Friday, May 15, 2020

                                              WHAT DOES JESUS
                              MEAN TO ME?
                          By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.

     Gospel Singer Andre Crouch wrote the beautiful little Chorus: O’ it is Jesus; Yes, it is Jesus; It is Jesus in my soul; for I have touched the hem of His garment, and His blood has made me whole!
     Many people like Jesus of the Bible. They have heard the story of His virgin birth, born in a stable in Bethlehem. They heard that He died for us on the Cross and Arose from the dead.  When I was a child in school and in church, we learned the significance of Christmas and Easter. Many of us learned how to sing and love the hymns.
    There is nothing to dislike about Jesus Christ, until He makes a demand for us to humble ourselves, repent of our sins and receive Him as Saviour and Lord. And to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him.
     Many may say, ‘He is too demanding, the price of following Jesus is too high. The road is too narrow. I love the world.  I will lose my friends. I can make it on my own’!
           CHOOSE JESUS OR THE WORLD!      
     The Bible says: ‘Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” (1 John 2: 15-17)
      JESUS said: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…Except a man be born of water (Word) and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.” (John 3:3,5)
     Our Lord said: “Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you.” (John 15:3). The Bible states: “That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of the water by the WORD.” (Eph. 5:26).
    Water baptism does not save. It is a testimony of our belief in the death, burial and the resurrection of Jesus Christ! We are born again by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit!
     The Lord stated: “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 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.” (John 5:24-26). Jesus spoke about TWO different groups ‘of the dead’ who hear the voice of God. All human beings are born in Sin and are therefore “dead in trespasses and sins”.
     The First Group hear the voice of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God. They repent of their sins and receive Christ through prayer; and they are saved!
     The Second Group are dead in their graves and hear the Voice of God to arise from the dead and be judged; some to eternal life and others to eternal damnation in Hell:
     “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in their 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 5:24-29)
     St. Paul wrote to the new converts in Ephesus: “And you hath He quickened (made alive) who were dead in trespasses: Wherein in times past ye walked according to the course of this world…” (Eph. 2: 1,2)
     “Wherefore He saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Eph.5: 14-16)
     To new converts in Colosse, St. Paul wrote: “And you, being dead in your Sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened (made alive) together with Him, having forgiven all trespasses.” (Col. 2:13)
    “The opportunity for those who have died without receiving the saving ordinances of the gospel to have these ordinances performed for them in temples by worthy living members of the Church. The dead are taught the gospel in the spirit world and may accept the ordinances performed for them in mortality. All those who have died who would have accepted the gospel will be heirs to the celestial kingdom. - Salvation for the Dead D&C 137:7–10.
     Latter Day Saints doctrines are a perversion of the Holy Scriptures and extremely damning. Their doctrines will be responsible for multitudes spending eternity in the Lake of Fire together with Joseph Smith and Brigham Young!
    Joseph Smith was a con man who dealt in dark and evil arts. He lied about the gold plates that disappeared. Satan sent Maroni, a demon spirit, to deceive multitudes! Joseph Smith had great respect for Islam’s founder Muhammed and is called, ‘The American Muhammed’. The LDS is not the Church of Jesus Christ!
                 SHE TOUCHED JESUS BY FAITH!
 Jesus loved people and performed great miracles of healing and deliverance everywhere He went. He was on His way to heal Jairus’ dying daughter when a great miracle happened!
      “And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, came behind Him and touched the border of His garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.
    “And Jesus said, Who touched Me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with Him said, Master, the multitude throng Thee and press Thee and Thou sayest, Who touched Me? And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched Me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of Me.
     “And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before Him, she declared unto Him before all the people for what  cause she had touched Him, and how she was healed immediately.”
     This miracle teaches us many things. We see the great compassion of Jesus Christ toward sick and suffering humanity. On His way to minister to Jairus’ dying daughter, an incurably ill woman touched the hem of His garment. Many religious Jews had a ribbon of blue representing the righteousness of God, sewed to the border of their robe. Undoubtedly, she was aware of that and touched His clothes in faith for her great need!
     The miracle happened without Christ’s knowledge. Jesus said, “Somebody touched me. I felt virtue leave Me.”
     She was bold in her actions and God met her need! With an issue of blood twelve years, she was a social outcaste and bankrupt due to medical bills. She heard about the Master and followed the crowd. In her weakness she may have fallen to her knees inching her way through the crowd. Then she touched Him!  God saw her faith and answered!
    And Jesus said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.” (Luke 8:43-48)
    In the literal Greek, it says: ‘Your faith has made a demand upon My ability.’ He said to the poor, distraught, sick woman, ‘Daughter, be comforted. Receive My peace. You now have a new life.’
                 JESUS: THE GREAT PHYSICIAN!
    “While He yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead, trouble not the Master. But when Jesus heard it, He answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.
    “And when He came into the house, He suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden. And all wept, and bewailed her; but He said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.
    “And they laughed Him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. And He put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid arise. And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway; and He commanded to give her meat. And her parents were astonished; but He charged them that they tell no man what was done.” (Luke 8:49-56)
    From the beginning of His earthly Ministry, Jesus healed the sick and cast out Evil spirits! He was filled with the Holy Spirit at His baptism and went out to deliver the people and continued preaching and healing until He was arrested and condemned to the Cross.
                 THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT!
   “And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of Him through all the region round about. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.
   “And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto Him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written.
      “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to Heal  the broken hearted, to preach Deliverance to the Captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at Liberty them that are bruised. To preach the Acceptable year of the Lord.” (Is. 61: 1,2)
      The Bible says: “And He closed the book and gave it again to the minister and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on Him. And He began to say unto them, This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears.” (Luke 4: 19,21)  
                        CHAIR OF THE MESSIAH!
     The Year of Jubilee spoke of the fiftieth year when debts were forgiven, and all prisoners were released. When Jesus established His Church the ‘Acceptable Year of the Lord’ began and will continue until His returns!
      During His earthly Ministry, multitudes were released from their sins, sicknesses, diseases and delivered from evil spirits! The forgiveness of sins, the healing of the sick, the Baptism of the Holy and Fire, and the Gifts of the Spirit will continue until the Rapture of the Church!
     Jesus had attended the synagogue in Nazareth for many years as Joseph’s son. He had since been filled with Holy Spirit, defeated Satan in His wilderness temptation and was about to declare Himself the Jewish Messiah.
    In the synagogue there was an empty chair reserved for the Messiah. When Jesus finished reading the Scripture, He sat down in Messiah’s chair and said, This day, is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears. And all bare Him witness and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?
     “And He said unto them, ye will surely say unto Me this proverb, Physician heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in this country…Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in His country.
      “But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when the great famine was throughout all the land. But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon unto a woman that was a widow...
     “And they were all filled with wrath. And rose up, and thrust Him out, and led Him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast Him down headlong. But He passing through the midst of them went His way.” (Luke 4: 14-30)
      They became angry and sought to kill Him, but He escaped out of their hands and continued preaching and healing the sick and casting our demons! There wasn’t much faith or love in that city! The Bible says: “And He did NOT many miracles there (in Nazareth) because of their unbelief.” (Matt. 13:58)
                     POWER OF THE LORD HEALS!
      “And it came to pass on a certain day, as He was teaching that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem; and the POWER of the Lord was present to heal them.
     “And, behold, they brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before Him. And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.
     “And when He saw their faith, He said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. And the scribes and Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?
     “But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?
     “But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, He said unto the sick of the palsy, I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go unto thine house,
     “And immediately he rose up before them, and took up thereon he lay, and departed to His own house, glorifying God.(Luke 17-25)
       Miracles performed in Jesus’ Name prove that He has the power and authority to forgive sins. The Sceptics doubted Jesus’ ability to FORGIVE sins. Jesus healed the sick man so that they would believe He had power to forgive sins!
     In the Western world many Christians believe that Jesus has the power to forgive their sins but doubt His ability or willingness to heal their body! What a perversion of Christ’s Eternal Gospel!
     What a slap in God’s face! What a ‘putdown’ of the Risen Christ! What a sign of a powerless church that has changed the Word of God to accommodate their ingrained humanism. What an immense arrogance in arbitrarily rejecting the Words of Jesus Christ!
     When Jesus together with Peter, James and John returned from the Mount of Transfiguration they witnessed the failure of the other nine disciples to deliver a demon possessed boy who was deaf and dumb:
     “And one of the multitude answered and said. Master, I have brought unto Thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; and wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him; and he foameth and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away; and I spake to Thy disciples that they should cast him out, and they could not.
     "He answereth him, and said, O FAITHLESS generation,how long shall I
be with you? how long shall I suffer you? Bring him to Me."
     And they brought him unto Him: and when he saw Him, straightway the spirit tear him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And He asked his father how long is it since this came unto Him? And he said, Of a child.
     "And oftentimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if Thou canst do anything, have compassed on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to them that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, I believe, help Thou my unbelief.
    When Jesus saw the people come running together, He rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. And the spirit tore him sore, and came out of him, and he was as one dead, insomuch that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up, and he arose.
                    WHY COULDN’T WE DO IT?
    “And when He come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, Why could we not cast him out? And He said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by Prayer and Fasting.” (Mark 9:17-18)
      Jesus rebuked His disciples: “O FAITHLESS generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? Bring him to Me.”
  His disciples were not as foolish and proud as many of today’s preachers who modify God’s Word! They acknowledged their weakness and failure and asked Jesus for help to resolve the problem! He gives us the key: Prayer and Fasting!
    The Bible says: “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and power: Who went about doing good and healing All that were oppressed of the Devil, for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and showed Him openly…
    “And He commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is He which was ordained of God to be the judge of the quick (living) and dead. To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall give remission of Sins.
   “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the Gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak in tongues and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” (Acts 10: 38 -47)
                    THE GREAT COMMISSION!
      Here are the two signs the early church used. First:  To prove that Jesus Christ has the authority to forgive sin, He healed the sick.  Second: to identify true believers in Jesus Christ for water baptism, they spoke in tongues and glorified God!
      Christ’s Great Commission states:  
     “And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe:
     “In My Name shall they cast out devils; They shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents (Paul in Malta); and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them  (preachers in Soviet prisons); they shall lay their hands on the sick and they shall recover.
     “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into Heaven, and they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the Word with signs following.” (Mark 16: 15-20)
                      CHRIST SURE FOUNDATION!
   The Bible states: “For other foundation can man lay than that is laid, which is JESUS CHRIST. Now if any man build’s work upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
   “Every man’s work shall be manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by FIRE; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” (1 Cor. 3: 11-13)
     Edward Mote (1797-1874) wrote the amazing hymn: My Hope is Built: ‘My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ Name. On Christ the Solid Rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.’      
     In 1787, John Rippon wrote ‘How Firm a Foundation’.  How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord is laid for your faith in His excellent Word! What more can He say than to you He hath said, who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?
    When you believe in Jesus Christ, True God from eternity who was made True man (God in human flesh) through the Virgin birth, you are likened to the man who built his house on the Rock Christ Jesus:  
      “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man who built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house’ and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” (Matt. 7:24, 25)
                       JESUS CHRIST IS THE ROCK!
    JESUS said: “And have ye not read this Scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner: This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes.” (Mark 12: 10,11)
    “And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? Then Peter filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, if we this day be examined of the good deed done  to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole:
     “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by Him doth this man stand before you whole.
     “This is the STONE, which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4: 7-12). Amen.