was the urgency with which Jesus spoke. A sense of urgency permeated His teachings and His ministry:
     “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand. And Jesus walking by the sea of Galilee saw two brethren Simon called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishers. And He saith unto them, Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matt. 4: 17-19)
     He had just returned from His wilderness temptation and He was already beginning to assemble His disciple team! He rose early in the morning for communion with His Father. There were times that He prayed all night and He encouraged His disciples to pray and to fast.
    “And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto Him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. And Simon and they that were with Him followed after Him. And when they had found Him, they said unto Him, All men seek for thee.
    “And He said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth. And He preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee and cast out devils.” (Mark 1: 32, 37, 38).  He spoke of the cares and pleasures of the world and He warned that Satan was a thief and killer. (John 8: 44; 10: 10)
    Jesus taught about planting the seed of God's Word and of the coming harvest. The closer He got to the time of His death He assured His disciples that He had come to suffer and die to purchase redemption for all sinners. And He warned about persecution for His name's sake. (Matt 10:16-22; John 16: 18-21).
     And He promised to send the blessed Holy Spirit to lead, guide and empower them to preach His Gospel to the ends of the earth: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth;  It expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. And ye now therefore have sorrow; but I will see again and your hearts shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.
     “And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you.” (John 16: 7, 22-23)
     Have you heard His voice asking you to surrender totally to His CALL on your life? Has the Holy Spirit breathed into your heart the assurance that He will be with you always, help you through all problems and give you the power to preach the Gospel, heal the sick, cast out devils and work the works of  Christ? Have you heard the call of the Holy Spirit to pray for labourers for His  Vineyard? Are you prepared to lay your all on the altar of sacrifice for Jesus Christ?
    The Bible says: “Jesus said unto them, come ye after Me, and I shall make you to become fishers of men.” (Mark 1: 17); "And when He had called the people unto him with His disciples also, He said unto them, Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for My sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.
   “For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Whosoever, therefore, shall be ashamed of  Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the Holy angels.” (Mark 8: 34-38)
     “And another also said, Lord, I will follow Thee; BUT let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home in my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9: 61, 62)
Alfred H. Ackleyn wrote these absolutely wonderful words in 1922. It has been a greatly loved hymn to many people over many years. There have been times when it has brought me to tears
I walked one day along a country road,
And there a stranger journeyed too,
Bent low beneath the burden of His load:
It was a cross, a cross I knew.

Take up thy cross and follow Me,
I hear the blessed Savior call;
How can I make a lesser sacrifice,
When Jesus gave His all?

I cried, Lord Jesus, and He spoke my name;
I saw His hands all bruised and torn;
I stooped to kiss away the marks of shame,
The shame for me that He had borne.

Oh, let me bear Thy cross, dear Lord, I cried,
And, lo, a cross for me appeared,
The one, forgotten, I had cast aside,
The one, so long, that I had feared.

My cross I’ll carry till the crown appears—
The way I journey soon will end—
Where God Himself shall wipe away all tears,
And friend hold fellowship with friend.
    The decision we all must make, is to say a definite  and resounding "yes" to Jesus Christ. It is costly to 'go all out' for Jesus! Our Lord said, "If any man come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.
    "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and    whosoever will lose His life for My sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his soul? or what shall a man  give in exchange for his soul?"(Matt. 16:24-26) 
    By declaring: "All to Jesus I surrender, All to Him I freely give. I will ever love and trust Him, In His presence daily live", will make you a 'marked man or woman'
     And by answering the call to lay everything at Jesus' feet, we are answering the call to surrender! Here is the story of how we got the beautiful song,
'I have decided to Follow Jesus!' 

 About 150 years ago, there was a great revival in Wales, England. As a result of this, many missionaries came from England to northeast India to spread the Gospel.
The region was known as Assam and comprised hundreds of tribes.
The tribal communities were quite primitive and aggressive.
The tribesmen were also called head-hunters because of a social custom which required the male members of the community to collect as many heads as possible.
A man’s strength and ability to protect his wife was assessed by the number of heads he had collected.
Therefore, a youth of marriageable age would try and collect as many heads as possible and hang them on the walls of his house.
The more heads a man had, the more eligible he was considered.
Into this hostile and aggressive community, came a group of Welsh missionaries spreading the message of love, peace, and hope of Jesus Christ.
Naturally, they were not welcomed.
One Welsh missionary finally succeeded in converting a man, his wife, and two children.
This man’s faith proved contagious and many villagers began to accept Christianity.
Angry, the village chief summoned all the villagers.
He then called the family who had first converted to renounce their faith in public or face execution.
Moved by the Holy Spirit, the man sung his reply,
“I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back.”
Enraged at the refusal of the man, the chief ordered his archers to arrow down the two children.
As both boys lay twitching on the floor,
the chief asked,
“Will you deny your faith?
You have lost both your children.You will lose your wife too.”
But the man replied, again singing,
“Though none go with me, still I will follow, No turning back.”
The chief was beside himself with fury and ordered his wife to be arrowed down.
In a moment she joined her two children in death.
Now he asked for the last time,
“I will give you one more opportunity to deny your faith and live.”
In the face of death the man sung,
“The cross before me, the world behind me. No turning back. No turning back.”
He was shot dead like the rest of his family.
But with their deaths, a miracle took place.
The chief who had ordered the killings was moved by the faith of the man.
He wondered,
“Why should this man, his wife and two children die for a Man who lived in a far-away land on another continent some 2,000 years ago?
There must be some supernatural power behind the family,
and I too want that supernatural power.”
In a spontaneous confession of faith, he declared,
“I too belong to Jesus Christ!”
When the crowd heard this from the mouth of their chief,
the whole village accepted Christ as their Lord and Saviour.
The formation of these words into a hymn is attributed to the Indian missionary Sadhu Sundar Singh.
Full Text
1 I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
no turning back, no turning back.
2 Though none go with me, I still will follow;
though none go with me, I still will follow;
though none go with me, I still will follow;
no turning back, no turning back.
3 My cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;
my cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;
my cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;
no turning back, no turning back.
4 The world behind me, the cross before me;
the world behind me, the cross before me;
the world behind me, the cross before me;
no turning back, no turning back.
JESUS said," I am the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE and no man cometh unto the Father but by Me. " (John 14: 6). Amen.