Jesus Comforts Troubled Hearts, Part 3 (Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign, Day 216)

JJMessage


TEXT: John 14:1-3

1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

———-

Today, I am continuing the daily Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign sermon series, which is aimed at sharing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with unbelievers and reminding Christians, in this important election year, to keep the main thing the main thing — and that is reaching unbelievers with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and praying for their salvation, for the problem in America is not only disobedient presidents, politicians, and people, but disobedient pastors, preachers, and parishioners who have refused to obey the Lord’s Great Commission which is to, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” and who have refused to obey God’s repeated commands to “pray without ceasing” for unbelievers, believers, and political leaders. Yes, you should pray for the right candidate to win; yes, you should vote for the candidate that the Lord gives you peace about voting for. But, don’t get caught up in it like the world does. Nothing much is going to change until people get saved and get their hearts right with the Lord.

This campaign is inspired by the following three verses: 1 Corinthians 2:2 which says, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Acts 5:42 which says, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” And 2 Timothy 2:4 which says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”

This series is not for Christians necessarily. However, I do hope you are one of those saints who still loves to hear the “Old, old story of Jesus and His love” — As another hymn says, “For those who know it best Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” This series is primarily for unbelievers, so they can hear and understand the Gospel and be saved from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell. This is message number 216.

Alexander MacLaren said, “Faith does not grasp a doctrine, but a heart. The trust which Christ requires is the bond that unites souls with Him; and the very life of it is entire committal of myself to Him in all my relations and for all my needs, and absolute utter confidence in Him as all sufficient for everything that I can require.”

It is not lost on us that, although Jesus is now telling His disciples how to set their hearts at ease, it was His words that caused them distress in the first place. Some might wrongly say, ‘Jesus should not have told His disciples those terrible things about His death, His betrayal, Peter’s denial, His going away from them for a while, and the fact that Satan was out to see them fall. If He hadn’t told them those things, they would have never been worried or fretful.’ However Jesus told them these things, not because He wanted them to be afraid, but because He wanted them to be prepared. Even with the forewarning that Jesus had given them, the disciples still were not up to the challenge of Good Friday. Imagine how much more disastrous things would have been if everything had hit them by surprise.

It is good to be warned of bad things that are about to happen. We may not be afforded the luxury of specifics, but what we do have are these words from Jesus Christ: “In this world, ye shall have tribulation…” How can you set your heart at ease in the midst of the tribulation that you are bound to face?

First, we saw that Jesus told His disciples to choose not to let their hearts be troubled. They had control over the condition of their hearts. They did not have to be worried or afraid.

Second, we saw that Jesus told them to choose to believe in God. Instead of relying on the people and things around them, the disciples were to place their trust and confidence in God.

Today, we come to a third command: Jesus says, “believe also in me.” Obviously, being one of the twelve chosen by Jesus to follow Him did not give any of the disciples automatic faith in Christ. We saw that in what happened with Judas. Disciples though they were, they each still had to make a conscious decision to believe in Jesus Christ. They had to decide for themselves that they were going to place their faith and trust in Him.

If you are to have a trouble-free heart in this world, you must also believe in Jesus Christ. Not only is He our Savior who delivers us from sin and the punishment of sin, but He is our true hope in hopeless times. We do not have to have troubled hearts because God is in control and because Jesus Christ is walking with us through every circumstance — even through the valley of the shadow of death.

Why is it essential that we believe in Jesus Christ? The reason why is because Jesus is “the way” to the Father. We cannot truly know God without knowing His Son Jesus Christ. Everything that we need to know about God is revealed in the words and actions of Jesus Christ. Jesus shows us the heart of the Heavenly Father — His power, His wisdom, and His love. In Matthew 11:27, Jesus Christ says, “no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.”

Many people believe in God. Recently, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said, “it makes sense to believe in God.” Albert Einstein once said that he felt “a deep emotional conviction of the presence of a superior power.” However, belief in God is not enough. You must get to know God for yourself, and the only way you can do that is to place your faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

Don’t trust in people and things. People die, people let you down, people disappoint you. Things perish and can be taken away. Trust in God who does not change and in Jesus Christ who promised that He would never leave us nor forsake us. If you do this, your heart can be set at ease no matter what situation you are going through.

Eliza Hewitt wrote:

“Fear not, I am with thee“;
Blessed golden ray,
Like a star of glory,
Lighting up my way!
Through the clouds of midnight,
This bright promise shone,
“I will never leave thee,
Never will leave thee alone.”

Roses fade around me,
Lilies bloom and die,
Earthly sunbeams vanish—
Radiant still the sky!
Jesus, the Lily flower,
Blooming for His own,
Jesus, heaven’s sunshine,
Never will leave me alone.

Steps unseen before me,
Hidden dangers near;
Nearer still my Savior,
Whispering, “Be of cheer“;
Joys, like birds of springtime,
To my heart have flown,
Singing all so sweetly,
“He will not leave me alone.”

You can begin to find peace in whatever troublesome situation you are in by placing your faith and trust in the Prince of Peace.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please e-mail me at dw3@gospellightsociety.com and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.

Jesus Comforts Troubled Hearts, Part 2 (Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign, Day 215)

JJMessage


TEXT: John 14:1-3

1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

———-

Today, I am continuing the daily Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign sermon series, which is aimed at sharing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with unbelievers and reminding Christians, in this important election year, to keep the main thing the main thing — and that is reaching unbelievers with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and praying for their salvation, for the problem in America is not only disobedient presidents, politicians, and people, but disobedient pastors, preachers, and parishioners who have refused to obey the Lord’s Great Commission which is to, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” and who have refused to obey God’s repeated commands to “pray without ceasing” for unbelievers, believers, and political leaders. Yes, you should pray for the right candidate to win; yes, you should vote for the candidate that the Lord gives you peace about voting for. But, don’t get caught up in it like the world does. Nothing much is going to change until people get saved and get their hearts right with the Lord.

This campaign is inspired by the following three verses: 1 Corinthians 2:2 which says, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Acts 5:42 which says, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” And 2 Timothy 2:4 which says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”

This series is not for Christians necessarily. However, I do hope you are one of those saints who still loves to hear the “Old, old story of Jesus and His love” — As another hymn says, “For those who know it best Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” This series is primarily for unbelievers, so they can hear and understand the Gospel and be saved from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell. This is message number 215.

Merrill C. Tenney said, “Jesus’ solution to perplexity and trouble is not a recipe; it is a relationship with him.”

We saw in our last message that the first thing the disciples needed to do in order to calm their troubled hearts was to choose to not let their hearts be troubled. In this way, they would be following Jesus’ example. Jesus had previously demonstrated that, despite the events closing in around them, He remained in control. He was confident in the path God had set before Him. John wrote that “Jesus knew that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God.” Despite all that was happening, Jesus’ heart was not troubled, not because He was impervious to the emotional rigors of His impending betrayal and death, but because He chose not to let His heart be troubled.

The disciples could have the same confidence and peace that Jesus had. They did not have “all things” under their control, but they did have control over their own hearts.

The next thing Jesus told the disciples to do in order to set their troubled hearts at ease is to “believe in God.” This command is key to overcoming our troubled hearts as well. As Jews, the disciples had grown up around the knowledge of God. However, knowing about God is not the same as believing in Him. The disciples had front-row seats to the greatest display of God’s personality and power. By following Jesus and getting to know Jesus, they were getting to know God. Now, they had to make the choice to believe in Him — to believe in the God who had sent Jesus.

In their commentary on this passage, Walvoord and Zuck state, “By a firm trust in God the Father, they could relieve their soul-sorrow and be sustained in their coming tests… Even death should not be a terror to them because, as Jesus would tell them shortly, He was leaving to prepare a place for them in the Father’s house.”

If you want to have a trouble-free heart in this world, you must also trust and believe in God and Jesus Christ — God who created all things, God who is in control of all things, God who knows all things.

It has often been said that the answer to fear is faith. If you look around you, you will find many reasons to be afraid. As recent events have shown, the threat of terrorism is more real than ever, especially to those of us in the West. Viruses and epidemics threaten large populations in Africa, South America, and the United States. Political upheaval in Europe threatens the stability of the global economy. And, in America, our own electoral process has many concerned for the future of this country. These occurrences are indeed a cause for fear. But, we as Christians ought not to fear the perils of this world, because we choose to believe in God and what He can do, not in man and what he has done.

The next time you are faced with a reason to fear, open God’s word and find a promise to hold onto. Choose to trust God’s word and not your feelings. That is the only thing that will drive away fear. Martin Luther said, “Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.”

Do you want to have a trouble free heart in this world? Do you want to have true hope in hopeless times? Then choose to let not your heart be troubled by believing in God and Jesus Christ.

William C. Martin wrote:

I trust in God wherever I may be,
Upon the land, or on the rolling sea,
For come what may, from day to day,
My heavenly Father watches over me.

I trust in God, for, in the lion’s den,
On battlefield, or in the prison pen,
Through praise or blame, through flood or flame,
My heavenly Father watches over me.

The valley may be dark, the shadows deep,
But, oh, the Shepherd guards His lonely sheep;
And through the gloom He’ll lead me home,
My heavenly Father watches over me.

You can begin to find peace in whatever troublesome situation you are in by placing your faith and trust in the Prince of Peace.

First, please understand that you are a sinner and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Please understand that because of your sins, you deserve punishment in hell. Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death…” This is both physical death and spiritual death in hell.

But here is the good news. John 3:16 reads, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

The phrase “For God so loved the world” means that if you are in this world, God loves you no matter what you have done.

The next phrase, “that He gave His only begotten Son” refers to Jesus Christ. He is God’s son who suffered, bled, and died on the cross for your sins and for mine, and He was buried and rose again.

Our next phrase is “that whosoever believeth in Him”. The word “whosoever” means anybody at anytime. The phrase “believeth in Him” means to trust in Him, to depend upon Him, to rely on Him, or to have faith in Him for your salvation.

Our next phrase, “should not perish”, refers to eternal punishment in a place called hell.

And, lastly, the phrase “but have everlasting life” means to live eternally in Heaven with God.

The Bible also says in Romans 10:9 and 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved…. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please e-mail me at dw3@gospellightsociety.com and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.

Jesus Comforts Troubled Hearts, Part 1 (Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign, Day 214)

JJMessage


TEXT: John 14:1-3

1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

———-

Today, I am continuing the daily Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign sermon series, which is aimed at sharing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with unbelievers and reminding Christians, in this important election year, to keep the main thing the main thing — and that is reaching unbelievers with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and praying for their salvation, for the problem in America is not only disobedient presidents, politicians, and people, but disobedient pastors, preachers, and parishioners who have refused to obey the Lord’s Great Commission which is to, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” and who have refused to obey God’s repeated commands to “pray without ceasing” for unbelievers, believers, and political leaders. Yes, you should pray for the right candidate to win; yes, you should vote for the candidate that the Lord gives you peace about voting for. But, don’t get caught up in it like the world does. Nothing much is going to change until people get saved and get their hearts right with the Lord.

This campaign is inspired by the following three verses: 1 Corinthians 2:2 which says, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Acts 5:42 which says, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” And 2 Timothy 2:4 which says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”

This series is not for Christians necessarily. However, I do hope you are one of those saints who still loves to hear the “Old, old story of Jesus and His love” — As another hymn says, “For those who know it best Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” This series is primarily for unbelievers, so they can hear and understand the Gospel and be saved from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell. This is message number 214.

James Morrison said, “Jesus’ disciples felt His departure like torture. But it was then that He consoled them with such simple and glorious speech that all of Christendom is the debtor to their agony.”

As we begin this new chapter, let’s review everything that is going through the disciples’ minds right now. Jesus has told them:

1. That He was going away.
2. That He would die.
3. That one of the disciples was a traitor.
4. That Peter would deny knowing Him three times.

Matthew and Luke inform us that Jesus had also told them:

5. That Satan was working against them all.
6. That all of the disciples would fall away.

Jesus did not intend to discourage the disciples by telling them all this, but that was the cumulative effect of these devastating revelations. Their hearts were heavy. They became saddened. They had begun that week riding high during Jesus’ triumphal entry, but now they bordered on the brink of despair.

In the midst of their final hours, Jesus set out to comfort them in the midst of their discouragement. He said, “Let not your heart be troubled…” The word troubled means “to cause inward commotion or to take away peace and calmness of mind.” Many of us skip over this little phrase and hurry on to Jesus’ promises about going to Heaven and preparing a place for us there.

However, we need to pause for a moment and really understand what it means to ‘let not our hearts be troubled.’ There are truly some things that happen in this world that are a reason for us to be troubled.. For the disciples, they were fearful of Jesus leaving them. After three years of walking with the Lord, their expectations were high, and they found it hard to understand that Jesus had to die and leave them for a time. Today, we also experience situations that cause fear, doubt, and uncertainty to creep into our hearts. Yet, Jesus’ command to us is “let not your hearts be troubled.”

And, yes, it is a command. The thing that most of us miss about this verse is the two little words “let not.” Ray Stedman said that those words ‘let not’ “mean that the disciples could do something about their problem. They held in their own hands the key to their release from heart trouble. It was possible for them either to let it happen, or not to let it happen.”

Jesus was telling His disciples that they could choose confidence over doubt, faith over disbelief, peace over discomfort, and, yes, even in a time like this, joy over despair. Someone once said, “You are as happy as you choose to be.” The same thing goes for all other emotions.

You might be troubled about many things right now. The world, the flesh, and the devil will tell you that you have to live under the circumstances, that all you can do is wallow in despair. But Jesus tells us that we possess the power of choice. We do not have to be overwhelmed by fear, uncertainty, and hopelessness. We do not have to let our hearts be troubled.

Deborah Ann Belka wrote:

Let not your heart be troubled,
let not worry start your day
for Jesus came to give you
a new and peaceful way.

Let not concern unsettle you,
let not stress take its toll
for Jesus is here to calm you
and give quietness to your soul.

Let not your mind be burdened,
let not anguish weigh you down
for Jesus you can depend on
His tranquility is all around.

You can begin to find peace in whatever troublesome situation you are in by placing your faith and trust in the Prince of Peace.

Jesus Christ said in John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

The Bible also says in Romans 10:9 and 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved…. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and I want to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please e-mail me at dw3@gospellightsociety.com and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.

Reconciled to God and to Each Other, Part 10 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #179)

spiritual-warfare

A series of homilies on Ephesians.

A homily is “a short talk on a religious or moral topic; a usually short sermon; a lecture or discourse on or of a biblical theme.”


I am sharing a verse-by-verse series of short messages on Ephesians (as well as other passages of Scripture) specifically targeted at reviving families and encouraging and exhorting husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children to do what God has commanded them to do, for if the church is to be revived and the country is to be awakened, the family must be revived first.

TEXT: Ephesians 3:1-6:

1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,

2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,

4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

—-

A.W. Pink said, “It’s true that many are praying for a worldwide revival. But it would be more timely, and more scriptural, for prayer to be made to the Lord of the harvest, that He would raise up and thrust forth laborers who would fearlessly and faithfully preach those truths which are calculated to bring about a revival.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “If you have the smile of God what does it matter if you have the frown of men?”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “While this was the beginning of what Jonathan Edwards had prayed for, he could not help but be concerned when he heard of the conversion of one young lady in particular. She had a reputation as a woman ‘who had been one of the greatest company-keepers in the whole town.’ When she asked to meet with her pastor, he had no idea God was working in her life. Yet as they talked, Edwards himself became convinced that she’d experienced ‘a glorious work of God’s infinite power and sovereign grace’ in her life. Apparently, she was truly converted. Strangely, although Edwards had been preaching for conversions, this conversion caused him some concern. He’d hoped the moral members of the congregation would see their need for Christ and be converted. He feared that news of this young lady’s conversion would cause the unconverted members of his church to become even more complacent about their need for Christ. As it turned out, Edwards’ fears were unfounded. It was in fact the conversion of this young lady that fueled the flame of the revival. The change in her life was so significant that soon the whole town was talking about it. The converting power of God was discussed at every level of society.”

—-

Paul returns to the subject of Gentile believers being brought into the family of God and united with Jewish believers. He calls it the “cause” for which He is currently in prison. But there is no bitterness about this matter. In fact, Paul says he is a “prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles.” It was the Romans who had Paul under arrest as he awaited his trial in Rome. However, it was Paul’s preaching to the Gentiles that had got him there. So Paul regards his imprisonment as being in the will of God for the sake of the Gospel.

What was it that Paul was preaching that got him imprisoned? He says it was “the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward.” According to the Bible Knowledge Commentary, “the word ‘dispensation’ has the sense of stewardship or a trust to be dispensed. Paul was to administer ‘God’s grace’ which was given to him to dispense to the Gentiles at Ephesus because he was an apostle to the Gentiles.’

This dispensation was the sign that God was dealing with the world in new ways. *** He was now inviting Gentiles to be a part of his family. He was now extending the olive branch of grace rather than the hammer of judgment. Paul was in the position of being a conduit of God’s grace. He was giving the grace message to the Gentiles who had no knowledge of this act of God.

What Paul did for the Gentiles is precisely what we should be doing for the world around us today. We ought to be administering or dispensing grace to the lost souls of this world. If it causes us to be ridiculed and criticized as Paul was, so be it. If it causes us to be thrown in prison as Paul was, so be it. Whatever befalls us as we are doing God’s will is okay. He will give us grace to handle it.

Grace! ’tis a charming sound,
Harmonious to the ear;
Heav’n with the echo shall resound,
And all the earth shall hear.

’Twas grace that wrote my name
In life’s eternal book;
’Twas grace that gave me to the Lamb,
Who all my sorrows took.

Oh, let that grace inspire
My heart with strength divine;
May all my powers to Thee aspire,
And all my days be Thine.

NBA Player, Richard Jefferson, says he Has ‘Confidence Because he Can Do All Things Through Christ’ (Gospel Light Minute #192)

Richard Jefferson
Richard Jefferson

He is a professional NBA basketball player who currently plays for the Dallas Mavericks. He was selected by the Houston Rockets in the first round of the 2001 NBA draft. He previously played for the New Jersey Nets, the Milwaukee Bucks, the San Antonio Spurs, the Golden State Warriors, and the Utah Jazz. In 2002, he was selected to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team. He was also a member of the USA men’s national basketball team at the 2003 Tournament of the Americas and the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics.

His parents were both Christian missionaries, and he moved frequently throughout his young life. He said, “My life has always been a mix of church and basketball. But through tough moments and times of extreme growth, I still have confidence, not because of my athletic success but because of Philippians 4:13. ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ When I step out on the court I don’t believe there’s anybody I can’t guard, I don’t believe that there’s a shot that I can’t make.”

He also said, “I don’t think anyone can call themselves a finely-tuned Christian. It’s an everyday struggle. I’m a perfectionist, and if I mess up I’ll feel so guilty that I won’t read my Bible, then it’s a snowball effect. I really need to get to [that place of] consistency. I know God is teaching me, and I feel extremely blessed.”

His name is Richard Jefferson. Continue reading “NBA Player, Richard Jefferson, says he Has ‘Confidence Because he Can Do All Things Through Christ’ (Gospel Light Minute #192)”

Have You Been Broken? Part 3 (Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible #27)

Pilgrim's Progress
Pilgrim’s Progress

PART A:


PART B:


TEXT: 1 Corinthians 10:12-13: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

As we continue our series on Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible, allow me to read from the story of Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan as a prelude to our topic for today. As you may recall, Christian was in the Valley of Humiliation when he was approached by Apollyon. Apollyon began to attack Christian with his fiery darts. Christian used his shield to deflect most of the darts, but Bunyan tells us that he was wounded in his head, one of his hands and one of his feet.

Then Apollyon, espying his opportunity, began to gather up close to Christian, and wrestling with him, gave him a dreadful fall; and with that Christian’s sword flew out of his hand. Then said Apollyon, “I am sure of you now.” And with that he had almost pressed him to death, so that Christian began to despair of life; but as God would have it, while Apollyon was fetching of his last blow, thereby to make a full end of this good man, Christian nimbly stretched out his hand for his sword, and caught it, saying, “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy; when I fall I shall arise.”

And with that gave him a deadly thrust, which made him give back, as one that had received his mortal wound. Christian perceiving that, made at him again, saying, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us”. And with that Apollyon spread forth his dragon’s wings, and sped him away, that Christian for a season saw him no more.

We have already learned that one of the reasons why we need to be humbled and broken is so that we will be spiritually vigilant so that we will not fall into temptation. We also learned that we need to be humbled and broken so that we will grow stronger in our Christian faith by applying what we have learned and using the tools that we have been given.

Today, I want you to notice that we need to be humbled and broken in order to realize that it is only through God that we will be victorious over the enemy. Our passage states, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

Notice that God is the one who provides a way of escape for us out of our temptations, trials, and difficulties. We like to think that we are able to make things happen ourselves, that we can find our own way out of trouble and distress. Most of us are not eager to lean on God or anybody else. One of the qualities that people have hailed about America is that of being able to “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.” Well, with God, it doesn’t work that way. When we get in trouble, we have to humble ourselves and depend on Him to get us out of it.

We see this in the story of Moses. Moses thought he could deliver the children of Israel his way. He went out among his people, saw what was going on, got angry, and ended up killing an Egyptian. God had to put him in the desert for 40 years. Once, he was the prince of Egypt; now, he was a fugitive helping to take care of sheep in the wilderness. What was God doing to him? God was humbling him and breaking him down. God was letting him know that he couldn’t do things his way. God was saying to him, ‘If the children of Israel are going to be delivered and freed, it is going to happen My way, Moses, not your way.’ God was not finished with Moses. God still planned to use Moses. But God needed to help Moses understand some things first. When Moses went back to Egypt to deliver the Israelites, he did it with God’s power, not his own.

He often has to do the same thing with us. When we face our trials and difficulties in life, our first instinct is to employ the human knowledge and capabilities that we have in order to get out of that situation. However, God wants us to not depend on our human capabilities, but to depend on Him and what we have learned from His word. In today’s reading from Pilgrim’s Progress, how did Christian defend himself and defeat Apollyon? He used the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Those weapons were his “way of escape” and they had been given to him by God.

One commentator wrote, “The Valley of Humiliation in The Pilgrim’s Progress represents our coming face to face with the reality of our own neediness. We are humbled when we cast down pride and recognize that we are undone before God and bring nothing to the table that would commend us to God.”

The only way we can be delivered from our trials, be victorious over our temptations, and successfully pass our tests is if we depend on God for the way of deliverance. And, in order to do that, we must be broken and humble before Him. We must be willing to no longer do things our way, but His way. We must take the way of escape that He has provided us. Matthew Henry said, “There is no valley so dark but he can find a way through it, no affliction so grievous but he can prevent, or remove, or enable us to support it, and in the end overrule it to our advantage.”

All things work together for our good. Even in the difficult moments of trial and temptation, or when we are going through a desert experience like Moses, God is working so that we will become humble and broken people who are vessels that God can use for His glory.

Have You Been Broken? Part 2 (Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible #26)

Pilgrim's Progress
Pilgrim’s Progress

PART A


PART B


TEXT: 1 Corinthians 10:12-13

12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

As we continue our series on Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible, allow me to read from the story of Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan as a prelude to our topic for today.

Now, in this Valley of Humiliation, poor Christian was hard put to it; for he had gone but a little way, before he espied a foul fiend coming over the field to meet him; his name is Apollyon. Then did Christian begin to be afraid, and to cast in his mind whether to go back or to stand his ground. But he considered again that he had no armor for his back; and therefore thought that to turn the back to him might give him the greater advantage with ease to pierce him with his darts.

Therefore he resolved to venture and stand his ground; for, thought he, had I no more in mine eye than the saving of my life, it would be the best way to stand.

So he went on, and Apollyon met him. Now the monster was hideous to behold; he was clothed with scales, like a fish, (and they are his pride,) he had wings like a dragon, feet like a bear, and out of his belly came fire and smoke, and his mouth was as the mouth of a lion. When he was come up to Christian, he beheld him with a disdainful countenance, and thus began to question with him.

Last time we saw Christian, he was on his way into the Valley of Humiliation. And, in that valley, he met the great enemy of every believer — the devil, here given one of his many names, Apollyon. Christian’s first test was whether or not he would turn and run or face his foe. And that provides a great starting point for our message today.

Last week, we learned that one of the reasons why we need to be humbled and broken is so that we will be spiritually vigilant so that we will not fall into temptation.

Another reason why we need to be broken and humble is so that we will grow stronger in our Christian faith by applying what we have learned and using the tools that we have been given. Our passage states, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” Now, the word “temptation” involves not only an invitation to sin, which we dealt with last week, but a test or a trial. Continue reading “Have You Been Broken? Part 2 (Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible #26)”

Have You Been Broken? Part 1 (Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible #25)

Pilgrim's Progress
Pilgrim’s Progress

PART A: https://gospellightminute.buzzsprout.com/3192/239636-have-you-been-broken-part-1-a-pilgrim-s-progress-according-to-the-bible-25.mp3


PART B: https://gospellightminute.buzzsprout.com/3192/239641-have-you-been-broken-part-1-b-pilgrim-s-progress-according-to-the-bible-25.mp3


TEXT: 1 Corinthians 10:12-13: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

As we continue our series on Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible, allow me to read from the story of Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan as a prelude to our topic for today.

Then Christian began to go forward, but Discretion, Piety, Charity, and Prudence would accompany him down to the foot of the hill. So they went on together, reiterating their former discourses, till they came to go down the hill. Then said Christian: “As it was difficult coming up, so far as I can see, it is dangerous going down.” “Yes,” said Prudence, “so it is, for it is a hard matter for a man to go down into the Valley of Humiliation, as you are doing now, and to catch no slip by the way.” Therefore, said they, “are we come out to accompany you down the hill.” So he began to go down, but very warily; yet he caught a slip or two.

Christian had just had a wonderful time at the Palace Beautiful. He had come up the Hill of Difficulty, was well rested, and had received a new suit of armor and provisions for his journey. However, as he sets out once again to go to the Celestial City, he learns that he must travel through the Valley of Humiliation.

Think about the word “humiliation” for a moment. What kind of thoughts or feelings come to mind when you hear that word? No doubt, you have a negative reaction to the word “humiliation.” When we think of humiliation, we think of being embarrassed or put to shame. We think of failing in a very public and noticeable way. We think of being laughed at. We think of walking into a room and immediately people start whispering because of something we said or did in the past. One dictionary defines humiliation as “the abasement of pride, which creates mortification or leads to a state of being humbled or reduced to lowliness or submission.”

Even though we may think negatively of the idea of humiliation, lowliness, submission, or brokenness, the Bible is replete with the importance of this subject in God’s eyes. The more common term in the Bible is humility. Notice these verses:

Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.”

Proverbs 16:18-19 says, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.”

Proverbs 29:23 says, “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.”

In Luke 18:14, Jesus Christ said, “Every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

James 4:6-7 says, “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God.”

James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”

1 Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.”

Yes, being humbled and broken is a part of the Christian life.

Why do we need to be humbled and broken? We need to be humbled lest we fall into sin due to a lack of spiritual vigilance. Paul says, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” This admonishment comes at the end of a passage in which Paul relates the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt and how that shortly after that great deliverance, they fell into sin multiple times.

Listen to what Paul says: “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.”

Paul concludes by saying, “Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” In other words, Paul says we ought to look at what happened to the Israelites and learn from it. The Israelites were saved from slavery in Egypt, and yet after that great deliverance, they fell into idolatry, fornication, and complaining and murmuring against God. Perhaps they thought that since they were God’s “chosen people” that God would not punish them severely. They did not take the laws that God had given Moses seriously. Perhaps because of their privileged status, they thought they could get away with complaining and murmuring when things did not go their way.

Paul says to New Testament believers that we ought to learn from what happened to them. They had to go through forty years of wandering in the wilderness. That was their Valley of Humiliation.

After receiving great blessings from God, the Israelites were not as vigilant and conscientious as they should have been. The same thing happens to Christians today. We are extremely blessed, good things are happening for us, we have assurance of salvation, we’re on our way to Heaven, and we think nothing can stop us now. Then, we stop being vigilant and watchful about our spiritual condition. We fail to keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. We get blindsided by one of the devil’s schemes. And, before we know it, we have fallen into sin. Paul says, ‘Watch out! If you think you’re standing strong, take heed lest you fall.’

William Mason, in his commentary on Pilgrim’s Progress, writes: “It is after a pilgrim has been favored with special and peculiar blessings that there is danger of his being puffed up by them, and exalted on account of them. So even was Paul; therefore, the messenger of Satan was permitted to buffet him. In our present state, the Lord knows it would not be best for us always to dwell on the mount of spiritual joy; therefore, for the good of the soul, the flesh must be humbled, and kept low lest spiritual pride prevail. It is hard going down into the Valley of Humiliation, without slipping into murmuring and discontent, and calling in question the dealings of God with us.”

How can we remain humble and broken in our spiritual life? Well, Paul’s warning to the Corinthians is that they acknowledge the fact that they are spiritually vulnerable. None of us is invincible. And if you are so proud that you think you are invincible, that is proof of your vulnerability. Remember the story of the Babylonian king Belteshazzar. On the night that the Persians came to attack the great city of Babylon, Belteshazzar called together his lords and threw a party. They feasted and drank while the Persians marched toward the city gates. Historians tell us that Babylon was surrounded by two walls — 56 miles long, 300 feet high, 25 feet thick, and the walls extended 35 feet below the ground. The Babylonians thought they were invincible. And as they were feasting and partying, the Persians came, diverted the River Euphrates which ran through the middle of the city, and marched into Babylon on the river bed. At the moment when the Babylonians thought they could not be conquered, that is when the great empire fell.

That is what the devil wants to happen to you. Now that you are delivered from his kingdom of darkness, he wants you to get puffed up with pride and the feeling that you are spiritually secure. And that is the moment when he will strike and cause you to fall. Adam Clarke said, “The highest saint under heaven can stand no longer than he depends upon God and continues in the obedience of faith. He that ceases to do so will fall into sin, and get a darkened understanding and a hardened heart.”

This is what we must do today: Make the decision to remain humble and broken. Realize that you cannot live the Christian life on your own. Realize that you cannot stand for God and truth and righteousness on your own. Realize that you need the power of the Holy Spirit working in you.

One of the reasons why our churches are ineffective in evangelism and in the transformation of people’s lives is because we are saying all the right things, we believe all the right things, we teach and preach all the right things, and we think that life transformation will happen because of what we say, what we do, and what we teach and preach when that is not it at all. Those things are good, but we cannot depend on those things. That is not where the power is. The power is in the Holy Spirit of God. We must depend on Him to see people saved and to see lives changed. Zechariah 4:6 says, “It is not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.”

Dear friend, take stock of your spiritual life. What are you depending on for victory? Are you depending on your rituals and activity? Are you confident in your faithful church attendance or your faithful participation in Bible study? Keep doing those things, but be humble. Understand that spiritual victory is not based on what you do for God, but on what God does through you. Don’t become so enamored with mountain top experiences that you lose sight of the fact that we have an adversary the devil who ‘walketh about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.’ “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”