Take Heart

Jesus Christ was getting ready to go to the cross to die for our sins, so that we could be liberated from our slavery to sin, and so we could become slaves of his righteousness. So, he spent some time with his disciples, talking with them, and preparing them for what was coming next.

First he taught them about being a servant, but that wasn’t the only lesson in what he did when he washed their feet that day. He was also teaching them a spiritual lesson which was part of his gospel, and that is that if they would not allow him to cleanse them of their sins (to deliver them from their bondage to sin, in essence) that they would have no part of him.

Then, he went on to tell them that one of them would betray him to death, and that all of them would dessert him, and that Peter would deny him three times before the rooster crowed.

But, then he told them not to be afraid, and he told them about the house he was going to prepare for them in heaven. And, then he went on to tell them that if they loved him, they would keep his commandments. And, he talked with them about how he was going to send them the Holy Spirit after he went back to the Father, etc. (See John 13-16)

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 ESV

And, then he told them much about how they would be hated as he was hated, and that they would be persecuted and scattered on account of the name of Jesus, and that some of them would be put out of the synagogues (now the churches), and that some of them would be killed for righteousness’ sake, too. But, then he gave them this word of encouragement to take heart, because He has overcome the world! Amen!

“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.” John 17:6-9 ESV

And, then he prayed to the Father in heaven concerning his disciples, which I believe is a prayer for all of Christ’s followers today, too, for Jesus is always living to intercede for us (Heb. 7:25).

But, in that prayer, he also described what it means to be a follower of Jesus. And, if we are not followers of Christ, then we don’t truly believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives. For his followers walk in obedience to our Lord’s commands. This doesn’t mean we will never sin (1 Jn. 2:1-2), or that we will be perfect, but that in practice, in how we regularly conduct our lives, we will follow what he says (Jn. 10:27-30).

Also, we are given to Christ by the Father “out of the world,” for God called us to be a holy people, set apart (unlike, different) from the world. So, as his followers, we are not to live like the world does or to think and act like they do, for we were called out of the world to become like Jesus in thought, in heart, in mind and in conduct.

“All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” John 17:10-12 ESV

And, here Jesus prayed for our spiritual protection while we still live in the world. For the world pulls at us regularly to come and join them and to be like them and to partake of their delicacies. And, the world, including the worldly church, will also oppose us and persecute us and will create havoc for us in this life as well as they will try to lure us to become like them.

So, it is encouraging to know that Jesus still lives to intercede for us, and that the Spirit of God intercedes for us, too, when we don’t know what or how to pray, and when we are feeling weak (Heb. 7:25; Rom. 8:26).

“But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.” John 17:13-19 ESV

When Jesus walked the face of this earth, they had him physically present with them, talking with them face to face. But, when he went back to the Father, after he rose from the dead, he sent his Holy Spirit to indwell his followers, and the Holy Spirit teaches us all things pertaining to Christ.

As well, God breathed his words into his apostles (New Testament) so that we have God’s written Word to us, his church, his followers. But, because we have his Word, and his Word is alive in our lives, because we obey his Word, the world, including the worldly church, hates us.

For, we need to remember here that Jesus’ greatest persecutors were the leaders and rulers in the temple of God, so we should not be surprised if much of today’s modern church hates us, too, and if they kick us out of their gatherings.

And, we are hated, too, because we are not of the world, for God called us out of the world, so the world should not love us as its own, for we should be living lives which are different from the world.

So, again Jesus prayed for our spiritual protection, that we would be kept from the evil one. This doesn’t mean that we will never be tempted to sin, or that Satan will not come against us and attack us. But, the prayer is that we would be strong in the Lord, and that we would not yield to Satan, but that we would remain steadfast in our faith in Jesus Christ.

And, then he prayed that we who are his followers would be sanctified in truth, i.e. that we would be made holy, and that our hearts would be purified in truth, that the truth of God’s Word, as applied to our lives, would purify us in heart and mind and in conduct, too.

For, although we are not to be one with the world, we still live in this world, and we are called to go out into the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ, too.

So, we are going to face all kinds of temptations and trials and persecutions in this world of ours, especially the closer our walks are with Jesus, and especially the more that we share the truths of God’s Word with others and that we expose the lies which are leading hearts astray.

But, we need to be the Lord’s servants in taking the truth of the gospel to the world so that many can be saved from their sins and have eternal life with God, and so they can live in this world free from slavery to sin and be empowered by God to live holy and godly lives, pleasing to God.

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

 

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