Rock of Our Salvation
Psalm 95:1-2 NIV
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
Jesus Christ, God the Son, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is the Rock of our salvation. He is our foundation, our support, our mainstay, our tower of strength; the strong ground on which we stand; the basis of our hope. He is the one who established, by his death and resurrection, how we are saved and what we are saved from and to. His teachings and those of his apostles and prophets (of the Bible) also serve as the foundation of our faith and of the gospel truth, upon which our spiritual house is built.
When Jesus began his earthly ministry he preached repentance and belief in the gospel. He taught that we must repent or perish in our sins. He was not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. He called sinners to repentance. And, he taught repentance for forgiveness of sins. His NT apostles taught the same. And, repentance means to have a change of mind about sin and about God, which involves turning away from the sin and turning to God to follow him in his truth and in his ways.
Jesus said that if we want to come after him, we must deny self, take up our cross daily and follow (obey) him. He said if we hold on to our old lives of sin we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our lives for his sake, i.e. if we die with him to sin, then we will have the hope of eternal life with him. He said that unless we partake of the death that he died for our sin, we have no part of him, for he died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (See: Luke 9:23-25; John 6:35-66; 1 Peter 2:24).
Jesus also said that his followers listen to him and that they follow (obey) him (See: John 10:27-30). And, they are the ones who cannot be snatched out of his hands and the Father’s hands. He said if we love him, we will keep (obey) his Word, and he and the Father will make their home with us. He said if we keep his Word, we will never see death. The NT apostles reiterated this message when they emphasized the connection between love for God and obedience to his Word. The two are inseparable. Repentance and obedience are required components of genuine faith in Jesus Christ.
Bow Down in Worship
Psalm 95:6-7 NIV
Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.
The Bible describes our worship of God in these words from Romans 12:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (vv. 1-2).
This message is all throughout the New Testament in the Bible. The whole object of our salvation is that we forsake our former lives of living for sin and self, that we live separate from the sinful ways of the world, and that we yield our lives (our whole being) to our God to live lives which are holy and pleasing to him.
When Jesus died on that cross he bought us back for God with his blood. This means our lives are no longer our own to be lived how we want, for we belong to Christ. Therefore, we are to honor him with our lives!
We aren’t supposed to have the same minds as we did before we believed in Jesus. We are supposed to have minds transformed of the Spirit of God away from sin and self and the flesh and now dedicated to God. We are to now have pure minds, and ones fixed on Jesus, and listening to him, and following him in obedience to his will. Jesus didn’t die just to give us a free pass from hell. He died to change our lives, to make us new creatures in Christ Jesus, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
When we come to faith in Jesus Christ with God-given faith which is divinely persuaded as to God’s will for our lives, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with him in newness of life.
“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin” (Rom. 6:6-7).
Jesus died to set us free from slavery (addiction) to sin, not just to forgive us our sins, and definitely not to give us a free pass to continue in willful sin against him. He and his NT apostles were emphatic on this issue! To worship him means to bow down to him, and to bow down to him is to submit to him and to do what he commands. If he is our Lord, then that means he is our owner-master and we are his possession.
He “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 2:14).
Hear His Voice
Psalm 95:7-11 NIV
Today, if only you would hear his voice,
“Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,
as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,
where your ancestors tested me;
they tried me, though they had seen what I did.
For forty years I was angry with that generation;
I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
and they have not known my ways.’
So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’”
Many hearts today are hardened to the truth of the gospel, and I am meaning within the walls of our churches, and even among the clergy. And, this is largely because another gospel and another Jesus are being taught within the church which are not founded in the Word of God, or are only partially based in the Word of Truth. This false gospel and its messengers are shallow, superficial, diluted, phony. They are “bragging liars” who boast of what is only half truth or is diluted or twisted truth, and to their advantage. This gospel of which they speak is shortened, manufactured of humans, and is being strengthened, as it is spreading like gangrene.
Basically, these “thieves and liars” have cheapened God’s grace and have reduced it to nothing more than forgiveness of sins and the hope of heaven when we die. They have made God’s grace common and collective of many thoughts and ideas of human origin. This lying gospel which boasts of much is a departure, a separating from the truth of God’s Word. Although there is truth contained within, it is only partial truth, often taken out of context. The faith required for salvation is thus generated of man, not God-given faith.
A steady diet of this “Bragging Liar” gospel has led many people astray, which has resulted in many hard hearts which are resistant to the truth of the gospel and the voice of the Holy Spirit. And, many people are craving this false gospel because it tells them what their ears WANT to hear rather than what they NEED to hear. But, there is no hope in this lying gospel, because it leaves its followers still dead in their sins, without hope, without God, and still bound for hell, and not for heaven.
The lie says that all you have to do is “believe” in Jesus and you have heaven guaranteed you no matter how you live your life from this moment forward. But “believe” is rarely even explained. It reduces faith often to some intellectual acknowledgment or to some emotional decision, but which does not lead the “believer” to die with Christ to sin or to live with Christ to righteousness. It does not put sin to death, but it pacifies it, instead. And, since so many Christians these days have been caught in this web of deception, they have hardened their hearts to the truth, and they are living a lie, thinking they are going to heaven, when they are not.
The Bible is perfectly clear on this subject. We reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from that flesh we will reap corruption (or destruction). If we sow to please the Spirit, we will reap eternal life. If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk in darkness (in sin), we are liars. If we walk according to the flesh, to gratify our sinful cravings, and if we make sin our practice, and if we hold on to our old lives of sin, we will die in our sins. This is the truth! And, we need to take it seriously! For, not only does your relationship with God depend on it now, but your eternal life depends on you walking in the truth and not following after this “Bragging Liar” gospel.
Lord Have Mercy
Michel Coeuriot / Michel Jonasz
Jesus, I’ve forgotten the words that You have spoken
Promises that burned within my heart have now grown dim
With a doubting heart I follow the paths of earthly wisdom
Forgive me for my unbelief
Renew the fire again…
Lord have mercy on me
Sunday, March 11, 2018, 4:44 p.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from Your Word. Bring it home to our hearts, I pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen.