CHRIST IS CALLING!
By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
St. Paul wrote: “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death: I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:10,14)
The great Apostle declared in no uncertain terms what his agenda was. His real reason for living was to bring glory, honour and praise to Jesus Christ the only Saviour of the world, and to bring His love, mercy, and grace to everyone!
People have asked what my agenda is. The word 'agenda' means 'things to be done'. It can be categorized as a plan or list of matters to be acted upon.
“My only agenda is to follow Jesus Christ and allow Him to lead me as He sees fit. And that I may be a blessing to all I am in contact with and to bring each loved one before the throne of God daily, in Jesus' precious and holy Name.”
St. Paul met Jesus in a blinding light on the Damascus Road. He heard His voice. His blinded eyes were restored. He was converted, filled with the Holy Spirit and called to preach Christ's Gospel. He established Christ's Church in the Gentile world!
He preached Christ crucified, buried, and risen from the dead, for the rest of his life. He suffered more than anyone yet did not quit. St. Paul died as a Martyr for Christ after having seen God's power to save, heal and deliver multitudes. He is now in Heaven rejoicing with Christ!
For 2,000 years, the Christian Church has presented the claims of Jesus Christ to save lost souls, heal the sick and liberate the suffering and wounded. Our ability to declare the forgiveness of sins in Christ’s name to all who repent and confess Him as Lord and Saviour is based upon His shed blood, vicarious death, and glorious resurrection!
In the book, The Cruciality of the Cross, Dr. Henry Mabie writes: “The Greek word used by Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:18 is Logos...not preaching but “the subject matter of the preaching; with the very essence of that which was to be preached; with the Logos of the Cross, which constitutes a rationale, its Divine Reason which ...he declares to be the Wisdom of God.
“This Logos of the Cross is conceived by Paul to be the key which unlocks the riddle of the universe, solves all mysteries and reconciles all things.”
It is a subject so magnanimous and so incomprehensible that mortal man can only stand in holy awe at its immensity, enormity, and grandiose love, that we are left speechless!
The blood of Jesus Christ which He freely gave for sinful, rebellious and guilty hell-bound sinners, purges our conscience from all guilt, delivers us from the power of sin and liberates us from Satan and his evil kingdom for time and eternity.
As Dr. Henry Mabie states, “The Logos of the Cross is conceived by Paul to be the KEY which unlocks the riddle of the universe, solves all mysteries and reconciles all things.
JESUS CHRIST IS THE CREATOR!
Jesus Christ created the universe – no riddle there. The ONE who hung on the cross made the universe. He understands everything about the universe because He keeps it functioning perfectly according to His Word!
The Holy Bible declares: “God hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the world. Who being the brightness of His Person and upholding all things by the Word of His power when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on High.” (Hebrews 1: 2,3)
He solved all Mysteries: He knows where we came from, being our Creator. He knows why we are here since He made us and placed us on the earth. He knows our ability to change the world through our faith in Jesus Christ and by the power of His Holy Spirit who dwells in us.
He solved the mystery of who Satan is, why he sinned and was cast out of Heaven and what his eternal destiny will be! Christ's vicarious death on the cross and glorious resurrection has fully destroyed Satan's power over humanity. All who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour are made free from sin and its consequences.
Jesus said: “But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
“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...In My name shall they cast out devils; They shall speak with new tongues... they shall lay their hands on the sick and they shall recover.” (Mark 16: 15-20)
He reconciles all things: By the cross, we are reconciled to God and one to another. His blood cleanses us from all sin and His blood purges our conscience. The pure and perfect Word of God and the Holy Spirit fills us with the Life of Jesus Christ.!
The Bible says: “And He (Jesus) is the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2: 2; 4:10). The word propitiation means the satisfaction, the mercy seat, covering and the expiation. (Heb. 9:5; Rom.3:25)
God was satisfied with the blood of His Son to atone for the sins of the entire world, past, present, and future. Through the blood of the everlasting covenant we are able also to forgive one another! His shed blood reconciles us to Himself, and our lives are so changed that we are reconciled to one another!
The Holy Scripture states: “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission for sins.” (Heb.2:22); "It is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul." (Lev. 17:11); “...and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all our sins.” (1 John 1: 7).
As the Jewish High Priest carried the blood of the paschal lamb into the Holy of Holies and offered it before the holy altar and the mercy seat, when Jesus arose from the dead, He carried His own blood into the Holy of Holies in Heaven, where it abides eternally!
LIFE THROUGH THE BLOOD!
ANDREW MURRAY wrote: "Reconciliation and deliverance from Guilt become the blessed entrance for us into a life in which the Blood, as it was transported into Heaven and abides there will be truly the power of divine abiding life in us." - The Blood of the Cross
Dr. DEHANN wrote: “The blood of Jesus is sinless blood, and since it is incorruptible, for sin brings corruption and where no sin is, there is no corruption. Every drop of blood which flowed in Jesus’ body is still in existence, and is just as fresh as it was when it flowed from His broken skin in Gethsemane, the blood that was smeared about His back when the cruel weighted tongs cut through His flesh as the flagellator scourged Him, the blood that oozed out under the thorny crown and flowed from His hands, His head, His feet was never destroyed for it was incorruptible blood.
“David, in speaking of Him in the 16th Psalm, while Peter quotes in Acts 2, says, “Thou wilt not leave His soul in Hades, nether wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption. Although the body of the Lord Jesus lay in the tomb in death for three days and nights with no corruption in it for that body contained incorruptible blood.”
MARTIN LUTHER stated: "First, the blood of Christ remains the same blood of Christ. For we believe and hold that the blood of Christ that is now at the Right Hand of God, was shed for us only ONCE." - Church & Ministry, Luther's Works, vol. 40, p. 215
ST. PAUL states: "But this Man, because He continueth ever, hath an unchanging priesthood. Wherefore He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God through Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.
"For such an High Priest became us, Who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens: Who needeth not daily, as those high priests to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's; for this He did ONCE, when He offered up Himself.
"For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity, but the word of the OATH, which was since the law, maketh the SON, who is consecrated forevermore." (Heb.7:24-28).
St. Paul declared: “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own Blood He entered in once into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For Christ is not entered into the Holy Place made with hands but into Heaven itself, now appear in the presence of God for us.” (Heb. 9:12,24)
THE CRY OF THE SYNAGOGUE!
Professor Alfred Edersheim (converted Jew) 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 be made then that of the Apostle: “Such an High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the Heavens.” (Hebrews 7: 26)
Year after year, the cry for an INNOCENT ONE to step forth and declare himself, had gone out with no credible response. From time immemorial the Jews had waited because all their rituals provided only temporary relief from their guilt and condemnation!
The GUILT of sinfulness with no recourse or forgiveness lies heavy on human hearts. The Jewish prophets had promised that a Deliverer would bring peace to their hearts. Through Jesus, God's only begotten Son, the Lord would satisfy the righteous demands of Divine Justice. Jesus would offer Himself as God's Pascal Lamb to redeem us all.
The Prophet wrote: “Surely He hath borne our sicknesses (makob) and carried our pains (nasa): yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted, but He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53: 4,5)
GOD'S SON WAS INCARNATED!
This Righteous One had to be innocent, pure, and sinless. Almighty God had promised to send such a Saviour to bring Redemption to mankind, because of Adam's high treason and rebellion against the Almighty! He would give His only begotten Son to suffer, bleed and die and be raised from the dead on the third day to Redeem the human race!
The Word of God stated: “The soul that sinneth it shall die”. (Ezek.18: 4). Their regular offerings in the Temple, together with the yearly Day of Atonement did not suffice to produce a permanent solution. They kept waiting and continued to wait, and then one day it happened!
John the Baptist stood forth with the definite message of Hope and Freedom. Pointing to Jesus of Nazareth, he cried: “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29). When He did come, they rejected Him accusing him of sorcery and turned Him over to the Roman Authorities to be scourged and crucified publicly on Golgotha, outside Jerusalem's city walls!
ONLY IN CHRIST JESUS!
By the grace of God alone we have received Eternal Life and become the children of God. And only through the vicarious death of Jesus Christ and His holy, pure, and life-giving blood have we been redeemed from the world, the flesh, and the devil.
The Bible declares: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
“To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)
The Holy Bible states: “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.” (2 Cor.8: 9); “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.” (2 Cor. 9:15)
In His great mercy and by His grace, “God hath chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty.” (1 Cor. 1:27). St. Paul wrote: “But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” (1 Cor. 1: 30)
ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED!
Only by the grace of God have we been chosen to become partakers of Christ's nature, thereby making us children of God, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. In His great mercy, kindness, and love, “He has made us accepted in the Beloved”. (Eph. 1:6)
Not only has He saved us from Satan's evil power and our carnal and sinful ways, but He has given us through the Lord Jesus Christ, His wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.
He has taken the foolish things of this world, like us, and made us His very own sons. His blood redeemed us from the curse of the law when Jesus became a curse for us. (Gal. 3: 13). The underlying purpose was that no flesh should glory in is presence! Redeemed and sanctified, by His precious blood alone!
“Why did Almighty God do all this for us? What was the purpose of Christ's incarnation, miraculous Ministry, His meritorious, vicarious death on the cross and His glorious resurrection from the Grave?”
It was the out flowing of our Father's great mercy, love, grace, and goodness toward lost humanity! His great heart of love planned and executed it all before the worlds were created. He would have a Church, a people and family to love and cherish and to use as the expression of His mercy and grace!
WHO CAN UNDERSTAND SUCH LOVE?
We cannot comprehend His greatness and the magnitude of His grace. It is beyond our human power to assimilate or even imagine. He wanted us. He called us. He forgave us! He saved us from our sins, our filthiness, pride, and unrighteousness. He lifted us from the muck and mire to sit with His Son Jesus Christ at His Heavenly Throne.
No wonder St. Paul says: “...that no flesh should glory in His presence.” (1 Cor. 1:29). We have nothing to gloat about! It was all His plan, His work and His goodness that gave us all this!
Where would I be? Where we would all be without His MERCY? Lost in our sins, bound by chains of lust, greed, and pride; doomed forever in a lost eternity, filled with fear, agony, pain and torments! O' what a Saviour! O' what blessedness in Christ our Lord? To Him be all the honour, glory and praise forever and ever. World without end. Amen.
Jesus said: “Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the VINE and ye are the branches: he that abideth in Me, and I in Him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.'' (John 15:4, 5)
WITHOUT ME YE CAN DO NOTHING!
St. Paul wrote: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2: 8-10)
I firmly believe that the reason the Saul of Tarsus was called by Jesus Christ on the Road to Damascus to be the founder of the Christian Church among the Gentiles, was his great humility and total love and commitment to our Saviour!
He never deviated from the very trying and dangerous situations he found himself in, throughout his entire Ministry. He never waffled or wavered. He simply obeyed and believed that God was with him and in him and working through him, and it was so!
Nobody ever suffered like he did as he preached and ministered the Gospel of Jesus Christ among the Jews and among the Gentiles; hungry, cold, imprisoned, beaten, scourged, stoned to death, and finally beheaded in Rome, giving his life freely for our Lord.
The Bible records St. Paul's great faith in Jesus Christ: “And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart. For I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die in Jerusalem for the Name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 21: 12-14)
When we read of the great devotion the Early Church had for Christ and His Gospel it shames us to see the anemic condition of His Church today. As we consider how near we are to the 'Coming of the Lord', we must stir and awaken the sleeping Church to become a soul winning Church!
William Booth and his wife Catherine founded the Salvation Army in 1865. They chose as their slogan, ‘Blood and Fire’, referring to Jesus Christ’s Blood shed for the remission of sins and the Fire referring to the FIRE of the Holy Spirit.
He stated: “The tendency of fire is to go out; watch the fire on the altar of your heart. Anyone who has tended a fireplace knows that it needs to be stirred up occasionally.”
In his book ‘When the Spirit Came’ (1928), Moravian Evangelist Rev. John Greenfield wrote: “Of the Apostolic Church in Jerusalem a certain writer has said:
‘Before thirty years had elapsed from the death of Christ, His followers had spread from Palestine throughout Syria; throughout almost all the districts of Asia Minor; through Greece and the Islands of the Aegean sea, the coast of Africa, and even into Italy and Rome’
“And at the close of the First Century JUSTIN MARTYR could truly testify: ‘There is not a nation either Greek or Barbarian or of any other name, even those who wander in tribes or live in tents, among whom prayers and thanksgivings are not offered to the Father and Creator of the Universe in the name of the Crucified Jesus.”
What has happened to the Christian Church? Let us examine ourselves to see whether we are still in the Faith of Jesus! I have been jolted again by the Holy Spirit, telling me that it is not too late. Pray with me that He will lead us to reach our nation for our Saviour while it is still time to do so! Write me with your thoughts on this important subject!
Here is the Book I wrote in 1998. It is more relevant now than then! M.S.
CANADA CHRIST IS CALLING
Canada is in a crisis. And the only way to resolve it, is to experience a spiritual awakening and a revival of moral values! During the past forty years our nation has been on a downward path and at present, we are a people divided, despondent and depressed; politically, economically, and spiritually!
A DIVINE CALL, HOWEVER, HAS GONE OUT TO OUR NATION AND THE WORLD AT LARGE. IT'S TIME TO TURN AROUND; TO REPENT AND FORSAKE SIN. TO SURRENDER OUR WILLS TO GOD AND GIVE UP THE FUTILE EFFORT OF "DOING THINGS OUR OWN WAY"!
Now is the time for Canadians to turn back from their rebellious ways; confessing sins of unbelief, pride, immorality, jealousy, envy, and prejudice.
And to turn away from lust, greed, hatred, selfishness, anger, bitterness, and deceit! To confront the devil, resisting him in the al-powerful Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Now is the time for everyone to reject and renounce the many dangerous, deceptive, and occult doctrines of the New Age Movement. As well as the cult of Secular Humanism that teaches, 'man ascended from the world of monkeys and apes', is self-sufficient and is his own God'!
The Bible speaks about humility, repentance, and submission to the Almighty and a total rejection of Satan. St. James states, "Submit yourselves therefore unto God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you". (James 4:7)
It's time to come home; to be reconciled to our Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord. To accept His invitation to talk things over. To straighten out past failures and right wrongs. And to receive total forgiveness and assurance, with new direction for the future!
The Bible says, "Let the wicked forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon". (Is. 55:7)
The divine call of God does not differentiate between rich or poor, educated or illiterate, men or women, young or old. There is no class distinction or favoritism due to race, colour, nationality or culture with the Almighty!
All may approach the throne of God and receive His mercy and grace, through faith in the finished work of Christ on Calvary's cross!
HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?
The Gospel is free to everyone! The Bible says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast". (Eph. 2:8-9).
There is no entry fee, cover charge or red tape to delay our coming to Him or stop the process of salvation from functioning in our lives.
The prophet invited, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; come, ye, buy wine and milk without money and without price". (Is. 55:1) And Jesus invites, "And him that cometh unto Me, I will in no wise cast out". (John 6:37)
The Enormous Cost of our Redemption, from Sin and the Power of Satan, has been Paid for by our Lord Jesus Christ!
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. 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)
St. John declared, "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil". (1 John 3:8); And St. Paul emphasized, "That through death, He (Jesus Christ) might destroy him who had the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage". (Heb. 2:14)
CHRIST'S GOSPEL: GOD WANTS US!
The good news is that God wants us. He wants you and me. No exceptions. And no questions asked. We come just as we are! He knows all about us, and yet He wants us, even though we are sinners. Why? He is a specialist in the field of cleansing, reconciliation, and re-birth!
The Bible states, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteous". (1 John 1:9). An old hymn says:
"Just as I am, without one plea
But that Thy blood was shed for me. And that Thou bidst me come to Thee O Lamb of God, I come. I come!
"Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot
Because Thy blood can cleanse each spot, O Lamb of God, I come. I come!
"Just as I am; poor, wretched, blind
Sight, riches, healing of the mind. All that I need, in Thee to find, O Lamb of God, I come, I come!
"Just as I am, Thou wilt receive
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve Because Thy promise I believe O Lamb of God, I come. I come!
The Bible says, "For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him..." (2 Chron. 16:9); And St. Peter stated,
"The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous and His ears are open unto their prayers, but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil". (1 Pet. 3:12)
1) THE CALL TO REPENTANCE
The very first message preached by our Lord was, "Repent and believe the gospel". (Mark 1:15). The same was true of the great prophet, John the Baptist. And St. Peter declared, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost". (Acts 2:38)
To repent, means to be sorry enough for our sins to stop committing them; To make an about turn in our everyday lives!
After St. Paul's letter to the church at Corinth, they were sorry for their sins and repented, changing their evil ways. He writes: "Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation..." (2 Cor. 7:9-10)
Repentance is forsaking the evil and unrighteous ways of the world, the flesh and the devil. A total change of lifestyle! Jesus said, "...Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish". (Luke 13:3)
In his Mars Hill sermon, St. Paul informed pagan Greek intellectuals of Jesus Christ and His glorious resurrection from the dead. Then he challenged them: "Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.
"And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent: Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man Whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead." (Acts 17:29-31)
In his defense before King Agrippa, St. Paul rehearsed his Damascus Road conversion experience, and the words of Jesus Christ to him.
"Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me." (Acts 26:17-18)
So urgent is the call for people to repent of their sins, the Bible says: "Knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men". (2 Cor. 5:11); Again, the Bible says: "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God". (Rom. 3:23)
Sin must be paid for unless there is repentance, and "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord". (Rom. 6:23)
The great Apostle wrote to the church in Rome concerning those committing sinful acts and others who condemn them, being guilty of the same sins.
"But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
"But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; "Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immorality, eternal life:
"But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;" (Romans 2:2-9)
God's Goodness and Patience causes us to repent and turn to Him. Jesus said, "Behold, I come quickly"- literal Greek: Without delay, at once, soon. (Rev. 22:12)
St. Peter gave two reasons why Jesus had not yet returned. 1) One thousand years with us as like one day with the Lord. 2) God's mercy is reaching out for more sinners to be saved!
"But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:8-9)
The Bible says, "Repent and be baptized...and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit". (Acts 2:38-39). "Repent ye therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out..." (Acts 3:19)
And Jesus says, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me". (Rev. 3:19-20)
2) THE CALL TO PRAYER
The Bible says, "If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land". (2 Chron. 7:14) Prayer is vital, if we are to have communion with God! The first prayer everyone needs to pray is: "O God be merciful to me a sinner, forgive my sins and save my soul! In Jesus' Name. Amen".
When fellowship has been restored with God, we can pray for our needs, and for others! The Lord's prayer is a powerful model:
"Our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from Evil. for Thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory ever. Amen." (Matt. 6:9-13)
We should spend time alone with God in prayer, praise, and thanksgiving; as well as corporate prayer with fellow believers! Jesus invites: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
"For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." (Matt. 7:7-8)
St. Jude wrote about the evil, filthy, lusty lifestyles of many. He warned of coming judgment upon those who continue in their pernicious, lascivious ways. He admonished: "But ye beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit". (Jude 20)
We should always stay in an attitude of prayer. The Bible says, "Pray without ceasing". (1 Thes. 5:17)
The renowned Scottish preacher, Robert Murray McCheyne stated, "Give yourself to prayer, and get your texts, thoughts, your words from God. Luther spent his best three hours in prayer".
Writing about the martyr George Fox, William Penn stated: "But above all be excelled in prayer... the most awful, living, reverend frame I ever felt or beheld, I must say, was his prayer. He knew and lived nearer to the Lord than other men..."
John Wesley - founder of the Methodist Church - stated, "Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on earth. God does nothing but in answer to prayer".
Martin Luther stated, "If I should neglect prayer but a single day, I should lose a great deal of the fire of faith". Jesus constantly urged His disciples to pray: "Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation". (Matt. 26:41)
An old hymn says:
"Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer!
That calls me from a world of care,
And bids me at my Father's throne
Make all my wants and wishes known;
In seasons of distress and grief,
My soul has often found relief, And oft escaped the tempter's snare
By Thy return, sweet hour of prayer.
Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer!
Thy wings shall my petition bear
To Him whose truth and faithfulness
Engage the waiting soul to bless;
And since He bids me seek His face,
Believe His word and trust His grace,
I'll cast on Him my every care,
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer.
Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer!
May I thy consolation share,
Till, from Mount Pisgah's lofty height, I view my home, and take my flight:
This robe of flesh I'll drop, and rise
To seize the everlasting prize;
And shout, while passing thro the air,
Farewell, farewell, sweet hour of prayer.
3) THE CALL TO FAITH
The twin pillars of the Christian Church are repentance and faith. St. Paul makes that very plain: "Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." (Acts 20:21)
Writing to new converts he said: "For by grace (God's unmerited favour) are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast". (Eph. 2:8-9).
To believe in Jesus Christ and receive Him into your life is to have faith! Faith is a fact, but faith is also an act, because faith requires corresponding action!
The Bible says, "For God...gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life". (John 3:16)
When you have faith in God, you will believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ and dedicate your life in His service! Real faith transforms a person's lifestyle because faith in God works miracles in people! "Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2 Cor. 5:17)
HOW DO WE RECEIVE FAITH?
According to the Holy Scriptures, God has given each one of us faith to believe in Jesus Christ, His Son and be saved. "...think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." (Rom. 12:3)
He has placed His Word within our conscience, and our spirit which came from God! (Rom. 7:22-25) The Word of God also creates faith! "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Rom. 10:17)
God has called us to a life of faith and worship, through Jesus Christ His Son!
The Bible says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that
He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him". (Heb. 11:1,6)
Faith is 3 things: 1) Coming to God with our needs. 2) Believing that God exists. That He is Who the Bible says He is. 3) Expect a miracle (an answer) when you pray!
'Faith in the Father and faith in the Son
Faith in the Holy Ghost, three in the One
Demons will tremble and sinners awake
Faith in Christ Jesus will anything shake!'
Faith is also a gift as well as a fruit of the Holy Spirit! "To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;" (1 Cor. 12:9); "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith," (Gal. 5:22)
4) THE CALL TO SEPARATION
Jesus calls us to righteous, holy and pure living! The Bible says, "But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conduct". (1 Peter 1:15)
Sanctification is the process by which believers are set apart for God and His service, to be made holy and purified from sin by His gifts and graces and our determined will to do that which is right!
We cannot do this in our own power. The Scripture says, "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)
St. Paul admonished, "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour.
"For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness." (1 Thes. 4:3, 4, 7)
God sets us apart through the divine process of redemption and the infilling of the Holy Spirit, but we must separate ourselves totally and completely unto Him, in order that His miraculous provision will work within us!
The Bible clearly states that God desires His people to lead pure, wholesome lives – not like the pagan – and be separated from the Evil practices of lying, witchcraft, idolatry, sodomy, and adultery. His Word teaches purity of thought, word, and deed!
St. Paul declared, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you". (2 Cor. 6:17)
God promises to be our Father if we believe His Word and live by it! In His dealings with the Children of Israel, He demanded that they separate themselves from idols and the pagan practices of the heathen!
"But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils." 1 Cor. 10:20-21)
As Christians, we are followers of Jesus Christ and must not try to drag Him down to the filth in which the ungodly live but let Him lift us to the place of purity and wholeness which He exemplifies.
Jesus Christ saves us from our sins. He does not leave is in our sins!
The Bible says, "If a man therefore purge himself from these (carnal, sinful and dishonourable pursuits) he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work.
"Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart." (2 Tim. 2:21-22). Again, God's Word states, "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God". (2 Cor. 7:1)
5) THE CALL TO DEDICATION
The word dedicate means to "set apart and consecrate to a divine being. To give wholly or earnestly to a patron, friend or purpose".
It is in this sense I now use this word. We should be willing to give ourselves wholly and earnestly unto the cause of righteousness, loving God, and our fellowman!
The Bible does not compromise. It is clear in its teachings that if we do certain things, God will bless and prosper us! And if we do not, there will be no blessing!
Here is His clarion call to dedication:
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Rom. 12:1-2)
This stern admonition was sent to former pagans, who had converted to Christ. St. Paul demanded that they break from evil, lustful and perverted deeds and live in purity as Christians! He admonishes Timothy and all of us:
"But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, where unto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
“I give thee charge in the sight of God, Who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, Who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:" (1 Tim. 6:11-14)
It is certainly a slap in our face, when Muslims and other pagans reject Christianity because of the lewd way in which our so-called Christian society conducts itself. I hasten to say that the rock and roll music, loose living, pornography, abortion, alcoholism, drug taking and sexual perversion, which is so prevalent in our society, is in no way Christian
ON THE CONTRARY, IT IS ANATHEMA!
It is sad to hear Muslim leaders saying that they do not want their people contaminated with "the abominable practices of pornography, drug abuse, obscene rock and roll music and alcoholism, which are rife in Western Christian culture!"
The Bible says, "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul: Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may be your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation". (1 Peter 2:11-12)
Again, the Word of God instructs us to, "Abstain from all appearance of evil". (1 Thes. 5:22). Let us use the Lord Jesus Christ as our example, Who was perfect in all respects - SINLESS in deity and humanity - yet was obedient to the cross, suffering for our sin and shame, so that He could save us and bring us to God!
"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Heb.12:2)
Concerning our blessed Lord Jesus, the Holy Bible records: "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
"And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross". (Phil. 2:6-8)
St. Paul is also an example of a dedicated person: "I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first and also to the Greek". (Rom. 1:14-16)
6) THE CALL TO CONSECRATION
Consecration is the act of obedience, when we privately and publicly make a statement that we have given ourselves in dedication for His service.
In like manner, as we consecrate a church building or musical instruments to God's service, so we consecrate our bodies, talents, and riches unto the cause of Christ and His Church!
Christ is calling us to give ourselves wholeheartedly to His cause. To consecrate ourselves unto a life righteous living and evangelism!
He is looking for those who will be totally committed to His gospel, so that His light may shine in this ungodly world. The Bible says, "...let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us." (Heb. 12:1)
What does that mean to the liar, thief, adulterer, homosexual or gambler? Pure and simple stop doing those things and begin living pure lives!
Jesus said, "Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up the 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". (Mark 8:35-36)
Our Lord requires a full commitment and consecration from us for Him to trust us with His authority, gifts and power! He does not want to be the "fifth wheel" of our existence or a "fire-insurance policy" kept in a safety deposit box.
He must take centre stage in our lives so that our lifestyle will be pleasing in His sight, and effective in our relationship to others!
Jesus, Who is our grand example, "set His face" to go to Jerusalem where He knew He would die upon a rugged cross and become "a curse for us", in order to purchase our salvation! (Gal. 3:13) St. Paul said, "What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? For I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." (Acts 21:13)
Again, he stated, "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:" (2 Tim. 4:6,7)
The Bible says concerning the early church disciples, "Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ". (Acts 15:26)
7) THE CALL TO SERVICE
Jesus declared, "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". (Mark 16:15)
The paramount duty of the Christian is to communicate the gospel to our fellowmen by our chaste lifestyles, honesty, compassion and wholesome outlook.
We are "saved to serve"! Jesus said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets". (Matt. 22:37-40)
The only road to true happiness is going God's way, walking the Gospel road by firstly, loving God and secondly, loving our neighbours as ourselves!
Let us always follow the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".
Born again Christians automatically seek the "high road of life" after an encounter with 'Jesus of Nazareth'. We are concerned about the needs of others - spiritual, emotional and physical - because our lives have been changed!
“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”. (2 Cor. 5:17)
Angelic beings brought the message of Christ's victory to the disciples, at the empty tomb on that first resurrection morning. They said, "Come and see the place where our Lord lay, and go and tell His disciples..." (Matt. 28:6, 7)
It is incumbent upon all Christians to experience God's blessings through Christ, and then to "go and tell" others the good news that there is hope for our nation and our world! And the HOPE that lies only in the proclamation and reception of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
The Bible says, "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". (Matt. 24:14). Christ has no hands but our hands, to do His work of preaching and spreading His Gospel to the ends of the earth. Let us be about our Father’s business!
Christ is calling us all to communicate, share, spread, dispense, articulate, and live His Gospel before this wicked world, so that many more will be saved before it is everlastingly too late. And that includes paying our tithes and giving offerings to God's work. Let us remember the words of our Lord Jesus: "It is more blessed to give than to receive". (Acts 20:35)
He also stated: "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again". (Luke 6:38)
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matt. 6:33)
Francis of Assisi said, "Preach the gospel every day and if you must use words". He taught his students that there is no point in, "walking somewhere to preach, unless you can preach while you are walking"!
The Bible instructs: "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:" (1 Peter 3:15).
“Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, Who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
"That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life." (1 Tim. 6:17-19)
Jesus said, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest". (Matt.11:28). Amen.
CANADA, CHRIST IS CALLING! LET US ANSWER THAT CALL NOW!