Saturday, October 29, 2016, 3:41 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Gift of God.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 95 (ESV).
He is the Rock of our Salvation (vv. 1-2)
Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
Yes, let us sing to the Lord, and praise his holy name, for by his grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, we have been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we have been resurrected with Christ in newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See: Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24). We have been set free from slavery to sin, and we have been born of the Spirit of God to new lives in Christ Jesus, to be lived in/to his holiness and righteousness. Sin is no longer our master, because Jesus Christ bought us back for God with his blood shed on a cross for our sins. He not only saved us from our sins, but he has given us new purpose for living, which is to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to him, and all for his praise and glory.
He is above all gods (vv. 3-5)
For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
Jesus Christ is God, the Son, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He was with God in the beginning, he is God, and all things which were made, were made by him. Our God and Lord Jesus Christ is far above all rule and authority, power and dominion. God the Father has placed all things under Jesus’ feet. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. In everything he has the supremacy. Amen! He is the ruler of God’s creation; the head over every power and authority; and all angels, authorities and powers are in submission to him. Praise God! In that we can rest secure, knowing that God rules supreme over all. [See: Eph. 1:15-23; Col. 1:15-20; Rev. 3:14; Col. 2:9-10; & 1 Pet. 3:21-22.]
He is our God; our Shepherd (vv. 6-7a)
Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.
Jesus Christ is our shepherd, and we are his sheep, if we have trusted in him to be Lord (owner-master) and Savior of our lives. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (Jn. 10:27-28). Many people quote this passage, but they ignore the bulk of verse 27, and focus on verse 28. Yet, not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord,” is the Lord’s sheep. Just because you say you believe in Jesus does not mean you truly do. Jesus’ sheep, i.e. true Christians, are those who listen to Jesus and who obey him. In other words, they are those who no longer walk (conduct their lives) according to the sinful flesh, but they are those who are walking according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God (Re: Ro. 8:1-14).
Since Jesus Christ, God the Son, delivered us out of bondage to sin, and gave us new lives in Christ, to be lived in/to his righteousness; since he is our God, and he is above all other gods; since he is our creator and the Rock of our salvation; and since he is our shepherd, and we are his sheep, we should live like this is true. Our lifestyles should reflect this reality.
We should live like we have been set free from slavery to sin, not using his grace as an excuse to continue in sin. We should be conducting our lives according to his holiness and righteousness, and not according to the ways of this sinful world. We should not be giving the bulk of our time, praise, adoration, loyalty, passion, fervor and devotion to things, or to other people, or to work, entertainment, sports, and hobbies, etc. But, as his sheep, we should be following him in obedience to his plan and purposes for our lives. We should be walking in his ways and in his truth, abiding in his presence, faithful in prayer, and continuous in faith, and in the study of his Word.
No Hardened Hearts (vv. 7b-11)
Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
when your fathers put me to the test
and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
For forty years I loathed that generation
and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart,
and they have not known my ways.”
Therefore I swore in my wrath,
“They shall not enter my rest.”
The writer of Hebrews quoted this passage from Psalm 95, as recorded in Hebrews 3:7-11. It was in the context of writing to Hebrew Christians. He told them that “Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope” (Heb. 3:6). He said, as well, that “We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end” (v. 14).
Jesus said something similar to this when he said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jn. 8:31-32). Paul said, “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain” (I Co 15:2). And, John said, “See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us—even eternal life” (I Jn. 2:24-25; cf. Ro. 11:17-24; Col 1:21-23; II Tim 2:10-13; 2 Pet. 1:5-11).
Since our continuing to be God’s house is on the condition of our persistence and faithfulness in our faith and obedience, as taught by Jesus and his NT apostles, if today we hear his voice speaking to us, we should take care that we do not harden our hearts by shutting out his voice, and by going our own way, instead. The Word of God does not teach that we are saved (past), that we live our lives, and then we go to heaven when we die (future), with the “in-between” optional as to whether or not we obey and honor Jesus Christ. Obedience is not optional. Repentance (turning from sin to God) is not optional. What happens in-between new birth and death is also not optional.
In John 3:16 it says that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but should have everlasting life. This word “believe” is actually “is believing.” It is present tense. We are not saved on the basis of past belief. We have to continue believing, and we have to be believing in him when he returns. As well, belief in Jesus is not just an emotional experience, or a mental acknowledgement of what he did for us in dying for our sins, or even a mere admission that we are sinners in need of a Savior. It is also not merely accepting his forgiveness for our sins, and believing in the hope of heaven when we die. When we believe in Jesus we die with him to sin, and we are resurrected with him to new life in Christ, to be lived to his righteousness.
Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self and take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) him. He said if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self), we will lose them (die in our sins). But, if we lose our lives, i.e. if we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, we will gain eternal life (Lu. 9:23-25). Paul reiterated the same thing when he said that if we walk (conduct our lives) according to the flesh, we will die (without Christ), but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live (with Christ for eternity) (See: Ro. 8:1-14). John said that if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin), we are liars and the truth is not in us (1 Jn. 1:6).
Jesus did not die just so we could escape hell and have the promise of heaven when we die. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. He died, as well, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us who walk not according to the sinful nature, but who walk (live our lives) according to the Spirit of God. His grace is not a free license to continue in sin without guilt and without remorse. His grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, godly and upright lives while we wait for Christ’s return. [See: 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15; Ro. 8:1-14 & Tit. 2:11-14].
So, don’t count on some prayer you prayed at an altar one day to get you into heaven. If you don’t continue in Christ, and in his Word, and if you walk according to your sinful flesh, and not according to the Spirit, the Bible says you will not have the hope of heaven when you die, but a fearful expectation of God’s wrath. So, don’t mess around. Don’t play games. None of us knows if he (or she) has tomorrow. You may die in your sleep tonight, and you may spend eternity in everlasting punishment, without God, and without hope. Take God’s word seriously. Take this warning from his word seriously. Repent of your sins today, and turn to walk with Christ in his holiness and righteousness – all in the power, working and strength of his Spirit living within you, and all for the praise, honor, and glory of God, our Lord. Amen!
Gift of God / An Original Work / October 25, 2016
Based off Various Scriptures
Jesus Christ, Son of God,
Died for us on a cross;
Conquered death, sin, and hell,
So, with Him, we would dwell.
For, by His grace, we are saved.
He set us free from all sin.
Thanks be to God for His Gift.
Through faith in Him, we’re forgiven.
Holy Spirit of God,
Given to us who believe,
Gives us new life in Christ;
Made to be just like Him.
We died with Christ to our sin.
New lives in Him we begin,
Walking with Christ day by day.
We read His Word, and we pray.
Jesus, He is our Lord.
Follow Him where He leads.
Tell the world of His grace.
We’ll see Christ face to face.
Soon He is coming again.
We’ll be forever with Him.
He’ll wipe our tears all away.
Oh, what a wonderful day!