WHAT WILL IT TAKE FOR JESUS
TO COMMIT HIMSELF TO US?
By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
“Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in His name, when they saw the miracles which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself unto them, because He knew all men…for He knew what was in man.” (John 2: 23-25)
It’s an age-old problem! Ever since Lucifer rebelled against Almighty God and introduced SIN into the world, this problem has been endemic and spreading its evil tentacles everywhere!
Jesus knew all things and was not deceived. Unfortunately, many have been tragically harmed and often learned too late about this universal problem. The problem is not only man, but all men.
HE KNEW WHAT WAS IN MAN!
All of mankind is tragically flawed. We were born in sin with the Adamic nature; defiled, corrupt, perverse and impure! Built into the human gene is the desire to lie, cheat, steal and kill; traits of Satan the enemy of God and man!
The human gene carries the imprint of a lost humanity, carnal, deceptive and void of righteousness, at enmity with God! Jesus knew what was in man! He knew Satan and his history, deception and lies and because of his rebellion, the sin virus had contaminated Adam and Eve’s posterity!
He had prior knowledge and by the Holy Spirit could detect the evil tendency that ruled the human person. By nature, men are often proud, uncaring, untrustworthy.
The Bible says: “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, and who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17: 9): “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man.” (Matthew 15: 19)
Sin makes people lustful, jealous and greedy. Sin breeds fear, perversion and unfaithfulness. Sin is universal and has affected us all. No instruction is needed to learn how to sin. It comes naturally!
The wages of sin is death; spiritual as well as physical! Jesus knew the weakness of Judas Iscariot and Simon Peter, and witnessed the infighting in His band of disciples, arguing who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven!
The question is, “Whom can you trust to be honest, true and faithful?” He has set a high bar for His servants. He demands that we go all the way with Him, even to laying down our lives for His Gospel’s sake! He wants disciples that He can trust. He calls for disciples who will not forsake Him or deny Him!
JESUS DEMANDS OBEDIENCE!
Jesus issued an unwavering standard for His servants: No turning back to the world. No turning back in the face of persecution, trial or imminent danger. Go forward in His name, knowing that His Holy Spirit is in you, leading and guiding. Go forward expecting Him to answer prayer. When you have put your hand to the plough, you must not and cannot look back!
In His commentary of God’s judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah, Jesus admonished: “Remember Lot’s wife.” (Luke 17:32). Why would He warn us about Lot’s wife who turned to look back to Sodom, and was judged in the overthrow of that city?
The Bible says: “And it came to pass when they (angels) had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay now in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.
“Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” (Genesis 19: 17,24, 26)
Our Lord tied the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah with His Second Coming. The sins of the 21st Century are similar, and even worse than the Days of Noah and of Lot!
It behooves us to be on guard against the onslaughts of the devil, who tries to draw us away from Christ, righteousness and evangelism. He hates the Gospel and seeks to prevent its propagation wherever possible. We must prevail in its proclamation in the power of the Holy Spirit everywhere, as it was in the Early Church!
THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH!
“But the same day that that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from Heaven and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.
“Remember Lot’s wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
“I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together, the one shall be taken, and the other left.” (Luke 17: 29-35)
Jesus prophesied the Rapture of the Church and His Second Coming. And He admonishes everyone to be prepared. He also confirms a scientific truth, that the earth is round, not flat like many scientists believed. In one location it was night and men were in bed sleeping and on the other side of the globe it was day and people were working!
The Bible states: “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that is near, even at the doors.
“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels in Heaven, but My Father only. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour doth come.”
“But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore, be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 24:27,32, 33,36,42)
THEY TURNED BACK!
In 1957, while working as a Commercial Traveller, I was born again and filled with the blessed Holy Spirit. I had such a hunger for Christ and began witnessing for Jesus wherever possible on my territory. I was invited to preach in various churches, even while looking after my many business accounts.
After some time, I began murmuring in my heart wishing that I could be like other men, either a businessman or in the Ministry. We were living in Prince George, British Columbia in a small duplex. One night, Donna and I had just gone to bed and I was fast asleep.
Suddenly, I awakened and heard a still small voice, saying, “Read Psalm 78”. I thought, “Yes, I’ll do that.” A few moments later, I was sound asleep. Again, I was awakened by the same voice, “Read Psalm 78.” I thought, “What is Psalm 78?” Again, I fell asleep and once more I awoke with a start. This time I heard that same voice saying, “Get up and read Psalm 78.”
Trying not to awaken Donna or our two little children, I slipped out of bed and went into the kitchen. I opened the Bible and began to read Psalm 78, which details how God’s people murmured, turned back and blamed God. As I did, tears were flowing down my cheeks!
The Holy Spirit gripped my soul and I heard Him say, “Don’t ever murmur, blame Me or limit Me! You will never be like other men. I will lead you by My Spirit.”
And by God’s grace I have not. I sometimes blame myself, and usually put the blame on the Devil, but NEVER on God! He is so good, kind, merciful and gracious to me and us all, I will never forget His rebuke and counsel! Five years later, God spoke me to give up my lucrative business and to launch into His harvest field!
THEY PROVOKED GOD!
The Bible states: “The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle. They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in His law, and forgot His works, and His wonders that He had showed them.
“And they sinned yet more against Him…And they tempted God in their heart…Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?
“Yea, they turned back, and tempted God and limited the Holy One of Israel…yet they tempted and provoked the most High God, and kept not His testimonies, but turned back…
“But He was full of COMPASSION, forgave their iniquity and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned His anger away and did not stir up all His wrath. For He remembered that they were flesh; a wind that passeth away and cometh not again.” (Psalm 78: 9-57)
JESUS ARRESTED SAUL OF TARSUS!
Saul of Tarsus, the Jewish Enforcer who persecuted, kidnapped and put to death believers in Jesus of Nazareth, met the Risen Christ on the Damascus Road. The light that emanated from the glorified Jesus knocked Saul onto the ground.
He heard a voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?” He said, “Who art Thou, Lord?” The Lord answered, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest?” Then Saul asked, “What do you want me to do?” (Acts 8:1-9)
Here we have the two most important questions that anyone could ask Jesus Christ! “Who are You? Did You die for my sins? Did You rise from the dead as the Holy Scriptures declare? Are You the same yesterday, today and forever?”
When you have had a long sincere talk with Jesus Christ, while on your knees, you will be asking Him, “Lord, what do You want me to do? I’ll go where You want me to go and do what You want me to do. I will be Your disciple forever!”
St. Paul is undoubtedly the greatest example of the Gospel of Christ in action. His great hatred for Jesus’ followers, the direct intervention of the Lord Jesus, his glorious conversion and baptism in the Holy Spirit, his call into the ministry and founding the Church in the Gentile world, and finally his death as a martyr for our Saviour!
His message to us all is: If Jesus could save Saul of Tarsus, there is hope for us all! And if God could use a despicable murderer like him, He could use anyone!
St. Paul stated: “According to the glorious Gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that He counted Me faithful, putting me into the ministry, who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious:
“But I obtained Mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love, which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to SAVE sinners, of whom I am Chief.
“Howbeit for this cause I obtained Mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show Mercy, for a Pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting.” (1 Timothy 1: 11-16).
Jesus used Saul of Tarsus as a pattern of how His Grace and Mercy operates to bring Salvation to lost and perishing souls!
THE DEADLY SIN OF BACKSLIDING!
No man laboured as hard, suffered as long and accomplished as much for Jesus as St. Paul. I don’t believe that any man knew Jesus Christ as well as he. He never forgot where he came from and what Jesus had done for him. He had a great love for the Saviour and an awesome ‘fear of God’ in His spirit.
The Bible states: “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.
“What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel. For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I may gain the more.
“And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
“I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” (1 Corinthians 9: 16-19, 23-27). A dispensation of the gospel was a God-given period of time to dispense Christ’s gospel to the heathen.
MAX IS A PAUL FREAK!!!
Many years ago while preaching in Norway, I stayed in a spare room in a Senior Citizen Apartment owned by my good friends Kari and Lars. Since I needed some help translating my articles into Norwegian, Kari asked a retired Lutheran theologian living in the complex if he would help me, to which he agreed. After a few days, I returned and found my manuscript in the office with these words in bold type on the cover: MAX IS A PAUL FREAK!!!
I confronted him with these words: Dear Doctor, now I will give you a lesson you have not had before:
St. Paul was a special servant of God, separated from his mother’s womb, called by God’s grace “to reveal His Son in me that I might preach Him among the heathen.” (Galatians 1:15-17).
He met Jesus in a blinding light on the Damascus Road. Jesus addressed him personally and instructed him to go into the city. Three days later his blinded eyes were healed, and he was filled with the Holy Spirit. He testified for Christ in the Synagogue. He went to Arabia for some time and was tutored by the Lord.
He was taken up into Heaven and shown things he was unable to reveal. The Mystery of God, hidden from Ages and dispensations, which is Christ in the believer for Gentiles and Jews, was revealed to St. Paul. He was given the great truth of the Rapture of the church. He corrected St. Peter, and he founded the Christian Church among the Gentiles! On five separate occasions, he was whipped with 39 stripes. He was stone and died on several occasions and came back to life. He gladly gave His life as a Martyr for Jesus Christ!
The Lutheran theologian’s head was spinning. He was shocked. He said, “Please forgive me. Give me that manuscript. I will do it at once.” And he did! Praise God! I was not ashamed to be called a PAUL FREAK - Not at all!
IF I PREACH NOT THE GOSPEL!
Analyzing St. Paul’s commitment to Christ is summarized as:
1. Woe is me if I preach not the Gospel:
If I do not obey God, I disobey His call on my life. Obey the call of God upon your life. Give yourself to Him without reservation! The Gospel is the good news that Christ died for our sins, to bring us to God!
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)
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are SAVED, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”
2. I abuse not my power in the Gospel.
I shudder when I think of the exorbitant salaries and vast personal bank accounts of some of the high-profile Prosperity Preachers, when they stand before God to give an account of their large greed and vast empires!
The Bible says: “The love of money is the root of all evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10). With the love of money comes Pride, the love of prominence. Imagine meeting the POPE at the Vatican: “For they that are such as serve not our Lord Jesus, but their own belly; and by good word and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." (Romans 16: 18)
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times, some such depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” (1 Timothy 4:1)
HERE IS A WARNING FROM CHRIST!
The Bible says: “And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show thee the judgment of the Great Whore that sitteth upon many waters.
“And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hands full of abominations (sodomy, pedophilia) and filthiness of her fornications, and upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
“And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw, I wondered with great admiration. And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel?
“I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. The beast that thou sawest was and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit and go into perdition:
“And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are the seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. (Rome is a city of seven hills!)
“And the woman which thou sawest is that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” (Revelation 17: 1-9,18)
When MARTIN LUTHER as a young monk visited the Vatican, the sin, vulgarity and perversion he witnessed sickened him. He quoted the Bible: “It is the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” (Revelation 18:2)
Martin Luther accused Popes and priests of practicing sodomy: “I am not lying to you. Whoever has been in Rome knows the conditions are unfortunately worse than anyone can say or believe…No pope, cardinal, bishop, doctor, priest, monk or nun will condemn such an obviously disgraceful life; rather they laugh about it, excuse it, gloss over it.
“I could easily mention more examples of such abominations, but it is too shameful; I fear that our German soil would have to tremble before it. But if an impudent popish ass should come along, and dispute this, he will find me ready to do him battle, and it will be quite a battle.” – (Luther’s Works Volume 47, p.38)
In ‘What Luther Says: An Anthology’, Ewald Martin Plass provides this quote from the Reformer:
“The vice of sodomites is an unparalleled enormity. It departs from the natural passion and desire, planted into nature by God, according to that which the male has a passionate desire for the female. Sodomy craves what is entirely contrary to nature.
“Whence comes this perversion? Without a doubt it comes from the devil. After a man has once turned away from the fear of God, the devil puts such great pressure upon his nature that he extinguishes the fire of natural desire and stirs up another, which is contrary to nature.”
Heresy (ketzerei) – the concept of sodomy was originally defined as sexual “heresy” and florencing (florenzen): the reason the name of Florence became attached to this sin was during the Renaissance / Reformation, Florence developed a reputation for being pervaded with sodomy. Sodomy (sodomia) - sinning “against nature” (contra naturam or wider die nature).
500 YEARS ON … However, 500 years on, is it a case of ‘old habits dying hard’?
‘Slate’ reported on 28 June 2017 how, an Australian court charged a powerful cardinal in Rome with the crime of “historic sex offenses” Thursday (local time), making the chief financial advisor to Pope Francis – and No. 3 in the church hierarchy – the highest-ranking Vatican official ever to be charged for sexual abuse. The allegations against 76-year-old Cardinal George Pell date back decades to his time as a priest and the Archbishop in Australia.
Allegations raised in the past 18 months include that he assaulted boys at a Ballarat pool in the 1970s and allegations of assault at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne, when he was archbishop, according to the Australian.
‘Cardinal Pell was a parish priest in the Diocese of Ballarat,’ where he launched his career that spanned decades, starting with his time as a parish priest in his hometown, Ballarat, followed by stints as Archbishop of Melbourne and later, of Sydney.
The New York Times:
Cardinal George Pell of Australia
Sentenced to Six Years in Prison
MELBOURNE, Australia – George Pell, an Australian cardinal who was the Vatican’s chief financial office and an advisor to Pope Francis, was sentenced to six years in prison on Wednesday, for molesting two boys after Sunday Mass in 1996.
“The cardinal was convicted o five counts in December, making him the most senior Catholic official – and the first bishop – to be found guilty in a criminal court for sexually abusing minors, according to Bishopaccountabity.org, which tracks cases of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.
“I would characterize these breaches and abuses as grave,” the chief just in the case, Peter Kidd, said during the sentencing. Speaking directly to Cardinal Pell. He added: “Your conduct was permeated by staggering arrogance.”
He also condemned Cardinal Pell for his “sustained offending” and described his “graphic sexual misconduct” as egregious. Cardinal Pell was convicted on five counts of abuse relating to two separate episodes. The most important evidence came from a single complainant, who said that after a Sunday Mass in late 1996 at St. Patrick Cathedral in Melbourne, he and another 13-year-old boy sneaked into the priest’s sacristy, where they were discovered, reprimanded and molested by Cardinal Pell.
CARDINAL SODOMIZED BOYS!
“According to the man’s testimony, Cardinal Pell pushed the other boy against his genitals, then moved on to the complainant. The cardinal put his penis into the boy’s mouth, before telling him to remove his pants, touching himself and the boy at the same time, the boy said.
“During the incident”, Judge Kidd said, “they were crying and sobbing,” But Cardinal Pell, he said, told them to keep quiet. He became a cardinal in 2005. In 2014, Pope Francis named him the prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, charging him with overseeing the Vatican’s finances….
He was trailed by accusations of sexual abuse reaching back to the 1960s, when he was a seminarian. His denials always won out, until two years ago, when he returned to Australia from the Vatican to face a variety of charges.
“Since the judge…lifted the gag order, more allegations against Cardinal Pell have emerged. The relatives of at least one victim - the second 13-year-old he was convicted of abusing, who later died – have said that they plan to sue Cardinal Pell and the church in a civil court.
“But on Wednesday, Judge Kidd implored to public to remember that Cardinal Pell was being sentenced only for the crimes he committed in 1996.
“Survivors outside the courtroom said they hoped it would lead to greater accountability. “A lot of them don’t get sentenced,” said David Emery, a 64-year-old survivor. Cardinal Pell’s sentence, he added, was “going to leave a mark.”
Our Lord invites: “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, sayeth the Lord, and touch not the Unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, sayeth the Lord Almighty.”
JESUS CAN HEAL ABUSE VICTIMS!
JESUS said: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they do His commandments, that they have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
“I Jesus …am the Root and offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the book of this prophecy of this book. If any man shall ADD unto these things, GOD SHALL ADD unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
“And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, GOD SHALL TAKE AWAY his part of the book of Life, and out of the Holy City, and from the things which are written in this book. (Revelation 22:13-20).
Mormons deceived by fraudster Joseph Smith and the demon angel Moroni. William Branham cult created the Serpent Seed, Roman Catholics added Mariolatry, Peter the Pope deception, sodomy, and many other deceptions and falsehoods!
THOMAS AQUINAS REBUKES POPE!
Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 1274) was surnamed, ‘The Angelic Doctor’, a celebrated scholastic teacher famous for learning and talents, but refused preferment and taught in Paris and Rome.
Entering the presence of Pope Innocent 11, before which a large sum of money was spread out, the Pope observed, “You see Thomas, the church is no longer in that age in which Peter of old said, Silver and gold have I none.” “True Holy Father”, replied Thomas Aquinas, “Neither can you say to the lame, Rise up and walk.”
The ‘Mother of Harlots’ has great material wealth but no spiritual power, and a priesthood saturated with homosexuality. It is now in the process of joining with the Muslims, Hindus and apostate Protestants in their unholy plan for a New World Church!
The One World Religion of CHRISLAM opens in 2022 (see maxsolbrekken.com blog). Beware the Antichrist Cometh! Anyone promoting a union between Muslims and Christians are enemies of Jesus Christ as the Only Saviour of the world!
On November 18, 2019, Pope Francis declared that Christian Fundamentalists in Argentina as a SCOURGE! By the grace of God, Omar Cabrara and I were used of the Holy Spirit to start the great Argentine Revival in Cordova in May 1978 – during Military Rule - which has since swept millions of Roman Catholics into the Kingdom of God!
3. Run that ye may obtain:
If God’s call is upon your life, throw yourself upon His mercy. Seek God in faith and a broken heart of compassion. Keep your focus on Christ alone. He will lead you. Fear nothing but sin and love nothing by Jesus, the truth, your family and lost souls! Let your prayer be: “More love for Thee O Lord and more souls for Thy Kingdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
4. I keep my body under control:
Reject Satan’s attacks on your mind and body. Claim the stripes of Jesus Christ to keep you pure and heal your body. Plead the blood of Jesus over yourself and your family! Submit yourself unto God, resist the devil and he will flee from you! Love God. Hate Evil. Flee from Lust, Greed and Pride!
5. Lest I become a castaway:
Make up your mind that you will serve Christ with all your spirit, soul and body and that you will not cave in. Plead the blood of Christ over yourself, your family and your ministry! Read and study the Word of God. Spend much time in prayer. Take time for seasons of Fasting and Prayer!
6. If you fall into sin, cry out immediately to God for mercy and cleansing through the Blood of Christ:
The Bible says: “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. If we confess our sins (to God) He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all righteousness. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.
“And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 1: 7, 9; 2:1,2). The word propitiation means mercy seat, expiation, satisfaction. God is satisfied with Christ's death on the cross on our behalf!
7. Spend quality time with your family. Love, instruct and protect your wife and children:
“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. Nevertheless, let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
“Children obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and thy mother; which is the first commandment with promise. That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:31,33; 2:1-4)
8. Make it a habit to witness to someone every day.
Ask God to allow you reach someone with Christ’s Gospel and to win a soul for Him every week. Carry gospel tracts with you! Be courteous and friendly, using wisdom when seeking souls for His kingdom! Amen.
HOW GREAT THOU ART!
In 1885, walking home after a church service, near Kronobak, Sweden, Carl Boberg got caught in a vicious storm. Shortly thereafter, all nature came alive in a show of amazing beauty. He was so moved that he wrote the song, O Store Gud (O Great God).
In 1907, Manfred von Gheln translated it to German. Five years later, Russian Pastor Ivan Prokhanoff made a Russian adaptation. In the 1920s, Rev. and Mrs. Stuart K. Hine of Britain went to Poland as missionaries, learned the Russian version of O Store Gud and wrote the original English lyrics and made his own arrangement. George Beverley Shea sang that song about 100 times in Billy Graham’s great New York City Crusade in 1957.
O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made;
I see the stares, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
And when I think of God His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
Upon the cross, my burden gladly,
He bled and died to take away my sin.
When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
To lead me Home, what joy shall fill my heart;
Then I shall bow with humble adoration;
And the proclaim, My God, how great Thou art.
WHAT WILL IT TAKE FOR JESUS
TO COMMIT HIMSELF TO US?
“Many believed in His Name, when they saw the miracles which He did, but Jesus did not commit Himself to them because He knew all men and needed not that any should testify of man. For He knew what was in man.” (John 2: 23-25)
Believing in Jesus name is not enough…What is needed is a personal relationship. It is being converted. It is receiving Him as personal Saviour and Lord. It is belonging to Him and committing ourselves to Him!
In this Scripture Text: It was a spur of the moment experience, seeing the miracles and believing in His name. Many people in the excitement of a crusade will say, “This is wonderful. I believe.” They may even repeat the ‘sinner’s prayer’ and sign a card saying that they receive Christ as their personal Saviour. But many do not follow through and make Him the Lord of their life!
In the parable of the Sower and the Seed, we see this process emerging: “Now the parable is this: The seed is the Word of God. Those by the wayside are they that hear, then cometh the Devil, and taketh away the Word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
“They on the rock are they, which when they hear, receive the Word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in a time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with care and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring forth no fruit to perfection.
“But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the Word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:11-15)
HE TRUSTED A REPENTANT SINNER!
Jesus trusted Zacchaeus, the chief among publicans, who desired to see Him. He called: “Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.
“And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.
“And Jesus said unto him, this day is salvation come to this house, for as much as he is a son of Abraham. For the son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:5-10)
He trusted Mary, Martha and Lazarus: They were faithful to Him and worshipped Him. And He raised Lazarus from the dead. Martha stated: “Yea, Lord, I believe that Thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God, which should come into the world.” (John 11: 27)
He trusted His twelve disciples to preach His Gospel: “And when He had called unto Him His twelve disciples, He gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of disease. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devil: freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10: 1, 8).
He trusted the seventy other disciples He called to minister in His name and by His power: “After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before His face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.
“Therefore said He unto them. The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth labourers into His harvest. And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The Kingdom is come into you.
“And the seventy returned again with joy, saying Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through Thy Name. And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from Heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke 10: 17 -19)
He trusts those who obey His Great Commission:
“And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel unto 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 their hands on the sick, and they SHALL recover.” (Mark 16: 15-18)
HE WANTS TO COMMIT HIMSELF TO US!
1. We must deny ourselves and take up our cross: “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 shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his 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)
2. We must love Him with all our heart, soul and mind: “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy mind.” (Matthew 22:37)
3. We must put Jesus before all we are, have, do or say:
“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto Him yea, Lord Thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto him, Feed My lambs.
“He saith unto him a second time, Simon son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? He saith unto Him, Yes, Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto him, Feed My sheep. He saith unto him he third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?
“Peter was grieved because He said unto him the third time, Lovest thou Me? And he saith unto Him, Lord Thou knowest all things. Thou knowest that I love Thee. Jesus saith unto him, feed My sheep.” (John 20: 15-17)
Simon Peter had denied Jesus Christ three separate times and had fallen away from the faith on the eve of His crucifixion. He later repented and was received back by our Lord. Three times Jesus asked him, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?”
4. We must follow Him and obey Him: “Then Peter and the other disciples answered and said, We ought to obey God rather that men.” (Acts 5: 25)
The Bible says: “And it came to pass, that, when He went on His way, a certain man said unto Him, Lord, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head.
“And He said unto another, Follow Me, but he said, Lord suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the Kingdom of God.
“And another also said unto Him, 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: 57-62)
WHAT QUALITIES PLEASE GOD?
1. He is looking for truth in the inner man:
“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed, and in truth. (1 John 3:18); “Lord, who shall abide in Thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in Thy holy Hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.” (Psalm 15: 1,2)
2. He is looking for honesty and integrity:
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men. Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” (2 Timothy 2: 15);
“Having your conservation honest among the Gentiles: that whereas they speak against you as evil doers, ye may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2: 12)
3. He is looking for humility:
“But He giveth more grace. Wherefore He sayeth, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the Humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will Flee from you. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up” (James 4: 6, 7,10)
4. He is looking for hunger and desire for God:
“Blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.” (James 4: 8); “According as His divine power hath given 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 unto 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. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity (agape love).
“For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1: 3-8)
5. He is looking for mercy & compassion:
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you. That ye may be children of your Father which is in Heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on then unjust. For if ye love them that love you, what reward have ye, do not even the publicans so? (Matthew 5: 44-46)
6. He is looking for faith and reconciliation:
“Therefore if any man be in Christ Jesus, 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;
“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 ministry of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray for you in Chris’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
“For He hath made Him to be sin for us (sin offering) who knew no sin; tat we might be made then righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)
7. He is looking for purity & holiness:
“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.” (Ephesians 1: 4);
“For a bishop must be blameless as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate. Holding fast the sacred Word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.” (Titus 1: 7-11)
“But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation. (lifestyle).” (1 Peter 1: 15)
8. He is looking for Fellowship:
“But as we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and BLOOD of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)
“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 unto Him, and make our abode with Him.” (John 14: 23).
THEN SHALL THE END COME!
“And this gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24: 14)
I awakened early recently with the above Scripture filling my mind and my spirit. Quickly, I slipped out of bed, got my pen and began writing. The words, ‘Then, shall the End come’ seemed so ominous and so final!
What does that mean? Is there a final judgment? What happens when the End comes? What is the Gospel of the Kingdom? How is the Gospel a witness? Why must all nations hear the preaching of the Gospel? Who will preside as the Judge of the entire earth? Is there a real Heaven and a real Hell? Who gets to go, where and why?
Jesus commanded His disciples and by extension all believers to carry His gospel to everyone: “All power is given unto Me in Heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Mathew 28:18-20).
The word ‘alway’ is a term that denotes distance which means all the way, whereas ‘always’ is a term that denotes time. He has promised to go with us all the way to the end! He will never leave us or forsake us!
The Holy Bible says: “And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world. He that believeth and 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 their hands on the sick and they shall recover.” (Mark 16: 15-18)
WHY IS IT NECESSARY TO HEAR?
The Bible says: “So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17); “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. He that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16: 16)
Jesus reveals these great truths: All unbelievers are dead in trespasses and sins. When sinners hear His voice and receive Christ as Saviour, they are born again. All those, however, who die unsaved will hear His voice in the grave and be resurrected to eternal death.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto 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.
“For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself. And hath given Him authority to execute judgment also because He is the Son of man.” (John 5:24-27)
“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are on the graves shall Hear His Voice. And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the Resurrection of Life; and they that have done evil, unto the Resurrection of Damnation.” (John 5: 28,29)
WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT!
The Bible states: “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
“And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
“And death and Hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and Hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and Hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the Second Death.
“And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire.” (Revelation 20:10-15)
THE GREAT JUDGMENT MORNING!
In 1894, Bertram H. Shadduck wrote, ‘The Great Judgment Morning’ which has been sung by countless singers down through the years with great success in warning people of God’s Judgment upon sinners who reject Christ and His amazing Gospel! Personally, I enjoy Hank Williams' singing in his unvarnished style! On many occasions I have quoted it in altar calls inviting people to invite Jesus into their hearts!
I dreamed that the Great Judgment Morning
Had dawned and the trumpet had blown;
I dreamed that the nations had gathered,
For judgment before the White Throne.
From the throne came a bright, shining angel,
And he stood on the land and the sea,
And he swore with his hand raised to Heaven,
That time was no longer to be.
And, oh, what a weeping and wailing,
As the lost were told of their fate;
They cried for the rocks and the mountains,
They prayed but their prayers were too late.
HAVE YOU DRIFTED FROM GOD?
I love the old Gospel Songs we sang in the old-time Evangelical Lutheran Church when I was a boy. Here is one titled, ‘Coming Home’:
I’ve wandered far away from God
Now I’m coming Home
The paths of sin too long I’ve trod
Lord, I’m coming Home
Coming home, coming home
Never more to roam
Open wide Thine arms of love
Lord, I’m coming home
I’ve wasted many precious years
Now I’m coming home
I now repent with bitter tears
Lord, I’m coming home
I’m tired of sin and straying Lord
Now I’m coming home
I now repent with bitter tears
Lord, I’m Coming home
My soul is sick, my heart is sore
Now I’m coming home
My strength renew, my home restore
Lord, I’m coming home
THE WONDER OF IT ALL!
In this great story of God the Son becoming a man, through the miracle of the Incarnation, to rescue us from the evil Lucifer, we see the ingenuity and wisdom of our Creator and His amazing Grace toward us!
His loving Kindness and great Mercy dwarfs the cunning, lying and utterly wicked enemy of God and man, the consummate Liar. God’s grace and mercy, even in allowing the evil Satan to exist, is a testimony of the graciousness of God. Satan, however, is defeated and will be imprisoned forever in the Lake of Fire!
In a demonstration of pure love, our Heavenly Father gave Himself through His only begotten Son to purchase Eternal Life for us all. In order to liberate Adam’s fallen race from Satan and the bondage of sin and evil, Jesus Christ made the supreme sacrifice by shedding His pure and holy blood on the cross of shame at Golgotha!
To understand, contemplate and describe His love overpowers me. His mercy is indescribable and leaves me speechless. I stand in awe of His presence and bend low in anticipation of what He has done for me and all those who place their total trust in His beloved Son, Jesus Christ!
He who was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, crucified, dead and buried, rose again on the third day, is even now seated at His Father’s right hand in Heaven as our advocate, intercessor, Lord and God. Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church for which He died and He is the Baptizer in the Holy Ghost and fire!
His resurrection from the dead guarantees our justification and eternal life now, and in Heaven for eternity! And to think, that I am one of those lost sinners He came to earth to redeem, staggers the imagination. It will take all eternity for us to praise and worship Him!
To God be the glory, great things He has done and is still doing in the world of sinful men and in my life, as insignificant as it is. To be a tiny foot note in His great plan, would be more than enough! Amen.