Isaiah 53:1-3 ESV
“Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
Jesus Christ is not only the only begotten Son of God, but he is God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Around 2,000 years ago he left his throne in heaven, came to earth, and was born as a baby to a human mother with God as his birth Father. So, while he walked the earth he was both fully God and fully human.
During his 3 years of ministry on the earth, between the ages of 30 and 33, I believe, he healed the sick and afflicted, raised the dead, delivered people from demons, fed the hungry, performed many miracles, and comforted the sorrowful as well as he preached repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus taught that if we are to come after him that we must deny self, take up our cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him.
Although many people superficially followed him because of the many miracles that he performed, not many truly were his followers who gave up their lives to follow him in his ways and in his truth. And when he spoke with them about the cost of following him, many deserted him, never to return. And many of the religious rulers in the temple hated him and tried continually to discredit him and eventually had him put to death on a cross.
Isaiah 53:4-6 ESV
“Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.”
Now, Jesus Christ died on that cross to put our sin to death with him that he might free us from our slavery (addiction) to sin, by his grace, through faith in him. He died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. And he shed his blood for us on that cross to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so that we would now honor God with our bodies, so that we would live for his glory.
He did not die on that cross just so that we could be forgiven our sins so that we could go to heaven when we die. In his death he who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God, but not just as a status we wear but in practice in our everyday lives. And by faith in him we are crucified with him in death to sin, and we are raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. For our old self was crucified with him that we might no longer live as slaves to sin but as slaves to God and to his righteousness.
[Rom 6:1-23; 1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15,21; 1 Co 6:19-20; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 4:17-24; Rom 8:1-17; Lu 9:23-26; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10]
Our World Today
The True Gospel Under Fire
I live in America (the USA) so I can only speak of what I know and I know a lot of what is going on in my nation but not much of what is going on in other nations, for most of our news sources can’t be trusted to tell us the truth and/or they don’t report much of what is going on in other nations. So I will speak of what I know and you can apply it to where you live however it fits. But the Lord is wanting me to apply this lesson to where we live today.
We live in a day and time when the word of God is being crucified, when the gospel of our salvation is being obliterated, but not so much by the people out in the world but by those professing faith in Jesus Christ, and by pastors of what are called “churches,” and by the people who are following them, and by authors of “Christian” books. And the true gospel, the one that Jesus and his New Testament apostles taught, is largely not being taught anymore, but a replacement gospel is what is being taught, instead.
This replacement gospel, which is often called “the cheap grace gospel,” has taken the basic foundation of the gospel message and it has diluted and altered it to make it more appealing and acceptable to human flesh and to the people of the world. And so they have removed God’s requirements for repentance (turning away from sin) and for obedience to his commands (New Covenant), and they do not honor him as Lord (Owner-Master).
Babylon, the Flesh-Driven Church
But the gospel is not the only thing they have altered and that they are putting to death, but they have also altered the meaning of “church” to be a building and an institution of man incorporated under the state and under the headship of church denominations which is now following after the marketing schemes of businessmen who are marketing the church to the world just like any other business or product.
And God forbids us turning his house (the body of Christ) into a marketplace. And he forbids us from becoming followers of man instead of followers of God. And he forbids us from being unequally yoked together with unbelievers (the ungodly). And he forbids us from being united together with Babylon, the Harlot, the institutional flesh-driven “church.”
And he is calling his people to come out from their midst and to be separate from them and to touch no unclean thing and he will welcome us and he will be a father to us and we will be his children. And we are to come out from “Babylon,” lest we take part in her sins and in her punishment for her sins are heaped high to heaven and God has remembered her iniquities. And some of us have already done that, and others need to do that, too.
And truly today’s institutional market-driven and flesh-driven church here in America is under the judgment of God. The hand-writing has been on the wall for some time now. And the self-indulgent, the offspring of the adulterous church, which is in union with sensuality and lewdness, who are mischievous, devious, and sneaky (underhanded), who are the ones obliterating the truth of the gospel, are just adding to that hand-writing on the wall, i.e. the judgments of God on Babylon, the Harlot.
For she (the Harlot) has not humbled her heart, but she has lifted up herself against the Lord of heaven. For she has praised the treasures of this world and of the flesh in place of giving praise and honor to God. So God has numbered her days and he is bringing them to an end for she has been weighed in the balances and found wanting. And I believe we are already seeing that hand of judgment on America and the world and on the institutional flesh-driven church but that there is more to come.
So, this is a call to come out of Babylon and out from being unequally yoked together with the ungodly and the influences they have had on the church, the body of Christ, and to reject the “cheap grace gospel” and now to follow Jesus Christ with your lives in wholehearted devotion to him. Die with him to sin daily and live to him and to his righteousness and no longer partner with the world of sin and God will welcome you and he will be a Father to you and you will be his children.
[1 Co 1:10-17; Jn 2:13-17; 2 Co 6:14-18; Rev 18:1-5]
Ten Thousand Angels
Words and Music by Carl Ray Overholt
They bound the hands of Jesus in the garden where He prayed;
They led Him thro’ the streets in shame.
They spat upon the Savior so pure and free from sin;
They said, “Crucify Him; He’s to blame.”
He could have called ten thousand angels
To destroy the world and set Him free.
He could have called ten thousand angels,
But He died alone, for you and me.
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