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Preaching from the Pulpit of Ephraim Church of the Bible

Advent: Names of Jesus from Isaiah 9

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20111225_advent-isaiah9.mp3

12/25 Christmas Day – Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace

Today is Christmas day. We celebrate Jesus! I want to look today at some of the names given to Jesus in the scriptures, so that we can understand him better and worship him more fully. But to better appreciate these names, we need to back up and get a little bit of history and background.

Isaiah and the kings of Judah

The Prophet Isaiah prophesied about 740 – 700 BC; during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah (Is.1:1). Uzziah (also called Azariah) was a good king who reigned for 52 years (2Ki.15:2). Isaiah chapter 6 records a vision given to Isaiah in the year that this great king died, a vision of God seated on his throne, still in control. He was succeeded by Jotham, who, like his father did what was right in the eyes of the LORD. Jotham reigned for 16 years (2Ki.15:33), and was succeeded by Ahaz. It says of Ahaz

2 Kings 16:2 Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And he did not do what was right in the eyes of the LORD his God, as his father David had done, 3 but he walked in the way of the kings of Israel. He even burned his son as an offering, according to the despicable practices of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel. 4 And he sacrificed and made offerings on the high places and on the hills and under every green tree.

It was during the dark days of the reign of Ahaz that Israel conspired with Syria to attack Judah and Jerusalem. It was in this dark time for Jerusalem that Isaiah was sent to Ahaz in chapter 7 and following. He gave a message of warning and coming judgment, and called the people to turn from their evil ways and fear the LORD. He called them to return to God’s word. Those who will not speak according to this word are in darkness; they have no dawn.

Isaiah 8:22 And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness.

Words of Hope

It is into this dark and dismal backdrop that God brings words of hope.

Isaiah 9:1 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. 2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. 3 You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. 4 For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

Matthew quotes this passage and says it is fulfilled in Jesus (Matt.4:12-16). To the people dwelling in deep darkness Jesus is the great light that shines, bringing joy and gladness. Isaiah has already spoken in chapter 7 of a virgin whose son would be named Immanuel – God with us. Now he speaks of a child born and a son given, who will bring peace and righteousness, whose just rule will have no end. It says of this coming king that “his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Jesus was born at a dark time in history. Israel was under Roman occupation. The Emperor Caesar Augustus ordered that a census be taken, which put Mary and Joseph on the road away from home right at the time she was due to give birth. Herod was king over Judea. He was the cruel king who ordered the execution of all male children two years or younger, which drove the couple to take their young boy and seek refuge in Egypt.

It was into this dark context that Jesus was born.

Matthew 4:16 the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”

John says

John 1:4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. …9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world

Into the darkness of sin and despair comes Jesus, the Light of the World, hope of the nations, the one whose “name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” As we take each of these names in turn, may our hearts be stirred to worship the God-man Jesus.

Jesus is Wonderful Counselor

His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor. Jesus is Wonderful. Have you lost the wonder of the season? Do you spent much energy trying to recapture that missing sense of wonder? You can regain that sense of wonder as we look to Jesus, the Wonderful One. He is a child born and a Son given. Jesus, Mighty God from all eternity, became a child. He was born of a virgin. He became human. A baby. A child born. But he was also a Son given. God so loved the world that he gave his only Son. Jesus, God from all eternity, very God of very God, co-eternal and equal with his Father, the only Son of God; God the Son, was given – the supreme gift to mankind. Wonder of wonders, the incarnation! Gift above all gifts! Look to Jesus in wonder, awe, and worship!

Jesus is Wonderful Counselor. Listen to what his followers said about him:

John 6:68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

Listen to what the people said about him:

Mark 1:22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.

Mark 6:2 And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands?

Mark 7:37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

Luke 4:22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth… 32 and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority.

Listen to what even his enemies said about him:

Matthew 22:46 And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

Luke 20:26 And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent. …39 Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” 40 For they no longer dared to ask him any question.

John 7:45 The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” 46 The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!”

Jesus, Wonderful Counselor, full of grace and truth, spoke with a wisdom greater than Solomon’s (Mt.12:42; Lk.11:31).

Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”

The question for you today; is he your Counselor? Jesus said:

John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

John 15:14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.

You cannot call him your Wonderful Counselor if you are not willing to listen to what he says and to do what he tells you to do.

Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?

Jesus is Mighty God

His name shall be called Mighty God. Jesus is Mighty God – God the Hero, God the mighty warrior, victorious in battle, conquering all enemies. Jesus is Mighty God, and he is to be feared. When Jesus controlled the raging sea with his word, his disciples:

Mark 4:41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?”

Peter, in response to Jesus’ power over his creation:

Luke 5:8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

Thomas in response to the resurrected Lord:

John 20:28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

When John saw the risen Jesus in all his glory, he fell at his feet as though dead (Rev.1:17).

Isaiah speaks of Jesus this way:

Isaiah 11:4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.

Paul describes the end times and the ultimate enemy,

2 Thessalonians 2:8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.

Paul speaks of a time:

2 Thessalonians 1:7 … when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

Our Mighty God Jesus is to be feared. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. Jesus is the perfect consummation of all the epic good guy heroes in the violent movies that we love to cheer on, except Jesus doesn’t lie or cheat or steal or use foul language to triumph over evil, bring justice and crush the bad guys.

Jesus is God, the Mighty God, he is to be worshiped and feared.

Jesus is Everlasting Father

His name shall be called Everlasting Father. Jesus is Everlasting Father. That may sound strange to our ears, but that is what the text says. This could be translated ‘the Father of Eternity’. Jesus is equal to and one with the Father, but distinct from the Father. In the Trinity, Jesus is not the Father. Jesus is the Son. But in relation to his creation, he is the one who brought all things into existence.

Colossians 1:16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities––all things were created through him and for him.

All things that had a beginning began in him.

He is Everlasting Father. He is eternal, without beginning or end.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Jesus is consistent. He is provider. He loves. He disciplines. He trains and instructs. He keeps his promises. He is genuinely interested in us. Jesus fulfills the role of father perfectly. He is Father to the fatherless. His love will never fail.

Jesus is Prince of Peace

His name shall be called the Prince of Peace. Jesus is the Prince of Peace.

The song of the angels was:

Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

But Jesus said:

Matthew 10:34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter–in–law against her mother–in–law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Jesus, the Prince of Peace, demands our allegiance above any other natural affection. The peace that Jesus brings is higher and deeper and richer than mere peace with other people. The peace that Jesus gives us is most importantly peace with God.

Romans 5:10 …while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son…

Jesus’ death on the cross conquers our rebellious hearts that are opposed to God, and restores our broken fellowship.

Colossians 1:20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

The peace that Christ brings is first of all peace, a restored relationship, friendship with God. He satisfied on the cross the just wrath of the Father against our sin, so we can be reconciled, restored to right relationship with the Father. This right relationship is ours by faith – believing him; trusting him; depending on him.

Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Friends, this is the good news of Christmas! Jesus came to deal with your sin problem so that your relationship with your Creator can be restored to what it was designed to be!

Acts 10:36 … preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all),

Jesus, Prince of Peace brings first of all peace with God. No other peace matters if you are not at peace with the Judge of all the earth.

Jesus said:

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

First, peace with God. Then, with a right relationship with the King of the universe in place, peace in the midst of our circumstances. We can rejoice in our relationship with the Lord,

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

We can face any circumstance with peace, knowing that the Prince of Peace, Jesus, holds us in his eternal omnipotent hands.

Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Response

Today, let us worship Jesus, who is our Wonderful Counselor. Jesus, who is Mighty God. Jesus, who is Everlasting Father. Jesus, who is Prince of Peace. 

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

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December 27, 2011 Posted by | occasional, podcast | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Advent: Jesus – YHWH is Salvation

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20111224_advent-jesus.mp3

12/24 Christmas Eve – his name shall be called Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.

Jesus [Ihsouv] Greek translation of Hebrew name [ewvwhyyeh-ho-shoo’- ahor evwhyyeh – shoo’- ah] translated in our English bibles as Joshua; from [hwhyYHWH] The I AM, the self-existent one, and [evyyasha` yaw-shah’] to save or deliver – YHWH is salvation

Of all the names of Jesus; Immanuel – God with us; Alpha and Omega – the beginning and the end; Prince of Peace, Mighty God, Wonderful Counselor, Son of Man, the Son of God, Lamb of God, the Christ, and so many more; of all his many names, we know him best as Jesus.

In Matthew 1:21, the angel told Joseph of his pregnant bride-to-be,

Matthew 1:21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Jesus. You shall call his name Jesus. Jesus is the Greek translation of the Hebrew name Yeshua or Jehoshua; In the Old Testament of our English bibles it is translated as ‘Joshua’. It was a very common name in that day. There are several other men named ‘Jesus’ referred to in the New Testament. The name is a compound that comes from the Hebrew name of God YHWH, the I AM, the self-existent one; and the Hebrew word yasha – to save or deliver. Joshua, or Jesus, means YHWH is salvation. The angel told Joseph “You shall call his name Jesus” (YHWH is Salvation), because “he will save his people from their sins.” Listen to what Spurgeon has to say about this:

It is a gracious but very startling fact that our Lord’s connection with His people lies in the direction of their sins. This is amazing condescension. He is called Savior in connection with His people, but it is in reference to their sins, because it is from their sins that they need to be saved. If they had never sinned, they would never have required a Savior, and there would have been no Name of Jesus known upon earth. That is a wonderful, text in Galatians 1:4, did you ever meditate upon it?. “Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.” It is true, as Martin Luther says, He never gave Himself for our righteousness, but He did give Himself for our sins. Sin is a horrible evil, a deadly poison, yet it is this which gives Jesus His title when He overcomes it. What a wonder this is! The first link between my soul and Christ is, not my goodness, but my badness; not my merit, but my misery; not my standing, but my falling; not my riches, but my need. He comes to visit His people, yet not to admire their beauties, but to remove their deformities; not to reward their virtues, but to forgive their sins. O ye sinners, I mean you real sinners, not you who call yourselves by that name simply because you are told that is what you are, but you who really feel yourselves to be guilty before God, here is good news for you! O you self condemned sinners, who feel that, if you are ever to get salvation, Jesus must bring it to you, and be the beginning and the end of it, I pray you to rejoice in this dear, this precious, this blessed Name, for Jesus has come to save you, even you! Go to Him as sinners, call Him “Jesus,” and say to Him, “O Lord Jesus, be Jesus to me, save me, for I need Thy salvation!” Doubt not that He will fulfill His own Name, and exhibit His saving power in you. Only confess to Him your sin, and He will save you from it. Only believe in Him, and He will be your salvation.” C.H. Spurgeon, Christ’s Incarnation, p.15-16

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

December 24, 2011 Posted by | occasional, podcast | , , , , | Leave a comment

Advent – Immanuel

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20111218_advent-immanuel.mp3

12/18 Advent – Immanuel – God With Us

Jesus is Immanuel – God With Us

Christmas is one week away! In this advent season, I want us to turn our eyes to Jesus. Today, I want to reflect on one of the names given to Jesus. That name is Immanuel. It comes from Isaiah 7:14

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Matthew quotes this prophecy as being fulfilled in Jesus.

Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

Jesus’ conception was supernatural. Jesus had no human father. Mary was a virgin. “That which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” And Matthew tells us that the Hebrew name Immanuel means God with us. Jesus is Immanuel; God with us.

The implications of this stagger the imagination! God with us. God the Creator of the universe, born of a virgin. God in human flesh. Luke puts it this way:

Luke 1:35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy––the Son of God.

Overshadowed by the power of the Most High – God the Father; and God the Holy Spirit – so that the child to be born will be the Son of God. John puts it this way:

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.

John tells us that ‘the Word’ was in the beginning. ‘The Word’ existed before all creation. ‘The Word was with God’ – distinct from God the Father – a perfect companion of the Father. ‘The Word’ was with God, and ‘The Word’ was God – fully divine, sharing all the attributes and characteristics of God. ‘The Word’ was distinct from the Father, and yet fully divine. John continues by saying that ‘the Word’ became something he was not before.

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

‘The Word’ became flesh. ‘The Word’ became tissue, bone and blood. He who existed from eternity with God and as God, now took on a human body. God became flesh. God dwelt among us, or literally ‘pitched his tent with us’. Immanuel – God with us. John goes on to say:

No One Has Ever Seen God

John 1:18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father‘s side, he has made him known.

This is an absolute statement. No one has ever seen God. Period. Paul tells us of the Father:

1 Timothy 6:15 …he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

No one has ever seen or can see God, because he dwells in unapproachable light. No one can see God the Father, because, as Jesus tells us, “God is Spirit” (Jn.4:24; cf. Jn.5:37, 6:46). No one can see the Father because, as Paul tells us in Colossians, God is invisible. But he says of Jesus, God the Son, that:

Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

Jesus is the image of the invisible God. Jesus, the only God who is at the Father’s side has made know to us the Father. The word John uses is interesting. Jesus has made known or literally exegeted the Father. We usually use this word exegete in reference to a biblical text. It is a Greek word that means ‘to lead out’. You take a biblical passage and study it carefully so that you can lead out to make known or put on display the truth that is in it. Jesus exegetes the Father. He puts on display what the invisible God is like. The author of Hebrews says that God’s fullest revelation of himself is in his Son, who is “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Heb.1:3).

Jesus is God. He is fully God. He was with God and he was God. But Jesus is God with us. He became human so that he could make know to us what God is like. Jesus is “the radiance of the glory of God.” He is the shining forth of the excellencies of God. He puts his Father on display. He is the exact imprint of the nature of the Father. Jesus tells us as much in John:

John 5:19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.

John 14:7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” …9 …Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father‘?

Jesus puts the Father’s nature on display so precisely that he can say “whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” To know Jesus is to know God.

So in the time we have left, let’s turn our eyes to our Jesus, Immanuel, God with us, to get a clearer picture of what God is like. Understand, that studying the gospels and the other New Testament documents to see Jesus, to get to know him, to deepen affection and admiration of him, to enjoy relationship with him, is a lifetime project. We will only be able barely to scratch the surface in a broad overview sort of way.

Triune

As we have seen in the verses we have looked at so far, Jesus reveals to us that God, in his very nature and essence, is triune. Jesus speaks of his Father, and the coming Holy Spirit. God is Father, Son, and Spirit, in eternal relationship and fellowship. Three distinct persons, each fully divine, constitute the one sovereign being we refer to as ‘God’.

Omnipotent

Mark 4:39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?”

One thing we learn about God through Jesus is that he is omnipotent, or all-powerful. He is the one who has absolute control over all things. He is the sovereign supreme ruler. All created things must obey him.

Omnipresent

John 1:48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”

Another thing Jesus teaches us about God is that he is omnipresent, or everywhere present. He is not confined to be only in one place at a time. God, who is spirit, fills time and space. There is nowhere that he is not. This is how Jesus can say to twelve men and their followers who would scatter across the globe:

Matthew 28:20 … And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Omniscient

John 6:64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)

Jesus teaches us that God is omniscient. He knows everything. He knows what will happen in the distant future. He knows what is in the hearts of men.

Eternal

John 10:17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

Jesus teaches that God is the Living One. He is eternal. As we saw in the earlier verses, he eternally existed. He has no beginning and will have no end. He is. Jesus said “I AM” (Jn.8:24, 58).

Life Giver

John 5:21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.

Not only is God the eternal Living One, he is the Life Giver. He gives life to whom he will. He is the fountain and source of life. All life comes from him.

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Holy

Mark 1:24 “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are––the Holy One of God.”

Jesus taught that God is holy, distinct, separate, set apart, totally other, one-of-a-kind. Even the demons recognized in Jesus a uniqueness – he is in a category by himself.

Perfect

Mark 7:37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

Jesus showed us that God is perfect. He lacks no good quality. He is not deficient in any way.

True

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

Jesus teaches us that God is truth. God is entirely trustworthy. He never lies. His word is true. He will keep his promises.

Jealous

John 2:15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money–changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

Jesus demonstrates that God is passionate about his own glory. He zealously defends the honor of his own name. He will tolerate no rivals. For the good of his people, he will violently take action against those who misrepresent him.

Wrath

Mark 3:5 And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.

Jesus teaches us that God is a God of anger and wrath. But God is not capricious or volatile. He is slow to anger, and his anger is righteous anger, mixed with compassionate sorrow over the effects of sin.

In the well known passage describing the love of God, Jesus also warns of the wrath of God.

John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

God intensely hates sin. God is to be feared, his wrath is terrifying, but his wrath can be escaped. He has provided a way.

Just

When the religious leaders brought a woman to Jesus for judgment,

John 8:7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Jesus taught that God is just. He does not show favoritism. His judgments are true and righteous.

Mercy

But he also taught that God is merciful and compassionate, eager to forgive. To this woman who was clearly guilty, he said:

John 8:11 …And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

Love

John 15:9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.

Jesus taught us that God is love. Before the world was created, God, Father, Son and Spirit, lived in an eternal relationship of genuine love. Jesus also teaches us what love is.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

God’s love is not a romantic feeling of attraction, but self-sacrificial action for the good of the one loved, regardless of how little they deserve it.

John 13:1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

Jesus went to the cross to demonstrate God’s self-giving love.

Response:

We have merely scratched the surface of what God is like as revealed in the person of Jesus, or Immanuel, God with us. I invite you to make it your life-long pursuit to deepen your affection and devotion for God by becoming a disciple, a follower of Jesus

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

December 18, 2011 Posted by | occasional, podcast | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Advent: Enjoy God Today!

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20111211_advent-enjoy_god_today.mp3

12/11 Advent – Enjoy God Today
Is the holiday season ever frustrating for you? Life is busy and the season snuck up on me once again. There were several projects I wanted to get done before the snow flew, and, well, here we are. The house is not as clean as it should be. I don’t have as many lights up as I would like to have, and the ones that are up are not as straight as I want them to be. And there must be one bad bulb somewhere that’s keeping half that string from lighting! I wanted to have all the shopping done by now. Half the kids have terrible coughs, and all the kids are half as obedient as they should be… For that matter, I’m not the person I wish I was. Things are not as they ought to be. Things are not the way I want them to be. Do you ever feel this way? Frustration. Dissatisfaction. Disappointment. Discouragement. Merry Christmas!

Is this what Christmas is really all about? For many of us, this is the unhappy reality. In a moment, we’ll turn to God’s word to see why this is such a common experience, and what to do about it. I want to pass along some very practical advice that has helped me out this week, and I pray it will be useful to you not just during the holiday season, but every day of your life.

[pray]

Our Problem

First, I want to ask the question ‘Why?’ Why is life so often not what we had hoped it would be? In the words of the Dread Pirate Roberts “Life is pain. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” Why is life interspersed with frustration and disappointment?

The feeling we sometimes have that things are not the way they ought to be is one of the few times that your feelings are telling you the truth. In the beginning God created everything, and he said it was very good. And then he put us right in the middle of it, and we were quick to make a mess of it all. God said ‘I know what’s good for you. Follow my instructions and you will live.’ And before we had tasted a fraction of the pleasures of God’s good garden that he freely gave to us, we went after the one thing that was off-limits. We disregarded his instructions, as if we knew better. We disregarded him. We brought entropy and death into his perfect world, and we reap what we have sown every day. Things are indeed not as they ought to be. We were created as the image of the invisible God (Col.1:15), to reflect his glory to each other and to all creation, to bring him praise. We were created to enjoy his presence. Instead we dishonored him. We disobeyed.

Isaiah 59:2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.

This is what is wrong with the world. We are. We were made for so much more. But we have opted for frustration and disappointment rather than finding fulfillment by living life as God designed it. We are without excuse. We did not honor God as God or give thanks to him (Rom.1:20-21). The whole world is accountable to God. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom.3:19, 23).

God’s Solution

Now praise God, he did not leave us without hope in this desperate situation. He intervened to give hope where there was no hope. God the Father sent his one and only Son Jesus into this world to become a man, to take our place, to take our guilt on himself, to pay the price that justice demands, and to secure forgiveness for all who would come to him and trust in him. God justifies the ungodly by his grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Rom.4:5; 3:24). That is what Christmas is all about.

Our Frustration

But why is it that for us who are his, who have received his salvation and who are reconciled to God, who have our sins forgiven and are restored to a right relationship with God, life can still be so frustrating and discouraging? Why do we still experience dissatisfaction and disappointment?

The Bible tells us why. The Bible tells us that if we are followers of Jesus, our citizenship is in heaven (Phil.3:20, Eph.2:19). We are strangers and exiles on the earth (Heb.11:13, 1Pet.1:1,17), sojourners (1Pet.2:11). Paul said “indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2Tim.3:12). Jesus said:

John 15:18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.

If you are a follower of Jesus, you are no longer of the world. You don’t belong. Your citizenship is in heaven. You are a stranger, an exile, a sojourner here on this planet. You will naturally feel out of place.

So part of our frustration comes from the fact that we don’t belong and we aren’t home yet. We should not be content here. We have an unfulfilled longing for our true home. Paul describes it this way:

Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

And in 1 Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

The apostle John tells us:

1 John 3:2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

The book of Revelation gives us a glimpse of our true home:

Revelation 22:3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face…

Diagnosing the Problem

Part of our frustration and disappointment is because we don’t belong, because we aren’t home yet, because we are longing to see our King. But, at least in my experience, that is not my major source of discontent. I wish I could say it was. So much of my frustration is stupid and self-imposed. I choose to be frustrated when I don’t have to be. If I’m honest with myself, I would see that it is a self-centered discontent that things aren’t the way I wish they were. I get upset that the world doesn’t revolve around me. I’m failing to be content with what I have been given. Jesus warned us in his parable about the different soils that:

Mark 4:19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.

Desires and cares choke out the fruitfulness of the word like weeds. I love this world and its pleasures too much. I want something that I don’t have. I want things to go my way, and they seldom do. I am too self-centered to be truly happy. My affections are in the wrong place.

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world––the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions––is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Paul warns Timothy of the deadly danger of dissatisfaction.

1 Timothy 6:9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

Here the severity of this issue – it is a snare, a trap. They never saw it coming. It is senseless and harmful. It plunges people into ruin and destruction. It has caused some to wander from the faith. It is a self-inflicted injury. Dissatisfaction is deceptive and deadly.

Taking it Even Deeper

Jesus said “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). But here is a more subtle danger. Even this can be twisted by my selfish heart. I can give in such a way that I am celebrating my own generosity, deriving enjoyment out of what a benevolent person I am. I get pleasure by my ability to give to others. I am giving ultimately to get. Which means that my joy is still dependent on my circumstances. I cannot be happy if I have nothing to give. I am frustrated if my gift is refused, or if the recipient of my gift does not respond the way I want them to. This is self-centered giving.

Choose Contentment

Let’s go back to 1 Timothy for help with a solution. In the context of warning against the danger of dissatisfaction, it says this:

1 Timothy 6:6 Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. …11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Here is the key: contentment. Godliness with contentment. Here we find a focus on character, not circumstances. If I am focused on circumstances going the way I would like them to go, I will be disappointed and frustrated most of the time. If I am focused on building character, I can look at any and every circumstance as an opportunity to deepen godly character. I can be content with whatever circumstance I am given as an essential step in the work God is doing in my life. This is how James can say:

James 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,

Because trials produce character. Peter takes us behind this joy to its source.

1 Peter 1:6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,

The joy is not in the trial itself. It is in this you rejoice. Peter has been recounting the treasures that we have in Christ: God’s mercy toward us in new birth, our living resurrection hope, our inheritance that God is keeping for us, God’s keeping and preserving power at work in us, our final salvation that will be put on display in the end. When circumstances go the way you don’t want them to, choose to rejoice in this – in all that God has done and is doing and will do in you and for you. Cultivate gratitude by recounting what God has done for you in Christ. I am Forgiven. Justified. Redeemed. I am being sanctified. I have been set free. Reconciled to God. Adopted. Loved with an everlasting love. Given eternal life. I am a recipient of God’s mercy.

God Does Not Change

Circumstances change. This is why it is frustrating when we make our joy dependent on our circumstances. But God never changes.

Malachi 3:6 “For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

If our joy comes from God alone, we will never be disappointed. In contrast to changing circumstances and fickle people,

Zephaniah 3:5 The LORD… is righteous; he does no injustice; every morning he shows forth his justice; each dawn he does not fail;

God Commands our Happiness Be in Him

This is why God commands us to seek our happiness in him

Philippians 3:1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord.

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.

Psalm 32:11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 40:16 But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the LORD!”

Psalm 64:10 Let the righteous one rejoice in the LORD and take refuge in him! Let all the upright in heart exult!

Psalm 97:12 Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!

Psalm 105:3 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!

When we find our joy in the unchanging faithfulness of our great God, our happiness is totally independent of our circumstances. We can say with Habakkuk

Habakkuk 3:17 Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

With Job we can respond to the most terrible circumstances:

Job 1:20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”

We can say with Paul:

Romans 5:11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

We can sing with Isaiah

Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Choose Joy

Frustration and enjoying are alternative choices. Remember Martha and Mary.

Luke 10:38 …Martha welcomed [Jesus] into her house. … 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

What is the one thing that is necessary? What was the good portion that Mary had chosen?

Luke 10:39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.

Circumstances come. How will you choose to respond? Will you be ruled by your immediate circumstances? Or will you choose to enjoy the fact that you have been chosen by God, purchased with the blood of Jesus, your sins, all of them, were nailed to the cross, that this life is short and you will spend eternity in the presence of God with great joy? Will you choose to enjoy the presence of Jesus with you right now in the middle of your circumstances? Will you be irritated and irritable, or will you enjoy sweet fellowship with your Creator, Redeemer and Friend?

Choose to enjoy God today!

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

December 11, 2011 Posted by | occasional, podcast | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Advent: Prepare To Meet Your God

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20111204_advent-prepare_to_meet_god.mp3

12/04 Advent – God comes in judgment; prepare to meet your God

We are in the season of Advent, traditionally the four weeks leading up to Christmas. Advent is a Latin word that means ‘coming.’ This is a time for reflection, reflection on the First Advent, or the coming of God into the world in the person of Jesus, the baby born of the virgin. It is also a time for us to anticipate and prepare for the Second Advent, the second coming of Christ in power and glory when he returns to rule in righteousness. Last week, Tyrone served you well by turning your eyes toward Jesus in worship. For the next few weeks, I would like to continue to focus our attention on Jesus by looking at different aspects of who he is.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor and martyr under Hitler’s regime, wrote as Christmastime of what he called an un-Christmas-like idea:

When the old Christendom spoke of the coming again of the Lord Jesus, it always thought first of all of a great day of judgment. And as un-Christmas-like as this idea may appear to us, it comes from early Christianity and must be taken with utter seriousness. The coming of God is truly not only a joyous message but is, first, frightful news for anyone who has a conscience. And only when we have felt the frightfulness of the matter can we know the incomparable favor. God comes in the midst of evil, in the midst of death, and judges the evil in us and in the world, and in judging it he loves us, he purifies us, he sanctifies us, he comes to us with his grace and love. He makes us happy as only children can be happy. We have become so accustomed to the idea of divine love and of God’s coming at Christmas that we no longer feel the shiver of fear that God’s coming should arouse in us. We are indifferent to the message, taking only the pleasant and agreeable out of it and forgetting the serious aspect: that the God of the world draws near to the people of our little earth and lays claim to us.” [Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Coming of Jesus in our Midst(from God is in the Manger, week 1 day 4; audiobook MP3 track 5)]

In preparation for Christmas, I want to look soberly at this aspect of God’s Advent; the issue of our sin in the light of God’s presence. Christmas is all about Jesus, and Jesus is Emmanuel – God with us, but we are sinners and God is just, so God’s presence with us is a terrifying prospect. If what Bonhoeffer said is true, and I believe it is, that ‘only when we have felt the frightfulness of the matter can we know the incomparable favor’, then a serious look at the terrifying prospect of God’s presence will actually serve to increase our real joy this holiday season.

John and Malachi: Prepare to Meet Your God

Let’s start by looking at the ministry of John. It was prophesied to John’s father Zechariah that:

Luke 1:16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

John’s mission was to prepare people for the coming of the Lord. Our Lord Jesus pointed back to his cousin John as the fulfillment of this Old Testament prophecy:

Luke 7:27 This is he of whom it is written, “‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’

John’s role is to prepare people for the coming of God. Jesus is quoting from Malachi 3, the last book of the Old Testament. Let’s look at that passage together to get the big picture:

Malachi 3:1 “Behold, I send my messenger and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years. 5 “Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts. 6 “For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.

The God of the Old Testament is speaking in the first person. He says “I send my messenger and he will prepare the way before me.” God is coming to visit his people. His people must be prepared. And he asks the question “who can endure the day of his coming and who can stand when he appears?” Then he says “I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against… [those who] do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts.” John’s message was a message of repentance (Mt.3:2,8,11; Mr.1:4,15; Lk.3:3,8). ‘You are sinners and you need to turn away from your sin and turn back to the Lord.’ John said things like this:

Matthew 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Those harsh words are about Jesus!

Amos: Prepare to Meet Your God!

As I was reading in Amos, these words caught my attention: “Prepare to meet your God, O Israel!” I stopped to look back at the context, and I found God claiming to send famine and drought and blight and mildew with the repeated refrain “yet you did not return to me declares the LORD” He continues:

Amos 4:10 “I sent among you a pestilence after the manner of Egypt; I killed your young men with the sword, and carried away your horses, and I made the stench of your camp go up into your nostrils; yet you did not return to me,” declares the LORD. 11 “I overthrew some of you, as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and you were as a brand plucked out of the burning; yet you did not return to me,” declares the LORD. 12 “Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel; because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel!” 13 For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind, and declares to man what is his thought, who makes the morning darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth–– the LORD, the God of hosts, is his name!

Because Israel refused to pay attention to all of God’s warnings and refused to return to him, God would come to them in judgment. This is a terrible prospect: meeting the God who created all things, who has repeatedly threatened and warned and invited, yet you did not return to me; meeting this God in judgment is a terrifying thought.

Making Good News Good

This is what makes the good news so good! Jesus said:

Luke 5:32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

Jesus did not come for those who do not feel the weight of their sin. Those content with their own righteousness will meet the full force of God’s wrath against their arrogant self sufficient pride. Jesus came to bring hope to those who knew how desperately short they fall of God’s perfect standard. This is why the Bible talks about repentance as a gift (Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2Tim.2:25). It is a gift for me to recognize my own self justifying self sufficient pride in my own goodness as sin that I need to repent of (Heb.6:1). It is God the Holy Spirit that convicts me of my sin (Jn.16:8; 1Thess.1:5) and my need for a Savior. When I come like the tax collector in Jesus’ story and cry ‘God be merciful to me, a sinner!’ then I am accepted.

Luke 18:9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

The Beauty of the Cross – Justification

Justified. This sinner went down to his house justified. This is a legal declaration. God the judge declares this sinner not guilty. This is a problem – how can God justify the ungodly (Rom.4:5)? How can God justify by his grace as a gift (Rom.3:24); how can God justify apart from works of the law (Rom.3:28); how can God be just and the justifier of him who has faith in Jesus (Rom.3:26)? This is what makes the cross so beautiful! We can be ‘justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood … to show God’s righteousness’ (Rom.3:24-25). Jesus’ death on the cross is my redemption – he paid the debt I owe in full. Jesus’ death on the cross is propitiation – he absorbed and satisfied the just wrath of God against my sin. Jesus’ death on the cross is a staggering display of the righteousness of God. God, who is holy, righteous and just, can be forgiving, merciful and kind to a sinner without compromising his own righteous character because Jesus satisfied all the demands of justice by taking my sin and giving me his righteousness. The sinner who humbles himself, acknowledges his sin before God and throws himself on God’s mercy is fully absolved of all his sin and credited with all of Christ’s righteousness. “Only when we have felt the frightfulness of the matter can we know the incomparable favor.”

Sanctification

But this is not all. It does not end here. It cannot end here. God does not justify sinners and leave us in our sins. God does not declare us righteous and leave us as we are. No. God’s love for us is a transforming love.

Romans 6:22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.

We who have been justified by grace are now being sanctified by God’s grace as a gift.

Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

2 Corithians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 5:14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. …17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Prepare to meet your God. Jesus has come. Jesus is coming again. Jesus told us to watch, to stay awake, to be ready (Mt.24:42-44; Lk.12:40; Rev.16:15), to invest what we have been given (Lk.19:23), to hold fast to the truth (Rev.3:11; 22:7). Prepare to meet your God!

1John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org


December 4, 2011 Posted by | occasional, podcast | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment