Posted by: missionventureministries | August 18, 2014

WHY DID CHRIST DIE FOR US? – Titus 2:11-14

Titus 2 vs 11-14

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good. (Titus 2:11-14) 

If one were to ask why Jesus died, a great percentage of church members would usually say that He died to save us from our sins. It is true that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3), but this is not the whole answer, by any means. Too many Christians think of the death of Christ only in terms of what it means for them—not what it meant to Jesus.  

Verse 14 tells us that Christ died for us to redeem us from iniquity, not just to keep us from going to hell, but “to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.” He wants a people who will make Him the Lord of their lives that are eager to do good and be holy. The death of Christ was not just to save us, but also to create a group of people peculiarly and particularly dedicated to Himself.  

“Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,… that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless” (Ephesians 5:25, 27). It was the work of Christ upon the cross, as He gave Himself for the church, that made her washed, cleansed, and glorious, without spot or wrinkle, and set apart to Him. 

 “He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (2 Corinthians 5:15). The very reason that Christ died as our representative, was so that our old rebellious life might die on the cross with Him, and we would be liberated and raised up with Him to live a new life—no longer rebellious, no longer obsessed with self, but now living for Him, the rightful Lord and ruler of all.

If we are going to join ourselves to Christ and thus receive the benefit of dying with Christ on the cross, then our old life is over. We are a completely new person; and have a new Spirit inside us. We desire to live a completely new life—no longer for our own rebellious self, which is now dead, but for Christ who for our sake died and was raised. “I have been crucified with Christ; and 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 up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

This is why it is unthinkable that we should come to Christ in repentance for the forgiveness of our sins… and then go straight back and wallow in them as if nothing has happened. The very reason God has rescued us out of the domain of darkness, slavery and sin, and transferred us to the kingdom of his Son, is so that we may live a new life of godliness and holiness ‘in Him’.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Posted by: missionventureministries | August 11, 2014

TRUSTING GOD – Genesis 15:5

Genesis 15 vs 5

The Lord made a promise to Abram to give him a son and He took him outside and said: “Look up at the heavens and count the stars . . . so shall your offspring be.” (Genesis 15:5) 

When God first called Abram he was seventy five years old and at that time the Lord promised that He would make him into a great nation, and would bless him. (Genesis 12:2)

Abram is now 85; ten years have passed since God promised him that he would make him to “become a great nation”, and he is concerned that he has no children, so the Lord came to Abram in a vision and promised him descendants too numerous to imagine.  

When God makes a promise we can count on it. Now Sarai, Abram’s wife was also getting older and she did not have any children, which in that culture was a dishonor and very shameful, so she gave Hagar, her Egyptian maid to Abram as a substitute wife, which was common practice at that time. A child born of the servant was considered the child of the wife. So, although Abram was acting in line with the custom of the day, his action showed a lack of faith that God would fulfill His promise.  

God demands us to be true to Him and His Holy Word regardless of what sinful customs existed at that time or is acceptable in today’s society as “normal.” God’s perfect plan was and is that a husband and wife must be physically intimate with only each other for their entire life. Anytime a married person is physically intimate with another person; the Bible defines those acts as – adultery. 

God has commanded in His Word “be Holy, because I am Holy.” Therefore, obedience to God’s Holy Word is the only normal lifestyle – violations of His Holy Word are sin and they are abnormal for TRUE believers and children of God.    

Sarai like Abram had trouble believing in God’s promises and took matters into her own hands by giving Hagar to Abram, when marriage is a sacred commitment and contract between God; one husband and one wife. 

Out of disobedience and the lack of faith on Sarai and Abram’s part, came a series of problems. This invariably happens when we take over for God, trying to make His promise come true through efforts that are not in line with His specific directions. In this case, time was the greatest test of Abram and Sarai’s willingness to let God work in their lives. 

Sometime we too must simply wait. When we ask God for something and have to wait, it is tempting to take matters into our own hands and interfere with God’s plans. 

Although Sarai arranged for Hagar to have a child by Abram, she later blamed Abram for the results. It is often easier to strike out in frustration and accuse someone else than to admit our guilt and sin and ask for forgiveness. Sounds familiar? Adam and Eve did the same thing. (Genesis 3:12-13) 

Sarai took out her anger against Abram and Hagar and her treatment was harsh, enough to cause Hagar to run away. Anger, especially when it arises from our own unbelief; sins and rebellion against God and His Word is always dangerous and destructive. 

Hagar was running away from her mistress and her problem. The angel of the Lord gave her the advice to return and face Sarai, the cause of her problem, and to submit to her. Hagar needed to work on her attitude toward Sarai, no matter how justified her thinking may have been. Running away from our problems rarely solves them, it is wise to return to our problems, face them, accept God’s promise of help, correct our attitudes, and act as we should. 

We have seen three people make serious mistakes. 

  • Sarai, who took matters into her own hands. She told Abram to go and sleep with her slave; thereby violating the sacredness of marriage and had Abram commit adultery with Hagar.
  • Abram who went willingly along with the plan by committing adultery; however, when circumstances began to go wrong, refused to help solve the problem.
  • And, Hagar, who ran away from the problem.

In spite of this messy situation, God demonstrated His ability to work in all things for good (Romans 8:28). Sarai and Abram still received the son they so desperately wanted, and God solved Hagar’s problem despite Abram’s refusal to get involved. No problem is too complicated for God if we are willing to let Him help us and to be in control. 

The Lord told Abram. “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless,” (Genesis 17:1). God has the same message for us today. We are to obey the Lord in every respect because He is God; that is reason enough. If we don’t think that benefits of obedience are worth it, consider who God is – the only one with the power and ability to meet our every need. 

God did not forget Hagar’s son Ishmael; even though he was not to be Abraham’s heir, he would also be the father of a great nation. So regardless of our circumstances, God has not forgotten us. We need to obey Him and trust in His plan, and remember that God’s blessings are too numerous for us to imagine, and that His timing is always the right timing. Therefore: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | August 5, 2014

ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR GUILT – Jeremiah 3:13

Jeremiah 3 vs 13

Only acknowledge your guilt—you have rebelled against the Lord your God. . . (Jeremiah 3:13)

Unless a person acknowledges their sin, they will never repent of it, or turn from it. However, once they become aware of it, and are sorry for it, they should admit and confess it before God, against whom they have sinned. This is what Jeremiah is insisting on. Asking God to forgive us is the most liberating thing that we can do, and is what every sensible sinner will do. And when that is accomplished God’s pardoning grace and mercy is revealed. “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.” (Psalm 32:5)

When we are committed to walking in unbroken fellowship with the Lord we need to always keep in mind that the enemy is continuously ready to make us stumble and fall; because he is walking around us like a roaring lion seeking whom he might devour (1 Peter 5:8). Therefore we need to ask God to “create in me a clean heart, o God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). Always “seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33)

The most uplifting experience in our daily life is when we focus our mind on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, and think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Therefore, our daily focus should be on living a holy life before God and men. But in the event that we stumble, and most of us will, let us remember that: “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Posted by: missionventureministries | July 28, 2014

FREEDOM COMES FROM AN OBEDIENT HEART – Psalm 119:44-45

FREEDOM

I will always obey your law, for ever and ever. I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. Psalms 119:44-45 

Obedience creates freedom while disobedience leads to bondage. When we seek the council of God’s Word we are on our way to a liberating path. On the contrary, when we get off track and go against God’s ways we become ensnared by the ways of the world and loose sight of what is right.

True born again Christians have a desire to obey in order to become like their Master! Christ has not only called us to know the truth, to love, trust and serve Him; He has also called us to obey Him. The biblical theme of salvation can’t be separated from God’s call and command for obedience. While good works do not save us, we are saved for good works. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)

The reason for our obedience is our response to God’s gracious action in Christ. The root of our obedience is to please God out of love from the heart in order that God might be glorified in all things. Only a person regener­ated by the Spirit is capable of such obedience. The one who obeys Christ’s commands is the one who truly loves Christ (John 14:21) and in so doing proves to be His disciple.

As we learn to obey God more and more, we are increasingly set free from the power of sin in our lives. God’s love for us is what enables our love for God: We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19); and our love for God enables our obedience to Him. Being controlled by the Spirit “be filled by the Spirit” (Ephesians. 5:18) is essential, if we are going to develop the self-control which enabled us to obey God. Moral freedom — the power to do what we ought — is directly related to obedience: Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32).

The process of learning to obey God is a life long process and the result of this process is that we become conformed to the character and conduct of Jesus Christ. Living an obedient Christian life means being in touch with reality at all times and experiencing the entire blessing associated with it (John 13:17).

When we commit ourselves to obey God, we are allowing Him to make of our lives what He desires us to become.  In so doing we are living up to the potential that God has for us. Therefore, when we have a loving relationship with our Lord, His commandments are never burdensome (1 John 5:3).

Obedience is the starting point and the goal of our Christian life and is what restores us to our original destiny.

  • Obedience is one of the traits of Christian character – 1 John 2:4
  • It is the true test of our love for Christ – John 14:21
  • Obedience is the pathway to blessing – John 13:17
  • Obedience is what it means to love God – 1 John 5:3
  • Obedience is the gateway to Christian freedom – John 8:32-36
  • And the mark of a true Christian disciple – John 8:32
  • Obedience is a great source of Christian joy – John 15:11
  • Obedience is to study God’s Word – James 1:22
  • And is a prerequisite for knowing God’s will – John 7:17

Obedience is more than a specific action; it is commitment to a way of living and is only possible when we submit to the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | July 21, 2014

CHOOSING THE PATHWAY OF TRUTH – John 8:32

John 8 vs 32 extra

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 

Each time the enemy bombards us with lies, we must learn to counsel our hearts according to the Truth of God’s Word and to act on His Truth, regardless of what our human reason or our feelings tell us. 

When we find ourselves giving in to weariness, frustration, or our flesh; when our mind and emotions are swirling with things we know are not true, we should try to stop and identify the Truth that contradicts those lies. 

We should speak the Truth to ourselves; sometimes aloud, and, if necessary over and over again, until the Truth displaces and replaces the lies we have been believing. We should cry out to God for grace to act on what we know to be true and when we do, we are amazed at the power of the Truth to calm our turbulent emotions and to restore sanity to our confusing thoughts. 

At times the enemy begins to wreak havoc with our minds and emotions and all we can think about is how wrong the other person has been, and how deeply hurt we are. We begin to let resentful and vindictive thoughts take root in our mind and we revive other past offenses that we thought were long gone. We tend to become obsessed with trying to figure out how to vindicate ourselves and prove our innocence. When that happens, our emotions start to spin out of control and we go into a downward spiral of anger and self-pity believing a number of lies from the enemy. This only leads of hours or days of inner turmoil and struggle. 

When we stop this downward spiraling and start focusing on God we generally have a head-on collision with the Truth: 

Blessed are the meek . . .

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. . .

Blessed are the peacemakers. . .

Matthew 5:5, 7, 9 

I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. . . love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you . . .

Matthew 5:39, 44 

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Matthew 6:14-15 

Now we have a choice. Should we continue to believe the lies, or are we going to embrace the Truth? That is when the battle really starts. Our emotions want to hold on to the offense and we want to nurse the grudge and stay angry. We want to get even, but in our heart we know that this kind of choice will only lead to bondage. 

As we kneel before the Lord, with the Bible open we grapple with the Truth, we know that we have to forgive and that we must release the offender and the offense.  We realize that the issue is not that we cannot forgive; it is that we don’t want to forgive. As we let the Holy Spirit lead us we know that we have to relinquish any right to get even or to withhold love from those that have hurt us. 

As our mind continue to be opened by the Holy Spirit, we are reminded of the consequences of refusing to forgive; of the mercy that we forfeit if we refuse to extend mercy to others, and of the blessings we would receive it we are willing to obey His commands. In our pride and stubbornness it is hard to let go, but we must – to be in fellowship with the Lord. 

We need to continue to seek and to speak the Truth to our heart and to make the choice to act on the Truth. As we do this our emotions gradually follow and our spirit is set free.  

In time, God gives us further insight into the original situation; He sheds light on why we reacted the way we have and shows us some deeper heart issues that we have not realized needed to be addressed. 

We need to be grateful that the Lord loves us enough to orchestrate circumstances to bring those issues to the surface and we should thank Him for using these experiences to make us more like Jesus.

 

SOURCE 

Excerpts from “Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets them Free” by – Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Posted by: missionventureministries | July 14, 2014

THANKING GOD FOR HIS GOODNESS – 1 Chronicles 29:11–13

thank you Lord English

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. 1 Chronicles 29:11–13 

When we have gratitude in our heart towards God it eliminates all kinds of negative feelings. Discontentment, self-pity, jealousy, and pride are no match for divine thankfulness. Gratitude to God is rooted in the realization of who God is and what He has done for us. Everything is God’s, and everything comes from God. His majestic creation bows down and worships Him as a reflection of His glory. Nations and rulers, consciously or unconsciously are under His authority and we have to realize that God is the owner of all things.

Because He owns everything, He is ultimately responsible and therefore in Him do we place our trust. As we place our trust in Him we enjoy His presence, His creation, His resources, His freedom, and each other. There is a glorious gratitude that erupts from our being when we reflect on God’s glorious riches. “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

Gratitude to God is one of the greatest secrets to living the Christian life. Gratitude means we never forget what He has done for us, what He is doing for us, and what He will do for us. It is remembering His past, present, and future faithfulness. Gratitude is transformational because it is God-focused and the concerns of this world dissipated when we focus our minds in gratitude to the Lord. Our appreciation for our heavenly Father will be expressed in humble worship and praise for Him, plus our determination to live in un-broken fellowship and obedience with Him.  Jesus promised us: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8) 

No matter where we are in life. No matter what our situation or circumstances may be, we have something that we can thank God for each and every day of our life and we should always have an attitude of thanksgiving towards our Creator.

As we see and recognize the fact that He is always with us; always providing for us and protecting us, the intimacy that we share with Him will increase and our fears will decrease. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Gratitude understands what could have happened to us were it not for the grace of God. But, by the Lord’s intervention, He delivered us and gave us eternal life through Jesus Christ. God is always there for us and He is longing to fellowship with each one of us, if we just acknowledge Him and let Him.  

The Lord is worthy of praise, gratitude, and adoration. What a great and mighty God we serve! 

“We give thanks to you, O God, we give thanks, for your Name is near; men tell of your wonderful deeds.” (Psalm 75:1)

 

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | June 24, 2014

THE FERVENT AND EFFECTIVE PRAYER – James 5:16-18

elijah-prays E

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” (James 5:16-18)

Here, we are instructed to pray for one another, especially for those who are struggling physically and spiritually. And as we continue reading, James reminds us that Elijah was a man like we are who was able to pray and accomplish God’s purposes as we should. He prayed with fervency and his praying was passionate. The Word of God tells us that he prayed “earnestly” and he sought God with all his being. 

What motivated Elijah to pray with such passion? First, his understanding of God moved him to pray earnestly. Elijah knew whom he was praying to. He knew that God has all power. He understood that the Lord could do the impossible. Elijah prayed earnestly because his faith was in God and not in his praying. 

Each person’s understanding of God will determine their strength and perseverance in prayer. God has given us His mighty Holy Spirit to guide us in prayer and to teach us how we should pray. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us though we do not know how to put our desires into words.” (Romans 8:26) 

For many, God is “too small” and they doubt His power and ability. They lack in faith and their prayers are not answered. On the other hand those who grow in knowledge and understanding of almighty God, His greatness, sovereignty and holiness; learn how to pray fervently and effectively. 

The situation that Elijah was living in and confronted with caused him to seek Gods guidance and direction; therefore, he waited on God to speak and answer his prayers.  We should do the same. As we look around and see lost, wounded hurting people, it should lead us to pray earnestly. As we see people denying God’s Word and will, it should challenge us and stir us to pray with all our hearts. As we see the church powerless and ineffective, it should quicken our seeking of God.  

We should however, not let the conditions around us overwhelm us; we need to seek God and rest in Him. It would be easy to get weighed down as we look at conditions around us. The need is staggering and can be disheartening. Yet, this is why we must seek God. This is why we must run to Him and rest in the shadow of the Almighty. It is only as we run to Him, rest in Him, and pour our hearts out to Him that we can face and deal with the conditions around us and be strengthened to do His will, and to reach the lost. 

Jesus taught us to pray with faith: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24). Therefore, when we pray according to God’s will and with faith in His promises, we need to continue persevering and not lose sight of that which has been asked until God has fulfilled His promise. (1 Kings 18:43-44) 

We need to persevere in our prayers. There are however obstacle which hinder the fulfillment of the promise; un-confessed sin separates us from God, so that He will not hear, (Isaiah 59:1-2). Then there is Satan, and his constant opposition to the plans of God as we see in (Daniel 10:12-13). It may also be that our heart needs to be purified because whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered, (Proverbs 21:13). Whatever it may be, we need to make things right with God and then we need to persevere until the answer comes.  

On Mount Carmel, Elijah prayed seven times; the persistent friend at midnight pleaded until he received (Luke 11:5-8). The widow who kept coming to the unjust judge saying: ‘Grant me justice against my adversary,’ (Luke 18:1-5). These are examples of perseverance in seeking answers. So, if we believe the promise of God without doubting, we should pray until we receive the answer, remembering that only perseverance in prayer can triumph. 

Keep in mind Elijah had the same nature we have but he prayed powerfully and effectively. We can do the same. If we learn to persevere in prayer, its fruit will be always more abundant, always more evident, and we shall obtain, as Jesus obtained, which shall bring honor and glory to the Father. 

True power in our lives begins with humility. Humbling ourselves before Almighty God can result in His imparted Holiness to us. Consequently, holiness will bring healing, happiness, health, joy, courage, peace and eternal life.  

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6)

Posted by: missionventureministries | June 17, 2014

WARNING! – BAD COMPANY CORRUPTS GOOD CHARACTER – 1 Corinthians 15:33

1 Corinthian 15 vs 33 E

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33) 

In his first letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul wrote of the false teachers who had come into the church at Corinth teaching that the resurrection of Jesus Christ wasn’t true. These people like the Sadducees denied life after death and the resurrection (Luke 20:27). As a result, their moral and distorted outlook on life influenced the rest of the Corinthian believers.

Paul is telling us that in associating with false teachers, weak and uninformed people we will be adversely influenced by them. It is important to understand that false teachings do not lead to holiness. Therefore, it is critical that we are careful whom we form relationships with and who we choose to worship with. Churches and people who are not founded on the truth of God’s Word will cause those that are not firmly grounded in Scripture to waver in their faith and adversely affect their walk with Christ and their witness to the world. This is why Paul tells us, “Do not be misled.”

This is his second admonition to the Corinthians to not be “misled”. Earlier Paul had warned them: Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men (1 Corinthians 6:9). He cautioned them not to take up the lifestyles of corrupt people—those who will not inherit the kingdom of God. Paul knew how easy it is for people to be influenced by such adverse teachings, just like they are today. If people do not build their house on the solid rock – Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:24-25); they will begin to adopt such perverted ideas and behaviors as normal. For this reason, Paul quotes this well known proverb by the Greek poet Menander: “Bad company corrupts good character.” No doubt it was well known among the Greeks at that time.

The point Paul makes, is pertinent to all people in all ages. When those that are not grounded in the Word associate with or take delight in the company of people with worldly morals, they run the risk of mimicking their behaviors, their language, and their habits. Before long they are no longer following Christ because their house was built on sand and lacked a solid foundation. (Matthew 7:26-27) 

When this happens people go back again to the way of the world denying and rejecting the Bible as the Word of God. This is especially pertinent to young people who are generally easily influenced by their peers. People of all ages can be very weak and easily influenced by false teachers, demon entities and un-informed weak Christians who have not developed a Bible based lifestyle.  

For this reason it is vital for parents of children and teenagers to especially be on guard against the influence of bad company, false teachers in the cults and so-called “Christian” churches; who will destroy their faith in Jesus Christ, and exploit them in their greed and with evil doctrines and ideas. So, what are we to do? Paul provides us the answer in 1 Corinthians 15:58: “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 

As parents and guardians, we must expose these false teachers, (wolves in sheep’s clothing). It is vital that we stand firm against ungodly influences that may corrupt our children, and weak immature believers. As born again believers, we stand firm against those who would corrupt our walk with Christ. And we must stand your ground against false teaching and a diluted gospel presentation that lead others astray from the truth. In all things, we are to be “self-controlled and alert” because our “enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) Paul also told us that “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness.(2 Corinthians 11:14-15) 

Do you choose friends and a church based on how much money they have, or how popular they are? Or do you choose your church and your friends based on their character, loyalty, honesty, and the ability to teach and encourage people to grow in Christ? The latter is the type of church and friend that God wants us to have. Therefore; do not be misled, take time to pray and let the Holy Spirit lead you in choosing your friends and the church where God is honored and worshiped with the respect He deserves. “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”  (1 Timothy 1:17) 

We need to remember that: “God judges the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day”. (Psalm 7:11). Therefore, we need to “make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; because without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | June 9, 2014

THE REALITY OF GOD’S WRATH – Romans 1:18-20

The wrath of God - Romans 1 vs 18-20

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-20) 

Paul tells us that “the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven….”  So let us focus and see what the “wrath of God,” means. The Bible clearly teaches that our heavenly Father is a God of love. Therefore, some people are disturbed about the idea of a God of love possessing wrath. They see those attributes as being in conflict. But God’s attributes are balanced. God is perfect in His love and He is also perfect in His holiness and His justice. Habakkuk wrote, “You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness” (1:13).  

God loves us all, “for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16), but God’s wrath is against sin. Therefore, the righteousness of God reacts with wrath against sin. This wrath grows out of His holiness, because a holy God cannot tolerate sin. “You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness.” (Hebrews 1:9) 

God’s wrath is different from human wrath. The Bible declares that He is slow to anger. His wrath doesn’t explode quickly, or unpredictably; there are a lot of warnings and He will usually hold back His wrath to give us more time to repent. “The Lord is … longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). But as mankind continues to sin, and continues to reject Him, we can be sure that His wrath is building to the point that some day it will burst forth against this ungodly world, as clearly described in the book of Revelation. 

We should not be deceived in thinking that God will not eventually hold us accountable for our sin. Therefore, it is wise to believe in the reality of the wrath of God, because a person or nation that ignores God’s warnings is in grave danger.   

If someone believes that the one true God is not a God of wrath, then they are going against what God has clearly revealed about Himself. When the Day of Judgment arrives no claim of ignorance will serve as an excuse. 

The Word of the Lord “show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them” (Romans 2:15). Therefore,as it is written, people’s conscience convicts them that they have sinned against Almighty, Holy God; and this fact should lead to a sense of guilt and sorrow and a desire to reconcile with Him.   

However; God’s Word warns us that many people have become so rebellious and wicked that they no longer have a conscience – “The Holy Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” (1 Timothy 4:1-2) 

For example: Many evil brutes in the Roman Catholic Church who call themselves priests, bishops, cardinals, nuns and popes have criminally molested, raped, tortured and murdered hundreds of thousands precious innocent children, women and men through out the existence of their evil institution in they name of Jesus.  

God has warned us about these evil, wicked people and the judgment that their crimes deserve; because, “these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish.” (2 Peter 2:12) 

These evil criminals and millions like them are demon possessed and they have “seared their conscience with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:2). The warning from God to these wicked demon possessed liars filled with doctrines of demons; is God’s judgment is coming to each of you – swift and certain. 

God’s wrath is against people like these “who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (v18), because they do not want to submit their will to God’s will even though “what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.” (v19) 

On Judgment Day no one can claim that they were ignorant of God, and ignorant of their responsibility to seek Him, worship Him, and obey Him because since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” (v20) 

We need to remember what Jesus taught and He said: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:21-23) 

There is however an antidote for the wrath of God. That is why God in His immense love for us sent His Son to pay the price of wrath for us. No one has to live another day in danger of the wrath of God, which He has clearly revealed from heaven because, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36). Remembering once more the preceding verses, “not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21) 

The truth of the wrath of God ought to motivate the born again believer to share the Gospel. It should encourage us to pray for the lost. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” (2 Corinthians 5:10-11) 

May God give us a desire to reach souls and proclaim the truth of His word faithfully to those who are perishing; since Scripture is  full of warnings of the wrath of God for those that continue in their sin without repenting, and “the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience.” (Colossians 3:6)

 

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | June 2, 2014

WHAT IS THE MEANING OF “DO NOT CAST PEARLS BEFORE SWINE”? – Matthew 7:6

Pearls - Matthew 7 vs 6

“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (Matthew 7:6) 

This analogy was used by Christ to demonstrate how people react when they are living in open rebellion against Almighty God; rebellious people, who stubbornly reject His truth and close their minds and hearts to spiritual knowledge. 

Jesus taught this during His Sermon on the Mount, and to understand its meaning, we have to understand its context and placement within the sermon. Christ had just finished instructing the crowd on judgment and reproof: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1-2), and “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5). Then in verse 6, Christ shows us the difference between “judgment” and “discernment.” 

To understand a relationship between dogs and pigs we see an illustration in the book of Proverbs, to which Peter refers.  The proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.” (2 Peter 2:22) The dogs and swine here are representative of those who ridicule, reject and blaspheme the gospel once it has been given to them. Therefore, we are not to put forth the gospel of Jesus Christ in the direction of someone whose purpose is to trample it and return to his own evil ways. However; we as true born again believers need to identify such people through discernment, because the person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things … (1 Corinthians 2:15). While the person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

This does not mean we refrain from teaching the gospel. Jesus Himself ate with and taught sinners and tax collectors (Matthew 9:10). The same instruction Jesus is giving in Matthew 7:6, Jesus gave to His apostles when He said, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town” (Matthew 10:14). So, there is no need to present the gospel to those with negative attitudes toward God. 

Christ was instructing the disciples not to try to convert the masses. Unless God is opening someone’s mind to spiritual understanding, they will treat God’s truth in the same manner that pigs would treat pearls—as nothing but dirt. A pig would neither understand nor appreciate the great beauty and worth of the pearls. Neither would a person not being called by God, understand the great value of the truths of God. He or she would, figuratively, “trample God’s Word under their feet.” 

God warned us through the writings of Peter that some people are so evil, wicked and depraved that they are like “brute beasts” that should and will be destroyed by Almighty God. “But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption.” (2 Peter 2:12) 

Balancing judgment with discernment is the wisdom that Jesus speaks of in Matthew 10:16: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

We should not try to force God’s truths on others. Instead, one should “…be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). As Christians, one should be prepared to answer questions that others may have, if they are asking sincerely—and not for the purpose of debating. Often, when people honestly desire to understand what the Bible teaches, it can be an indication that God is opening that person’s mind.

In Matthew 13:45-46, Christ once again compares the truths of God to pearls, where He states, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” Like the merchant, who sold all that he had to purchase a pearl of great price, God expects us to treat His truth as a valuable, priceless gem.

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