Tag Archives: John 14:6

The Shack – One Christian’s Perspective

Standard
The Shack – One Christian’s Perspective

From what I have read, the author of The Shack, Paul Young attended a Christian college where he took Bible courses in addition to other courses taught with a Christian viewpoint. Around the year 2000 he and another person founded a theology think tank that met on a regular basis. It was a forum where new and different ideas could be discussed, with a few guidelines. One guideline was that the truth of the Bible would be the final authority. Around 2004 Paul Young presented a paper to the group in defense of universalism. The next month another member of the group presented a rebuttal to Paul Young’s paper concerning universalism. That was to be the last time that Paul Young attended the group. Later Paul Young went on to write the book, The Shack.

Universalism is a theological doctrine that all human beings will eventually be saved.
People that believe in universalism …
* believe that all people will be saved.
* believe that a good and loving God would not condemn people to eternal torment in hell.
* believe that after a certain cleansing period, God will free the inhabitants of hell and reconcile them to himself.
* believe that after death, people will have another opportunity to choose God.
* believe that there are many ways to get into heaven.
* believe that in the end everyone will be brought into a right relationship with God
* ignore the consequences of unrepented sin.

I did read the book and I found that universalism and other ideas / theologies contrary to the Bible are laced throughout the book. Many in the world, and in the church, defend the book by claiming that it is just fiction.

The dictionary describes fiction as:
something invented by the imagination
an invented story
an assumption of a possibility as a fact irrespective of the question of its truth
the action of feigning or of creating with the imagination
written stories about people and events that are not real
literature that tells stories which are imagined by the writer

While the book may be fiction (in the sense of the definition of fiction) and a feel good book packed with emotion to some, the false teachings (universalism and other non-Biblical ideas) in it are very real. There is nothing wrong with using imagery in writing about God, but not in a derogatory fashion that goes against Him or His Word. We have been instructed to be careful what we set before our eyes.

Psalm 101:3-4 NKJV
“I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me.
A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will not know wickedness.”

God wants us to control what we think about, what we meditate upon, what we allow in our minds. Things can enter into our minds through what we watch and what we read.

Philippians 4:8 NKJV
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

If you choose to read the book, keep your Bible next to you as you read it and ask God for discernment. Does The Shack glorify the God of the Bible, the One true God? Is the doctrine of universalism presented in a positive or appealing way? Does it make light of the precious blood of Christ?

A few, but not all, of the heresies in the book are:

  • God the Father was crucified with Jesus the Son on the cross.
    False, God the Father was not crucified with Jesus the Son on the cross. If God was crucified with Jesus on the cross, why does Jesus cry out to God in heaven, “…why have You forsaken Me?”

Matthew 27:45-54 NKJV
“Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!”
Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink.
The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.”
And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.
Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,
and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;
and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

At the crucifixion, Jesus took upon himself the sins of the world. He did not become sin, He became our sin offering. For the first time, Jesus, a sinless man, felt what it was like to feel the weight and judgment of sin. The judgment for sin is separation from God – separation from the glory of God, the manifest presence of God.

Romans 3:23 NKJV
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,…”

Jesus took upon Himself the sins of mankind when He was on the cross.

1 Corinthians 15:3 NKJV
“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures”

Colossians 1:19-22 NKJV
“For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell,
and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”

2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Isaiah 53:4-6 NKJV
“Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes 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.”

1 Peter 2:24 NKJV
“who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed”

There was a darkness lasting three hours during Jesus’ crucifixion. During the three hours of darkness Jesus was separated from God the Father. We serve a holy God that cannot look upon sin. On the cross, as Jesus took upon Himself our sins, God could not look upon Him, His own beloved Son.

Matthew 27:45 NKJV
“Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.”

Mark 15:33 NKJV
“Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.”

  • God is limited by His love and cannot practice justice, and justice will never take place because of love.
    False, God is not limited by His love. God’s love and His justice are two sides of the same coin, they go hand in hand. God practices justice because He loves us. Justice is what is right – the way things should to be. In the Hebrew language the word justice and the word righteousness are, in many cases, interchangeable. God’s righteousness, justice, is not limited by His love.

Romans 3:25-26 NKJV
“whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

Justice is described as…
the administration of law
the quality of being just, impartial, or fair
conformity to this principle or ideal
the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity
conformity to truth, fact, or reason
what is right or what is normal
fairness of laws coupled with fair and equal treatment
a recognized code of conduct.
what is right or as it should be

Righteousness is described as…
acting in accord with divine or moral law
free from guilt or sin
morally right or justifiable
conforming to a standard of what is right and good
conformity to established sanctioned codes or accepted notions of right and wrong
rightness, fairness, or equity
moral excellence in character
guiltlessness or blamelessness
moral eminence and freedom from anything petty, mean, or dubious in conduct and character

John 3:16-21 NKJV
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

Justice requires a penalty for sin – there is a judgment for sin. God loved us so much that despite the fact that our sin demand judgment, He sent His Son, Jesus, to be our substitute upon the cross. By doing so His justice was not violated, but instead satisfied.

When God’s offer of salvation and forgiveness of sins through Jesus is rejected, justice calls for us to be judged for our sins. To God sin is lawlessness (not obeying) and iniquity (wickedness).

1 John 3:4-9 NKJV
“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.
And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.
Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.
Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.
He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.”

Sin represents everything that goes against God’s holy nature. Sin is disobedience to God and justice demands a penalty. The penalty for sin is eternal separation from God’s presence. There is a penalty for sin.

Romans 1:18-32 NKJV
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

Romans 3:23-26 NKJV
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,
to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to pay our penalty for us because He is both a loving God and a just God.

Romans 5:8-11 NKJV
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”

Romans 6:23 NKJV
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Eternal life, a gift from God, is available to all who believe in His name.

John 1:12-13 NKJV
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

John 20:31 NKJV
“…but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

God’s own righteousness is given as a gift (salvation) to anyone who accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior. Salvation is based upon God’s grace and mercy in response to our faith in Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:4-10 NKJV
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

The Bible tells us that God loves justice.

Psalm 37:27-33 NKJV
“Depart from evil, and do good;
And dwell forevermore.
For the Lord loves justice,
And does not forsake His saints;
They are preserved forever,
But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off.
The righteous shall inherit the land,
And dwell in it forever.
The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom,
And his tongue talks of justice.
The law of his God is in his heart;
None of his steps shall slide.
The wicked watches the righteous,
And seeks to slay him.
The Lord will not leave him in his hand,
Nor condemn him when he is judged.”

Isaiah 9:6-7 NKJV
“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”

  • Hierarchical structures (whether they are in the Church or in the government) are evil, and there is not a hierarchical structure in the Godhead.
    False, God is a God of order and authority.

Job 25:2 NKJV
“Dominion and fear belong to Him; He makes peace in His high places.”

Jesus submitted to the will of the Father. This doesn’t mean that one Person is higher or better than the other; just unique. Jesus said, “I came to do the will of Him who sent me. I am here to obey my Father.”

John 4:34 NKJV
“Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”

Luke 22:42 NKJV
“And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

Jesus also said, “I will send you the Holy Spirit”

John 14:26 NKJV
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

John 15:26 NKJV
“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.”

There is to be order and authority in our life. We are to submit to God.

There is to be order and authority in our family.

There is to be order and authority in the church.

There is to be order and authority in the government.

When there is not authority everyone does what is right in their own eyes. And that is evil.

Proverbs 21:2 NKJV
“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts.”

  • On the Cross, God forgave all of humanity, whether they repent or not. Some choose a relationship with Him, but He forgives them all regardless. There is no need for faith or reconciliation with God because everyone will make it to heaven.
    False, to receive forgiveness you must repent. Those who practice unrepented sin will not be in heaven. No matter what our relationship is with God, He loves us, but He hates sin. We have the choice to accept forgiveness of our sins (through repentance) or to reject it. Relationship with God is a choice and so is forgiveness. Not everyone will make it to heaven.

Matthew 7:13-23 NKJV
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

The only means of being cleansed from sin is through repentance and faith in the precious blood of Christ. Man’s only hope of redemption is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Salvation is received through repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ.

Luke 24:47 NKJV
“… and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

John 3:3 NKJV
“Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Romans 10:12-13 NKJV
“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.
For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Ephesians 2:8 NKJV
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God…”

Titus 2:11-14 NKJV
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”

Titus 3:4-7 NKJV
“But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

On the cross Jesus provided us with a way to be restored unto God. Forgiveness and a right relationship with God is offered to us through the work that Jesus did on the cross, however we have the free will to choose.

John 14:6 NKJV
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Jesus said, “Only those who believe in me will have eternal life”

John 3:14-17 NKJV
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

John 3:36 NKJV
“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

John 5:24-27 NKJV
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.”

John 6:40 NKJV
“And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

  • God will never judge people for their sins.
    False, all sin will be judged. If we choose to reject repentance and a true relationship with God then we will be judged for our sins.

Judgment is described as:
a formal utterance of an authoritative opinion
a formal decision given by a court
an obligation (such as a debt) created by the decree of a court
a divine sentence or decision
punishment for breaking the law or a code of conduct

2 Peter 2:9 NKJV
“…then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment…”

2 Peter 3:7 NKJV
“But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”

Jude 1:14-15 NKJV
“Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”

Hebrews 9:24-28 NKJV
“ For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another– He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”

Romans 2:12-16 NKJV
“For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.”

2 Timothy 4:1-3 NKJV
“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”

The Word of God repeatedly invites people to escape from the judgment of God by believing in Jesus Christ, His Son.

John 1:12-13 NKJV
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

  • God submits to human wishes and choices.
    False, God never has and never will submit to our choices and wishes. He is not a god created for us, we were created by Him and for Him. Our choices, wishes, desires and will must submit to Him. There will come a day when each and every person will bow down to God / Jesus in submission and reverence.

Romans 14:11 NKJV
“For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.”

Philippians 2:9-11 NKJV
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Isaiah 45:21-24 NKJV
“Tell and bring forth your case; Yes, let them take counsel together. Who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time? Have not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, A just God and a Savior; There is none besides Me. “Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself; The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, And shall not return, That to Me every knee shall bow, Every tongue shall take an oath. He shall say, ‘Surely in the Lord I have righteousness and strength. To Him men shall come, And all shall be ashamed Who are incensed against Him.”

Revelation 5:13 NKJV
“And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”

We are to submit to God in all things.

James 4:7 NKJV
“Therefore submit to God.”

Job 22:21-22 NKJV
“Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace; Thereby good will come to you. Receive, please, instruction from His mouth, And lay up His words in your heart.”

We do not decide the path that leads to heaven. We must submit God’s will and to the one and only path that leads to heaven.

John 14:6 NKJV
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

  • There is no such a thing as eternal judgment or torment in hell.
    False, there is a literal hell and lake of fire. The lake of fire will be the eternal home of those who reject God’s free gift of salvation, along with all the fallen angels and demons. Hell is just as real as heaven, however more people believe in heaven than hell.

. The Bible gives us several descriptions of hell and the lake of fire.

Luke 12:4-5 NKJV
“And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!”

Luke 16:19-31 NKJV
“There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’ Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ “

Revelation 20:11-15 NKJV
“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Jesus is walking with all people in their different journeys to God, and it doesn’t matter which way you get to Him.
False, there is only one way to God and only one way to eternal life with Him. That way is through Jesus Christ, God‘s only Son. If there was more than one way to God, Jesus would not have had to sacrifice His very own blood to redeem mankind. Jesus Himself said that He was the only way to God.

John 14:6 NKJV
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Conclusion:
The Bible tells us that in the last days many will be deceived. Each believer must stay full of the Holy Spirit in order to avoid the deceptions that will come.

1 Timothy 4:1-3 NKJV
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.”

Matthew 24:4-8 NKJV
“And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”

Deceptions can come in many different forms, but we have the power, through the Holy Spirit, to see the deceptions for what they are. And we have been given the armor of God to help keep us spiritually strong, especially in the last days.

Ephesians 6:10-20 NKJV
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints– and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”

1. As a believers you must study the Word of God for yourself – don’t just lightly read over it, or hear it from someone else. If the only thing you know about what God says in His Word is what you have been told then you will not be able to stand. The only way to keep from falling prey to false doctrine is to know what God says. You must have a firm foundation and that only comes from you reading and studying God’s Word for yourself. Jesus and His words are our firm foundation.

Matthew 7:22-27 NKJV
“Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

2. As a believers you must pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give you discernment.

3. As a believers you must be care what you allow into your mind. You must be careful not to allow the enemy into your life by opening a door. All actions, good and bad, start with a little thought in your mind. Don’t allow the enemy to plant evil/sinful thoughts in your mind. Guard the door of your mind Remember, it is the little foxes that spoil the vine.

4. As a believers you must keep your eyes on God alone. Don’t put people ( leaders, actors, singers, pastors, churches, radio stations, television stations….) on a pedestal. If you do and they fall, or error spiritually, you will be disappointed. In this life people will disappoint, but God never will.

5. As a believers you must know what you believe and why. You must know error and hearsay when it comes to you – even when it is sugar coated.

6. As a believers you must determine that you will stand for God and what’s right even if you have to stand alone. Remember: What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.

Advertisements

Yom Kippur – One Christian’s Perspective

Standard
Yom Kippur – One Christian’s Perspective

Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) is a holy day established by God. The people were to approach Yom Kippur with humility – They were to see themselves as God does. For Jewish people it is considered the most serious and holiest day of the year. Yom Kippur was to provide an atonement for sin, including sins committed in ignorance. Yom Kippur foreshadows the second coming of Jesus

Yom Kippur means to cover, or cancel. Atonement is the reconciliation of God with sinners. It is both a solemn and joyful celebration. Solemn because we serve a holy God that cannot allow sin into His presence, and joyful because there is great joy in having your sins forgiven.

During Yom Kippur The People Were To:
* put themselves in proper perspective
* recognize their spiritual bankruptcy
* acknowledge their total dependence on God
* think about, acknowledge, and confess their sin

Yom Kippur Services
Today most of the Yom Kippur activity takes place in the synagogue. The people gather together for five services wearing white clothing. Many times these clothes are their burial garments. The men wear a prayer shawl. Each service has its own special feature. But all of them have a time of confession of sins. Many times the people stand for the entire service. Some Jewish people spend the night in the synagogue reciting the entire book of Psalms.

The afternoon services consisted of the people reading the book of Jonah. Jonah is a book about judgment, repentance and forgiveness. The book teaches that you cannot runaway from God and that God always accepts sincere repentance.

During one of the services the duties of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement in biblical days is recounted. The High Priest would remove his beautiful priestly robe, take a bath, and put on a plain white robe for his duties on Yom Kippur. Jesus also laid aside His royal garments and put on a plain white garment (burial robe / shroud) to come to this earth to perform the work of our High Priest. Just like the High Priest in biblical times, Jesus began His ministry with a bath (water baptism) also.
The priest would go to an area where there were two goats. One goat would have the sins of the people place on it and the other would be sacrificed. In biblical times, the High Priest was only allowed to go in the most holy place one time a year – on the Day of Atonement, where he would sprinkle the blood of a sacrificed goat on the mercy seat. On this day the High Priest had to wear eight different garments and make forty-three trips between the court and sanctuary.

 

Forgiveness Of ( Atonement Of ) Our Sin
Some Jewish people feel that prayer, repentance and good deeds are enough to gain atonement. As a Christian, we know that according to the Word of God, neither prayer or good deeds will atone for your sin. Only Jesus, the Son of God can take away your sins! The majority of the Jewish people do not recognize Jesus as the Son of God, the only one who can take away their sins. Jesus provided atonement for each one of us. Through the sacrifice that He made, we can be reconciled with God. It is only through the blood of Jesus, not through the blood of animals. Yom Kippur is a wonderful time to pray for the Jewish people. We should pray for the light to come and the reality of Jesus, to enter their hearts.

Romans 10:1 NKJV
“Brethren, My heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.”

Hebrews 10:1 NKJV
“For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.”

Yom Kippur is a shadow of the sacrifice that Jesus made. It is only through the blood of Jesus that we can be forgiven.

Hebrews 10:4 NKJV
“For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.”

 

The Good News Of Yom Kippur
The good news of Yom Kippur is that God provided us with atonement. When He looks down upon a believer’s heart, He does not see the broken Law. Instead, He sees the precious blood of Jesus. The ONLY blood that makes us clean. Christians know that Jesus has provided their atonement! Jesus’ death surpasses and replaces the atonement ritual of the Jewish temple.

John 14:6 NKJV

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

The Glory Of God

Standard
The Glory Of God

The glory of the Lord is the manifest presence of God. Whenever man comes into the presence of God there is reverence, honor and worship to Him. The glory of God is not about work, it is about worship. God will not make His home where there is sin, therefore the glory of God will not rest upon a place where there is sin ( a church, a home or a person).

Romans 3:23
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

God wants to manifest His glory. He desires for His glory to arise upon the Church and His people. God’s glory is always associated with heart worship, worship from the heart, in spirit and in truth. In order for us to experience the glory of God we must invite, prepare and maintain.

A. Invite
We must invite the glory of the Lord by make room for the presence of the Lord. God will not send His glory where He is not welcomed, respected or reverenced. Nor will His glory be manifest where He is not the number one priority. Friendship with the Lord is for those who fear Him (respect, honor, reverence.)

Psalm 25:14 NKJV
“The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him,
And He will show them His covenant”

Moses feared the Lord and because of this God revealed His character to him. Moses made a place for the presence of God by fearing Him (reverence, honor, respect) therefore, Moses had the privilege of talking to God face to face.

B. Prepare
Repentance is very important. The glory of God will always be associated with the blood of Jesus Christ. Everyone has sinned.

James 4:17 NKJV
“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

When we have doubts whether an action is right and yet go ahead and do it, it is sin. It is also a sin to know to do right and yet not do it. Sin separates us from God. No one can live up to what God created us to be because of our sinful nature. Because of our sin, everyone falls short of the glory of God (the manifest presence of God). We will not experience a habitation of the glory of God in our life when we allow sin to go unrepented of.

Romans 3:23 NKJV
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

A lifestyle of sin is lawlessness, and lawlessness is rebellion against God.

1 John 3:4 NKJV
“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.”

If we allow sin to go unconfused, eventually, we will face an eternity away from the presence of God in the lake of fire.

Isaiah 59:2 NKJV
“But your iniquities have separated you from your God
And your sins have hidden His face from you,
So that He will not hear.”

It is through Jesus that we win (receive) God’s favor and receive forgiveness of our sins.

John 14:6 NKJV
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’ ”

Jesus is the propitiation for our sins. There is only one way to God and that is through Jesus Christ, His only Son.

1 John 4:9-10 NKJV
“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

C. Maintain
We must sanctify ourselves. We must keep ourselves clean if we want to experience a continuing outpouring of the glory of God. The glory of God will come to the church first but it will not stay unless the people take it home with them. If we do not clean up our homes, and keep them that way, the glory of God will not stay in our church. God will not have a double standard. He expects the same standard at home as He does in His church.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 NKJV
“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
‘I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.’
Therefore
‘Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you
I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty’ ”

Each one of us should ask ourselves, “Is there life or death in my home?” There are different things in our homes that can (and will) bring about a spiritual death in our homes. Ultimately, spiritual death in our homes means spiritual death in our church.

Who Do You Say I Am?

Standard
Who Do You Say I Am?

Matthew 16:13-15 NKJV

“When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, ‘Whodo men say that I, the Son of Man, am?’ So they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, someElijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?”

To truly worship Jesus, we must acknowledge Jesus’ relationship with the Father, the sacrifice He paid and who He is.

One definition of worship is to ascribe value to someone or something. You only value what you acknowledge as valuable. How can a person worship, ascribe value to, Jesus if you do not know who He is? Or what agony He suffered for them?

We must acknowledge Jesus’ relationship with the Father:

Jesus is the Son of God and He is the only way to the Father.

John 3:16 NKJV

““For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

John 14:6 NKJV

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

John 14:9-11 NKJV

“Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not know Me, Phillip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the work. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.”

John 17:21 NKJV

“That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; That they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”

We must acknowledge Jesus’ sacrifice:

Jesus’ entire life centers around sacrifice and pleasing the Father. Jesus’ attention was not on the pain and agonies of the Cross, but on the joy that it would bring the Father. Jesus focused on the reward instead of the suffering.

Hebrews 12:2 NKJV

“looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

We must acknowledge Jesus for who He is:

To truly reverence Jesus you must know who He is. Reverence is a feeling of deep respect mixed with wonder, awe, and love. When you reverence someone you will have great respect for them. We must worship Jesus for who He is.

Matthew 16:13-19 NKJV

“When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Dear Father,

By the power of the Holy Spirit, cause me to always remember, and be thankful for, the sacrifice that Jesus, Your Son, paid for me. All the agony He suffered was for me personally. Through Jesus’ sacrifice I have access to You and my relationship with You has been restored. I have been given a new and everlasting life. May I follow Jesus’ example and focus on the reward instead of the suffering in all situations and circumstances. May I grow in reverence for You, O Lord.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Fellowship With God Restored

Standard

BIBLE THOUGHTS

When sin entered the garden, it stood between man and God. Man could no longer enjoy the intimacy that he once had with God. God still loved man, and desired for the intimacy He once had with man to be restored. He was desperate for intimacy with us. He longed to fellowship and commune with man, but sin stood in the way. God is a holy God and sin cannot come into His holy presence. Those who approach God in worship must do so in righteousness.

 

1 Thessalonians 4:7 NKJV

“For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.”

Psalm 24:3-4 NKJV

‘Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?

Or who may stand in His holy place?

He who has clean hands and a pure heart,

Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,

Nor sworn deceitfully.”

Adam and Eve could no longer experience the glory of the Lord (manifest presence of God) because of sin. The same is true today.

 

Romans 3:23 NKJV

                                        “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

John 14:6 NKJV

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

The blood that Jesus shed was for man’s sin. His precious blood provides atonement for our sins. Through His blood we can be restored into right fellowship with God. Because of His sacrifice we can once again experience the intimacy with God that He desires to have with us.

Dear Father,

Make us hungrier for Your presence. Cause us to be worshipers of You. Let our worship be a sweet smell to You and be pleasing. We are desperate for You and Your presence.

n Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

 

Esther and Purim

Standard

food for thought - Copy

          Purim is a festival (holiday) from the book of Esther that celebrates God’s protection for His people. The word Purim is an Aramaic word meaning “lot”. Lots, somewhat like drawing straws, were chosen in the book of Esther to determine the date in which the Jews were to be destroyed. Haman, an enemy of the Jews, had sought to destroy them. Purim was instituted when God lead the enemies of His people to their own destruction. Purim is therefore about deliverance.

 

Purim Is A Reminder of God’s Faithfulness.

The feast of Purim is an annual reminder of God’s faithful on behalf of His people. It is celebrated on the fourteenth and fifteenth day of Adar.

Esther 9:18 NKJV    

“But the Jews who were at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth day, as well as on the fourteenth; and on the fifteenth of the month they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness. Therefore the Jews of the villages who dwelt in the unwalled towns celebrated the fourteenth day of the month of Adar with gladness and feasting, as a holiday, and for sending presents to one another.”

Purim Is A Reminder of God’s Providence and Protection.

We can learn many things from the story of Esther and from the feast of Purim. As a child of God, we too, are in the hand of God’s providence and protection. God intervenes on our behalf. As we look back on our life we can see where God has been working on our behalf.

Psalm 37:23  NKJV    

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way.”

     Just like the Jews in the book of Esther, we too, have an enemy that is out to destroy us.

I Peter 5:8  NKJV   

  “Be sober, be vigilant;because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

      God’s hand of providence and protection on behalf of His people is evident throughout the book of Esther even though His name does not appear once in the book. The hand of God, working on behalf of His people is seen throughout the entire book. God’s plan of deliverance saved the Jewish people from a plot to destroy them. Just like the Jewish people in Esther, God has planned a way of deliverance for us from Satan, our enemy too.

 

Purim Is A Time Of Celebrating God’s Promise To Preserve His Children.

Purim has evolved into a holiday about rejoicing. Traditionally on Purim the entire book of Esther is read from a megillah (scroll). As the book of Esther is read the children make a noise with a noise maker every time the name of Haman is read. Also, the name of Haman may be written on the bottom of their shoes and then they stomp their every time the name of Haman is read.

Purim plays are popular. The story of Esther can be acted out in many different ways, and the people really have fun doing it. A custom of Purim is , Mishloach Manot, the sending of gifts. It is very popular and important. These gifts usually take the form of festively wrapped food to your friends and gifts to the poor.

Children around the world celebrate Purim in many different ways. Sometimes children celebrate Purim by dressing up as Queen Esther, Mordecai, and Haman and parading through the streets. People sometime wear costumes on Purim because Esther had to keep her identity a secret when she first became queen. Some people have a bonfire and burn a replica of Haman.

Purim usually ends with a party that includes a lot of music and good food, including a special triangle-shaped cookie called Hammentashen (Haman’s ears).

No matter how you may choose to celebrate Purim, you should always remember that God’s promise to preserve His children cannot be overcome. God is in control, even while He is concealed,

Purim Is A Time To Reflect On What We Can Learn From The Book Of Esther.

* God will lead our enemies to their own destruction.

* When we take time to find out what the King of Kings likes, what pleases Him, we will find favor in His sight.

* We must prepare ourselves to go into our Kings presence.

* When we take time to find out what our King likes and prepare ourselves to go into His presence, we will be able to be used by Him to deliver others.

* We must be properly clothed (we must cloth ourselves with the righteousness of Christ) – we must prepare ourselves to look like the bride of Christ.

* As we stand before our King, properly clothed and prepared, we will not be separated from His presence by death.

* God’s promise to preserve His children cannot be overcome.

* God is in control, even while He is concealed.

* God is faithful to His people.

* As a child of God, we are in the hand of God’s providence and protection.

* God intervenes on our behalf, even when we are unaware of it.

* You must realize that you are in danger, know who can save you, then go to the person that can save you. Our salvation comes only from God.

* We should never stop rejoicing in the salvation that God has given us.

 

Like Esther We Must Realize That We Are In Danger.

Esther was made aware of the fact that the Jews lives were in danger. A plot had been made to kill them.

Esther 4:7-8  NKJV    

“And Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, and the sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king’s treasuries to destroy the Jews. He also gave him a copy of the written decree for their destruction, which was given at Shushan, that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her, and that he might command her to go in to the king to make supplication to him and plead before him for her people.”

     Every person born is in danger of separation from God because of sin. Every person has sinned. Every person has an enemy that would love to see them thrown in the Lake of Fire (away from God’s presence.) You must realize and admit that you have sinned.

1 John 1:8  NKJV   

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

 

Romans 3:23  NKJV  

  “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

 

Romans 6:23  NKJV 

  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Like Esther We Must Know Who Can Save Us.

Esther knew who could save her and her people. She knew that the king held the power to save them.

Esther 4:16  NKJV  

   “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”

    We must know who can save us. Jesus is the only way we can be saved. It is only through His blood that our sins are washed away.

John 14:6  NKJV    

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

 

Romans 10:9  NKJV  

   “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Acts 16:31  NKJV     “So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Like Esther We Must Go To The Person That Can Save Us.

Esther went directly to the king to tell him about the plot to destroy the Jewish people. She did not send a message to him by someone else. She went personally to the king.

Esther knew her life would be put in danger by going to the king personally. At first Esther was not willing to do what she knew that she had to do. She did not go to the king. Then Esther realize that if she did not go to the king that she would be separated from His presence forever by death.

Esther 4:13  NKJV  

   “And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews.”

     Many times we are like Esther. When the Holy Spirit tries to draw us to the King (God) for salvation, we think of excuses not to go. We are afraid of loosing our own life. But the truth is, if we don’t go to the King (God) for salvation we will be separated from His presence forever.

At Jesus’ death the veil in the temple was torn into, from the top to the bottom, by God.

Matthew 27:51  NKJV  

   “Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split”

     Today you are to go directly to God (in prayer) to receive salvation through the blood of Jesus. There is no man, church, or religion that has the power, or authority, to save you. You can’t send word by someone else that you want salvation. Salvation is a personal thing. You must go directly to the King (God) yourself.

Hebrews 10:19-20  NKJV   

  “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh”

1 John 1:9  NKJV   

  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Taking The First Step

Standard
Taking The First Step

desperation - Copy    

          The first step to worshiping God is salvation. You cannot truly worship God with sin in your life because worship is a lifestyle that reverences a holy God. It is not just singing a song with your mouth – it comes from within you. Worship involves every part of you. We can follow the examples of the prodigal son, the sinful woman, and Esther to become a child of God. Like them we must:

1. Realize that we are in danger.

2. Know who can save us.

  3.Go directly to the one that can save us.

I. Realize That You Are In Danger

As the prodigal son was in the pig pen (the lowest point in his life) he realized that he had sinned against God and against his father.

Luke 15:17 NKJV    

“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!’ ”

          The prodigal son had to go through a lot of bad things and hard times before he would admit that he had sinned and that he was in danger. The woman with the alabaster box knew that she was a sinful woman. She knew the law and the penalty of breaking the law. She had probably been standing among the crowd as Jesus spoke before. In His presence she truly realized that she was in danger spiritually. The Holy Spirit began to convict her of her sin and within (unseen to the eye) her heart began to change. She might have even had thoughts along the same line as Isaiah when He encountered the holy presence of God.

Isaiah 6:5  NKJV     

“So I said: ‘Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips; And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.’ ”

            Esther was made aware of the fact that the Jews lives were in danger. A plot had been made to kill them. It was a plot that, had it been effective, would have separated her from the king.

Esther 4:7-8  NKJV    

“And Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, and the sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king’s treasuries to destroy the Jews. He also gave him a copy of the written decree for the destruction, which was given at Shushan, that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her, and that he might command her to go in to the king to make supplication to him and plead before him for her people.”

          Every person born is in danger of separation from the King (God) because of sin, Every person has sinned, and every person has an enemy that would love to see them thrown in the lake of fire (away from God’s presence.) The first step to salvation is admitting that you have sinned. Once we take that first step, God is there like the prodigal son’s father with arms outstretched for you.

1 John 1:8-9  NKJV    

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and top cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Romans 3:23  NKJV   

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” 

Romans 6:23  NKJV   

  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

II. Know Who Can Save You

The prodigal son knew who could save him. He knew that his father was in a position to help him.

Luke 15:18-19  NKJV 

    “I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to  be called your son. Make me one of your hired servants.’ ”

           The woman with the alabaster box knew who could save her. She had heard Jesus speak before and she knew the message of salvation and hope that He brought. She knew His repetition and that He welcomed everyone into the kingdom of God. Maybe she had even heard about the woman ‘caught’ in adultery or the woman at the well. Esther knew who could save her and her people. She knew that the king held the power to save them.

Esther 4:16  NKJV  

   “Go gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”

         We must know who can save us. Jesus is the only way we can be saved. It is only through His blood that our sins are washed away.

John 14:6  NKJV   

  “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Romans 10:9  NKJV  

   “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Acts 16:31  NKJV   

  “So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

III. Go To The Person That Can Save You

The prodigal son arose from his present lifestyle and went to His father.

Luke 15:20-22  NKJV  

   “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.”

         The sinful woman went to Jesus. The Holy Spirit had already began a transformation in her heart. Quiet possibly alone, at home, the woman experienced convection and true repentance. She had already had a heart change before she went to the house to anoint Jesus’ feet.  Because of her ‘new heart’ she wanted to let Jesus know how much she loved Him and what He meant to her (worship).

Esther went directly to the king to tell him about the plot to destroy the Jewish people. She did not send a message to him by someone else, she went personally to the king. Esther knew that her life would be put in danger by going to the king personally. At first Esther was not willing to do what she knew that she had to do. She did not want to go to the king. Then Esther realized that if she did not go to the king that she would be separated from his presence forever by death.

Esther 4:13  NKJV   

  “And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: ‘Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’ ”

          Many times we are like Esther – when the Holy Spirit tries to draw us to the king (God) for salvation, we think of excuses not to go. We are afraid of loosing our own life. But the truth is, if we don’t go to the king (God) for salvation we will be separated from His presence forever.

At Jesus’ death the veil in the temple was torn into (from the top to the bottom) by God.

Matthew 27:50-51  NKJV    

“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split.”

          Today you are to go directly to God (in prayer) to receive salvation, through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. There is no man, church or religion that has the power (or authority) to save you. You can’t send word by someone else that you want salvation. Salvation is a personal thing. You must go directly to the King (God) yourself.

Hebrews 10:19-20  NKJV    

“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus”

1 John 1:9  NKJV  

   “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”