Glimpses of the Cross Day 21; Victory in Jesus

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

The story goes of a pastor who was changing trains at a train station. While waiting on his train, a man approached him with some religious literature, trying to witness to him about God. The pastor could not help but smell the alcohol on his breath. He asked the man if he was drinking. The man confessed yes. The pastor asked him how he could be sharing Jesus while he was drinking. The man told the pastor, that Jesus overcame so that he did not have to overcome, and that Jesus also died for him so he does not have to die. The pastor responded, “So Jesus overcame do you don’t have to?” “That’s right” the man said. “He did it all for me so I don’t have to.” The pastor asked another question. “So Jesus died so you don’t have to die to self?” The man nodded yes. The pastor then replied, ” Well if Jesus overcame so you don’t have to overcome, and died so you don’t have to die, then He also rose again and went back to heaven so you don’t have to do that either!”

The Good news is Jesus overcame so we can experience victory in our lives too!

 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.  2 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV

Jesus died so that our sinful ways can be crucified with Him.

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20 NKJV

Jesus rose again and is in heaven so we can rise from the dead and be in heaven too!

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,  even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),  and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, Ephesians 2:5-6 NKJV

Jesus’ victory over sin is to be a reality in our lives. Jesus’ death to self is to be a reality in our lives, and Jesus’ victory over the death and the grave is to be a reality in our lives as well!

Because I live, you will live also. John 14:19 NKLJV

To the believer, death is but a small matter. Christ speaks of it as if it were of little moment. “If a man keep My saying, he shall never see death,” “he shall never taste of death.” To the Christian, death is but a sleep, a moment of silence and darkness. The life is hid with Christ in God, and “when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.” John 8:51, 52; Colossians 3:4. –Desire of Ages, Page 787 

Salvation In Light Of The Cross – With New Living Translation

Mark

You may download a printable copy of In Light Of The Cross Bible Study Guides -NLT here.

Salvation

 

Brief overview: Salvation from death and sin is a free gift from God. It is not earned. It is a free gift courtesy of God’s love and grace. See John 3:16Romans 6:23Ephesians 2:1-102 Timothy 1:9.

 

Why it is important to know the truth about salvation?

In pagan religions man makes the sacrifices to obtain the pleasure and acceptance of his “god”. Some pagan tribes have offered up human sacrifices just to make sure the sun would rise the next day. They also brought gifts for their “gods” hoping to gain their love and blessing. In Christianity it is the exact opposite. Our God sacrifices Himself on the Cross to obtain not His but our pleasure and acceptance. While we were the guilty ones He did not wait for us to bring a gift or peace offering, but made Himself the peace offering.

Revelation 12 tells us of a war in heaven. Not with machine guns and tanks, but a war of the minds. Isaiah 14 tells us Satan wanted God’s seat to the point where he was willing to kill God Himself to get it. He convinced a third of the angels that it would be in the best interest of the Universe if he was in control rather than God. Satan came to this earth and in Genesis 3 convinced Eve and thus mankind that he was more interested in our welfare than God was. For years a great controversy has raged over who has our best interest in mind.

Why understanding salvation in light of the cross is important:

The Cross settles the controversy of who has our best interest in mind once and for all. At the Cross we see the true character of both God and Satan. While we see Satan manipulating men to kill God, we see a tyrant who is willing to kill anyone who gets in his way of being number one. In contrast we see a God who is willing to give His life to save the world. The Cross shows who is really interested in our welfare and who is just using us as pawns for his own selfish purposes.

While Satan pretended to be on our side and acting in our best interest we see what he is really up to. We can also see the God whom Satan claimed did not really care about us is actually at peace with us and on our side!

Further study on Salvation

If Jesus were to come today would you be saved?

I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.  1 John 5:13 NLT

God wants us to know we are saved. He does not want us wondering or hoping, but knowing that we have eternal life. We have done nothing to earn this, but then again, what did the angels do to earn their place in heaven? Nothing! They were just created there. Before and after sin and the cross, life has always been a free gift and always will be.

If you were to stand before God and He asked you why He should allow you into His kingdom what would you say?

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT

I like to share that if I was asked that question, I would just point to Jesus and say “Ask Him?” Jesus would then explain that He was treated the way I deserve to be treated so I may be treated the way He deserves to be treated.

“Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His.” Desire of Ages, page 25

Why do I need grace?

 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Romans 3:23 NLT

What are the wages of sin?

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23 NLT

I like to share right here that the wages of sin is not eternal torment in hell.John 3:16 says those who believe “shall not perish” instead of “shall not betormented for all eternity.”

What is sin?  Important to know since sin causes death.

Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God.

 1 John 3:4 NLT

Note: Good news is that it is not a sin to be human or tempted. It is a sin to willfully and knowingly break God’s law. Obviously the law is still in effect. If there were no law I could not break God’s law and sin, and therefore I would not need grace. The fact that I need grace shows there is still a law.

Now if I run a red light just one time I deserve a ticket. Likewise one sin is all it takes for me to deserve death. This leads us to Romans 5:10,19

How does God deal with the fact that I don’t have a prefect life to offer?

For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.  Romans 5:10 NLT

Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.  Romans 5:19 NLT

I am not only saved by His death. I am also saved by His life! His life stands in the place of my life. Again, Jesus was treated as we deserve so we can be treated as he deserves.

Jesus takes our sins and gives us His righteousness.

For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.  2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT

Note: Jesus took the punishment for my sins in which He had no share, so that I may have the reward of His righteousness in which I had no share. Jesus was treated the way I deserve to be treated so I may be treated the way He deserves to be treated.

Jesus gives us eternal life and then helps us to hate the sins we now love and to love the good things we now hate.

He personally carried our sins
in his body on the cross
so that we can be dead to sin
and live for what is right.
By his wounds
you are healed.  1 Peter 2:24 NLT

 

Revelation 2; No Fear

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Jesus gives seven churches in Asia some relevant instruction for their time and place, but it is also relevant to us as well. The churches also represent different time periods of the Christian era. Jesus loves His church and gives them special instructions to help them with the trials that they will be encountering. Read what He tells the church of Smyrna.

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast [some] of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.  Revelation 2:10

Usually when someone says, “Don’t be afraid,” we take it to mean that they are going to save us from death. While Jesus is telling His church not to fear, He is not promising them they won’t die. He is just telling them don’t be afraid to die, because I will still give you eternal life. As Christians there are things we should fear a lot more than death, like sin and compromising with the world. Christ promises to save us from evil, and one of the ways He may do that is to let us die and rest until He returns. Those who are asleep in Jesus are eternally beyond the annoyances of sin and evil! And yes, Jesus promises us a crown of life if we are faithful. Not just faithful as long as it does not cramp our style. Not just faithful as long as are lives are saved, but faithful until death. Is that not how faithful Jesus was to us?

 Jesus is not promises us a bed of roses. He is not saying we will never be cast into prison, or die. He is just saying, Hey don’t worry about it. I will still give you eternal life.

1 John; Relationships

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

You know how we always say, “You can’t share what you don’t have?” Well John actually had a real relationship with Jesus, and in 1 John he shares it. He has some powerful stuff to help us in our relationship with Jesus.  “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship [is] with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:3

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:9

One of the first things John shares is the forgiveness of Jesus. Not only had John been forgiven a lot, but he also saw Jesus forgive a lot. He saw him forgive Peter, He was at the foot of the cross with Jesus’ mother, when Jesus cried out “Father forgive them.” He witnessed firsthand the power of forgiveness. Forgiveness is very important to relationships.

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 2:1-2

“If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” How careful is the Lord Jesus to give no occasion for a soul to despair. How he fences about the soul from Satan’s fierce attacks. If through manifold temptations we are surprised or deceived into sin, he does not turn from us, and leave us to perish. No, no, that is not like our Saviour. Christ prays for us. He was tempted in all points like as we are; and having been tempted, he knows how to succor those who are tempted. Our crucified Lord is pleading for us in the presence of his Father at the throne of grace. His atoning sacrifice we may plead for our pardon, our justification, and our sanctification. The Lamb slain is our only hope. Our faith looks upon him, grasps him as the one who can save to the uttermost, and the fragrance of the all-sufficient offering is accepted of the Father. Unto Christ is committed all power in heaven and in earth, and all things are possible to him that believeth. Christ’s glory is concerned in our success. He has a common interest with all humanity. He is our sympathizing Saviour.  {Review and Herald, September 1, 1891 par. 2} 

While John also knew the power of forgiveness, he also knew how important faithfulness is to a relationship with Christ. “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.” 1 John 2:15-16

John also knew what was possible for us when we are in a relationship with Jesus.

 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.  1 John 2:6

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.  1 John 3:1-3

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.  1 John 3:9

Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.  1 John 4:17

Are you grasping the power and what is possible here? As He is so are we, not after we get to heaven, but in this world!

We love him, because he first loved us.  1 John 4:19 Here John tells us what His relationship with Christ is all about. “  It is not the fear of punishment, or the hope of everlasting reward, that leads the disciples of Christ to follow Him. They behold the Saviour’s matchless love, revealed throughout His pilgrimage on earth, from the manger of Bethlehem to Calvary’s cross, and the sight of Him attracts, it softens and subdues the soul. Love awakens in the heart of the beholders. They hear His voice, and they follow Him.”  {Desire of Ages, p. 480}

Where does this relationship built on love lead to? “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”  1 John 5:13

John 20; The Bible Was not Written for Debate

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

John 20:31   But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. 

I meet many people who love to debate the gospels and even the whole Word of God. Others love to speculate as to what it certain symbols mean. However they do this with no conviction of the truth but just out of curiosity as though the Bible were some fiction mystery book. I do not like to waste my time with debates. I want to share the things that are written in God’s Word with a world that is feels its need of a Savior, and not waste my time debating it with fiction and novel lovers.

We need far less controversy, and far more presentation of Christ. Our Redeemer is the center of all our faith and hope. Those who can present His matchless love, and inspire hearts to give Him their best and holiest affections, are doing work that is great and holy.–Colporteur Evangelist, pp. 60, 61.

-In the presentation of unpopular truth, which involves a heavy cross, preachers should be careful that every word is as God would have it. Their words should never cut. They should present the truth in humility, with the deepest love for souls, and an earnest desire for their salvation, and let the truth cut. They should not defy ministers of other denominations, and seek to provoke a debate. They should not stand in a position like that of Goliath when he defied the armies of Israel. Israel did not defy Goliath but Goliath made his proud boasts against God and His people. The defying, the boasting, and the railing must come from the opposers of truth, who act the Goliath. But none of this spirit should be seen in those whom God has sent forth to proclaim the last message of warning to a doomed world. . . .  } 

     If they, like David, are brought into a position where God’s cause really calls for them to meet a defier of Israel, and if they go forth in the strength of God, relying wholly upon Him, He will carry them through, and cause His truth to triumph gloriously. Christ has given us an example. “Yet Michael the Archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.”–Testimonies, vol. 3, pp. 218-220.

Luke 16; The Rich Man And Lazarus

 I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

 

Without a proper understanding of what the entire Bible says about death, it would be possible to get the idea from Luke 16:19-31 that when we die we go straight to heaven or straight to hell. When we study the Bible the way it suppose to be studied, “line upon line and precept upon precept, here a little and there a little” Isaiah 28:10, we understand that when we die we rest in our graves asleep, not knowing anything until Jesus returns and wakes us up. If we take the story of the rich man and Lazarus literally then we have a contradiction as to what happens when you die, as the rich man in the story dies and goes straight to hell. Here are some things to remember while reading this story to keep us from being confused.

  

 Jesus tells this parable in the midst of other parables in Luke 15 and 16. Jesus is only using this story to make a point and was not meant to be taken literally. Jesus was telling this story to Jewish leaders and so He told it in a way to get their attention. For example, they were big believers in Abraham, so in the story Lazarus goes to Abraham’s bosom. Obviously, not only do we not go straight to heaven or hell when we die, we also do not go to Abraham but to Jesus. This is an obvious sign this story is not meant to be taken literally. The Rich man asks for water to be sprinkled on his tongue. Again if this was literal, what good would a few drops of water do? At the end of the story Jesus makes the point that if they did not believe already they would not believe though someone rose from the dead. Here Jesus makes the whole point of the story. Jesus picked the name Lazarus in His make believe story, to remind them that one named Lazarus did indeed rise from the dead and they still did not believe. And of course the real Lazarus who rose from the dead had no tales to tell from the grave as he had been dead and asleep the whole time.

For a study on what happens when you die click here.

Matthew 25; Why Its Hard to be Lost and Easy to be Saved

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Why It’s Hard To Be Lost

 

“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” Matthew 25:41

 

Have you ever worried about your salvation? Does it sometimes seam hard to get to heaven? I have good news for you! Jesus is planning on you being saved and going to heaven with Him! In the verse above Jesus says hell is prepared for the devil and his angels and that does not include you! While hell is being prepared for the devil and his angels look what Jesus has prepared for you, Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:” Matthew 25:34

 

That is good news that Jesus is preparing a place for us in heaven and not in hell! He is planning and expecting us to be in heaven with Him! Still some Bible verses at first glance make salvation seam hard to obtain. For example Matthew 7:14 says, “strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” 

 

Don’t get discouraged! Here is some good news from the Mount of Blessing  pages 139 & 140: “Yet do not therefore conclude that the upward path is the hard and the downward road the easy way. All along the road that leads to death there are pains and penalties, there are sorrows and disappointments, there are warnings not to go on. God’s love has made it hard for the heedless and headstrong to destroy themselves.….. If we take Christ for our guide, He will lead us safely. The veriest sinner need not miss his way. Not one trembling seeker need fail of walking in pure and holy light. Though the path is so narrow, so holy that sin cannot be tolerated therein, yet access has been secured for all, and not one doubting, trembling soul need say, “God cares nought for me.”….. with Christ as our guide we shall not fail of reaching the desired haven at last. Christ Himself has trodden the rough way before us and has smoothed the path for our feet.”

 

So is it hard to be saved or is it hard to be lost? The God who wants us saved is much stronger than the devil who wants us lost! Go ahead and plan on being saved in heaven with Jesus, He is expecting you to be there!

 

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father’s house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.” John 14:1-3 

 

Here is some more really good news! ”   He [God] would sooner send every angel out of heaven to protect His people than leave one soul that trusts in Him to be overcome by Satan.”  {Great Contoversy 560}

 

You may find more studies and devotionals at In Light of The Cross.