MEET JESUS AS THE LAMB, NOT THE LION!

“Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.” So shall it be! Amen. —Revelation 1:7

The enemy military was closing in on the opposition. Every opposing eye could see or hear them coming. Their combined footsteps were like rolling thunder claps non-stop. The earth shook underneath them.

There will be a generation living that will see the return of Jesus. The first time He came as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29). When He comes the next time He will be coming as the Lion of Judah (Genesis 49:8-10; Revelation 5:5) and “every eye will see Him.” He will be coming in judgment as the Judge and not as the Lamb for salvation.

People who have not trusted the Lord Jesus will mourn and seek to hide from his presence (Revelation 6:15-17). There were times when the saved were in caves and holes in the ground (Hebrews 11:38), but now it will be the lost who will be seeking out those places.

Every person on this planet falls into one camp or the other— saved or lost. The saved will never experience condemning judgment because Jesus took that at the cross for them. They will never meet Him as Judge. He is their Savior. On the other hand, those who have not trusted Jesus, the lost, will face Him as Judge and be condemned forever. Better to trust Him as Savior now then as Judge then. Better to meet Him at the Lamb and not as the Lion!

Thank You Heavenly Father that Jesus took the punishment for my sin, that He is my Savior and that I will never be judged. Oh, may many more around us come to this understanding as we share the gospel with them. May it be so!

LOVE FOR GOD’S PEOPLE

This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome… —I John 5:2-3

Children who truly love their parents are compliant children. Obedience for these children is not a burden, but they truly want to do what is right and please their parents. Their home is not a perfect home, but there is much more harmony in it than in other homes where children are rebellious.

Those who truly love God, shown by being obedient to Him, love His church as well. The church is every person on this planet who truly loves and lives for the Lord Jesus Christ. We are told in the verses above that we can know if we love the children of God, His Church, by our love for God and by being obedient to Him.

So, do you love the children of God, His church? If you truly love God and are keeping His Word, then you do. But, if you are saying you love God and are not keeping His Word, then you do not.

For those people who say they do not need to attend church, then they do not understand what the church is and do not love the church. They are not being obedient to God which shows they really do not love Him as well. This is very clear from the verses above.

Oh, that we would truly love the children of God, His church which is seen by loving God and keeping His commands. His commands are not a burden to keep for those who truly love Him. Those who love Him are seeking to be His compliant children.

Dear Father, may I truly love You and Your people, the church. Please help me to be a compliant child and not a complaining child. My desire is to honor the Lord Jesus and may I do so!

POSITIVE IMPACT

I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus… Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people. —Philemon 1:4-5, 7

Who are the believers you are thankful for? Do you remember them in prayer? What are you hearing about their love for God’s people and about their faith in the Lord Jesus? Are they a great joy and encouragement to you? Have you heard about how they have refreshed the hearts of the saints?

We could also as ourselves, “Who is thankful for me? Do they remember me in prayer? Are they hearing about my love for God and about my faith in the Lord Jesus? Am I a great joy and encouragement to them? Have they heard if I am refreshing the hearts of the saints?”

A life lived faithfully for the Lord Jesus is bound to produce these types of responses in those who know us and who are faithfully following the Lord themselves. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (III John 1:4). This is true of those who are my own physical children who are following the Lord Jesus and of those who I have had the privilege of being present when they were birthed into new life— some of which I had just met! Then I think about those who have responded to the gospel and I have never seen again or have lost contact with. Some of those are in distant lands— it will be a joy to see them in glory one day and to hear their stories.
Oh, that we would live today, and for the rest of our lives, in a way that will bring thankfulness, joy and encouragement to other believers. Yes, may we live for the Lord Jesus in such a way that others would be impacted positively for Him.

Dear Father, may I truly live a life of faithfulness to the Lord Jesus that others would be encouraged. May this be done in the power of the Holy Spirit!

FINISH THE WORK JESUS GAVE YOU!

Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.”—Colossians 4:17

“I gave your brother chores to do. Make sure he completes them before he goes out to play.” So were the words spoken by her dad as he was leaving for work. These chores were to a priority in the son’s life and not something left as the last to do because he had “better” things he wanted to be involved in like the neighborhood boys’ football game. No, he was to do the chores his dad gave him first and then he could play.

How about you and I as followers of the Lord Jesus, are we about the “chores” He has given to us to complete? According to the verse above, Archippus had a ministry that the Lord had given to him to complete and others were to hold him accountable to finish it.

What is the ministry the Lord has for you and me? Are we focusing on it or are we leaving it to another time when we feel like it or don’t have something “better” to do? Whatever the ministry is that the Lord has given you and I, it needs to be a priority and others need to spur us on. Not only that, but as others spur us on we should welcome their input and not grate at it or be resentful of them. God’s people are to “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25). Be grateful and thankful for other followers of Jesus Christ who encourage us on to be about our King’s business!

Dear Father, help me to be focused on what work You have given me through Your Son, Jesus, and to do so in the Holy Spirit’s Power. May it be so!

RESCUED!

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves… —Colossians 1:13

We were being tossed about on a very rough ocean in the night. The twelve foot boat stalled hours earlier, would not restart and the sea had continued to get progressively more unsettled. Water was coming into the boat as waves washed over it. We had to bail out the boat regularly. At mid-night the anchor let loose and we drifted further out in the ocean. Fortunately, it caught bottom again. Then about 4am we saw a light on the horizon. We got their attention with light that we had and about an hour later they were able to locate us and tow us to shore. They rescued us from being on the ocean in the darkness. Then we found out that the island was on hurricane alert!

Jesus rescued us from the “dominion of darkness” and qualified us “to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light” (Colossians 1:12). The darkness blinded us as “the god of this world” kept us “captive to do his will” (II Corinthians 4:4; II Timothy 2:26). But, when we heard and believed the message of the gospel— “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:3-4)— then we “were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14).

Fellow follower of Jesus, He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness, the captivity of Satan to do his will, the bondage of sin and defeated death in our lives— these no longer have power over us. We have been rescued to freely serve Him out of grateful hearts. May we do so.

Dear Father, thank You for rescuing me through Your Son, Jesus. Now, may I faithfully live for Him and grow in my love for Him as I understand more and more what He has saved me from and saved me to!

CITIZENSHIP

But our citizenship is in heaven. —Philippians 3:20

…my fellow workers, whose names are written in the book of life. —Philippians 4:3

When I travel from one country to another I have to show my passport. It identifies the country I am a citizen of and my birth information— showing that I am alive. But, my passport is only good for a certain amount of time that allows me to exit my home country and enter another one. But those who follow the Lord Jesus have a Passport that never runs out and allows the “holder” when they leave this life to enter heaven.

According to the verses above those who follow Jesus are citizens of heaven and their names are written in the book of life— never to be erased (Revelation 3:5). Oh what joy to think that one day I will be going home to my “country” and be there forever. I have enjoyed living in America. There is much beauty here even with this planet being in a “fallen” state affected by sin. I also enjoy the home where we live, the family He has given to me and the church family He has placed me in. As much as I love these things, they are all temporary and will pale in comparison with the wonders of heaven and the perfection that will be there.

What is my “Passport” for getting into heaven? Faith in Jesus is the One who gets me there. No amount of good works can get me there. Nothing that I can do except trust in the finished work of Jesus at the cross and through His resurrection can get me there. When I trusted Jesus my name was written in the book of life and I became a citizen of heaven. How about you? Are you a citizen of heaven? Is your name written in the Lamb’s book of life?

Many people have gotten passports and have come to the United States because it is a grand land. Is it a perfect land? No, it is far from it. Like all the nations of the world it is affected by sin. Sin has no national boundaries, but neither does the Word of God. As grand as America or any nation is, they all pale into insignificance when compared to the glory of heaven.

So, are you a citizen of heaven? If not, why wouldn’t you want to be? It has perfect leadership in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and it is a perfect place. All people there will be perfect! Wow… Become a citizen today by calling on the Name of the Lord Jesus, turning from your sin and following Him.

Thank You Father for that perfect place of heaven that awaits all who call on the Name of the Lord Jesus. Oh, to see Jesus— that will be a joy and so it will be to see all who love Him there as well. May I live faithfully for Him until I see Him. May it be so!

SAVED… OR LOST

1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Birthday gifts are received by us not because we deserve them and people have to give them to us, but they are given out of their graciousness toward us. So it is with Christmas gifts or gifts at any other time— gifts to us are undeserved favor that people bestow upon us. It is grace.

According to the passage above we who now know Jesus were once spiritual dead before we called upon His Name. We were dead man walking, shells with no spiritual life in them. That is how it is with every single person living on this planet today who have not come into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ— they are dead spiritually and existing purely for the material side of life. This is true of any person in any form of religious system as well as those who claim to be atheists— they are dead in their sin as mentioned above and help captive to do Satan’s will (II Timothy 2:26).

Some time ago I was talking with a person on this very issue and they told me, “I feel like I am dead inside.” The fact of the matter is that they were and still are dead on the inside. They exist, but as God’s Word tells us that before we know Jesus we are “gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts” and that “we were by nature deserving of wrath.” This is not a good place to be! If a person dies without trusting Jesus then they will suffer the wrath of God. Why would anyone desire to rebel against Him and all His awesome goodness to follow Satan’s will and all his evil? Again, it is because Satan has held them captive to do his will (II Timothy 2:26).

We cannot become spiritually alive on our own, but it is God who “made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions— it is by grace you have been saved.” This is God’s work. A work which we do not deserve, but it is a gift from Him and what a gift it is! When we understand what He saves us from, what He saves us to and the eternal relationship He calls us into… the unbelievable becomes believable!

Knowing Jesus is life. Not knowing Him is death— now and forever— a destruction of the purposes we were created for and a separation from them forever in the place of wrath called hell. But, the way is open for us to know Jesus. If you have not called on His Name with a desire to turn from your sin and follow His ways, call on Him now! Your life will never be the same…

Dear Father, thank You for the greatest Gift that a person could ever receive— salvation through Your Son Jesus. May I serve You with a grateful heart!

PROMISES

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. —Ephesians 1:13-14

You put a deposit down on merchandise and by so doing you are stating the intent of ownership. It could be a car, a house or anything else. You also get a receipt stating that you have put down a deposit and this guarantees that this object will be yours. The receipt is either sealed or has address of the one giving the receipt.

When a person hears the gospel of Jesus Christ— that He died for our sin and was raised the 3rd day— and they believe that message then that person is 1- included in Christ 2- sealed with the Holy Spirit of God 3- is guaranteed an inheritance. Have you trusted Jesus? Then these promises are for you. Have you not trusted Jesus? Then these promises can be yours if you truly trust His finished work at the cross. May you do so today!

Dear Father, thank You for all the wonderful promise You have given us in Jesus!

SOME BELIEVE, SOME DON’T

Paul tried to persuade them about Jesus. Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. —Acts 28:23-24

Ten people told Thomas that they had seen the Lord. These were people that Thomas knew. They had spent much time together and had seen and experienced much together. But he was not convinced by them. No, he would not believe that Jesus had risen from the dead unless he saw Jesus Himself. Well, Thomas did see Jesus a week later and said, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:24-29). Jesus said ”Thomas you believed because you have seen. Blessed are those who have not seen and believe.”

According to the verses above the Apostle Paul sought to persuade people with the good news of Jesus— that He was the Messiah and He came to earth to die for the sins of man, give forgiveness and eternal life to all who would believe so that they could serve Him now and be with Him in heaven forever. Paul spent from morning until evening explaining who Jesus was. Some were convinced and others were not. Some believed and others did not. So it is today.

Some plain and simply will not believe who Jesus is, but that does not negate the responsibility to bear witness to who He is (Acts 1:8). There are those who will believe. We just need to be faithful in loving people and sharing the message the Lord has commissioned us to (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).

So, let me ask you a question. Are you sharing the good news with those around you? The lest we can do is give them the gospel in written form. Anybody can do that and the Lord does not need much of His Word in a person’s hand to convict them. But, do we seek to intentionally share the gospel. This is one of the main reasons we are still on the planet today. God could do this Himself without us, but He has chosen to reach people through us. You see, sharing the gospel with others reflects our love for the Lord Jesus and for people. Obedient believers truly love the Lord and have a deep concern for those who do not know Jesus. So, are you sharing the gospel?

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:13-15).

Dear Father, please help me to see the lost as lost and to be showing my love for them and for You by sharing Your good news with them. May it be so in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.

FREE OR CONFORMED

I conformed to the strictest sect of our religion, living as a Pharisee. —Acts 26:5

There are those who go through the motions of being a follower of Jesus Christ, but it is only a show. They go to church on Sunday and sometimes there are those who go many times during the week thinking that by doing so gives them favor before God. These are people when you ask them if they know Jesus they will say, “I am not as bad as some people.” These are people who conform to a set of “what to do and what not to do” listed by themselves, someone else or an organization. They conform to a set of rules.

This is what Paul had done as a former Pharisee. He had been more concerned with outward ceremonies and rules. He would have been rigid and unforgiving, hypocritical and self-righteousness. Jesus said of the Pharisees that they had “let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions” (Mark 7:8) and that they “nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that” (Mark 7:13). Yet by strictly conforming to these traditions as more important than the Word of God, they thought they were being zealous for God (Galatians 1:14). Then God called Paul by grace that he might preach the gospel (Galatians 1:16).

False religious systems teach that you must do certain things and not do other things in order to be saved. This is not the case. This is a lie. We are saved only through the finished work of Jesus as the cross. It was there He was the final, perfect and only sacrifice that could take away sin. It is only through repentance and trusting Jesus’ substitutionary work for us on the cross that we can be saved. No amount of good works can ever make someone right before God (Acts 4:12; II Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians chapter 2; Titus 3:5).

Jesus set us free from sin which no amount of doing or not doing of religious conforming lists could ever do. After we trust the Lord Jesus it is out of gratitude and thankfulness that we then serve Him. It is never out of seeking His favor for salvation in any way. He already took care of that at the cross and when we trusted that finished work— that is what saves us and frees us from the bondage of sin and death and to a relationship with Him.

Thank You dear Father for setting me free in the Lord Jesus. Truly, may I live a life of grateful service to Him. May many others do the same thing and many more come to Him and Him alone to be saved from their sin, saved from the “sting of death which is sin” and live for Him as well. May it be so!