Posted by: missionventureministries | November 16, 2017

BE ON GUARD – 2 Peter 3:17-18

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (2 Peter 3:17-18) 

Peter clearly is writing with two purposes in mind. First his strong desire is to remind the believers who they belong to and what they have in Christ. And second, he knows that his departure is at hand and he wonders what will happen to the church after he is gone. He writes to state again some essentials of the faith hoping that the church will hear and heed his words. 

In chapter 2 Peter talked about false teachers and his words indicate that he was angry with righteous indignation. Undoubtedly, he was also disappointed with some believers with whom he had worked and shared fellowship who had now become enemies of the cross. 

Now in chapter 3, he states a fact that: “The Day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up” (v. 10). 

And he addresses the church with this key thought, “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness” (v. 11)?  

Peter warns that knowing beforehand that we are going to face opposition; we need to put up our guard. If we do not, we will be carried away by the error of unprincipled men. (v. 17) 

A difficult problem in this area is addressed by Peter in verse 16, because, there is such an effort on the part of the “untaught and unstable” to distort the truth of God’s Word. For sure these people will be destroyed, but both Paul and Peter knew the problems caused by such distortions and the work that it took to correct the erroneous teaching promulgated by those people. 

We need to be aware that unstable hypocrites instinctively want to avoid the light so that their evil deeds will not be exposed (John 3:19-20).  

These false teachers will always have many people follow their evil, deceitful teachings and lies. Paul told Timothy: For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables (2 Timothy 4:3-4).  

It is tragic to see how many churches in this day and age are led by men mixing truth and error in clever and destructive ways. They should pay attention to what Scripture says: “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:1-2). These verses tell us that if a preacher never confronts sin, or exposes hypocrites, he is not preaching the Word of God. 

In this day of deceit and hypocrisy it is not popular to teach that we must repent of our sins and submit to Christ as absolute Lord and Master of our life. It’s not popular to teach people that it is sin to engage in any sexual activity outside of marriage. That men and women have their God ordained responsibilities in the home and in the church. That Christians should honor their Lord and Savior by the way they dress. That those who lie will not go to heaven. And the list could goes on!  

Many people, however, say that it is unloving to expose sin, evil and hypocrisy in the church. They say that we ought to be positive and not negative. But in these verses Peter addresses his readers as “dear friends” or “beloved.” He cares deeply for these believers and therefore he warns them about these destructive teachers.  

Many Christians are very unstable in their faith. They know very little Scripture and refuse to be lead by the Holy Spirit; therefore, they are subject to spiritual seduction and are easily led astray by charlatans. 

If you love your children, you warn them sternly about running out into the street. As they get older, you to warn them about the dangers of drinking, drugs, and sexual immorality. You know that these sins can leave them with permanent scars. Peter says, “Since you have been forewarned, be on guard.”  

Being on guard will keep you from being tossed around by every wind of doctrine and by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting (Ephesians 4:14) and will enable you to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (v 18). 

We need to realize that a person must be born before they can grow. The Bible teaches that we all enter the world spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-3). Being religious or good is not enough. Jesus told Nicodemus, “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).  

Growth is normal when there is life; therefore, we must keep growing and bearing fruit in our new birth, until the day when we meet Jesus Christ. We need to understand that growth is gradual, it is a process. The important thing is to be involved in the process so that there is progress. God’s way to godliness is through discipline and 1 Timothy 4:7 tells to exercise yourself toward godliness.  

Grace is the key to a relationship with God, because He both saves us by His grace, for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8) and He sustains us by grace, because, my grace is sufficient for you (2 Corinthians 12:9). Growing in grace involves coming to a greater understanding of God’s holiness, justice, and sovereignty.  

And finally we are to grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

We cannot separate Jesus as Savior from Jesus Christ as Lord. When you trust in Christ as Savior, you yield all of yourself to Him. As the Christian progressively grows in submission to Christ through the study of His word he grows in obedience to Him. Jesus said, “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who love Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him” (John 14:21).  

Peter tells us that to persevere as a Christian; we must guard ourselves from spiritual error and grow in the grace and knowledge of Him. And he ends: “To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”  

The theme of the Christian life is to glorify the triune God in everything. This means that our lives should exalt Christ, so that through us others may see how great He truly is. “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

Jesus should always be the center of our attention now and for all eternity; because, He alone is worthy!

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Posted by: missionventureministries | November 9, 2017

WHAT MUST WE DO TO BE BORN OF GOD – 1 John 2:28-29

And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. 29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.(1 John 2:28-29) 

The Bible tells us that to become a child of God we must be born again – born of Him. When we are born, is our first birth, but there is a second birth that God offers; which is our choice of starting a new life in Him. 

This happens when a person willingly repents, turns away from sin, asks Jesus for forgiveness and for Him to become the Lord of their life. The Spirit of God then enters the person to give them the power to start this new life. The person becomes a new creation in Christ and is spiritually born into the family of God and so becomes a child of God.  

God sends His Holy Spirit to live within believers to give them power over their sinful nature so that they are able to live a life that is pleasing to Him. Through the Holy Spirit, believers are freed from the power of sin and its penalty of hell and they are no longer slaves to their sinful nature. 1 John 3:9 tells us that “no one who is born of God will continue to sin” so that we know that anyone who is born again will not live a sinful lifestyle. 

Jesus is the only way to be reconciled to the Father. He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).  

Religion will not get you to heaven nor can you work your way there by doing good things, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). If you refuse to accept God’s free offer of salvation then, by choice, you will face eternity apart from Him. God has paid the price to save you; it’s now up to you to accept the gift of eternal life that Jesus paid for you on the cross. Jesus said to His disciples before being crucified, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). 

If you want to be saved you need to pray to God with a repentant heart, willing to turn away from all sin and wanting to be changed. Confess your sins and ask Jesus to forgive you and ask Him into your life as your Lord and Savior. The Bible says, “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved…everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:9-10 & 13).  

God looks at your heart and, if you have a willing heart to turn from sin, you will be saved the moment you ask and Jesus will become part of your life through the Holy Spirit, to strengthen, guide and enable you to live the life He wants for you. 

Now you might ask, how do I know that I am really saved? 

The Bible makes it very clear that we can know if we are saved. 1 John 5:13 states, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”  

In Ephesians 1:13-14 we read that: “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. 

And 1 John 4:13 it says, “We know that we live in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” From this verse we can see that the proof of our salvation is the presence of God’s Spirit in our life. 

So how then does the Spirit make His presence know to us, and how do we really know that the Spirit is in our life? In Romans 8:14 it says that “those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” so we know because He leads us and prompts us to live a holy life. When we follow this inner witness of the Spirit we are changed, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This happens as the Spirit leads us to leave our old sinful way of life and to become born again into a new life that pleases God. 

When a person becomes truly born again Christian they still have the choice to sin against God and His commands; however, as they choose to receive the power of the Holy Spirit, they will obey and honor God and His Word in everything that they say, think and do. All of us have the choice to obey the Spirit and resist sin so that we can live a holy life that will bring honor and glory to Jesus Christ our sacrificing Savior. 

John 16:8 tells us that, “When He comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.” The Spirit’s conviction of sin brings guilt and a lack of peace in our life leading us to confess that sin, receiving forgiveness and being cleansed of it because as stated in the Word, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).  

Through this process a person is not just forgiven but also cleansed of sin and has new life. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 says that we are saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit. 

We must remember though that we have a responsibility to follow the Spirit’s leading because “if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live” Romans 8:13. 

The little book of 1 John makes it very clear that a person who is “born of God” will not continue in sin. “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning … He who does what is sinful is of the devil … No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him … This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother” 1 John 3:6-10. 

We must, through the power of the Holy Spirit, live a life that is pleasing to God because Hebrews 12:14 says, “That without holiness no one will see the Lord.”  

So how do you know if you are saved? If you have repented of your sins and asked Jesus to be the Lord of your life, then you have been born again. You will sense the Holy Spirit’s presence in your life when He convicts you of guilt in regard to sin (John 16:8) and when you confess your sins you will be forgiven and cleansed and the peace of God will return to your life. The Holy Spirit’s presence empowers you to walk in holiness and that is your absolute assurance of salvation. 

1 John 5:3; 3:23 say, “This is love for God: to obey His commands … and this is His command: to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.” As the Spirit cleanses you from sin, God’s greatest command to love Him and your neighbor becomes a reality in your life. 

We need to make sure that we understand that true rebirth is a permanent, life-transforming miracle accomplished by God Himself in a believer’s life. Holy conduct is the evidence of a born again child of God whose life has been transformed by the indwelling Holy Spirit. There is no such thing as proud holiness; true holiness always begins with conviction of sin and a humble approach to God for cleansing and restoration.

Posted by: missionventureministries | November 2, 2017

GOD’S CALL TO REPENTANCE BEFORE JUDGMENT TAKES PLACE – Ezekiel 2:1-8

Ezekiel was chosen to be God’s prophet to the Israeli’s who, as a result of God’s judgment, had been carried away to Babylon. It was not an easy task. He was born and raised in the land of Judah and was preparing to become a priest in God’s temple when the Babylonians attacked in 597 BC and carried him away along with 10,000 other captives (2 Kings 24:10-14).  

Five years later, living as a captive in Babylon, Ezekiel would see one of the most glorious and awesome revelation of God’s presence and power (Ezekiel 1:4). Through this vision, God called Ezekiel to be His prophet.  

The Israelites in exile had lost their perspective on God’s purpose and presence in their lifes. They continued to ignore God’s loving attempts to call them to repentance and chose instead to listen to “false prophets” who spoke comforting lies. Though Ezekiel knew he faced a rebellious people and that he was sure to suffer hardship because of his message, he was faithful; choosing to respond to God’s calling and preached to a rebellious people for 22 years.  

The Lord addresses Ezekiel by calling him “son of man” and chooses him to be His messenger. 

God encouraged Ezekiel not to be afraid, as he would have to carry out a very difficult ministry, declaring God’s Word to a stubborn and rebellious people against God.  

Rather than acknowledging and repenting of the sins that had brought God’s judgment upon them, the Jewish exiles chose to live their time in Babylon as a temporary setback that would soon end, and Ezekiel, standing up to the truth of God’s Word, would not be welcome. The people’s response would be hateful and Ezekiel’s love for God would truly be tested.  

Ezekiel 2:1, And He said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak to you.

God speaks to mankind through the mouth of prophets many times. Jesus called Himself, Son of man on several occasions and represented God the Father to mankind and God calls Ezekiel, son of man, here, because He will speak to mankind through Ezekiel. 

Ezekiel 2:2, “Then the Spirit entered me when He spoke to me, and set me on my feet; and I heard Him who spoke to me.”

Here we see where the Spirit empowers Ezekiel to perform His ministry, as He speaks to him. We find several other occasions in the Old Testament where the Spirit came upon faithful servants of the Lord as in: Numbers 24:2; Judges 3:10; 1 Samuel 10:10, 16:13-14, 19:20; 2 Chronicles 15:1. Before Christ’s first coming, the Spirit did not indwell all believers as now, but He “moved” and “came upon them” as we read in 2 Peter 1:20-21. 

God does not expect us to understand everything about Him, but to be obedient servants and faithful to what we know is true and right. God gave, and continues giving His servants the power of the Holy Spirit to fulfill His commands.  

Ezekiel 2:3, And He said to me: “Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day.

Here God is speaking to Ezekiel about Israel, but this message is not just for Judah, this message is to all those who rebel against God. 

Ezekiel 2:4, For they are impudent and stubborn children. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’

“Impudent”, in this case means contemptuous, insolent and we see that their hearts were hardened. Consequently, because of their stubborn hearts God tells Ezekiel to say, “Thus says the Lord GOD”. God wanted Ezekiel and the people to know that He is the one warning them. 

God is speaking to the religious leaders of captive Israel; they had the temple, the fancy robes, money and the religious rituals and services. Their hearts were evil and God rejected their rituals and sacrifices. And they lost everything because of their rebellion and hypocrisy. 

God will not judge us for how well others respond to our witness, but for how faithful we have been; and He always gives us the strength to accomplish what He asks us to do. 

Ezekiel 2:5, As for them, whether they hear or whether they refuse—for they are a rebellious house—yet they will know that a prophet has been among them.”

These people are so hard of heart; that they will perhaps listen and perhaps not. When the words spoken however, become reality, they will know, beyond a doubt, that they had been warned by a prophet of God. In any case the people could not plead ignorance just like they cannot do it today. 

Just like Ezekiel was sent with a message to the children of Israel, there are many godly messengers today that are treated in like manner as Ezekiel was. 

Ezekiel 2:6, And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you dwell among scorpions; do not be afraid of their words or dismayed by their looks, though they are a rebellious house.”

Be not afraid is spoken three times to Ezekiel to encourage him to fulfill God’s mission. Briars, thorns, scorpions are figures of speech God used to describe the people of Judah whose obstinate rejection of His Word were like briers and thorns, and stings of scorpions to Ezekiel.  

The Lord was preparing Ezekiel for his mission, giving him assurance that He would be with him. God’s servants must not fear men; therefore we must not fear either and be a truthful example to unkind people. 

Ezekiel 2:7, You shall speak My words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse, for they are rebellious.

Ezekiel was to be faithful to God. Even though these were rebellious people would either hear or refuse to hear, he was not to stop from bringing them the prophecy that God has given him for them. Ezekiel had to be faithful to try to redeem the souls of those to whom he was sent.  

This is applicable to all those who try to teach the Word of God to others. We must obey His voice which the Spirit who dwells in is gives us, just like He gave to Ezekiel. God’s strength is powerful enough to help us live for Him even under the heaviest criticism.    

Rebellion in the Bible is equated to witchcraft in God’s sight. Ministers and missionaries today may bring the truth to people, and still have it rejected. However, just because people do not listen, does not take the burden of teaching away. Just like it was told to Ezekiel, it is our obligation to bring God’s message to people and the Holy Spirit will do the rest. Paul instructed Timothy by saying: “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2). 

Ezekiel 2:8, But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Do not be rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.

God is telling Ezekiel to receive this message into his innermost being. He must not be like these rebellious children of Israel, who will not accept God’s message. We should also read the Word of God every day and keep it in our hearts and minds and do what God has commanded us.

Ezekiel was to obey the command, not literally eating a scroll, but in a spiritual sense by receiving God’s message so that it became an inward passion for him.  

Today His servants just like Ezekiel are to be strong in the Word of God in a world where people have turned against the truth. However, even though people are rebellious, they are not without hope. God holds out hope that people will hear, respond and will have a changed heart, because, hope is ever present until we take our last breath and then our fate, by our own choice, is sealed forever.  

Please ask yourself: Is God revealing some sin in your life? Don’t be stubborn, confess your sin and begin to live for God. By obeying Him now you will enjoy life much more and will be ready to one day stand before Him unashamed. When that day comes, you will be face to face before the One whose eyes are like blazing fire and Who sees deep inside our heart.  

Therefore, remember that: Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in obedience to him (Psalm 128:1). And, pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).

Posted by: missionventureministries | October 26, 2017

BE ANGRY BUT DO NOT SIN – Ephesians 4:26-27

“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27). 

We must not let what is annoying us to get to the point where we lose control. It is important to deal with what is upsetting us before it reaches a critical point. 

As true believers we are a new creation in Jesus Christ and are no longer driven to sinful behavior by our old life. Peter tells us that, “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3). Therefore as a new creation in Christ we are to put off the behavior of our old sinful life, and are to put on the new life of the saint who lives by the Holy Spirit. Once we become a true Christian we are a different person and because of that we must live a different kind of life than the world around us lives. 

Our verse speaks about being angry but not sinning. There are two kinds of anger. First, the Christian can practice righteous anger. We see a great example of this when our Lord Jesus Christ cleansed the temple (Mark 11:15-18, Luke 19:45-47, John 2:14-16). What determines the kind of anger we are feeling, is what has caused the anger to rise up within us. In Jesus’ case He drove out those who were mocking God’s house by making it a market place a den of robbers and He told them: “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer.’” 

The second kind of anger is the wrong kind, where anger for instance overcomes a person when things are not going their way and prides takes over their mind. It would be good at those times to think on what James wrote, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires” (James 1.19-20). 

The wrong kind of anger is when we get upset and angry because something or someone is interfering with our ego and all of a sudden it is not all about us anymore.  

Righteous anger on the other hand is if we are angry at someone because people lie against the truth of God, are against God’s purposes, defame the Name and Glory of God, cause others to sin and produce evil and destruction by their conduct and lack of respect for God. We can also be angry at mean and evil people who abuse and hurt innocent children and people. 

Psalm 97:10 says, “Let those who love the Lord, hate evil.” The more we know God and love truth and holiness, the more we will be angry for the right reason. 

God says “Be angry, and do not sin”. Therefore, a Christian should express righteous anger when righteous anger is called for but must be careful that this righteous anger does not become sinful anger, when it is allowed to become an attitude of resentment and intolerance toward another person. 

Sinful anger is often a sign of our need for a greater trust in God and a fuller giving of our life to Him. Sinful anger when examined often exposes a control problem and a need for more trust in God. Sinful anger is reflected when we have not made Jesus total Lord of all of our life and we have not yet fully accepted the Sovereignty of God over our lives.  

Sinful anger may also be because of un-forgiveness. Please remember what our Lord taught His disciples: “If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15). 

As we continue in our verse, it states: “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry”. What this implies is that, if possible, we should deal with anger right away. We should not put off dealing with anger because, if we do not deal with it when we are convicted by the Spirit, we might not have an opportunity to deal with it again. A case and point is that the person you are angry at might not be alive tomorrow or when you decide to make amends with them. 

And lastly the verse tells us, “and give no opportunity to the devil. This it is directly tied to the feeling of anger. To hold onto anger against another person opens the door of our life to the Devil. Sin brings death, and that is Satan’s aim, to bring about death and an eternity in hell apart from God. 

As we have seen, anger by itself is not sin. There is an anger that is justified, which we call “righteous indignation.” But nurturing anger for the wrong reason, which is the selfish fulfillment of a desire, gives Satan the footing that he needs; which can easily turn into bitterness and a sinful act. 

If you have a disagreement with someone or you feel someone has wronged you go to that person and discuss the situation with them; this is what the Bible tells us to do. Do not act from your sinful nature by saying something rash that will dishonor God and is destructive to others and yourself, damaging His purposes for your life.  

Here are some additional verses to reflect on: 

  • Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools. (Ecclesiastes 7:9) 
  • Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret—it only causes harm. For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth (Psalm 37:8-9).

Remember “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). And “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31)

 

 

 

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | October 19, 2017

LESSONS FROM THE RICH FOOL – Luke 12:17-20

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’” (Luke 12:20)  

This verse gives God’s warning for people whose dominating concern is the accumulation of material possessions. Such a person is, by the Lord’s own testimony, a fool. 

But before the man in this parable became a covetous fool, he first became a self-centered individual interested only in his own desires. In the verses comprising his monologue in (Luke 12:17-19), he used the personal pronouns “I” and “my” no less than eleven times. 

And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ 

“My” is the devil’s pronoun. It was Satan who first said “I.” “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: . . . I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14). Lucifer’s self-seeking covetousness brought rebellion and sin into the angelic host, and then into human beings. Ever since his fall he has used this deadly sin of self-centeredness to keep men away from God and to lead them into all kinds of other overpowering sins.

We need to remember that greed and covetousness is mentioned in the Ten Commandments because it is a warning to one of the major human problems. Where greed is involved there is never enough and there is the constant desire to want more.

This man assumes that his life consists in the abundance of things he possesses; the crops are his and they will provide for his well being for many years to come, so he thinks. And he will enjoy life and eat, drink and party.

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ (v. 20)        

The foolishness and selfishness of the rich man is seen in that he fails to think about his “body” and that it is mortal, and that his life can end at any moment.  He also does not consider the needs of others, because the needs of the poor are not even taken into consideration. He thinks only of self as it is denoted by the number of “I’s” and “my’s” in these verses. Not once does he thank and glorify God for the abundance of the harvest.

This man lives as if God did not exist, and God is not a factor in his life or in the decisions he makes. He does not look for holy advice and he does not pray. He rationalizes and determines that he will keep everything and then will consume it in self-indulgences. In his mind, his land, his possessions, and his life are all under his control. The tendency is that the more successful a person is the more their focus is on the now, and they see their security only in their riches.

We need to be very careful how we live, since we never know when our time here on earth will end.

As Jesus continues He explains that those who lay up treasure for themselves, and are not rich toward God, are like this rich fool! (v. 21)

If our plans for the future are focused only on self, and not on God and the needs of others, we are no different than the rich fool. It is wise to plan but we should do it wisely with God’s help through the Holy Spirit guidance, through prayer and reading His Word.

The rich farmer is a fool not because he is wealthy or because he saves for the future, but because he appears to live only for himself, and because he believes that he can secure his life with his abundant possessions.

The point of the lesson in this parable is that the rich man did not prepare for eternal life and he did not realize that everything is created and owned by God. He had no relationship with the living God. In his planning he had no regard for the God that created him and had given him possessions and stewardship of the land.

This parable teaches us that earthly riches are not the answer to our eternal security. The important thing is that we must be rich spiritually to inherit eternal life.

We need to ensure that our heart is in the right place as Jesus said:  “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  (Matthew 6:19-21)

Posted by: missionventureministries | October 12, 2017

HOW TO KNOW THAT WE ARE IN HIM – 1 John 2:5-6

“By this we know that we are in Him: He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” (1 John 2:5-6)  

You know, that you truly know Christ if you walk in obedience to His Word because it’s manifested in the way your live. It’s manifested in your obedience.” In other words, we know that we know God because we keep His commandments. 

John is teaching that salvation is evidenced by obedience. And, in turn, that obedience contributes to our assurance of salvation. Obedience is a sign that we know God, recognizing that He expects His people to live in obedience to Him. 

In verse four, John restates verse three with a warning: “The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4). His point is that if you claim to know God but your life is not changed, then that is a sure sign that you don’t know God. Why? Because the truth of God changes and leads a person to a transformed life. So, when that transformed life is not present, you can be sure that the person never studied or learned the truth; and thus has never know God. 

Having the empowering of the Holy Spirit makes it possible for us to “walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:12); and that there is no greater joy then to “walk in truth” (3 John 4) and in honesty (1 Thessalonians 4:12; Romans 13:13).  

Christianity is not just knowing about God or knowing certain doctrines or following certain moral precepts. It is essentially to know God because God wants us to know Him. Jesus said, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). Christianity means knowing God personally through Jesus Christ, who revealed God to us.  

There is a vast difference between knowing about a person and knowing that person. You may have heard some things about God that may or not be true, but until you have made Him the Lord of your life, you really do not know Him or understand that He deserves to be the absolute Master of your life.  

In our text, John says that if we are abiding in Christ, we will walk as He walked. This means that He is our supreme example for living. Jesus showed us how we should live in total dependence on the Father and in complete submission to His will, no matter how difficult. Jesus declared, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner” (John 5:19). He also said “… I always do the things that are pleasing to Him” (John 8:29). 

While no one can make similar claims, everyone who claims to abide in Christ should have the same focus and direction, not to act in independence from God, but in total dependence on Him. We should not live to please ourselves apart from God, but to do the things that are pleasing to Him. 

To walk as Jesus walked means that our lives should be characterized by daily dependence on God, submission to Him, and obedience to His will. Our overall aim in life will be to seek first His kingdom and righteousness. We will seek to please Him by our thoughts, words, and deeds. While we will never perfectly walk as Jesus walked, it should be our constant aim and effort to do so. 

So ask yourself, “Do I know Christ?” Have you trusted in Him as the propitiation for your sins? If so, ask, “Do I know that I know Him?” How? “Do I obey His Word and seek to walk as Jesus walked?” If that is the direction and focus of your life, then you can know that you know Him. 

We need to understand there are reasons that we obey. We obey because we have to; we obey because we need to; or we obey because we want to. And that the believer obeys God’s word because he wants to – for the relationship between him and God is one of love. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15). 

We are asking you to look inside your being and answer this question: Are you keeping God’s commandments? While keeping the commandments is not a condition for salvation, it is a sign, an evidence, of your salvation – a mark of a Christian. In fact, partial obedience is another name for disobedience. 

Please remember that: “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16)

Posted by: missionventureministries | October 5, 2017

BULLYING IS A SIN

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone… (2 Timothy 2:24)

Bullying is a sin; the devil is a bully, bullies desire to be like the devil.

The heart of the bully relies on others to back him up in his wicked assault on kind, innocent people.

The bully is someone who enjoys causing others pain and anguish. He does not love kindness but rather hostility.

Proverbs 6:16-19 says: “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: proud eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”

These verses speak about the core of the bully’s heart since the bully is proud, he will lie and at times runs to shed blood. He most definitely devises wicked plans and runs swiftly to do his evil works.  The bully is proud and mean; he or she finds great satisfaction in ridiculing and hurting other people. That is why he keeps bullying.  It is a power trip for him and he doesn’t realize that he is doing what the devil wants; God hates the things that the bully does.

Bullying causes severe physical, psychological, and emotional trauma to victims. As parents, we need to stand up for our kids and do whatever we can to stop others from making victims of our children.

When we compare and contrast the heart of the bully versus the heart of the Christian we see the following:

THE BULLY’S HEART

THE CHRISTIAN’S HEART

Bullies are very proud True Christians are humble
They seeks power They seek to serve God
They want dominance Wants to obey God
Plans wicked schemes Plans acts of kindness
Acts out in rage Acts out in love
Enjoys inflicting pain on others Enjoys helping others
Loves hatred and injustice Loves justice
Relies on others to back him up Needs no one but God
Is motivated by self-dominance Is motivated to encourage and lift others up

 

Bullies always try to get other people to join them in hurting and ridiculing someone who has a kind, gentle, loving spirit.

CONCLUSION

The main thing is that at the heart of the matter bullies only focus on their own pride, ego and meanness at the cost of others. This is exactly the way that the devil lives and he influences and even possesses people who are bullies. He focuses only on his own wicked schemes ridiculing and destructing anyone that he can.

David in the Bible was bullied and prayed: “Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in the right path, because my enemies are waiting for me. Deliver me and do not let me fall into their hands. For they accuse me of things I’ve never done; with every breath they threaten me with violence.” (Psalm 27:11-12)

The Bible also tells us that the hypocrite destroys his neighbor with his mouth. (Proverbs 11:9)

Posted by: missionventureministries | September 28, 2017

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST AS LORD AND SAVIOR? – Romans 10:9

If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

When an individual becomes a Christians it is assumed that they have accepted Jesus as Savior, that is, they have acknowledged that Jesus Christ came from the Father, was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, was sacrificed for our sins, was resurrected, and now sits at the right hand of God intervening for them; but do they know Him as Lord? 

Every new Christian should understand the concept of the Savior when they come to Christ and this is the first part of the salvation experience. 

What most people fail to understand is the second part of the salvation experience, which is that Jesus Christ needs to also become the Lord of their life. Yes, there is a difference between being Savior and being Lord. 

In the Bible you will find the word lord either spelled with all capital letters, LORD, or as “Lord”. The first version, LORD, stands for the name of God Himself, which is the Hebrew translation of the word YHWH (Yahweh).  

In the dictionary, the word “Lord” has different meanings and here are some of them: 

  • A person who has authority, control, or power over others; a master, chief, or ruler.  
  • A person who exercises authority from property rights; an owner of land, houses, etc.  
  • A titled nobleman; a person whose ordinary term contains by courtesy the title Lord because of the position they have attained. 

Therefore, someone whom you call Lord is in a position of authority, power, control, and deserves your respect and obedience. You acknowledge their authority and your submission to their authority implies your willingness to obey their commands.  

The point is that when a person accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior they should not only accept Jesus in the position of Savior but also as Lord. Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” Only a person in a position of authority has the right to command and Jesus has that authority, granted by the Father (John 3:35, Ephesians 1:22). 

The only thing required of us, for Jesus to be our Savior, is for us to believe. On the other hand, for Jesus to be our Lord we no longer make our own decisions, He makes them for us. When He is the Lord of our life, He is in total control, and we follow His instructions without questioning and in doing so placed ourselves under His Lordship and His authority. Jesus has the right to command us and to expect that His commands will be obeyed.  

Jesus does not want us to call Him “Lord” and “Master” if we are not willing to commit to doing the things He says as He told His followers, “But why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46).  

Our deeds need to match our words: “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:17). To confess Jesus’ Lordship with our mouths while not submitting our lives to Him is empty talk. If He truly is our Lord, then He controls both our words as well as our deeds. 

Now that you are aware of what it means to know Jesus as Lord and not only as Savior does this change anything for you?  

Will Jesus truly be your Master, God and Sovereign Lord over every goal, purpose and decision in your life?  

Will you be obedient and sensitive to His requirements now that you are aware of the implications of Jesus as Lord? Or will you continue to accept Him as Savior but can’t see letting this Lordship interfere with your life?  

Remember that if you place Jesus in His deserving place as Lord of your life, you might have to change some things, like give up a bad habit, reprioritize your life, and stop being self-centered. 

Accepting Jesus’ Lordship involves saying “yes” to whatever He says. It involves denial of self-interests, including sometimes the giving up of life itself – but it also involves finding life; that is, eternal life. 

Jesus told His disciples: “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? (Mark 8:34-36).  

In these verses Jesus is commanding and demanding absolute obedience and surrender to His eternal Lordship, over everything that we desire, say, think and do. Here Jesus has defined the aspect of true Christianity; anything short of total commitment to the Master is foolish religiosity and hypocrisy. 

When you come to Christ and are truly saved, the Spirit of God will move on your spirit and you will acknowledge Jesus as your Savior and make Him the Lord of your life. 

It means that: “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). 

Please remember that it is not enough to have head knowledge of who Jesus is or to just say you believe. If you have claimed that Jesus is important in your life, start showing it by your actions. Being a Christian means becoming transformed into Christ’s image, not molding Him into the image you think is right and rightfully making Him the Lord of your life.                                                                                                                            

So what are you going to hear when you finally come face to face with God when you die? Will it be, “Well done my good and faithful servant,” (Matthew 25:23) or will Jesus say to you “ ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:23)  

IS JESUS TRULY THE LORD OF YOUR LIFE?

Posted by: missionventureministries | September 21, 2017

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF HAVING A CHURCH? – 1 Corinthians 12:12-27

Paul gave an excellent illustration to the believers in Corinth (1 Corinthians 12:12-27), where the church is to be “One Body with Many Members” and act as God’s ambassadors to this fallen world. 

The true believers are the church and as such we are to be doing the things that Jesus Christ would do as if He were here physically on the earth. The church is to be a Christ-like and Christ-following group of believers that are witnesses of Him to people that are lost. 

Throughout the New Testament, we see spiritual leaders teaching others. This is part of the Christian lifestyle; it is part of the Great Commission. “Go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). The church is an educational institution as well as a place of worship and transformation. 

The purpose of the church is to worship God (Luke 4:8; John 4:23), to study His Word and correctly handle the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15), to partake of the Lord’s supper and to pray (Acts 2:42), to love one another (John 13:35), to help each other (Galatians 6:2), to learn how to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives (Titus 2:11-12), and to be a witness of God’s holiness to everyone we come in contact with: But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16) 

God has given us pastors, so that we might be equipped “for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ,” (Ephesians 4:12). The term “body of Christ” is another name for the Christian church. The Bible reveals many aspects of the purpose of the church and here are some: 

To Guard the Accurate Teachings of the Church“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:1-2). 

To Humbly Worship Almighty God in Spirit and in Truth. That is what a true worshiper does. (John 4:24) 

To Discipline Believers – “And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer” (Matthew 18:15-17). 

To Become More Like Christ“But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.(Ephesians 4:15-16). 

To be Taught by Spiritually Mature Teachers“To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed:  Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve;  not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:1-3). 

“Likewise, older women should be reverent in behavior, …and  teachers of good things,  that they may teach the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,  and to be self-controlled, pure, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored” (Titus 2:3-5). 

Christians need to be diligent in teaching all children to love God with all their heart soul and might and to tell them about God every chance they get. In addition, as their parents you should also tell them about God’s love when they go to sleep and when they rise up (Deuteronomy 6:5-7). 

Both children and adults should be saturated with God’s Holy Word. 

To be Unified in Christ“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). 

To get People Together to Praise their Savior – 1 Peter 2:9 declares that: “we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” And we are to “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:19). 

The Church has the Purpose“For the equipping of the saints, for the work of service, and for the building up of the body of Christ,  until we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, into a complete man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:12-13). 

God provides leaders who have the function of preparing others for their godly mission. The result is growth, maturity and unity, if we allow the process to work as God intends. 

To summarize, the true church is the body of Christ, made holy by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It is manifested on earth in local gatherings of the body of Christ, and it is also enthroned with Christ in heaven (Ephesians 2:6). By God’s own appointment, it is distinct from other institutions by being holy and by being uniquely empowered by the Holy Spirit to accomplish God’s will for its role in disciplining and encouraging believers.

We need to understand that the church exists because God wants it for His purpose now and for eternity.

Posted by: missionventureministries | September 14, 2017

IS GOD TRYING TO GET YOUR ATTENTION? – Hebrews 12:11

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11)

God’s discipline and chastening is an issue that all Christians should learn about, because sooner or later, most will probably discover what it means to be disciplined by the Lord.

According to the Bible, the Lord’s chastening is generally considered painful and unpleasant (Hebrews 12:11), intended as a “reprimand” to change one’s behavior. In the Old Testament, the ordeals of the Children of Israel, including defeat by enemy armies, were often referred to as chastisement for sin and rebellion (Deuteronomy 11:2). But the purpose of chastising is not to destroy (Psalm 118:18), but to lead to repentance (Jeremiah 31:18-19) and to restore God’s blessing (Psalm 94:12).

Chastisement is not a bad thing. Although unpleasant, discipline is vital in the life of a true believer who is in rebellion to God and the commands of the Bible. It is the correction and discipline of a loving Heavenly Father toward His children. God’s love us as a parent; therefore, our sinful behavior makes it necessary for God to discipline us with spiritual, mental, physical pain and with financial losses. The Bible says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as His son” (Hebrews 12:5-6).

As we grow older, we recognize that the discipline of our parents was a necessary means to keep us out of trouble; and we start realizing that they corrected us not because they enjoyed it, but because they loved us.

The Bible says, “…we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness (Hebrews 12:9-10).

God wants what is best for us. For this reason, He will discipline us if we persist in sin, and will administer correction if we dishonor His name and His commands that are in the Bible. He says, As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3:19).

You may ask: How does God chastise His children? This is a personal matter with each individual. Many times, He will lift his hand of blessing and allow difficulty, physical pain and trouble to come our way, not to destroy us, but to humbly bring us back to our knees in repentance.

Some people have a tendency to exhibit a continuously disobedient and rebellious spirit; therefore, these people may have to be constantly chastised with losses and sometimes chronic pain to keep them from wrecking their lives and causing further dishonor to our Holy God.

When chastisement comes, it will be accompanied by conviction of our sin and rebellion. God invites us to come to Him in repentance and humility, so that He may restore His blessings. As it is so wisely written: “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion” (Proverbs 28:13).

Is God trying to get your attention? How much pain and loss will you have to endure until you fully surrender your disobedient spirit to Him and start obeying His Holy Word?

When we begin to wander from the course God has set for us, He will take all kinds of measures to capture our attention and protect us from harm. He has a variety of ways to help us to pay attention, and here are some of them:

A Restless Spirit  – Sometimes God gets our attention by making us restless – Proverbs 15:16 tells us: “Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and turmoil with it.” If you experience restlessness and things are not going right, then stop and pray, “Lord, are You trying to say something to me?”

Conviction that comes Directly from the Bible. God gets our attention when we attentively read the Bible because it is our guide and blueprint for living a life of peace, freedom and victory. We must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit when we read the Bible, so that He can guide us as we desire to be more like Christ.

A Spoken WordGod also gets our attention by using the words of others. The Lord gave a message both to young Samuel and to the old priest, Eli, through this method (1 Samuel 3:4-18). If several people in a short span of time begin telling you the same thing, then ask the Lord if He is trying to speak to you through them.

Or in an Unusual Way – God might get our attention in a number of very unusual ways, depending on the severity of our stubbornness and the overly self-sufficient person that we might be.

But remember that no matter which method He uses, He is trying to get our attention because He loves us.

The Father always knows exactly where we are in our journey of faith and precisely what it will take to get our attention. So stay alert and when things start occurring ask Him what He is trying to tell you, and then listen … do not simply hear, but obey. And do not be like the ones Isaiah spoke of in chapter 29:13 where “The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”

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